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Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA
and destroys not enhances national security

News Neoconservatism Recommended Links Israel lobby Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place New American Militarism
Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Wolfowitz Doctrine Hillary role in Libya disaster Lock her up movement
Mayberry Machiavellians Robert Kagan Max Boot Paul Wolfowitz Madeleine Albright Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Leo Strauss and the Neocons
From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The ability and willingness to employ savage methods  IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement  
American Exceptionalism Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Robert Kagan Samantha Power Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush Corporatism Big Uncle is Watching You
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization  Color revolutions Guardian paper LA Times Paper by Neal Gabler Washington Post paper by Mike Allen Deception as an art form Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism
Mayberry Machiavellians Corporatism John Dilulio letter   Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Politically Incorrect Humor Etc
Note: This page is partially based on Wikipedia materials.

Introduction

  The Neocons never cease to amaze me and their latest stunt with Venezuela falls into this bizarre category of events which are both absolutely unthinkable and simultaneously absolutely predictable. This apparent logical contradiction is the direct result of a worldview and mindset which is, I believe, unique to the Neocons: a mix of imperial hubris and infinite arrogance, a complete lack of decency, a total contempt for the rest of mankind, crass ignorance, a narcissist/sociopath's inability to have any kind of empathy or imagine another guy's reaction and, finally, last but most certainly not least, crass stupidity.

Saker, The US aggression against Venezuela as a diagnostic tool Feb 4, 2019

The greater the hawkishness, the greater the ignorance.

Max Blumenthal, sited from Zero Hedge

In his volume Cultural Insurrections, Kevin MacDonald has accurately described neoconservatism as “a complex interlocking professional and family network centered around Jewish publicists and organizers flexibly deployed to recruit the sympathies of both Jews and non-Jews in harnessing the wealth and power of the United States in the service of Israel.”[3]Kevin MacDonald, Cultural Insurrections: Essays on Western Civilizations, Jewish Influence, and Anti-Semitism, The Occidental Press, 2007, p. 122. The proof of the neocons’ crypto-Israelism is their U.S. foreign policy:

“The confluence of their interests as Jews in promoting the policies of the Israeli right wing and their construction of American interests allows them to submerge or even deny the relevance of their Jewish identity while posing as American patriots. […]

Indeed, since neoconservative Zionism of the Likud Party variety is well known for promoting a confrontation between the United States and the entire Muslim world, their policy recommendations best fit a pattern of loyalty to their ethnic group, not to America.”[4]Kevin McDonald, Cultural Insurrection, op. cit., p. 66.

Laurent Guyénot, The Unz Review. Apr 8, 2019

 

The neoconservative impulse became visible in modern American foreign policy since Reagan, but it became dominant ideology and foreign policy practice during criminal George W. Bush administration, which unleashed disastrous for American people Iraq war and destabilized the region, which eventually led to creation of ISIS. Those disastrous neoconservative policies were continued during Obama administration ("Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place. Especially sinister role was played  Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton  while she was the Secretary of State. She was the butcher of Libya and Syria.

Unlike traditionalist conservatism (which in the USA survived in the form of Paleoconservatism and preaches noninterventionism), Neoconservatism has nothing to do with conservative doctrine at all. This is neoliberal interpretation of Trotskyism -- neoTrotskyism.

Like neofascism it glorifies militarism (in the form of New American Militarism as described by Professor Bacevich), emphasizes confrontation, and regime change in countries hostile to the interests of global corporations, and which are a barrier of spread of neoliberalism and extension of global, US dominated neoliberal empire. It is an extremely jingoistic creed.  All Secretaries of State starting from Madeleine "not so bright" Albright subscribed to neocon thinking. And the US Department of State since 1980 was the citadel of neoconservatives. To the extent that when Trump was elected a bunch of those jingoistic honchos wrote a letter of protest in best color revolution style. Unfortunately Trump proved to be weak they were not summarily fired without pension for this attempt to stage a color revolution (such a "diplomats letter" how this trick is called, widely publicized by MSMs supporting the particular color revolution is as classic method to put heat on opposite side, probably as popular as false flag sniper shootings from rooftops of protester and police attributed to the government).

The unspoken assumptions of neocon cult, which have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual wars of neoliberal conquest is that "wars are the health of the state".   But in  reality wars is the "health of MIC" not the state. Foreign war launched by  neocons since 1980th overextended the USA as a country and further lowered the standard living of population  of affected countries, as neoliberalism has nothing to do with raising of standard of living of population. It is about the redistribution of wealth to the top.

All-in-all neocons serve as lobbyists of MIC  providing yet another confirmation of Eisenhower warning. They are "wardogs" of MIC.

The unspoken assumptions of neocon cult have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual wars of neoliberal conquest.  Which overextended the USA as a country and lowered the standard living of population further, as if neoliberalism alone was not enough. They serve as lobbyists of MIC  providing yet another confirmation of Eisenhower warning.

It also led to destabilization of the whole regions. It was the USA that launched political Islam into its current position, which at the end resulted in creation of ISIS and "institutionalization" of  suicide bombings as the only means to fight against global neoliberal empire by people deprived of regular military means.  From which many nations, suffered especially Russia. But also several European nations such as GB and France which supported the US policies.

In Russia neocons supported radical Islam and Wahhabism promoting it in such areas as Chechnya and Dagestan. They financially and logistically supported terrorist networks and facilitated import of extremists (sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Gulf monarchies). Like in Afghanistan before that they considered Wahhabi extremists as a useful political tool in their attempts to dismember Russia, as the lesser evil.

In Ukraine neocons supported far right nationalists with distinct national socialism leanings and history of crimes against humanity (Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia - Wikipedia). They organized and financed the putsch against the legitimate (albeit corrupt) government of Yanukovich riding of the wave of population discontent with the slow standard of living and the corruption by (installed by the West) neoliberal government. And instead of promised  Euro Integration and an "instant" raise of the standard of living to European level promised by  pro-coup propaganda they got three times drop of standard of living (to African level of poverty for the most of the population) and civil war in Donbass.  Which was done with full support of several EU nations which also now have imperial ambitions and wanted to cut the country from Russia and use it the market for EU goods as well as the source of cheap commodities and labor for EU.

EuroMaydan as this color revolution was called made the country a debt slave of IMF and dropped already low standard of living of population almost three times. Making the Ukraine probably the poorest country in Europe where large percent of population (especially pensioners and single mothers) needs to survive of less the $2 a day. Average (note the word "average")  pension in Ukraine is about $1500 grivna which at the current exchange rate is approximately $60. It was three times higher before the Maydan color revolution which State Department so skillfully organized.

Everywhere neocons bring wars and disasters. And they impoverish the US middle class. To say nothing about desperate, completely robbed 50 or so million people with McJobs, who are liming essentially in the third world country that exists within the USA now  (Food Stamp Beneficiaries Exceed 46,000,000 for 38 Straight Months ). 

They are concerned mainly with enriching themselves and their masters from military industrial complex and bloated government bureaucracy, especially "national security parasites"). In other words they behave like the USSR nomenklatura -- a privileged, above the law class, degeneration of which eventually led to collapse of the USSR. Such a conservatives. And not unlike Party bureaucracy of the Third Reich, despite being disproportionally Jewish. 

In foreign policy they were a real, unmitigated  disaster.  Or more correctly series of disaster of varying magnitudes.

For their petty mercantile purposes (reckless jingoism is the credo of any MIC lobbyist) they successfully revived the threat of nuclear war with Russia (in the name of "US security", as MIC lobbyists understand it ;-). Moreover they moved Russia closer to China, which is no way is in the USA geopolitical interests.  Such a despicable "security parasites" (they really are the "security parasites")

Starting from Clinton administration their attitude to Russia was essentially was: be our vassal, or you have no right to exist. Which is reckless attitude to the second most powerful nuclear armed state in the world.  Even taking into account huge difficulties and huge deterioration of the Russia military capabilities after the dissolution of the USSR they were playing with fire initiating  the rearmament of Russia (which negatively affected the well-being of Russian people).  And they are enjoying every minute of their destructive actions.  Just look at glib face of Robert Kagan (the husband of Victoria Nuland, who was appointed as advisor to State Department by Hillary Clinton) during his public speeches. This man is definitely enjoying himself and his wit. 

 

For their petty mercantile purposes (recless jingoism is the credo of any MIC lobbyist) they successfully revived the threat of nuclear war with Russia (in the name of "US security", as MIC lobbyists understand it ;-). Moreover they moved Russia closer to China, which is no way is in the USA geopolitical interests.  Such a despicable "security parasites" (they really are the "security parasites")

...And they are enjoying every minute of their destructive actions.  Just look at glib face of Robert Kagan (the husband of Victoria Nuland, who was appointed as advisor to State Department by Hillary Clinton) during his public speeches. This man is definitely enjoying himself and his wit. 

An assertion that the fundamental determinant of the relationship between states rests on military power and the willingness to use it, is clearly wrong. It is a foreign policy equivalent to Al Capone idea that "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone". It is very close to neo-Nazi idea that "War is a natural state, and peace is a utopian dream that induces softness, decadence and pacifism." The problem here is that it's the person who promotes this creed can be shot. Of course neocons are chickenhawks and prefer other people die for their misguided adventures.  Almost non of them served in Vietnam.

The idea  that disagreement about some unrealistic postulates (such as "full spectrum dominance") is tantamount to defeatism is simply silly. "Global unilateralism" promoted by neocon since dissolution of the USSR is capable to bankrupt the USA and it awakened  really powerful countervailing forces. The military alliance of Russia, China and Iran now is a distinct possibility at least in certain areas, despite all differences. Pakistan might be  the next to join this alliance.  That's more  then 1.5 billion people hostile to the USA interests. Usually when the enemy is twise the size the fight againat it became very difficult indeeed.  And EU can't be counted as a reliable  ally any longer , as it now has its own geopolitical interests, which are not fully aligned with the  USA, especially as for China, which is tremendously important market  for Germany manifacturing. 

Democracy promotion was a nice racket (via color revolutions) until probably 2008, but now way too many countries understand the mechanics of color revolutions and created mechanism to defend themselves from such attempts. bout. They failed in Russia in 2012 and in Hong Cong later.   Their last success was EuroMaydan in Ukraine which can well turn in Pyrrhic victory.

Neocon policies created the level of anti-American sentiment at Middle East unheard before,  provoked rearmament of Russia and armament of China which together represent a formidable force able to turn the USA into radioactive ash no less effectively then the USA can turn them. 

Despite disastrous results of the Neocon foreign policy neocons remain a powerful, dominant political force in Washington. In recent Presidential race neocons were represented by Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton which managed to get almost half of the votes (or steal then for Sanders, to be exact -- DNC pushed Sanders under the bus).

After the defeat they launched anti-Russian hysteria (as the way of rallying the nation around the flag and preventing loss of power of Clinton's wing of the Democratic Party) and then the color revolutions against Trump (with heavy involvement of FBI and CIA). Russiagate will remain one of the most sordid stories in the US political life, next to McCarthyism  

Neoconservatives are attempting to build an American Empire, seen as successor to the British Empire

From Wikipedia

John McGowan, professor of humanities at the University of North Carolina, states, after an extensive review of neoconservative literature and theory, that neoconservatives are attempting to build an American Empire, seen as successor to the British Empire, its goal being to perpetuate a Pax Americana. As imperialism is largely considered unacceptable by the American media, neoconservatives do not articulate their ideas and goals in a frank manner in public discourse. McGowan states,[68]

Frank neoconservatives like Robert Kaplan and Niall Ferguson recognize that they are proposing imperialism as the alternative to liberal internationalism. Yet both Ka

 
uson also understand that imperialism runs so counter to American's liberal tradition that it must... remain a foreign policy that dare not speak its name...

While Ferguson, the Brit, laments that Americans cannot just openly shoulder the white man's burden, Kaplan the American, tells us that "only through stealth and anxious foresight" can the United States continue to pursue the "imperial reality [that] already dominates our foreign policy", but must be disavowed in light of "our anti-imperial traditions, and... the fact that imperialism is delegitimized in public discourse"...

The Bush administration, justifying all of its actions by an appeal to "national security", has kept as many of those actions as it can secret and has scorned all limitations to executive power by other branches of government or international law.

Neoconservatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In foreign policy, the neoconservatives' main concern is to prevent the development of a new rival. Defense Planning Guidance, a document prepared during 1992 by Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, is regarded by Distinguished Professor of the Humanities John McGowan at the University of North Carolina as the "quintessential statement of neoconservative thought". The report says:[68]
"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."

.... For its opponents it is a distinct political ideology that emphasizes the blending of military power with Wilsonian idealism...

Donald Rumsfeld and Victoria Nuland at the NATO-Ukraine consultations in Vilnius, Lithuania, October 24, 2005

Democracy promotion as the universal door opener

See also Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair

Neoconservative foreign policy is a descendant of so-called Wilsonian idealism. Neoconservatives endorse democracy promotion by the US and other democracies, based on the claim  that human rights belong to everyone, while killing thousand hundred people in their attempt to install puppet regimes in various countries in the globe. They practice so call liberation by killing, or "in order to free the village you need to destroy it". They hypocritically criticized the United Nations and, in the past, the  detente with the USSR not understanding the existence of the USSR, while disastrous to Russian people, were the main factor that protected the middle class in the USA from looting by financial oligarchy and prevented the US elite from self-destructive impulses, which became apparent after 1991.

Democracy promotion is allegedly derived from a belief that "freedom" (understood as the rule of neoliberal oligarchy subservant to the USA) is a universal human right and by opinion polls showing majority support for democracy in countries with authoritarian regimes. But the neocons driven "democracy promotion" provided fertile ground to the rise of Radical Islamism the most anti-democratic regime in existence. This essentially created ISIS. They also consider medieval Saudi Arabia to be the US ally and close eyes on horrible social condition of woman in this country.  Such a despicable hypocrites.

Another Neoconservative myth is that democratic regimes are less likely to start wars. The USA is perfect count-argument to that (although  the idea that it is a democratic country is open to review -- empires usually are not democracies, and not even republics). If we assume that the USA is still a republic, it is the most war-hungry and aggressive republic in the history of the world. Being  a direct successor of British empire, they actually managed to beat British in this respect, which is not easy, taking into account British record of mass murders in India, Opium wars and like.

Neocons argue that not extreme debilitating poverty, but the lack of freedoms, lack of economic opportunities, and the lack of secular general education in authoritarian regimes promotes radicalism and extremism. At the same time they promote nationalism and islamist extremists movement in Russia ("divide and conquer" strategy). In short  neoconservatives advocate democracy promotion to regions of the world with natural resources to loot, such  the Arab nations, Iran, Russia, and China.

During April 2006 Robert Kagan wrote in The Washington Post that Russia and China may be the greatest "challenge [neo]liberalism faces today":

"The main protagonists on the side of autocracy will not be the petty dictatorships of the Middle East theoretically targeted by the Bush doctrine. They will be the two great autocratic powers, China and Russia, which pose an old challenge not envisioned within the new "war on terror" paradigm. ... Their reactions to the "color revolutions" in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan were hostile and suspicious, and understandably so. ... Might not the successful liberalization of Ukraine, urged and supported by the Western democracies, be but the prelude to the incorporation of that nation into NATO and the European Union -- in short, the expansion of Western liberal hegemony?"[77]

During July 2008 Joe Klein wrote in TIME magazine that today's neoconservatives are more interested in confronting enemies than in cultivating friends.  In other words in foreign policy they tend to behave like a bully. He questioned the sincerity of neoconservative interest in exporting democracy and freedom, saying, "Neoconservatism in foreign policy is best described as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy."[78]

"Neoconservatism in foreign policy is best described as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy." ~  Joe Klein

Support of Israel as the key goal

During February 2009 Andrew Sullivan wrote that he no longer took Neoconservatism seriously because its basic tenet became the defense of Israel:[79]

The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. That's the conclusion I've been forced to these last few years. And to insist that America adopt exactly the same constant-war-as-survival that Israelis have been slowly forced into... But America is not Israel. And once that distinction is made, much of the neoconservative ideology collapses.

Neoconservatives respond to charges of merely rationalizing aid for Israel by noting that their "position on the Middle East conflict was exactly congruous with the neoconservative position on conflicts everywhere else in the world, including places where neither Jews nor Israeli interests could be found – - not to mention the fact that non-Jewish neoconservatives took the same stands on all of the issues as did their Jewish confrères."[80]

Wolfowitz Doctrine as quintessential Neoconservatism

Wolfowitz Doctrine is an unofficial name given to the initial version of the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (dated February 18, 1992) authored by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz and his deputy Scooter Libby. Not intended for public release, it was leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992,[1] and sparked a public controversy about U.S. foreign and defense policy. The document was widely criticized as imperialist as the document outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military action to suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status.

Such was the outcry that the document was hastily re-written under the close supervision of U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell before being officially released on April 16, 1992. Many of its tenets re-emerged in the [2] which was described by Senator Edward M. Kennedy as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept."[3]

Superpower status

The doctrine announces the US’s status as the world’s only remaining superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War and proclaims its main objective to be retaining that status.

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

Our most fundamental goal is to deter or defeat attack from whatever source... The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression, build habits of cooperation, avoid the renationalization of security policies, and provide security at lower costs and with lower risks for all. Our preference for a collective response to preclude threats or, if necessary, to deal with them is a key feature of our regional defense strategy. The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the U.S. and our allies.

U.S. primacy

The doctrine establishes the US’s leadership role within the new world order.

The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships. If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge. If we act separately, many other problems could result.

Unilateralism

The doctrine downplays the value of international coalitions.

Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression, we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished. Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S. will be an important stabilizing factor.

This was re-written with a change in emphasis in the April 16 release.

Certain situations like the crisis leading to the Gulf War are likely to engender ad hoc coalitions. We should plan to maximize the value of such coalitions. This may include specialized roles for our forces as well as developing cooperative practices with others.

Pre-emptive intervention

The doctrine stated the US’s right to intervene when and where it believed necessary.

While the U.S. cannot become the world's policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations.

This was softened slightly in the April 16 release.

While the United States cannot become the world's policeman and assume responsibility for solving every international security problem, neither can we allow our critical interests to depend solely on international mechanisms that can be blocked by countries whose interests may be very different than our own. Where our allies interests are directly affected, we must expect them to take an appropriate share of the responsibility, and in some cases play the leading role; but we maintain the capabilities for addressing selectively those security problems that threaten our own interests.

Russian threat

The doctrine highlighted the possible threat posed by a resurgent Russia.

We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states formerly comprising the Soviet Union retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia; and we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others....We must, however, be mindful that democratic change in Russia is not irreversible, and that despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.

This was removed from the April 16 release in favor of a more diplomatic approach.

The U.S. has a significant stake in promoting democratic consolidation and peaceful relations between Russia, Ukraine and the other republics of the former Soviet Union.

Middle East and Southwest Asia

The doctrine clarified the overall objectives in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil. We also seek to deter further aggression in the region, foster regional stability, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways. As demonstrated by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it remains fundamentally important to prevent a hegemon or alignment of powers from dominating the region. This pertains especially to the Arabian peninsula. Therefore, we must continue to play a role through enhanced deterrence and improved cooperative security.

...

The April 16 release was more circumspect and it reaffirmed U.S. commitments to Israel as well as its Arab allies.

In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, we seek to foster regional stability, deter aggression against our friends and interests in the region, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways and to the region's oil. The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security. Israel's confidence in its security and U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation contribute to the stability of the entire region, as demonstrated once again during the Persian Gulf War. At the same time, our assistance to our Arab friends to defend themselves against aggression also strengthens security throughout the region, including for Israel.

Neocon architects of American foreign policy are destroying American national security

Regular Americans can't even imagine the level of hate and resentment that neocon policies produce. . And those feeling became material force when they are shared by the majority of people of a particular country. In some countries it is now really uncomfortable to be an America tourist. I know the cases then American tourists in Spain pretended being from other country to avoid this resentment. But spectrum of problems neocons inflict on the USA are much wider and more dangerous. Professor Stephen Cohen recently gave a very insightful interview to  Patrick L. Smith in salon.com (Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security) which we will reproduce verbatim:

“Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security”: Stephen F. Cohen on the truths U.S. media and politicians hide

Myths of American nationalism busted as our interview with noted scholar concludes

Patrick L. Smith

If there is a lesson in Stephen F. Cohen’s professional fortunes over the past year, it is the peril of advancing a dispassionate reading of our great country’s doings abroad. Cohen’s many pieces in The Nation on the Ukraine crisis and the consequent collapse of U.S.-Russia relations now leave him in something close to a state of siege. “My problem with this begins with the fact that… I don’t have a vested interest in one of the ‘isms,’ or ideologies,” Cohen says in this, the second part of a long interview conducted last month. 

The problem lies with the ideologues infesting the waters wherein Cohen swims. Terminally poisoned by Cold War consciousness, they cannot abide disinterested thought. Cohen has been mostly scholar, partly journalist, since the 1970s. His “Sovieticus” column, launched in The Nation in the 1980s, put a magazine traditionally tilted toward domestic issues among the few American publications providing consistent analysis of Russian affairs. At this point, Cohen’s Nation essays are the bedrock scholarly work to which those (few) writing against the orthodoxy turn.

The first half of our exchange, last week on Salon, began with events during the past year and advanced toward the post-Soviet origins of the current crisis. In part two, Cohen completes his analysis of Vladimir Putin’s inheritance and explains how he came to focus his thinking on “lost alternatives”—outcomes that could have been but were not. Most surprising to me was the real but foregone prospect of reforming the Soviet system such that the suffering that ensued since its demise could have been averted.

Salon: Putin inherited a shambles, then—as he would say, “a catastrophe.”

Stephen F. Cohen: As Russia’s leader, Putin has changed over the years, especially in foreign policy but also at home. His first impulse was toward more free-market reforms, anti-progressive taxes. He enacted a 13 percent flat tax—Steve Forbes would’ve been ecstatic, right? He offers [George W.] Bush what Clinton never really offered Yeltsin: a full partnership. And what does he do? On September 11, 2001, he called George and said, Whatever you want, we’re with you. Bush says, Well, I think we’re going to have to go to war in Afghanistan. And Putin said, I can help you. We’ve got major resources and assets in Afghanistan. I even have an army over there called the Northern Alliance. I’ll give it to you! You want overflight? It’s all yours!

How many American lives did Putin save during our land war in Afghanistan? And do you know what a political price he paid in Russia for that? Because his security people were completely against it.

They were? Please explain.

Oh, yeah. You think they minded seeing America being brought to its knees? They’d been invaded so often; let America get a taste of it! But Putin assumes he’s achieved what Yeltsin couldn’t and that this benefits the Russian state. He has a real strategic partnership with America. Now, remember, he’s already worried about his radical Islamic problem because Russia has nearly 20 million Muslim citizens of its own. Russia sits in the East and in the West; it’s on the front lines.

What does Bush give him in return? He expands NATO again and he unilaterally withdraws the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the bedrock of Russia’s nuclear security— it’s a complete betrayal. Is that how you repay somebody who’s helped you save the lives of your citizens? This is where the word “betrayal” begins to enter into the discourse.

It’s an important word for Putin.

It’s not only Putin; [Dmitry] Medvedev uses it, too, when he becomes president [in 2008]. America has broken its word, it’s betrayed us, it’s deceived us, and we no longer take America at its word— well, they never should’ve in the first fucking place, just as Gorbachev should have got the promise not to expand NATO in writing. We’d have done it anyway, but at least they would have had a talking point.

This trust, this naive trust on the part of Russians, that there’s something about American presidents that makes them honorable—it suggests they need a crash course in something. This was betrayal for Putin, and for the entire Russian political class, and Putin paid a price.

I’ve heard him called, among right-wing Russian intellectuals, an appeaser of the West. Soft. You can hear this today: Mariupol? Odessa? Should’ve taken them a year ago; they belong to us. What’s he thinking? Why is he discussing it? [Mariupol and Odessa are two contested cities in the southeastern region of Ukraine.]

So Putin sets his course, and then comes this famous speech he gives in 2007 in Munich, with McCain sitting in the front row. Putin says just what I told you. He says, Look, we want to be your partner; this is what we’ve wanted to be since Gorbachev. We believe in the common European home. But every time we turn to you or we negotiate with you or we think we have an agreement with you, you act like a hegemon and everybody has to do exactly what you say if they want to be on your side. 

Putin has come to tell them that America is risking a new Cold War with more than a decade of bad behavior towards post-Soviet Russia. John McCain interprets this as the declaration of a new Cold War.

But the demonization of Putin came earlier, before the Munich speech, when he began to drive a few favorite American oligarchs [oil companies] out of the country. I looked it up: No major oil-producing country permits majority foreign ownership of its oil. So there’s a long a long history of how Putin goes from a democrat for sure in the U.S. media and an aspiring partner of America to becoming the Hitler of today, as Hillary Clinton put it. You can see what a disease it’s become, this Putin-phobia….

RT just aired a documentary in which Putin explains exactly when and why he decided to move as he did in Crimea. It’s striking: The deliberations began the night President Yanukovych was ousted in the American-supported coup last year. Can you talk about Putin’s thinking on the Crimea question, leading to the annexation? 

Putin, in my judgment, did some wrong-headed things. We now know much more about Crimea, but even given what he has said, there was an argument. It wasn’t quite as clear-cut as he says it was. There was a debate with two sides.

One side said, “Take Crimea now or fight NATO there later.” The other said, “Let the referendum [on association with Russia, held in March 2014] go forward and they’re going to vote 80-plus percent to join Russia. We don’t have to act on it; they’ve just made a request and we’ll say what we think about it. Meanwhile, we see what happens in Kiev.” The Kremlin had done polling in Crimea. And it’s the best bargaining chip Putin will have. He’ll have Crimea wanting to join Russia and he can say to Washington, Well, you would like the Crimea to remain in Ukraine? Here’s what I’d like in return: an eternal ban on NATO membership and federalization of the Ukrainian constitution, because I have to give my Crimean brethren something.

But those arguing that Crimea was the biggest bargaining chip Putin was ever going to have lost. The other side prevailed.

Now, Putin took all the credit, but that’s not what really happened. They were all dependent on intelligence coming out of Kiev and Crimea and Donbass. You see now, if you watch that film, what a turning point the overthrow of Yanukovych was. Remember, the European foreign ministers—Polish, German, and French—had brokered an agreement saying that Yanukovych would form a coalition government and stay in power until December, and that was burned in the street. I’ll never forget the massive Klitschko [Vitali Klitschko, a prizefighter-turned-political oppositionist, currently Kiev’s mayor] standing on a platform at Maidan, all 6’ 8” of him, announcing this great triumph of negotiation, and some smaller guy whipping away the microphone and saying, Go fuck yourself. This thing is going to burn in the streets. The next day it did. That night you saw what an undefeated heavyweight champion looks like when he’s terror-stricken.

This is the turning point, and “It’s all due to Putin,” but it’s all due to Putin because demonization has become the pivot of the analysis.

What do we do from here to resolve the Ukraine question? You used the word “hope” when talking about the February cease-fire, Minsk II—“the last, best hope.” It tripped me up. Hope’s a virtue, but it can also be very cruel.

Anyone of any sense and good will knows that it [the solution] lies in the kind of home rule they negotiated in the U.K.—and don’t call it a federated Ukraine if that upsets Kiev. As the constitution stands, the governors of all the Ukrainian provinces are appointed by Kiev. You can’t have that in eastern Ukraine. Probably can’t even have that in Western and Central Ukraine anymore. Ukraine is fragmenting.

I want to turn this around: what is your view of America’s strategic goal? I ask in the context of your analysis, in “Failed Crusade,” of “transitionology,” as you term the paradigm wherein Russia was supposed to transition into a free-market paradise. As the book makes clear, it amounted to the elevation and protection of crooks who asset-stripped most of an entire nation. Now we don’t hear much about Russia’s “transition.” What is Washington’s ambition now?

I think the Ukrainian crisis is the greatest blow to American national security— even greater than the Iraq war in its long-term implications— for a simple reason: The road to American national security still runs through Moscow. There is not a single major regional or issue-related national security problem we can solve without the full cooperation of whoever sits in the Kremlin, period, end of story.

Name your poison: We’re talking the Middle East, we’re talking Afghanistan, we’re talking energy, we’re talking climate, we’re talking nuclear proliferation, terrorism, shooting airplanes out of the sky, we’re talking about the two terrorist brothers in Boston.

Look: I mean American national security of the kind I care about—that makes my kids and grandkids and myself safe—in an era that’s much more dangerous than the Cold War because there’s less structure, more non-state players, and more loose nuclear know-how and materials…. Security can only be partial, but that partial security depends on a full-scale American-Russian cooperation, period. We are losing Russia for American national security in Ukraine as we talk, and even if it were to end tomorrow Russia will never, for at least a generation, be as willing to cooperate with Washington on security matters as it was before this crisis began.

Therefore, the architects of the American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security—and therefore I am the patriot and they are the saboteurs of American security. That’s the whole story, and any sensible person who doesn’t suffer from Putin-phobia can see it plainly.

Is it too strong to say that the point is to destabilize Moscow?

What would that mean? What would it mean to destabilize the country that may have more weapons of mass destruction than does the U.S.?

Is that indeed the ambition?

I don’t think there’s any one ambition. I come back to the view that you’ve got various perspectives in discussion behind closed doors. I guess Mearsheimer [John Mearsheimer, the noted University of Chicago scholar] is right in the sense of saying that there’s a faction in Washington that is behaving exactly as a great power would behave and trying to maximize its security, but it doesn’t understand that that’s what other great powers do, too. That’s its failure. Gorbachev and Reagan, though it wasn’t originally their idea, probably agreed on the single most important thing: Security had to be mutual. That was their agreement and they built everything on that. We have a military build-up you’re going to perceive as a threat and build up, and I will perceive your build-up as a threat… and that’s the dynamic of permanent and conventional build-up, a permanent arms race. And that’s why Gorbachev and Reagan reasoned, We’re on the edge of the abyss. That’s why we are going to declare the Cold War over, which they did.

That concept of mutual security doesn’t mean only signing contracts: It means don’t undertake something you think is in your security but is going to be perceived as threatening, because it won’t prove to be in your interest. Missile defense is the classic example: We never should have undertaken any missile defense program that wasn’t in cooperation with Russia, but, instead, we undertook it as an anti-Russian operation. They knew it and we knew it and scientists at MIT knew it, but nobody cared because some group believed that you’ve got to keep Russia down.

The truth is, not everything depends on the president of the United States. Not everything, but an awful lot does, and when it comes to international affairs we haven’t really had a president who acted as an actual statesman in regard to Russia since Reagan in 1985-88. Clinton certainly didn’t; his Russia policy was clownish and ultimately detrimental to U.S. national security interests. Bush’s was reckless and lost one opportunity after another, and Obama’s is either uninformed or completely out to lunch. We have not had a statesman in the White House when it comes to Russia since Reagan, and I am utterly, totally, 1000 percent convinced that before November 2013, when we tried to impose an ultimatum on Yanukovych—and even right now, today—that a statesman in the White House could end this in 48 hours with Putin. What Putin wants in the Ukraine crisis is what we ought to want; that’s the reality.

Interesting.

What does Putin want? He’s said the same thing and he’s never varied: He wants a stable, territorial Ukraine—Crimea excepted—and he knows that’s possible only if Ukraine is free to trade with the West and with Russia but is never a member of NATO. However, somebody’s got to rebuild Ukraine, and he’s not going to take that burden on himself, but he will help finance it through discounted energy prices. It could all be done tomorrow if we had a statesman in the White House. Tomorrow! Nobody else has to die.

I think Chancellor Merkel understands this, too.

I think she’s come to, but how strong she is and whether Washington will cut her legs out from under her as they’re trying to do now… [Shortly before this interview Senator McCain delivered a blunt attack on Merkel at a security conference in Munich for opposing the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Arizona Republican was similarly critical when Merkel began to explore a diplomatic solution in Ukraine in spring 2013.]

They have very little respect for her, which is wrong.

What Lindsay Graham and McCain did in Germany, in her own country, on German national television, to her face—and the fact that she’s a woman didn’t help, either. The way they spoke to her, I can’t think of a precedent for that.

Parts of your work are very moving, and that’s not a word a lot of scholarship prompts. The enormous value the Soviet Union accreted—most Americans know nothing of this; with the media’s encouragement, we’re completely ignorant of this. There’s nothing encouraging us to understand that the hundreds of billions of misappropriated assets during the 1990s was essentially the misappropriation of Soviet wealth.

A lot of it came here, to the United States.

Can you talk about this?

I can tell you about a guy who was formerly very high up in the CIA. I called him about a something I was writing on Russian wealth smuggled through the banks into the United States, and he said, We have informed the FBI exactly where all this wealth is in the United States but we are under strict political orders to do nothing about it. Now, the interesting thing is, why now? Well, it would have badly damaged the Yeltsin regime, which the Clinton administration had unconditionally embraced, but also because that money became part of the flourishing stock and real estate markets here at that time.

Even today in Russia, when you ask people if they wish the Soviet Union hadn’t ended, you’re still getting over 60 percent, among young people, too, because they hear the stories from their parents and grandparents. It requires a separate study, but it’s not rocket science. If young kids see their grandparents dying prematurely because they’re not being paid their pensions, they’re going to resent it. When the bottom fell out of the Soviet welfare state and out of the professions, what happened in the 1990s was that the Soviet middle class— which was one of the most professional and educated, and had some savings and which therefore should have been the building block of a Russian free market sector— that middle class was wiped out, and it’s never been recreated. Instead, you got a country of impoverished people and of very, very rich people—with a small middle class serving the rich. That changed under Putin; Putin has rebuilt the middle class, gradually.

The Russian middle class isn’t the same as ours. A lot of Russia’s middle class are people who are on the federal budget: Army officers, doctors, scientists, teachers—these are all federal budget people. They’re middle class, but they don’t become middle class as autonomous property owners. A lot of my friends are members of this class, and a lot of them are very pro-Putin, but a lot of my friends are very anti-Putin, too. The thing about the Soviet Union can be summarized very simply: The Soviet Union lasted 70-plus years, so that would be less than the average life of an American male today. A person cannot jump out of his or her autobiography any more than they can jump out of their skin; it’s your life. You were born in the Soviet Union, you had your first sexual experience in the Soviet Union, you were educated, you got a career, you got married, you raised your kids: That was your life. Of course you miss it, certainly parts of it.

There were ethnic nationalities in the Soviet Union who hated it and wanted to break away, and this became a factor in 1991, but for a great many people— certainly the majority of Russians and a great many Ukrainians and Belorussians and the central Asians— it’s not surprising that 25 years later, those adults still remember the Soviet Union with affection. This is normal, and I don’t find anything bad in it. You know, Putin wasn’t actually the first to say this but he did say it and it’s brilliant and tells you who Putin is and who most Russians are. He said this: Anyone who doesn’t regret the end of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who thinks you can recreate the Soviet Union has no head. That’s it, that’s exactly right!

Didn’t Putin say that the end of the Soviet Union was the 20th century’s greatest catastrophe?

It all has to do with the word “the.” There’s no “the” in Russian. Did Putin say, in translation, that the end of the Soviet Union was “the” greatest catastrophe of the 20th century? If so, there’s something wrong with that, because for Jews it was the Holocaust. Or did he say, “one of” the greatest catastrophes?

I would have guessed the latter.

All four professional translators I sent Putin’s phrase to said you have to translate it as “one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century.” Now, we can have a discussion. He’s taken a moderate position, but what are the others? Fair enough, but catastrophe for whom? Americans don’t think it was a catastrophe. Putin would say, “Look, 20 million Russians found themselves outside the country when the Soviet Union broke up, that was a tragedy for them, a catastrophe. Seventy or 80 percent plunged into poverty in the 1990s, lost everything. Can I put that on the list of “one of the greatest?” I would say sure, because for everybody there’s a greater catastrophe. For the Jews there’s no catastrophe greater than the Holocaust. For the Armenians, their genocide. Again, people can’t jump out of their history. A tolerant, democratic person acknowledges that. Each people and nation has its own history. I’d like to write an article about this, but I’m not going to live long enough to write all the articles or books I want to write. We say, for example, the Russians have not come to grips with and fully acknowledged the horrors of Stalinism and its victims. I would argue in this article that they have done more to acknowledge the horrors of Stalinism than we have of slavery.

Interesting.

For example, do we have a national museum of the history of slavery in the United States? They’re building a large one in Moscow to commemorate Stalin’s victims. He recently signed a decree mandating a monument in central Moscow to those victims.

In the way of being moved by some of the things you write, I’ve wanted to ask you about this for years. It has to do with the sentiments of Russians and what they wanted, their ambitions for themselves, some form of… as I read along in these passages I kept saying, “I wonder if he’s going to use the phrase ‘social democracy.’” And, sure enough, you did. These passages got me to take Rudolph Bahro [author of “The Alternative in Eastern Europe”] off the shelf. The obvious next step after East-West tension subsided was some form of social democracy. I don’t know where you want to put it. I put it between Norway and Germany somewhere. To me what happened instead is a horrific tragedy, not only for Russia but for Eastern Europe.

My problem with this begins with the fact that I’m not a communist, I’m not a socialist, a social democrat. I’d like to have enough money to be a real capitalist, but it’s a struggle. [Laughs.] I don’t have a vested interest in one of the “isms” or the ideologies, but I agree with you. I don’t know about Eastern Europe, let’s leave it aside, but look at Russia. You’d have thought that the logical outcome of the dismantling of the Stalinist Communist system, because the system was built primarily by Stalin from the 1930s on, would have been Russian social democracy and that, of course, was what Gorbachev’s mission was. Lots of books have been written, most persuasively by Archie Brown, the great British scholar, who knows Gorbachev personally, probably as well as I do, that Gorbachev came to think of himself as a European social democrat while he was still in power. That’s what his goal was. He had this close relationship with the Social Democratic prime minister of Spain, I forget his name.

Zapatero?

I don’t remember, but I remember that they did a lot of social democratic socializing and talking.

Felipe Gonzalez, I think it was.

Gonzalez, that’s right. Gorbachev was a very well-informed man and his advisors during his years in power were mostly social democrats and had been for years. Their mission had been to transform the Soviet Union. Now, remember, Lenin began as a social democrat, and the original model for Lenin had been not only Marx but the German Social Democratic Party. The Bolshevik or Communist Party was originally the Russian Social Democratic Party, which split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. So in a way, and I once said this to Gorbachev, historically you want to go back to Lenin before he became a Bolshevik. He said, “Well that’s kind of complicated.” Then Gorbachev said, “Everybody agrees Russia is a left-of-center country.”

The Russian people are left of center. They’re a welfare-state country. Gorbachev had this interesting conversation with Putin, when he went to tell Putin that he, Gorbachev, was going to start a social democratic party. There had been several start-ups and they never went anywhere. And Putin said that’s the right thing to do, because Russia really is a left-of-center country. So Putin said the same thing. And so Russia is, if you look at the history of Russia…

Are you talking about Russia very early, thinking about Russian givenness to community and all that?

However you put it all together, the peasant tradition, the urban tradition, the socialist tradition. Almost all the revolutionary parties were socialist. You didn’t have a Tea Party among them. This is a Russian tradition. Now, it’s obviously changed, but I would say that today, looking at the polls, most Russians overwhelmingly believe that the state has obligations that include medical care, free education, and guaranteeing everybody a job. In fact, it’s in the Russian constitution, the guarantee of a job. Most Russians feel there should not be a “free market” but a social or regulated market, that some things should be subsidized, that the government should regulate certain things, and that nobody should be too rich or too poor. For that you get 80 percent of the vote every time. So that’s a social democratic program, right? Why don’t they have it?

I ask everybody in Russia who wants a social democratic party. They exist, but not a party that can win elections? What’s the problem here? I think know, but I want to hear Russians tell me what’s right. People cite what you and I would guess. First of all, there’s the hangover from communism, which was social democratic and somewhat socialist, in some form.

Second, and this is probably the key thing, social democratic movements tended to grow out of labor movements—labor unions, historically, in England and Scandinavia and Germany. They became the political movement of the labor movement, the working class movement. So you normally get a labor movement that favors political action instead of strikes, creates a political party, you have a parliamentary system, they begin to build support in the working class, elements of the middle class join them, and you end up eventually with European social democracy.

Old Labour in Britain is a perfect example.

Well, the labor unions in Russia are a complete mess. I shouldn’t say that, but they’re complicated. The major one remains the old Soviet official one, which is in bed deeply with state employers. The independent one, or ones, haven’t been able to get enough traction. In almost every European country there were circumstances, you might say the political culture was favorable. Those objective circumstances don’t exist [in Russia]. First, you have an insecure savaged middle class that’s seen its savings confiscated or devalued repeatedly in the last 25 years. You’ve got a working class trapped between oligarchs, state interests and old industries, and private entrepreneurs who are very vulnerable. In other words, the working class itself is in transition. Its own insecurities don’t lead it to think in terms of political organizations but in terms of issues—of whether Ford Motor Company is going to fire them all tomorrow. They’re localized issues.

Then you don’t have a leadership. Leadership really matters. No one has emerged, either in the Russian parliament or in Russian political life. By the 1990s Gorbachev was past his prime and too hated for what had happened to the country. He hoped to be, when he ran for president that time [in 1996] and got 1 percent, he hoped to be the social democratic leader. There are a couple guys in Parliament who aspire to be the leader of Russian social democracy…. When I’m asked, and I’ve told this to young social democrats and to Gennady Zyuganov, whom I’ve known for 20 years, the leader of the Russian Communist Party, the only real electoral party, that Russia needs social democracy with a Russian face….

What this means is that the most important force in Russia, and people were wrong to say Putin created it, is nationalism. This began, in fact, under Stalin. It was embedded during the Brezhnev years, and it was overshadowed during perestroika in the late-1980s. Then there was an inevitable upsurge as a result of the 1990s. You cannot be a viable political candidate in Russia today unless you come to grips with nationalism.

Therefore, the best way, in my judgment, if you also want democracy, is social democracy with a Russian nationalist face. What’s interesting is the guy who was until recently the most popular opposition leader, Navalny [Alexei Navalny, the noted anti-corruption activist], who got nearly 30 per cent of the vote in the Moscow mayoral elections and then blew it by becoming again a foe of the entire system instead of building on his electoral success—he’s too nationalistic for the taste of a lot of democrats.

Truly? You wouldn’t know it from what you read.

He’s got a bad history in regards to the Caucasus people, among others. But what’s interesting in this regard is, we don’t ever speak of American nationalism. We call it patriotism. It’s weird, isn’t it? We don’t have a state, we have a government….

Every American politician who seeks the presidency in effect tries to make American nationalism the program of his or her candidacy, but they call it patriotism. They’re fully aware of the need to do this, right? So why they think Putin doesn’t have to do it, too, is completely beyond me. There’s no self-awareness.

In Russia, people had lost hope tremendously after 1991 but their hope later attached to Putin—imagine what he faced. For example, can you imagine becoming the leader of such a country and for the sake of consensus having a textbook putting together Tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet history? Our presidents had a hard time dealing with slave and post-slave, Civil War and post-Civil War history. How do they do it? Each president did it differently, but Putin inherited this conflicting history, and the way he’s tried to patch all three together into a consensual way for Russians to view their history and to teach kids in school is very interesting. Now, of course, it’s being ruptured again with this war and with Crimea and with this new nationalism.

I’d like to change the subject. Often in the books you mention an interest in alternatives: What could’ve happened if this or that hadn’t. We just covered one, the missed opportunity for a historically logical social democratic outcome in Russia. How do you account for this tendency in your thinking?

We have formative experiences—what shaped you, at least so you think when you look back. You don’t know it at the time, you don’t know a formative experience is formative until later. You’d agree with that.

It’s only in hindsight. “Reality takes form only in memory.” Proust.

For me it was growing up in the segregated South. But the reality was valid in retrospect, because I later realized that what I was doing had been so shaped by growing up in the segregated South, the way I reacted to that and the way I learned from it later, actually, in a strange way, led me to Russia.

You suggested this in the book on gulag returnees, “The Victims Return.” I wonder if you could explain the connection. How did growing up in Kentucky [Cohen was raised in Owensboro] lead you to Russian studies, and what does it do for your analysis of the Russian situation? How does a Kentucky childhood keep you alert to alternatives?

Well, you have to remember what segregation was. I didn’t understand this as a little boy, but it was American apartheid. Owensboro, probably had fewer than  20,000 people then, including the farmers. For a kid growing up in a completely segregated county, first of all, the world you’re born into is the normal world. I had no questions about it…. I didn’t perceive the injustice of it.

And then you get older and you begin to see the injustice and you wonder, how did this happen?… At Indiana University I run into this professor who becomes my mentor, Robert C. Tucker, [Tucker, who died in 2010, was a distinguished Russianist and author of a celebrated biography of Stalin]. I’d been to Russia—accidentally, I went on a tour—and he asked, “What in Russia interests you?” And I said, “Well, I’m from Kentucky, and I’ve always wondered if there was an alternative in Kentucky’s history between being deep South and not being deep South.” And Tucker said, “You know, one of the biggest questions in Russian history is lost alternatives. Nobody ever studies them.” And I said, “Aha!”

So the title of your 2009 book, “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives,” is in his honor?

I began to live in Russia in 1976, for two or three months a year until they took my visa away in 1982. This is when I got deeply involved in the dissident movement, smuggling manuscripts out and books back in and all these things. I begin to think, how does Russia change today? And my mind reverted to segregation and the end of segregation and the friends and foes of change…. I wrote an article called “The Friends and Foes of Change” about reformism and conservatism in the Soviet system, because I thought that it was institutions, it was culture, it was history and leaders and that you needed a conjunction of these events before you could get major change in Russia and the Soviet Union…. I published that as an article in 1976 or 1977 and I expanded it for a book I wrote, “Rethinking the Soviet Experience,” which was published in 1985, a month before Gorbachev came to power. And everybody would later say, “He foresaw Gorbachev.”

Actually I didn’t quite. What I foresaw was perestroika. For me it wasn’t about the name of the leader, but the policy such leader would enact. I got one thing wrong. Because it was so hard to make this argument in Cold War America, that the Soviet Union had a capacity for reform awaiting it, if factors came together. I didn’t think to carry the argument beyond liberalization to actual democratization. So I didn’t foresee a Gorbachev who would enact actual democratization, free voting, and dismantle the Communist Party…. But I always thought that thinking about the history of Kentucky, living through segregation, watching the change, seeing the civil rights movement, seeing the resistance to it and why helped me think more clearly about the Soviet Union under Brezhnev and about my dissident friends. And I also knew reformers in the party bureaucracy pretty well, and when we would talk at night, I never mentioned this but my mind would always kind of drift back.

The connection is not at all obvious but you explain it very well and it’s clear once you do. 

Well, sometimes people read a book that opens their eyes. I think the whole secret, particularly as you get older… Trotsky I think wrote that after some age, I think he said 39 or 45, all we do is document our prejudices. And there’s some truth to that, obviously. But one of the ways that you avoid becoming dogmatic about your own published views is to keep looking for things that challenge what you think. You try to filter them through whatever intellectual apparatus you’ve been using for, in my case, 40 years.

I thought it would be interesting to get through those sections of Kennan’s journals [“The Kennan Diaries,” 2014] that would be germane to our exchange. What struck me coming away from them was the enormous sadness and pessimism that hung over him in the later years. I wonder if you share that.

My position has always been, America doesn’t need a friend in the Kremlin. We need a national security partner. Friendships often don’t last. Partnerships based on common interests, compatible self-interests, do.

I have always known such a partnership would be difficult to achieve because there are so many differences, conflicts, and Cold War landmines. There were numerous chances to enhance the relationship—during the Nixon-Brezhnev détente period, Gorbachev and Reagan, Gorbachev and Bush, even with Putin after 9/11, when he helped [George W.] Bush in Afghanistan. But they all became lost opportunities, those after 1991 lost mainly in Washington, not Moscow.

When I speak of lost alternatives I do not mean the counter-factuals employed by novelists and some historians—the invention of “what-ifs.” I mean actual alternatives that existed politically at turning points in history, and why one road was taken and not the other. Much of my work has focused on this large question in Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history and in U.S.-Russian relations.

So you ask if I’m disappointed by the lost opportunities for an American-Russian partnership, especially in light of the terrible confrontation over Ukraine? Having struggled for such a partnership for about 40 years, yes, of course, I’m personally disappointed—and even more so by the Ukraine crisis because I think it may be fateful in the worst sense.

On the other hand, as an historian who has specialized in lost alternatives, well, now I have another to study, to put in historical context and analyze. And it’s my historical analysis—that an alternative in Ukraine was squandered primarily in Washington, not primarily in Moscow—that those who slur me don’t like.

To which I reply, Let them study history, because few of them, if any, seem ever to have done so.

Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

More Patrick L. Smith.  

Nulandgate as an example of disastrous neocon foreign policy

While moving Ukraine closer to the West might be a worthwhile goal, but handing of this geopolitical task by the USA is a classic case of "elephant in china store". Level of incompetence, Chutzpah demonstrated by Nuland and her neocon friends in State Department is simply staggering. With the level of control of Yanukovich they demonstrated  during EuroMaydan events, including their ability simply buy some key government figures (and control of a part of Ukrainian security apparatus, inherited by Yanukovich from Yushchenko, who was a pro-Western president)  the need to violet overthrow of his government is highly questionable.

As a result, Ukrainians (like Iranian and Libyans before them) became another victim of Washington's dirty geopolitical games. And they are paying for those games with their lives,  with dramatically (to the level of starvation of pensioners; and I am not exaggerating) diminished standard of living and destroyed infrastructure, completely broken economic ties with Russia -- which was the major economic partner and major market for Ukrainian goods.

While rise of Ukrainian nationalism was given, taking into account the mere fact of independence, the forms which it took are definitely sub optional. Now they have a civil war in the South East, with all the associated cruelty and destruction. In other words "Somalization" of Ukraine proceeded after February 22, 2014 at full speed. It's very easy to destroy a civil order in a fragile country, but it will take decades to repair the damage and bring citizens back to their previous level of well-being and security.

Victoria Nuland will probably enter the history as a person who instigated the start of civil war in Ukraine. Generally Ukraine proved to be another colossal failure of the USA foreign policy: they tried to hit Russia, but got closer alliance of Russia and China. And like elephant in China store they hit Ukraine first, breaking country into peaces,  destroying the economy in the process. And what West needed is a new market for manufacturing, not a new hot spot. Not another failed country that now needs to be financed and maintained by Western loans which have little chance to be repaid.  Actually the role of Germany and personally Angela Merkel in all this mess is pretty negative too, although Germans definitely can't match the level of Chitzpah of their transatlantic masters.

Important factor contributing to the failures of the US foreign policy in recent years is the decrease of the intellectual potential of the "foreign policy establishment". To see the trend it's enough to compare Kissinger or Brzezinski, with the current Secretary Kerry and Victoria Nuland. The result is the degradation of quality of the USA foreign policy, which now creates a lot of unnecessary anger and indignation in large part of Europe and Asia. Even when goals of the USA are not that imperialistic per se. 

Unlike McFaul who got Ph.D, Nuland has just BA from Brown University (1983) where she studied Russian literature, political science, and history. She never served in Russian or even any Eastern European embassy. Her major previous position were  U.S. ambassador to NATO and State Department spokeswoman. Both positions required very little diplomacy and destructive influence of being the State Department spokeswoman (which is the propagandist, not a diplomat) were clearly detrimental to her current role.  Especially, her previous position as the US ambassador to NATO which essentially conditions a person to view Russia only via hairlines. And she lacks real, native diplomatic skills which the following dialogs clearly attests:

The start of this trend toward the intellectual degradation probably has began with the collapse of the USSR. At that time, the USA elite suddenly became the actual "master of the world", which does not need to be engaged in maneuvers in international politics, but can simply to impose their will through various levers of political and economic coercion, and, if necessary, by military operations. So the USA became a bully.

The first robin of this degradation was "not so bright" Madeleine (not so bright) Albright -- an interesting example if not a female sociopath, then a pretty much borderline personality. Those personalities do not care about building lasting fundament of international relations based on UN (which was created as an effort for preventing the repeat of WWII), they were hell bent on destroying this framework to provide the USA maximum political and economic advantages in the unipolar world. As such they all work toward WWIII ( Jen, July 13, 2014 at 6:11 pm ):

Since when Madeleine Albright (she who uttered the notorious line “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” to Colin Powell) was US State Secretary, the US State Department has more or less acted as a rogue element within the US government. Not that this particular gallery of rogues has been the only one with a mind of its own. The US Treasury is dominated by Goldman Sachs management, some of whose people have investments and links with arms companies and thus clear conflicts of interest. Plus US economic and foreign policies have been dictated by University of Chicago alumni who worship Friedrich Hayek / Milton Friedman free market economics and Leo Strauss’s faux-Platonian Republic political philosophy in which a ruling elite tells lies to its subjects to keep them all under control.

Nuland can also can be viewed as example of a related trend: the trend for the appointment to senior posts in the State Department people on the criteria of loyalty to a particular clan of the political elite to the detriment of the interests of the state as a whole. This trend started under Reagan and which got in full force under Bush II and continued under Barack Obama administration. Victoria Nuland was a member of Cheney's Cabal of Zealots:

'Cabal' of Zealots - Wilkerson calls Cheney’s inner group a “cabal” of arrogant, intensely zealous, highly focused loyalists. Recalling Cheney’s staff interacting in a variety of interagency meetings and committees, “The staff that the vice president sent out made sure that those [committees] didn’t key anything up that wasn’t what the vice president wanted,” says Wilkerson.

“Their style was simply to sit and listen, and take notes. And if things looked like they were going to go speedily to a decision that they knew that the vice president wasn’t going to like, generally they would, at the end of the meeting, in great bureaucratic style, they’d say: ‘We totally disagree. Meeting’s over.’” The committee agendas were generally scuttled.

And if something did get written up as a “decision memo” bound for the Oval Office, Cheney himself would ensure that it died before ever reaching fruition.”

It does not help that Nuland is married to Washington Post columnist and neoconservative historian Robert Kagan, who helped sell the case for the Iraq War, advised both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, and co-founded the Project for a New American Century think tank with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. His credentials as neocon chickenhawk in the conservative foreign policy establishment are unimpeachable. Obama has spoken fondly of some of Kagan’s work as well.

And it does not help that her previous job was State Department spokesmen, the job which definitely further  radicalized her into right-wing neocon zealot. And would negatively effect the political views of  even more moderate person then Nuland was at the moment of her appointment.  Now she is definitely far tot he right from her husband Robert Kagan, who along with Wolfowitz is a leading US neocon:

Nuland is married to Washington Post columnist and neoconservative historian Robert Kagan, who helped sell the case for the Iraq War, advised both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, and co-founded the Project for a New American Century think tank with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Obama has spoken fondly of some of Kagan’s work as well, but his credentials in the conservative foreign policy establishment are unimpeachable.

"Republicans are good at wielding power, but they're not so wonderful when it comes to the more idealistic motives of liberal internationalism. The Democrats are better at liberal internationalism, but they're not so good at wielding power. I would say that if there were a Joe Lieberman/John McCain party, I'm in the Joe Lieberman/John McCain party."

- Robert Kagan

Leading antiwar blogger Marcy Wheeler called her a “former Cheney hack.” In both Bush and Obama State Departments when such people commit errors, some of which had all the signs of intentional crimes, they are swiped under the carpet. This has created favorable conditions for creation of the situation when real national interests and the security of the USA were sacrificed to the private interests of individual corporations and oligarchic clans, which enriched themselves using "sacred" neoliberal principle: " profits to private corporations, expenses to the state."

This reduction of the intellectual potential of the American elite contributed to gradual replacement of real experts in the higher echelons of power with incompetents who are sometimes called "effective managers" - people with close, often family connection to powerful clans (such as neoconservatives) and who after obtaining particular position try to advance interests of those clans on international arena. Occupying senior positions, such "effective managers" select the relevant employees. Both Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland can be viewed as examples of this trend.

Foreign policy became yet another area in which, in best traditions of neoliberalism, the objective interests of the United States as a state are sacrificed to the interests of private corporations. for example by driving the United States into military conflicts, in result of which the country suffers tremendous losses -- both material and image-related -- and only certain corporations reap huge profits (Iraq). There are similar signs of the same intellectual degradation in other areas, for example development of new types of military hardware based on unproven technologies. Which gives zero results but still generating huge profits for military-industrial complex.

This intellectual degradation strengthen Messianic elements in the USA foreign policy, the confidence that only the USA should solely determine all the elements of the new world order in all countries. And for this trend EuroMaidan in general and Victoria Nuland in particular is a textbook example.

See more in "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place

Instead of conclusions: Neocons are the War Party

Justin Raimondo aptly described neocons as the war party:

Such phrases as "the War Party" (yes, capitalized like that), and casual mention of "the neocons" – language pretty much confined to this site, until relatively recently – are now commonplace. The anti-interventionist lexicon is defining the terms of the debate, and I think Antiwar.com can take much of the credit.

All during the period leading up to the Kosovo war – and long after – we warned of the danger posed by the neoconservatives, and their doctrine of "benevolent global hegemony," as Bill Kristol, their Lenin, put it in 1996. In my first column, dated February 26, 1999, I wrote:

"Well-funded and well-connected, the War Party is such a varied and complex phenomenon that a detailed description of its activities, and its vast system of interlocking directorates and special interests, both foreign and domestic, would fill the pages of a good-sized book. The alternative is to break down the story, and serve up its constituent parts in brief glimpses, portraits of individuals and organizations that lobbied hard for this war and its bloody prosecution."

Except that the war I was referring to was the Kosovo war, those words might easily have been written today. The face of the enemy is unchanged: what's changed is that it is increasingly recognized, and resented. That is what we have been doing, here at www.antiwar.com: revealing, with every link and article, the many faces of the War Party – in all its aspects, and from a wide variety of viewpoints.

Our eclecticism has been the focus of criticism by some: David Frum, the ex-White House speechwriter turned neocon enforcer of political correctness, recently took us to task for running links to pieces by John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other demons of the right-wing imagination. It is typical of Commissar Frum that he would misunderstand the whole purpose of linking in this way: the very concept of the internet, with its constant cross-referencing interconnectivity, is utterly alien to the party-lining neocon mentality.

Another problem for the neocons is that it's much harder to smear someone on the internet than it is on paper, without showing up the smearer as a liar. In criticizing the views of an opponent, one is obliged to come up with a link – so that readers can see for themselves if the criticism is fair. The artful use of ellipses no longer works, because the entire context of a statement is readily available. Of course, one always can do what Commissar Frum did in his National Review screed against antiwar libertarians and conservatives, and not provide any links to the targets of abuse. But that isn't very convincing. Indeed, it is highly suspicious: no wonder many conservatives are now rising up against the self-appointed arbiters of political correctness on the Right. The neocon campaign to smear conservative opponents of the Iraq war as "anti-American" has backfired badly – and we at Antiwar.com take a special pride in knowing that this site had a lot to do with that.

We have, from the beginning, cultivated anti-interventionist sentiment on the Right, not only among libertarians – who already accept it as a defining principle of their ideology – but also among conservatives. The idea that we cannot be a republic and an empire is finally beginning to dawn on the advocates of limited government -–as they see the national security state swallowing up the last of our freedoms. Big Brother reads our email and tracks our every move, while Big Government just keeps on getting bigger.

Conservatives are catching on, and, while Antiwar.com alone can't take credit for this, what we can take credit for is amplifying and popularizing anti-interventionist views on the right, injecting them into the national debate.

Over the years Antiwar.com has presented a wide range of opinion, from left to right and all points in between, yet we have always been pretty up-front about our own ideological predilections. We are libertarians: we stand for the free market, and we don't take the view that American culture and American capitalism are the repositories of all that is wrong with the world. We reserve that role for governments –notably, and especially lately, the U.S. federal government.

We support the antiwar movement, yet we are not uncritical: far from it. We have tried to promote some sense of self-awareness, and of responsibility, while doing our best to correct what we view as the mistakes and misconceptions that are rife in antiwar circles. You may not always agree with our analysis – of tactics, or of general principles – but it is hard to contend that we haven't consistently tried to broaden and deepen the anti-interventionist current, in America and internationally.

Looking back on where we've been, I am filled with pride – and a sense of optimism. Looking ahead, however, to the prospect of future wars, I can feel only a gathering sense of dread.

My friend Pat Buchanan has recently posed the question: "Is the Neoconservative Moment Over?" He makes the case that the worst may already be behind us:

"The salad days of the neoconservatives, which began with the president's Axis-of-Evil address in January 2002 and lasted until the fall of Baghdad may be coming to an end. Indeed, it is likely the neoconservatives will never again enjoy the celebrity and cachet in which they reveled in their romp to war on Iraq.

"…the high tide of neoconservatism may have passed because the high tide of American empire may have passed. 'World War IV,' the empire project, the great cause of the neocons, seems to have been suspended by the President of the United States."

It's a nice thought, but I don't believe it for a moment. Not when the same propaganda campaign once directed at Iraq is now being launched against Iran; not when leading politicians declare that U.S. troops may have to go after Hamas – and certainly not as long as the President of the United States reserves the "right" to carry out a policy of "regime change" as a means of preemptive "defense."

The empire project may or may not be temporarily suspended: perhaps stalled is the right word. We can be sure, however, that the War Party isn't going away. As long as they're around, and more active than ever, Antiwar.com is a necessity. But our continued existence is by no means assured.

Unlike the interventionists, who lavish billions – much of it taxpayer dollars – on their permanent propaganda campaign, Antiwar.com doesn't have access to unlimited funding. Arrayed against us is the whole complex of neocon think tanks, newspaper chains, radio networks and special interests that keep the arteries of the media clogged with a constant stream of warmongering disinformation and outright fabrications. We have no Rupert Murdoch, no "merchants of death," and no government subsidies to fill our coffers. We depend on you, our readers, for the support we need to survive.

... ... ...


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The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

And while you're studying that reality-judiciously, as you will-we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[2]

An unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove:

Reality-based community - Wikipedia

[Oct 23, 2019] Neoconservatism Is An Omnicidal Death Cult, And It Must Be Stopped by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Neocons are lobbyists for MIC, the it is MIC that is the center of this this cult. People like Kriston, Kagan and Max Boot are just well paid prostituttes on MIC, which includes intelligence agencies as a very important part -- the bridge to Wall Street so to speak.
Being a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester, but neocon pundits are routinely invited on mainstream television outlets to share their depraved perspectives.
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Neoconservatism is a psychopathic death cult whose relentless hyper-hawkishness is a greater threat to the survival of our species than anything else in the world right now. These people are traitors to humanity, and their ideology needs to be purged from the face of the earth forever. I'm not advocating violence of any kind here, but let's stop pretending that this is okay. Let's start calling these people the murderous psychopaths that they are whenever they rear their evil heads and stop respecting and legitimizing them. There should be a massive, massive social stigma around what these people do, so we need to create one. They should be marginalized, not leading us. ..."
Jul 18, 2017 | medium.com

Glenn Greenwald has just published a very important article in The Intercept that I would have everyone in America read if I could. Titled "With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons", Greenwald's excellent piece details the frustratingly under-reported way that the leaders of the neoconservative death cult have been realigning with the Democratic party.

This pivot back to the party of neoconservatism's origin is one of the most significant political events of the new millennium, but aside from a handful of sharp political analysts like Greenwald it's been going largely undiscussed. This is weird, and we need to start talking about it. A lot. Their willful alignment with neoconservatism should be the very first thing anyone ever talks about when discussing the Democratic party.

When you hear someone complaining that the Democratic party has no platform besides being anti-Trump, your response should be, "Yeah it does. Their platform is the omnicidal death cult of neoconservatism."

It's absolutely insane that neoconservatism is still a thing, let alone still a thing that mainstream America tends to regard as a perfectly legitimate set of opinions for a human being to have. As what Dr. Paul Craig Roberts rightly calls "the most dangerous ideology that has ever existed," neoconservatism has used its nonpartisan bloodlust to work with the Democratic party for the purpose of escalating tensions with Russia on multiple fronts, bringing our species to the brink of what could very well end up being a world war with a nuclear superpower and its allies.

This is not okay. Being a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester, but neocon pundits are routinely invited on mainstream television outlets to share their depraved perspectives. Check out leading neoconservative Bill Kristol's response to the aforementioned Intercept article:

... ... ...

Okay, leaving aside the fact that this bloodthirsty psychopath is saying neocons "won" a Cold War that neocons have deliberately reignited by fanning the flames of the Russia hysteria and pushing for more escalations , how insane is it that we live in a society where a public figure can just be like, "Yeah, I'm a neocon, I advocate for using military aggression to maintain US hegemony and I think it's great," and have that be okay? These people kill children. Neoconservatism means piles upon piles of child corpses. It means devoting the resources of a nation that won't even provide its citizens with a real healthcare system to widespread warfare and all the death, destruction, chaos, terrorism, rape and suffering that necessarily comes with war. The only way that you can possibly regard neoconservatism as just one more set of political opinions is if you completely compartmentalize away from the reality of everything that it is.

This should not happen. The tensions with Russia that these monsters have worked so hard to escalate could blow up at any moment; there are too many moving parts, too many things that could go wrong. The last Cold War brought our species within a hair's breadth of total annihilation due to our inability to foresee all possible complications which can arise from such a contest, and these depraved death cultists are trying to drag us back into another one. Nothing is worth that. Nothing is worth risking the life of every organism on earth, but they're risking it all for geopolitical influence.

... ... ...

I've had a very interesting last 24 hours. My article about Senator John McCain (which I titled "Please Just Fucking Die Already" because the title I really wanted to use seemed a bit crass) has received an amount of attention that I'm not accustomed to, from CNN to USA Today to the Washington Post . I watched Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar talking about me on The View . They called me a "Bernie Sanders person." It was a trip. Apparently some very low-level Republican with a few hundred Twitter followers went and retweeted my article with an approving caption, and that sort of thing is worthy of coast-to-coast mainstream coverage in today's America.

This has of course brought in a deluge of angry comments, mostly from people whose social media pages are full of Russiagate nonsense , showing where McCain's current support base comes from. Some call him a war hero, some talk about him like he's a perfectly fine politician, some defend him as just a normal person whose politics I happen to disagree with.

This is insane. This man has actively and enthusiastically pushed for every single act of military aggression that America has engaged in, and some that it hasn't , throughout his entire career. He makes Hillary "We came, we saw, he died" Clinton look like a dove. When you look at John McCain, the very first thing you see should not be a former presidential candidate, a former POW or an Arizona Senator; the first thing you see should be the piles of human corpses that he has helped to create. This is not a normal kind of person, and I still do sincerely hope that he dies of natural causes before he can do any more harm.

Can we change this about ourselves, please? None of us should have to live in a world where pushing for more bombing campaigns at every opportunity is an acceptable agenda for a public figure to have. Neoconservatism is a psychopathic death cult whose relentless hyper-hawkishness is a greater threat to the survival of our species than anything else in the world right now. These people are traitors to humanity, and their ideology needs to be purged from the face of the earth forever. I'm not advocating violence of any kind here, but let's stop pretending that this is okay. Let's start calling these people the murderous psychopaths that they are whenever they rear their evil heads and stop respecting and legitimizing them. There should be a massive, massive social stigma around what these people do, so we need to create one. They should be marginalized, not leading us.

-- -- --

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[Oct 23, 2019] New York Times Fakes The Record About Arming The Syrian Rebels

Notable quotes:
"... Clearly, the US hopes wrench Turkey from the Russian embrace. Moscow's studied indifference toward the US-Turkish cogitations betrays its uneasiness. Conceivably, Erdogan will expect Putin to take a holistic view, considering Russia's flourishing and high lucrative economic and military ties with Turkey and the imperative to preserve the momentum of Russia-Turkey relationship. ..."
"... If the US policy in Syria in recent years promoted the Kurdish identity, it has now swung to the other extreme of stoking the fires of Turkish revanchism. This is potentially catastrophic for regional stability. ..."
"... the main outcome will be that Turkey feels it has western support for its long-term occupation of Syrian territory. ..."
"... Arguably, US expects Turkey's cooperation to strengthen its strategy in Syria (and Iraq) where it seeks to contain Iran's influence. From Ankara, Pompeo travelled to Jerusalem to brief Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. " ..."
Oct 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

New York Times Fakes The Record About Arming The Syrian Rebels

History as faked by the New York Times :

Kurds' Sense of Betrayal Compounded by Empowerment of Unsavory Rivals
Ben Hubbard, David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT 18. Oct 2019

Now, [..] the sense of betrayal among the Kurds [..] is matched only by their outrage at who will move in: Turkish soldiers supported by Syrian fighters the United States had long rejected as extremists, criminals and thugs .
...
The deadly battles [..] have also given new leeway to Syrian fighters once considered too extreme or unruly to receive American military support.
...
Grandly misnamed the Syrian National Army, this coalition of Turkish-backed militias is in fact largely composed of the dregs of the eight-year-old conflict's failed rebel movement.

Early in the war [..] the military and the C.I.A. sought to train and equip moderate, trustworthy rebels to fight the government and the Islamic State.

A few of those now fighting in the northeast took part in those failed programs, but most were rejected as too extreme or too criminal . Some have expressed extremist sensibilities or allied with jihadist groups.

The reality is the opposite of what the NYT claims. The majority of the groups now fighting with the Turkish army had earlier received support from the U.S. Even their nominal leader is the same one who the U.S. earlier paid, armed and promoted.

COMPONENTS OF THE NATIONAL ARMY AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE UNIFICATION
Ömer Özkizilcik, SETA, October 2019

On August 31, the Syrian National Coalition came together and elected the president and the cabinet of the Syrian Interim Government in which Abdurrahman Mustafa was elected president and Salim Idriss was elected defense minister . With the new cabinet, the Syrian Interim Government became more active on the ground, started visiting each faction of the National Army, and accelerated the stalled negotiations to unite the National Army and the NLF under one command.
Salim Idriss with U.S. Senator John McCain

bigger
Salim Idriss with Guy Verhofstadt, then leader of the ALDE group in the European Parliament

bigger
Among the 41 factions that joined the merger, 15 are from the NLF and 26 from the National Army. Thirteen of these factions were formed after the United States cut its support to the armed Syrian opposition. Out of the 28 factions, 21 were previously supported by the United States , three of them via the Pentagon's program to combat DAESH. Eighteen of these factions were supplied by the CIA via the MOM Operations Room in Turkey, a joint intelligence operation room of the 'Friends of Syria' to support the armed opposition. Fourteen factions of the 28 were also recipients of the U.S.-supplied TOW anti-tank guided missiles.

The SETA study provides a detailed list of the groups involved in the current Turkish invasion of Syria. Not only is their commander Salim Idriss a former U.S. stooge but the majority of these groups did receive U.S. support and weapons.


bigger

The New York Times claim that only "a few of those" who now fight the YPG Kurds took part in the U.S. programs is a blatant lie.

The NYT piece quotes three 'experts' who testify that the 'rebels' the U.S. had armed are really, really bad:

"These are the misfits of the conflict, the worst of the worst," said Hassan Hassan, a Syrian-born scholar tracking the fighting. "They have been notorious for extortion, theft and banditry, more like thugs than rebels -- essentially mercenaries."

It was Hassan Hassan who since the start of the conflict lobbied for arming the rebels from his perch at the UAE's media flagship The National .

Another 'expert' quoted is the Israeli propagandist Elizabeth Tsurkov:

"They are basically gangsters, but they are also racist toward Kurds and other minorities," said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. "No human should be subjected to their rule."

Tsurkov earlier lauded the Israeli hiring and arming of the very same 'Syrian rebels'.

Another 'expert' quoted by the Times is a co-chair of the 'congressionally sponsored bipartisan Syrian Study Group':

"We are turning areas that had been controlled by our allies over to the control of criminals or thugs, or that in some cases groups were associated or fighting alongside Al Qaeda," said Ms. Stroul, of the Syrian Study Group. "It is a profound and epic strategic blunder."

The 'Syrian Study Group' wants to prolong the war on Syria. Ms. Stroul and her co-chair Michael Singh reside at the Washington Institute which is a part of the Zionist lobby and has long argued for 'arming the Syrian rebels'.

The Times report does not mention that the 'experts' it quotes all once lobbied for arming the very same groups they are now lamenting about. When these groups ran rampant in the areas they took from the Syrian government the Times and its 'experts' were lauding them all the way. No effort to support them was big enough. All crimes they committed were covered up or excused.

Now, as the very same rebels attack the Kurds, they are suddenly called out for being what they always have been.

Posted by b on October 20, 2019 at 11:19 UTC | Permalink


Richard , Oct 20 2019 11:46 utc | 1

Hah! More lies from the NYT....mainstream media in the west has deteriorated into a propaganda channel for the Military Industrial Complex and the oligarchy, pumping out a never ending tide of lying filth aimed at more and more war (more and more weapon sales) and promoting and preserving predatory capitalism (more money for the Billionaire class, less for you).

In my own reading of MSM press and my own watching of the MSM Talking Heads I believe I've indentified 8 techniques that amoral, dangerous, barely competent idiots that have the cheek to call themselves journalists use to lie to you, the reader/viewer/listener. Here's my list...

https://richardhennerley.com/2018/10/16/8-techniques-journalists-use-to-lie-to-you/

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Oct 20 2019 12:12 utc | 2
Okay how practical.
Now only is the NYT trying to whitewash themselves by faking, they are also kind enough to do the same for their Jihadi lovin partners in crime.
How empathic! How sensible! Like a true moral authority.

BTW: It seems my previous claims were right. The Turks made a 180 and allied with the US again, reviving the NATO allaince. Now that the Kurds are out of the way in Turk-US relations, US and NATO has much more to offer than Russia, and noe Erdogan has support from NATO and will not be deterred by Putin.
B, i respect you immensly, but your belief the Turkish invasion was Erdogan doing some secret Putin plan was unproven at the time, and now, AT LEAST since the US-Turk deal, is obsolte.

Read M. K. BHADRAKUMARs blog, he thought like you, but after the US-Turk deal, EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED:

https://indianpunchline.com/us-stokes-the-fires-of-turkish-revanchism/

"The extraordinary US overture to Turkey regarding northern Syria resulted in a joint statement on Thursday, whose ramifications can be rated only in the fulness of time , as several intersecting tracks are running.

The US objectives range from Trump's compulsions in domestic politics to the future trajectory of the US policies toward Syria and the impact of any US-Turkish rapprochement on the geopolitics of the Syrian conflict.

Meanwhile, the US-Turkish joint statement creates new uncertainties. The two countries have agreed on a set of principles -- Turkey's crucial status as a NATO power ; security of Christian minorities in Syria; prevention of an ISIS surge; creation of a "safe zone" on Turkish-Syrian border; a 120-hour ceasefire ("pause") in Turkish military operations leading to a permanent halt, hopefully.

The devil lies in the details. Principally, there is no transparency regarding the future US role in Syria . The Kurds and the US military will withdraw from the 30-kilometre broad buffer zone. What thereafter? In the words of the US Vice-President Mike Pence at the press conference in Ankara on Thursday,

"Kurdish population in Syria, with which we have a strong relationship, will continue to endure. The United States will always be grateful for our partnership with SDF in defeating ISIS, but we recognise the importance and the value of a safe zone to create a buffer between Syria proper and the Kurdish population and -- and the Turkish border. And we're going to be working very closely ."

To be sure, everything devolves upon the creation of the safe zone. Turkey envisages a zone stretching across the entire 440 kilometre border with Syria upto Iraqi border, while the US special envoy James Jeffrey remains non-committal, saying it is up to the "Russians and the Syrians in other areas of the northeast and in Manbij to the west of the Euphrates" to agree to Turkey's maximalist stance.

Herein lies the rub. Jeffrey would know Ankara will never get its way with Moscow and Damascus. In fact, President Bashar al-Assad told in unequivocal terms to a high-level Russian delegation visiting Damascus on Friday, "At the current phase it is necessary to focus on putting an end to aggression and on the pullout of all Turkish, US and other forces illegally present in Syrian territories."

Is there daylight between Moscow and Damascus on this highly sensitive issue? Turkish President Recep Erdogan's forthcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on October 22 may provide an answer.

Clearly, the US hopes wrench Turkey from the Russian embrace. Moscow's studied indifference toward the US-Turkish cogitations betrays its uneasiness. Conceivably, Erdogan will expect Putin to take a holistic view, considering Russia's flourishing and high lucrative economic and military ties with Turkey and the imperative to preserve the momentum of Russia-Turkey relationship.

If the US policy in Syria in recent years promoted the Kurdish identity, it has now swung to the other extreme of stoking the fires of Turkish revanchism. This is potentially catastrophic for regional stability. The heart of the matter is that while Turkey's concerns over terrorism and the refugee problem are legitimate, Operation Peace Spring has deeper moorings: Turkey's ambitions as regional power and its will to correct the perceived injustice of territorial losses incurred during the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. The ultra-nationalistic Turkish commentator (and staunch supporter of Erdogan) wrote this week in the pro-government daily Yeni Safak:

"Turkey once again revived the millennium-old political history on Anatolian territory. It took action with a mission that will carry the legacy of the Seljuks, the Ottomans, the Republic of Turkey to the next stage It is not possible to set an equation in this region by excluding Turkey – it will not happen. A map cannot be drawn that excludes Turkey – it will not happen. A power cannot be established without Turkey – it will not happen. Throughout history, both the rise and fall of this country has altered the region the mind in Turkey is now a regional mind, a regional conscience, a regional identity. President Erdoğan is the pioneer, the bearer of that political legacy from the Seljuks, the Ottomans, and the Turkish Republic to the future."

Trump is unlikely to pay attention to the irredentist instincts in Turkish regional policies. Trump's immediate concerns are to please the evangelical Christian constituency in the US and silence his critics who allege that he threw the Kurds under the bus or that a ISIS resurgence is imminent. But there is no way the US can deliver on the tall promises made in the joint statement. The Kurds have influential friends in the Pentagon. (See the article by Gen. Joseph Votel, former chief of the US Central Command, titled The Danger of Abandoning our Partners.) Nonetheless, the main outcome will be that Turkey feels it has western support for its long-term occupation of Syrian territory.

All in all, it's a "win-win" for Erdogan insofar as he got what he wanted -- US' political and diplomatic support for "the kind of long-term buffer zone that will ensure peace and stability in the region", to borrow the words of Vice President Pence. A Turkish withdrawal from Syrian territory can now be virtually ruled out. State secretary Mike Pompeo added at the press conference in Ankara on Thursday that there is "a great deal of work to do in the region. There's lots of challenges that remain."

Pompeo said Erdogan's "decision to work alongside President Trump will be one that I think will benefit Turkey a great deal." Arguably, US expects Turkey's cooperation to strengthen its strategy in Syria (and Iraq) where it seeks to contain Iran's influence. From Ankara, Pompeo travelled to Jerusalem to brief Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. "

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Oct 20 2019 12:16 utc | 3
Add to that, that the Turks now threaten SAA with "full out war".

John Helmers latest post sheds light on the fact, that the Russian military leadership and the Stavka in general has warned Putin since the Idlib deal again and again to no avail that the Turks would do this.

Which seems now to have been proven true since the US-Turk deal, which in essence changed everything overnight.

http://johnhelmer.net/in-the-war-for-syrias-highway-m4-the-kremlin-turks-have-been-beaten-to-the-punch-by-the-russian-general-staff-foreign-ministry-for-the-moment/

oldhippie , Oct 20 2019 12:21 utc | 4
As the extremity of propaganda in mainstream news becomes more obvious a few American consumers of news do begin to have doubts. Most continue to be entirely uncritical. The barflies here are in the habit of being critical, analytic, skeptical when reading any news from any source. That is not the American way.

The cohort of educated prosperous middle class readers of the NYT has total faith in NYT. Having the paper edition on the doorstep in the morning is a badge of membership. A totem that gives them status. Questioning any word or phrase or clause that appears in print is wrong. Asking questions means something is wrong with you. The Times is never wrong. Those who doubt the Times have mental health issues. Or they are alt-right. Or they are deplorable. For the intended audience the propaganda feed is always completely effective. Readers of the Times will never untie the knot.

oldhippie , Oct 20 2019 12:21 utc | 4
As the extremity of propaganda in mainstream news becomes more obvious a few American consumers of news do begin to have doubts. Most continue to be entirely uncritical. The barflies here are in the habit of being critical, analytic, skeptical when reading any news from any source. That is not the American way.

The cohort of educated prosperous middle class readers of the NYT has total faith in NYT. Having the paper edition on the doorstep in the morning is a badge of membership. A totem that gives them status. Questioning any word or phrase or clause that appears in print is wrong. Asking questions means something is wrong with you. The Times is never wrong. Those who doubt the Times have mental health issues. Or they are alt-right. Or they are deplorable. For the intended audience the propaganda feed is always completely effective. Readers of the Times will never untie the knot.

Walter , Oct 20 2019 12:29 utc | 5
"Why" always seem like a good question, eh? The NYT lies...why?

This quote caught my attention> " The powerful and historical walls to study today are those of the Kremlin." (Fisk, information clearing house)

As it was for Winston's "Ministry of Truth" (Orwell) the NYT article is necessary. That's the significance - not the lies but the necessity of lies...

And under what situations are lies required? Think about that when (if) you read Fisk's analysis. (I am not a fan of Fisk, but his views in this instance align with my own rather well)

Fisk article title> "Trump's disgrace in the Middle East is the death of an empire. Vladimir Putin is Caesar now"

Some may recall that the monks on Mt Athos quietly elected VVP as the Byzantine Emperor (about 2 years ago) - the Eastern branch of Christianity continues whilst nominally christian(western) branch is fake and perverse ritual and worse...while his Popeness in Rome has as Luther saw... I think Luther said it was a vast brothel...

Does this need Daniel to read the writing...


which is?

mene mene tekel upharsin (well somebody said..)

By the way my vote for the clown-man was cast because I reasoned the best esthetic feature in the freak parade at the end of empire would be a clown act. I am indebted to the late George Carlin for the symbolism.

I am proved right? I think so. Dogs bark and caravan continue...and many expect dollars to go weimarish. then?

Red Corvair , Oct 20 2019 12:57 utc | 7
Ahh.. "experts"... Hassan Hassan is not a Syrian-born scholar, but a Syrian "born-scholar"... Nuance. Or is it "a natural-born-scholar"? ...
As for Israeli propagandist Elizabeth Tsurkov, those very same "bad extremists" she now repudiates on Twitter she once excused for mutilating children "because they were deeply traumatised"... A very coherent "expert"!!
From The Grayzone, Ben Norton and Aaron Maté (and Dan Cohen) about Tsurkov: Western pundits who lobbied for Syrian rebels now admit they are jihadist extremists, Oct. 16 (about Tsurkov, go about 1:45 and the rest):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkg4wJFpc_E
Now Tsurkov seems rather busy rooting for some "color revolution" to take place in Lebanon. Where is Israel?...
As for the picture of Guy Verhofstadt next to Salim Idriss, it seems very aptly to epitomize the EU "politics" about the Syrian conflict: "How tasty those American boots are!! Wanna lick more American boots, please!!"
BM , Oct 20 2019 13:11 utc | 8
Ahh.. "experts"... Hassan Hassan is not a Syrian-born scholar, but a Syrian "born-scholar"... Nuance. Or is it "a natural-born-scholar"? ...

If he is writing nothing but lies he is not any kind of scholar at all except a fake scholar. Nor is he a journalist. He is a propagandist, nothing else. Call a spade a spade.


-----


Ahhh, I've just posted to the Media and Pundits thread, but it should have come here much more sensibly. Anyway the post is top a new page over there, on Trump and Syria's oil fields.

Sunny Runny Burger , Oct 20 2019 13:18 utc | 9
The new narrative seems to me to have everything to do with Turkey and nothing to do with Russia. A comment in the last Syria-related thread.

Then again there are so many loose ends concerning Turkey that almost anything could happen (coup attempt and "cleansing", dead ambassadors, Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, Syria, ISIS and others, Kurds, weapon deals, shooting down a Russian plane, annoying Europe and the EU as well as the US and just about everybody, some only politically but many militarily as well (at least the US, Germany, and France), the list surely goes on).

As I commented I'm not convinced Turkey will survive this, are they able to stop and reverse if they find they've set themselves up?

Clueless Joe , Oct 20 2019 14:19 utc | 10
Turkey might be playing a double-game, or plan to betray one side - whether it'll be US or Russia remains to be seen. But that this is all a clever NATO plot conflicts a bit with the fact that the US is systematically destroying its bases in NE Syria. Sure, that might be because they don't want the SAA to use them and to plunder them for techs and scraps, but that would also make things more complicated for a Turkish take-over - it will surely considerably slow the process if the Turkish army and its lackeys have to do everything back from scratches.
Besides, odds are that Putin has taken that into consideration and has some contingency measures ready, just in case - not that they could fully stop Turkish aggression in its tracks in a couple of hours, but still.
Stever , Oct 20 2019 14:46 utc | 11
Meanwhile Nicholas Kristof at the NYTimes also is whitewashing Obama's Syrian policy. He conveniently forgets Timber Sycamore (the CIA's second largest operation, over $1 billion) to overthrow Assad - 2013-2017, that allowed ISIS to get a firm foothold.

Trump Takes Incoherence and Inhumanity and Calls It Foreign Policy

"It was just five years ago that an American president, faced with a crisis on Syria's border, acted decisively and honorably."

"Barack Obama responded with airstrikes and a rescue operation in 2014 when the Islamic State started a genocide against members of the Yazidi sect, slaughtering men and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Obama's action, along with a heroic intervention by Kurdish fighters, saved tens of thousands of Yazidi lives."

"Contrast Obama's move, successfully working with allies to avert a genocide, with President Trump's betrayal this month of those same Kurdish partners in a way that handed a victory to the Islamic State, Turkey, Syria, Iran -- and, of course, Russia, ."

Nathan Mulcahy , Oct 20 2019 14:53 utc | 12

@ Walter 5: "I reasoned the best esthetic feature in the freak parade at the end of empire would be a clown act"

Just love it!!

On a side note. Last night met with a new friend couple for dinner. Both are highly educated and work in technical professions. Accordingly they pride themselves in logical thinking ability. I wanted to check out their political leanings and asked about Trump's troop pullback in Syria. Not surprisingly, both were outraged. When asked about their rationale the expected answer was Trump's betrayal of the Kurds. I politely pointed out that our troops' presence in Syria violates both domestic and international laws. That was news to them!!! One of them did lamely point out that Assad is a brutal dictator. Being new "friends", we refrained from further in depth political discussions. That incidence further convinced me of the impending total collapse of the empire.

Don Bacon , Oct 20 2019 15:25 utc | 13
There has been some discussion regarding Syrian oilfields, here's some more on that.

The Syrian Democratic Council is the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, including sites of Syrian oilfields. The SDC's stated mission is working towards the implementation of a "secular, democratic and decentralized system for all of Syria. The Syrian Democratic Council was established on 10 December 2015 in Al-Malikiyah.

Here is a letter dated Jan 21, 2019 from the SDC to the CEO of Global Development Corporation (GDC) Inc. in New Jersey, "a formal acceptance of your company, GDC, to represent the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) in all matters related to the sale of oil owned by SDC . .the estimate off production of crude oil to be 400,000 barrels per day. . .current daily production is 125,000 barrels. ."

The CEO of New Jersey's GDC (no mention on the web) is Mordechai (Moti) Kahana (Hebrew: מוטי כהנא‎; born February 28, 1968, Jerusalem, Israel) is an Israeli-American businessman and philanthropist. He is most notable for his work for the civil war refugees in Syria. . .Since 2011 he heads a group of Israeli businessmen and American Jews who travel to the Syrian refugee camps to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian Civil War refugees.. . He paid for Senator John McCain's trip to war-torn Syria. . . here .

The GDC mailing address is the Roxbury Mall, 275 Route 10 E, Succasunna, NJ.

Hausmeister , Oct 20 2019 15:27 utc | 14

Southfront reports that Turkish mercenaries have taken over Ras Al-Ayn. Did I overlook something? Why didn't the SAA take over after the SDF left?
Don Bacon , Oct 20 2019 15:54 utc | 15
re: Salim Idriss a former U.S. stooge
WSJ, Jun 12, 2013
Rebels Plead for Weapons in Face of Syrian Onslaught
A top Syrian rebel commander has issued a desperate plea for weapons from Western governments to prevent the fall of his forces in Aleppo, pushing the Obama administration to decide quickly whether to agree to arm rebels for the first time or risk the loss of another rebel stronghold just days after the regime's biggest victory.

Gen. Salim Idris, the top Syrian rebel commander backed by the West, issued a detailed request in recent days to the U.S., France and Britain for antitank missiles, antiaircraft weapons and hundreds of thousands of ammunition rounds, according to U.S. and European officials and Mr. Idris's request to the Americans, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Gen. Idris's call comes at a pivotal moment in Syria's war, following rapid-fire gains by Bashar al-Assad forces, including last week's recapture of Qusayr, a strategic town near the Lebanon border. Fighters from Hezbollah, which were crucial in helping the Assad regime to take Qusayr, are now massing around Aleppo, say rebels and Western officials. . . here


This was after H. Clinton (SecState) and D. Petraeus (CIA) wanted to fully arm the US-supported rebels but President Obama declined. Clinton had resigned Feb 1, 2013.
worldblee , Oct 20 2019 16:57 utc | 16
I am shocked, shocked, shocked, to find out that lying is going on in the establishment of the NYT.
james , Oct 20 2019 17:24 utc | 17
thanks b... stellar writing and comments throughout... i especially liked your last line :
"Now, as the very same rebels attack the Kurds, they are suddenly called out for being what they always have been."

@13 don bacon - the address says it all.. The GDC mailing address is the Roxbury Mall, 275 Route 10 E, Succasunna, NJ.

james , Oct 20 2019 17:27 utc | 18
regarding the nyt, larry johnson has a post up on sst here.. i quote from it :
"Let us start with a reminder of how damn corrupt the NY Times and its reporters are. Consider this paragraph penned by Adam Goldman and William Rashbaum:

Closely overseen by Mr. Barr, Mr. Durham and his investigators have sought help from governments in countries that figure into right-wing attacks and unfounded conspiracy theories about the Russia investigation, stirring criticism that they are trying to deliver Mr. Trump a political victory rather than conducting an independent review.

"Unfounded conspiracy theories?" What a damn joke."

karlof1 , Oct 20 2019 17:31 utc | 19
Wow! Quite a knee jerk reaction by the NY Times to Max Blumenthal's 16 Oct article in The Grayzone , "The US has backed 21 of the 28 'crazy' militias leading Turkey's brutal invasion of northern Syria," which I linked to Friday. It's great to see such a reaction to what for most people's an obscure online publication.

Notice of MoA website change: I must now type in my name and email every time I want to comment after years of never needing to do so. My issue might be related to the one ben encountered in thinking he couldn't comment, which you can't if those two fields aren't filled.

Tom Ratliff , Oct 20 2019 17:47 utc | 20
@snake #6

See the growing collection of related techniques by David Martin (aka dcdave): Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression

"Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party..."

Cloak And Dagger , Oct 20 2019 18:12 utc | 21
Trump should not have sent Pence and Pompeo to Turkey. They will do everything possible to derail the rollback of the US in Syria. They are both more subtle than Bolton, but they are both neocons. If you want anything done, you have to do it yourself.

[Oct 23, 2019] The Four A's Of American Policy Failure In Syria

Notable quotes:
"... The first, Afghanistan, represents the epitome of covert American meddling in regional affairs -- Operation Cyclone , the successful CIA-run effort to arm and equip anti-communist rebels in Afghanistan to confront the Soviet Army from 1979 to 1989. The success of the Afghanistan experience helped shape an overly optimistic assessment by the administration of President Barack Obama that a similarly successful effort could be had in Syria by covertly training and equipping anti-Assad rebels. ..."
"... The second, Astana , is the capital city of Kazakhstan, recently renamed Nur Sultan in March 2019. Since 2017, Astana has played host to a series of summits that have become known as " the Astana Process ," a Russian-directed diplomatic effort ostensibly designed to facilitate a peaceful ending to the Syrian crisis, but in reality part of a larger Russian-run effort to sideline American regime change efforts in Syria. ..."
"... The resulting agreement, known as the Adana Agreement , helped prevent a potential war between Turkey and Syria by formally recognizing the respective sovereignty and inviolability of their common border. In 2010, the two nations expanded the 1998 deal into a formal treaty governing cooperation and joint action, inclusive of intelligence sharing on designated terrorist organizations (i.e., the PKK). The Adana Agreement/Treaty was all but forgotten in the aftermath of the 2011 Syrian crisis, as Turkey embraced regime change regarding the Assad government, only to be resuscitated by Russian President Vladimir Putin during talks with Erdogan in Moscow in January 2019. The re-introduction of the moribund agreement into the Syrian-Turkish political dynamic successfully created a diplomatic bridge between the two countries, paving the way for a formal resolution of their considerable differences. ..."
"... Russia backed Turkey's demand for a security corridor along the Turkish-Syrian border, and accepted Ankara's characterization of the American-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) as "terrorists." This agreement, combined with Turkey's willingness to recognize the outcome of Syrian presidential elections projected to take place in 2021, paved the way for the political reconciliation between Turkey and Syria. It also hammered the last nail in the coffin of America's regime change policy regarding Bashar al-Assad. ..."
"... there's only a skewed version of reality, which portrays the American military presence in Syria as part and parcel of a noble alliance between the U.S. and the Kurdish SDF to confront the ISIS scourge. This ignores the reality that the U.S. has been committed to regime change in Syria since 2011, and that the fight against ISIS was merely a sideshow to this larger policy objective. ..."
"... One of the byproducts of the work initiated by ISOG was the creation of Syrian political opposition groups that were later morphed by the Obama administration into an entity known as the Syrian National Council, or SNC . When Obama demanded that Assad must step aside in August 2011, he envisioned that the Syrian president would be replaced by the SNC ..."
"... Faced with this diplomatic failure, Obama turned to the CIA to undertake an Afghanistan-like arming of Syrian rebels to accomplish on the ground what could not be around a table in Geneva. ..."
"... In 2013, the CIA took direct control of the arm and equip program, sending teams to Turkey and Jordan to train the FSA. This effort, known as Operation Timber Sycamore , was later supplemented with a Department of Defense program to provide anti-tank weapons to the Syrian opposition. ..."
"... American efforts to create a viable armed opposition ultimately failed, with many of the weapons and equipment eventually falling into the hands of radical jihadist groups aligned with al-Qaeda and, later, ISIS. The emergence of ISIS as a regional threat in 2014 led to the U.S. building ties with Syrian Kurds as an alternative vector for implementation of its Syrian policy objectives. ..."
"... While the fight against ISIS was real, it was done in the context of the American occupation of fully one third of Syria's territory, including oil fields and agricultural resources. As recently as January 2019, the U.S. was justifying the continued presence of forces in Syria as a means of containing the Iranian presence there; the relationship with the SDF and Syrian Kurds was little more than a front to facilitate this policy. ..."
"... But the American misadventure in Syria was never going to end well -- bad policy never does. For the American troops caught up in the collapse of the decades-long effort of the United States to overthrow the Assad government, the retreat from Syria was every bit as ignominious as the retreats of all defeated military forces before them. ..."
"... The U.S presidents all seemed to believe that they had /have the holy right to murder whomever they want and demand /take whatever their want. This is not good, but evil. May they and all of those who followed their orders "rot in hell". ..."
"... Ah yes, "falling into." Go **** yourself , Scott. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq ..."
"... Why can't he use a euphemism for the US arming them? Americans are not ready for the truth. Tulsi got called out for calling a regime change war, a regime change war. We both know the US armed the terrorists, but the American people do not want to know. They have a (false) narrative that they are comfortable with. ..."
Oct 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Four A's Of American Policy Failure In Syria by Tyler Durden Tue, 10/22/2019 - 23:25 0 SHARES

Authored by Scott Ritter via The American Conservative,

How events in Afghanistan, Astana, Adana, and Ankara all led to the victory of Russian diplomacy over U.S. force...

The ceasefire agreement brokered by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday accomplishes very little outside of putting window dressing on a foregone conclusion. Simply put, the Turks will be able to achieve their objectives of clearing a safe zone of Kurdish forces south of the Turkish border, albeit under a U.S. sanctioned agreement. In return, the U.S. agrees not to impose economic sanctions on Turkey.

So basically it doesn't change anything that's already been set into motion by the Turkish invasion of northern Syria. But it does signal the end of the American experiment in Syrian regime change, with the United States supplanted by Russia as the shot caller in Middle Eastern affairs.

To understand how we got to this point, we need to navigate the four A's that underpin America's failed policy vis-à-vis Syria -- Afghanistan, Astana, Adana, and Ankara.

The first, Afghanistan, represents the epitome of covert American meddling in regional affairs -- Operation Cyclone , the successful CIA-run effort to arm and equip anti-communist rebels in Afghanistan to confront the Soviet Army from 1979 to 1989. The success of the Afghanistan experience helped shape an overly optimistic assessment by the administration of President Barack Obama that a similarly successful effort could be had in Syria by covertly training and equipping anti-Assad rebels.

The second, Astana , is the capital city of Kazakhstan, recently renamed Nur Sultan in March 2019. Since 2017, Astana has played host to a series of summits that have become known as " the Astana Process ," a Russian-directed diplomatic effort ostensibly designed to facilitate a peaceful ending to the Syrian crisis, but in reality part of a larger Russian-run effort to sideline American regime change efforts in Syria.

The Astana Process was sold as a complementary effort to the U.S.-backed, UN-brokered Geneva Talks , which were initially convened in 2012 to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. The adoption by the U.S. of an "Assad must go" posture doomed the Geneva Talks from the outset. The Astana Process was the logical outcome of this American failure.

The third "A" -- Adana -- is a major city located in southern Turkey, some 35 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It's home to the Incirlik Air Base , which hosts significant U.S. Air Force assets, including some 50 B-61 nuclear bombs . It also hosted a meeting between Turkish and Syrian officials in October 1998 for the purpose of crafting a diplomatic solution to the problem presented by forces belonging to the Kurdish People's Party, or PKK , who were carrying out attacks inside Turkey from camps located within Syria.

The resulting agreement, known as the Adana Agreement , helped prevent a potential war between Turkey and Syria by formally recognizing the respective sovereignty and inviolability of their common border. In 2010, the two nations expanded the 1998 deal into a formal treaty governing cooperation and joint action, inclusive of intelligence sharing on designated terrorist organizations (i.e., the PKK). The Adana Agreement/Treaty was all but forgotten in the aftermath of the 2011 Syrian crisis, as Turkey embraced regime change regarding the Assad government, only to be resuscitated by Russian President Vladimir Putin during talks with Erdogan in Moscow in January 2019. The re-introduction of the moribund agreement into the Syrian-Turkish political dynamic successfully created a diplomatic bridge between the two countries, paving the way for a formal resolution of their considerable differences.

The final "A" -- Ankara -- is perhaps the most crucial when it comes to understanding the demise of the American position in Syria. Ankara is the Turkish capital, situated in the central Anatolian plateau. In September 2019, Ankara played host to a summit between Erdogan, Putin, and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. While the ostensible focus of the summit was to negotiate a ceasefire in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, where Turkish-backed militants were under incessant attack by the combined forces of Russia and Syria, the real purpose was to facilitate an endgame to the Syrian crisis.

Russia's rejection of the Turkish demands for a ceasefire were interpreted by the Western media as a sign of the summit's failure. But the opposite was true -- Russia backed Turkey's demand for a security corridor along the Turkish-Syrian border, and accepted Ankara's characterization of the American-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) as "terrorists." This agreement, combined with Turkey's willingness to recognize the outcome of Syrian presidential elections projected to take place in 2021, paved the way for the political reconciliation between Turkey and Syria. It also hammered the last nail in the coffin of America's regime change policy regarding Bashar al-Assad.

There is little mention of the four A's in American politics and the mainstream media. Instead there's only a skewed version of reality, which portrays the American military presence in Syria as part and parcel of a noble alliance between the U.S. and the Kurdish SDF to confront the ISIS scourge. This ignores the reality that the U.S. has been committed to regime change in Syria since 2011, and that the fight against ISIS was merely a sideshow to this larger policy objective.

"Assad must go." Those three words have defined American policy on Syria since they were first alluded to by President Obama in an official White House statement released in August 2011. The initial U.S. strategy did not involve an Afghanistan-like arming of rebel forces, but rather a political solution under the auspices of policies and entities created under the administration of President George W. Bush. In 2006, the State Department created the Iran-Syrian Operations Group , or ISOG, which oversaw interdepartmental coordination of regime change options in both Iran and Syria.

Though ISOG was disbanded in 2008, its mission was continued by other American agencies. One of the byproducts of the work initiated by ISOG was the creation of Syrian political opposition groups that were later morphed by the Obama administration into an entity known as the Syrian National Council, or SNC . When Obama demanded that Assad must step aside in August 2011, he envisioned that the Syrian president would be replaced by the SNC. This was the objective of the Geneva Talks brokered by the United Nations and the Arab League in 2011-2012. One of the defining features of those talks was the insistence on the part of the U.S., UK, and SNC that the Assad government not be allowed to participate in any discussion about the political future of Syria. This condition was rejected by Russia, and the talks ultimately failed. Efforts to revive the Geneva Process likewise floundered on this point.

Faced with this diplomatic failure, Obama turned to the CIA to undertake an Afghanistan-like arming of Syrian rebels to accomplish on the ground what could not be around a table in Geneva.

The CIA took advantage of Turkish animosity toward Syria in the aftermath of suppression of anti-Syrian government demonstrations in 2011 to funnel massive quantities of military equipment , weapons, and ammunition from Libya to Turkey, where they were used to arm a number of anti-Assad rebels operating under the umbrella of the so-called " Free Syrian Army ," or FSA. In 2013, the CIA took direct control of the arm and equip program, sending teams to Turkey and Jordan to train the FSA. This effort, known as Operation Timber Sycamore , was later supplemented with a Department of Defense program to provide anti-tank weapons to the Syrian opposition.

American efforts to create a viable armed opposition ultimately failed, with many of the weapons and equipment eventually falling into the hands of radical jihadist groups aligned with al-Qaeda and, later, ISIS. The emergence of ISIS as a regional threat in 2014 led to the U.S. building ties with Syrian Kurds as an alternative vector for implementation of its Syrian policy objectives.

While the fight against ISIS was real, it was done in the context of the American occupation of fully one third of Syria's territory, including oil fields and agricultural resources. As recently as January 2019, the U.S. was justifying the continued presence of forces in Syria as a means of containing the Iranian presence there; the relationship with the SDF and Syrian Kurds was little more than a front to facilitate this policy.

Turkish incursion into Syria is the direct manifestation of the four A's that define the failure of American policy in Syria -- Afghanistan, Astana, Adana and Ankara. It represents the victory of Russian diplomacy over American force of arms. This is a hard pill for most Americans to swallow, which is why many are busy crafting a revisionist history that both glorifies and justifies failed American policy by wrapping it in the flag of our erstwhile Kurdish allies.

But the American misadventure in Syria was never going to end well -- bad policy never does. For the American troops caught up in the collapse of the decades-long effort of the United States to overthrow the Assad government, the retreat from Syria was every bit as ignominious as the retreats of all defeated military forces before them. But at least our forces left Syria alive, and not inside body bags -- which was an all too real alternative had they remained in place to face the overwhelming forces of geopolitical reality in transition.


Duc888 , 44 minutes ago link

Who the **** cares? The sooner we're outta there the better.

Grandad Grumps , 48 minutes ago link

The U.S presidents all seemed to believe that they had /have the holy right to murder whomever they want and demand /take whatever their want. This is not good, but evil. May they and all of those who followed their orders "rot in hell".

Epstein101 , 52 minutes ago link

with many of the weapons and equipment eventually falling into the hands of radical jihadist groups aligned with al-Qaeda and, later, ISIS.

Ah yes, "falling into." Go **** yourself , Scott. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq

Pardero , 20 minutes ago link

Why can't he use a euphemism for the US arming them? Americans are not ready for the truth. Tulsi got called out for calling a regime change war, a regime change war. We both know the US armed the terrorists, but the American people do not want to know. They have a (false) narrative that they are comfortable with.

enfield0916 , 56 minutes ago link

Bcuz RINOs and Neocunts in both parties!

Neoconservatism Is An Omnicidal Death Cult, And It Must Be Stopped

Pardero , 28 minutes ago link

Classic Johnstone. Good article.

WTFUD , 1 hour ago link

There must be loads of space in GITMO that can accommodate the IS/US Proxies on the run or in jail in NE Syria. Keep them in cold storage as such for when other opportunities present themselves down the road. I believe they'd go willingly too as they wont find Russia-SAA as accommodating and genial as their previous hosts.

Only a handful of Americans, Israelis, Brits, French and Saudis stood to benefit and despite this expensive epic failure, clusterfuck, those same bastards will be closing the book and calling the shots on the next genocidal mission impossible.

enfield0916 , 1 hour ago link

'Murica's OG baby daddy Israel had to make money off the wars, so did the "defense contractors".

vampirekiller , 1 hour ago link

" How events in Afghanistan, Astana, Adana, and Ankara all led to the victory of Russian diplomacy over U.S. force..." What about Aleppo? Alliteration is fun.........

gaasp , 42 minutes ago link

The four 'I's - Iran, Israel, five-I, and Istanbul.

Pardero , 1 hour ago link

These are provable facts, which back Tulsi Gabbard's characterization, 'regime change war' in Syria.

Where are the voices defending Gabbard for telling the truth?

White Nat , 1 hour ago link

Eight years of US fuckery in Syria for what? The US has no national interest in Syria.

The only beneficiary of all these failed machinations was to be israel.

And America is nothing but israel's little bitch thanks to zionist-occupied DC.

Time to take back control of our country from the israel-first jews.

And tell israel to **** off and pay for their own wars.

besnook , 1 hour ago link

you are talking about the miga president who just said today that war with iran is still on the table.

Ambrose Bierce , 1 hour ago link

1973 Yom Kipper War, high gas prices and a expensive ally running amok in Israel.

Over 50 years later and these lousy zionistas are still fighting a losing battle.

JBL , 25 minutes ago link

got back those petrodollars w oil

why u think troops are guarding syrian oil fields?

besnook , 1 hour ago link

the root of the failure of usa foreign policy all over the world is the opening that russia and china are creating for escape from the zionazi predation of countries in every corner of the globe. both russia and china are positioning themselves as an alternative or at least a foil for countries to help them resist the predatory dollar. ecuador is a great present example. morales was just re-elected in bolivia and brazil won't stay quiet for long as maduro hangs on in vz.

enfield0916 , 1 hour ago link

Outside the 50 states of USA, none of the land is ours and so ALL these ******* ILLEGAL wars & permanent bases are for one reason and one dumbass reason only.

For Israels security because the Oxford University Press and The Scofield Bible. (cue in the retarded kid Nathan's voice from Southpark)

https://gilad.online/writings/the-roots-of-christian-zionism-how-scofield-sowed-seeds-of-a.html

Roots Of Christian Zionism

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

**** all you lifelong (D) and (R) *** kissing retards! You deserve the govt you get, so **** YOU!

The Palmetto Cynic , 1 hour ago link

The forgot the most important "A" of them all: Assclownery. Without that none of this would have been possible.

MaxThrust , 1 hour ago link

The JUSA have been winning for a long time. Good to see someone else getting a chance.

Ruler , 1 hour ago link

Never should have been there in the first place.

Thanks Obama!

enfield0916 , 1 hour ago link

Never should've been any country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11.

"But, but, but they hate us for our freedoms!" - Bullllllshittt!

Ruler , 25 minutes ago link

Agreed, Afghanistan never made sense to me either.

[Oct 22, 2019] US foreign policy is now based on virtual facts

Being a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester, but neocon pundits are routinely invited on mainstream television outlets to share their depraved perspectives.
Notable quotes:
"... Some of the "virtual facts:" ..."
"... The Soviet Union never ended. Russia is still communist and an inevitable and indeed indispensable enemy of the US. Anyone who challenges that certitude is an obvious agent of the Russian government. ..."
"... Iran is the "greatest supporter of terrorism" in the world." ..."
"... The Syrian Arab Government is an abomination on the scale of Nazi Germany and must be destroyed and replaced by God knows what . ..."
"... Saudi Arabia is a deeply friendly state and ally of the US. ..."
"... It is beyond scary to see just how entrenched and powerful Deep State is and how it involves/controls both political parties ..."
"... I doubt there is any magic bullet website or other source of information that would turn people over night. A good start would be encouraging them to read transcripts of various Putin and Lavrov speeches and pressers, also Valdai Club, economic forum ect. ..."
"... The colonel's complaint implicitly assumes that things were not always thus. My adult experience since I saw a war up close has been that the "facts" of our public discourse are always simplified and usually grossly distorted. ..."
"... Not only are the MSM married to a narrative but they feel compelled to attack the few who ever challenge the orthodoxy. For example, 'Tulsi Gabbard met with the war criminal Assad'. ..."
"... It is certainly true that Russia is being demonized in all the MSM I have sampled. A frequent criticism is that Putin, like Assad, and earlier Saddam and Quadaffi, is essentially an illegitimate ruler of his country, ruling through brute force and without the consent of his countrymen. (Thus the WaPo editorials routinely call Putin a "thug", just as they call Assad a "butcher".) ..."
"... Not to defend Trump and his balance sheet mindset with respect to the Saudis, the reality is that both parties and presidents from George H.W to Bill Clinton to W and Obama have treated the Saudi monarchy as our "friend", even when they sponsored the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11. ..."
"... Tony Blair became a wealthy man after his prime ministership on the back of money thrown his way by the Arab sheikhs ..."
Oct 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Mika B remarked a couple of years ago on the show that she and her sex slave stage in the early morning that the social media were out of control because it is the job of the MSM to tell people what to think. The Hillary stated recently that life was better when there were only three TeeVee news outlets because it was easier to keep things under control. Now? My God! Any damned fool can propagate unauthorized "facts." What? Who?

Well, pilgrims, the US government (along with our British and Israeli helpmates and masters) are the preeminent creators and purveyors of the manufactured virtual facts on which we base our policy. These "facts" are "ginned up" in the well moneyed hidden staff groups of "hidden" candidates that are devoted to the seizure of power made possible by a deluded electorate. These "facts" are then propagated and reinforced through relentless IO campaigns run by executive "bots" in the MSM and in such remarkable and imaginative efforts as the "White Helmets" film company manned by jihadis and managed by clubby Brits left over from the Days of The Raj (sob). These "facts" are now so entrenched in the general mind that they can be used to denounce people like Rep. (major ) Gabbard as traitors because they challenge them.

Some of the "virtual facts:"


Harper , 21 October 2019 at 07:50 PM

Yes I fully concur. We have gone from fact-based news to faith-based fake news led by the MSM. I recall at the start of the Iraq War in March 2003, the line was out that British PM Tony Blair was George W. Bush's "poodle," forgetting entirely that it was the first of the British "dodgy dossiers" that made the totally discredited claim that Saddam had gotten tons of yellow cake from Niger. So the British have no military resources but they continue to maintain the idea that they can manipulate the U.S. and make up for the demise of the old British empire.

The Steele dossier was the second British "dodgy dossier" that got the ball rolling on Trump the Russian mole and Putin's "poodle."

So much fraud. But now social media must be patrolled and anyone daring to challenge the voice of the MSM must be purged by Google, Facebook, Twitter et al.

My question is: When will the machinations of the Big Lie MSM Wurlitzer cross the line and trigger the backlash that they secretly fear so much? MSM has to destroy Trump by 2020 or else his "fake news" polemic will stick... because there is no much truth to it. The messenger may be crude, but he has the bully pulpit to have a real impact.

I await the release, as Larry Johnson pointed out, of the Horowitz IG report on the origins of the fake Trump-Russia collusion line. Also the pending Barr-Durham larger report which is zeroing in on John Brennan.

Fred -> Harper... , 22 October 2019 at 08:28 AM
Harper,

"MSM has to destroy Trump by 2020 or else..."
The MSM are joined by all those folks who were wined, dined, and degraded by Jeffrey Epstein and Hollywood hero Harvey Weinstein. Nobody seems to care about who Jeffrey abused, or who enjoyed his island paradise. Harvey, he's about to buy a free ride out of jail. Meanwhile we jail idiots who "bribe" there kids way into that "elite" institution - UCLA.

Vig said in reply to Harper... , 22 October 2019 at 11:31 AM
Great response Harper,

an ideal study would no doubt want to look into the Italy-GB-US angle already concerning the "first dossier", or whatevers. Didn*t that have mediawise an intermediate French angle?

But is that what is looked at? At present?

VietnamVet , 21 October 2019 at 08:03 PM
Colonel,

This is what happens when the deciders believe their own propaganda. The media now says that a residual force of American troops and contractors will stay behind at the Deir ez-Zor oil fields and Al-Tanf base near the Jordon border. The media moguls dare not mention that the real intention is to prevent the Syrian Arab Army from retaking its own territory or that Turkey is seizing thousands of square miles of Syria. Syrians with Russia, Chinese and Iranian aid won't quit until Syria is whole again and rebuilt. This means that America continues its uninvited unwinnable war in the middle of nowhere with no allies for no reason at all except to do Israel's bidding and to make money for military contractors. The swamp's regime change campaign failed. The Houthis' Aramco attack shows that the gulf oil supply is at risk and can be shut down at will. Continuing these endless wars that are clearly against the best interests of the American people is insane.

CK said in reply to VietnamVet... , 22 October 2019 at 10:05 AM
It strikes me, as a matter of observable fact, that the Houthi attack had almost no long run affect on oil production. Everything was back to normal within 10 days. I think that the attack was allowed to occur for exactly one reason and that was to start a shooting war between the USA as KSA's great defender and Iran as the horrible nation that has a mild dislike for Israel.
It failed. So far.
To believe that the 24/7/52 AWACS, Ground radar, Israeli radar, and the overlapping close in radar coverage of the Saudi oil fields all failed to detect the drones and cruise missiles is to believe in more miracles than I can handle on a good day. It also means that assets in other parts of this world covered by these same type of radars are just as vulnerable to local disaffected groups.
j , 21 October 2019 at 08:22 PM
The FUKUS thinks we are all a bunch of brainless sheep to be led by a ring in our noses. The 'Muktar' is clueless regarding our Saudi brethren, he's supposed to administer how the overlords say he's to administer, nothing more. The CIA administration still has a hard-on because they blew it regarding Iran and they're still embarrassed about it.

In two days, counting closer to a day and a half will be the sad anniversary (October 23) where the Israeli government willfully with forethought let our Marines and other service personnel bunked with them at the barracks in Beirut die needlessly, because Nahum Admoni wanted U.S. to get our noses bloodied.

Never mind that the Russians lost close to 30 million to the brotherhood of the Operation Paper Clip, and the Bormann Group that today controls from behind the scenes most of the World's money thanks to Martin creating over 750 corporations initially to start with, that has expanded like a Hydra. Any time that truth (Russia is no longer Communist) rears its ugly head, the Bormann group goes into overdrive to ensure that the big lie perpetuates.

The FUKUS think we're all a bunch of sheep to be led off a cliff, and the propaganda mills have created the trail right up to the edge of the precipice that the sheep are trotting.

Heaven help our children and grandchildren.

Larry Johnson , 21 October 2019 at 08:29 PM
Amen. The landslide of disinformation and bullshit disseminated on a daily basis by a pliant media is happily lapped up by ignorant, uninformed Americans. I've had quite an exchange with a liberal friend of mine who was shrieking MSNBC talking points on Syria and the Kurds. Mind you, this fellow never served a day in the military. Never held a clearance in his life. Didn't know a thing about JOPES and how Special Ops forces use a series of written orders signed off on by the CJCS. Yet, he was qualified to criticize Trump. At the same time not one of his kids or grandkids are signed up to fight on that frontline. I told him politely to STFU and get educated before trying to comment on something he knows nothing about.
Thanks Colonel.
JJackson said in reply to Larry Johnson ... , 22 October 2019 at 06:41 AM
I am British and did consider the military in my youth but if I were that age now I would not. Having seen what my political master, and yours, have asked the military to do the danger of being sent on some counter product regime change mission or to prop-up someone I would rather fight is just too great. I would only end up refusing to follow orders which I understand the military takes a rather dim view of.
Vig said in reply to JJackson... , 22 October 2019 at 12:03 PM
... regime change mission or to prop-up someone I would rather fight is just too great.

once upon a time, and strictly I had opted not to believe either side before that, but yes, at one point I wondered fully aware they may be legitimate complaints, how would the UCK, or the Kosovo Liberation Army become the "Western" partner in war.

In hindsight I was made aware of this one grandiose British officer ... once upon a time.

Fred -> JJackson... , 22 October 2019 at 12:04 PM
JJackson,

"if I were that age now..." That is the same line used by the American left since the '60s.
"I would only end up refusing to follow orders..."
Samantha Power at the UN and James Comey at the FBI both had a "higher loyalty" than to the elected government or the Constitution on which it is based. That's why they are busy trying to subvert it.

The Twisted Genius , 21 October 2019 at 10:01 PM
There's a lot of truth there, Colonel. Life would be better with just three TV new outlets, huh. Which three? Can you imagine being limited to three cable new outlets? Actually most people probably limit themselves to three news outlets or less. They find an echo chamber and stick with it. I thank God I don't have cable or satellite TV and I have too many interests to engage with talk radio.

I couldn't agree more with your characterization of "virtual facts" about Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. I also agree that those who continue to view Russia as an implacable enemy bent on our destruction and world domination are liars and/or fools. The Soviet Union was just a phase, a phase now past. Russia never ended. Conversely, those who insist that Russia is a newly minted nation of glitter farting unicorns incapable of nefarious behavior are also fools and/or liars. Russia is a formidable competitor, fully capable and willing to take prudent actions in pursuit of her interests. We should respect her and seek cooperation where we can and tolerance where we must.

How the never-Trumpers treat Tulsi Gabbard is shameful. What Clinton recently said is mild compared to what others have been saying for quite some time. Calling Tulsi a Russian asset is foolishly wrong. That Russia may prefer Tulsi over other potential Presidential candidates should be seen as a positive thing. A policy of mutual respect, cooperation and tolerance between our two countries would benefit the entire world.

Sbin , 21 October 2019 at 10:21 PM
The nonsense is endless.

America needed to restore the Kuwait monarchy for freedom and democracy. Remember defense Secretary Dick Cheney sending captured Iraq arms to the Taliban.

Same play book was used to run Libyan arms through Bengazi to Wahhabism freedom fighter "ISIS" and the al Lindsey McCain head choppers.

Babak Makkinejad -> Sbin... , 21 October 2019 at 11:25 PM
The nonsense will end since not even the United States can endure these costs. Did you hear Trump? 8 trillion yankee dollars and nothing to show for it.
Fred -> Babak Makkinejad... , 22 October 2019 at 08:23 AM
Babak,

He left out thousands dead and injured and not a single one of them a politician, banker, professor or news anchor.

walrus , 21 October 2019 at 11:43 PM
What is highly alarming, almost terrifying, is that really well educated people who have achieved great things in their careers and are pillars of society believe this crap.

I had dinner guests last week; a former Chairman of a bank and his wife who is a highly acclaimed Professor of public Health and Epidemiology who told me how awful Trump and Putin are neither of these friends are what you could remotely classify as Social Justice leftists.

My problem is that I don't know where to start to try and put them right without them thinking I'm a tinfoil hatted conspiracy nut. I wish there was a website dedicated solely to purveying basic truthful information that is not perhaps as esoteric as SST. Should I try and start one or are there already good examples to point to?

Voatboy -> walrus... , 22 October 2019 at 05:10 AM
https://www.wanttoknow.info/ is a useful resource for educating citizens.
John B said in reply to walrus... , 22 October 2019 at 09:21 AM
I'm thinking this is so far and so deep there is nothing that can or will be done. Trump's election and presidency has lifted the curtain on the puppet show. This recent Syria troop removal is Trump's second attempt at openly declaring troops will be pulled out of Syria only to have the military has said, "Um, no, we will stay and simply relocate."

Trump openly called for FISA warrants to be declassified only to have the DOJ and FBI either ignore and defy him. Groups like Judicial Watch and others go into court to get the requested information through FOIA and DOJ and FBI lawyers and the courts block them.

It is beyond scary to see just how entrenched and powerful Deep State is and how it involves/controls both political parties. Trump has faced hurricane winds of opposition from day one and has been constantly subverted by his own party and his own people. I don't know how he can get up every day and continue to fight the obvious and concerted Deep State coup against him. I pray for him. I pray the rosary for him.

There are members within Trump's own party who have agreed that there should be an investigation into the impeachment of Trump for running a yellow light (at most). Again, members of his own party. Renowned Constitutional lawyers John Yoo and Alan Dershowitz, from Cal-Berkeley and Harvard laws schools respectively, have said that not only has Trump done nothing, even remotely, which could trigger an impeachment inquiry but if Congress were to do so it would be unconstitutional and illegal. But alas, who would enforce this? Deep State snakes like John Roberts at the Supreme Court? Robert has already signed off on the coup ( https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/10/john-roberts-mitch-mcconnell-trump-impeachment-trial.amp).

The only thing that separates America from falling into the abyss is Trump, a handful of people in Washington, a few conservative talk show hosts, and about 40% of America. Many people have talked a good game at points but I think in the end are just double agents of the dark side/Deep State (Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, ... IG Horowitz, etc.). And some, such as Chris Wray, are unabashed dark side/Deep State agents in good standing.

As St. Thomas More said, "The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them." I have faith in Barr. I have faith in Durham. Two men whose Catholic faith is integral to every aspect of their lives and work. But with as pervasive, entrenched, and powerful as the Deep State is I'm skeptical they have the power to do anything. Btw, here's U.S. Attorney John Durham's lecture before the Thomistic Institute at Yale (hosted by the Dominican Order): https://soundcloud.com/thomisticinstitute/perspective-of-a-catholic-prosecutor-honorable-john-durham

One thing that really amuses me is that the marionettes of Deep State in the media and politics actually believe that once Trump is gone their puppet show theatre can resume like nothing happened. Sorry, but there is no coming back from this. They will be lucky if the worst thing that happens is a sizable part of of the American populace protests by throwing sand in the gears. I'm afraid it will end much worse.

Peter AU 1 said in reply to walrus... , 22 October 2019 at 01:12 PM
I doubt there is any magic bullet website or other source of information that would turn people over night. A good start would be encouraging them to read transcripts of various Putin and Lavrov speeches and pressers, also Valdai Club, economic forum ect.

Most only get to see the odd sentence or paragragh in western MSM with an entirely fictional story built around it, so perhaps and MSM piece like that and the transcript of the relevant presser or speech alongside it.

I suspect the fine detail in Putin and Lavrov's replies to press questions rather than cliches would surprise many people.

Glorious Bach said in reply to walrus... , 22 October 2019 at 02:29 PM
Walrus--100% my experience as well. Many dinners with "liberal" even "progressive" friends, mostly of the retired kind require great psychic energy. Their Overton Window is 1"-square, making exchanges very difficult to squeeze even minimal bits of political reality.

My daily blog tour, like MW's above, takes me through: Moon of Alabama, Naked Capitalism, SST, Caitlin Johnstone, Grayzone and a few others. I'm intel gathering -- but I need to figure out how to convey broader perspectives even to my 40-45 year-old children and their friends. Inside the Beltway assumptions are hard to de-program.

Vegetius , 22 October 2019 at 12:13 AM
The CIA is a clear and present danger.
b , 22 October 2019 at 01:31 AM
While I agree with the essence of the post I disagree with the characterization of SOHR. It tends to get its stuff right. I have listed several significant events where SOHR disagreed with the official narrative: On Sources And Information - The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights . Those are exactly the moments where SOHR is disregarded by the pressitude.

It is the selective quoting of such sources that paint them as partisan even as they try to stay somewhat neutral.

---
@Pat - Any comment to the Gen. McRaven op-ed in the NYT?
Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President
If President Trump doesn't demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.

Isn't it a call to mutiny? It seems to me to be far beyond the allowed political comment from a retired General.

Anonymous , 22 October 2019 at 01:34 AM
Those that look up the pole, all they see is assholes. Those that look down all they see is assholes, but those that look straight ahead, they see which path to take.
fredw , 22 October 2019 at 08:13 AM
The colonel's complaint implicitly assumes that things were not always thus. My adult experience since I saw a war up close has been that the "facts" of our public discourse are always simplified and usually grossly distorted.

Is the Iranian regime terrible? Well, yes, but it is also a regime that holds real elections and often loses them. Not in the same league of awful with Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

Similarly with the other examples. The "facts" have in each case a basis in truth but do not by themselves give a true picture. Is our discourse more unfair to Russia than it was to Nasser's Egypt? Is our promotion of Saudi Arabia any worse than our adulation of Chiang Kai-shek?

Christian J Chuba , 22 October 2019 at 08:30 AM
Not only are the MSM married to a narrative but they feel compelled to attack the few who ever challenge the orthodoxy. For example, 'Tulsi Gabbard met with the war criminal Assad'.

It would do our vaunted free press wonders if they traveled to Damascus instead of repeating the same tired talking points about Syria. I'll never forget the look on Gabbard's face when she talked about the Syrians came up to her and said, 'why are you attacking us, what did we do to you'. Meeting real people can undo a lifetime of blather and must be stopped at all cost.

turcopolier , 22 October 2019 at 08:56 AM
b Perhaps memory fails me but I think SOHR propagated the SAG gas attacks mythology. I have stated that McRaven should be recalled to active duty and court-martialed. I could find several punitice articles in UCMJ under which he could be charged.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 October 2019 at 10:21 AM
When McCain returned from the Hanoi Hilton he could have been prosecuted for treason he was not because "peace with honour" overrode UCMJ and honour. McRaven is being offered up as a distraction. Call him back to active duty yes, and assign him somewhere dreary, unimportant and far from CONUS. Ignore the stuff he is blathering while he is retired, if he repeats blather while on active duty then the navy might be able to recover some honour.
Elora Danan said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 October 2019 at 12:50 PM
No...your memory does not fail you, Colonel, the SOHR was the main source cited at MSM level on the alleged protests which gave place to the destruction of Syria and the legitimation and labelling of alleged "moderate rebels" which then resulted being but terrorist jihadi groups brought mainly from abroad under financing and mtrainning of non Syrian actors...

The source on the alleged atrocities commited by Assad was SOHR at the first years of the war on Syria, along with Doctors Without Borders and "special envoys" by British and French main papers reporting from the former, and first, "Baba Amr" caliphate in Homs....I am meaning the times of Sunday Times´ Marie Colvin and the other woman from Le Figaro , who then resulted or KIA or caught amongst the jihadists ranks along with other foreign "special envoys" who then were released in a truce with Assad through a safe corridor, especially made for that end, to Lebanon.

I fear SOHR was the source of the super-trolling consisting on inundating the MSM comments sections, like that of El País , with dozens of vertical doctored photographs every time any of us aware entered commenting to debunk their fake news.
I remember this since that was the starting point of Elora as net activist...( till then, just a baby, peacefully growing up...unaware....but had no election, felt it was a duty, since, as you comment here, so few people aware...Having known Syria few years before she could not believe what they were telling about Assad, who, eventhough not being perfect, as it has been long ago proved any other leader in the world is, had managed to show the visitant a flourishing Syria where misery present at other ME countries was almost absent...

It is only lately, when the Syrian war was obviously lost for the US coalition, that the SOHR started contradicting some fake claims by the White Helmets, especially last two alleged chemical attacks, if Elora´s not wrong.

Why this, why now, why in this form? Probably those powers behind SOHR trying to secure a part in the cake of reconstruction and future of Syria...since, it got obvious, love for Syria is not amongst one of their mottos...

Dave P. said in reply to Elora Danan... , 22 October 2019 at 04:04 PM
This news just broke:
Trump approves $4.5 million in aid for Syria's White Helmets

WASHINGTON -- US President Donald Trump has authorized $4.5 million in aid for Syria's White Helmets group, famed for rescuing wounded civilians from the frontlines in the civil war, the White House says today...

https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/trump-approves-4-5-million-in-aid-for-syrias-white-helmets/

Steve , 22 October 2019 at 09:41 AM
Col Lang,
I'm an extremely grateful for you and your blog. We are all very fortunate to have you.
PeterVE , 22 October 2019 at 09:58 AM
Thank you for this refuge from the noise. How long before the strangling of information makes its way here, and to Craig Murray, Naked Capitalism, and others who look on with clear eyes?
Terry , 22 October 2019 at 10:13 AM
Humans are copy/paste artists and generally not very good at creative thinking. When shown a series of steps to achieve a reward people will repeat all the steps including clearly unnecessary ones. Monkeys will drop unnecessary steps and frequently show more creativity by using a different method to achieve the reward instead of copying.

The old story goes how a woman always cut the ends off a roast before putting it in a pan. When her daughter asks why she doesn't know, asks her mother who doesn't know and asks the great grandmother who laughs and says her pan was too small.

I suspect it is a functional tradeoff that lets us transfer great amounts of cultural information and maintain a civilization of sorts. It creates a tough environment for innovators and allows for easy manipulation of the majority.

Nature of course always has a sprinkling of minority traits in the gene pool to allow for sudden changes in the environment. Most likely those of us that are more critical thinkers and like in depth, multi-dimensional viewpoints and historical knowledge are always going to be standing by watching the crowd do their copy/paste thing.

The rise of the internet giving easy access to more "sources" means more fragmentation in worldviews than ever before depending on where people copy/paste from.

prawnik , 22 October 2019 at 10:56 AM
To be fair, Russia is portrayed as a sort of resurrected Soviet Union intent on world conquest when the audience are conservatives.

Russia portrayed as a fascist theocracy when the audience are liberals.

prawnik , 22 October 2019 at 11:05 AM
Re: only three TV channels and they all said the same thing!

Once Upon a Time, not so long ago, publishing news was hard. For one thing, you needed a printing press, which was big, expensive and required housing and specialized technicians to operate it. Not only that, but a printing press cost money for every sheet of paper printed, and you had to spend more money to distribute what he printed.

They say that "freedom of the press belongs to those who own one" but there's more! Unless you were already rich and planned to publish as an expensive and time-consuming hobby, you needed an income stream. You would get some money from subscriptions, but subscriptions are really a means to sell advertising. Dependence on advertising meant that there were some people the publisher had to keep happy, and others he could not afford to annoy.

Anyone who knows anything about local news knows this. At best, it's a tightrope walk between giving subscribers the news they want to know, and not infuriating your advertisers. The result was a sort of natural censorship. Publishers had to think long and hard before they published anything that would tork the bigwigs off. The fact that a publisher was tied to a physical location and physical assets also made libel suits much easier.

The same thing applied to broadcast TV, only more so. It took orders of magnitude more money, and you were restricted to a limited amount of bandwidth.

The internet changed all that. Now, any anonymous toolio with a laptop ($299 cheap at WallyWorld) and WiFi (free at many businesses) can go into the news publishing business by nightfall, and with worldwide distribution and an advertising revenue stream, to boot. Marginal cost of readership is zero.

Needless to say, this development has The People That Matter very concerned, and they are working hard to stuff that genie back into the bottle.

casey , 22 October 2019 at 11:32 AM
For what it's worth, I found the late Udo Ulfkotte's personal-experience book "Bought Jounalism" to be quite interesting on this topic, as it details the kind of nuts-and-bolts of print-media prostitution. But I would really like to see an org-chart sometime of the overlapping, possibly competing, mission control centers (if that's the right phrase) that control the various "Wurlitzer" messaging and who, ultimately, is on charge of these. It has been intriguing to watch, since Kerry uttered his "the Internet makes it very hard to govern" line years ago, the blurry outline of a vast operation to shut down any non-approved media messages, now including all social media. To give credit where credit is due, "they" sure have done a bang-up job in feeding bullshit across all platforms down the throats of a Western people, like a goose being fattened up for foie gras.
Jack , 22 October 2019 at 12:04 PM
"...the US government (along with our British and Israeli helpmates and masters) are the preeminent creators and purveyors of the manufactured virtual facts on which we base our policy."

Sir

I've been perplexed for some time what the objectives are of these virtual fact creators? When one digs into who the movers & shakers are in the virtual fact creation apparatus then it seems very much analogous to the Jeffrey Epstein orbit. Folks bound together through the carrot of extraordinary personal gain and the stick of personal destruction. Your Drinking the Koolaid, is a seminal work in exploring how these virtual facts are created and how those who challenge the creation are marginalized and even destroyed personally.

IMO, policy making on the basis of virtual facts extends beyond foreign policy to economic and financial policy as well as healthcare policy in the US. The symptoms are seen in growing wealth inequality and increased market concentration globally and financial policy completely unmoored from common sense and sophistry an important element in virtual fact creation.

We're seeing signs of the early breakdown in social cohesion with social unrest in France, Spain, Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon, Ecuador. Brexit and the election of Trump despite the intensity and vitriolic nature of how the media was used against them. The impeachment of Trump another tool in the desperate attempt to retain and consolidate power. Maybe we're in the Fourth Turning as Howe & Strauss label it.

Keith Harbaugh , 22 October 2019 at 12:43 PM
"The Soviet Union never ended. Russia is still communist ..."
In the interest of specificity and accountability, where/who in the MSM are asserting that?
You (PL) are making a serious charge.
Just who is guilty of perpetrating such a blatant falsehood?
Terry said in reply to Keith Harbaugh... , 22 October 2019 at 04:19 PM
Google "Russia like USSR". It has to be google tho, not Qwant or Duckduckgo. The bias is thick on google.

Back in the U.S.S.R.? How Today's Russia Is Like the Soviet Era
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/back-u-s-s-r-how-todays-russia-soviet-era-n453536

Russia vs. Ukraine: More Russians Want the Soviet Union and Communism Back Amid Continued Tensions

https://www.newsweek.com/russia-vs-ukraine-soviet-union-communism-1264875

Putin's Russia is becoming more Soviet by the day

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2018/02/26/putins-russia-is-becoming-more-soviet-by-the-day/

Joseph Stalin: Why so many Russians like the Soviet dictator

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47975704

Putin says he wishes the Soviet Union had not collapsed and many Russians agree.

www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/03/03/putin-says-he-wishes-he-could-change-the-collapse-of-the-soviet-union-many-russians-agree/&usg=AOvVaw22Q9M8lhhTo8IYh6rl-FCi

oldman22 , 22 October 2019 at 01:04 PM
John Helmer has today published a comprehensive piece on Syria.
The details of history and current affairs are comprehensive.
Highly recommended, a reference work.
His cartoon is good too!
http://johnhelmer.net/oil-and-water-dont-mix-the-solution-to-the-war-in-syria/print/
oldman22 , 22 October 2019 at 01:13 PM
pardon me, should have said the article that John Helmer published
was written by Gary Busch
divadab , 22 October 2019 at 01:15 PM
well it seems to me that the groundwork is being laid for an authoritarian state - and it already has sophisticated tools that are unprecedented in their scope and depth and ability to store data. And the whole enterprise is based on three rules:
1) secrecy - data is restricted to "insiders";
2) deception - the "outsiders" (you know, the citizens) are regarded as a herd of cattle to be managed - with lies and disinformation so we don't get any ideas;
3) ruthless enforcement to dehumanize and destroy dissent. Just consider the torture and destruction of Journalist Julian Assange: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

Not sure what the appropriate response is but I spend a lot of time at my camp working in the woods. Thanks, Colonel Lang, for maintaining this site.

turcopolier , 22 October 2019 at 01:24 PM
Elora Danan

You are more and more interesting.

turcopolier , 22 October 2019 at 01:28 PM
Keith Harbaugh
This is my opinion. I am uninterested in proving anything to you. If you listen to what is said on the MSM (including Fox) it is evident that in the "minds" of the media squirrels Russia is just the USSR in disguise. Try listening to what they are saying as sub-text.
Jackrabbit , 22 October 2019 at 02:21 PM
Thank you pl!
Keith Harbaugh , 22 October 2019 at 02:25 PM
The request was not just for my benefit, but with the thought that it would be useful to document the occurrences of such clearly false statements in the media.

It is certainly true that Russia is being demonized in all the MSM I have sampled. A frequent criticism is that Putin, like Assad, and earlier Saddam and Quadaffi, is essentially an illegitimate ruler of his country, ruling through brute force and without the consent of his countrymen. (Thus the WaPo editorials routinely call Putin a "thug", just as they call Assad a "butcher".)

I am certainly not endorsing that view, just reporting what I hear and read. When I hear that, I harken back to my graduate school days, when the same sort of charges were leveled against America, which was usually spelled "Amerika", or sometimes "AmeriKKKa", and described as a racist, imperialist, fascist country whose establishment must be "Smashed". I believe the core group of people who so wanted a revolution in America in 1970 (which they essentially got, as we have seen over the last 50 years) are much the same as those now demonizing Russia.

Here is some specificity on their complaints against Russia back then: They were not opposed to the USSR, or communism. Many of them were in effect communists. The cry among many was : "Marx, Mao, and Marcuse" (Herbert Marcuse was a former Brandeis professor who extolled cultural Marxism). What they did have, in spades, was a feeling that their ancestors had been victimized by the Czarist regime in Russia, which, among other supposed sins, had not done enough to prevent pogroms against them. They seemed to have a deep fear of the Russian people, based on their long experience with them.

My suspicion (actually, belief) is that the opposition to Putin is based on the fact that he is sometimes viewed as a throwback to the the Czars, and that is definitely not something looked upon favorably by many Jews.

arze , 22 October 2019 at 02:33 PM
This is SOHR, Tweet, Dec. 6, 2014

"Regime forces use Chlorine gas to stop ISIS advances in Der-Ezzor military airport http://fb.me/4qb09QhnH
3:01 AM - 6 Dec 2014"

https://twitter.com/syriahr/status/541185710443995136?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dw.com%2Fen%2Fsyrian-observatory-reports-assad-gas-attack-on-is%2Fa-18113807

blue peacock , 22 October 2019 at 03:33 PM
Col. Lang,

"Trump has a balance sheet where a soul should be and that is the basis for the belief that MBS and/or his "country" are our friends."

Not to defend Trump and his balance sheet mindset with respect to the Saudis, the reality is that both parties and presidents from George H.W to Bill Clinton to W and Obama have treated the Saudi monarchy as our "friend", even when they sponsored the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11.

Tony Blair became a wealthy man after his prime ministership on the back of money thrown his way by the Arab sheikhs.

[Oct 22, 2019] A Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... US forces leaving Syria will most likely be positioned in Iraq regardless of what Iraq says. ..."
Oct 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder , Oct 22 2019 18:42 utc | 8

Today in Sochi, Putin and Erdogan agreed:

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey
22 Oct 2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on the following.

1. Both parties reaffirm their commitment to preserve political unity and territorial integrity of Syria, as well as national security of Turkey.

2. They reiterate their resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and to resist separatist aspirations in the Syrian territory.

3. In this context, existing the status quo in the current operations area "Source of peace" between tel-Abyad and RAS Al ain to a depth of 32 km is saved.

4. Both sides confirmed are important the value of the Adana agreement, the Russian Federation will assist the implementation of the Adana agreement in modern conditions.

5. Starting from 12.00 on 23 October 2019 on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border outside the area of operation "The source of peace" entered the units of the military police and Syrian border service. They will facilitate the withdrawal of the KOS and their arms at 30 km from the Syrian-Turkish border, which should be completed within 150 hours after 12.00 noon on 23 October 2019 this moment will start joint Russian-Turkish patrol to a depth of 10 km from the border to the West and to the East of the operations area "Source world", in addition to the city of Qamishli.

6. All divisions of CBS and their weapons will be withdrawn from Manuja and tal Rifat.

7. Both sides will take the necessary steps to prevent the infiltration of terrorist elements.

8. Will be undertaken by joint efforts to promote the safe and voluntary return of refugees.

9. Will set up a joint mechanism monitoring and verification for reviewing and coordinating the implementation of this Memorandum.

10. Both sides will continue to work on the search for a political solution to the Syrian conflict in the framework of the "mechanism of Astana" and will support the activities of the constitutional Committee.

http://www.kremlin.ru/supplement/5452

S , Oct 22 2019 19:02 utc | 15
@Red Ryder #8:
will start joint Russian-Turkish patrol to a depth of 10 km from the border to the West and to the East of the operations area "Source world", in addition to the city of Qamishli.

Oh, the perils of machine translation! The document actually says " except the city of Qamishli".

Peter AU 1 , Oct 22 2019 19:47 utc | 28

From May 19 2017

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/05/us-attacks-syrian-government-forces-it-now-has-to-make-its-choice.
"The coalition led by the U.S. military claimed it asked Russia to intervene and that Russia tried to deter the Syrian force to move towards al-Tanf. I am told that this claim is incorrect. Russia supports the Syrian move to the east and the retaking of the border. The move will be reinforced and continue. The revamped Syrian air defense will actively protect it. Russia will support it with its own forces if needed.

The illegitimate occupation forces, the U.S. and British forces and their proxies, will have to move out of al-Tanf or they will have to directly fight the Syrian government forces and all its allies. They have no right to be there at all. The Iraqi PMU in Syria, some of which were hurt in yesterday's U.S. attack, are an active part of the coalition against ISIS in Iraq. If the U.S. fights it in Syria it will also have to fight it in Iraq (and elsewhere). Russia is able and willing to reinforce its own contingent in Syria to help the government to regain the Syrian east."
...........

As to the US setting up a similar operation on the Deir Ezzor oilfields, much will depend on Iraq.

Iraq have allowed the US to hit the Iraqi militias with impunity, Trump flew into the US base in Iraq and flew out again without bothering to meet the Iraqi president or PM, nor ask permission to come to Iraq, treating the base as sovereign US territory (perhaps it is).

Going on past performance, US forces leaving Syria will most likely be positioned in Iraq regardless of what Iraq says.

Oilfields in north eastern toe of Syria will be within SAA zone on the border.

Esper has stated US forces stationed near the oil fields have not been given orders to pull out. Supposedly that will be a second stage of the pull out.

Allowing Syria to regain the oilfields would defeat the purpose of the oil blockade so enthusiastically enforced by US and UK, as once up and running, the oilfield would supply the bulk of Syria's requirements.

ToivoS , Oct 22 2019 19:40 utc | 25
I do not agree that the US withdrawal from Northern Syria is that disorderly. When a war is lost and withdrawal is the only option it will look very disorderly. That is the nature of war.

Look at Vietnam when Nixon first became president. He basically campaigned on getting out of that war -- the slogan was peace with honor. That "orderly" process began in 1969. The first stage was "Vietamization". The US began an "orderly" withdrawal. That withdrawal took four years and involved the deaths of 25,000 US troops (yes half of all US casualties in that war happened during the withdrawal).

The final stage of this "orderly" withdrawal happened in 1975 was captured in those iconic photos of US marine helicopters evacuating US embassy personal from the roof of the US embassy. And then there was the mass exodus of millions of Vietnamese US collaborators that fled and became the boat people. That lasted about three years.

So compare to Trump's Syrian withdrawal. US casualties: 0. Kurdish causualites: likely less than a few hundred. US collaborators that must flee their homes: Not clear but no likely to exceed a few 10s of thousands.

I would likely to offer that this Trump instigated withdrawal is very likely much more orderly than if it was carefully planned by the US DOD in collaboration with all 17 intelligence agencies and the US DOS.

DannyC , Oct 22 2019 19:40 utc | 24
The Russian Defense Minister said all foreign forces (the US) had 90 minutes to withdraw from Northen Syria. I don't think the Russians were going to agree to the US holding that oilfield. I've rarely read of them making such a strong statement.

People are getting fed up and rightfully so.

Igor Bundy , Oct 22 2019 19:23 utc | 22
The commandos at the pentagon still think they lost the vietnam war because they did not have enough support.. Losing 10,000 planes and using more bombs than used in WW2 and dropping daisy cutters and other chemical weapons etc etc etc was all just shy of not enough and if only they had a little more.. half a million men was also not enough now that the Red army was not tying up 90% of the enemy.. Also harder to bribe true communists than most others like they did in Iraq and afghanistan and even in Syria and you wonder why the place is run like al capone's garage, thats because the US hires thugs and criminals because those are the only ones who blatantly betray their countries.. same as random guiado and his ilk..
plantman , Oct 22 2019 19:18 utc | 19
Some people on this site refuse to give Trump credit for anything, but the results speak for themselves. In less than a week, two of the main participants (Russia and Turkey) have consummated an historic deal that could resolve issues on the border. Allow Turkey to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in syria, and clear the way for an end to the war.

No matter how you cut it, this is a major achievement.

It's worth noting that the Syria war was never going to end as long as the US occupied territory east of the Euphrates. So, if peace finally breaks out, it will be largely because of the change in US policy. Trump deserves credit for that.

Trump might not be the president that everyone wanted, but he's sure done a heck'uva a lot more than warmonegring Obama.

Sunny Runny Burger , Oct 22 2019 19:19 utc | 20
A. "Take the oil".
B. "No endless wars".

If this is to be congruent one must take the oil without endless war. Occupation is endless war thus it's not an option. The more expensive the "taking the oil" is or becomes the less interesting it should be for a society on the whole (as it turns defense into wealth distribution at a loss). "Taking the oil" is heavily dependent on time.

Maybe Trump never really thought that far, maybe no one else did either, and maybe he's simply wrong about the oil but that's okay if "no endless wars" (and at this point in time most wars tend towards either "endless" or "instant mutual defeat") takes precedence and so far for as little or much as it is worth that is the difference between him and '"business" as usual'.

William Gruff , Oct 22 2019 19:04 utc | 16
b notes: "Not only would this be obviously illegal but nobody seems to have given a thought on how the logistics for such remote unit could be sustained ."

This is just a small detail to highlight the point that b makes above, but fuel airlifted in to run base generators and power the troops' vehicles and such ends up costing about $400/gallon. This assumes the base has a regular runway that cargo aircraft can use and not that the fuel has to be relayed from a nearby airfield by helicopter. And even just 200 troops will burn through a lot of fuel... many hundreds of gallons per day even if they are trying to conserve. Figure about 1,200 gallons per day just for electricity alone if the base can get by with a modest 1000kw genset. That works out to almost half a $million per day just for electricity for your soda coolers and air conditioners and battlefield radar.

These little details are not what people like to think about when they propose that some troops just camp out around some oil wells.

[Oct 22, 2019] A Call for a Coup Plus a Week Like No Other for Tulsi Gabbard by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... And then there is the Great Hillary Clinton caper. In an interview last week Hillary claimed predictably that Donald Trump is "Vladimir Putin's dream," and then went on to assert that there would be other Russian assets emerging, including nestled in the bosom of her own beloved Democratic Party ..."
"... Tulsi responded courageously and accurately "Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton . ..."
"... Tulsi has in fact been attacked relentless by the Establishment since she announced that she would be running for the Democratic nomination. Shortly before last Tuesday's Democratic candidate debate the New York Times ..."
"... quid pro quos ..."
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is ..."
Oct 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

There was what might be described as an extraordinary amount of nonsense being promoted by last week's media. Unfortunately, some of it was quite dangerous. Admiral William McRaven, who commanded the Navy Seals when Osama bin Laden was captured and killed and who has been riding that horse ever since, announced that if Donald Trump continues to fail to provide the type of leadership the country needs, he should be replaced by whatever means are necessary. The op-ed entitled "Our Republic is Under Attack by the President" with the subtitle "If President Trump doesn't demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office" was featured in the New York Times, suggesting that the Gray Lady was providing its newspaper of record seal of approval for what might well be regarded as a call for a military coup.

McRaven's exact words, after some ringing praise for the military and all its glorious deeds in past wars, were that the soldiers, sailors and marines now must respond because "The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within."

McRaven then elaborated that "These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press. They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, 'I don't like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!'"

It is a call to arms if there ever was one. Too bad Trump can't strip McRaven of his pension and generous health care benefits for starters and McRaven might also consider that he could be recalled to active duty by Trump and court martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And the good admiral, who up until 2018 headed the state university system in Texas, might also receive well merited pushback for his assessment of America's role in the world over the past two decades, in which he was a major player, at least in terms of dealing out punishment. He wrote ""We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate."

Utter bullshit, of course. The United States has been acting as the embodiment of a rogue nation, lashing out pointlessly and delivering death and destruction. If McRaven truly believes what he says he is not only violating his oath to defend the constitution while also toying with treason, he is an idiot and should never have been allowed to run anything more demanding than a hot dog stand. Washington has been systematically blowing people up worldwide for no good reasons, killing possibly as many as 4 million mostly Muslims, while systematically stripping Americans of their Bill of Rights at home. "Good guys" and "champions of justice" indeed!

And then there is the Great Hillary Clinton caper. In an interview last week Hillary claimed predictably that Donald Trump is "Vladimir Putin's dream," and then went on to assert that there would be other Russian assets emerging, including nestled in the bosom of her own beloved Democratic Party . She said, clearly suggesting that it would be Tulsi Gabbard, that "They're also going to do third-party again. I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on someone who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far."

Clinton explained how the third-party designation would work, saying of Jill Stein, who ran for president in 2016 as a Green Party candidate, "And that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she's also a Russian asset. Yeah, she's a Russian asset -- I mean, totally. They know they can't win without a third-party candidate. So I don't know who it's going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed."

Tulsi responded courageously and accurately "Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton . You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know -- it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It's now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don't cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly."

Tulsi has in fact been attacked relentless by the Establishment since she announced that she would be running for the Democratic nomination. Shortly before last Tuesday's Democratic candidate debate the New York Times ran an article suggesting that Gabbard was an isolationist, was being promoted by Russia and was an apologist for Syria's Bashar al-Assad. In reality, Gabbard is the only candidate willing to confront America's warfare-national security state.

The Hillary Clinton attack on Gabbard and on the completely respectable Jill Stein is to a certain extent incomprehensible unless one lives in the gutter that she and Bill have wallowed in ever since they rose to prominence in Arkansas. Hillary, the creator of the private home server for classified information as well as author of the catastrophic war against Libya and the Benghazi debacle has a lot to answer for but will never be held accountable, any more than her husband Bill for his rapes and molestations. And when it comes to foreign interference, Gabbard is being pilloried because the Russian media regards her favorably while the Clinton Foundation has taken tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and billionaires seeking quid pro quos , much of which has gone to line the pockets of Hillary, Bill and Chelsea.

Finally, one comment about the Democratic Party obsession with the Russians. The media was enthusing last Friday over a photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi standing up across a table from President Trump and pointing at him before walking out of the room. The gushing regarding how a powerful, strong woman was defying the horrible chief executive was both predictable and ridiculous. By her own admission Pelosi's last words before departing were "All roads lead to Putin." I will leave it up to the reader to interpret what that was supposed to mean.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

[Oct 22, 2019] Turkey, Syria Engage In Secret Negotiations To Avert War Report

Oct 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Turkey and Syria are conducting previously-unknown negotiations in an attempt to avert direct conflict in northeast Syria in the wake of a US withdrawal from the region, according to the Jerusalem Post , citing Turkish officials.

The announcement comes as Russian-backed Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad sweep back into the region - heading for incoming Turkish troops moving in from the north.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan has backed anti-Assad rebels during Syria's eight-year civil war, calling Assad a terrorist who should be driven from power.

The newly revealed backchannels were first initiated over a separate escalation in northwest Syria, at a time when Russian-backed Syrian troops launched an assault in the Idlib region which contained Turkish forces. Those same channels are now being used to avoid direct conflict , according to the report.

"We have been in contact with Syria on military and intelligence issues for some time in order to avoid any problems on the field," a Turkish official told Reuters, adding " Contact with Syria has largely been through Russia, but this communication was done directly between Turkey and Syria at times to avoid Syrian and Turkish soldiers engaging in direct confrontation ."

While the Turkish government insists that it has not changed its stance towards Assad, the security contacts with Damascus reflect a growing reality that it cannot ignore the Syrian president's steady restoration of control over his country .

Russia's position as go-between also points to the central role played by Moscow - Assad's most powerful backer - in Syria since President Donald Trump said he was pulling U.S. troops out of northern Syria.

Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday for talks which are likely to shape the next steps in northeast Syria.

" We will also receive information about Syria's perspective and the steps it will take during the meeting with Putin ," a senior Turkish official said. - Jerusalem Post

On October 9 , Turkey launched a cross-border offensive against Kurdish-led forces to establish a 20-mile "safe zone" near the border. Once this is completed, Erdogan is preparing to settle up to 2 million Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, a 5-day ceasefire expires late Tuesday focusing on two Syrian border towns; Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain - the latter of which the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced their withdrawal from on Sunday . That said, a spokesman for the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels said the withdrawal was not yet complete. Turkey, meanwhile, says it's in control of Tel Abyad.

Last week, Erdogan announced that he would accept Syrian forces entering the border town of Manbij as long as the Kurdish YPG militia - the core component of the SDF considered a terrorist group by Ankara - was removed.

Moscow mules

While Russia and Syria are longstanding allies in the region, Ankara and Moscow have grown closer according to the report - as their ties have strengthened over joint energy projects as well as Turkey's purchase of Russian missile defense systems over comparable US equipment.

As Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hammered out a surprise Syria truce under the glare of international media on Thursday, Russia's Syria envoy quietly met Erdogan's national security aide in another part of the president's palace.

Syrian media reported that envoy Alexander Lavrentiev met Assad in Damascus the next day, without saying whether he had brought a message from Ankara.

A third Turkish official said Lavrentiev's talks in Turkey had focused on preparations for Erdogan and Putin's meeting.

Turkey and Russia have cooperated more closely on Syria since agreeing two years ago to work along with Assad's other main ally, Iran, to contain the fighting. - Jerusalem Post

Turkey insists that Syria must conduct free elections overseen by the United Nations , and has vowed to work with whoever wins a "fair vote."

[Oct 22, 2019] Betrayal And Deception Syria Is A Prime Example Of US Foreign Policy by Federico Pieraccini

Oct 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops who had been protecting the SDF (Syrian democratic forces) in the northeast of Syria, prompting Kurdish leadership and the Damascus governed to strike a deal allowing Syrian Arab Army to retake control of the border with Turkey after nearly six years.

... ... ..

Given that the deep state retains ultimate control of US foreign policy, Trump is allowed to do and say what he wants – provided it is only within the confines of his media playpen, safe in the knowledge that his motivations are purely electoral and not really aimed and upending the foreign-policy consensus of the US establishment.

If we look beyond Trump's histrionics, we can see that the US deep state continues its illegal stay in Syria, with Trump in reality having no intention of opposing the military-industrial complex (indeed often appointing its members to serve in his administration), with these two parties finding a common point of agreement in the alleged threat posed by Iran.

US troops will only shift near Iraq, looking at disrupting any form of cooperation between Baghdad, Damascus and Tehran.

Trump's Saudi and Israeli allies in the region have long been conspiring with the Pentagon to bring down the Islamic Republic of Iran.

That said, the possibility of war with Iran does not align well with Trump's focus on securing a second term. In any such war, Israel and Saudi Arabia would bear the brunt of hostilities, making pointless their support for Trump. The price of oil would rise sharply, throwing the financial markets into chaos; and all this would conspire to ensure that Trump lost the 2020 election. Trump, therefore, has nothing to gain from war and will prefer dialogue and negotiation with the likes of North Korea, even if it does not bear much fruit.

Trump's main problem lies in the long-term damage his actions and statements may do to the credibility of the US empire. The photo-op with Kim was criticized by many in mainstream media for giving credibility to a "dictator". But the anger of the military and intelligence community really lay in leaving Washington with nowhere to go after Trump's threats of annihilation only led to negotiations that did not go anywhere.

I have previously written about the effectiveness of Pyongyang's nuclear and conventional deterrence, something well known to US policy makers, making them careful to avoid exposing themselves too much such that Pyongyang calls their bluff, thereby revealing to the world that Washington's bark is worse than its bite. To avoid such an embarrassing situation, Obama and his predecessors were always careful to refuse to meet with the North Korean leader.

The United States bases much of its military strength on the display of power, advertising its theoretical ability to annihilate anyone anywhere. By North Korea calling its bluff and revealing that the most powerful country in the world cannot in actual fact attack it, the projected image of American invincibility is thus punctured.

Similarly, when Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from the northeast of Syria (quickly downsized by the Pentagon), and above all gave the green light to Turkey to occupy the area vacated, the political establishment and mainstream media swung into action to dissuade Trump from communicating to the world that America does not stick with its allies. Even Fox News, now siding with the Democrats, started giving wide coverage to Trump's impeachment story, inviting in the process an angry Twitter response from Trump.

Trump is of course more than aware that a complete US withdrawal from Syria would go against the interests of Riyadh and Tel Aviv, those who actually have an influence on him.

Turkey's aspirations to occupy the northeast Syria are part of Erdogan's strategy to improve negotiating positions with Damascus and Moscow with regard to the jihadists in Idlib. Erdogan hopes to be able to annex Syrian territory and fill them with the jihadists and their families who lost the war in Syria and who otherwise pose the security risk of invading Turkey from Idlib. Erdogan seems to have come to some kind of understanding with the US, which has hitherto been the protector of the SDF.

Erdogan and Trump didn't seem to consider the possibility of the SDF and Damascus finding common ground, but this is exactly what happened.

The Syrian Arab Army is now in the North East of the country, protecting its borders against an invading army. Russia and Iran will try and convince Erdogan to downplay the operation in exchange for some sort of arrangement regarding Idlib. The Syrian government in the near future should be able to take back the rich oil fields, boosting its economy.

Turkey and the US have have for years armed and financed terrorism in the region, as have Qatar and Saudi Arabia (in spite of their ideological differences). Even the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were involved in the destabilization of Syria.

All this chaos is ultimately supervised and directed by the United States, which has for years been coordinating in the region color revolutions, the Arab Spring, and proxy wars. Any other interpretation of events would be disingenuous and untruthful.

The withdrawal of US troops from Syria simply reinforces Damascus's position as the only legitimate authority in Syria, undermines confidence of European allies in the US, and emphasizes the consistency of Moscow's actions, which has always been opposed to Washington's chaotic actions in the region.

Amidst this generalized chaos and confusion, Russia, Iran and Syria are trying to put the house back in order again, which includes the international system where sovereign states are respected.

The unipolarists have been suffering pronounced setbacks of late. The expensive air-defense systems of the United States were shown by the Houthis in the last month to be rather ineffectual; Saudi troops soon after this suffered a humiliating defeat in the south of their own country; Washington saw its high-tech drone shot down by Iran; and numerous European and Middle Eastern allies have lost faith in the US, as they watch factions fighting with each other over control for US foreign policy

The US is the victim of a unipolar world order onto which it desperately hangs without any thought of letting go, even as the rest of the world inexorably moves towards a multipolar world order, one that becomes ever more difficult to subdue with every waking day.

[Oct 22, 2019] It's four more years of the Trumpian Reich folks, with Russian spetnaz patrolling the streets, gigantic banners with the faces of Trump and Putin hanging in the football stadiums, National Vodka-for-Breakfast Day, babushkas, the whole nine yards by CJ Hopkins

Notable quotes:
"... Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins vis The Unz Review, ..."
Oct 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins vis The Unz Review,

So, it looks like that's it for America, folks. Putin has gone and done it again. He and his conspiracy of Putin-Nazis have "hacked," or "influenced," or "meddled in" our democracy.

Unless Admiral Bill McRaven and his special ops cronies can ginny up a last-minute military coup , it's four more years of the Trumpian Reich, Russian soldiers patrolling the streets, martial law, concentration camps, gigantic banners with the faces of Trump and Putin hanging in the football stadiums, mandatory Sieg-heiling in the public schools, National Vodka-for-Breakfast Day, death's heads, babushkas, the whole nine yards.

[Oct 22, 2019] Kurt Volker Testified To Congress On Trump's Conversations With Ukraine

Looks like a testimony of a member of Nuland neocons clique.
A reasonable Trump administration gesture of delaying military aid now is interpreted as a pressure on Zelensky government. But not everybody in Zelensky government is interesting in the USA military aid; most including probably Zelensky himself understand that this carrot s the way US neocon push Ukraine in self-destructive game of to catching hot potatoes from the fire to advance the USA strategic anti-Russian interests in the region.
Trump is right that Ukraine participated in Russiagate, but he is wrong that Poroshenko administration acted as a supplementary force in Russiagate on its own initiative: in reality Poroshenko was the USA marionette fully controlled from Washington and would do anything to please Obama administration.
Notable quotes:
"... "He said that Ukraine was a corrupt country, full of 'terrible people.' He said they 'tried to take me down.' ..."
Oct 22, 2019 | www.buzzfeednews.com

"Second, in May of this year, I became concerned that a negative narrative about Ukraine, fueled by assertions made by Ukraine's departing Prosecutor General, was reaching the President of the United States, and impeding our ability to support the new Ukrainian government as robustly as I believed we should."

"Fifth and finally, I strongly supported the provision of U.S. security assistance, including lethal defensive weapons, to Ukraine throughout my tenure."

...While Volker said Biden did not come up explicitly in his conversations, he made a point of defending the former vice president in his remarks. "I have known former Vice President Biden for 24 years, and the suggestion that he would be influenced in his duties as Vice President by money for his son simply has no credibility to me," he wrote. "I know him as a man of integrity and dedication to our country."

... ... ...

Volker also testified that while he was aware that the Trump administration had put a hold on needed military aid to Ukraine at the same time that he was connecting Giuliani with Zelensky's government, "I did not perceive these issues to be linked in any way."

Volker said that "no reason was given" for the holdup, but it concerned him; he "stressed" to staff at the State Department, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council that the aid was vital to Ukraine's security, "deterrence of Russian aggression," and Ukraine's relationship with the US.

"That said, I was not overly concerned about the development because I believed the decision would ultimately be reversed," Volker told Congress, citing the "unanimous position" of Congress, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the NSC in favor of restoring the aid. "I knew it would just be a matter of time."

...On his contacts with Rudy Giuliani, Volker said he became aware early this year about "an emerging, negative narrative about Ukraine in the United States, fueled by accusations made by the then–prosecutor general of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko, that some Ukrainian citizens may have sought to influence" the 2016 presidential election in the US, "including by passing information that was detrimental to" Trump, which they hoped would reach Hillary Clinton's campaign.

"I believed that these accusations by Mr. Lutsenko were themselves self-serving, intended to make himself appear valuable to the United States, so that the United States might weigh in against his being removed from office by the new government," Volker said.

...Volker told Congress that he learned in May this year that Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to look into the unsubstantiated allegations that Biden had used his position as vice president to benefit his son Hunter Biden. Volker said he contacted Giuliani to say that Lutsenko was not credible -- Volker said they had a brief phone call, but didn't say how Giuliani responded. Giuliani later canceled his trip. Volker noted that Giuliani claimed at the time that Zelensky was surrounded "by enemies of the United States," a sentiment that Volker said he "fundamentally disagreed" with.

...Giuliani came up repeatedly in Volker's conversations with Zelensky and the Ukrainian president's administration. Volker said he had a private conversation with Zelensky in early July, and told Zelensky that a "negative view" of Ukraine -- one that Giuliani held -- was "likely making its way to" Trump. A week later, Volker met with Yermak, the Zelensky aide, who asked to be connected to Giuliani.

...

Volker also testified to Congress that he met with Trump in May and suggested that the president invite Zelensky to the White House, arguing Zelensky could help clean up corruption in Ukraine. But Volker said that Trump was "very skeptical" of Zelensky at the time.

"He said that Ukraine was a corrupt country, full of 'terrible people.' He said they 'tried to take me down.' In the course of that conversation, he referenced conversations with Mayor Giuliani," Volker said. "It was clear to me that despite the positive news and recommendations being conveyed by this official delegation about the new President, President Trump had a deeply rooted negative view on Ukraine rooted in the past. He was clearly receiving other information from other sources, including Mayor Giuliani, that was more negative, causing him to retain this negative view."

[Oct 22, 2019] Birds of the feather. In a sense William Taylor participation in Ukrainegate is just a top, the final accord of his long carrier as a color revolution specialist.

Michael McFaul was the key person in failed "white color revolution in Russia in 2011-2012 designed to prevent reelection of Putin. h was recalled soon after Putin elections. So his praise instantly suggests that the other person might be a color revolution specialist as well
In this sense his participation in Ukrainegate is just a top of his long carier as colore revolution specialist. Ukrainegate does looks like the second Maydan.
Oct 22, 2019 | www.buzzfeednews.com
Michael McFaul, who served as the US ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, called Taylor, who he's known for three decades, "just a consummate public servant."

"I do remember when he was ambassador to Ukraine he saw the bigness of the moment -- this is well before Russia annexed Crimea and went into Donbass -- that fighting for sovereignty for Ukraine and democracy and anti-corruption, he was very committed to that," McFaul said.

[Oct 21, 2019] Winners Losers In The Failed American Project For A 'New Middle East'

Notable quotes:
"... During this period of Trump's ruling, the Middle East became a huge warehouse of advanced weapons from varied sources. Every single country (and some non-state actors) has armed drones -- and some even have precision and cruise missiles. But superiority in armaments by itself counts for very little, and its very balance is not enough to shift the weight to one side or another. Even the poorest country, Yemen, has done significant damage to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a country highly equipped, militarily, and with the most modern US hardware in the Middle East. ..."
"... Trump's move offered an unexpected victory to Damascus . The Syrian government is now slowly recovering its most important source of food, agriculture and energy. North-East Syria represents a quarter of the country's geography. ..."
"... Assad trusts that Russia will succeed in halting the Turkish advance and reduce its consequences, perhaps by asking the Kurds to pull back to a 30 km distance from the Turkish borders to satisfy President Erdogan's anxiety. That could also fit the Turkish-Syrian 1998 Adana agreement (5 km buffer zone rather than 30 km) and offer tranquillity to all parties involved. ..."
"... Moscow mediated between the Syrian Kurds and the central government in Damascus even when these had been under US control for years. Putin behaved wisely with Israel even when he accused Tel Aviv of provoking the killing of his officers, and stayed relatively neutral in relation to the Iran-Israel struggle. ..."
"... On the other hand, Tel Aviv never thought Syria would be reunited . Today Damascus has armed drones, precision and cruise missiles from Iran, supersonic anti-ship Russian missiles -- and has survived the destruction of its infrastructure and so many years of war. ..."
"... Israel has lost the prospect of a Kurdish state (Rojava) as an ally ..."
"... Israel now has to deal with the Russian presence in the Middle East and bear the consequences of the victory achieved by Assad, the Russians, and the Iranians. ..."
"... After the Kurds, Israel is the second biggest loser- even if it has suffered no financial damage and no Israeli lives have been lost in combat. ..."
Oct 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Winners & Losers In The Failed American Project For A 'New Middle East' by Tyler Durden Sun, 10/20/2019 - 22:55 0 SHARES

Authored by Elijah Magnier, Middle East based chief international war correspondent for Al Rai Media

The United States of America emerged victorious from the Second World War, and came out stronger than any other country in the world. The allies- notably the Soviet Union- won the war but emerged much weaker.

They needed to reconstruct their countries and rebuild their economies, with the US demanding huge retrospective payments for its support. The US became a superpower with nuclear bomb capability and an imposing power of dominance. Industrial countries rebuilt in what the Germans called their Wirtschaftswunder and the French les Trentes Glorieuses , the thirty years of post-war prosperity. Meanwhile the US leveraged its prosperity to spread its hegemony around the world.

US power was enhanced with the beginning of Perestroika and after the fall of the Soviet Union. In the new millennium the US establishment declared the " War on Terror " as justification to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, while attempting to subdue Hezbollah in Lebanon, changing the régime in Libya and attempting to destroy Syria, all with the goal of reshuffling and forming a " New Middle East " .

In the Levant, the US has dramatically failed to reach its objectives, but it has succeeded in waking Russia from its long hibernation , to challenge the US unilateral hegemony of the world and to develop new forms of alliance.

Iran has also challenged the US hegemony incrementally since the 1979 "Islamic Revolution". Iran has planned meticulously, and patiently built a chain of allies connecting different parts of the Middle East. Now, after 37 years, Iran can boast a necklace of robust allies in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan - who are all ready, if necessary, to take up arms to defend Iran.

Iran, in fact, has greatly benefited from US mistakes. Through its lack of understanding of populations and leaders around the world, it has universally failed to win "hearts and minds" in every Middle Eastern country where it imposed itself as a potential ally. The arrival of President Donald Trump to power helped US allies and the anti-US camp to discover, together, the limits and reach of US sanctions .

Russia and China took the lead in offering a new, softer model of an alliance , which apparently does not aim to impose another kind of hegemony. The offer of an economic alliance and partnership is especially attractive to those who have tasted US hegemony and wish to liberate themselves from it by means of a more balanced alternative.

During this period of Trump's ruling, the Middle East became a huge warehouse of advanced weapons from varied sources. Every single country (and some non-state actors) has armed drones -- and some even have precision and cruise missiles. But superiority in armaments by itself counts for very little, and its very balance is not enough to shift the weight to one side or another. Even the poorest country, Yemen, has done significant damage to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a country highly equipped, militarily, and with the most modern US hardware in the Middle East.

US President Trump was informed about the evident failure to change the régime in Syria and the equal impossibility of dislodging Iran from the Levant. He most probably aimed to avoid the loss of lives and therefore decided to abandon the country that his forces have occupied for the past few years. Nonetheless, his sudden withdrawal, even if so far it is partial (because he says, a small unit will remain behind at al-Tanf, to no strategic benefit since al-Qaem border crossing is now operational) – came as a shock to his Kurdish and Israeli allies. Trump proved his readiness to abandon his closest friends & enemies overnight.

Based on the 2006 proposed plan to redrawn the borders of the Middle East by retired Army lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters, which he referenced as "blood borders".

Trump's move offered an unexpected victory to Damascus . The Syrian government is now slowly recovering its most important source of food, agriculture and energy. North-East Syria represents a quarter of the country's geography. The northern provinces have exceptional wealth in water, electricity dams, oil, gas and food. President Trump has restored it to President Bashar al-Assad. This will also serve Trump's forthcoming election campaign.

Assad trusts that Russia will succeed in halting the Turkish advance and reduce its consequences, perhaps by asking the Kurds to pull back to a 30 km distance from the Turkish borders to satisfy President Erdogan's anxiety. That could also fit the Turkish-Syrian 1998 Adana agreement (5 km buffer zone rather than 30 km) and offer tranquillity to all parties involved. Turkey wants to make sure the Kurdish YPG, the PKK Syrian branch, is disarmed and contained. Nothing seems difficult for Russia to manage, particularly when the most difficult objective has already been graciously offered: the US forces' withdrawal.

President Assad will be delighted to trim the Kurds' nails. The Kurds offered Afrin to Turkey to prevent the Syrian government forces controlling it. The Kurds, in exchange for the State of their dreams (Rojava), supported US occupation and Syria's enemy, Israel. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu bombed hundreds of targets in Syria, preferring ISIS to dominate the country and pushing Trump to give him the Syrian-occupied Golan Heights as a gift- although the US has no authority over this Syrian territory.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians were killed, millions of refugees were driven from their homes and hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on destroying Syria. Nonetheless, the Syrian state and President Assad have prevailed. Notwithstanding the consequences of the war, Arab and Gulf countries are eager to return to Syria and participate in reconstruction. Whoever rules Syria, the attempt to destroy the Syrian state and change the existing régime has failed.

Russia is one of the most successful players here, on numerous fronts, and is now in a position President Putin could only have dreamed about before 2015 . Numerous analysts and think tanks predicted Moscow would sink into the Syrian quagmire, and they mocked its arsenal. They were all wrong. Russia learned its lesson from the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. It offered air and missile coverage and brilliantly cooperated with Iran and its allies as ground forces.

President Putin skillfully managed the Syrian war, striking a balance and creating good ties with Turkey, a NATO ally- even after the downing of his jet by Ankara in 2015. Russia wanted to collaborate with the US but was faced with an administration with persistent "Red-Soviet" phobia. Moscow proceeded without Washington to solve the Syrian war and defeat the jihadists who had flocked to the country with support from the West (via Turkey and Jordan) from all over the world.

Russia showed off its new arsenal and managed to sell a lot of its weapons. It has trained its Air Force using real battle scenarios, fought alongside the Syrian and Iranian armies, and a non-state actor (Hezbollah). It defeated ISIS and al-Qaeda 40 years after its defeat in Afghanistan. President Putin has distinguished himself as a trustworthy partner and ally, unlike Trump- who abandoned the Kurds, and who blackmails even his closest ally (Saudi Arabia).

Russia imposed the Astana process instead of Geneva for peace talks, it offered countries to use their local currencies for commerce rather than the dollar, and it is dealing pragmatically with Iran and Saudi Arabia, and with Assad and Erdogan. The Americans, by their recklessness, showed themselves incapable of diplomacy.

Moscow mediated between the Syrian Kurds and the central government in Damascus even when these had been under US control for years. Putin behaved wisely with Israel even when he accused Tel Aviv of provoking the killing of his officers, and stayed relatively neutral in relation to the Iran-Israel struggle.

On the other hand, Tel Aviv never thought Syria would be reunited . Today Damascus has armed drones, precision and cruise missiles from Iran, supersonic anti-ship Russian missiles -- and has survived the destruction of its infrastructure and so many years of war.

Israel has lost the prospect of a Kurdish state (Rojava) as an ally. This dream has gone now for many decades to come and with it the partition of Syria and Iraq. The "Deal of the Century" makes no sense anymore and the non-aggression deal with the Arab states is a mirage. Everything that Trump's close advisor, Prime Minister Netanyahu, wanted has lost its meaning, and Israel now has to deal with the Russian presence in the Middle East and bear the consequences of the victory achieved by Assad, the Russians, and the Iranians.

After the Kurds, Israel is the second biggest loser- even if it has suffered no financial damage and no Israeli lives have been lost in combat.

Netanyahu's ambitions can no longer be used in his election scenario. Israel needs to prepare for living next door to Assad , who will certainly want back Syria's Golan- a priority for Damascus to tackle once domestic reconstruction is on its way. He has been preparing the local resistance for years, for the day when Syria will recover this territory.

[Oct 20, 2019] New York Times Fakes The Record About Arming The Syrian Rebels

Oct 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

New York Times Fakes The Record About Arming The Syrian Rebels

History as faked by the New York Times :

Kurds' Sense of Betrayal Compounded by Empowerment of Unsavory Rivals
Ben Hubbard, David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT 18. Oct 2019

Now, [..] the sense of betrayal among the Kurds [..] is matched only by their outrage at who will move in: Turkish soldiers supported by Syrian fighters the United States had long rejected as extremists, criminals and thugs .
...
The deadly battles [..] have also given new leeway to Syrian fighters once considered too extreme or unruly to receive American military support.
...
Grandly misnamed the Syrian National Army, this coalition of Turkish-backed militias is in fact largely composed of the dregs of the eight-year-old conflict's failed rebel movement.

Early in the war [..] the military and the C.I.A. sought to train and equip moderate, trustworthy rebels to fight the government and the Islamic State.

A few of those now fighting in the northeast took part in those failed programs, but most were rejected as too extreme or too criminal . Some have expressed extremist sensibilities or allied with jihadist groups.

The reality is the opposite of what the NYT claims. The majority of the groups now fighting with the Turkish army had earlier received support from the U.S. Even their nominal leader is the same one who the U.S. earlier paid, armed and promoted.

COMPONENTS OF THE NATIONAL ARMY AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE UNIFICATION
Ömer Özkizilcik, SETA, October 2019

On August 31, the Syrian National Coalition came together and elected the president and the cabinet of the Syrian Interim Government in which Abdurrahman Mustafa was elected president and Salim Idriss was elected defense minister . With the new cabinet, the Syrian Interim Government became more active on the ground, started visiting each faction of the National Army, and accelerated the stalled negotiations to unite the National Army and the NLF under one command.
Salim Idriss with U.S. Senator John McCain

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Salim Idriss with Guy Verhofstadt, then leader of the ALDE group in the European Parliament

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Among the 41 factions that joined the merger, 15 are from the NLF and 26 from the National Army. Thirteen of these factions were formed after the United States cut its support to the armed Syrian opposition. Out of the 28 factions, 21 were previously supported by the United States , three of them via the Pentagon's program to combat DAESH. Eighteen of these factions were supplied by the CIA via the MOM Operations Room in Turkey, a joint intelligence operation room of the 'Friends of Syria' to support the armed opposition. Fourteen factions of the 28 were also recipients of the U.S.-supplied TOW anti-tank guided missiles.

The SETA study provides a detailed list of the groups involved in the current Turkish invasion of Syria. Not only is their commander Salim Idriss a former U.S. stooge but the majority of these groups did receive U.S. support and weapons.


bigger

The New York Times claim that only "a few of those" who now fight the YPG Kurds took part in the U.S. programs is a blatant lie.

The NYT piece quotes three 'experts' who testify that the 'rebels' the U.S. had armed are really, really bad:

"These are the misfits of the conflict, the worst of the worst," said Hassan Hassan, a Syrian-born scholar tracking the fighting. "They have been notorious for extortion, theft and banditry, more like thugs than rebels -- essentially mercenaries."

It was Hassan Hassan who since the start of the conflict lobbied for arming the rebels from his perch at the UAE's media flagship The National .

Another 'expert' quoted is the Israeli propagandist Elizabeth Tsurkov:

"They are basically gangsters, but they are also racist toward Kurds and other minorities," said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. "No human should be subjected to their rule."

Tsurkov earlier lauded the Israeli hiring and arming of the very same 'Syrian rebels'.

Another 'expert' quoted by the Times is a co-chair of the 'congressionally sponsored bipartisan Syrian Study Group':

"We are turning areas that had been controlled by our allies over to the control of criminals or thugs, or that in some cases groups were associated or fighting alongside Al Qaeda," said Ms. Stroul, of the Syrian Study Group. "It is a profound and epic strategic blunder."

The 'Syrian Study Group' wants to prolong the war on Syria. Ms. Stroul and her co-chair Michael Singh reside at the Washington Institute which is a part of the Zionist lobby and has long argued for 'arming the Syrian rebels'.

The Times report does not mention that the 'experts' it quotes all once lobbied for arming the very same groups they are now lamenting about. When these groups ran rampant in the areas they took from the Syrian government the Times and its 'experts' were lauding them all the way. No effort to support them was big enough. All crimes they committed were covered up or excused.

Now, as the very same rebels attack the Kurds, they are suddenly called out for being what they always have been.

Posted by b on October 20, 2019 at 11:19 UTC | Permalink


Richard , Oct 20 2019 11:46 utc | 1

Hah! More lies from the NYT....mainstream media in the west has deteriorated into a propaganda channel for the Military Industrial Complex and the oligarchy, pumping out a never ending tide of lying filth aimed at more and more war (more and more weapon sales) and promoting and preserving predatory capitalism (more money for the Billionaire class, less for you).

In my own reading of MSM press and my own watching of the MSM Talking Heads I believe I've indentified 8 techniques that amoral, dangerous, barely competent idiots that have the cheek to call themselves journalists use to lie to you, the reader/viewer/listener. Here's my list...

https://richardhennerley.com/2018/10/16/8-techniques-journalists-use-to-lie-to-you/

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Oct 20 2019 12:12 utc | 2
Okay how practical.
Now only is the NYT trying to whitewash themselves by faking, they are also kind enough to do the same for their Jihadi lovin partners in crime.
How empathic! How sensible! Like a true moral authority.

BTW: It seems my previous claims were right. The Turks made a 180 and allied with the US again, reviving the NATO allaince. Now that the Kurds are out of the way in Turk-US relations, US and NATO has much more to offer than Russia, and noe Erdogan has support from NATO and will not be deterred by Putin.
B, i respect you immensly, but your belief the Turkish invasion was Erdogan doing some secret Putin plan was unproven at the time, and now, AT LEAST since the US-Turk deal, is obsolte.
Read M. K. BHADRAKUMARs blog, he thought like you, but after the US-Turk deal, EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED:

https://indianpunchline.com/us-stokes-the-fires-of-turkish-revanchism/


"The extraordinary US overture to Turkey regarding northern Syria resulted in a joint statement on Thursday, whose ramifications can be rated only in the fulness of time , as several intersecting tracks are running.

The US objectives range from Trump's compulsions in domestic politics to the future trajectory of the US policies toward Syria and the impact of any US-Turkish rapprochement on the geopolitics of the Syrian conflict.

Meanwhile, the US-Turkish joint statement creates new uncertainties. The two countries have agreed on a set of principles -- Turkey's crucial status as a NATO power ; security of Christian minorities in Syria; prevention of an ISIS surge; creation of a "safe zone" on Turkish-Syrian border; a 120-hour ceasefire ("pause") in Turkish military operations leading to a permanent halt, hopefully.

The devil lies in the details. Principally, there is no transparency regarding the future US role in Syria . The Kurds and the US military will withdraw from the 30-kilometre broad buffer zone. What thereafter? In the words of the US Vice-President Mike Pence at the press conference in Ankara on Thursday,

"Kurdish population in Syria, with which we have a strong relationship, will continue to endure. The United States will always be grateful for our partnership with SDF in defeating ISIS, but we recognise the importance and the value of a safe zone to create a buffer between Syria proper and the Kurdish population and -- and the Turkish border. And we're going to be working very closely ."

To be sure, everything devolves upon the creation of the safe zone. Turkey envisages a zone stretching across the entire 440 kilometre border with Syria upto Iraqi border, while the US special envoy James Jeffrey remains non-committal, saying it is up to the "Russians and the Syrians in other areas of the northeast and in Manbij to the west of the Euphrates" to agree to Turkey's maximalist stance.

Herein lies the rub. Jeffrey would know Ankara will never get its way with Moscow and Damascus. In fact, President Bashar al-Assad told in unequivocal terms to a high-level Russian delegation visiting Damascus on Friday, "At the current phase it is necessary to focus on putting an end to aggression and on the pullout of all Turkish, US and other forces illegally present in Syrian territories."

Is there daylight between Moscow and Damascus on this highly sensitive issue? Turkish President Recep Erdogan's forthcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on October 22 may provide an answer.

Clearly, the US hopes wrench Turkey from the Russian embrace. Moscow's studied indifference toward the US-Turkish cogitations betrays its uneasiness. Conceivably, Erdogan will expect Putin to take a holistic view, considering Russia's flourishing and high lucrative economic and military ties with Turkey and the imperative to preserve the momentum of Russia-Turkey relationship.

If the US policy in Syria in recent years promoted the Kurdish identity, it has now swung to the other extreme of stoking the fires of Turkish revanchism. This is potentially catastrophic for regional stability. The heart of the matter is that while Turkey's concerns over terrorism and the refugee problem are legitimate, Operation Peace Spring has deeper moorings: Turkey's ambitions as regional power and its will to correct the perceived injustice of territorial losses incurred during the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. The ultra-nationalistic Turkish commentator (and staunch supporter of Erdogan) wrote this week in the pro-government daily Yeni Safak:

"Turkey once again revived the millennium-old political history on Anatolian territory. It took action with a mission that will carry the legacy of the Seljuks, the Ottomans, the Republic of Turkey to the next stage It is not possible to set an equation in this region by excluding Turkey – it will not happen. A map cannot be drawn that excludes Turkey – it will not happen. A power cannot be established without Turkey – it will not happen. Throughout history, both the rise and fall of this country has altered the region the mind in Turkey is now a regional mind, a regional conscience, a regional identity. President Erdoğan is the pioneer, the bearer of that political legacy from the Seljuks, the Ottomans, and the Turkish Republic to the future."

Trump is unlikely to pay attention to the irredentist instincts in Turkish regional policies. Trump's immediate concerns are to please the evangelical Christian constituency in the US and silence his critics who allege that he threw the Kurds under the bus or that a ISIS resurgence is imminent. But there is no way the US can deliver on the tall promises made in the joint statement. The Kurds have influential friends in the Pentagon. (See the article by Gen. Joseph Votel, former chief of the US Central Command, titled The Danger of Abandoning our Partners.) Nonetheless, the main outcome will be that Turkey feels it has western support for its long-term occupation of Syrian territory.

All in all, it's a "win-win" for Erdogan insofar as he got what he wanted -- US' political and diplomatic support for "the kind of long-term buffer zone that will ensure peace and stability in the region", to borrow the words of Vice President Pence. A Turkish withdrawal from Syrian territory can now be virtually ruled out. State secretary Mike Pompeo added at the press conference in Ankara on Thursday that there is "a great deal of work to do in the region. There's lots of challenges that remain."
Pompeo said Erdogan's "decision to work alongside President Trump will be one that I think will benefit Turkey a great deal." Arguably, US expects Turkey's cooperation to strengthen its strategy in Syria (and Iraq) where it seeks to contain Iran's influence. From Ankara, Pompeo travelled to Jerusalem to brief Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. "

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Oct 20 2019 12:16 utc | 3
Add to that, that the Turks now threaten SAA with "full out war".

John Helmers latest post sheds light on the fact, that the Russian military leadership and the Stavka in general has warned Putin since the Idlib deal again and again to no avail that the Turks would do this.
Which seems now to have been proven true since the US-Turk deal, which in essence changed everything overnight.

http://johnhelmer.net/in-the-war-for-syrias-highway-m4-the-kremlin-turks-have-been-beaten-to-the-punch-by-the-russian-general-staff-foreign-ministry-for-the-moment/

oldhippie , Oct 20 2019 12:21 utc | 4
As the extremity of propaganda in mainstream news becomes more obvious a few American consumers of news do begin to have doubts. Most continue to be entirely uncritical. The barflies here are in the habit of being critical, analytic, skeptical when reading any news from any source. That is not the American way.

The cohort of educated prosperous middle class readers of the NYT has total faith in NYT. Having the paper edition on the doorstep in the morning is a badge of membership. A totem that gives them status. Questioning any word or phrase or clause that appears in print is wrong. Asking questions means something is wrong with you. The Times is never wrong. Those who doubt the Times have mental health issues. Or they are alt-right. Or they are deplorable. For the intended audience the propaganda feed is always completely effective. Readers of the Times will never untie the knot.

[Oct 20, 2019] The Deep State Goes Shallow 2.0 by Edward Curtin

Notable quotes:
"... It was the Obama administration who engineered the 2014 right-wing, Neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine as part of its agenda to undermine Russia. A neo-liberal/neo-conservative agenda. This is, or should be, common knowledge. Obama put it in his typically slick way in a 2015 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakiria, saying that the United States "had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine." ..."
"... This is Orwellian language at its finest, from a warmonger who received the Nobel Prize for Peace while declaring he was in support of war. That the forces that have initiated a new and highly dangerous Cold War, a nuclear confrontation with Russia, demonized Vladimir Putin, and have overthrown the elected leader of a country allied with Russia on its western border, dares from the day he was elected in 2016 to remove its own president in the most obvious ways imaginable seems like bad fiction. But it is fact, and the fact that so many Americans approve of it is even more fantastic. ..."
"... It is well known that the United States is infamous for engineering coups against democratically elected governments worldwide. Voters' preferences are considered beside the point. Iran and Mosaddegh in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Indonesia and Sukarno in 1965-7, Allende in Chile in 1973, to name a few from the relatively distant past. ..."
"... Recently the Obama administration worked their handiwork in Honduras and Ukraine. It would not be hyperbolic to say that overthrowing democratic governments is as American as apple pie. It's our "democratic" tradition – like waging war. ..."
"... What is less well known is that elements within the U.S. ruling power elites have also overthrown democratically elected governments in the United States. One U.S. president, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated because he had turned toward peace and opposed the forces of war within his own government. He is the lone example of a president who therefore was opposed by all the forces of imperial conquest within the ruling elites. ..."
"... Others, despite their backing for the elite deep state's imperial wars, were taken out for various reasons by competing factions within the shadow government. Nixon waged the war against Vietnam for so long on behalf of the military-industrial complex, but he was still taken down by the CIA, contrary to popular mythology about Watergate. ..."
"... Jimmy Carter was front man for the Tri-Lateral Commission's deep-state faction, but was removed by the group represented by George H. Bush, William Casey, and Reagan through their traitorous actions involving the Iran hostages. ..."
"... Obama, CIA groomed, was smoothly moved into power by the faction that felt Bush needed to be succeeded by a slick smiling assassin who symbolized "diversity," could speak well, and played hoops. ..."
"... Take your pick – heads or tails. Hillary Clinton was expected to complete the trinity. ..."
"... The day after his surprise election, the interlocking circles of power that run the show in sun and shadows – what C. Wright Mills long ago termed the Power Elite – met to overthrow him, or at least to render him more controllable. ..."
"... Trump, probably never having expected to win and as shocked as most people when he did, made some crucial mistakes before the election and before taking office. Some of those mistakes have continued since his inauguration ..."
"... Trump's fatal mistake was saying that he wanted to get along with Russia, that Putin was a good leader, and that he wanted to end the war against Syria and pull the U.S. back from foreign wars ..."
"... This was verboten. And when he said nuclear war was absurd and would only result in nuclear conflagration, he had crossed the Rubicon. That sealed his fate ..."
"... "Only the shallow know themselves," said Oscar Wilde. ..."
"... ...The first step in dealing with this is to combat ignorance and misinformation. There may not be one undeniable truth but we can certainly squash blatant mis-truths. ..."
"... If you read Professor Antony C Sutton's books about Wall Street, the Bolshevik Revolution and Hitlers rise to power, it is possible, as Sutton did, to examine the methodology, ideology and psychology of the string pullers in depth. For exposing them, Hutton was as he said " persecuted but not prosecuted ". ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

This article was first published on February 21, 2017, one month after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, more than two-and-a half years ago. What was true then is even truer now, and so I am reprinting it with this brief introduction since I think it describes what is happening in plain sight today.

Now that years of Russia-gate accusations have finally fallen apart, those forces intent on driving Trump from office have had to find another pretext. Now it is Ukraine-gate, an issue similar in many ways to Russia-gate in that both were set into motion by the same forces aligned with the Democratic Party and the CIA-led Obama administration.

It was the Obama administration who engineered the 2014 right-wing, Neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine as part of its agenda to undermine Russia. A neo-liberal/neo-conservative agenda. This is, or should be, common knowledge. Obama put it in his typically slick way in a 2015 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakiria, saying that the United States "had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine."

This is Orwellian language at its finest, from a warmonger who received the Nobel Prize for Peace while declaring he was in support of war. That the forces that have initiated a new and highly dangerous Cold War, a nuclear confrontation with Russia, demonized Vladimir Putin, and have overthrown the elected leader of a country allied with Russia on its western border, dares from the day he was elected in 2016 to remove its own president in the most obvious ways imaginable seems like bad fiction. But it is fact, and the fact that so many Americans approve of it is even more fantastic.

Over the past few years the public has heard even more about the so-called "deep state," only to see its methods of propaganda become even more perversely cynical in their shallowness.

No one needs to support the vile Trump to understand that the United States is undergoing a fundamental shift wherein tens of millions of Americans who say they believe in democracy support the activities of gangsters who operate out in the open with their efforts to oust an elected president.

We have crossed the Rubicon and there will be no going back.

In irony a man annihilates what he posits within one and the same act; he leads us to believe in order not to be believed; he affirms to deny and denies to affirm; he creates a positive object but it has no being other than its nothingness."
Jean-Paul Sartre

It is well known that the United States is infamous for engineering coups against democratically elected governments worldwide. Voters' preferences are considered beside the point. Iran and Mosaddegh in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Indonesia and Sukarno in 1965-7, Allende in Chile in 1973, to name a few from the relatively distant past.

Recently the Obama administration worked their handiwork in Honduras and Ukraine. It would not be hyperbolic to say that overthrowing democratic governments is as American as apple pie. It's our "democratic" tradition – like waging war.

What is less well known is that elements within the U.S. ruling power elites have also overthrown democratically elected governments in the United States. One U.S. president, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated because he had turned toward peace and opposed the forces of war within his own government. He is the lone example of a president who therefore was opposed by all the forces of imperial conquest within the ruling elites.

Others, despite their backing for the elite deep state's imperial wars, were taken out for various reasons by competing factions within the shadow government. Nixon waged the war against Vietnam for so long on behalf of the military-industrial complex, but he was still taken down by the CIA, contrary to popular mythology about Watergate.

Jimmy Carter was front man for the Tri-Lateral Commission's deep-state faction, but was removed by the group represented by George H. Bush, William Casey, and Reagan through their traitorous actions involving the Iran hostages.

The emcee for the neo-liberal agenda, Bill Clinton, was rendered politically impotent via the Lewinsky affair, a matter never fully investigated by any media.

Obama, CIA groomed, was smoothly moved into power by the faction that felt Bush needed to be succeeded by a slick smiling assassin who symbolized "diversity," could speak well, and played hoops. Hit them with the right hand; hit them with the left. Same coin: Take your pick – heads or tails. Hillary Clinton was expected to complete the trinity.

But surprises happen, and now we have Trump, who is suffering the same fate – albeit at an exponentially faster rate – as his predecessors that failed to follow the complete script. The day after his surprise election, the interlocking circles of power that run the show in sun and shadows – what C. Wright Mills long ago termed the Power Elite – met to overthrow him, or at least to render him more controllable.

These efforts, run out of interconnected power centers, including the liberal corporate legal boardrooms that were the backers of Obama and Hillary Clinton, had no compunction in planning the overthrow of a legally elected president.

Soon they were joined by their conservative conspirators in doing the necessary work of "democracy" – making certain that only one of their hand-picked and anointed henchmen was at the helm of state. Of course, the intelligence agencies coordinated their efforts and their media scribes wrote the cover stories. The pink Pussyhats took to the streets. The deep state was working overtime.

Trump, probably never having expected to win and as shocked as most people when he did, made some crucial mistakes before the election and before taking office. Some of those mistakes have continued since his inauguration.

Not his derogatory remarks about minorities, immigrants, or women. Not his promise to cut corporate taxes, support energy companies, oppose strict environmental standards. Not his slogan to "make America great again." Not his promise to build a "wall" along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. Not his vow to deport immigrants. Not his anti-Muslim pledges. Not his insistence that NATO countries contribute more to NATO's "defense" of their own countries. Not even his crude rantings and Tweets and his hypersensitive defensiveness. Not his reality-TV celebrity status, his eponymous golden tower and palatial hotels and sundry real estate holdings. Not his orange hair and often comical and disturbing demeanor, accentuated by his off the cuff speaking style.

Surely not his massive wealth.

While much of this was viewed with dismay, it was generally acceptable to the power elites who transcend party lines and run the country. Offensive to hysterical liberal Democrats and traditional Republicans, all this about Trump could be tolerated, if only he would cooperate on the key issue.

Trump's fatal mistake was saying that he wanted to get along with Russia, that Putin was a good leader, and that he wanted to end the war against Syria and pull the U.S. back from foreign wars.

This was verboten. And when he said nuclear war was absurd and would only result in nuclear conflagration, he had crossed the Rubicon. That sealed his fate.

Misogyny, racism, support for Republican conservative positions on a host of issues – all fine. Opposing foreign wars, especially with Russia – not fine.

Now we have a reality-TV president and a reality-TV coup d'etat in prime time. Hidden in plain sight, the deep-state has gone shallow. What was once covert is now overt. Once it was necessary to blame a coup on a secretive "crazy lone assassin," Lee Harvey Oswald. But in this "post-modern" society of the spectacle, the manifest is latent; the obvious, non-obvious; what you see you don't see. Everyone knows those reality-TV shows aren't real, right?

It may seem like it is a coup against Trump in plain sight, but these shows are tricky, aren't they? He's the TV guy. He runs the show. He's the sorcerer's apprentice. He wants you to believe in the illusion of the obvious. He's the master media manipulator. You see it but don't believe it because you are so astute, while he is so blatant. He's brought it upon himself. He's bringing himself down. Everyone who knows, knows that.

I am reminded of being in a movie theatre in 1998, watching The Truman Show, about a guy who slowly "discovers" that he has been living in the bubble of a television show his whole life. At the end of the film he makes his "escape" through a door in the constructed dome that is the studio set.

The liberal audience in a very liberal town stood up and applauded Truman's dash to freedom. I was startled since I had never before heard an audience applaud in a movie theatre – and a standing ovation at that. I wondered what they were applauding. I quickly realized they were applauding themselves, their knowingness, their insider astuteness that Truman had finally caught on to what they already thought they knew. Now he would be free like they were. They couldn't be taken in; now he couldn't.

Except, of course, they were applauding an illusion, a film about being trapped in a reality-TV world, a world in which they stood in that theatre – their world, their frame. Frames within frames. Truman escapes from one fake frame into another – the movie. The joke was on them. The film had done its magic as its obvious content concealed its deeper truth: the spectator and the spectacle were wed. McLuhan was here right: the medium was the message.

This is what George Trow in 1980 called "the context of no context."

Candor as concealment, truth as lies, knowingness as stupidity. Making reality unreal in the service of an agenda that is so obvious it isn't, even as the cognoscenti applaud themselves for being so smart and in the know.

The more we hear about "the deep state" and begin to grasp its definition, the more we will have descended down the rabbit hole. Soon this "deep state" will be offering courses on what it is, how it operates, and why it must stay hidden while it "exposes" itself. Right-wing pundit Bill Kristol tweets:

Liberal CIA critic and JFK assassination researcher, Jefferson Morley, after defining the deep state, writes:

With a docile Republican majority in Congress and a demoralized Democratic Party in opposition, the leaders of the Deep State are the most – perhaps the only – credible check in Washington on what Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) calls Trump's "wrecking ball presidency."

These are men who ostensibly share different ideologies, yet agree, and state it publically, that the "deep state" should take out Trump. Both believe, without evidence, that the Russians intervened to try to get Trump elected. Therefore, both no doubt feel justified in openly espousing a coup d'etat. They match Trump's blatancy with their own. Nothing deep about this.

Liberals and conservatives are now publically allied in demonizing Putin and Russia, and supporting a very dangerous military confrontation initiated by Obama and championed by the defeated Hillary Clinton. In the past these opposed political factions accepted that they would rotate their titular leaders into and out of the White House, and whenever the need arose to depose one or the other, that business would be left to deep state forces to effect in secret and everyone would play dumb.

Now the game has changed. It's all "obvious." The deep state has seemingly gone shallow. Its supporters say so. All the smart people can see what's happening. Even when what's happening isn't really happening.

"Only the shallow know themselves," said Oscar Wilde.

Edward Curtin Edward Curtin writes, and his writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. He writes as a public intellectual for the general public, not as a specialist for a narrow readership. He believes a non-committal sociology is an impossibility and therefore sees all his work as an effort to enhance human freedom through understanding. His website is edwardcurtin.com


Frank Speaker

I remember this excellent piece the first time around. It's indeed even more pertinent today,
Martin Usher

...The first step in dealing with this is to combat ignorance and misinformation. There may not be one undeniable truth but we can certainly squash blatant mis-truths. This arena isn't just political -- our culture has a habit of reworking our past in a contemporary image and so subtly warping the lessons of history. Hollywood is a prime offender but then its no surprise to discover that the original master of propaganda, Goebbels, recognized that entertainment that pushed cultural values was a far more powerful tool for propaganda than the media that was, and still is, traditionally associated with propaganda.

John Deehan
If you read Professor Antony C Sutton's books about Wall Street, the Bolshevik Revolution and Hitlers rise to power, it is possible, as Sutton did, to examine the methodology, ideology and psychology of the string pullers in depth. For exposing them, Hutton was as he said " persecuted but not prosecuted ".
nottheonly1
Sadly though, an old wisdom brings itself into this ludicrous scenery. It also makes the comparison with the Truman show so apt. You can't fix stupid.

[Oct 20, 2019] Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americ

Notable quotes:
"... "Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it," she added. "That's nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary)." ..."
"... cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion a total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion production cuts for the F-35 -- a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the Government Accountability Office -- saving $17.7 billion a shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, to Medicare for All's annual budget. ..."
"... "The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding," wrote Data for Progress. ..."
Oct 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. For those of you who have friends and colleagues who would go on tilt if you tried educating them about MMT, a simpler approach to persuade them that Medicare for All is affordable is to sell them on another worthy goal, cutting the military-surveillance state down to size.

Even then, I still encourage you to set them up for a later conversation about MMT: "Even if you accept the idea that taxes pay for spending, which actually isn't true for the Federal government, we can still get the money for Medicare for All by ."

Note also that the Pentagon has various black budgets, an "official" one and covert ones.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All -- calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.

Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), took aim in a New York Times op-ed at a "chorus of scolds" from both sides of the aisle who say that raising middle class taxes is the only way to pay for Medicare for All. The pervasive claim was a primary focus of Tuesday night's debate, while Medicare for All proponents Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) attempted to focus on the dire need for a universal healthcare program.

At the Democratic presidential primary debate on CNN Tuesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was criticized by some opponents for saying that "costs will go down for hardworking, middle-class families" under Medicare for All, without using the word "taxes." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on the other hand, clearly stated that taxes may go up for some middle class families but pointed out that the increase would be more than offset by the fact that they'll no longer have to pay monthly premiums, deductibles, and other medical costs.

"All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag," wrote Koshgarian. "Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?"

"Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it," she added. "That's nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary)."

"While we can't un-spend that $4.9 trillion," Koshgarian continued, "imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years."

Koshgarian outlined a multitude of areas in which the U.S. government could shift more than $300 billion per year, currently used for military spending, to pay for a government-run healthcare program. Closing just half of U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion.

"What are we doing with that base in Aruba, anyway?" Koshgarian asked.

Other areas where IPS identified savings include:

"This item takes us well past our goal of saving $300 billion," Koshgarian wrote of the last item.

As Koshgarian published her op-ed in the Times , progressive think tank Data for Progress released its own report showing that a majority of Americans support a "progressive foreign policy" far less focused on decades-long on-the-ground wars, establishing military bases around the world, drone strikes, and arms sales.

"The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding," wrote Data for Progress.

"Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war," according to the report.

Polling more than 1,000 ppl with YouGov, Data for Progress found that 73 percent of Democratic primary voters ranked numerous issues -- including economic challenges and the climate -- as more important to them than national security and military funding.

Progressive national security proposals proved popular with respondents, including closing Guantanamo Bay, ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and leveraging military aid to Israel to force it to adopt better human rights policies toward Palestinians.

"There is a clear appetite for progressive reforms to U.S. foreign policy," wrote Data for Progress.

In her op-ed, Koshgarian acknowledged that remaking the U.S. military as a truly "defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes."

But, she wrote, "that's no excuse for continuing to spend hundreds of billions in ways that make our world more dangerous and deny us the ability to seriously invest in things like jobs, healthcare, education, and all that makes our lives better."


inode_buddha , October 18, 2019 at 4:39 am

I would love to see it, but I strongly doubt this would happen in my lifetime. The Pentagon budget seems to be one of those political "third rail" issues like Social Security.

Many people are so paranoid that I think it constitutes a mass hysteria; others are propagandized into 24×7 jingoism. I'm not talking concepts here, I deal with pro-military people almost daily. Its the glorifying and fetishizing of the military that bothers me.

Most if not all pro-military types are also deeply conservative; bring up *any* social program and they will wonder how to pay for it.

Kurt Sperry , October 18, 2019 at 7:26 am

I don't know, how many "third rail" type taboos has Trump danced on and become more popular because he did? I think the average voter would be *extremely* receptive to a well-crafted message promoting the redirection of resources away from forever foreign wars and bases to concrete material benefits for Americans. I don't even think it'd be a hard sell, once the pearls had been gathered up.

Michael , October 18, 2019 at 7:59 am

It was done before starting in 1990.
Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act.

An amazing process.

dcrane , October 18, 2019 at 5:13 am

What's so maddening about this question is the fact that we know that the military budget is probably much more than 750 billion per year, but we can never know how much more, because the government is expressly allowed to hide and even fake spending totals.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/secret-government-spending-779959/

GF , October 18, 2019 at 11:37 am

Here is an example of unbridled government spending and it is happening right this minute on wall street. It seems the military budget is chump change compared to this:
https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/10/feds-balance-sheet-spikes-by-253-billion-now-topping-4-trillion/

Sound of the Suburbs , October 18, 2019 at 5:42 am

Why do we worry about money more than anything else?
All money is easy; it comes out of nothing and is just numbers typed in at a keyboard.

Zimbabwe found it all too easy to create so much money they caused hyper-inflation.

Alan Greenspan tells Paul Ryan the Government can create all the money it wants and there is no need to save for pensions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNCZHAQnfGU

What matters is whether the goods and services are there for them to buy with that money, and this is where real wealth lies.

Governments can create all the money they want, but if they create too much you will get inflation, or hyper-inflation if they type in too many zero's when creating money.

Money has no intrinsic value; its value comes from what it can buy.

Banks create money from loans and that's easy too, just type the numbers in.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

They can dash wildly into the latest fad, like the dot.com boom, and finance it with money they create out of nothing.

What could possibly go wrong?

Bankers do need to ensure the vast majority of that money gets paid back, and this is where they keep falling flat on their faces.

Banking requires prudent lending, that is all there is to it.

If someone can't repay a loan, they need to repossess that asset and sell it to recoup that money. If they use bank loans to inflate asset prices they get into a world of trouble when those asset prices collapse.

"It's nearly $14 trillion pyramid of super leveraged toxic assets was built on the back of $1.4 trillion of US sub-prime loans, and dispersed throughout the world" All the Presidents Bankers, Nomi Prins.

When this little lot lost almost all its value overnight, the Western banking system became insolvent. Wall Street can turn a normal asset price bubble into something that will take out the global economy using leverage.

Bankers create money out of nothing and the monetary system requires that nearly all that money they loaned out gets paid back.

Bank credit is a claim on future prosperity, and when you realise all that debt can't be paid back, a financial black hole opens up, as it did in 2008.

When governments create too much money you tend to see it in consumer price inflation.
When banks create too much money you tend to see it in asset price inflation.

We see inflation in asset prices as good and consumer price inflation as bad.

The asset price boom will crash the economy, but no one realises while it's happening.

Sound of the Suburbs , October 18, 2019 at 5:43 am

Asset price inflation.
Financial assets are limited in supply.
Pour more money in and the price goes up.

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

1929 – Inflating the US stock market with debt (margin lending)
2008 – Inflating the US real estate market with debt (mortgage lending)

Bankers inflating asset prices with the money they create from loans.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

They believed in the markets and neoclassical economics in the 1920s and after 1929 they had to reassess everything. They had placed their faith in the markets and this had proved to be a catastrophic mistake.

This is why they stopped using the markets to judge the performance of the economy and came up with the GDP measure instead.

In the 1930s, they pondered over where all that wealth had gone to in 1929 and realised inflating asset prices doesn't create real wealth, they came up with the GDP measure to track real wealth creation in the economy.

The transfer of existing assets, like stocks and real estate, doesn't create real wealth and therefore does not add to GDP. The real wealth creation in the economy is measured by GDP.

Inflated asset prices aren't real wealth, and this can disappear almost over-night, as it did in 1929 and 2008.

Real wealth creation involves real work, producing new goods and services in the economy.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 10:03 am

Banking requires prudent lending, that is all there is to it. Sound of the Suburbs

100% private banks with 100% voluntary depositors means we (the general public) wouldn't have to give a flip if banks lent prudently or not since we would have an additional but risk-free payment system consisting of debit/checking accounts for all who want one at the Central Bank (or Treasury) itself.

Moreover without government privileges and without captive depositors and unable to hold the economy hostage via a SINGLE payment system that must work through them, you can rest assured that banks WOULD lend prudently or go under, like they should, if they don't.

So what is required is 100% private banks with 100% voluntary depositors and that situation has NEVER before existed in history so it cannot be said to have failed.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 10:31 am

When governments create too much money you tend to see it in consumer price inflation. Sound of the Suburbs

Because the DEMAND for fiat is suppressed in that only depository institutions may use it in the private sector.

Fix that injustice and eliminate all other privileges for banks and then government should be able to create much MORE fiat for the general welfare since banks would be much LESS able to create deposits for the private welfare of themselves and for the so-called "worthy" of what is, currently, the public's credit but for private gain.

Grayce , October 18, 2019 at 11:07 am

if they [governments] create too much you will get inflation
Is this true, or is it an economist's assumption? Here's the other thought:
Capitalism embraces borrowing for investment. Real estate development is an example. Borrowing involves an assumption of paying back more than was borrowed, but at a future date. When that future date arrives, it is in the borrower's best interest if the face value dollars are wroth less in spending power that the face value of the loan. You stated that, but the link to inflation is fuzzy.
Bank credit is a claim on future prosperity
Rather than the government's causality, and a nebulous prosperity, it may be the borrower's CFO who then decides to raise consumer prices to keep up with expenses. The borrowed dollars came from a banker-created asset, but the inflation is tied to a direct result similar to the so-called "wage-price spiral." In this case, the "interest-price spiral" that is not visibly tied to the supply of money.

Susan the other` , October 18, 2019 at 1:23 pm

I've got a new disconnect. I understand and appreciate how MMT works. It is the only way, imo, for a sovereign country to pay for the social costs of a good society. And, of course, the government does not charge itself interest, does not expect to be "paid back" at all. The tradeoff for the government is the betterment of society. So if your neighbor loans you $500 and you tell him you'll pay him back as soon as your check comes in and with some interest that seems fair bec. you're dealing with two private budgets. But when a licensed bank loans you money for a new house under the terms that you pay it back over 30 years with interests that amounts to triple the original cost of the house – then you are not dealing as one private person to another. You are then dealing with usury. Made legal by the private financial industry. This private industry does not use its own money – it uses the government's money by a computer click. And the government then lets it profiteer on this tiny transaction of apples and oranges to the degree that over time the money "earned" by the private bank accumulates and topples the steady state of the economy. At that point there's no place left to invest that "private" profit and the whole financial system goes haywire in a panic not to "lose" money. Money that should never have been given to them in the first place. It's an oxymoron – demanding that money be paid back with interest when it's not your money in the first place and you do nothing to stabilize your profligate profiteering. Nothing. Just a thought.

Synoia , October 18, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Zimbabwe found it all too easy to create so much money they caused hyper-inflation.

Yes, after destroying their Ag Industry, and having no Ag products to export, because Mugabe and his party assumed all the white farmers just sat around drinking beer while the dark farm workers did all the work.

After Mugabe took the land, there was no collateral for the farmers to get loans for the next planting season.

Who knew that managing the farm was so much work? /s

John k , October 18, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Inflation in Zimbabwe first came from shortages, especially food, as things looted rhe country of 4x and mismanaged the economy, like farm price controls under cost of production.
Historically shortages cause high inflation.

Burns , October 18, 2019 at 6:45 am

"In her op-ed, Koshgarian acknowledged that remaking the U.S. military as a truly 'defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes.'"

Interesting. Beyond cost cutting, what exactly would it take to remake the military into a true defense-based institution ? How would assets be deployed? What weapons systems would be prioritized and ultimately receive funding? What doctrines would need to change to flip from an offensive mindset to a defensive mindset? What alliances would we maintain and what alliances would we discard?

I see that the article offers some examples, but I think crafting a progressive foreign policy would entail answering these kinds of more fundamental military questions. Cost cutting is a laudable goal but it strikes me that there's much more to it if real transformation is desired.

Lord Koos , October 18, 2019 at 2:11 pm

aybe ask Russia – their military policy is based on defensive posture rather than offensive.

Arnold , October 18, 2019 at 7:09 am

As a civil servant working for the Department of Defense, I can tell you that this would be a difficult shift in priorities for Congress to accept. It all comes down to the defense industry political donations they receive year after year, and the jobs the defense industry provides their constituents (no matter how meager or sub-optimal). Since defense spending is basically this nation's sole industrial policy, I think that finding employment for displaced workers (whether defense civil servants or contractors) is the biggest hurdle to address; a green new deal would solve the problem. We'd also need political campaign reform to force Congress off of the teet of defense industry political contributions.

Phacops , October 18, 2019 at 8:12 am

Finding employment for displaced defense civil servants or contractors? We've done that before . . . we tell them to train for the jobs of the future as we did for manufacturing workers and leave it at that. The same goes for the parasites working in health insurance companies, pharmacy benefit management and healtcare administration when M4A becomes a reality.

I have no sympathy for those people nor care for their well being as they deliberately, and with malice aforethought, make life meaner for us all.

John Wright , October 18, 2019 at 9:27 am

I remember when the defense/aerospace industry collapsed in Southern California in the early 1970's as the Vietnam war was winding down.

Tech jobs were scarce.

The political sphere is well aware of potential job loss due to defense cutbacks.

I have mentioned before, the relatively liberal CA Senator Barbara Boxer fought to preserve Mare Island Naval Shipyard, in Vallejo, CA, when it was slated to be shut down in the 1990's.

One could suggest that Vallejo has not fully recovered.

It is a tragedy of immense proportions, as I believe a future historian will remark that the USA, a nation that in its 200 + year history had only one large deadly war on its soil (the internal Civil War), re-titled its WWII "War Department" as "Defense Department" and then consumed tremendous resources in its purported defense for the next 70+ years.

A recent discussion with someone, that I regard as a "Northern California Liberal", about Trump's pullout of Syria further re-enforced that the resistance to ANY change in the MIC in the USA is formidable.

He was sure that Trump would be deservedly impeached because he was pulling out of Syria and abandoning our allies, the Kurds.

And he is old enough to remember Vietnam.

The USA news media and entertainment industries (big sports/Hollywood) are fully on board with the righteous USA "war is good" meme.

Given how the USA economy has restructured much employment and lifelihoods in costly sectors (finance, education, medicine, military) it is difficult for me to see how there would be political will to downsize the military to any extent as "good paying" jobs of politically powerful people would be lost.

Many of the manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas.

It is far easier to "kick the can down the road".

Off The Street , October 18, 2019 at 11:21 am

There is some hope for policy redirection in the Administration's recent Turkey-Syria-Kurd action. If there really is a shift away from foreign nation building and away from endless wars over endless enmities, then that could lead to redirection and reduction of military budgets. Watching the defenders of those engagements fall all over themselves recently has reconfirmed my notion that they are not acting in the best interests of their constituents. Meanwhile, the sun rose today.

xformbykr , October 18, 2019 at 7:38 am

The current defense spending and growth of national debt
more or less "prove" the validity of MMT. This has supported the channeling of resources and energy into military activity (and profits for enterprizes). Something similar is happening with healthcare; maybe it's inelastic
demand. (The similar something is ever-increasing costs.)
Healthcare at the moment seems to be outside of
the scope of current uses of MMT. But there are major
cost-control issues with it nonethess.
In what direction will things head if healthcare is
swept under the government MMT umbrella in the form of medicare for all? Will the government negotiate prices
with providers (hospitals, staff, pharma)? Certainly military procurement is no leading light.

Steve Ruis , October 18, 2019 at 8:17 am

While cutting the bloated Pentagon's budget is a very good idea, why is no one talking about the fringe benefit that is employer provided healthcare? I do believe a sizable fraction of folks on private insurance (maybe 40%?) get their health coverage through a fringe benefit from their employer. If that coverage is no longer necessary under universal coverage, it seems contractually that the money spent on the fringe benefit should go to the employees. That money is enough to pay for their insurance under universal coverage, so the employer pays it to the employee, the government taxes part of that to pay for the universal healthcare and everyone is better off. The employee, due to savings in the system, ends up with more money in pocket. The employer is out from under the ever increasing costs of the fringe benefit (plus can now claim to be paying higher salaries), and, well, the insurance companies are left behind to pick up "expanded coverage" for those wanting to pay for it.

This and "defense" spending cuts could pay for the whole system easily, no?

NotTimothyGeithner , October 18, 2019 at 8:57 am

The relative value of small business based jobs would increase with a functional health care system. There would be an outflow of employees from jobs with healthcare benefits.

With single payer, looking for a less stressful job becomes an alternative. Big employers know this.

rd , October 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm

It also means people may retire earlier if they don't need their employer-provided health insurance.

Health insurance becomes a minor consideration in selecting which employer to work for.

Companies and state/local governments that provide health care coverage in retirement should see their liabilities for that plummet as healthcare costs drop and public insurance improves.

inode_buddha , October 18, 2019 at 10:11 am

What contract? Unless you're in a union you don't have one.

HotFlash , October 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

Medicare for all makes self-employment, gig employment, and starting/running a small business much less terrifying.

Grayce , October 18, 2019 at 12:14 pm

COULD employers give the surplus to employees?
Technically, yes.
WOULD employers give the surplus to employees?
Not in this age of activist stockholders seeking new sources of "revenue." Everywhere. Benefits are simply a "cost." Human Resources is a "cost center." Defined benefits that averaged out the risk among many have segued to defined contribution that is no more than a tax-abated savings account. Risk has monetary value, but risk invisibly is shifting more and more to the individual.

Jeffersonian , October 18, 2019 at 8:37 am

After the last Democratic debate, it is safe say anti-war Progressivism is dead. Everyone was frothing at the mouth to prove how much they care for the Kurds, and our nation's honor, and that we should stay in the ME. Except Tulsi, but her response fell flat with the audience, and judging by my Left friends/family on Facebook, fell flat with them too. Having the same position as Trump is a death sentence. My faith in my fellow citizens is at quite a low ebb.

Grayce , October 18, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Cheer up. No matter what you used to think of Lindsay Graham, he is setting the pace for a representative to think for him/herself. Commentators reported surprise that he was "formerly in Trump's corner." Think about how easily we accept that the future is secured by a majority in either house. The outrageous president is inspiring elected Republicans to analyze issues (imagine!). Even if it is cold and calculated to influence their own voters, let's begin to applaud and encourage those who seem to think for them/ourselves.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 8:45 am

We don't suffer from a lack of ideas in this area; no, we lack the ability (political will) to accomplish it. Thus, another exercise in mental masturbation.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 11:17 am

we lack the ability (political will) to accomplish it. Carl

A Citizen's Dividend would be the camel's nose under the tent since the less wasted by government, the more that could be distributed to citizens to counter price deflation.

And it's only justice that all fiat creation, beyond that created for government to spend for the general welfare, be in the form of an equal Citizen's Dividend.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Give me a shout if that ever happens. I'll be over in Europe enjoying low cost, high quality healthcare and not going bankrupt to pay for it.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Funny you should mention Europe since an equal Citizen's Dividend for all Euro zone citizens would be a way to eliminate austerity that even Germany might not object to since Germans would receive it too.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 6:44 pm

For example, Italy gives the unemployed 500 euros per month and tries to find them any sort of job. I think you're a little behind. But by all means, keep tilting at windmills.

Amfortas the hippie , October 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

i was just thinking about that this am while finishing my fence like in alaska.
i figger that after 40+ years of declining or stagnant wages, a majority of us are owed some frelling back-pay.
but "dividend" works just as well.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 2:13 pm

a majority of us are owed some frelling back-pay. Amfortas the hippie

The Citizen's Dividend would vary as required to counter price deflation but during the period when the banks are progressively de-privileged, it would have to be quite high to provide for the conversion of bank deposits to fiat deposits at the Central Bank – with the banks, by necessity, having to borrow the needed fiat from citizens.

notabanktoadie , October 18, 2019 at 2:22 pm

[addendum]

Or sell their assets to citizens at a discount.

In other words, a Citizen's Dividend PLUS de-privileging the banks can easily be a means to re-distribute wealth.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Oh please, in what universe is this going to actually happen? You sound like you're running for office.

rd , October 18, 2019 at 10:08 am

Its still the wrong set of arguments. The problem in the US is not that Medicare-for-All would require new taxes that need funding. The problem is that the US spends twice per capita on healthcare what the average OECD country spends. The US spends more public tax money on healthcare per capita than Canada does, and Canada insures the entire population.

We can pay for our entire military budget as it exists if we simply drop our per capita healthcare spending to less than what Switzerland pays. Name one other thing that costs more in the US than in Switzerland.

Americans simply cannot comprehend how exorbitantly expensive and unequal the US healthcare system is compared to the rest of the developed world.

Mike , October 18, 2019 at 2:33 pm

While I gladly accept the results of these surveys, I question the reasons they seem to have garnered from the public. To most citizens, lower taxes mean much more than non-aggresive foreign policy and peaceful diplomacy. If the question was phrased in such a way that respondents were replying to the lower cost AND the concomitant peace-oriented habits that should (would?) come from it, then it is an issue whether they agreed with both statements. Further, this reorientation of spending would have to be bully-pulpited quite strongly to educate the US as to its long-term benefits since most of us have been prepped to be anxious about foreign nations and the paranoia of saving us from the evil dictator "X". Oh, yes, peace should come, but compare the Syria brou-ha-ha to what would descend upon us when peace broke out. The elites won't disappear.

Adam Eran , October 18, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Bizarre. The question is: How can we afford something that's half as expensive as what we're already paying? I wouldn't expect that level of insanity from someone in a straitjacket yet it's a commonplace in these discussions.

Even worse: the argument that government is financially constrained. It's not "tax & spend," it can't be. Where would taxpayers get dollars to pay those taxes if government didn't spend them first?

So it must be "spend first & then ask for some back in taxes." This is how reality works. And what do we call the dollar financial assets left in the economy, not retrieved by taxes? a) The dollar financial assets of the citizens, i.e. their savings or (same thing) b) National 'Debt'

National 'Debt' is completely unlike household debt. It's like bank debt. If you have a bank account, that's your asset, but to the bank, it's a liability. It's the money they owe you. It's their debt.

Now imagine a mob of depositors marching down to the bank to demand it reduce the size of its debt (i.e. make their accounts smaller) Crazy? Yes, but that's the austerian line of talk.

Finally, the inflationistas: "If you just print money, you'll have [gasp][hyper-]inflation!" This is the finest quality bullshit, and people spout it practically without prompting. The truth: The Fed extended $16 – $29 trillion in credit to cure the frauds of the financial sector in 2007-8. I defy anyone to find a measurement of inflation that says there was any then.

Was there central-bank-run-amok inflation in the classical cases (Weimar, Zimbabwe). Nope. Not even there. Yes they did print lots of Deutchmarks and Zimbabwe currency, but only after a shortage of good occurred that actually caused the inflation. Just printing money, especially if there's spare capacity, does not cause inflation. You need a bidding war for some commodity that's become scarce (like oil in the '70s). So Weimar had the burden of war reparations, a balance of payments problem, and when they delayed sending some telephone poles to France, the French military shut down the German equivalent of Ohio (the Ruhr). Shortages led to the hyperinflation. Similarly, the Rhodesian colonists left Zimbabwe, which had previously fed itself, and food shortages led to the hyperinflation.

The Cato study of 56 hyperinflationary episodes in human history also validates the above. In *no* case did a central bank "run amok" and print too much to kick off the hyperinflation. Always the cost push of a shortage of goods drove it.

Carl , October 18, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Nicely said.

RubyDog , October 18, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Gosh, it's all so simple. We just need to take on the military industrial complex, the medical industrial complex, and our corrupt political system all at the same time.

TG , October 19, 2019 at 12:04 am

Researchers Detail How Slashing the Social Security and Medicare Budgets Could Pay for More Pointless Wars While Creating the Progressive Wall Street Bailouts Americans Want.

[Oct 20, 2019] USA corporations, can not and will not survive without WARS. Complete USA "economy" is a WAR machine

Oct 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

onebornfree , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm GMT

@Proud_Srbin Proud_Srbin says: "USA corporation, can not and will not survive without WARS. Complete USA "economy" is a WAR machine,"

As Randolph Bourne observed: "War is the health of the state". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_Bourne

But its not just the US that is a war machine. Bourne's statement equally applies to _all_ states everywhere, past present and future.

If any state appears to not be making war on other countries at any particular time, its only because it is too busy making war on its own citizens [ eg taxes, drug laws, weapons/gun laws, religion laws, speech laws, environmental laws etc.etc. etc.], and has not yet created enough fake money via its central bank to enable it to debt-fund consistent overseas aggressions against others.

Regards, onebornfree

DESERT FOX , says: October 15, 2019 at 1:38 pm GMT
@onebornfree The Report From Iron Mountain says it all, the ZUS is to fight perpetual wars for the zionist agenda of a zionist NWO.

This report came out in the 1960's and can be googled.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 1:54 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen

What will they do when the U.S. decouples from the Middle East completely?

Believing the U.S. will "completely decouple" from the Middle East is akin to believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Moon Landings.
https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.giphy.com%2Fmedia%2Fc8YC8htf5YQg0%2Fgiphy.gif&f=1&nofb=1

anon [117] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger My hypothesis is that the man, narcissistic as he is, has reached the end of his tether. "

This is a truth ,eternal truth ,it applies to ironically both to a person and to a country . Just keep on giving and some more.

melpol , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
Wars by the US will never end because arms manufactures own Trump. Almost one half of the US budget goes for the security of the state, domestic and abroad. New weapon development would come to a halt if the US was not threatened. Fake news about China and Russia planning to attack the US keeps the arms industry humming. Over a million national security workers and their families would be devastated if Trump stopped fighting fake wars. God bless imagined threat of wars.
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:13 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

The goal all along was not to "take" Syria so much as to destroy it and leave it in fragments acting in the service of Israel.

Just so.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read

This has strengthened the possibility of the revival of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS). There are around 10,000 such ISIS fighters currently lodged in prisons run by the SDF.

And with this, "the war on terror" is guaranteed to go on, and on, and on..

Subhead Corrigendum , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT
Let's see what CIA actually does

https://armswatch.com/

There ya go.

Anonymous [835] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Sean started to click the Troll button
decided Sean #36 not worth the calories
DESERT FOX , says: October 15, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read AL CIADA aka ISIS is a creation of the CIA and the MOSSAD and MI6.
Prof Watson , says: October 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm GMT
Trump is Bibi's Shabbos goy.
Agent76 , says: October 15, 2019 at 3:43 pm GMT
September 20, 2019 The Imperial Debris of War

Just in case you hadn't heard the good news, the last man from the president's foreign policy "team" still standing, Trump whisperer Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, recently left National Security Advisor John Bolton in the dust.

https://original.antiwar.com/stephanie_savell/2019/09/19/the-imperial-debris-of-war/

June 27, 2018 Harvard Research Scholar Explains How America Created Al-Qaeda & The ISIS Terror Group

It's truly amazing how much the consciousness of the planet has changed within the past 5 years alone, and it's not just happening within one topic, but in several different areas ranging from health to geopolitics and everything in-between.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49733.htm

Rev. Spooner , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:18 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen Trade wars, sanctions, embargoes are economic warfare. I'm not going to elaborate as teaching Kindergarten is not my forte.
Longfisher , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:18 pm GMT
Oh, what a tangled web we leave when the CIA first seeks to deceive.
Greg Bacon , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 4:20 pm GMT
What Trump wants to do and what he can do are two very different things. The MIC/Zionist rot in DC is way too deep and entrenched for any one man to tackle.

Trump could make all his Schiffty problems go away by bombing Iran. Overnight, the man would be lauded as the president we need and that aging hack Pelosi would suddenly drop that phony impeachment hearing.

Trump is finding out that when making foreign policy, the safest route to take is to first ask, "Is this good for Israel?"

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:26 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger Agree.

And look what it has revealed the Dems, the Zios, the msm and Trump's Repubs all screaming how the US should stay in Syria

I have no love for Trump BUT .his Syria move has shown us how far into the Trump Derangement throes the Dems are.

It reveals as nothing else he has done so far that we have a government OF THE PARTIES, BY THE PARTIES , FOR THE PARTIES ..not for the people.

I hope people concentrate on that reveal.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger

I have always contended that the best way to use Trump is to support his ego. Let's inundate him with praise for withdrawing from the Kurdish/Turkish quagmire. Sure, he hasn't vacated Syria yet, however, he has no choice but to vacate or be evacuated. His ego will opt for the former

I think you are spot on there also.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX Exactly, with thousands of ISIS,ISIL(American/Israeli proxy forces)types now being freed due to Turkey's incursions into Syria, these "rebels" will be free to re-group and fight another day. Hence the need for American forces to STAY deployed in the Area. This is nothing more than a distraction move by Trump, which will result in the opposite "intended" actions of American forces being withdrawn from Syria. This will also guarantee the "need" for a strong Soviet presence in Syria.

America/Israel/Russia have always wanted the partitioning of Syria, the only point of contention between America/Israel and Russia was whether Assad was to be forced from power or would be allowed to remain President as a puppet of Putin and the Russians. Syria was to never remain a sovereign nation.

Priss Factor , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 4:50 pm GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/P0EwGEZKWvA?feature=oembed

Syrian Exposes Media Lies About Syria Withdrawal

The US still hasn't acknowledged the Armenian Massacre by the Turks. Why should it care about Kurds. US is the nation that said killing 500,000 kids in Iraq was worth it.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 4:52 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

Syria, Iraq, Libya are now less of a threat to Israel than ever before so that is a kind of peace.

Not really. All are still standing and not under US control. Iraq now leans even more toward Iran and Syria toward Russia ..and that outcome in these countries has made Israel's goal of destroying Iran much harder and less likely .
The curtailment of the Kurds, Israel's long time friends and proxy , is another blow to Israel's plot.

It appears to me that Putin's idea is to force everyone back into their own countries and borders .he may have shared that plan with Trump and that may have resulted in turning Turkey loose to do that job.

Bragadocious , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:01 pm GMT
@WJ Right. But as Giraldi always points out, Trump almost attacked Venezuela. He said mean words and rattled sabres! As opposed to Obama, who said no mean words ('cause he upheld the "dignity of the office") but sent the fighter jets into Libya and turned that country from a stable, secular regime into a human trafficking warzone. And also got an ambassador killed. Here are some of Giraldi's gems from April 2011:

Libya is a humanitarian mission

it [the invasion] has no clearly stated objective except to protect Libyan civilians

it is now clear that the rebels do not have any military organization to speak of and Gaddafi has the whip hand

Nice analysis there, Mr. CIA lifer and Obama lickspittle. I can only assume Giraldi was part of the crack CIA team of Sovietologists who were utterly blindsided when the Soviet Union broke up. It's amazing how much slack he's given around here for his anti-Israel stuff. It's like Teflon for him.

DESERT FOX , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm GMT
@Priss Factor Agree, and the ZUS has killed millions in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and Syria, for their zionist masters, the only lives the ZUS cares about is zionists.
Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke The only question you failed to address is what was the true motives of Putin's intervention into the whole mess. A few good points:

As in Ukraine, Putin will stay in Syria until it no longer suits him. He has no long-term strategic goals beyond creating chaos and weakening the alliances of the free world wherever possible. This allows him to play the big man on the international stage, an essential element of his domestic appeal. 24/7 propaganda and Soviet nostalgia have turned Putin's invasion into a domestic hit in Russia. In contrast, Russians have no interest in Syria or Assad, but who cares what they want? Unlike the leaders of Europe, the U.S., and other democratic countries, Putin doesn't have to worry about how popular his foreign adventures are at home. There are no checks and balances in the Russian government, no free media to criticize him, and no popularity polls that matter more than ranks of well-armed riot police.

https://www.newsweek.com/kasparov-putins-goal-syria-chaos-380620

ben sampson , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
Licks for Giraldi: Giraldi has been careless but not where he lists Trumps lies about ending 'silly' wars. from what Trump has actually done compared to what he says about ending America's wars he is a liar of clear and complete proportions
Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:24 pm GMT
@renfro Turkey's invasion of Syria has been condemned by the United States, the European Union, Israel , Iran and some Arab states.
Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:26 pm GMT
@Anonymous

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10104926/turkey-invasion-of-syria-migrants-europe-fears/

TURKEY'S hardline leader has threatened to send 3.6 million refugees to Europe if it brands his military offensive in Syria an invasion.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to open the gates to "millions" of Syrians over criticism of his deadly attacks on Kurdish targets.

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm GMT
@Bragadocious Why no link? Are you misquoting?
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read You're quoting the Zionist anti-Russian Kasparov? LOLOL.
SafeNow , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
"the military the only real source of pride the only thing Americans feel they excel at"

An insightful point. Politicians support the military and its deployments for economic reasons, but the support of the public might derive from "what else is there?" Examples of institutional and private-sector failure abound in the news over recent years, and every day. The Boeing Max. The hotel collapse. 250,000 deaths per year from medical negligence. Power shutoffs. Useless college. The dive boat. A relaxed performance standard. The demise of meritocracy and rationality. During Katrina, every agency except the Coast Guard went into gridlock. There are remaining islands of expertise, but the unraveling is contagious.

Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:38 pm GMT
@Bragadocious International human rights is not a suicide pact.
Anonymous [867] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 5:41 pm GMT
@Bragadocious

– [Giraldi] bashes Trump for his pre-Presidential life but never delved into Obama's pre-political life, which involved bathhouses and mounds of coke.

At least Obama served in the military. He was a corpse-man.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Sean lol ..So What?
Phibbs , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:08 pm GMT
The dirty, filthy hand of the Jew is all over America's Mideast policy. Israel backs ISIS in Syria with weapons. The Israeli-Occupied Government in Washington D.C. has even protected ISIS in Syria at times. The Jew-owned media gives no credit to Iran and Russia for defeating Jew and American-supported terrorists inside Syria. Now the Jew-owned government is aching for war with Iran, which is not a threat to Gentile America.
A123 , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:10 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

The goal was to topple Assad. Remember Obama? Assad must go? Assad and the Assad regime are still there. The losers are the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Replacing Assad was an Globalist goal, heavily pushed by Erdogan. We also remember the failed presidency of Barak Hussein that never represented the citizens of the U.S. So it would be more precise to say that:
-- George Soros, Erdogan, Obama, Wahhabism, and the Globalists are losing.
-- Putin, Trump, Assad, and Populism are winning.

The real test will be Putin getting all other foreign troops & proxies to leave. The Globalist agenda is to keep the fight between Iran (Shia) and Turkey (Sunni) going, when they both leave combatants in Syria. Hopefully, Putin will be able to fully rout the Globalists and move out both Turkish and Iranian agitators.

PEACE

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Maybe you don't know who the author of that article is .Garry Kasparov

Kasparov might be great at chess but in Russia he was big fail as a politician .couldn't get any votes on his campaign to make Russia like America. He went into a self-imposed exile in the West. claiming Putin ruined his political campaigning.
Now everything Putin does infuses all Kasparov's punditry

Kasparow's love for Bolton should clue you to what he is about.

Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) · Twitter
As I said about Bolton entering the Trump admin nearly 3 years ago, you may not agree with his views as much as I generally do, but he puts US interests first, not Trump's. Can't say same about Pompeo & the rest.
31 mins ago

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm GMT
The short story on Syria, Turkey, USAISRAEL, Russia –

Turkey-Syria offensive: Russia vows to prevent clashes with Assad forces
BBC

Takeaways

THEN .

"When the US decided to equip and train Syrian Kurds, as well as some Arabs, to fight IS, they were aware of a potential problem, that their would-be Kurdish allies were regarded as terrorists by their Nato ally, Turkey. Washington turned a blind eye to a problem that could be kicked into the future. Now the future is here, and it has blown up."

NOW .

"On Sunday the Kurds announced a deal with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, agreeing that its troops could advance into the zone that had not been controlled by Damascus since 2012, right up to the border with Turkey. That is a big victory for the regime. The troops moved quickly out of bases they maintained in the north-east. Assad loyalists dug out regime flags.
It was a disastrous day for American Middle East policy. The alliance with the Kurds, and the security guarantee safeguarding their self-governing slice of Syria, gave the Americans a stake in the war's endgame. It was also a way of pushing against the backers of the Assad regime: Russia and Iran. The departure of the Americans, and the advance of the Syrian army, are victories for them too.
European governments, rattled in the way that happens when the problems of the Middle East come knocking at their doors, are calling on Turkey to stop the offensive. Some Nato members can see a nightmare scenario unfolding, with Syria, backed by Russian power, potentially facing off against Turkey, a fellow Nato member. The Russians say they are in regular contact with Turkey. But in a fluid, violent theatre of war. the chances for misperception, mistakes and escalation are always present.

Perhaps what has happened in the last week simplifies the endgame of the Syrian war. Two major players, the Americans and the Kurds, look to be out of the picture. And President Assad, along with his allies from Russia and Iran, continue to solidify their victory in Syria's catastrophic war."

WHAT IS BEING LEFT OUT OF THE CURRENT COMBING THRU THE ASHES OF THE SYRIAN WAR IS THE FACT SAUDI STARTED THE WHOLE FUCKING SYRIAN WAR.

Anyone who doesnt know that can ask me how.

Rurik , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm GMT

The discussion, if one might even call it that, regarding the apparent President Donald Trump decision to withdraw at least some American soldiers from Syria has predictably developed along partisan, ideologically fueled lines.

Not too sure where this partisan line is, Dr. G.

It looks like they're screeching from both sides of the isle.

https://www.deseret.com/2019/10/7/20903288/president-donald-trump-syria-isis-turkey-kurds-pelosi-mcconnell-romney-islamic-state

Both powerful Republican Liz Cheney and Hillary called the pull out "sickening".

While Republican Senator Rand Paul applauds the decision, Tulsi Gabbard condemns it.

As for 'ideological', we all know that ideologically, the vast majority of all congress-critters (99+%) from both sides of the isle, are motivated by the ideology of doing "what's good for the Jew$"

NATO agreement stipulates that if an alliance member is threatened, other members must support it in its defense. Turkey has not made that claim, but it is completely plausible that it should do so .

Are you joking, Dr. G?

Hasn't Turkey been engaged in waging an aggressive war on Syria these last few years?

Wouldn't Turkey demanding military aid from NATO, (for a "threat" from the Kurds or Syria), amount to the US demanding NATO aid for a "threat" from Iran?

IOW, it's Turkey that has been the murderous aggressor, and the Kurds and Syrians their victims. Not to mention that Turkey's military could make mince-meat out of the Kurdish "threat" in a New York minute.

So it seems to me that the only thing holding Turkey back, is orders from the ZUSA and Russia. Russia is certainly a large part of this equation, IMHO.

did not understand the Turkish mindset regarding the Kurdish threat, which they regard as existential.

'Existential'?

Would a limited autonomy Kurdish state on Turkey's southern border, perhaps incorporating a small swath of Turkey, be the end of Turkey's existence?

When Nazi Germany invaded Poland, the world demanded that Germany sacrifice some of its territory as recompense for its aggressive military imperialism.

If I were in a position to do so, I'd hand Syria a slice of Israel's and Saudi Arabia's and Turkey's territory – as a punishment for their depraved attacks on an innocent and unthreatening Syria.

Definitely the Hatay province, which arguably belongs to Syria anyways.

I'm sure Turkey would call that an existential! calamity, but I'd tell them 'karma's a bitch'.

Finally, there is one other important issue that should be observed. Donald Trump's actual record on ending useless wars is not consistent with his actions. He has sent more soldiers to no good purpose in support of America's longest war in Afghanistan, has special ops forces in numerous countries in Asia and Africa, has threatened regime change in Venezuela, continues to support Saudi Arabia and Israel's bloody attacks on their neighbors and has exited to from treaties and agreements with Russia and Iran that made armed conflict less likely. And he has five thousand American soldiers sitting as hostages in Iraq, a country that the United States basically destroyed as a cohesive political entity and which is now experiencing a wave of rioting that has reportedly killed hundreds. Trump is also assassinating more foreigners using drones based mostly on profile targeting than all of his predecessors. These are not the actions of a president who seriously wants to end wars

I remain you most loyal fan, Dr. G. But I confess this sounds to me like you think the situation above started on the day of Trump's inauguration.

He inherited those things by the former ZUS regimes.

He has tried over and over again to disengage, only to be dragged back by the screeching from the members of his own party. Not to mention the ((media)).

There are a lot of reasons to condemn the actions of Trump. The Golan Heights, for instance. But it seem glaringly obvious to me at least, that Trump is not ideologically committed to Eternal Wars.

As you put it, he threatened regime change in Venezuela.

He wanted to have talks with the Taliban, (and the whole deepstate and their ((media)) screeched)

He "continues to support Saudi Arabia" but as Pat Buchannan points out.. "The Saudis got the message when the U.S., in response to a missile and drone strike from Iran or Iranian-backed militias, which shut down half of Riyadh's oil production, did nothing.

Said Washington, this is between Saudi Arabia and Iran."

And he has five thousand American soldiers sitting as hostages in Iraq, a country that the United States basically destroyed as a cohesive political entity and which is now experiencing a wave of rioting that has reportedly killed hundreds

You really do make it sound like all that is his fault.

I love your work Dr. G. And consider you one of the very best, most honorable and most courageous writers out there.

But I confess, (like so many others!), it seems like to me that you have an irrational, personal hatred for Donald Trump that colors your perspective.

IMHO.

I didn't have time to write this response well, have to go. Hope it's not too off base..

Art , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:27 pm GMT
@animalogic More information on Trump & drone attacks would be useful & welcome.

There is a gigantic problem in America. It makes us dysfunctional. Certain news cannot get to the American people.

Everyone in the know gets it – do not go to the NY Times with anti-Israel news. Do NOT buck the AIPAC agenda – period. The darkest element of the ADL will be at your door within minutes. The US government will soon follow.

It is obvious – when it comes to Jew matters, US government employees fear for their jobs, if not their lives. Same for the MSM.

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:30 pm GMT
@Bragadocious The Soviet Union never broke up, it just re-branded itself.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dssXAoQou1A?feature=oembed

Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm GMT
@anon See post #88
anon [117] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
US President Donald Trump has lambasted American broadcaster ABC News for airing a video from Knob Creek Gun Range in the town of West Point, Kentucky, claiming that the network used footage from the facility to depict a Turkish attack on Kurdish civilians in northern Syria. Trump called the mistake "a big scandal" and "a real disgrace".

"A big scandal at @ABC News. They got caught using really gruesome FAKE footage of the Turks bombing in Syria. A real disgrace", the president wrote on Twitter early Tuesday morning.

AMN news

Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@renfro The Crimean Peninsula was annexed by the Russian Federation in February–March 2014. Despite all the protests about Crimea, the Donbass invasion using asymmetric tactics with Putin out outright denying responsability, Ukraine is a vital interest for Putin, and he would have been willing to confront America and Nato there because it is his home ground and advantage. But Russia is powerful enough to; Putin only went into Syria after Obama decided not to overthrow Assad. No one particularly cares about Syria and neither do they care about the Kurds (despite them having as good a case as the Palestinians to be given a state) and that is why jumped up Turkey can get away with invading Syria and attacking Kurds, just like they INVADED Cyprus.

This whole thing is probably a a storm in a teacup, but if Turkey gets into trouble they know, because they were already told very clearly over Cyprus, that if they play Lone Ranger, Nato does not have their back. Doing something Israel is not happy about and Turkey threatening to get their own nuclear weapons because Israel has them is not very good diplomacy from Turkey's point of view. It is begining to experience delusions of its own importance.

Art , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:41 pm GMT
@renfro It appears to me that Putin's idea is to force everyone back into their own countries and borders .he may have shared that plan with Trump and that may have resulted in turning Turkey loose to do that job.

Here is a very good video – Putin being interviewed. They asked him hard questions. He came across as being very rational.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qxPepA-Jwr8?feature=oembed

Maybe between Trump and Putin things can work out in Syria?

paranoid goy , says: Website October 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen People! The internet is there for you to verify/debunk any statement you question. Running a website is a lot of work, why don't you guys collect the information you demand from Mr. Unz, and share with us?
Or are you looking at others to supply you with ready-made opinions?
Bragadocious , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:44 pm GMT
@anon Yeah, I'm misquoting, you utter imbecile.
Bragadocious , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:49 pm GMT
Ok.

Maybe you should explain how that comment's relevant to anything.

Proud_Srbin , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:51 pm GMT
@onebornfree Thanks for the link about Mr.Bourne and you correct about his statement applying to ALL states.
They are more like progressive, merciful and humanitarian slave owners.
Be free
anonymous [299] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:55 pm GMT
@renfro

WHAT IS BEING LEFT OUT OF THE CURRENT COMBING THRU THE ASHES OF THE SYRIAN WAR IS THE FACT SAUDI STARTED THE WHOLE FUCKING SYRIAN WAR.

How?

Did Hillary become an honorary member of the Saudi royal family, or just prostitute the US State Dept to make sure the guns were delivered on time?

anonymous [348] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm GMT
I wonder why the "high IQ" westerners have never deemed it fit to study their undeniable mass psychopathy.

If they were indeed as smart as claimed, they would begin to admit it, and given the claim to their innate highly civilised humanitarian inclinations *cough* , they would come to the conclusion that this world needs less of their cursed kind.

Since that is not going to happen, I guess nature has its way

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sperm-count-dropping-in-western-world/

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 6:59 pm GMT
@renfro How?
c matt , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:09 pm GMT
@Bragadocious Obama's pre-political life

To be fair, I don't know if Obama ever HAD a pre-political life. He seems to be a creation ex publicae.

steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:12 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner The point he makes is extremely vague. No specificity. None. Yet 10's of thousands are dead. Ok, how about some evidence.
Why don't you go back to kindergarten, Rev?
renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm GMT
@Sean

It is begining to experience delusions of its own importance.

I would say Israel is beginning to experience the fallacy of its own importance.

What you clearly don't get is that ..kowtowing to the US as the ME superpower and enforcer is declining.

The rules are out the window, the ways of wars have changed, alliances are temporary, power is fluid, hyenas can eat elephants .

Israel will not be able to navigate this.

steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm GMT
@paranoid goy He makes a claim. Where is the journalistic integrity to back it up?
9/11 Inside job , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:15 pm GMT
@SafeNow The support of the public for the military derives from constant and pervasive propaganda particularly through movies and TV shows , David Sirota calls it the "Military Entertainment
Complex".
Zero Hedge : " Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon , CIA & NSA ".
steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:29 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read I was making a rhetorical point. I don't think the U.S. can decouple from the Middle East.
I do, however, think that Trump wants value for blood and treasure.

Long-term, America simply lacks the financial strength to continue to project power. The MIC costs the U.S. a tremendous amount of money. Budget to the MIC will continue to be slashed over time. The Deep State in the U.S. will contract simply due to financial realities.
Israel will be less and less of a priority.
The next financial crisis is already beginning. The U.S. has a massive debt ratio relative to the Money Supply. It is now 5:1. Good luck with that. It will be needed.

Z-man , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
@Whitewolf Yes, lack of talent and totall inane radical left wing proposals whiped up by the AOC wing and swallowed by all the candidates 'hook, line and stinker '.
Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:39 pm GMT
@OscarWildeLoveChild After JFK's assassination, every successive president is/was shown a film clip of JFK's head exploding from an angle nobody's ever seen.

It doesn't matter what party they're from; they'll tow TPTB's line. All of them.

US Foreign Policy = Occupied Palestine Foreign Policy.

That's all that's wrong with US foreign policies in a nutshell.

Curmudgeon , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Bragadocious Whether he or his father served is irrelevant. Carter was in the Naval Academy, Reagan and Bush 43 were in the reserves. Clinton had none and neither did Roosevelt, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, or Wilson.
What is telling, is the "alleged bone spurs", and "Trump's surname was changed from the original German Drumpf".
An allegation is an unproven accusation. What Giraldi is stating, is that Trump's physician falsified records. You think old man Trump sent Donnie for a megadollar military academy education so he could avoid the military?
As for Drumpf, I was acquainted with a couple of Schmidts who became Smith, a Bryjolfson who became Byron, a Pachkowski who became Berry and, no one says Roosevelt's name was changed from Rosenfeld. The snide commentary doesn't help.
I have said all along, that there is a lot not to like about Trump, but let's keep it in the realm of reality. Whether he wants to end the stupid wars or not, he will never be allowed to, as long as Giraldi's old employer is in business and making up non-existent bullshit "threats to American interests", whatever they are.
anon [117] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
@Sean "Doing something Israel is not happy about and Turkey threatening to get their own nuclear weapons because Israel has them is not very good diplomacy from Turkey's point of view"

Israel is known to puff and bluff . It is grandiose polemic or rabid canine barking. It was not exposed by the west . But the west now knows it ,thanks to Hizbullah

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:48 pm GMT
It is difficult to understand nato secretary Stultemberg , it must be his thick swedish accent . I suppose he does not like turkish music

https://www.youtube.com/embed/YnR0VqDkjuA?feature=oembed

https://www.youtube.com/embed/t5isjGfHa4E?feature=oembed

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 7:55 pm GMT
@anon Getting women to work had nothing to do with their 'liberation.'

Even though my mom had her own [private] school, my dad's salary was enough to provide for all 5 of us, go on annual holidays abroad and put three kids through college, loan-free.

To TPTB, it's better to tax 2 people instead of 1.

To them it's just a number game, like the 'Torches of Freedom' gambit, all spiel, smoke and mirrors, to fool us gullible idiots into believing we do have a say

We should really start to use our guns and rifles to free the country and rid it of the rot that's smothering it.

Oh, look, another Cartra$$hian selfie butt shot on Instagram!!!!!!

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:00 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read The Easter Bunny isn't real?

Dang!

I thought the youngster was raped by Epstain.

Hence his egg-shaped penis .

barr , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:07 pm GMT
It's very old habit.Very much ingrained . It is also generational . Increasingly and suddenly religious also as the feckless toothless Evangelicals are rooting for 1 second fame .

But here is a short chronology–

1 Plans for mayhem in Syria have been on the imperial table since the 1950s (Operation Straggle).

2 US general Wesley Clark gave the game away years ago when he revealed US intentions in the Middle East after 9/11: seven countries were to be invaded

3 Seymour Hersh gave the game away too in his 2007 New Yorker article: "The Redirection". In this piece he revealed how the US were hooking up once again with the Saudi/Sunni fundamentalists in and around Syria.
4 France's ex-foreign minister Roland Dumas also gave the game away when he revealed that the British State (a definite CIA asset) was preparing for a war on Syria two years before the start of the Syrian Holocaust in 2011.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/31/homage-to-syria-a/

"This operation [in Syria]," said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, "goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned."

https://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/11/the-biggest-lie/

As we recently learned from former French Foreign Minister Dumas, it was also about that time, that actors in the United Kingdom began planning the subversion of Syria with the help of "rebels"' (Christof Lehmann, Interview with Route Magazine)

https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/12/my-moneys-on-putin/

Between 2006 to 2010, the US spent 12 million dollars in order to support and instigate demonstrations and propaganda against the Syrian government. 6,3 million dollars was funneled to the Movement for Justice and Development, a Syrian dissident organization based in London. The Movement operated the Barada satellite channel

https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/17/the-dirty-politics-behind-the-syrian-conflict/

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Quote: "America/Israel/Russia have always wanted the partitioning of Syria "

Reply: Kindly allow me to correct your statement.

"America/Israel have always wanted the partitioning of Syria "

Russia has a wet entrance into the Med via Syria.

Perhaps you've dozed off a bit over the past few years, but Russia has been destroying and killing the FUKZUIS 'war' machine goons in Syria [aka the takfiri terrorist].

They're assisting in getting the country back [on its feet] as a whole again.

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT
@anon I'll keep it short. You can find the beginnings back in the 2012 coverage.

In 2012 Saudi sent Saudi Prince Bandar to Syria to be in charge of helping Syrian rebels bring down Assad, an ally of Riyadh's biggest regional rival Iran.
They were originally created, set up and armed and financed by Saudi.
The Saudis were then joined by Israel and Qatari and finally by the US under Obama.

A new twist appeared in the Saudi rebels war with Assad when ISI appeared and joined the fight.
This scared Saudi shitless as they thought this ISI version of ALQ might be a threat to them and lead to an invasion of Saudi as ALQ always saw it as a' westernerized' Saudi.
Everyone doubled down on both fighting Assad and fighting ISI ..which was a FUBAR if there ever was one.

Then enter the proxies, the Kurds, the PPK terrorist group all fighting for their own agendas within and under cover of the original war on Assad.

What could possibility go wrong in all this? LOL

Then enter Russia. Which gave some pause to the US in how far they wanted to go to throw Assad out for Saudi and Israel and open a gateway to get Iran.
So now we are headed to the ending of the Saud and others Syrian adventure which is probably best expressed by the fable of the fox and his shadow.

"A fox arose in the morning and saw his large shadow cast in the morning sun and said " I will have a camel for lunch today'. The fox hunted all day for the camel without success. As he paused in the afternoon setting sun he saw his shadow was much smaller and said "A mouse will do after all."

Daniel Rich , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:44 pm GMT
@anonymous Quote: " sperm-count-dropping-in-western-world.."

Reply: Yet here you are

anonymous [299] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:48 pm GMT
@Daniel Rich

In 1992, Alexandra Zapruder began to collect diaries written by children during the Holocaust. These diaries speak eloquently of both hope and despair.

[Alexandra said:] "Anne Frank's diary was the first diary that was published. And her voice was so powerful that it captured the voices of all the children and all the people who had been killed. That's the way it's framed. And that by reading her diary and sort of taking her into our hearts, we could redeem her life. . . ." [US Holocaust Memorial Museum https://www.ushmm.org/confront-antisemitism/antisemitism-podcast/alexandra-zapruder ]

Alexandra Zapruder is the author of Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film.
Her grandfather was Abraham Zapruder, who took a twenty-six second home movie of President John F. Kennedy's assassination[1] -- now known as the Zapruder film.( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_Zapruder ]

Jon Baptist , says: October 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm GMT
Here is another article found at American Herald Tribune where Phil Giraldi also often has articles posted.

The US Isn't Serious about Leaving Syria at All -David Macilwain
https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/3575-the-us-isnt-serious.html

From a strategic point of view it is very noteworthy to observe that Kurdish troops are fully positioned east of the Euphrates River. The Kurds are allies of Israel and a vital proxy implemented to fracture Syria along the lines envisioned for Greater Israel (Oded Yinon Plan).

It is perceived that Russia is an ally of Syria. However, Putin has not prevented Kurdish troops from establishing themselves firmly within Syrian territory.

Israel along with their diaspora will never relent until their abomination of "Eretz Yisrael" is achieved. It's not an accident that the ISIS flag is marked "All Jew."

9/11 Inside job , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:03 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke Washingtonsblog : " Balkanizing the Middle East – The real goal of America and Israel : shatter Iraq and Syria into many small pieces "
Thomas Harrington : " One of the prime goals of every empire is to foment ongoing internecine conflict in the territories whose resources and/or strategic outposts they covet "
Sanchez : " Plan B is to Balkanize Israel is endorsing its plan B for Syria just when its enemies are making it clear that its plan A (Assad must go) is not happening anytime soon ."
Voltara , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:06 pm GMT
The US watching while Syria and Turkey start shooting at each other is something new. For decades the US has run towards conflict in the region
renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm GMT
Former AIPAC officials launch political action committee to direct funds to pro-Israel candidates
https://www.jweekly.com/2019/03/19/former-aipac-officials-launch-political-action-committee-to-direct-funds-to-pro-israel-candidates/

Pro-Israel America launched Tuesday endorsing 27 candidates -- 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans. All have long histories of working with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to advance the brand of pro-Israel legislation it favors. Its endorsements on its website praise the named lawmakers for their actions favoring the legislative agenda closely identified with the lobby: funding for Israel's defense, sanctions on Iran and its regional proxies, and bills that seek to counter the boycott Israel movement.

They include Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del.; Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the minority leader; Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that committee's ranking Republican.

here are all of them listed .make sure you don't vote for one:

https://proisraelamerica.org/endorsements-2020/

anon [123] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT
@barr Blaming Saudi or Turkey or UAE has possibly some validity but as far as far the effect of the independent move by any of them is concerned , it has less than zero effect on Syria on its own.

It is like a hypothetical scenario where Florida and Alabama are independent countries . Rest of America is splintered into 50 different states and Canada is trying to get rid of Cuban regime for 50 years and only in last 5 years Florida and Alabama have joined the scheme under dubious circumstances of pressure bribery and blackmail.

Art , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:34 pm GMT
Isn't "regime change wars" a mealy-mouthed term? Isn't it time to call a spade a spade?

Why are we using that benign term, for something so destructive of America's future?

Que bono – who benefits from these wars – isn't it just one small but powerful segment of America – AIPAC.

Isn't it time to call these wars by the honest truthful term – "AIPAC Wars?"

These wars and crushing national sanctions against others, all come from AIPAC.

Our elected congressmen and senators are almost all AIPAC such-ups. Let's put it in their face with a factual term.

AIPAC Wars

anon [415] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke Israel was more powerful and also more favorite of the west across ideological drive until 2003
It is not a normal country . Somewhere that guilt and remorse of stealing and killing have left a mark on its psyche . It doesn't know how to settle and be normal

It doesn't know the meaning of the power, advantage or gain . The paranoia drives to more dangerous world of fear and insecurity . It can't rest . Even if it is left alone, he talks to itself and bangs it head against wall . Recent election is the manifestation of more madness . It's begging jaunt to Russia and screaming through US media show how badly weakened the country is.

The countries that bow to Israel – UK, USA, Egypt, Saudi are finding themselves also badly weakened ,

A seed was planted in 2006 in Lebanon . That tree is growing taller and establishing roots , Israel will be a shrub hiding in the shadow of that tree in a few years time.
Soviet and Russia were both almost destroyed by Jews . Now they look for the Russian shadow to hide .

Anonymous Snanonymous , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:43 pm GMT
@Anon You don't say!
Sean , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:50 pm GMT
@renfro A pack of lions can bring down an adult elephant at night when they have the advantage, but they are careful not to choose a really big strong one. Russia is fighting in the Ukraine its traditional heartland and what H. Mackinder called the Heartland of the World Island. A victory in Syria that only came because Obama chose to not crush Assad with a couple of days of air raids is hardly evidence of the Empire falling.

The real meaning of Trump is the facing of the threat from China, and if the neocons want to play games in the Middle East so what? There is a fight coming with China and it is a match for the West led by giant Bull Elephant America, Backward ME shitholes all together could not take down America in a thousand years.

Republic , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:53 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger It is very nice to see a video from RT in Arabic showing the very rapid evacuation of a US base in Syria:

Hope to see many more in the future

anon [414] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:54 pm GMT
And what were the Kurds in Iraq called?
Didn't Saddam use some type of gas on them and that's why we were siding with them? Who told about the incubator babies, maybe some other terrorist group?
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: October 15, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@renfro Mmmm, okay, you must have meant something like 'organized shooting' when you said, "SAUDI STARTED THE WHOLE FUCKING SYRIAN WAR." Sorry I bit on false advertising.

As you see from 'barr' at #119 above, your starting point is months, years, even decades too late. For a fact (I've met some of the Syrians who met with Robert Ford in Damascus, now here and still lobbying for regime-change), the US was meddling, encouraging, prompting the anti-Assadists well before the 2011 demonstrations.

EliteCommInc. , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:04 pm GMT
laughing.

We shall see.

jsinton , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:07 pm GMT
It's their back yard, let them figure out where the property line goes. Just get out. Don't argue with that.
Johnny Walker Read , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:19 pm GMT
@Daniel Rich Putin is not the nice guy we have been told he is. He is in Syria for a reason, and that is not simply because he wants Syria returned to al-Assad. Syria is only one cog in the wheel. World wide Communism marches on, if you hadn't noticed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=4sKxkY0Tz5s
Z-man , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:23 pm GMT
@Anon Stoltenberg-Globalist tool and a moron.
Sick of Orcs , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
Trump confuses tweeting with taking action. How many times has he mentioned 'birthright citizenship' and then done nothing about it?

A: Every time.

Commentator Mike , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:43 pm GMT

rapid evacuation of a US base in Syria

LOL. My favourite rapid US evacuation was the CIA flying off the roof of the Saigon Embassy while the Viet Kong were busting in through the door and running up the stairs.

A123 , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:44 pm GMT
@Art

who benefits from these wars – isn't it just one small but powerful segment of America – AIPAC. Isn't it time to call these wars by the honest truthful term – "AIPAC Wars?"

Except the main beneficiary of these wars is George Soros and his anti-Semitic Globalist movement.

Soros intentionally orchestrated the ultra-weak, time limited JCPOA treaty to create a nuclear arms race among Iran, SA, Turkey, and possibly other MENA nations. That way he and his buddies with MIC investments could profit by selling weapons to all sides.

So let's put in everyone's face with a factual term

SOROS Wars

PEACE

HEREDOT , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:52 pm GMT
@Z-man Stoltenberg jewish whore is a bastard.
A123 , says: October 15, 2019 at 10:52 pm GMT
@Sick of Orcs

Trump confuses tweeting with taking action. How many times has he mentioned 'birthright citizenship' and then done nothing about it?

A: Every time.

If Trump drives too hard, too early and the case arrives at the Supreme Court while it is split 5-4 in favor of 'birthright citizenship' Is that a win? Or, a loss?

There is a huge difference between 'failed action' and 'successful action'.

Given the proven hostility of the deep state establishment, it makes a great deal of sense to lay groundwork now (via tweets), but only launch the correct constitutional action once the courts are prepared to support it.

PEACE

ChuckOrloski , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:10 pm GMT
With class, Philip Giraldi amused me by his article's mere title, "Trump wants to end the "Stupid Wars?"

Oh yea! Thanks, Phil , & please continue with offering dashes of intelligent, dissident, & unflappable humor. Haha. For example, "Trump's surname was changed from the original German Drumpf and if there were any Drumpfs at Normandy, they were undoubtedly on the German side."

(Zigh) The insatiable global tag team, M.I.C. and The Land of Bilk & Money , want "Big Time" and more stupidly unnecessary & immoral wars. (Zigh) One sure path to a 2nd term for President Bonespur is for him to get off the "low energy" Turkey/Syria skirmish, & get on with real war against Iran , for Israel.

Thanks, Phil! Fyi, I think Senator Lindsey Graham wants to get Bolton back in The Blue & White House, and sanction Camp Mar a Lago.

P.S.: For all commenters assembled here, linked below is Stephen Colbert's satiric covering of President Drumpf's having followed Israel's yonder (fallen) , and establishing a US Space Force Command! To that, Colbert quipped, "Trump can not join it because of his galactic bonespur."

renfro , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:23 pm GMT
@anon Well would you like to go baaaaaccccckkkk all the way to the failed US CIA coup attempt in Syria in 1957 ?

If so, do it yourself .I don't feel like typing out a whole history book just for you to jerk off on about how bad the US is..

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 11:26 pm GMT
@9/11 Inside job Seven Nations to Destroy for the nine eleven false flag. Wesley Clark mentioned the seven – Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran.

Seven Nations to Destroy for Yahweh's Israel – Deut. 7:1-2 – Tanakh/OT.

Iraq 2003 invaded Purim – shattered in pieces

Libya 2011 invaded Purim – shattered in pieces

How four other nations on the list that were destroyed.

Somalia –

Since 2006 it has been a mess with Israel/US Al-Qaeda running the show.

Bizarre article about US/Israel terrorists "worried" about the environment.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4310799/al-shabab-plastic-ban-somalia-al-qaeda/

Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabab has reportedly announced a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags in territories under its control.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization, which has been blamed for thousands of deaths since its inception in 2006, dubbed plastic a "serious threat to the well-being of both humans and animals," the BBC reported, citing Al-Shabab's radio station Radio Andalus.

It even mentions that Osama Bin Laden, the puppet of Israel/US, was "worried" about the environment too. It makes one wonder if this Climate Change thing and Imperialism terror are connected.

Bin Laden wrote that Americans needed to save Obama from corporate and other nefarious influences to empower him to "save humanity from the harmful gases that threaten its destiny."

He added that the world would be better off fighting climate change than waging what he claimed was a war against Islam.

Sudan

Divided in two in 2011. Israel/US is pushing for more divisions.

https://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article64102

Asked about his demand for protection during his meeting with Putin, al-Bashir said we wanted to highlight "the big U.S. pressure and conspiracy" on Sudan in Darfur crisis and the huge pressure exerted on his government to separate the South Sudan.

"Now we have information that the American quest is to divide the Sudan into five countries If we do not find protection and security. America took the world leadership and devastated the Arab world. (See) what happened in Afghanistan, what happened in Iraq, what