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

News Neoconservatism Recommended Links Paleoconservatism 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

 

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

[Feb 16, 2019] What other organization/group then CIA is capable of such as perfect job of covering their tracks

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Peredur , says: February 12, 2019 at 11:02 pm GMT

@ariadna "What other organization/group is capable of such as perfect job of covering their tracks."

It is the organization that controls the government and the media that is capable of doing this. In other words, the same organization that was responsible for 9/11 and other major deceptions. It compartmentalizes knowledge of operational details using the need-to-know rule, but it can still be regarded as the same overall entity carrying out all of these deceptions, with the same general goals always applying.

[Feb 16, 2019] There is a tendency, especially among dissenters and conspiracy theorists, to equate the Kennedy family with the Gracchi brothers of the great late Roman republic

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Miville , says: Website February 12, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT

There is a tendency, especially among dissenters and conspiracy theorists, to equate the Kennedy family with the Gracchi brothers of the great late Roman republic, a model of a good opportunity for the Republic to evolve for the best and that was missed thanks to timely assassinations. Unfortunately that's not the case : JFK was rather a behavioural model of utter political servility, to the point of psychic codependence, towards the media sphere. He was actually the first American president to have been entirely made by the media, and especially by the most intensively Jewish ones as well as by the Hollywood actors' milieu : people even worse than the power elite proper. Anyway the American presidential institution was designed right from the start as a hidden imperial monarchy by adoption where none is admitted except from families having being initiated into the inner occult circles of the oligarchy and consecrated their whole progeny to come for one century and more : there never was the slightest risk that a US President disobey. The fact that the father had slight pro-Nazi inclinations should fool no one : Israel's Likud party has always collaborated with such figures among the non-Jews and anyway JFK's family is nearly Jewish on his mother's side. The American republic, though draping in Roman architecture and symbols, is clearly far more Carthaginian in outlook.

If JFK is to be compared with a Roman character it would be more with a kind of Nero, judging by his general private conduct, his lavish use of public money for private luxuries, and his abundant use of secret services to dispose of no longer useful women. He was all shape and no substance, and also known for a preference for false flags as the royal way to disentangle all diplomatic quandaries, and some of those false flags were so ridiculous that they fell flat, like the Bay of Pigs operation where he had given the orders to simulate the return of Christ. JFK had been put into power to accomplish a very specific mission : highjacking the Catholic Church into a religion 100% compliant with American interests and values (not an easy task) and also with Zionist theology : a most preposterous (and pervert) task but which he carried out in a brillant way. Up to then that religion had been the most opposite to the American enterprise, even more so than the communist enterprise, after the VII Council which that president was made to supervise as a nominal Catholic, the religion was made into some kind of neo-episcopalian thing. JFK did it mostly through the assassinations of countless prelates who would oppose such a turn. JFK also launched the Moonlanding mission in perfect knowledge, through Van Allen and Von Braun, that it was not feasible due to the impossibility to send any living being into space beyond a quite low orbit : he just counted on Hollywood. What he didn't realize is that it would be simpler for the American secret services to ensure the perfect secrecy of his own scheme to eliminate him once all orders to make it work were given. Had he escaped or survived the assassination in Dallas he would have been rapidly known as the very disappointing false liberal and real decadent machiavellian prince he was, one year of tabloid media coverage would have revealed him as an embarrassment to America, even though he was most probably due to die from his chronic illness before campaining for reelection. Thanks to his assassination he was transfigurated from the Nero he was into a kind of perfect tragic hero he was to become in the American dreamworld. In brief he was killed for obeying just to well, to the point of being more useful after death as a model, not for dissent of any kind (even though like all corrupt politicians who feel death to be impending he started making timid regrets and confessions about the power structure around him just a few days before, but in doing so he did no better than for instance FBI's Hoover or France's Mitterrand or Israel's Sharon just before entering mysterious coma).

Let us not be fooled by some allegations as to him having envisioned to do away with the FED by giving back the American state the right to print money : all he did in reality was allowing the American state to emit BONDS (not currency units) payable in metallic silver rather than in USD proper, a way different thing, actually a first move (by avowing the USD was subject to inflation in metallic terms as a judicial precedent to impose other decisions later on) to stealthily undo the convertibility of the dollar into precious metal as was to be finalized under Nixon. Let us not be deluded he envisioned doing away with the CIA : if anything JFK was an overuser of its assassination services, he just wished for the agency, which was then quite decentralized, to be eventually conflated with the FBI. And let us not imagine he was anti-Israel : when he refused Israel the authorization to go nuclear that was under the American Nuclear Industry Lobby's pressure which was then a more Jewish thing than its Israeli counterpart : Israel was seen as too young, too lefty, too hippie-like to be entrusted with everything at once, the real Jewish capital of the world was Manhattan, not Tel Aviv. Israel as an offshore power centre was still in construction and JFK's only concern, shared by his close Jewish appointees as well as by most conservative American Jews, was that it might fall under Soviet pressure for lack of maturity in operating secret services. In those kinds of affairs JFK heeded and obeyed the voice of best-established moneyed interests without delving too much deeply. Thanks to the JFK perfect model of media-tailored politicians the way was paved for Clinton and Obama to come thereafter as natural heirs.

[Feb 16, 2019] The Broken Presidential Destiny of JFK, Jr. by Laurent Guyénot

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com
JFK Jr. as conspiracy theorist

Let's move on to the next question: how dedicated was John to getting to the bottom of his father's assassination?

According to testimonies from his friends, John Junior was haunted by the death of his father and quite knowledgeable about independent investigations contradicting the Warren Report. In 1999, he was not a newcomer to JFK conspiracy theories; his quest for truth had started as early as the late 1970s. His old high school girlfriend Meg Azzoni, in her self-published book, 11 Letters and a Poem: John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Meg Azzoni (2007), writes that as a teenager, JFK, Jr. was questioning the official version of his father's death: "His heartfelt quest was to expose and bring to trial who killed his father, and covered it up." [28] Quoted in John Koerner, Exploding the Truth: The JFK Jr., Assassination, Chronos Books, 2018, kindle k. 540-45. Don Jeffries, author of Hidden History, claimed that "another friend of JFK, Jr.'s adult inner circle, who very adamantly requested to remain anonymous, verified that he was indeed quite knowledgeable about the assassination and often spoke of it in private." [29] Quoted in Koerner, Exploding the Truth, op. cit., k. 540-5. JFK Jr., said Jeffries in a radio interview, was on "a Shakespearian quest," "to avenge his father's death," like young Hamlet. [30] https://midnightwriternews.com/mwn-episode-093-donal...fk-jr/

John is the only Kennedy to have shown a serious determination to pursue this truth, besides his uncle Bobby. And he took the risk of making his interest public in October 1998, when he released a special "Conspiracy Issue" of George magazine , which included an article by Oliver Stone titled "Our Counterfeit History," introduced on the cover as "Paranoid and Proud of It!"

In an article published in 2009 , journalist Wayne Madsen claimed that, two weeks after John's death, "I was scheduled to meet with Kennedy at his magazine's offices in Washington, DC to discuss hiring on as one of a few investigative journalists Kennedy wanted to dig deep into a number of cases, but most importantly that of his father's assassination." [31] Wayne Madsen, "JFK Jr.'s Plane Crash Was Originally Treated As Murder Investigation," Wayne Madsen Report, August 12, 2009, on http://www.whale.to/c/jfk_jr5.html. Madsen told more details to Jeffries, who reports them in his book Hidden History: An Expose of Modern Crimes, Conspiracies, and Cover-Ups in American Politics, Skyhorse publishing, 2016, kindle k. 3981. (There is no confirmation of Madsen's claim.)


Jake , says: February 11, 2019 at 2:30 pm GMT

... ... ..

If Joe Kennedy Jr had not died in WW2, they would have killed him, because he was the smartest and toughest of the four brothers.

The WASPs and their Jewish allies assumed they could control JFK because of his war injury and resulting lifetime of medication, as well as from his having chosen to be a playboy when he assumed Joe Jr would be President. But in the White House, JFK began to understand that US was going to have major troubles if it did not pull out of Vietnam sooner rather than later and it if did not rein in Israel. He likely would have dumped LBJ in '64, and that was enough to guarantee his death.

Bobby Kennedy had to go because he was indispensable to John's movements in understanding how the Brits and their Jewish allies had cost the America that was neither WASP Elite nor Jewish a great deal. Plus, from his time working on organized crime, Bobby Kennedy knew that all big time organized crime was significantly funded by Jews and that at some point, virtually all major Jewish American big business and prominent law firms had direct ties to Jewish organized crime. And as President, Bobby Kennedy would have applied such knowledge to Israel. And so Bobby Kennedy had to be killed.

I have long assumed that some alliance of CIA and Mossad, meaning WASP and Jewish, was behind Chappaquiddick. No need to kill Teddy, because he was the least intelligent Kennedy brother, as well as the only coward.

Why risk JFK Jr? Get rid of him before he holds any office. Do not risk any movement growing up around him, because he might turn out to be some combo of his dad and dead uncles.

So Bobb

restless94110 , says: February 11, 2019 at 7:19 pm GMT
@Jake

I have long assumed that some alliance of CIA and Mossad, meaning WASP and Jewish, was behind Chappaquiddick. No need to kill Teddy, because he was the least intelligent Kennedy brother, as well as the only coward.

What makes you think that he was not supposed to die in that crash? He got out by the skin of his teeth, could not save his companion. What would be a better smear on the Kennedys that Teddy died with some woman in his lap?

As it turned out, he survived but forever smeared anyway

SunBakedSuburb , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT
Interesting article. I believe JFK Jr.'s death was the result of a conspiracy, but the author's assertion that Mossad was responsible leaves me with doubt. Hillary Clinton was the person who had the most to gain from JFK Jr.'s demise; they were both on the same trajectory: the open New York senate seat, followed by a run to the White House. The Clintons have been shadow government players since at least the 1980s when, while governor, Bill helped facilitate the CIA's trafficking of guns and drugs in Arkansas, which is a state with a significant Rockefeller presence. The demoness Hillary is where investigators of JFK Jr.'s death should start. Whether that leads to the Mossad, I don't know. My guess would be a domestic CIA network.
Steve Naidamast , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT
I very much like the writing by Laurent Guyénot and I have read all of the articles by him that I have come across including purchasing his book, "From Yaweh to Zion".

And I have no doubt that some insidious form of foul play was what killed JFK Jr. and his wife.

As one who flew aircraft many years ago I can attest to the fact that on a fog-ridden night it is very easy to succumb to vertigo and crash your plane into the ground. You can do this very easily as well with the current bevy of highly sophisticated aircraft simulations that are available.

However, JFK Jr. was, to my knowledge, a consummate pilot and would have never attempted such a flight unless he was intsrument rated. As a result, he would have not succumbed to to the effects of vertigo since he would have been concentrating on his instruments.

Also, I understand that this was basically a night flight, which by law required an instrument rating.

From these generalizations alone one can see that JFK Jr. would have known how to fly his plane.

If the eyewitnesses to the explosion are credible along with other supporting evidence than there is no way any legitimate investigation could have concluded with verdict of "pilot error", unless of course JFK Jr. knowingly took a bomb on board his plane with the intent of blowing himself and his passengers up. A highly unlikely scenario.

If one were to look at the "only available picture" of JFK Jr.'s aircraft in this piece, even a layperson could see that there is no scarring anywhere to be seen on the debris, which would have been used then to support the stupidity of "pilot error".

You can see the same nonsense with the 911 pictures of the Pentagon after it was struck. There is literally no debris in any of those pictures from an aircraft freshly blown to pieces by its strike on the E-wing of the Pentagon.

Considering the insidiousness of the Clintons, especially Hillary herself, the author paints an excellent portrait of a likely pathway for the support and implementation of an assassination of JFK Jr through her. Given Hillary's background (and rabid incompetence) in nefarious operations such as the destruction of Libya, I wouldn't put it past this women to work with other planners to prevent JFK Jr. from obstructing her planned ascent into the US Senate from New York.

Despite her popularity in New York State, which was somewhat overrated in the media, many never considered her a welcome representative of our state. And JFK Jr. would have wiped the floor with her in a political contest.

Steve Naidamast , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman Achmed

As a former flyer myself, it is aviation law that you cannot fly any aircraft at night or non-VFR conditions without being instrument rated. If this was a night flight as stated then the moon could have been out lighting up every aspect of earth and still only instrument-rated pilots could fly.

And the airport he flew out of would have never allowed such a flight-plan for a non-instrument rated pilot unless they wanted to lose their license to operate an airport.

Cyrano , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:46 pm GMT
If JFK Jr. could send a message from the other world – it should probably be: "Don't cry for me Argentina".

Just because his father was a president (of dubious quality and of dubious control over the deep state – it probably was, as usual – vice versa, the deep state controlled him), doesn't mean that they had presidential DNA in their genes.

Sons of presidents are usually worse than their fathers in the same role. I have only 2 examples but they are adequate enough to prove the point. GW Bush was 10 times the disaster of a president his father was. And also Justin Trudeau is not even 1% the prime minister his father was. In fact, if JFK jr, lived long enough to be elected a president – he probably would have been the American Justin Trudeau.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website February 11, 2019 at 9:15 pm GMT
Our media ignored breaking news a few years ago that Kennedy's TWA "conspiracy theory" was proven true. TWA Flight 800 did not explode in mid-air because of an electrical short. It was accidentally hit by a US Navy anti-aircraft missile during a training exercise.

An outstanding 2013 documentary: "TWA Flight 800" appeared on Netflix, but was removed after just a few weeks. It featured two senior federal NTSB investigators of TWA 800 who declared the investigation was a cover-up by the Clinton administration, and waited until they retired to speak out. Several books have appeared that provide undeniable evidence, such as:

http://militarycorruption.com/flight-800/

DESERT FOX , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:29 pm GMT
@SunBakedSuburb Agree, the book Compromised, Clinton, Bush and the CIA by Terry Reed shows the connection between the Bushes and Clintons and the CIA and FBI and their CIA hit teams, or just read the customer comments on the book at Amazon.com.
renfro , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:50 pm GMT
@Diversity Heretic As a 30 year instrument rated pilot myself I would agree except for .."and the overstressed airframe comes apart."
In light civilian air craft that is very rare and usually caused by some defect already existing.
Unless the NTSB itself is lying and the radar records and the recovery divers are lying I go with their determination.
First, the debris field was only 120 feet, if the plane had exploded or broken up in the air it would have been scattered over a larger area.
Second, records show the plane entered a banking turn in excess of 45 degrees, which is not recommended and dangerous .It can cause a accelerated stall and if you don't have the altitude to recover from it before you hit the ground or you panic you go 'spiraling' down and smash into whatever is below, you like the ocean.
So I really am not into the plane being blown up theory.

'A performance study of the radar data revealed that the target began a descent from 5,500 feet about 34 miles west of MVY. The speed during the descent was calculated to be about 160 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), and the rate of descent was calculated to have varied between 400 and 800 feet per minute (fpm). About 2138, the target began a right turn in a southerly direction. About 30 seconds later, the target stopped its descent at 2,200 feet and began a climb that lasted another 30 seconds. During this period of time, the target stopped the turn, and the airspeed decreased to about 153 KIAS. About 2139, the target leveled off at 2,500 feet and flew in a southeasterly direction. About 50 seconds later, the target entered a left turn and climbed to 2,600 feet. As the target continued in the left turn, it began a descent that reached a rate of about 900 fpm. When the target reached an easterly direction, it stopped turning; its rate of descent remained about 900 fpm. At 2140:15, while still in the descent, the target entered a right turn. As the target's turn rate increased, its descent rate and airspeed also increased. The target's descent rate eventually exceeded 4,700 fpm. The target's last radar position was recorded at 2140:34 at an altitude of 1,100 feet. (For a more detailed description of the target's [accident airplane's] performance, see Section, "Tests and Research," Subsection, "Aircraft Performance Study.")

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

On July 20, 1999, the airplane wreckage was located by U.S. Navy divers from the recovery ship, USS Grasp, at a depth of about 120 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. According to the divers, the recovered wreckage had been distributed in a debris field about 120 feet long and was oriented along a magnetic bearing of about 010/190 degrees. The main cabin area was found in the middle of the debris field.
At 2139:50, the airplane entered a left turn, while slightly increasing altitude to 2,600 feet. The airplane reached a maximum bank angle of 28 degrees left-wing-down (LWD) and a maximum vertical acceleration of 1.2 Gs in this turn. When the maximum LWD bank angle was obtained, the altitude started to decrease at a descent rate close to 900 fpm. The LWD attitude was maintained for approximately 15 seconds until the airplane was heading towards the east. At 2140:07, the airplane bank angle returned to wings level. At 2140:15, with the airplane continuing towards the east, it reestablished a descent close to 900 fpm and then started to increase its bank angle in a RWD direction at nearly a constant rate. As the airplane bank angle increased, the rate of descent increased, and the airspeed started to increase. By 2140:25, the bank angle exceeded 45 degrees , the vertical acceleration was 1.2 Gs, the airspeed increased through 180 knots, and the flightpath angle was close to 5 degrees airplane nose down. After 2140:25, the airplane's airspeed, vertical acceleration, bank, and dive angle continued to increase, and the right turn tightened until water impact

https://www.ntsb.gov/about/employment/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20001212X19354&ntsbno=NYC99MA178&akey=1

Rodney1111 , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
Creating conspiracy theories is lots of fun, and sometimes can even be productive, but for this one you really do have to go overboard ignoring Occam's Razor:

In reality, everyone who has ever acquired any kind of pilot's licence has been told repeatedly in training something like: "Understand, that without getting sufficient instruction to qualify for an instrument rating, if you lose visual reference to the ground, during the day or at night, you will be toast. Experiments have consistently shown that, even the world's most brilliant and experienced pilots, if they lose visual reference to the ground and cannot see the instruments to assess carefully what they are saying, in every case lose control of the aircraft in less than 45 seconds. And, having lost control, do not realize it, and are unable to figure out that they need to regain it, let alone what they need to do."

Most people find this surprising, which is why in the later stages of basic training a demonstration is usually done in which the pilot wears a hood that prevents him from seeing outside the aircraft, and is instructed to maintain straight and level flight. The instructor removes the student's hood when the aircraft is in a rapidly accelerating, 45 degree bank, descending turn, when the pilot had imagined he was still flying straight and level. I can vouch that this is a persuasive demonstration!

This isn't mere speculation. Loss of control is the inevitable consequence of a non-instrument rated pilot losing sight of the ground. It is enormously probable that this was JFK Jr's issue.

AriusArmenian , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
I remember a little after JFK was assassinated a report of a statement by an government official, I think someone in the FBI, saying there is evidence of a conspiracy to kill JFK and other Kennedy family members. What happens is that after an attack or bombing the media filters are not coordinated for hours or days but then controls and directives kick in the narratives get stabilized. I always watch the news reports right after the event to catch leaks. The above reported statement was never again reported by anyone.

It is certainly looking like Israel had a hand in many operations inside the US to control its foreign policy and make sure major narratives are pro-Israel like the UK has a long history (at least from WW2 on) of using dirty tricks to control the US. Since US foreign policy is substantially controlled by the UK, Saudis, and Israel, we must suspect any of them of trying to keep control of the US with all sorts of dirty tricks. Israel in a prime candidate for assassinations and false flag operations in the US as they certainly knew by the 1960's that the survival of Israel depended on US support. There are just too many dual passport holders in these events to ignore this any longer.

Peredur , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:01 pm GMT
Implicitly, this article takes the position that Jackie Kennedy was not involved in the JFK assassination conspiracy, but there is an intriguing connection between the Bouvier family and the assassination via a person named George de Mohrenschildt, who was a close friend of both the Bouviers and Oswald.
renfro , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:21 pm GMT
@Steve Naidamast That isnt correct.
There are 3 types of licenses a person can get:
Sport Flyer license restricted to local area and only certain types of small aircraft.
Recreational License restricted to local area and daylight hours only.
Private Pilot License ..not restricted, can fly at night . at their own risk

I did a lot of night time flying before I got my instrument rating. But wasn't stupid enough to fly in bad weather day or night.

niteranger , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Sean I have no idea if JFK Jr. was bombed out of the sky by our friends in the Mossad, CIA, or other wonderful entities. But years ago an ex CIA guy told me bluntly that the reason the CIA and intelligence agencies get away with stuff is because much of it no one would be believe they would even try thus the invention of the Conspiracy Theory.

The Kennedys were family of egomaniacs and were often careless and their itinerary through life was filled with many people they destroyed and cast by the side of the road. They believed they were really the chosen ones and their opinion and their way of doing things were right and everyone else was wrong. So they mirrored the Jews except they were Irish.

lysias , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:51 pm GMT
@Peredur Mohrenschildt seems to have been Oswald's CIA handler for a while, but months before the JFK assassination he went off to Haiti. There's nothing to connect him with the JFK assassination, especially if -- as seems likely -- Oswald was not the shooter who killed JFK.
anon [228] Disclaimer , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:54 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer TWA Flight 800 Investigators Claim the Official Crash Story Is a Lie
A new film claims the official government report on the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 is an elaborate fabrication, but the most shocking part of the story is that charges are being leveled by the very investigators who put the report together.
A new film claims the official government report on the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 is an elaborate fabrication, but the most shocking part of the story is that charges are being leveled by some of the very investigators who put the report together. Six experts who appear in the film were members of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation team that concluded the crash was an accident, but they now claim they were silenced by their superiors. The movies, "TWA Flight 800" will debut on EPIX TV next month, on the 17-year anniversary of the crash.
https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/twa-flight-800-film-coverup/314092/
jeff stryker , says: February 11, 2019 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Che Guava JFK junior was really just not that bright. He failed the bar exam at least once. As Larry Elders once said, the best thing you could say about JFK junior was that he was a down-to-earth guy who never pretended to be more than an average person who happened to be rich.

Supposedly he loved alcohol and was obsessed with porn-he was friends with Irish-America's one porn mogul in a gallery of Jews, Larry Flint.

He was handsome-some say that his father was Onassis and not Kennedy, believable considering his Mediterranean looks which were nothing like Kennedy's fair Irish looks (Though JFK junior was eternally proud of his Irish roots).

His magazine was alright, supposedly advised under-the-table by Larry Flynt again.

Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: February 12, 2019 at 1:30 am GMT
@Che Guava The magazine was in big trouble financially. It never did break even although the Kennedy PR machine and the Kennedy worshiping media pushed it for years
George was financed by the big French International publisher Hachette. Hachette was getting ready to stop financing a losing publication. The combination of People and New Republic just never worked.

I don't remember any announcements that JFKjr planned to run for any office. It was just speculation and part of the endless media coverage of JFKjr which increased a thousand times after he got married

Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: February 12, 2019 at 8:05 am GMT
There's a book Nemesis that claims that Jackie visited Onassis on his yacht in September? October? 1963 and they arranged that Jackie would divorce jack and marry Onassis ic Hack lost the 64 election

[Feb 16, 2019] Is Tulsi Gabbard for Real by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... The Intercept ..."
"... The Alliance for Securing Democracy ..."
Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com
Marco Rubio Blogview Philip Giraldi Archive Blogview Philip Giraldi Archive Is Tulsi Gabbard for Real? America Is Ready for a Genuine Peace Candidate Philip Giraldi February 14, 2019 1,400 Words 43 Comments Reply Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS Email This Page to Someone
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The lineup of Democrats who have already declared themselves as candidates for their party's presidential nomination in 2020 is remarkable, if only for the fact that so many wannabes have thrown their hats in the ring so early in the process. In terms of electability, however, one might well call the seekers after the highest office in the land the nine dwarfs. Four of the would-be candidates – Marianne Williamson a writer, Andrew Yang an entrepreneur, Julian Castro a former Obama official, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman John Delaney – have no national profiles at all and few among the Democratic Party rank-and-file would be able to detail who they are, where they come from and what their positions on key issues might be.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has a national following but she also has considerable baggage. The recent revelation that she falsely described herself as "American Indian" back in 1986 for purposes of career advancement, which comes on top of similar reports of more of the same as well as other resume-enhancements that surfaced when she first became involved in national politics, prompted Donald Trump to refer to her as "Pocahontas." Warren, who is largely progressive on social and domestic issues, has been confronted numerous times regarding her views on Israel/Palestine and beyond declaring that she favors a "two state solution" has been somewhat reticent. She should be described as pro-Israel for the usual reasons and is not reliably anti-war. She comes across as a rather more liberal version of Hillary Clinton.

And then there is New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, being touted as the "new Obama," presumably because he is both black and progressive. His record as Mayor of Newark New Jersey, which launched his career on the national stage, has both high and low points and it has to be questioned if America is ready for another smooth-talking black politician whose actual record of accomplishments is on the thin side. One unfortunately recalls the devious Obama's totally bogus Nobel Peace Prize and his Tuesday morning meetings with John Brennan to work on the list of Americans who were to be assassinated.

Booker has carefully cultivated the Jewish community in his political career, to include a close relationship with the stomach-churning "America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach, but has recently become more independent of those ties, supporting the Obama deal with Iran and voting against anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) legislation in the Senate. On the negative side, the New York Times likes Booker, which means that he will turn most other Americans off. He is also 49 years old and unmarried, which apparently bothers some in the punditry.

California Senator Kamala Harris is a formidable entrant into the crowded field due to her resume, nominally progressive on most issues, but with a work history that has attracted critics concerned by her hard-line law-and-order enforcement policies when she was District Attorney General for San Francisco and Attorney General for California. She has also spoken at AIPAC , is anti-BDS, and is considered to be reliably pro-Israel, which would rule her out for some, though she might be appealing to middle of the road Democrats like the Clintons and Nancy Pelosi who have increasingly become war advocates. She will have a tough time convincing the antiwar crowd that she is worth supporting and there are reports that she will likely split the black women's vote even though she is black herself, perhaps linked to her affair with California powerbroker Willie Brown when she was 29 and Brown was 61. Brown was married, though separated, to a black woman at the time. Harris is taking heat because she clearly used the relationship to advance her career while also acquiring several patronage sinecures on state commissions that netted her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The most interesting candidate is undoubtedly Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is a fourth term Congresswoman from Hawaii, where she was born and raised. She is also the real deal on national security, having been-there and done-it through service as an officer with the Hawaiian National Guard on a combat deployment in Iraq. Though in Congress full time, she still performs her Guard duty.

Tulsi's own military experience notwithstanding, she gives every indication of being honestly anti-war. In the speech announcing her candidacy she pledged "focus on the issue of war and peace" to "end the regime-change wars that have taken far too many lives and undermined our security by strengthening terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda." She referred to the danger posed by blundering into a possible nuclear war and indicated her dismay over what appears to be a re-emergence of the Cold War.

Not afraid of challenging establishment politics, she called for an end to the "illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government," also observing that "the war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria – which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world." She then backed up her words with action by secretly arranging for a personal trip to Damascus in 2017 to meet with President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was important to meet adversaries "if you are serious about pursuing peace." She made her own assessment of the situation in Syria and now favors pulling US troops out of the country as well as ending American interventions for "regime change" in the region.

In 2015, Gabbard supported President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran and more recently has criticized President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the deal. Last May, she criticized Israel for shooting "unarmed protesters" in Gaza, but one presumes that, like nearly all American politicians, she also has to make sure that she does not have the Israel Lobby on her back. Gabbard has spoken at a conference of Christians United for Israel, which has defended Israel's settlement enterprise; has backed legislation that slashes funding to the Palestinians; and has cultivated ties with Boteach as well as with major GOP donor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. She also attended the controversial address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March 2015, which many progressive Democrats boycotted.

Nevertheless, Tulsi supported Bernie Sanders' antiwar candidacy in 2016 and appears to be completely onboard and fearless in promoting her antiwar sentiments. Yes, Americans have heard much of the same before, but Tulsi Gabbard could well be the only genuine antiwar candidate that might truly be electable in the past fifty years.

What Tulsi Gabbard is accomplishing might be measured by the enemies that are already gathering and are out to get her. Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept describes how NBC news published a widely distributed story on February 1 st , claiming that "experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard."

But the expert cited by NBC turned out to be a firm New Knowledge, which was exposed by no less than The New York Times for falsifying Russian troll accounts for the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to suggest that the Kremlin was interfering in that election. According to Greenwald, the group ultimately behind this attack on Gabbard is The Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), which sponsors a tool called Hamilton 68 , a news "intelligence net checker" that claims to track Russian efforts to disseminate disinformation. The ASD website advises that "Securing Democracy is a Global Necessity."

ASD was set up in 2017 by the usual neocon crowd with funding from The Atlanticist and anti-Russian German Marshall Fund. It is loaded with a full complement of Zionists and interventionists/globalists, to include Michael Chertoff, Michael McFaul, Michael Morell, Kori Schake and Bill Kristol. It claims, innocently, to be a bipartisan transatlantic national security advocacy group that seeks to identify and counter efforts by Russia to undermine democracies in the United States and Europe but it is actually itself a major source of disinformation.

For the moment, Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the "real thing," a genuine anti-war candidate who is determined to run on that platform. It might just resonate with the majority of American who have grown tired of perpetual warfare to "spread democracy" and other related frauds perpetrated by the band of oligarchs and traitors that run the United States. We the people can always hope.


peterAUS , says: February 14, 2019 at 7:41 pm GMT

For the moment, Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the "real thing," a genuine anti-war candidate who is determined to run on that platform.

Be that as it may, what is conspicously missing from the article are some minor things:
1. What's her angle about immigration?
This:
https://votesmart.org/public-statement/1197137/rep-tulsi-gabbard-calls-on-congress-to-pass-the-dream-act#.XGXEplUza1s
Not optimistic.
2. What's her angle about "outsourcing" jobs overseas?
This:
https://www.votetulsi.com/node/25011
Not bad, but, still ..

Just those two. We can leave the rest of "globo-homo" agenda off the table, for the moment.
And, the last but not the least, that nagging angle about automation and (paid) work in general. Let's not get too ambitious here. Those two, only, should suffice at the moment.

Si1ver1ock , says: February 14, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
I like Tulsi. but she hasn't been tested in a presidential campaign yet. At least we will have someone who could put peace on the ballot.

She should write a book pulling her policies together and use it to get some publicity.

Adrian E. , says: February 14, 2019 at 9:14 pm GMT
Regularly Americans vote for the less interventionist candidate. 2008, an important reason for Obama's victory against Hillary Clinton and John McCain was that he had been against the Iraq war. 2000, George W. Bush said he was against nation building. Then, after they are elected, the neocons remain in power. Something similar again with Donald Trump who campaigned against stupid wars in the Middle East and now has surrounded himself with some of the most extreme neocons.

Of course, it is impossible to predict whether it will be the same with Tulsi Gabbard, but unlike these other candidates in the past , she puts her rejection of neocons and regime change wars so much into the center of her campaign that it should be assumed that she is serious – otherwise it would be complete betrayal. However, if she is serious about this and is elected, she will be fought by the deep state and its allies in the media much more harshly than Trump, who isn't even consistently anti-neocons, just not reliably pro-neocon. What they would probably do to her would make spygate, the Russiagate conspiracy theory, and the Muller investigation look harmless. She might end like JFK (a VP who is just as anti-neocons might increase the chances of survival).

But despite all the risks, I think it is worth trying. If the US was a parliamentary democracy with proportional representation and the neocons had their own party, it would hardly have more than a handful of seats in Congress. Although they don't have, a significant base of their own, neocons have remained in power for a long time, whoever was elected. At the moment, Tulsi Gabbard is probably the best hope for ending their long reign.

2stateshmustate , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:10 am GMT
Michael Chertoff, huh. That says it all. If there was any justice in this country Mr. Chertoff would have long since been tried for treason for his involvement in the 911 attack.
anonymous [241] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:30 am GMT
She'll be sabotaged by relentless smears and other dirty tricks. Only someone bought and owned will be allowed to be a candidate which means the MIC must continue being fed enormous amounts of money and war hysteria constantly being stoked. She won't have a chance. Besides, the Dem party has gotten radical and out of touch with the majority of Americans so who really wants them in? There's no cause for optimism anywhere one looks.
anarchyst , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:40 am GMT
@2stateshmustate Chertoff was a part of 9-11. His company supplies the "backscatter radar" machines used at American airports
Gg Mo , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:21 am GMT
@the grand wazoo Has anyone discussed the possibility of Tulsi being "marketed" or long-game "branded" through intentional theatre as "anti-war" ? Greenwald himself has questionable backers and the WWF good guy/bad guy character creations (like Trump's pre-election talking points concerning illegal wars , now stuffed down the memory holes of many), all the FAKE and distracting "fights" etc etc

See Corbett/Sibel Edmonds on Greenwald

jack daniels , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:48 am GMT
@peterAUS Any serious Democratic candidate, and to some extent any Republican, must fly through the flack of Deep State anti-populist guns. I am skeptical about Gabbard because her policy views are already too good to be true. She is "cruisin' for a bruisin'" and there is already a campaign to erase her from the debate in the manner in which Ron Paul was erased a few years back. Gabbard is an attractive woman and on camera she comes across as aggressive and a quick-thinking, highly articulate debater. Like Trump her instinct is to meet force with counter-force rather than roll with the punches and I think that is her best chance. In that way she calls the bluff of her opponents: Just how confident are they that in the end the public will prefer war to peace? These points add up to a realistic chance of success but given the Deep State's stranglehold on the media she is definitely a long shot.
Biff , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:04 am GMT
De ja vu. I remember reading these very similar(not exactly but similar) sentiments about Barack Obama back in 2008. What a load of crap that turned out to be, but I do understand that not all politicians are cut from the same dung heap, so it is probably best to find out who is funding the little pricks while they are campaigning – for once they are elected, payback is due.

In the case of Obama it was Robert Rubin(of Goldman Sachs) who bankrolled him, and of course, once elected it was bank bailout time. Then once Ghaddaffi's gold back Dinar became a monetary powerhouse, he committed another crime for the bankers.

"Is she the real deal?"

Elect her and you'll find out, and there lies the problem – you get to find out when it's too late. On the other hand, she could actually be honest and sincere, but that alone disqualifies her as a politician (the kind that Americans are used to anyway).

NTL, she's got people's attention and if for anything else – the people are anti-war, but the monied power brokers are definitely not which begs the question – will democracy actually happen?

animalogic , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:04 am GMT
@Adrian E. Don't know much about this lady. If she is "fair dinkum" in her anti war/anti-imperialism stance her only chance to get into power & then get things done will be to gain a massive, committed popular following.

She will need to use tactics from both the Sanders & Trump play-books. She will need to appeal to a good number in both the Sanders & Trump constituencies. Regardless, she will need an iron-will & tsunami of charisma .

LondonBob , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:26 am GMT
@Biff Obama was a creation of the Pritzker and Crowne families, although the puppet did decide he wanted to somewhat act on his own. Gabbard is certainly taking flak from the Israel firsters, and her debating Trump on foreign policy in a US Presidential election would be a real paradigm shift.
RobinG , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm GMT
@renfro Where do you get this "obsessive hatred of Muslims and Islam?"

She's been [insistent and consistent] using the term 'radical Islamic terrorists' which, unfortunately, is an accurate description of ISIS (the bane of the ummah). OTOH, last year Tulsi was a featured speaker at a Moslem conference in NJ, and she has been outspoken about freedom of religion and mutual respect. If you've got some evidence that she excludes Islam from that, please show it.

RobinG , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm GMT
@jack daniels

[Gabbard's] policy views are already too good to be true.

Not really. Too good to be true would be if she understood Putin in the context of the US and oligarch rape of Russia in the 1990's and how he has restored the Russian economy and dignity; and if she recognized (openly) the US role in the Maidan coup and accepted the validity of the Crimean decision to return to Russia.

Unfortunately, even though she's taken a brave position on ending US regime-change war on Syria, in many other respects she remains quite conventional. She also promotes fear of DPRK, and who knows what she thinks about China.

she comes across as aggressive and a quick-thinking, highly articulate debater.

Aggressive? Composed, confident, yes. Aggressive, no. Calm under fire is more like it. Take a look at the whole interview on Morning Joe. She really outclasses those squirming bitches. BUT, notice her (short) responses on Putin and Assad ("adversary" and "no"), real Judas moments. Does she believe that, or is she clinging to the Overton Window?
https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/rep-gabbard-assad-is-not-an-enemy-of-the-us-1438093891865

Forcible Overthrow time , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:41 pm GMT
Tulsi's presidential timber but she's wasting her life with the Democrats. Their consulting apparatchiks are going to stuff a bunch of incoherent slogans up her butt. If she wants a real antiwar platform she should steal it wholesale from Stein and Ajamu Baraka. Baraka built a complete and consistent law-and-order platform. He's the only real antiwar candidate in this country.

Of course the Democrat's CIA handlers will crush Tulsi if she starts to make sense, so she's going to have to take her supporters and jump to the Greens.

She will lose, but arbitrary forcible repression of the party will discredit bullshit US electoral pageantry once and for all. Then we move into the parallel government zone in conformity with world-standard human rights law and destroy the parasitic kleptocratic USA.

peterAUS , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:12 pm GMT
@jack daniels You know .there IS one thing nobody wants, really, to talk about.

.given the Deep State's stranglehold on the media she is definitely a long shot

Why, in this age, the "stronghold on the media" is so decisive? A person who gets the most of media exposure wins? That's how it works?
Or, do anyone reading and posting here gets his/her information from the "media"? I'd say not.

Isn't the bottom, the very heart of the matter NOT a Deep State, Dem Joos, Anglo-Saxons, Masons, Illuminati and .whatever but simple, eternal, laziness and stupidity of an average person?
Or, even worse: the real, true, needs and wants of an average person are simply "breads and circuses". Nothing more.
Combine those two and here we are.

I am aware that throws the spanner into works of those into Aryans, White supremacy, Western man and similar stuff, but, the conclusion seems inevitable.

That's the heart of the problem "we" face at the moment. How to fix it, or even is it possible, I don't know. Have some ideas, of course.

anon [194] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
@2stateshmustate

If there was any justice in this country Mr. Chertoff would have long since been tried for treason for his involvement in the 911 attack.

The arc of something or other is long but tends toward justice er something like that:

Chertoff's business partner Mike Hayden had a stroke last November and is still "getting good care and working hard at therapy."

No doubt US taxpayers are paying to rebuild Scumbag Hayden's fried circuits.
Pity.

never-anonymous , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
CIA Giraldi probably has more Cherokee DNA than Warren. Another fact he failed to provide to the Government during the security clearance process. The troll has supported the republican establishment all his career, this distinguishes him from the trolls that support the democratic establishment all of their careers. The fact that people can debate the relative merits of political leaders from the dark lagoon reveals their complete lack of rational thought. No politician decides anything important.
Tulip , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:39 pm GMT
@Anonymous No, then she is toast in Hawaii politics, and she is probably running not because she plans on winning, but to raise her profile and perhaps open doors for herself on the national or state level, which won't happen if you shoot yourself in the foot at the same time.

Besides, leaving aside Krishna consciousness, she is too close to Sanders to get any traction among the Republicans. I suppose getting the bipartisan support of the Internet kook vote is something, but hard to translate into political office.

RobinG , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:19 pm GMT
@Tulip

..getting the bipartisan support of the Internet kook vote is something, but hard to translate into political office.

Brilliant.

Dem Juche , says: February 16, 2019 at 12:25 am GMT
You're never going to get anything worthwhile from a Democratic politician because they're indoctrinated worse that the brightest little Pioneer in Juche class. Take Ro Khana's meaningless pap.

https://fellowtravelersblog.com/2018/10/23/ro-khanna-five-principles/

What is this 'we should' crap? The law is perfectly clear. The right to self-defense is subject to necessity and proportionality tests, and invariably subject to UN Charter Chapter 7 in its entirety. See Article 51. Instead of this 'restraint' waffle, just say, the president must commit to faithfully execute the supreme law of the land, including UN Charter Chapter 7 and Article 2(4). That means refrain from use or threat of force. Period.

Second, national security is not a loophole in human rights. Khana uses the legally meaningless CIA magic word 'threat.' Under universal jurisdiction law, it is a war crime to declare abolished, suspended or inadmissible in a court of law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party. Domestic human rights are subject to ICCPR Article 4, HRC General Comment 29, and the Siracusa Principles. Instead of CIA's standard National Security get-out clause, state explicitly that US national security means respect, protection and fulfillment of all human rights. To enforce that, ratify the Rome Statute or GTFO.

Third, internationalism is OK as far as it goes, but Ro Khana doesn't deal with the underlying problem: CIA has infested State with focal points and dotted-line reports, and demolished the department's capacity for pacific resolution of disputes. You have to explicitly tie State's mission to UN Charter Chapter 6, and criminalize placement of domestic CIA agents in State.

Fourth, Congressional war-making powers are useless with Congress completely corrupted. Bring back the Ludlow Amendment, war by public referendum only, subject to Article 51.

Rich , says: February 16, 2019 at 5:21 am GMT
Tulsi is a far Left democrat. She supports raising taxes to pay for free college for people earning less than 125K and universal health care, she actually joined protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline, has a 100% rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, supports homosexual marriage (changed her previous position in 2012), and has an F rating from the NRA. She's a Lefty. Not for me, anyway.
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 16, 2019 at 5:25 am GMT
In any case she is less vulnerable. She can call any opposition a misogynist.
Biff , says: February 16, 2019 at 5:30 am GMT
@obwandiyag

I like the one on here who says the Democrat party has "gotten radical."

I assume this is sarcasm, but there is no denying the fact that the neocons(radical whack jobs) have jumped ship from the Republicans and attached themselves to the Democrats (although there are filtering back into the Trump administration – drunk with power they'll suck up to anyone)

The DNC NeverTrump crowd is all but calling for a nuclear exchange with Russia because they colluded with Trump to throw the election, and they pose a National Security threat to the United States(in their head). Hillary also went on to say that Russians Hacking the DNC is another 9/11. The radical Antifa crowd is made up of 99.999999% of Democratic voters.

[Feb 16, 2019] Libya was a war crime.

Max Boot along with other neocons should be in jail.
Feb 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Stephen J. , February 15, 2019 a t 1:43 pm

The article states: " but by 2011 Boot had another war in mind. 'Qaddafi Must Go,' Boot declared in The Weekly Standard. In Boot's telling, the Libyan dictator had become a threat to the American homeland." -- -- - There is reported evidence that Libya was a war crime. And the perpetrators are Free. See info below:

"They Speak "

"The destruction of Libya by NATO at the behest of the UK, the US and France was a crime, one dripping in the cant and hypocrisy of Western ideologues " John Wight, November 27, 2017. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/27/libya-chose-freedom-now-it-has-slavery/

They speak of "The Rule of Law" while breaking the law themselves They are the dangerous hypocrites that bombed Libya, and created hell Thousands upon thousands are dead in this unfortunate country Many would still be alive, if our "leaders" had not been down and dirty

Libya is reportedly a war crime and the war criminals are free Some of them are seen posturing on the world stage and others are on T.V. Others have written books and others are retired from public office And another exclaimed: "We came, we saw, he died" as murder was their accomplice

They even teamed up with terrorists to commit their bloody crimes And this went unreported in the "media": was this by design? There is a sickness and perversion loose in our society today When war crimes can be committed and the "law" has nothing to say

Another "leader" had a fly past to celebrate the bombing victory in this illegal war Now Libya is in chaos, while bloody terrorists roam secure And the NATO gang that caused all this horror and devastation Are continuing their bloody bombings in other unfortunate nations

The question must be asked: "Are some past and present leaders above the law? Can they get away with bombing and killing, are they men of straw? Whatever happened to law and order in the so- called "democracies"? When those in power can get away with criminality: Is that not hypocrisy?

There is no doubt that Libya was better off, before the "liberators" arrived Now many of its unfortunate people are now struggling to exist and survive The future of this war torn country now looks very sad and bleak If only our "leaders" had left it alone; but instead hypocrisy: They Speak

"The cause of the catastrophe in Libya in Libya was the seven month US-NATO blitzkrieg from March to October 2011 in which thousands of bombs and rockets rained down on that unfortunate land which was governed by President Muammar Ghaddafi whom the West was determined to overthrow by assisting a rebel movement." Brian Cloughley, 12.02.2019 https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/12/in-libya-we-came-saw-he-died-will-there-repeat-in-venezuela.html

[More info on all of this at link below] http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/02/they-speak.html

[Feb 16, 2019] Trump as a> visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one ruling over divided and an increasingly unhinged aggressive country

Notable quotes:
"... There was a desperately weakened and impoverished Russia (still with its nuclear arsenal more or less intact) that, as far as they were concerned, had been mollycoddled by President Bill Clinton's administration. There was a Communist-gone-capitalist China focused on its own growth and little else. And there were a set of other potential enemies, "rogue powers" as they were dubbed, so pathetic that not one of them could, under any circumstances, be called "great." ..."
"... It was as clear as glass that the world -- the whole shebang -- was there for the taking ..."
"... Charles Krauthammer who, in February 2001, six months before the ... attacks of September 11th, wrote a piece swooning over the new Bush administration's "unilateralism" to come and the "Bush Doctrine" which would go with it. In the process, he gave that administration a green light to put the pathetic Russians in their nuclear place and summed the situation up this way: ..."
"... "America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will." ..."
"... "How did USA's oil get under Iraq's sand?" said a typical protest sign ..."
"... And yet, wrong as they may have been on such subjects, don't sell Krauthammer and the rest of that neocon crew short. They were, in their own way, also prophets, at least domestically speaking. After all, Rome, like the United States, had been an imperial republic. That republic was replaced, as its empire grew, by autocratic rule, first by the self-anointed emperor Augustus and then by his successors. Arguably, 18 years after Krauthammer wrote that column, the American republic might be heading down the same path. After all, so many years later, the neocons, triumphantly risen yet again in Washington ( both in the administration and as its critics), finally have their Caesar. ..."
"... All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. ..."
"... Think of it not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who, with his "great, great wall," has indeed been an opiate of the masses (for his famed base, at least) in the midst of an opioid crisis hitting them hard. Yes, Donald J. Trump, reality TV star and bankruptee , he of the golden letters, was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear. It was a republic feeling the pressure of all that money flowing into only half-noticed distant wars and into the pockets of billionaires and corporate entities in a way that turned the very idea of democracy into a bad joke. ..."
"... Someday, if people ask the obvious question -- not who lost Afghanistan, but who lost America? -- keep all those failed imperial wars and the national security state that went with them in mind when you try to answer. Cumulatively, they had a far more disruptive role than is now imagined in toppling the dominos that sent us all careening on a path to nowhere here at home. And keep in mind that, whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Engelhardt via TomDispatch.com,

What dreamers they were! They imagined a kind of global power that would leave even Rome at its Augustan height in the shade. They imagined a world made for one, a planet that could be swallowed by a single great power. No, not just great, but beyond anything ever seen before -- one that would build (as its National Security Strategy put it in 2002) a military "beyond challenge." Let's be clear on that: no future power, or even bloc of powers, would ever be allowed to challenge it again.

And, in retrospect, can you completely blame them? I mean, it seemed so obvious then that we -- the United States of America -- were the best and the last. We had, after all, outclassed and outlasted every imperial power since the beginning of time. Even that other menacing superpower of the Cold War era, the Soviet Union, the " Evil Empire " that refused to stand down for almost half a century, had gone up in a puff of smoke.

Imagine that moment so many years later and consider the crew of neoconservatives who, under the aegis of George W. Bush, the son of the man who had "won" the Cold War, came to power in January 2001. Not surprisingly, on viewing the planet, they could see nothing -- not a single damn thing -- in their way. There was a desperately weakened and impoverished Russia (still with its nuclear arsenal more or less intact) that, as far as they were concerned, had been mollycoddled by President Bill Clinton's administration. There was a Communist-gone-capitalist China focused on its own growth and little else. And there were a set of other potential enemies, "rogue powers" as they were dubbed, so pathetic that not one of them could, under any circumstances, be called "great."

In 2002, in fact, three of them -- Iraq, Iran, and North Korea -- had to be cobbled together into an " axis of evil " to create a faintly adequate enemy, a minimalist excuse for the Bush administration to act preemptively. It couldn't have been more obvious then that all three of them would go down before the unprecedented military and economic power of us (even if, as it happened, two of them didn't).

It was as clear as glass that the world -- the whole shebang -- was there for the taking.

... ... ...

As President Bush would put it in an address at West Point in 2002,

"America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge, thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace."

In other words, jihadists aside, it was all over. From now on, there would be an arms race of one and it was obvious who that one would be. The National Security Strategy of that year put the same thought this way:

"Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States."

Again, anywhere on the planet ever .

Look at more or less any document from the period and you'll sense that they weren't shy about touting the unprecedented greatness of a future global Pax Americana . Take, for instance, columnist Charles Krauthammer who, in February 2001, six months before the ... attacks of September 11th, wrote a piece swooning over the new Bush administration's "unilateralism" to come and the "Bush Doctrine" which would go with it. In the process, he gave that administration a green light to put the pathetic Russians in their nuclear place and summed the situation up this way:

"America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will."

"How Did USA's Oil Get Under Iraq's Sand?"

And soon enough after September 11th, those unapologetic, implacable demonstrations of will did, in fact, begin -- first in Afghanistan and then, a year and a half later, in Iraq. Goaded by Osama bin Laden, the new Rome went into action.

Of course, in 2019 we have the benefit of hindsight, which Charles Krauthammer, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and the rest of that crew didn't have as they applied their Roman-style vision of an imperial America to the actual world. It should be added, however, that the millions of people who hit the streets globally to protest the coming invasion of Iraq in the winter of 2003 -- "How did USA's oil get under Iraq's sand?" said a typical protest sign (which Donald Trump would have understood in his own way) -- had a far better sense of the world than did their American rulers-to-be. Like the Soviets before them , in fact, they would grievously confuse military power with power on this planet.

More than 17 years later, the U.S. military remains stuck in Afghanistan, bedeviled in Iraq, and floundering across much of the Greater Middle East and Africa on a planet with a resurgent Russia, and an impressively rising China. One-third of the former axis of evil, Iran, is, remarkably enough, still in Washington's gunsights , while another third (North Korea) sits uncomfortably in a presidential bear hug. It's no exaggeration to say that none of the dreams of a new Rome were ever faintly fulfilled. In fact, if you want to think about what's been truly exceptional in these years, it might be this: never in history has such a great power, at its height, seemed quite so incapable of effectively applying force, military or otherwise, to achieve its imperial ends or bring its targets to heel.

And yet, wrong as they may have been on such subjects, don't sell Krauthammer and the rest of that neocon crew short. They were, in their own way, also prophets, at least domestically speaking. After all, Rome, like the United States, had been an imperial republic. That republic was replaced, as its empire grew, by autocratic rule, first by the self-anointed emperor Augustus and then by his successors. Arguably, 18 years after Krauthammer wrote that column, the American republic might be heading down the same path. After all, so many years later, the neocons, triumphantly risen yet again in Washington ( both in the administration and as its critics), finally have their Caesar.

Hail, Donald J. Trump, we who are about to read your latest tweet salute you!

A Rogue State of One

Let's note some other passing parallels between the new Rome and the old one. As a start, it's certainly accurate to say that our new American Caesar has much gall (divided into at least three parts). Admittedly, he's no Augustus, the first of a line of emperors, but more likely a Nero, fiddling while, in his case, the world quite literally burns . Still, he could certainly say of campaign 2016 and what followed: Veni, Vidi, Tweeti (I came, I saw, I tweeted). And don't forget the classic line that might someday be applied to his presidency, " Et tu , Mueller?" -- or depending on who turns on him, you can fill in your name of choice.

One day, it might also be said that, in a country in which executive power has become ever more imperial (as has the power of the Senate's majority leader), blowback from imperial acts abroad has had a significant, if largely hidden, hand in crippling the American republic, as was once true of Rome. In fact, it seems clear enough that the first republican institution to go was the citizen's army. In the wake of the Vietnam War, the draft was thrown out and replaced by an "all-volunteer" force, one which would, as it came to fight on ever more distant battlefields, morph into a home-grown version of an imperial police force or foreign legion . With it went the staggering sums that, in this century, would be invested -- if that's even the word for it -- in what's still called "defense," as well as in a vast empire of bases abroad and the national security state, a rising locus of power at home. And then, of course, there were the never-ending wars across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa that went with all of that. Meanwhile, so much else, domestically speaking, was put on the equivalent of austerity rations. And all of that, in turn, helped provoke the crisis that brought Donald Trump to power and might, in the end, even sink the American system as we've known it.

The Donald's victory in the 2016 election was always a sign of a deep disturbance at the heart of an increasingly unequal and unfair system of wealth and power. But it was those trillions of dollars -- The Donald claims seven trillion of them -- that the neocons began sinking into America's " infinite " wars, which cost Americans big time in ways they hardly tracked or noticed . Those trillions didn't go into shoring up American infrastructure or health care or education or job-training programs or anything else that might have mattered to most people here, even as untold tax dollars -- one estimate: $15,000 per middle-class family per year -- went into the pockets of the rich. And some of those dollars, in turn, poured back into the American political system (with a helping hand from the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision) and, in the end, helped put the first billionaire in the Oval Office. By the 2020 election campaign, we may achieve another all-American first: two or even three of the candidates could be billionaires.

All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. You can feel so much of this in President Trump's confused and confusing attempts to both end American wars and ratchet them up , 17-and-a-half -- he always claims " almost 19 " -- years after the invasion of Afghanistan. You can feel it in his gut-level urge to attack the "deep state" and yet fund it beyond its wildest dreams. You can feel it in his attempts to create a corps of "my generals" and then fire them all. You can feel the unhinged nature of events in a world in which, after so many years of war, America's enemies still seem to have the formula for staying afloat, no matter what Washington does. The Taliban in Afghanistan is on the rise ; al-Shabaab in Somalia, is still going strong ; the Houthis in Yemen remain functional in a sea of horror and starvation; ISIS, now without its caliphate, has from Syria to the Philippines , Africa to Afghanistan , become a distinctly global brand ; al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula thrives , while terror groups more generally continue to spread .

You can feel it in the president's confused and confusing explanations for his urges to withdraw American troops in days or four months or whenever from Syria and do the same or maybe not exactly in Afghanistan. (As he said in his State of the Union address, American troops would both withdraw and "focus" on "counterterrorism" in that country.) You can feel it in the way, after so many years of visible failure, the neocons are once again riding high in Washington, ascendant both in his administration and as critics of its global and military policies.

These days, who even remembers that classic early Cold War question -- who lost China? -- that rattled American domestic politics for years, or later, the similar one about Vietnam? Still, if Donald Trump ever truly does withdraw American forces from Afghanistan (undoubtedly leaving this country's allies in a Vietnam-style ditch), count on foreign policy establishmentarians in Washington and pundits around the country to ask an updated version of the same question: Did Donald Trump lose Afghanistan?

But no matter what happens, don't make the mistake of blaming him. It's true that he tweeted endlessly while the world burned, but he won't be the one who "lost" Afghanistan. It was "lost" in the grisly dreams of the neocons as the century began and it's never truly been found again.

Of course, we no more know what's going to happen in the years ahead than the neocons did in 2001. If history has taught us anything, it's that prediction is the diciest of human predilections. Still, think of this piece as an obituary of sorts. You know, the kind major newspapers write about those still living and then continually update until death finally occurs.

Think of it not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who, with his "great, great wall," has indeed been an opiate of the masses (for his famed base, at least) in the midst of an opioid crisis hitting them hard. Yes, Donald J. Trump, reality TV star and bankruptee , he of the golden letters, was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear. It was a republic feeling the pressure of all that money flowing into only half-noticed distant wars and into the pockets of billionaires and corporate entities in a way that turned the very idea of democracy into a bad joke.

Someday, if people ask the obvious question -- not who lost Afghanistan, but who lost America? -- keep all those failed imperial wars and the national security state that went with them in mind when you try to answer. Cumulatively, they had a far more disruptive role than is now imagined in toppling the dominos that sent us all careening on a path to nowhere here at home. And keep in mind that, whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon.

Hail, Caesar, we who are about to die salute you!

[Feb 16, 2019] Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? Pundits like Max Boot and Bill Kristol got everything after 9/11 wrong but are still considered experts. by Tucker Carlson

Notable quotes:
"... As Trump found himself accused of improper ties to Vladimir Putin, Boot agitated for more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Boot demanded larger weapons shipments to Ukraine. ..."
"... Boot's stock in the Washington foreign policy establishment rose. In 2018, he was hired by The Washington Post as a columnist. The paper's announcement cited Boot's "expertise on armed conflict." ..."
"... Republicans in Washington never recovered. When Trump attacked the Iraq War and questioned the integrity of the people who planned and promoted it, he was attacking them. They hated him for that. Some of them became so angry, it distorted their judgment and character. ..."
"... Almost from the moment Operation Desert Storm concluded in 1991, Kristol began pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In 1997, The Weekly Standard ran a cover story titled "Saddam Must Go." If the United States didn't launch a ground invasion of Iraq, the lead editorial warned, the world should "get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf." ..."
"... Under ordinary circumstances, Bill Kristol would be famous for being wrong. Kristol still goes on television regularly, but it's not to apologize for the many demonstrably untrue things he's said about the Middle East, or even to talk about foreign policy. Instead, Kristol goes on TV to attack Donald Trump. ..."
"... Trump's election seemed to undo Bill Kristol entirely. He lost his job at The Weekly Standard after more than 20 years, forced out by owners who were panicked about declining readership. He seemed to spend most of his time on Twitter ranting about Trump. ..."
"... By the spring of 2018, Kristol was considering a run for president himself. He was still making the case for the invasion of Iraq, as well as pushing for a new war, this time in Syria, and maybe in Lebanon and Iran, too. Like most people in Washington, he'd learned nothing at all. ..."
"... Creating complex and convincing false narratives to support demonic purposes is HARD WORK, and requires big pay. ..."
"... Lots of spilled ink here that's pretty meaningless without an answer to the following: Why does Trump employ John Bolton and Elliot Abrams? Explain Trump and Pence and Pompeo's Iran obsession and how it's any better than Kristol/Boot? ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

One thing that every late-stage ruling class has in common is a high tolerance for mediocrity. Standards decline, the edges fray, but nobody in charge seems to notice. They're happy in their sinecures and getting richer. In a culture like this, there's no penalty for being wrong. The talentless prosper, rising inexorably toward positions of greater power, and breaking things along the way. It happened to the Ottomans.

Max Boot is living proof that it's happening in America.

Boot is a professional foreign policy expert, a job category that doesn't exist outside of a select number of cities. Boot has degrees from Berkeley and Yale, and is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written a number of books and countless newspaper columns on foreign affairs and military history. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, an influential British think tank, describes Boot as one of the "world's leading authorities on armed conflict."

None of this, it turns out, means anything. The professional requirements for being one ofthe world's Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict do not include relevant experience with armed conflict. Leading authorities on the subject don't need a track record of wise assessments or accurate predictions. All that's required are the circular recommendations of fellow credential holders. If other Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict induct you into their ranks, you're in. That's good news for Max Boot.

Boot first became famous in the weeks after 9/11 for outlining a response that the Bush administration seemed to read like a script, virtually word for word. While others were debating whether Kandahar or Kabul ought to get the first round of American bombs, Boot was thinking big. In October 2001, he published a piece in The Weekly Standard titled "The Case for American Empire."

"The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition," Boot wrote. "The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation." In order to prevent more terror attacks in American cities, Boot called for a series of U.S.-led revolutions around the world, beginning in Afghanistan and moving swiftly to Iraq.

"Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul," Boot wrote. "To turn Iraq into a beacon of hope for the oppressed peoples of the Middle East: Now that would be a historic war aim. Is this an ambitious agenda? Without a doubt. Does America have the resources to carry it out? Also without a doubt."

In retrospect, Boot's words are painful to read, like love letters from a marriage that ended in divorce. Iraq remains a smoldering mess. The Afghan war is still in progress close to 20 years in. For perspective, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, crowned himself emperor, defeated four European coalitions against him, invaded Russia, lost, was defeated and exiled, returned, and was defeated and exiled a second time, all in less time than the United States has spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country.

Things haven't gone as planned. What's remarkable is that despite all the failure and waste and deflated expectations, defeats that have stirred self-doubt in the heartiest of men, Boot has remained utterly convinced of the virtue of his original predictions. Certainty is a prerequisite for Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict.

In the spring of 2003, with the war in Iraq under way, Boot began to consider new countries to invade. He quickly identified Syria and Iran as plausible targets, the latter because it was "less than two years" from building a nuclear bomb. North Korea made Boot's list as well. Then Boot became more ambitious. Saudi Arabia could use a democracy, he decided.

"If the U.S. armed forces made such short work of a hardened goon like Saddam Hussein, imagine what they could do to the soft and sybaritic Saudi royal family," Boot wrote.

Five years later, in a piece for The Wall Street Journal , Boot advocated for the military occupation of Pakistan and Somalia. The only potential problem, he predicted, was unreasonable public opposition to new wars.

"Ragtag guerrillas have proven dismayingly successful in driving out or neutering international peacekeeping forces," he wrote. "Think of American and French troops blown up in Beirut in 1983, or the 'Black Hawk Down' incident in Somalia in 1993. Too often, when outside states do agree to send troops, they are so fearful of casualties that they impose rules of engagement that preclude meaningful action."

In other words, the tragedy of foreign wars isn't that Americans die, but that too few Americans are willing to die. To solve this problem, Boot recommended recruiting foreign mercenaries. "The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times . When foreigners get killed fighting for America, he noted, there's less political backlash at home.

♦♦♦

American forces, documented or not, never occupied Pakistan, but by 2011 Boot had another war in mind. "Qaddafi Must Go," Boot declared in The Weekly Standard . In Boot's telling, the Libyan dictator had become a threat to the American homeland. "The only way this crisis will end -- the only way we and our allies can achieve our objectives in Libya -- is to remove Qaddafi from power. Containment won't suffice."

In the end, Gaddafi was removed from power, with ugly and long-lasting consequences. Boot was on to the next invasion. By late 2012, he was once again promoting attacks on Syria and Iran, as he had nine years before. In a piece for The New York Times , Boot laid out "Five Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now."

Overthrowing the Assad regime, Boot predicted, would "diminish Iran's influence" in the region, influence that had grown dramatically since the Bush administration took Boot's advice and overthrew Saddam Hussein, Iran's most powerful counterbalance. To doubters concerned about a complex new war, Boot promised the Syria intervention could be conducted "with little risk."

Days later, Boot wrote a separate piece for Commentary magazine calling for American bombing of Iran. It was a busy week, even by the standards of a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Boot conceded that "it remains a matter of speculation what Iran would do in the wake of such strikes." He didn't seem worried.

Listed in one place, Boot's many calls for U.S.-led war around the world come off as a parody of mindless warlike noises, something you might write if you got mad at a country while drunk. ("I'll invade you!!!") Republicans in Washington didn't find any of it amusing. They were impressed. Boot became a top foreign policy adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008, to Mitt Romney in 2012, and to Marco Rubio in 2016.

Everything changed when Trump won the Republican nomination. Trump had never heard of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He had no idea Max Boot was a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Trump was running against more armed conflicts. He had no interest in invading Pakistan. Boot hated him.

As Trump found himself accused of improper ties to Vladimir Putin, Boot agitated for more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Boot demanded larger weapons shipments to Ukraine. He called for effectively expelling Russia from the global financial system, a move that might be construed as an act of war against a nuclear-armed power. The stakes were high, but with signature aplomb Boot assured readers it was "hard to imagine" the Russian government would react badly to the provocation. Those who disagreed Boot dismissed as "cheerleaders" for Putin and the mullahs in Iran.

Boot's stock in the Washington foreign policy establishment rose. In 2018, he was hired by The Washington Post as a columnist. The paper's announcement cited Boot's "expertise on armed conflict."

It is possible to isolate the precise moment that Trump permanently alienated the Republican establishment in Washington: February 13, 2016. There was a GOP primary debate that night in Greenville, South Carolina, so every Republican in Washington was watching. Seemingly out of nowhere, Trump articulated something that no party leader had ever said out loud. "We should never have been in Iraq," Trump announced, his voice rising. "We have destabilized the Middle East."

Many in the crowd booed, but Trump kept going: "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none."

Pandemonium seemed to erupt in the hall, and on television. Shocked political analysts declared that the Trump presidential effort had just euthanized itself. Republican voters, they said with certainty, would never accept attacks on policies their party had espoused and carried out.

Republican voters had a different reaction. They understood that adults sometimes change their minds based on evidence. They themselves had come to understand that the Iraq war was a mistake. They appreciated hearing something verboten but true.

Rival Republicans denounced Trump as an apostate. Voters considered him brave. Trump won the South Carolina primary, and shortly after that, the Republican nomination.

Republicans in Washington never recovered. When Trump attacked the Iraq War and questioned the integrity of the people who planned and promoted it, he was attacking them. They hated him for that. Some of them became so angry, it distorted their judgment and character.

♦♦♦

Bill Kristol is probably the most influential Republican strategist of the post-Reagan era. Born in 1954, Kristol was the second child of the writer Irving Kristol, one of the founders of neoconservatism.

The neoconservatism of Irving Kristol and his friends was jarring to the ossified liberal establishment of the time, but in retrospect it was basically a centrist philosophy: pragmatic, tolerant of a limited welfare state, not rigidly ideological. By the time Bill Kristol got done with it 40 years later, neoconservatism was something else entirely.

Almost from the moment Operation Desert Storm concluded in 1991, Kristol began pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In 1997, The Weekly Standard ran a cover story titled "Saddam Must Go." If the United States didn't launch a ground invasion of Iraq, the lead editorial warned, the world should "get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf."

After the September 11 attacks, Kristol found a new opening to start a war with Iraq. In November 2001, he and Robert Kagan wrote a piece in The Weekly Standard alleging that Saddam Hussein hosted a training camp for Al Qaeda fighters where terrorists had trained to hijack planes. They suggested that Mohammad Atta, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was actively collaborating with Saddam's intelligence services. On the basis of no evidence, they accused Iraq of fomenting the anthrax attacks on American politicians and news outlets.

Under ordinary circumstances, Bill Kristol would be famous for being wrong. Kristol still goes on television regularly, but it's not to apologize for the many demonstrably untrue things he's said about the Middle East, or even to talk about foreign policy. Instead, Kristol goes on TV to attack Donald Trump.

Trump's election seemed to undo Bill Kristol entirely. He lost his job at The Weekly Standard after more than 20 years, forced out by owners who were panicked about declining readership. He seemed to spend most of his time on Twitter ranting about Trump.

Before long he was ranting about the people who elected Trump. At an American Enterprise Institute panel event in February 2017, Kristol made the case for why immigrants are more impressive than native-born Americans. "Basically if you are in free society, a capitalist society, after two, three, four generations of hard work, everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled, whatever." Most Americans, Kristol said, "grew up as spoiled kids and so forth."

In February 2018, Kristol tweeted that he would "take in a heartbeat a group of newly naturalized American citizens over the spoiled native-born know-nothings" who supported Trump.

By the spring of 2018, Kristol was considering a run for president himself. He was still making the case for the invasion of Iraq, as well as pushing for a new war, this time in Syria, and maybe in Lebanon and Iran, too. Like most people in Washington, he'd learned nothing at all.

Tucker Carlson is the host of Fox News 's Tucker Carlson Tonight and author of Ship of Fools: How A Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (Simon & Schuster). This excerpt is taken from that book.


Patrick Constantine February 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Trump isn't the only one hated by useless establishment Republicans – with essays like this so will Tucker. Thanks for this takedown of these two warmongering know-nothings. I wish Trump all the time was like he was at that debate in S Carolina where he said what every American knows: the Iraq invasion was stupid and we should not have done it!
Anne Mendoza , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:10 am
So why are these professional war peddlers still around? For the same reason that members of the leadership class who failed and continue to fail in the Middle East are still around. There has not been an accounting at any level. There is just more talk of more war.
polistra , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:54 am
Well, the headline pretty much answers its own question if you know the purpose of Experts. In any subject matter from science to economics to politics, Experts are paid to be wrong. Nobody has to be paid to observe reality accurately with his own senses and rational mind. Every living creature does that all the time. It's the basic requirement of survival.

Creating complex and convincing false narratives to support demonic purposes is HARD WORK, and requires big pay.

snake charmer , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:49 am
""The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition," Boot wrote. "The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation.""

In other words, if we had only squandered even more blood and treasure, why, everything would have been fine.

Why do so many true believers end up with some variation on the true believer's wheeze: "Communism didn't fail ! It was never tried!" Then again one can't be sure that Boot is a true believer. He might be a treacherous snake trying to use American power to advance a foreign agenda.

Mike , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:55 am
This is an Exocet missile of an article. Both hulls compromised, taking water. Nice.
John S , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:11 am
This is beautiful, Boot has been rewarded for every horrible failure...
Tom Gorman , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:36 am
Mr. Carlson,

Max Boot has indeed been an advocate of overseas intervention, but you fail to point out that he has recanted his support of the Iraq War. In his 2018 book "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I left the American Right," he states:

". . . I can finally acknowledge the obvious: it (The Iraq War) was all a big mistake. Saddam Hussein was heinous, but Iraq was better off under his tyrannical rule than the chaos that followed. I regret advocating the invasion and feel guilty about all the lives lost. It was a chastening lesson in the limits of American power."

I'm glad to see that Boot, along with yourself and other Republicans, realize that American use of force must have a clear objective with reasonable chance of success. I suggest you send this article to John Bolton. I'm not sure he agrees with you.

Dawg , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:29 am
Great article, Mr. Tucker. I hope folks also read Mearsheimer & Walt on the Iraq War. From chapter 8 of their book: http://mailstar.net/iraq-war.html
David LeRoy Newland , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:34 am
Excellent article. It's a shame that the Bush era GOP took Boot and Kristol seriously. That poor judgment led Bush to make the kinds of mistakes that gave Democrats the opening they needed to gain power, which in turn led them to make even more harmful mistakes.
Collin , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:55 am
Being against the Iraq 2 I find this populist arguing very 'eye-rolling' as you were pimping this war to death back in the day. (In fact I remember Jon Stewart being one of the few 'pundits' that questioned the war in 2003 & 2004.) And has dovish as Trump as been, his administration is still filled with Hawks and if you are concerned about wars then maybe use your TV show for instead of whining for past mistakes:

1) The administration action in Iran is aggressive and counter-productive to long term peace. The nuclear deal was an effective way of ensuring Iran controlling behavior for 15 years as the other parties, Europe and China, wanted to trade with Iran. (Additionally it makes our nation depend more on the Saudia relationship in which Washington should be slowly moving away from.)

2) Like it or not, Venezuela is starting down the steps of mission creep for the Trump Administration. Recommend the administration stay away from peace keeping troops and suggest this is China's problem. (Venezuela in debt to their eyeballs with China.)

3) Applaud the administration with peace talks with NK but warn them not to overstate their accomplishments. It is ridiculous that the administration signed big nuclear deals with NK that don't exist.

John In Michigan , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:59 am
I find it amazing that Boot is considered one of the "world's leading authorities on armed conflict,"yet never appears to have served in any branch of the armed forces, nor even heard a shot fired in anger. He is proof that academic credentials do not automatically confer "expertise."
Packard Day , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:26 am
Any war, anytime, any place, and cause just so long as American boys and girls can be in the middle of it.

Welcome to the American NeoCon movement, recently joined by Republican Never Trumpers, elected Democrats, and a host of far too many underemployed Beltway Generals & Admirals.

Joshua Xanadu , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:46 am
From a reformed Leftist, thank you Tucker for calling out the stank from the Republicans. The detailed compilation of lowlights from Max Boot and Bill Kristol (don't forget Robert Kagan!) should be etched in the minds of the now pro-war Democratic Party establishment.
Taras 77 , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:57 am
Being a neocon war monger means that you will never have to say you are sorry. The press will give them a pass every single time.

It is all about Israel-being wrong 100% of the time means it is all good because it was in the service of Israel.

Paul Reidinger , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:07 am
Yet another reason not to read the Washington Post.
Anja Mast , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:13 am
Tucker!!! When did you start writing for TAC?!?!

I laughed out loud while reading this, and continued laughing through to the end, until I saw who had the audacity to tell the truth about these utter incompetent failures (who have failed upwards for more than a decade now) who call themselves "foreign policy experts." Yeah -- "experts" at being so moronically wrong that you really start wondering if perhaps the benjamins from another middle eastern nation, that can't be named, has something to do with their worthless opinions, which always seem to do made for the benifit of the nameless nation.

So hurrah for you!!! Let the truth set us all free! Praise the Lord & Sing Songs of Praise to his Name!!!! Literally that's how great it is to hear the pure & unvarnished TRUTH spoken out loud in this publication!

I hope you get such awesome feedback that you are asked to continue to bless us with more truths! Thank you! You totally made my day!

And thank you for your service to this country, where it used to be considered patriotic to speak the truth honestly & plainly!

Joe , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:14 am
Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? Simple, leaders like Trump keep them around, e.g. Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams.
David Biddington , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
John Bolton and Eliot Abrams on Team Trump, gearing up with Bibi to attack Iran is of no concern to sir?
George Crosley , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
"Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul," Boot wrote.

To which the reader might reasonably reply, "What do you mean we , Paleface?"

When I see Max Boot or Bill Kristol in uniform, carrying a rifle, and trudging with their platoon along the dusty roads of the Middle East, I'll begin to pay attention to their bleats and jeremiads.

Until that day, I'll continue to view them as a pair of droning, dull-as-ditchwater members of the 45th Word-processing Brigade. (Company motto: "Let's you and him fight!")

Frank Goodpasture III , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:29 am
It is my understanding that HRC led the charge to overthrow and hang Gaddafi in spite of a reluctant Obama administration. Did Boot, in fact, influence her?
marku52 , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:29 am
"Most Americans, Kristol said, "grew up as spoiled kids and so forth."" Unintentional irony, one must presume. Still it is astonishing that it took someone as addled as DJT to point out the obvious–Invading Iraq was a massive mistake.

Where were the rest of the "adults"

Jimmy Lewis , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:41 am
Boot, Kristal, Cheney, and Rumsfeld should all be in jail for war crimes.
jk , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:53 am
Just like Eliot Abrams, John McCain, GWB, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld or any other neocon, there is no justice or punishment or even well deserved humiliation for these parasites. They are always misinformed, misguided, or "well intentioned."

The US can interfere with sovereign governments and elections at will I guess and not be responsible for the the unintended consequences such as 500k+ killed in the Middle East since the Iraq and Afghan debacle.

There are sugar daddies from the MIC, the Natsec state (aka the Swamp), AIPAC, and even Jeff Bezos (benefactor of WaPo) that keep these guys employed.

You need to be more critical of Trump also as he is the one hiring these clowns. But other than that, keep up the good work Mr. Carlson!

Allen , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:09 pm
These Chairborne Rangers in Washington know nothing about war. They are the flip side of the radical Dems. "Hey, we lost in 2016. Let's do MORE of what made us lose in the first place!"
D , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:53 pm
Would've been nice if you wrote this about Bolton, Adams, Pompeo, Pence, or any of the other sundry neocon lunatics in the Trump administration.

Nonetheless, always good to see a takedown of Boot and Kristol.

J Thomsen , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm
The GOP is as much an enemy to the Trump revolution as the left. The Bush/Clinton/Obama coalition runs DC – controls the federal workforce, and colludes to run the Federal government for themselves and their pet constituents.

Trump should have stuck it out on the shutdown until those federal workers left. I think it was called RIF wherein after 30 days, he could dump the lot of em.

THE GOP IS NOT THE PARTY OF LESS GOVERNMENT. That's there motto for busy conservatives who don't have the time or inclination to monitor both sides of the swamp.

THEY ALL HAVE GILLS . we need to starve em out.

Joe from Pa , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm
Lots of spilled ink here that's pretty meaningless without an answer to the following: Why does Trump employ John Bolton and Elliot Abrams? Explain Trump and Pence and Pompeo's Iran obsession and how it's any better than Kristol/Boot?

What's going on in Yemen?

sanford sklansky , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm
Funny how when liberals said it was wrong to be in Iraq they were vilified. Yes some conservatives changed their minds. Trump however is all over the map when it comes to wars. http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176527/

[Feb 15, 2019] The International Rogue Nation America by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity . ..."
"... At this point the US government barely even bothers to cover itself with plausible stories but just goes ahead with it's open violence. Who is there to stop it? ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction . These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime's 'news'-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or "expose") any of these lies . That's how bad the regime was -- it was virtually a total lock-down against truth, and for international conquest (in that case, of Iraq): it was mass-murder and destruction on the basis of sheer lies.

That's today's U.S. Government -- that's its reality, not its 'pro-democracy' and 'human rights' myth. (After all: its main ally is the Saud regime, which the U.S. regime is now helping to starve and kill by cholera perhaps millions of Houthis to death .)

In 2011, the U.S. regime, then under a different nominal leader than in the Iraq invasion, invaded and destroyed Libya -- also on the basis of lies that its press (which is controlled by the same billionaires who control the nation's two political Parties) stenographically published from the Government and refused ever to expose as being lies.

In 2011-2019 (but actually starting undercover in 2009 ), the U.S. regime (and its then allies King Saud and Tayyip Erdogan, and the Thanis who own Qatar ) hired tens of thousands of jihadis from around the world to serve as foot-soldiers (the U.S. regime calls them 'rebels') , in order to bring down Syria's secular, non-sectarian, Government, and thereby, via these jihadist proxy-forces , they invaded and destroyed Syria -- likewise on the basis of lies that the 'news'-media hid, secreting from the public such facts as that "The US Government's Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT." But the lies are never publicly acknowledged by any of the participating regimes and their press.This is an international empire of death and destruction based upon lies.

In 2011-2014, the U.S. regime perpetrated a bloody coup that ousted Ukraine's democratically elected Government and replaced it by a fascist rabidly anti-Russian regime that destroyed Ukraine and perpetrated ethnic cleansing . How much of this reality was being reported in the U.S. regime's press, at the time, or even afterward? It was hidden news at the time , and so those realities have since become buried, to become now only hidden history; and the U.S. regime and its 'news'-media continue to hide all of this ugly reality. It remains hidden, and isn't mentioned by either the regime or its press.

Right now, the U.S. regime (along with its other lap-dog Canada) is perpetrating, or at least attempting to perpetrate, a coup to take over Venezuela .

On February 8th, the Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (CELAG) issued their study, "The Economic Consequences of the Boycott of Venezuela" , and reported that throughout the five-year period of 2013-2017, Venezuela's "economy and society suffered a suffocation [of] $ 22.5 billion in annual revenues, as a result of a deliberate international strategy of financial isolation [of Venezuela]. Evidently, this financial pressure intensified since 2015 with the fall in the price of crude oil." So: that's a total loss of over $112 billion from Venezuela during the entire 5-year period, and the result has become (especially after 2014) the impoverishment of the country. The U.S. regime and its allies and their propaganda-media blame, for that, not themselves, but the very same Government they're trying to take down. The U.S. regime and its allies have contempt for the public everywhere. The more that Venezuelans blame their own Government for this impoverishment, instead of blame America's Government for it, the more that their exploiters will have contempt for them, but also the more that their exploiters will benefit from them, because the exploiters' taking control of the Government will then be much easier to do.

The U.S-and-allied exploiters are attempting to install in Venezuela a man who has absolutely no justification under the Venezuelan Constitution to be claiming to be the country's 'interim President' . For some mysterious reason, Venezuela's President isn't calling for that traitor to be brought up on charges of treachery -- attempting a coup -- and facing Venezuela's Supreme Judicial Tribunal on such a charge, which Tribunal is the Constitutionally authorized body to adjudicate that matter. So, Venezuela's Government is incompetent -- but so too have been all of its predecessors since at least 1980, and incompetence alone is not Constitutional grounds for replacing Venezuela's President by a foreign-imposed coup . At least Venezuela's actual President is no traitor, such as his would-be successor, Juan Guaido, definitely is .

Did Venezuela invade America so as for America's economic war against it to be justified? Did Iraq invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Libya invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Syria invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Ukraine invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? None of them did, at all. In each and every case, it was pure aggression, by America, the international rogue nation.

Back in 1986, regarding America's international relations including its coups and invasions, the U.S. quit the International Court of Justice (ICJ), when that Court ruled against the U.S. in the Iran-Contra case, Nicaragua v. United States , which concerned America's attempted coup in that country. But though the U.S. propaganda-media reported the Government's rejection of that verdict in favor of Nicaragua, they hid the more momentous fact: the U.S. Government stated that it would not henceforth recognize any authority in the ICJ concerning America's international actions. The public didn't get to know about that. Ever since 1986, the U.S. Government has been a rogue regime, simply ignoring the ICJ except when the ICJ could be cited against a country that the U.S. regime is trying to destroy ('democratize'). And then, when the ICJ ruled on 9 March 2005 against the U.S. regime in a U.S. domestic matter where the regime refused to adhere to the U.S. Constitution's due-process clause regarding the prosecutions and death-sentences against 51 death-row inmates, and the Court demanded retrials of those convicts, the U.S. regime, in 2005, simply withdrew completely from the jurisdiction of the ICJ . Ever since 9 March 2005, the U.S. regime places itself above, and immune to, international law, regarding everything. George W. Bush completed what Ronald Reagan had started.

This rogue regime has no real legitimacy even as a representative of the American people. It doesn't really represent the American public at all . It is destroying the world and lying through its teeth all the while. Its puppet-rulers on behalf of America's currently 585 billionaires are not in prison from convictions by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. They're not even being investigated by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. That's a U.N. agency. Does the U.N. have any real legitimacy, under such circumstances as this? Can an international scofflaw simply refuse to recognize the authority of the international court? This mocks the U.N. itself. The U.S. places itself above the U.N.'s laws and jurisdiction and yet still occupies one of the five permanent seats on the U.N's Security Council and still is allowed to vote in the U.N.'s General Assembly. Why doesn't the U.N. simply expel America? It can't be done? Then why isn't a new international legal body being established to replace the U.N. -- and being granted legal authority everywhere regardless of whether a given national regime acknowledges its legal authority over matters of international law? Why is Venezuela being internationally isolated and sanctioned, instead of the U.S. being internationally isolated and sanctioned?

On top of all that, this is the same U.S. regime that has blocked the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and that has broken one international agreement after another -- not only NAFTA, and not only the nuclear agreement on Iran, and not only many nuclear agreements with first the Soviet Union and then Russia, but lots more -- and all with total impunity.

And it's not only the countries that the U.S. invades or otherwise destroys, which are being vastly harmed by this international monster-regime. How many millions of the flood of asylum-seekers who are pouring into Europe have done that in order to reach safety from America's bombs and proxy-troops -- jihadists and fascist terrorists -- which have ravaged their own homelands? What is that flood of refugees doing to Europe, and to European politics -- forcing it ever-farther to the right and so tearing the EU apart? Why are not Europeans therefore flooding their own streets with anti-American marches and movements for their own Governments to impose economic sanctions against all major American brands, and demanding prosecution of all recent American Presidents, starting at least with G.W. Bush -- or else to vote out of office any national politicians who refuse to stand up against the American bully-regime?

It isn't only weak nations such as Nigeria that are corrupt and rotten to the core. The entire U.S. empire, and especially its U.S. masters, are.

How much more will the peoples of the world remain suckers to the vast corporate propaganda-operation by that out-of-control beast of a rapacious regime, which displays the Orwellian nerve to label as being a 'regime' each and every Government that it seeks to overthrow and to call itself a 'democracy' ? The U.S. regime is itself actually allied the most closely with the world's most barbaric rulers, the Saud family, that own Saudi Arabia. The U.S. regime is also allied with the apartheid and internationally aggressive regime in Israel. Is such an international gang, as this is, going to get off scot-free, as if there were no international law -- or at least none that applies to itself?

And, if the U.S. regime is so concerned to 'protect democracy' and 'protect human rights' all over the world (as that perennially lying bunch always claim to be the 'justification' for their invasions and coups), then why isn't it starting first by prosecuting itself? (Or, maybe, by prosecuting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, for his many crimes -- and prosecuting his predecessors for financing the 9/11 attacks against Americans?) Well, of course, Hitler didn't do anything of the sort. (Nor did he prosecute his allies.) He set the standard. Maybe, ideologically, Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito actually won the war, though this has happened after they first physically lost what everyone had thought was the end of WW II. After all, nobody is prosecuting the U.S. regime today. Isn't that somewhat like a global victory for fascism -- the Axis powers -- after the fact? Maybe "we" won the war, only to lose it later. Doesn't that appear to be the case? Mussolini sometimes called fascism "corporationism" , and this is how it always functions, and functions today by agreement amongst the controlling owners of international corporations that are headquartered in the U.S. and in its vassal-nations abroad.

Is this to go on interminably? When will this international reign of fascism end?

What would happen if all the rest of the world instituted an international legal and enforcement system (under a replacement U.N.) in which all commitments and contractual proceeds to benefit American-based international corporations and the U.S. Government were declared to be immediately null and void -- worthless except as regards the claims against the U.S. entities? (The owners of those entities have been the beneficiaries of America's international crimes.) Contracts can be unilaterally nullified. The U.S. Government does it all the time, with no justification except lies. Here, it would be done as authentically justifiable penalties, against actually massive global crimes.

The U.S. militarily occupies the world; this is a global empire; it has over a thousand military bases worldwide. Why aren't the people in all of those occupied countries demanding their own governments simply to throw them out -- to end the military occupation of their land?

You can't have a world at peace, and anything like international justice, without enforcing international law. This is what doing that would look like.

What we know right now is actually a lawless world. That's what every international gangster wants.

-- -- -- -- --

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .


niteranger , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:46 am GMT

America is a Corporate Fascist Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State. The Intelligence Agencies are inseparable from the Corporations, The Bankers, and The Billionaires they work for. Most of the economic-social-media pathways are controlled by the Magic Jews. Elections are a fraud. You have seen what happened when the person they picked, Hillary didn't win. Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square. The entire Mueller Fiasco is a demonstration of the Intelligence State and a warning for anyone who doesn't play their game. The Super Jew Zionist Senator Shumer warned Trump in a Freudian Slip about upsetting the Intelligence agencies which the Jewish Media quickly tried to hide.

This is the county where dimwits like Cortez complain about Mexican kids on the border while Obama and his associates bombed 7 Muslim countries, murdered and starved hundreds of thousands of children including those in Yemen and not a fucking thing was said by anyone on the left.

America and the world are headed for the dark ages. I doubt if anyone will really survive. Think Tanks for the super rich run by Intel know this and are preparing for the worse case scenario are you!

exiled off mainstreet , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:51 am GMT
The implications of this are enormous. This is the first time I've seen it wrapped up in a single article.
Zumbuddi , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:58 am GMT
"Total lockdown against truth and for internatio al conquest . . .mass murder and destruction on the basis of sheer lies. That's today's U. S. Government, that's it's reality."

It worked so well in WWI and WWII, why mess with a sure thing?

To behave otherwise, that is, honestly and decently would return a heap of millionaires to their rag-picker tin-peddlar origins.

Justsaying , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT

Ever since 1986, the U.S. Government has been a rogue regime

Why the leniency for a regime that has been led by gangsters of varying shades for the best part of the post-WWII era, hands down? Unless the Vietnam war and the companion Gulf of Tomkin lie, the mass murder in Laos and Cambodia and the Korean war are brushed aside. As was the kidnapping of Aristide of Haiti and Panama's Noriega are trivial mobster rule blips and the sodomising of Ghadhafi's cadaver by "rebels" after relentless bombing that left a once prosperous nation in utter ruin regarded as an unfortunate "aberration". The tainting of American hands with the blood of millions of innocents extends well beyond the leaders who presided over arguably the worst atrocities and crimes of the post-WWII era. For a nation that takes pride in its slogan of a government of, for and by the people, the people cannot escape responsibility for the horrendous crimes committed in their name.

animalogic , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:04 am GMT
@exiled off mainstreet Agree: great summary article.
Commentator Mike , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:27 am GMT
Reasonable article but US a fascist country? And I was reading elsewhere that this same US is now a communist country, with those billionaires apparently secret communists. Really!?! How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?
EliteCommInc. , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:07 am GMT
I think some of this is over the top. However, I am not sure that one can excuse challenging the case based on news reports. The case on its face had little of any supporting material. But there were news agencies that provided a counter narrative, they just weren't the mainstream sources. Which is why I think your giving an out where none exists.

Instead, a better case could be made as to how those that questioned the case got the boot and in some cases got it good. Those voices were not only muted out by the media, the advocates, but the public as well. One cannot ignore the palpable anger after 9/11. The country wanted revenge. And they would have it. Unlike Mr. Neeson, we did not restrain ourselves from acting out, against anyone of we held suspect as similar in nature -- we lashed out with few reservations.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -

Now I have to admit that the questions of international order are tricky. Who wants to take on enforcing the rule of law against the US when she violates the very rules she helped create and espouses. When the leadership bends, breaks or ignores the rules in the name of country. It's hard to make a case that everyone else abide by the rules if you yourself breaks them. Maybe people pf conscience will hire people who actually abide by what they say they will do when applying for the job of leadership.

But I have to be honest, I am cautious when it comes bodies of international order: UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA, and others. I appreciate the value of NATO, but I am a bit dubious about the agitation that the US take the lead in addressing Europe's security, at our expense. And while I would like to avoid what about, most nations treat the international bodies of justice with no small amount of reticence on their own account. I am unclear of China has backed away from provoking the Phillipines after the UNCLOS ruling regarding commercial development zones. They have made a point to say they will abide by UNCLOS except where they disagree. The short answer is that ultimately the developed world has to operate with some integrity. There's a lot of complaining about the Saudis and Israel. But those states can simply point to the US or the Europeans states and make a constituent claim,

"What's good for the gander . . ."

There is a manner of discipline and that is to our failures and the cost. We are at the moment large enough to absorb them (not sure that is not more face saving facade than truth). Iraq is a failure. Libya is a failure. Afganistahn most likely a failure, even we end up with some manner of negotiated settlement, it will still be far short of our objective(s). The Ukraine still threatens to fall into a full blown civil war. After five years plus of bombing Yemen, the end is nowhere in sight. If the Saudis think the Yemenis a threat, then they should deal with it. The Syria gambit was never a smart move and it has cost us. I am a firm believer that part of these issues results in not having a national draft system where our entire population is bought in on the US project and in so doing have an incentive to hold its government accountable. Because there is no body count to shock the public into reality as in previous military engagements.

We simply are not electing enough men such as representative Walter Jones into office, who upon recognizing an error will seek to change course. And I like him, I suspect, get increasingly restless about how our unrequited hypocrisy (if continued) will play out for us in the end. I think there are signs of trouble, just hints, that we need to get our ducks in order.

We honor and protect our sovereignty by respecting that of others (minus some outstanding extreme circumstance).

Note: not all of the US military programs are about the use of force. The US does huge amounts of humanitarian aide, independently and in conjunction with with are numerous aid depts. And as a nation we remain the most effectively generous (giving nations) on the planet to others in need, including private charitable organizations, no small number of them faith and practice based.

How many multitudes of sins that will cover is unknown to me.

Michael Kenny , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:57 am GMT
A typical piece of American racism. Naturally, the peoples of all these countries are far too primitive and far too stupid to see that they are being manipulated!
HiHo , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:29 am GMT
Dear Eric,

To quote your first para: 'In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction.'

It should read: 'In 2003, the UK (and its lap dog USA) invaded and destroyed Iraq. I know you Americans like to think that the USA is sovereign in its bullying of the world, but many people apart from myself, see it differently.

Rothschild runs the 'free west' and he is based in The City of London where he operates the world's drug money laundering operation. Yes, even all the drugs moved out of Afghanistan by his private drug army you call the CIA, those profits are laundered in London.

It is Rothschild in London that decides who to invade and why. The USA is Rothschild's private supply of canon fodder, weaponry and congenital idiots who think Jesus of Nazareth, that you erroneously call Jesus Christ, condones the violence, the blood baths and the pure evil that is the USA.

Your nation and its corrupt state is the puppet of Rothschild. I can understand it is especially hard for you to finger one of your own, especially as you consider yourself to be the goyim's friend, but that is not actually true is it?

What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917? What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?

Everything that has happened since 1914 when the Fed came in to existence right up to the attacks on Venezula today, only make sense if you are Rothschild.

Yours sincerely,

HiHo Silver Lining.

JackOH , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:35 am GMT
Eric, thanks.

I'm not into America-bashing. Life's too short, and, besides, I did half-seriously think of emigrating from the States, and didn't do it.

But–but–I think there's enough evidence to support the writing of a "black book" of American democracy since 1945, a hit piece modeled on a similarly titled book about Communism's depredations that, I think, was first published in France maybe thirty years ago.

Better observers than I can probably offer a laundry list of American cruelties worth including, and some of those better observers comment here on Unz Review .

American military interventions, a Constitution drained of effectiveness and meaning, the "ethnic cleansing" of American cities, the gratuitous cruelties of American health care, etc .

Keep the book short, about 250-350 pp., and include good front and back matter to focus the reader's attention.

Sean , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:47 am GMT
@niteranger If the author of this piece a child who believes in fairy stories about American exceptionalism . America is more powerful than other countries and if it is "The International Rogue Nation" then it is solely as a result of being more powerful that other countries, for were they as strong as America they all would do the same as America.

This is the county where dimwits like Cortez complain about Mexican kids on the border while Obama and his associates bombed 7 Muslim countries, murdered and starved hundreds of thousands of children including those in Yemen and not a fucking thing was said by anyone on the left.

The Democrats want future voters to swamp the votes of native-born Americans. The kids in Yemen are irrelevant. So are the innocent kids in countries like Syria.

America is a Corporate Fascist Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State

That is just a long winded way of saying it is a state. Like any other state America can't call 911 if it gets into trouble so it has to do its own dirty work. Or, of course. America could just surrender to moral imperatives and live as tree huggers in perpetual peace. Except it would come to an end, just as it did for the Tibetans (and their trees).

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT

The International Rogue Nation: America

The only?

The U.S. regime is also allied with the apartheid and internationally aggressive regime in Israel.

How about, The International Rogue Mafias: America and Israel?

Felix Krull , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:15 pm GMT
These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime's 'news'-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or "expose") any of these lies.

Back in the late summer of 2003, when Washington finally admitted there were no WMD in Iraq, the Danish Public Broadcaster had invited four of the heaviest hitters in Danish MSM, four foreign policy editors of the largest news outlets in Denmark.

The conversation was supposed to be about something else, but the WMD-news had dropped that same morning, and at one point they discuss the missing WMD. One guy spontaneously says: "I never believed in the WMD-story anyway." The three others quickly agree, because they don't want to be seen as the slow, gullible kid in the class.

So they'd been peddling this WMD-nonsense aggressively since the invasion, but they didn't actually believe that story themselves? The broadcast was taken off the internet 24 hours later, but I have their names in my little book.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT

What we know right now is actually a lawless world. That's what every international gangster wants.

Well yes, but they also want not only a monopoly on violence and compliant tax, debt, wage and dollar slaves, but also "legal" support for it all, hence "gubbermint." Keep payin' dem taxes and hoping for da Messiah in the forms of the likes of the Cacklin' Hyena, The Trumpster, and "Bibi."

Felix Krull , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm GMT
And another thing: back in the day, the PM, Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen spoke frequently about Saddam in the Danish parliament. But he never said "weapons of mass destruction", he said "dangerous weapons" – didn't want to be caught lying to the legislature, would you? Nobody ever called him out on it; you'd think journalists were familiar with sleazy rhetoric, but not on this occasion. He went on to become secretary general of NATO.
Charles Homer , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:46 pm GMT
As shown in this article, Russia has significant concerns about American breaches of the INF treaty that have received almost no coverage in the Western media: https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-russian-response-to-washingtons.html

Rather than presenting a balanced viewpoint where we hear both sides of the story regarding nuclear treaty violations by both sides, we are subjected to what can best be termed "fake news".

The Alarmist , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm GMT

"Is this to go on interminably? When will this international reign of fascism end?"

The plutocrat criminal elite are working fast and furiously to import a new electorate and slave labour force: At some point they will no longer be able to finance the machine, because you get what you pay for, and bread and circuses aren't cheap, and at that point the machine will pull back from the world, if not outright devolve into mayhem in its streets.

Asagirian , says: Website February 15, 2019 at 2:47 pm GMT
How Jewish-controlled Media work.

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/bill-dagostino/2019/02/14/networks-2202-minutes-russia-scandal-zero-no-collusion-report

Globo-homo logic. Russia didn't do it. Punish Russia.

Johnny Walker Read , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT
Just came across these powerful words from Kevin Tillman, Pat Tillman's brother.

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/after-pats-birthday-2/

peter mcloughlin , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm GMT
Global empires rise because of the desire for power, which is also their Nemesis. Power gives prestige, status, wealth, security and a sense of invincibility: the opposite of what is feared most. But they cannot hold that power forever, though they try, and eventually they end up getting the war they have always dreaded: utter defeat. But their leaders are deluded, blindly leading their people to annihilation – even nuclear – because power is the one thing they will destroy themselves and everyone else over. The pattern of history is clear.

https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

Agent76 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:23 pm GMT
Feb 11, 2019 Venezuelans' message to the US: Hands off our country

The Grayzone reports from inside Venezuela, where millions of people waited in long lines to sign an open letter to the US public, strongly rejecting foreign intervention in their country.

15.04.2017 Americans Are No Different Than Germans Were (and Are)

Daniel Goldhagen blamed the Holocaust on "the Germans" (by which he meant the German people), and said that they perpetrated the Holocaust because they positively enjoyed murdering "the Jews".

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/04/15/americans-no-different-than-germans-were-and-are.html

Agent76 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm GMT
Feb 18, 2013 Corporatocracy, Globalization, An Empire Expands

A short video clip from the Documentary Zeitgeist: Addendum, in it a Corporatocracy is explained. "A Incredible cozy relationship between Government and Corporations"

Moi , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm GMT
@niteranger I think this sums up things pretty well:

"All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted." D. H. Lawrence.

Miro23 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:48 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike

Reasonable article but US a fascist country? And I was reading elsewhere that this same US is now a communist country, with those billionaires apparently secret communists. Really!?! How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?

Fascist country, Communist country – a more understandable definition would be a Mafia run state. The US regime uses violence and threats (local and international) to get its way. It corrupts and terrorizes politicians and forces through its projects. It's all about money and power and it rubs traditional Anglo society's face in the mud while its getting looted.

Che Guava , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:12 pm GMT
@Justsaying You have a pointy head, but rubbish conclusions I am also tired of hearing 'sodomy' or 'sodomized' re. Ghaddafi, assaulting the anus and rectum with bayonets is not 'sodomy'.

Hillary Clinton enjoyed it, I world prefer not to repeat her moronic statement, but will because of the many morons are on this site now, 'we came, we saw, he died, (cackle, cackle, cackle'). She liked to pretend that this is her classical education. She clearly has none. But she sure has an ugly pair of cankles.

wayfarer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT

Fifth Column: Is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favour of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organised actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_column

"Censored 'Israel Lobby' Document Leaks"

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_lobby_in_the_United_States

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm GMT
Enantiodromia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enantiodromia

Principle od enantiodromia : one thing pushed to the extreme leads to the opposite .

( Hegel with his thesis-antithesis ideas was just another moronic german philosopher )

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:42 pm GMT
@niteranger

Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square.

He's a lying New York idiot Israel firster who demonstrates a new meaning to the concept of winning fair and square and "won" the position as Cuck-in-Chief of the Corporate Fascio-Commie Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State, that's all. He should have saved us all a lot of trouble and just eloped with the Cackling Hyena instead.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
Mrs Ilhan Omar Is the voice from the graves of Millions of Muslims murdered by US Military under leadership of US politicians (purchased for pennies), and ordered by Israel.
Cheburashka , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT
@exiled off mainstreet Interesting for me it's all known for several years, so I was about to say myself "same old, same old". Then I read your comment and think to myself "well, contrary to my belief, obviously publishing this article does make sense"
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT
@Asagirian Most of the european business and population do NOT agree with the yankee sanctions to Russia ( or to Venezuela , or to Iran , Cuba .. ) . Nothing ideological , it is just that the EU has no oil , the EU needs russian , iranian , venezuelan oil and gas , and the EU countries NEED to sell products to any country willing to buy them . The abusive yankee pressure on the EU to santion any country that the US wants will backfire .
Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:55 pm GMT

"This rogue regime has no real legitimacy even as a representative of the American people. It doesn't really represent the American public at all. It is destroying the world and lying through its teeth all the while."

Words seem insufficient to describe the situation, don't they? What we're witnessing, apparently, is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The Satanic cult known from the Book of Revelation as the "beast from the sea" is attempting to rise to the top of the world by "giving worth to evil" (i.e. worshiping Satan). To put it another way, the beast rises to the top by bringing everyone and everything else down.

Being relatively small in number, the Satanic cult operates primarily by deception, corruption and manipulation. If the beast cannot get the people to destroy themselves, it resorts to mass murder, but the end result is always destruction.

"Its puppet-rulers on behalf of America's currently 585 billionaires are not in prison from convictions by the International Court of Justice in the Hague."

Money has nothing to do with it (other than being another tool in the Satanists' tool box). They do what they do because they're evil. Evil is both the means and the end. To put it in Biblical terms, the Satanists seek to do to the whole world what Satan did to Eve. Only when whole world is brought down can evil claim victory over good (as per the Satanic agenda set forth in Isaiah 14:13,14).

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike

How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?

Excellent question, but the two, fascism and the various forms of big "C" Communism, are not necessarily mutually exclusive even though fascism as often used today was intended as a catch-all smear word by the Marxist cornballs a century ago.

In fact, Marxism, Bolshevism and Stalinism are can all be or become forms of fascism. Likewise, as Orwell saw, there is no essential difference between various iterations of capitalism and the various forms of communism that they oftentimes supported and promoted and still do.

Also, I highly doubt whether a meaningful debate regarding politics is possible whether or not definitions are agreed upon.

[During the war]words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.

Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any.

– Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Chap X, ~400 BC

"Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society."

– John Adams, letter to J. H. Tiffany, Mar. 31, 1819.

Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," 1946

IOW, it's pretty much all bullsh!t. Reader and listener beware.

anonymous [241] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT
The gangster laughs in your face: "Whadda going to do about it, kid?". Answer is nothing can be done.

At this point the US government barely even bothers to cover itself with plausible stories but just goes ahead with it's open violence. Who is there to stop it?

The pattern actually goes back 121 years to the Spanish-American war when the US smelled weakness and pounced. It's been on a roll ever since, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. The barriers to the US having a completely free hand are Russia, China, Iran, countries about which there's much heavy propaganda being thrown about. Their areas are limited though and they can't help the Venezuelans or most of the others. The US has a huge budget for internal spying and security to ensure that the people in charge stay that way so don't get optimistic. This supposed democracy is rigged from start to finish. The US has been very efficient in brainwashing it's residents into thinking it is all legit.

c matt , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT

Can an international scofflaw simply refuse to recognize the authority of the international court?

Why yes, yes it can. There is no such thing as rule of law. There is only rule by might. Law is mere rationalization.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:05 pm GMT
@Liza

It just doesn't matter anymore how any country is described or classified.

I wish I had thought of that! Excellent. Brilliant.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@HiHo

What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917? What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?

Talk about sweet summaries; yours is masterful!

Anyone who doubts it would do well to read Fish's, Tragic Deception,
FDR and America's involvement in World War II

https://openlibrary.org/books/OL21320930M/Tragic_deception

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:14 pm GMT
@Stephen Paul Foster This thread is uncommonly full of great comments and yours is another. Excellent.

This question [about the UN] is proof that the author needs psychiatric assistance.

And more than a brief stay in a reprogramming (anti-brainwashing) camp.

The UN was formed by the usual One World (globalist) crowd to serve their ends and theirs only. Anyone who fails to see that needs to be questioned deeply, no matter how correct he or she is about other matters.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
@Sean

Like any other state America can't call 911 if it gets into trouble so it has to do its own dirty work. Or, of course. America could just surrender to moral imperatives

What moral imperatives are you referring to?

Tsar Bomba for CIA , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
This is exactly right. The UN member nations are ready to replace the UN with an organization that can curb criminal regimes like the US. This has been the case since the 80s.

unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000732/073282eo.pdf

Considering the terminal degeneracy of the criminal enterprise that runs the US, it's going to take a war. Classified US policy is to use urban populations as human shields for the CIA COG autocracy. COIN drills like Watertown are dry runs for CIA martial law during war with Russia.

The one hopeful sign is superior SCO missile technology, which allows kinetic warheads to be substituted for nuclear ones. This permits regime decapitation by somewhat less destructive means. Most of you are still going to die, of course. But Russia and China will leave some habitable zones for people they can trust. Make sure you know human rights and humanitarian law,

https://ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/UniversalHumanRightsInstruments.aspx

and you can demonstrate a record of sticking up for them, and the postwar criminal tribunals will let you reconstruct a peaceful and lawful American state.

It's a shame it's going to take a couple hundred million dead, mostly American, to stop the CIA regime, but the world knows it's got to be done. If we're too chicken to storm Langley and hang those criminal scumbags, we're going to have to pay.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.

Somehow the poor sap is still a sucker. Good grief.

James Wood , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
This continuous harping on international law should be wearing thin even with you, Mr. Zuesse. The US outspends the next 24 nations combined on arms, I understand. For the US might is right. Until you and those who oppose US policy have an army that can break the US military might you have no hope.

You really need to think this through and stop the empty posturing. The bird flipped to the International Court of Justice by John Bolton for the third time apparently should teach you a lesson. Three strikes and you're out. Go home.

Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
@niteranger

"Elections are a fraud. You have seen what happened when the person they picked, Hillary didn't win. Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square."

If elections are a fraud (which they obviously are) how can orange clown be said to have won "fair and square"? It's a contradiction. The evil orange clown had to lie to win the election; he had to completely misrepresent himself. What orange clown did was tantamount to stealing ballots/rigging voting machines. Orange clown is nothing but Satanic low-life scum.

Also, how do you know Clinton was "the person they picked [to win]"? That's very speculative, IMO. A solid argument can be made that orange clown was actually the chosen one.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm GMT
@Miro23

Fascist country, Communist country – a more understandable definition would be a Mafia run state.

Exactly.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT
@nsa Agree. Only one oblique reference to that other mafia state, Israel, in the whole piece.
Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm GMT
@HiHo

"What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917?"

An evil idiot.

"What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?"

An evil buffoon.

"Everything that has happened since 1914 when the Fed came in to existence right up to the attacks on Venezula (sic) today, only make sense if you are Rothschild."

They do what they do because they're evil.

Hank , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike Fascists, communist, liberal and conservative. Those terms don't have as much meaning as you might think. In fact they are used as tools.
Benjy , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm GMT
@Harold Smith The Rothschild's are the Kings of the Jews. They have conquered the Bourbon, Habsburgs, the Hohenzollern, the Romanovs. They have merged with the house of Windsor. They have been mercilessly harvesting the entire planet for 200 years. They send Moslems against Christians, Christians agains Moslems, Moslems against Hindu's, Chirstians against Christians, Christians against Chinese, Christians against Hindus, Japanese against Chinese, US Christians against Japanese, Zulu against white, and on and on. Wars are the jews harvest.

They also sent all of these groups to get slaves from each other in raids and wars to provide human material from all the other races, except jewish, to sell on these jewish run slave markets. For centuries.

They extracted blood and organs from the children of the victims for use in the kabalistic rituals.

bookish1 , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:26 pm GMT
America's lying to get us into wars goes farther back than the 1950's to 2000's. The reasons for WW2 against Germany was based on devilish lies. So we claimed Hitler had to be stopped because he planned on taking over the whole world and that he had killed millions of innocent people(which he hadn't) but then turned around and helped the real murderers of millions of people which was the Soviet Union. And it goes on and on and there will be more lies and more wars to follow.
Hank , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX You can almost tell just how important the issue of private central banking is by the fact that you can't get anyone to really explain it, or even talk about it. Right now I would settle for just knowing exactly who owns it.
jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm GMT
@Hank

Fascists, communist, liberal and conservative. Those terms don't have as much meaning as you might think. In fact they are used as tools.

Left and right are two more extremely ambiguous and often misleading terms.

It seems that most of us think that language is used in precise ways, but that's probably not the case.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:52 pm GMT
@bookish1

America's lying to get us into wars goes farther back than the 1950's to 2000's. The reasons for WW2 against Germany was based on devilish lies

All true.

So we claimed Hitler had to be stopped because he planned on taking over the whole world

When in fact it was a handful of mafiosi financial oligarchs, many based in New Yoik, who desired to control the whole world via co-opted Marxist principles. One of their tools was the "holy" UN which the author seems to think is some sort of Messiah. A Rockefeller "donated" the land for the UN Headquarters building, and the UN was formed under the direction of Commies and their sympathizers associated with FDR. I'm convinced that WW2 was instigated partly to begin imposing globalism on the rest of us, just as the constitution of Uncle Shylock was rammed down our throats. All for the benefit of us lowly proles, peasants and peons, of course.

Reactionary Utopian , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
I'm giving about 1.8 cheers for this piece. I agree with much of it, but I surely don't share the author's enthusiasm for this International Court of Justice, not for the workings of the United Nations in general. Give one of these international legal outfits any actual power in America, and "hate crime" laws? You ain't seen nothin' yet. In much of the world, "anti-Semitism" (whatever that's construed to mean) is already a criminal offense. Hell, leave it up to these international bodies, and the Unz Review goes dark -- and quickly, too. No, thanks.
DESERT FOX , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:01 pm GMT
@Hank The owners are the Rothschilds, the Rockerfellers. the Warburgs , the Schiffs, etc., all satanic zionists and they control every central bank in the world including the FED and the Bank of England.
Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm GMT
@Benjy

"They send Moslems against Christians, Christians agains Moslems, Moslems against Hindu's, Chirstians against Christians, Christians against Chinese, Christians against Hindus, Japanese against Chinese, US Christians against Japanese, Zulu against white, and on and on. Wars are the jews harvest."

The Satanists are small in number and generally cowardly so their general modus operandi is to get their victims to destroy themselves. To put it in Biblical terms, their goal is to do to the whole world what Satan did to Eve; they deceive, corrupt, manipulate and ultimately stand tall over the destruction they've brought about. They're destroyers.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
Speaking of the UN and war, Douglas Reed provides a lot of great info about the two; too much to summarize here, but I offer a sample for the curious.

The Second War produced a third result, additional to the advance of the [Marxist permanent] revolution into Europe and the establishment by force of the Zionist state: namely, the second attempt to set up the structure of a "world government", on the altar of which Western nationhood was to be sacrificed. This is the final consummation to which the parallel processes of Communism and Zionism are evidently intended to lead; the idea first emerged in the Weishaupt papers, began to take vigorous shape in the 19th Century, and was expounded in full detail in the Protocols of 1905. In the First War it was the master-idea of all the ideas which Mr. House and his associates "oozed into the mind" of President Wilson, and sought to make the president think were "his own". It then took shape, first as "The League to Enforce Peace" and at the war's end as "The League of Nations".

-Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion, p.470

https://archive.org/stream/TheControversyOfZion/TheControversyOfZion_djvu.txt

But of course we can write him off as an early kunspiracy theorist, can't we? And them protykalz is fake. Fake, I tell yi!

WorkingClass , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
Well yeah. The Anglo/Zionist Empire is an evil empire indeed. I've known that since serving under President Johnson in the mid sixties.

The geniuses over at ZeroHedge will be surprised to learn about imperial aggression against Venezuela. They believe the explanation for Venexuela's troubles is "Socialism doesn't work".

I'm a Nationalist. So I say screw your International Court of Justice. What the U.S. needs is a New Republic complete with a new constitution. Failing that, secession will be the way forward.

[Feb 15, 2019] The Deep Hurt Lessons From American Coups

Notable quotes:
"... American imperialists (and many Americans) truly believe that they are superior and that the world would become a better place if nations submitted to their leadership ..."
"... Early promoters of American intervention were zealous patriots. They proclaimed love of country and loyalty to the flag. Yet they could not imagine that people from non-white countries might feel just as patriotic. ..."
"... Americans have been said to be ignorant about the world. ..."
"... Violent intervention in other countries always produces unintended consequences. ..."
"... Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. ..."
"... Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. ..."
"... Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. ..."
"... Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. ..."
"... America is the HIGHLY narcissistic, high functioning, psychopathic garden variety neighbor, highly destructive businessman you work hard to avoid. ..."
"... As Taleb nicely put: Our political leaders have no skin in the game and are completely unaccountable. Best preconditions for disaster! ..."
"... They even call the idea of not mass murdering people 'isolationism'. Hey, well guess what? I don't want to murder other people who never bothered me. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Michael Welton via Counterpunch.org,

As the world watches aghast at another US and allies' attempt to engineer a coup in Venezuela, I would like to offer a few insights from Stephen Kinzer' provocative chapter, "The deep hurt," (pp. 227-250) in his book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire (2017). This remarkable text carries some hope and lessons for all of us. It tells the story of the great conflict around the turn of 20th century about the role that the US might play in either dominating the world or building a cosmopolitan democracy where all people feel secure that they reside in one country, the earth.

Indeed, Kinzer states:

"Anti-imperialists decisively influenced American history by helping to ensure that the first burst of American annexation would be the last" (p. 228).

Even swash-buckling Teddy Roosevelt was influenced, losing his zest for the idea of conquest. When he charged into the White House he held two views simultaneously, intervene to help other people, without oppressing them. Kinzer thinks that this dichotomy "torments our national psyche" (p. 229). In the early parts of the book Kinzer sets out the anti-imperialist (Mark Twain) and pro-imperialist visions (Henry Cabot Lodge). These speeches are worth gathering round for reflection.

During the following hundred years much of what the anti-imperialists predicted has come to pass. The United States has become an "actively interventionist power. It has projected military or covert power into dozens of countries on every continent except Antarctica"(ibid.). George Frisbie Hoar was right, Kinzer points out, when he "warned that intervening in other lands would turn the United States into a 'vulgar, commonplace empire founded upon physical force"" (ibid.).

Anti-imperialists also predicted that an "aggressive foreign policy would have pernicious effects at home" (ibid.). Military budgets have soared to heights unimaginable in the days of fervent expansionism in the 1898 war with the Philippines. The armaments industries wield extraordinary clout. The wealth-soaked elites dominate politics. The invasion and overthrowing of distant regimes resides in the hands of a few decision-makers. And militaristic values and rituals saturate American life and expunge peaceful ones.

To be sure, American intervention brought some material blessings (good schools and orderly systems of justice, etc) and rising American power was perceived as "good for everyone simply because it means strengthening the world's most beneficent nation" (p. 230). The expansionists of 1898 believed that America was "inherently benevolent," and subject nations would rally around the May pole in celebratory dance. "The opposite happened .Carl Schurz was right when he warned that dominating foreigners would ultimately force Americans to 'shoot them down because they stand up for their independence'" (p. 231).

Kinzer states that: " In the face of profound new challenges, Americans are once again debating the role of the United States in the world. Should it intervene violently in other countries? This remains what Senator William V. Allen called it in 1899: 'The greatest question that has ever been presented to the American people'" (p. 231). American culture carries a current of anti-imperialism and commitment to an international legal order. They played a big role in the establishment of the UN and nurturing global governance. They remain the world's only superpower with enormous capacity to move towards building the cosmopolitan world order. What is evident now in this dark moment of history is that the world as it is, is not the way it has to be.

It is difficult, I think, for the United States with its inordinate military might and present delusionary self-understanding to wrench itself free from wanting to intervene for political and economic reasons. Many in the post-WW I world had placed their bet for a better world on the Presbyterian professor Woodrow Wilson. Famously, Wilson triggered immense hopefulness to the disenfranchised in the colonies of European powers. He preached that they should "choose the sovereignty under which the shall live" (p. 232). In office, American troops were dispatched to intervene in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia .Like his predecessors -- and successors -- Wilson insisted that he was doing it for the good of the target countries. Americans would leave them alone, he promised, as soon as they learned 'to elect good men'" (ibid.). Today scholars speak of the "shattered peace" of the post-WW I world. Was the desire to begin building, slowly, carefully, a cosmopolitan world order, as Jan Smuts thought, an "impossible dream"?

Kinzer observes that "this most compassionate of presidents not only invaded countries that defied the United States, but studiously ignored appeals from colonized people outside Europe, notably in Egypt, India, Korea, and Indochina. His hypocrisy set the stage for generations of war and upheaval" (ibid.). Margaret MacMillan's lively and densely detailed book, Paris 1919 (2001) , provides the stories for these outcast colonized countries.

Today, the US has intervened one more time. The difference now may well be that there is little pretence that the US is engaging in the bully politics of "might is right." They don't care two hoots about what the world thinks. They do not give a damn about the self-determination of all countries and peoples. This invasion is stripped of any moral or legal justification. The US has decided to declare the Speaker of the House, Juan Guaido, president. This is unheard of! And Canada has forsaken the best of its liberal and social democratic traditions of adherence to rule of law to hitch its caboose to the US's rampaging imperialist train.

There are several lessons that Kinzer draws from American history of intervention that our worth careful reflection.

1) American imperialists (and many Americans) truly believe that they are superior and that the world would become a better place if nations submitted to their leadership . The United States would be better off, Kinzer says, if it became a learning nation and not a teaching one.

2) Early promoters of American intervention were zealous patriots. They proclaimed love of country and loyalty to the flag. Yet they could not imagine that people from non-white countries might feel just as patriotic. Love of country was a mark of civilization. Lesser peoples, therefore, couldn't grasp it.

3) Americans have been said to be ignorant about the world. They are, says Kinzer, but so are other peoples. The difference is that American leaders, puffed with a sense of mission, acted on ignorance. American leaders see little reason to bother learning about the nations whose affairs they intrude.

4) Violent intervention in other countries always produces unintended consequences. Cuba was turned into a protectorate in 1901. A fine idea? It led ultimately to a bitter anti-American regime. Intervention in the Philippines sparked waves of nationalism across East Asia that contributed to the Communist revolution in China in 1949. Later American interventions also had terrible results planners never anticipated. From Iran and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, intervention has devastated societies and produced violent anti-American passion.

5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.

6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.

7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.

8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela.

9) Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late.


Leguran , 5 hours ago link

America has not become an interventionist power. What has happened is a Coup d'Etat has been staged through Congressional rules that give unconstitutional powers to a tiny group on the basis of their 'seniority' and reconcilliation committee appointment. These few, not the American people want intervention, war, you name it. They spent $5 trillion in the Middle East alone. So, let's not blame the American people.

CatInTheHat , 5 hours ago link

5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.

6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.

7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.

8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela."

America is the HIGHLY narcissistic, high functioning, psychopathic garden variety neighbor, highly destructive businessman you work hard to avoid. How any American can see the US and it's people as exceptional is beyond me. No yellow vests anti WAR protests have evolved to STOP the US genocidal killing machine.

The US, the white supremacist nation has zero trouble killing maiming and displacing millions of brown Muslims & Christians in 3 world countries. This WILL come home to roost as what the Zionazi empire of psychopaths does to other countries they will do to US

Son of Captain Nemo , 5 hours ago link

9) "Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late."...

I don't even think Teddy as self righteous and psychopathic as he was at the turn of the 20th Century would have ponied up to cannibalizing his own ( https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it ) in order to build ever more "pretexts" through the torture and murder of other sovereign nations simply as a means to "control" resources for the good of his $currency and it's banks and not a Country and it's peoples under the rule of law to a parasite/cyst that it is willing to die for ( https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-19/top-us-general-says-american-troops-should-be-ready-die-israel ) before it's own Nation!...

It is not only "too late" Mr. Kinzer... It's epitaph was written large almost 18 years ago when it's people chose not to address that crime of betrayal and treason to it's Constitution and stood idly by as it's government squandered it children's childrens childrens wealth for that lie ( https://www.ae911truth.org/news/506-grand-jury-to-hear-9-11-evidence-an-interview-with-the-lawyers-who-made-it-happen )

Moribundus , 6 hours ago link

Another gr8 lesson about American freedom and democracy is in book: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Americans should know that before slaves from Africa white trash from Britain was shipped as slaves. See: They were white and they were slaves.

Nunyadambizness , 6 hours ago link

" Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. ... In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated....

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other....

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. ... GEORGE WASHINGTON

I wish we had listened.

Smi1ey , 6 hours ago link

Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands.

Meanwhile, their own people in America see them as Satan worshiping pedophiles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS8i7C7JJ14

Chupacabra-322 , 8 hours ago link

As the raises & sets one can be assured of one thing. People are gullible as ****.

schroedingersrat , 11 hours ago link

As Taleb nicely put: Our political leaders have no skin in the game and are completely unaccountable. Best preconditions for disaster!

Dick Buttkiss , 6 hours ago link

Indeed, as that's the nature of the state in any and all its iterations. Reform it? Yes. But only by eradicating it altogether. Why? Because, as the great Albert Jay Nock said,

"Sending in good people to reform the state is like sending in virgins to reform the whorehouse."

Think this is impossible? Think again...

IntercoursetheEU , 14 hours ago link

McCabe, evil whitey on the front line here too? ; chickens coming home to roost finally? Guess there are two kind of people, those who work for a living, and the barbarians who appropriate the fruits of other's labor.

Justapleb , 14 hours ago link

Mark Twain wrote savagely and derisively about the Moro Massacre, where the US killed around a thousand Filipino natives who were hiding in a dormant volcano, they just rimmed it with artillery and killed everyone.

Because they would not pay tribute. We waterboarded about 200 important people, the equivalent of mayors and councilmen, ranking officers in militias we had no business disbanding.

1898 was lies and deceit from the outset. We promised the Philippine General Aguinaldo that if he fought the Spanish on land, then we would fight them at sea. In exchange for victory over the Spanish, the Philippines would be freed from colonization.

Except then we took it ourselves and killed anyone who disagreed. Slaughter, rape, torture, it was never for one moment noble. The USA granted the Philippines its independence after the Japanese conquered them, lol.

DFGTC , 14 hours ago link

Empires do not give up power, their grip weakens ... Empires do not devolve back into "republics", they crash and burn ... And there are really only two options: a) soft collapse b) hard collapse (there is no [c] option)

Kokito , 7 hours ago link

Exactly -The article was written by another delusional trying to reconstruct/masquerade the US criminal empire behind the a new facelift, too little too late. The guy didn't get the memo from Putin/Xi, telling him tat it is a multipolar world & that the US criminal empire is death & that it will never come back in any shape, way or form, to violate international law & carry out war crimes.

keep the bastards honest , 14 hours ago link

American or uk coups are not beneficial. Very sad. Checking USA coups online there is a huge list, after the Allende govt in Chile, comes Australia, the Whitlam govt, much loved, but ousted in a coup, bloodless by his choice. The people were waiting for Gough to call them out. Newspaper staff arrived from overseas.

first day in office his govt had let the conscientious objectors out of the 2 years they were serving in jail. There had been mass demonstrations against Aus participation and incarceration to no avail with the previous govt. Brought back our Australians from Vietnam, and twenty or 30 or more major things. Every day.

Chuckster , 15 hours ago link

We have learned nothing. Apparently we are using the taming of the lion method which has been used for thousands of years to take control of countries on Venezuela. The apparent goal is to take over several Latin and south American countries. Will this be good or bad? Our past history indicates it will be a disaster. Have we had any successes?

Atalanta , 15 hours ago link

Craving for respect. This started after the first bite in the apple, history said. Religion is based on that happening. Americans invented the extra load called fastest. Watch Hollywood portraying it. Respect shown all over the show for plain murderers. Graveyard managers and priest making the picture complete. Making that part of the world the right place for a second coming. Resulting in sending all believers to the place named hell.

lnardozi , 15 hours ago link

The fact that this is not taken for granted is exactly what is wrong with America. If only we could just learn to leave other people alone unless attacked. They even call the idea of not mass murdering people 'isolationism'. Hey, well guess what? I don't want to murder other people who never bothered me. I can't say I'm a Christian, but aren't they supposed to disagree with this sort of thing? They're also supposed to be like 80% of the population, why don't we ever hear, 'murder bad' from them?

[Feb 15, 2019] MSNBC "Terrified Of Anti-War Voices" Says Fired Anti-War Host Phil Donahue - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... They divide us with race, sex, and religion. If we came together all the working class people, from every race, you'd see the oligarchs true face. They'd innact martial law in a heartbeat, and run to their underground base in the Ozarks. That's the painful truth. ..."
"... That's why Richard Nixon replaced the draft with a lottery that has evolved into a volunteer armed forces. We were nearly the verge of another civil war in this country. ..."
"... So Jimmy, once again, hit it out of the ballpark with this podcast on why the war hawks fear Tulsi ..."
"... She really scares the war hawks and just as importantly she scares the huge profits these war hawks and allied corporations (the parent company of GE which owns MSNBC makes turbine engines for the military) have made off these unnecessary and tragic wars since the 9/11 attacks. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Anders Stöök , 1 day ago

Phil Donahue was not a sellout like Rachel Maddow.

Humphking , 1 day ago

They divide us with race, sex, and religion. If we came together all the working class people, from every race, you'd see the oligarchs true face. They'd innact martial law in a heartbeat, and run to their underground base in the Ozarks. That's the painful truth.

George Hoffman , 1 day ago (edited)

I served in Vietnam (31 May 1967 - 31 May 1968), so I'm approximately around the same age as Phil. I told everyone I knew that if we invaded Iraq - this was during the lead-up in 2002 to vote on GWB's Iraq War resolution - having just a volunteer armed forces in the strategic sense, let alone the invasion of Iraq would violate international covenants against illegal wars of aggression - we would eventually have down the road a military blunder and a foreign policy debacle that would rival the one we had in the Vietnam War.

If GWB had somehow convinced the American people and the Congress to bring back the draft after the 9/11 attacks, I assure you we would have withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq long, long ago. But the war hawks in Congress and the Pentagon love their private, (essentially) quasi-mercenary volunteer armed forces after how badly they got burnt during the anti-war protests against the Vietnam War.

That's why Richard Nixon replaced the draft with a lottery that has evolved into a volunteer armed forces. We were nearly the verge of another civil war in this country.

So Jimmy, once again, hit it out of the ballpark with this podcast on why the war hawks fear Tulsi. Remember they can't smear her based on the fact that she was an officer who did two tours of duty in the war zone, so they try to smear her because she is supposedly a puppet of Putin, that is, a fifth columnist or fellow traveler as they did during the Red Scare in the McCarthy era. I would definitely vote for her as a fellow war veteran for president, but she has a very hard road to travel to win the nomination.

She really scares the war hawks and just as importantly she scares the huge profits these war hawks and allied corporations (the parent company of GE which owns MSNBC makes turbine engines for the military) have made off these unnecessary and tragic wars since the 9/11 attacks.

Rick C-137 , 1 day ago (edited)

MSNBC is complicit in the deaths of millions. As evil as evil gets.

John Henni , 1 day ago

Chris Matthews is the definition of Corporate shill.

[Feb 15, 2019] Trump = Obama = CIA meddling in every country. Presidents never change, only the perception of the morons changes

Notable quotes:
"... Why does the USA care about internal Venezuelan politics? Because it cares about every country's politics and demands every country bow down and kneel to the USA. The voters, aka morons, support this, both liberal and right wing, and have for generations. ..."
"... The morons pay their taxes to meddle in other countries and for a giant military to slaughter people who do not obey. ..."
Feb 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

never-anonymous says: February 14, 2019 at 6:21 pm GMT 100 Words

@nietzsche1510

Venezuela invasion thing is double-faceted: a trap for Trump & a bluff. if the invasion is, then bye-bye 2020 election, mission accomplished. if no invasion on sight then the bluff of Pompeo-Bolton-Abrams is called & the 2020 reelection assured. Venezuela in the role of bait.

The real issue lies in the voting class which cowers in fear all day long and seeks saviors every four years via rigged circus. Trump = Obama = CIA meddling in every country. Presidents never change, only the perception of the morons changes.

Why does the USA care about internal Venezuelan politics? Because it cares about every country's politics and demands every country bow down and kneel to the USA. The voters, aka morons, support this, both liberal and right wing, and have for generations.

The morons pay their taxes to meddle in other countries and for a giant military to slaughter people who do not obey. Freedom at the point of a gun. Nothing quite says democracy like having the US president tell the Venezuelans how to run their country.

[Feb 15, 2019] Am> important factor in Venezuela situation is that the Gene Sharp's non-violent action regime change system has been busted somewhat. The new potential victims are not as naive and know which ropes will pulled

Notable quotes:
"... It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow. ..."
"... That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians. ..."
"... In Venezuela's situation, the crux is in how prepared are the Venezuelan officers to defend their own country on an officer's salary and on promises of future rewards by Maduro and his team. Therefore, nationalism and patriotism of the military may be that little straw which tips the balance in favour of keeping Venezuela free. At least we hope ..."
"... The last two places where Gene's revolutions have worked out were Macedonia and Armenia, but there is not much there to steal (rather profitless victories). ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen, Feb 14, 2019 5:09:06 PM | 24Kiza @ 19:

Far more likely that Brazil and Colombia refuse to commit any troops or other support for a US-led coalition to invade Venezuela. These countries have long borders going through thinly populated tropical forest or mountain areas with Venezuela.

They don't want the prospect of fighting continuous border wars with militias that would sap their own military strength and which could go deep into their own territories. Imagine how unpopular that would make their current governments with their publics.

It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow.

That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians.

Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 6:37:07 PM | link

@ Jen 24

Thanks for providing further detail into the inner workings of the US appointed Columbian and Brazilian military. I do not think that those two militaries do not want to get involved in Venezuela, but they are not volunteering forward to be the thieve's fools on an officer's salary.

Any military which would leave its border is a mercenary, which means that the pay/benefits must be more proportional to the loot than even to the risk (i.e. they want a huge cut).

In Venezuela's situation, the crux is in how prepared are the Venezuelan officers to defend their own country on an officer's salary and on promises of future rewards by Maduro and his team. Therefore, nationalism and patriotism of the military may be that little straw which tips the balance in favour of keeping Venezuela free. At least we hope.

The second important factor is that the Gene Sharp's "non-violent action" regime change system (revolution in a box) has been busted somewhat. The new potential victims are not as naive and as unprepared as the initial victims of the "branded revolutions" were.

Therefore, the resistance to thievery is increasing. In case of Venezuela, the "revolutionaries", including the Random Guy, have been trained by the late Gene's best apostles, organisation Otpor, but it still has not worked out yet. The last two places where Gene's revolutions have worked out were Macedonia and Armenia, but there is not much there to steal (rather profitless victories).

I like to view Gene Sharp as the Lenin of the end of the 20th century. It is just so sad how much of human history is all about thieving on the back of highbrow principles and pretend-humanitarian ideologies . I pity people who argue about communism versus capitalism and any other ideologies. C'est tout la meme chose, someone is always taking someone else's women and cattle, only packaged in (MSM) verbal bullshit.

[Feb 15, 2019] Venezuela - Media Find Trump's Coup Plan Does Not Work

The leading figures were Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and Senator Marco Rubio as well as hawks in in the National Security Council
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton and Pompeo are both experienced politicians and bureaucrats. They likely knew that their plan was deeply flawed and would require much more than Trump would normally commit to. My hunch is that the soon coming mission creep was build into their plan, but that they did not reveal that. ..."
"... The U.S. said it was paying for the aid but wanted Colombia to find trucks and drivers to move it in. The Colombians said no one would accept the mission because the Venezuelan military would arrest them. The aid remains in warehouses near the border. ..."
"... The little spontaneous support the Random Guyidó had in some parts of the population is already lessening. Yesterday's demonstration he had called for saw less attendance than the one on January 23. ..."
"... f the U.S. does not do more than it has done so far the government under President Maduro can sit this out. The sanctions and the lack of oil revenue will create many immediate problems. But in a few weeks Venezuelan oil will have found new buyers. Fresh money will come in and new sources for imports of medicine and staple food will have been found. ..."
"... Over the same time the Random Guy will lose support. The party he nominally leads only won 20% of the votes. The other opposition parties were never informed of his plan to declare himself president. Their support for the step was lukewarm and will cool further. They may in the end support the mediation talks Maduro has offered and which the UN, Uruguay and Mexico also support. The talks could lead to new parliament and/or presidential elections in a year or two and thereby solve the situation. ..."
"... Waging an open war against that country would be very messy, expensive and difficult to justify. To start and support a guerilla war - Elliott Abrams specialty - takes time also costs a lot of money. The chances to win it are low. Moreover Trump wants to get re-elected but could lose many votes over both scenarios. ..."
"... Venezuela follows the neoliberal doctrine, perhaps not by choice, but they buy what they can't produce. Now they can't buy much and they do not produce much but oil, and they are denied payment by their biggest customer of oil. Ouch. Their gold in London cant be used. Revenues from Citgo are denied. Cant even sell their overseas assets now. ..."
"... People need to eat, once they start going hungry they become more receptive to change. US wont use force unless Venezuela is so beaten down by lack of food and medicines they can be rolled over without much of a fight, perhaps after softening them up with mercenaries or other countries troops ..."
"... Its a process. There is no hurry for the US. Time is on their side. That's the reality. Chinise refineries cant handle too much of their heavy oil and its not about to intervene in any military conflict, and Russia does not need their oil plus Venezuela owes them a lot of money, and they own 49% of Citgo and its US refineries. They will cut a deal that minimizes their losses. ..."
"... I find an interesting parallel between Syria and Venezuela. The US allies who are supposed to sacrifice for the regime change and thieving of the neighbouring country. When US assembled a Thieving Coalition on behalf of Israel to rip apart Syria, Turkey and GCC (Saudis) were the prominent local members, just as Columbia and Brazil in ripping apart Venezuela (also with puppet master Israel on top). ..."
"... We usually think of Israel only as a tormenter of the Palestinians. But Israel is much, much more - it is the Capo Di Tutti i Capi of the global crime. Tormenting Palestinians is only a hobby, a sport, but destroying countries to steal their wealth is the day job. US is a dumb bully, the blunt tool that the Israel Crime Syndicate uses for stealing on a global scale. This is my new perspective after Israel's involvement in the coup in Venezuela. ..."
"... I've been following this story on Telesur and MintPress News for a few days. It confirms the theory that what the US could be doing is igniting -- inadvertently -- civil wars in the Lima Group countries. ..."
"... The Washington Mafia won't admit defeat that easily. Some false flag action somewhere at the border or the u.s. embassy will come. The howling of the Relotius media will be deafening. Maybe a Colombian or a Brazilian military is stupid enough to do what Tronald Dumb would rather avoid in consideration of his electorate. ..."
"... It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow. ..."
"... That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians. ..."
"... those are good parallels between syria and venezuala that you draw and to which i agree with.. my thought on trump is basically - it doesn't matter who is in the presidents seat in the usa, as the president seems to have little to say on that matter.. ..."
"... One other thing also to consider is that in addition to conventional armed forces, Venezuela also has popular defense committees and militias among urban and rural communities who would be fighting any invasion forces. ..."
"... If the US nag croaks financially, EU will not be much of a replacement, whilst the potential of parasitising on Russia and China approaches zero. Therefore, I conclude that "strategy of flogging the nag to death" is not really a strategy, it is an urge. That is, it comes from a mix of chutzpah, psychopathy and pig manure in the nature of the parasite. After all, who puts up a sofa on top of a hill of a stolen land to watch the final extinction of the previous owner. Obviously, this goes far beyond just stealing the women and the cattle. ..."
"... These guys are pretty smart. Many like to think otherwise, perhaps it makes them feel better. You can't judge their actions by Hollywood standards of winning and losing. Chaos and denial of resources to anyone opposed to the Empire is enough of a Win , at least temporarily. Its a long game they play, its been played for over a century now, even much longer. ..."
"... The elites, referred to by Plato as Philosopher Kings , want to rule the world as living Gods, or at least their descendants. It's only over the last 150-250 years or so that control of science, finance, military, capitalism and democracy (manipulated via the printing press) gave them the means to realize their goals. It was a long road for them, operating through secret societies and monopoly control of money and government debt, and dealing with factions who were bound by morality (hence the war on religion) . In the battle between Good and Evil tbe good guys have been annihilated or at least silenced, at least in the West and most likely much of the East. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
b , Feb 14, 2019 2:23:41 PM | link
On January 25, two days after Random Guyidó declared himself President of Venezuela, the lack of planing in the U.S. coup attempt was already obvious :
My impression is that Trump was scammed. It was long evident that he gives little attention to details and does not think things through. Most likely Bolton, Pompeo and Rubio presented him with a three step plan:

Phase 1. Support the self declared president Guaidó; Phase 2: ... (wishful thinking) ...; Phase 3: Take half of their oil!
...
Bolton and Pompeo are both experienced politicians and bureaucrats. They likely knew that their plan was deeply flawed and would require much more than Trump would normally commit to. My hunch is that the soon coming mission creep was build into their plan, but that they did not reveal that.

The U.S. coup planners and their Venezuelan puppets had hoped that the Venezuelan military would jump to their side. That was wishful thinking and unlikely to happen. They also thought up some "humanitarian aid" scheme in which pictures of trucks crossing a long blocked bridge would soon shame the Venezuelan president into stepping down. That was likewise nonsense.

Unless the U.S. is willing and able to escalate, the coup attempt is destined to fail.

'Western' media now recognize that phase 2 of the coup plan is in deep trouble. Today the Guardian , Bloomberg and the New York Times all describe growing frustration with the lack of success.

The Guardian notes :

[T]hree weeks after Guaidó electrified the previously rudderless opposition movement by declaring himself interim leader, there are signs his campaign risks losing steam.

An anticipated mass defection of military chiefs – which opposition leaders admit is a prerequisite to Maduro's departure – has not materialized, and Maduro's inner-circle has begun claiming it has weathered the political storm.

Bloomberg writes :

Since Juan Guaido declared himself interim president three weeks ago and offered amnesty to officers who abandon Maduro, more than 30 countries led by the U.S. have hailed the move, waiting for the military to follow. There hasn't been a rush to his side.

...

In a country with more than 2,000 generals and admirals, only one top officer -- who commands no troops -- has pledged allegiance to Guaido.

...

This is a major reason why the revolution isn't moving as quickly as some had hoped when Guaido electrified the world on Jan. 23 with his declaration. This has led to impatience and finger-pointing. U.S. policy makers and those around Guaido -- as well as leaders in Brazil and Colombia -- are eyeing one another and worrying about failure. Officials in each camp have said privately they assumed the others had a more developed strategy.

The NY Times shows similar frustration :

[The opposition's] goal was to bring the supplies into Venezuela, forcing a confrontation with Mr. Maduro, who has refused the help. This would cast Mr. Maduro in a bad light, opposition leaders said, and display their ability to set up a government-like relief system in a nation where the crumbling economy has left many starving, sick and without access to medicine.

But there was no dramatic confrontation.

The "aid" delivery failed, according to Bloomberg , for lack of planning and coordination :

Worry about what comes next has intensified . At a meeting in the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia, last week, military, intelligence and civilian leaders from both countries discussed ways of moving humanitarian aid into Venezuela. There was a sense of frustration in the air, according to a participant who agreed to discuss it on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. said it was paying for the aid but wanted Colombia to find trucks and drivers to move it in. The Colombians said no one would accept the mission because the Venezuelan military would arrest them. The aid remains in warehouses near the border.

At similar meetings in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, a person who attended said the dynamic was the same -- the U.S. expecting Colombia to find the means to deliver the aid and the Colombians saying they can't.

The opposition is only now thinking up its own crazy scheme for delivering the "aid":

In Cúcuta, members of the opposition say they are considering options to physically force the shipment into Venezuela.

Omar Lares, a former opposition mayor in exile in Cúcuta, said organizers want people to surround an aid truck on the Colombian side and accompany it to the bridge. A crowd of thousands would be gathered on the other side to push through a security cordon, move the containers blocking the bridge, and accompany the aid into Venezuela.

"One group over there, one over here, and we'll make one large human chain," he said.

And what does he think the battalion of Venezuelan soldiers between the two groups will do? Just step aside and allow an invasion of their country?

The struggle could make for some marketable TV pictures but it would not achieve anything. The lack of planning is daunting even to the lobbyists in Washington DC:

" The opposition has created immense expectations, and it's not at all clear they have a plan for actually fulfilling them ," said David Smilde, a Venezuela analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America.

The U.S. coup plotters and their Venezuelan proxies seem to recognize that there will be no imminent change :

Addressing a congressional hearing, the US special envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, claimed "Maduro and his band of thieves" were finished. He claimed international pressure meant "there is a storm brewing inside the Maduro regime that will eventually bring it to an end".

But while Abrams said Washington was "hopeful and confident" of Maduro's demise he admitted it was "impossible to predict" when it might come. The US would maintain pressure "over the next weeks and months", he added, suggesting a quick resolution is no longer expected.

Opposition leaders have spent recent days trying to dampen expectations that Maduro's exit is imminent.

Juan Andrés Mejía, an opposition leader and Guaidó ally, admitted that goal "could take some time".

The little spontaneous support the Random Guyidó had in some parts of the population is already lessening. Yesterday's demonstration he had called for saw less attendance than the one on January 23. He now says that he will force the 'aid' crossing on February 23 but he does not seem to have a real plan to achieve that:

President of the National Assembly Guaido also promised the country that US-delivered humanitarian aid will "enter the country no matter what" on February 23, issuing an "order" for the military to allow it to enter. However, military leaders have dismissed these calls, with the Central Defense Region tweeting in response that the armed forces would not take any orders from an "imperial lackey."

"One month after the swearing in we have done it. This February 23 the humanitarian aid will enter the country. The Armed Forces have 11 days to decide if they are on the side of the Venezuelans and the Constitution or on that of the usurper," he claimed in reference to President Maduro.

I f the U.S. does not do more than it has done so far the government under President Maduro can sit this out. The sanctions and the lack of oil revenue will create many immediate problems. But in a few weeks Venezuelan oil will have found new buyers. Fresh money will come in and new sources for imports of medicine and staple food will have been found.

Over the same time the Random Guy will lose support. The party he nominally leads only won 20% of the votes. The other opposition parties were never informed of his plan to declare himself president. Their support for the step was lukewarm and will cool further. They may in the end support the mediation talks Maduro has offered and which the UN, Uruguay and Mexico also support. The talks could lead to new parliament and/or presidential elections in a year or two and thereby solve the situation.

The U.S. would not be satisfied by a compromise solution. Trump is now committed to 'regime change' in Venezuela. But how can he do it?

Waging an open war against that country would be very messy, expensive and difficult to justify. To start and support a guerilla war - Elliott Abrams specialty - takes time also costs a lot of money. The chances to win it are low. Moreover Trump wants to get re-elected but could lose many votes over both scenarios.

What else then can he do?

Posted by b on February 14, 2019 at 01:58 PM | Permalink

Comments Venezuelaanalysis just posted short interviews with Random Guyido supporters. They all sound frustrated and disappointed:
https://twitter.com/venanalysis/status/1096124587316834304


chet380 , Feb 14, 2019 2:28:06 PM | link

Have Russia and/or China taken any steps to provide any medications that may be urgently required by Venezuelan hospitals or doctors? ...one or two planeloads would seem to get it done
Sally Snyder , Feb 14, 2019 2:37:23 PM | link
Here is an article that looks at an aspect of life in Venezuela that never gets mentioned in the Western media:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/venezuelas-socially-responsible-banking.html

Given the nation's massive economic potential, America's bankers must be excited about the prospect of even higher profitability based on increased business opportunities in the nation that has the world's largest oil reserves.

Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 2:50:59 PM | link
Simply put, whilst the regime change in Venezuela is faltering the Trump's retreat to Deep State is escalating. After a couple of months of no movement in Venezuela, he will be forced to commence his first open war.

Clintons, Bushes and Obama started theirs, how could Trump disappoint? Starting a war would complete the outcome which is a mirror image (opposite) to what Trump promised and was elected on.

Some would say that Trump's achievement is zero. Yet, the system which delivered two worst Presidential candidates ever in history is to blame. Trump was just the worst candidate for President. If the other, worstest candidate won, there already would have been no Venezuela and no US, the World would have been a pile of radioactive dust. It is still not impossible that the worst candidate could achieve the same as the worstest, but for the other one the outcome was a virtual certainty.

As to 2020 election, expect deja vu - Republican Trump the Worst and some Democratic the Worstest. Who are you gonna vote for? Who with brains will waste time voting?

CE , Feb 14, 2019 2:59:14 PM | link
Backlash is arriving already. The people of Haiti are toppling their corrupt US puppet president in naked anger over his betrayal of Venezuela when he voted with the Empire's dictate in a January OAS event declaring Maduro "illegimite". Must read :

Haiti's Unfolding Revolution Is Directly Linked to Venezuela's

Myrisa , Feb 14, 2019 3:00:24 PM | link

Yet, this is Granma a few hours ago:
'Between February 6 and 10 of 2019, several military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport in Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic, and other strategically located Caribbean Islands, most certainly without the knowledge of the governments of those nations. These flights took off from U.S. military facilities where Special Operation Troops and U.S. Marine Corps units operate. These units have been used for covert operations, even against leaders of other countries.'
US Militiary Adventure Against Venezuela Must be Stopped
dh , Feb 14, 2019 3:08:00 PM | link
@2 Interesting video. Those people are obviously starving, dressed in rags and desperate for toilet paper.
james , Feb 14, 2019 3:24:37 PM | link
thanks b... you said this in one of your previous post - they don't have a plan!

@5 kiza - lol! - the way i see it, trump is almost the most successful as he hasn't engaged in a direct war, and had to work thru other ones started by other presidents... i like entertaining the idea it is trump against the deep state... it is a fun thought, but i think it is extremely unrealistic.. trump will do what he is told even if it is in a round about way.. if the deep state want a war, he will cosign it.. as b also shared - all the sanctions on russia haven't let up and instead have just increased steadily since he entered office.. trump may talk a good line - no more wars, why can't we be friends with russia and etc - but he is missing in action on these same fronts.. now, maybe if he can hold off on following Netanyahu's war plan for Iran, or hold off on bombing Venezuela or whatever he is supposed to do here, he might have a chance for a 2nd term... the democrats have shown real skill in shooting themselves in the foot! anything is possible..

i too enjoyed the congresswomen who was up on anti-Semite charges taking a real strip out of Elliot Abrams yesterday.. kudos to her for going for it..

Peter AU 1 , Feb 14, 2019 3:30:30 PM | link
Nobody volunteering to be the martyrs as yet, so some will have to be volunteered. The Trump regime has put a lot of work into gaining Venezuelan oil, so I doubt they will be stopped by a little hiccup.
psychohistorian , Feb 14, 2019 3:35:40 PM | link
I didn't see this posting from Reuters about the next ploy in b's posting

"(Reuters) - President Donald Trump will give a speech on Venezuela in Miami on Monday and voice support for Venezuela's National Assembly President Juan Guaido, whom the United States considers the legitimate president of that country, a White House official said on Wednesday. Trump is to make remarks on Venezuela and "the dangers of socialism" at Florida International University in Miami, the official said."

We have had this discussion before but there is only top/bottom and not left/right. That said, the elite are now setting up to cast top/bottom as capitalism/socialism......neither of which exist in the same way that TOP/BOTTOM does.

Within the definition of TOP/BOTTOM one could suggest that

Capitalism is where (TOP) a historical elite perpetuate the God of Mammon global finance jackboot without oversight and TBTF on the BOTTOM that acts like powerless zombies, and

Socialism is where the God of Mammon global finance is a set of public utilities as a managed resource for the public commons and strict restrictions are made on ongoing ownership of private property

Pft , Feb 14, 2019 3:39:29 PM | link
Cant say its failed. Too soon.

Venezuela follows the neoliberal doctrine, perhaps not by choice, but they buy what they can't produce. Now they can't buy much and they do not produce much but oil, and they are denied payment by their biggest customer of oil. Ouch. Their gold in London cant be used. Revenues from Citgo are denied. Cant even sell their overseas assets now.

People need to eat, once they start going hungry they become more receptive to change. US wont use force unless Venezuela is so beaten down by lack of food and medicines they can be rolled over without much of a fight, perhaps after softening them up with mercenaries or other countries troops

Its a process. There is no hurry for the US. Time is on their side. That's the reality. Chinise refineries cant handle too much of their heavy oil and its not about to intervene in any military conflict, and Russia does not need their oil plus Venezuela owes them a lot of money, and they own 49% of Citgo and its US refineries. They will cut a deal that minimizes their losses.

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 3:47:59 PM | link
Max Blumenthal continues to try and reclaim his former position as a believable journalist. I provided his observational tweet on the previous Venezuelan thread, and do so again :

"At Tuesday's opposition march, among the most ferociously anti-Chavista elements in Venezuela, I struggled to find a single person willing to openly support a direct US military intervention. Not that Bolton, Rubio, or Abrams would care."

Of course, those sentiments do pose a problem for the Orange Gringo. Down the thread is a cute cartoon vid that will bring out the wry smile in most.

There's more at Venezuela Analysis's Twitter , Dan Cohen's exploits being just one of several.

Tom Welsh , Feb 14, 2019 4:10:29 PM | link

'"The opposition has created immense expectations, and it's not at all clear they have a plan for actually fulfilling them," said David Smilde, a Venezuela analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America'.

No. Actually, the US government and media have created immense expectations. Apparently Trump's plans as President and Commander-in-Chief are just as half-baked as his business projects were.

Blooming Barricade , Feb 14, 2019 4:12:34 PM | link
Alex Jones hails police state Reichstag fire like decision by neocon Trump, paymaster for lovely neocons like PNAC members Bolton, Abrams... https://www.infowars.com/watch/?video=5c65d736187ef30017a797ec
George Lane , Feb 14, 2019 4:17:37 PM | link
Recommend these two interviews from today:
  • FM Jorge Arreaza with Sharmini Peries: here .
  • And Roberto Lovato professor at UCLA on Democracy Now (they're redeeming themselves a bit IMO with their Venezuela coverage, considering their abysmal coverage of Syria and "Russiagate"): here .
Lochearn , Feb 14, 2019 4:19:12 PM | link
@ 6

Thanks for the link, CE. Very interesting. I had heard nothing about events in Haiti until this.

Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 4:36:46 PM | link
@james 9
Thanks for all your previous comments as well as this one. I do not subscribe to the concept that Trump is a Deep State puppet. Even the horrible Obama was not. All those sh**bags enter the vice of Presidency and after being squeezed a little by the Deep State wizards behind the curtain, they start dancing to the tune. The system selects them on the basis of low resistance, that is on the basis of being worthless, characterless individuals. Watch the pre-selection/Primaries debates to realise how it comes to the final match between the worst and the worstest.

But I find an interesting parallel between Syria and Venezuela. The US allies who are supposed to sacrifice for the regime change and thieving of the neighbouring country. When US assembled a Thieving Coalition on behalf of Israel to rip apart Syria, Turkey and GCC (Saudis) were the prominent local members, just as Columbia and Brazil in ripping apart Venezuela (also with puppet master Israel on top).

The Syria rip off failed because of what I called "the honesty between the thieves". It appears that the Venezuela rip off is faltering due to the same reason. Perhaps it is an in-built, systemic weakness of thieving coalitions that all the members want a piece of the dismembered victim, but are too careful to sacrifice more of their own blood and money than the next to achieve it.

Israel passes the buck down to US, US passes the buck down to Columbia and Brazil, Columbian and Brazilian regimes try to pass it down to some internal fool, but those are hard to find.

The thieving, murdering pyramid falters for the lack of self-sacrificial, extremist fools (rarer in South America than in Middle East).

We usually think of Israel only as a tormenter of the Palestinians. But Israel is much, much more - it is the Capo Di Tutti i Capi of the global crime. Tormenting Palestinians is only a hobby, a sport, but destroying countries to steal their wealth is the day job. US is a dumb bully, the blunt tool that the Israel Crime Syndicate uses for stealing on a global scale. This is my new perspective after Israel's involvement in the coup in Venezuela.

bevin , Feb 14, 2019 4:38:42 PM | link
Thanks @6 for that link.

I've been following this story on Telesur and MintPress News for a few days. It confirms the theory that what the US could be doing is igniting -- inadvertently -- civil wars in the Lima Group countries.

Talking of which: The Canadian government is looking very weak. There are calls for Trudeau's resignation after the unveiling of a corruption scandal involving Lavalin which was heavily involved in the Libyan war in which Canada played a leading and ignominious role -- Pilots, enforcing the 'no fly' zone, were said afterwards to have been disillusioned, having been used as Al Qaeda's Air Force.

Canada has been taking the lead as a US surrogate in propagandizing for regime change in Venezuela, if there is a government crisis it could lead to Freeland taking Trudeau's place. On the other hand it might lead to a saner person being appointed to Foreign Affairs.

Pnyx , Feb 14, 2019 4:40:49 PM | link
The Washington Mafia won't admit defeat that easily. Some false flag action somewhere at the border or the u.s. embassy will come. The howling of the Relotius media will be deafening. Maybe a Colombian or a Brazilian military is stupid enough to do what Tronald Dumb would rather avoid in consideration of his electorate.
bevin , Feb 14, 2019 4:48:38 PM | link
@21 The last thing that the Colombian military want is to get involved in a guerrilla war in Venezuela, it would very likely be their last.

And the same might be said of the Brazilian Army, like the Colombians its main function is to suppress domestic dissent.

On another angle: there is a Mark Curtis story about Venezuela's attempt to win a UNSC seat a few years back. And the UK Labour government's horrified reaction: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/splash-venezuela-winning-un-security-council-seat-would-be-ghastly

The Hang Nail , Feb 14, 2019 4:49:11 PM | link
I'm not sure the plan was ever meant to be a success. Oh sure, Rubio would have loved it if the military stepped in and took over but he probably felt there was no real downside.

If in 6 months Maduro is still in power Guaido will be able to keep claiming Maduro is illegitimate.

He can run across the border to Colombia and in the next election claim it is fraudulent because he is not allowed to run. Meanwhile, sanctions will continue to do their magic and eventually the people will stop supporting Maduro, not because they want the opposition in charge, but because they want sanctions lifted.

At that point the military will be easily able to take over and launch elections that only allow US-backed candidates. No big deal for Trump. What does it cost him? We have plenty of oil for the time being. This kind of plan has few downsides (other than being extremely immoral).

Jen , Feb 14, 2019 5:09:06 PM | link
Kiza @ 19:

Far more likely that Brazil and Colombia refuse to commit any troops or other support for a US-led coalition to invade Venezuela. These countries have long borders going through thinly populated tropical forest or mountain areas with Venezuela.

They don't want the prospect of fighting continuous border wars with militias that would sap their own military strength and which could go deep into their own territories. Imagine how unpopular that would make their current governments with their publics.

It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow.

That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians.

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 5:20:55 PM | link
The Hang Nail @23--

The problem with your hypothesis is the Venezuelan People support the Bolivarian Revolution AND its constitution by over 80% as was shown in one of the first threads on this topic.

Thanks to the People's Media, TeleSur, the People are well informed of the economic war being waged against them, and they well know what abandoning the Revolution would mean--they just celebrated a holiday dedicated to a revolt against a previous Yankee-backed Dictator. Furthermore, the majority of the planet's people through their governments back Maduro.

Stonewalling the offered dialog by Maduro goes against the Opposition's interest, just as sitting out elections has every time. And if polls related to BigLie Media believability within the Outlaw US Empire can be used as a proxy indicator, then it isn't doing a good job manufacturing consent globally either.

South of the Border, majorities in every nation loathe the Gringo-Yankee Imperialist, so reactionary governments can only stay in power through force. Bevin notes Lima Group nations are already experiencing Blowback, and Haiti's already in revolt--again.

james , Feb 14, 2019 5:56:25 PM | link
@19 kiza..

thanks... those are good parallels between syria and venezuala that you draw and to which i agree with.. my thought on trump is basically - it doesn't matter who is in the presidents seat in the usa, as the president seems to have little to say on that matter..

they are compliant, or made to be compliant to agenda that seems to override every dream a normal american might have for some role of harmony on the world stage which always includes war, or some threat of war, with endless sanctions in prep for more of the same.. all to secure the us$ and yes - i think israel plays a pivotal role in all this as well.

i like @24 jen's overview on the response that is more likely from the new puppets surrounding venezuala..

@6 CE.. thanks also for that link!

jo6pac , Feb 14, 2019 6:02:37 PM | link
#6
Thanks for the link also.
spudski , Feb 14, 2019 6:05:39 PM | link
https://nationalpost.com/news/world/was-a-u-s-cargo-jet-smuggling-arms-to-rebels-in-venezuela-these-flight-patterns-sure-look-weird
Blooming Barricade , Feb 14, 2019 6:08:37 PM | link
@20 Yes, Christina Freeland formed the Lima Group with her Ukrianian fascism's ideological partners: Bolsonaro and his party alongside Columbia and to an extent Argentina. South America a haven for Nazis once more.
karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 6:13:07 PM | link
OT--FYI--OT

Sorry but there are two items I deem important to share with barflies here instead of posting to the end of a dead open thread.

China's Policy Paper on EU from December 2018. In stark contrast with one nation and its vassals:

"China will stay committed to pursuing peaceful development, comprehensively deepening reform and breaking new grounds in opening-up on all fronts, and building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind in order to create new opportunities for and make fresh contributions to world peace and development."

"Putin's Lasting State" or "Modern Russian Governance Explained," by Vladislav Surkov, Tr. Dimitry Orlov. Excerpt:

"And so the Russian state continues, now as a new type of state that has never existed here before. It took form mostly in the middle of the 2000s, and so far it has been little studied, but its uniqueness and its viability are now apparent.

The stress tests which it has passed and is now passing have shown that this specific, organically arrived at model of political functioning provides an effective means of survival and ascension of the Russian nation not just for the coming years, but for decades and, most likely, for the entire next century."

Both provide an amazing counterpoise to what we see the Outlaw US Empire doing. A very curious proposal from the last article:

"[T]the political system that has been made in Russia is fit to serve not just future domestic needs but obviously has significant export potential."

lgfocus , Feb 14, 2019 6:23:19 PM | link
Karlof1@25

The import of what you said is that the people of Venezuela are well informed. The people of the Evil Empire and its vassals are not. Thirteen weeks of revolt in France and a week in Haiti -- Evil Empire MSM -- crickets.

lgfocus , Feb 14, 2019 6:27:23 PM | link
One of my favorite quotes

"All states can be placed on a continuum which ranges from states whose authority is based on their power to states whose power is based on their authority." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Christian Chuba , Feb 14, 2019 6:47:43 PM | link
The Rank and file vs the Generals in the military

My favorite talking point is how anyone who is interviewed in the U.S. insists that the 'rank and file' are with the new President and only a handful of the most corrupt, upper echelon Generals still support Maduro.

And I really love it when the Sock Puppets who do the interviews nod their heads as if this is some great new insight when they should respond, 'how the hell do you know, when were you in Venezuela?'

dh , Feb 14, 2019 6:55:02 PM | link
Richard Branson to the rescue. He is organizing "a wonderful line-up of international and regional artists" to get the humanitarian aid into Venezuela: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-14/branson-plans-live-aid-style-concert-on-venezuela-s-border
Jay , Feb 14, 2019 7:20:32 PM | link
And here's the former Spanish Prime Minister writing in the New York Times pretending that the coup he supports in Venezuela is "restoring democracy":

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/felipe-gonzalez-venezuelan.html

He tries to pull a fast one and pretend that Maduro wasn't elected.

Jen , Feb 14, 2019 7:29:21 PM | link
Kiza @ 33: Thanks for the compliment but I was really only guessing! Although it's not difficult to think that any increases in Brazil's military budget that Bolsonaro makes (and the country is on austerity spending and cutting back on social programs) are likely to go into buying foreign (ie US) armaments, enriching Bolsonaro's allies in the military and in Brazil's own armaments production, and not into better pay and conditions for soldiers.

One other thing also to consider is that in addition to conventional armed forces, Venezuela also has popular defense committees and militias among urban and rural communities who would be fighting any invasion forces. This is something we MoA barflies had not considered before as few of us live in countries where militia groups have been allowed to exist and even receive government support and money for arms and training. https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13968

frances , Feb 14, 2019 7:30:17 PM | link
reply to Kiza 19

"We usually think of Israel only as a tormenter of the Palestinians. But Israel is much, much more - it is the Capo Di Tutti i Capi of the global crime. Tormenting Palestinians is only a hobby, a sport, but destroying countries to steal their wealth is the day job. US is a dumb bully, the blunt tool that the Israel Crime Syndicate uses for stealing on a global scale. This is my new perspective after Israel's involvement in the coup in Venezuela."

This is how I see Israel as well, one difference though; IMO the US is being used to bully yes, but it is also being destroyed and once dead Israel will move on to its next victim

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 7:39:18 PM | link
Jay @36--

That's the gist of the narrative, that "democracy's being restored" instead of usurped. Fortunately, that narrative is well past its sell date and its rot is all too plain for many to see. It only works on the blindly indoctrinated, which fortunately are no longer a majority within the Outlaw US Empire.

jrkrideau , Feb 14, 2019 7:45:13 PM | link
@ 35 dh

The thing is Venezuela does not need a concert, it needs the money the US has been stealing and, maybe the gold that the UK will not give back.

A few billion probably would help a lot. Venezuelan finances would still be shaky but heck even just a billion would help.

I wonder if Branson is doing this to deliberately blacken Madero's image?

dh , Feb 14, 2019 7:54:10 PM | link
@42 It would be interesting to know who got Branson involved. He probably sees Guaido as young and progressive. Maduro not so much. It shows which side of the fence Branson sits on.
Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 7:56:24 PM | link
@ Jen 37
Yes, you are absolutely right, the last line of defence of Venezuela is what is usually called the "territorial defence". I have never seen a territorial defence act effectively in a military situation, and I am guessing that this is because of poor leadership, poor armaments and amateurs against professionals. Having written all this, it is the remnants of the "defence popular" which would be the bedrock of the guerrilla resistance. Therefore, do not count on them stopping a professional military invasion, but do count on them increasing the cost of the Mission Accomplished to the "peace keepers", that is those who want to have peace just to enjoy their loot.

@ frances 38

Dear Frances, you raise this very interesting point about why a rider would flog his nag to death. I know that there are two opposite strategies in the biological world - parasites which maintain their host and parasites which kill their host. I simply do not understand the strategy of a parasite killing its host. This would be a sensible strategy only in a situation of plentiful replacement hosts, but both US and EU host are pretty warn out nags.

If the US nag croaks financially, EU will not be much of a replacement, whilst the potential of parasitising on Russia and China approaches zero. Therefore, I conclude that "strategy of flogging the nag to death" is not really a strategy, it is an urge. That is, it comes from a mix of chutzpah, psychopathy and pig manure in the nature of the parasite. After all, who puts up a sofa on top of a hill of a stolen land to watch the final extinction of the previous owner. Obviously, this goes far beyond just stealing the women and the cattle.

OSINT-suggests , Feb 14, 2019 7:59:25 PM | link
Exxon-Mobil drilling exploration analyses results scheduled announcements at South Eastern Mediterranean basin (location is situated a small birds flying distance south from Akrotiri British base in Cyprus which will be obviously harbor HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier/s designed from ground up for F-35 deployment) were accidentally cancelled a few days short before the Venezuela situation was grabbing the international headlines.

Day before yesterday unexpectedly the results were forwarded to the presses. It was being timed to synch with the Venezuela humanitarian 'crisis' show?

What's the hidden message here? No oil revenues for you Med folks to use for boosting social programmes political strategies?

frances , Feb 14, 2019 8:24:46 PM | link
reply to Kiza 44

" Therefore, I conclude that "strategy of flogging the nag to death" is not really a strategy, it is an urge. That is, it comes from a mix of chutzpah, psychopathy and pig manure in the nature of the parasite. After all, who puts up a sofa on top of a hill of a stolen land to watch the final extinction of the previous owner. Obviously, this goes far beyond just stealing the women and the cattle."

I agree, given the kill or be killed pathology of Israel's leadership combined with its death grip on the US govt, all I see is a US collapse.
Israel in its madness assumes that somehow out of all of this it will rule the ME so why would it have further need of its American dead horse?
To me, Israel has a Circe (Game of Thrones) mentality; lots of schemes, little to show for it other than the death of others, lots of others.

OSINT-suggests , Feb 14, 2019 8:29:47 PM | link
From R.B wiki-page:

"1981–1987: Package holiday industries and Virgin Atlantic Airways success

Branson's first successful entry into the airline industry was during a trip to Puerto Rico. His flight was cancelled, so he decided to charter his own plane the rest of the way and offer a ride to the rest of the stranded passengers for a small fee in order to cover the cost.[24]

In 1982, Virgin purchased the gay nightclub Heaven."

To me it suggests that the guy might have been involved in kompromat operations in some MI-sonething back at the day?

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 9:01:17 PM | link
Jon Schwartz :

"Abrams lied again" during his House testimony. Time to arrest and charge him again!

AntiSpin , Feb 14, 2019 9:50:24 PM | link
@ Jen | Feb 14, 2019 7:29:21 PM | 37

You're right – a war is all but inconceivable. Here are the numbers: The Venezuelan army numbers 500,000 members. In addition, there are the uniquely Venezuelan entities known as the national, regional and municipal-level militias numbering two million more citizens under arms.

Modern military theory posits that an invading force must number at least three times the numbers of the defensive force. The US military cannot muster even an equivalent number to those who would be waiting for them "behind every blade of grass."

Even a strictly air attack intended to wreak widespread destruction and leave nothing but chaos (a US specialty) would suffer significant casualties from the very sophisticated air defense systems in Venezuela.

Of course, no quantity of dead military would be of slightest concern to the oligarchs in the US and in Venezuela who would hope to make a killing from all the killing, but some substantial number of US politicians would worry about the effect on their constituencies, and the results in their vote counts next year.

A US military assault on Venezuela would be extremely stupid, and would wreak havoc on the political class in DC.

bevin , Feb 14, 2019 9:51:33 PM | link
The popular militias are not Venezuela's last line of defence, but the key to it. Venezuela is one of those are countries in which the government can distribute arms and munitions to the populace without fear that they will be used against it. And that is why so far the allure of invading Venezuela, on behalf of the US and rich people everywhere, is not sufficient to attract Colombia or Brazil.

As I have said before there is a real possibility that, by provoking the Venezuelan masses back into active defence of the Bolivarian system, the imperialists risk starting a war of poor against rich that would find eager partisans from Patagonia to Panama.

It would be instructive to consider the vast amounts of money and military that it took to bring FARC to the negotiating table. The reason why Colombia has been invited into NATO is that, for the past three decades NATO, in the form of US, UK and mercenaries, plus the narcotics industry's paramilitaries, plus Israel have been spending billions to suppress a guerrilla uprising in the jungle. And FARC fought entirely on its own, without regular assistance from any outside power.

What Venezuela must do, however, is to do as Cuba did and become self sufficient in foodstuffs. It has to break away from its dependency on commodity exports/imports. There is no reason why it cannot achieve this within months. But to do so it has to break from the bourgeoisie, who have broken decisively with it, and expropriate their 'property.'

Such an example would thrill millions across the continent and around the world, millions who would rally- as Britain's dockers did in 1919 when they refused to load ships supplying the anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia- to the support of the people of Venezuela fighting for the right to govern themselves.

michaelj72 , Feb 14, 2019 10:35:15 PM | link
I don't really believe the Regular Guy nor the opposition want 'elections'.... why should they? they have essentially lost nearly all of the 30 or more elections since 1998 and yet they keep howling about elections. They just can't accept it - that they only have 20-30% of the population with them.

They want power - and some/many of them are now willing to call on the USA to intervene and give them illegitimate power through a coup d'etat and/or military sabotage and subversion. they want a return of the totally pernicious and anti-democratic Oligarchy which rules for hundreds of years until Chavez kicked them out..... These guys are so arrogant that they are talking, among other nefarious things, about seizing/using funds in the bank accounts of the Venezuelan embassy in DC

really it's time for Maduro to do something a bit more sane and radical because these guys are out of control, or he'll lose - in other words, use the courts... but he keeps talking about "sooner or later" , well it looks to me like later is getting pretty late

Venezuela opposition takes steps to seize oil revenue as Maduro issues threat
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/venezuela-opposition-takes-steps-to-seize-oil-revenue-as-maduro-issues-threat-idUSKCN1Q228J

psychohistorian , Feb 14, 2019 11:01:58 PM | link
Venezuela is a proxy battlefield for the Western way/NOT-Western way. I don't want to throw ism definitions at the sides when I believe it it all about the money....global private finance versus alternatives like China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela....I am missing ???

Anyway, I think this "existential" conflict is being forced now before the alternatives get more influence on the "slave" Western nations.

I don't like to think about the repressive environment that will exist in the remaining Western block of nations after this global "divorce".

In the coming "public discussion" about capitalism/socialism will the true power of those that own global private finance be exposed? I hope so but keep seeing identity politics, wars, etc. being played against the chances.

Pft , Feb 14, 2019 11:21:13 PM | link
Antispin@49

"A US military assault on Venezuela would be extremely stupid, and would wreak havoc on the political class in DC."

It would be stupid. Which is precisely why it wont happen, except as fake humanitarian intervention after Venezuela is divided and weakened from sanctions and starvation. It could happen earlier with a FF attack killing a large number of Americans blamed on Venezuela, but the US has been very cautious about putting troops in harms way since Vietnam. We engage against enemies we know cant hurt us much.

These guys are pretty smart. Many like to think otherwise, perhaps it makes them feel better. You can't judge their actions by Hollywood standards of winning and losing. Chaos and denial of resources to anyone opposed to the Empire is enough of a Win , at least temporarily. Its a long game they play, its been played for over a century now, even much longer.

The elites, referred to by Plato as Philosopher Kings , want to rule the world as living Gods, or at least their descendants. It's only over the last 150-250 years or so that control of science, finance, military, capitalism and democracy (manipulated via the printing press) gave them the means to realize their goals. It was a long road for them, operating through secret societies and monopoly control of money and government debt, and dealing with factions who were bound by morality (hence the war on religion) . In the battle between Good and Evil tbe good guys have been annihilated or at least silenced, at least in the West and most likely much of the East.

[Feb 15, 2019] False flag now is a real possibility and would be natural next step in color revolution scenario according to Gene Sharp textbooks

Notable quotes:
"... I have to agree with the false flag suggestions. anyone who saw abrams get reamed by omar yesterday saw the true face of delusional and unaccountable psychopathy at work. the closest he's ever come to paying for his war crimes was a brief period before a pardon and as such he's more entitled and fearless than the average deep state scumbag. add the typical zionist persecution complex ("pre-traumatic stress disorder") and a healthy dose of spite and it's clear this won't end until it has to. ..."
"... As for the western media, they'll screech no matter what happens. I "hate watch" the BBC's american coverage and it is even more painful than you'd think. They're fixated at an autistic level on "OMG TEH AID WTF!!!!111!!" and parade out rando "opposition" types who claim they're tortured martyrs while wearing make-up in a new york TV studio. ..."
"... I have to agree with the false flag suggestions. anyone who saw abrams get reamed by omar yesterday saw the true face of delusional and unaccountable psychopathy at work. the closest he's ever come to paying for his war crimes was a brief period before a pardon and as such he's more entitled and fearless than the average deep state scumbag. add the typical zionist persecution complex ("pre-traumatic stress disorder") and a healthy dose of spite and it's clear this won't end until it has to. ..."
"... As for the western media, they'll screech no matter what happens. I "hate watch" the BBC's american coverage and it is even more painful than you'd think. They're fixated at an autistic level on "OMG TEH AID WTF!!!!111!!" and parade out rando "opposition" types who claim they're tortured martyrs while wearing make-up in a new york TV studio. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

The pair | Feb 14, 2019 7:45:04 PM | link

[Feb 15, 2019] Market shelves in the scruffy Colombian town of Puerto Santander are loaded with Venezuelan maize flour, rice, cheese spread and more, heavily subsidized consumer goods smuggled by government officials and ordinary citizens alike and sold at big mark-ups.

Feb 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:32 am GMT

Communists are unable to repeal the laws of: thermodynamics and/or supply & demand.

'Pocketing 1,000% Markup, Venezuelans Smuggle Out Precious Food', Oscar Medina, Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg, February 12 2019, 6:00 AM February 12 2019, 5:40 PM, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/smugglers-pocket-1-000-markup-120000549.html https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/pocketing-1-000-markup-venezuelans-smuggle-out-precious-food

Market shelves in the scruffy Colombian town of Puerto Santander are loaded with Venezuelan maize flour, rice, cheese spread and more, heavily subsidized consumer goods smuggled by government officials and ordinary citizens alike and sold at big mark-ups. Gasoline is ferried from Venezuela too, as people cash in on the arbitrage opportunities created by extreme price distortions. The spectacle of food being spirited out of a country where hunger is becoming epidemic shows in microcosm how Maduro's socialist government has created an economic and humanitarian disaster. While this black-market trade has been going on for years now, it's jarring to witness it at a time when much of the world has thrown its support behind efforts by Maduro's rival, Juan Guaido, to bring emergency supplies into the country. "It makes you angry to see these products for sale," said Lisbeth Cisneros, 28, a pregnant mother of four who fled the Venezuelan town of San Cristobal three months ago and works as a street vendor on the Colombian side of the border. "The situation is horrible over there."

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:34 am GMT
Can the Venzalon Black Marketers EXPORT the foreign aid relief shipments fast enough to continue STARVING the Venezuelan People?

Now the food is FREE, not just subsidized.

RVBlake , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:44 am GMT
@israel shamir I read the link The setting for this incident is British soldiers and colonists under siege at Fort Pitt by Indians allied with Pontiac. There is no evidence for any sustained program of attempting to infect Indians with smallpox in U.S. history. This charge is of a piece with the general use of the term "genocide" regarding American relations with the Indians. And it is equally fallacious.
Digital Samizdat , says: February 14, 2019 at 11:01 am GMT

In this struggle, President Trump is his own bitter enemy. He seeks approval of the War Party, and his own base will be disappointed by his actions.

Sad but true. Trump is over. Any Qanons out there still trying desperately to convince themselves that he's secretly fighting the deep state are just delusional specimens at this point. Don't get me wrong: I'm still glad Hillary's still not president. I'm just saddened that there'll be no MAGA but then, I guess that was always unlikely.

A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce. Now they can't buy and they do not produce. Imagine a democratic Saudi Arabia hit by blockade.

This point is worth emphasizing, since it's not a problem unique to Venezuela. In fact, the Globalist institutions (IMF, WorldBank, USAid, etc.) have worked tirelessly for decades now to increase third-world countries' dependence on import-export agriculture, rather than encouraging them to become more self-sufficient. Instead of extending them credit to grow food for the domestic market, for example, the WorldBank will only extend them credit to grow crops–usually dry crops like cotton–for export, forcing them to import much of the food they need. Meanwhile, Washington throws crazy subsidies at agri-giants like Monsanto (rather than 'small family farms') to encourage them to export more of their GMO garbage to these countries. Just ask the Mexicans what happened to their domestic corn-growing industry after NAFTA came into effect. Now, all those Mexicans who lost their farms are up in the US working as laborers for the very agri-businesses that put them out of business in the first place!

But hey: sactionable countries, broke farmers heading pa' norte to look for work, and constant instability throughout the third world–those are all features of the NWO, not bugs.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks Juan Guaidó looks sort of like a gay Obama?

Moi , says: February 14, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@Svigor Is the genocide of Native Americans also a myth???
Johnny Smoggins , says: February 14, 2019 at 2:15 pm GMT
Unlike Asians and Arabs, Latin Americans don't have it in them to fight a war. Sure they can bluster, but like Africans, it's all just chest puffing noise.

When the U.S. decides to go in, they'll meet little resistance. The tragedy will be what comes later as when the U.S. exported democracy to Iraq, Syria and Libya. Rich Venezuelans will make out like bandits, the poor will be reduced to selling their daughters.

What surprises me is the silence of both the left and Hispanics. Trump is about to do a regime change in a Latin American socialist country and they have nothing to say about it.

therevolutionwas , says: February 14, 2019 at 2:42 pm GMT
@mike k Socialism is bad. The US government is a big bully that is self destructing. Not a lot of good news out there.
Jake , says: February 14, 2019 at 2:45 pm GMT
Israel Shamir should have better sense than to spread the 'diseased blankets' given by Americans to the Indians nonsense. Even the link fails to come close to proving a single case. First, the only known written suggestion that anyone had considered it is from Colonial days – those are officers of the British Empire. Second, the one case of a possible such transmission, and it perhaps an accident, also is from the Colonial era.

The most genocidally inclined Americans with power and authority who might have done such a thing, Union Generals Sherman and Sheridan, did not take advantage of their positions to do such an evil.

Anonymous [166] Disclaimer , says: February 14, 2019 at 3:14 pm GMT
The real decimation of the Native American population was caused by diseases brought by the Spanish to which they had no immunity. This occurred before widespread settlement on the Eastern seaboard.

Yes, there was one recorded incident of an army officer giving infected blankets to the Indians but that was not a widespread program in itself.

But we digress.

nietzsche1510 , says: February 14, 2019 at 4:53 pm GMT
Venezuela invasion thing is double-faceted: a trap for Trump & a bluff. if the invasion is, then bye-bye 2020 election, mission accomplished. if no invasion on sight then the bluff of Pompeo-Bolton-Abrams is called & the 2020 reelection assured. Venezuela in the role of bait.
bluedog , says: February 14, 2019 at 6:00 pm GMT
@Anonymous And of course the trail of tears by the Cherokees and later by the Navaho added to it, as hundreds if thousand didn't died from the lack of blankets and the lack of food, only to be used as forced labor living in holes in the ground young women selling them selves for a loaf of bread while they built a fort.The truth was we tried to kill off by any means as many as we could for the dead has no claim to the land.!!!.!!c
bluedog , says: February 14, 2019 at 6:05 pm GMT
@Jake Hmm I believe it was Sherman to said "kill the children for nits breed lice" and surly don't leave out Custer who the Indians call the 'eastern sun" for he always attacked as the sun came up attacking friendly villages as well as those not so friendly !!

[Feb 15, 2019] Starving Venezuela into Submission by Israel Shamir

Notable quotes:
"... First, you starve people; then you bring them humanitarian aid. This was proposed by John McNaughton at Pentagon: bomb locks and dams, by shallow-flooding the rice, cause widespread starvation (more than a million dead?) "And then we shall deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Vietnamese". Or, rather, "we could offer to do [that] at the conference table." Planning a million dead by starvation, in writing: if such a note would be found on the ruins of the Third Reich, it would seal the story of genocide, it would be quoted daily. But the story of the genocide of the Vietnamese is rarely mentioned nowadays. ..."
"... They did it in Syria, too. At first, they brought weapons for every Muslim extremist, then they blockaded Damascus, and then they sent some humanitarian aid, but only to the areas under rebel control. ..."
"... The Israelis practice it in Gaza. They block all export or import from the Strip, interdict fishing in the Mediterranean and drip-feed the captive Palestinians by 'humanitarian aid'. Jews, being Jews, make it one better: they made the EU to pay for the humanitarian aid to Gaza AND to buy the aid stuff from Israel. This made Gaza an important source of profit for the Jewish state. ..."
"... Timeo danaos et dona ferentes ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Agence France-Press ..."
"... Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net ..."
Feb 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

You are so kind-hearted! I shed a tear thinking of American generosity. "So many delightful goodies: sacks of rice, canned tuna and protein-rich biscuits, corn flour, lentils and pasta, arrived at the border of troubled Venezuela – enough for one light meal each for five thousand people", – reported the news in a sublime reference to five thousand fed by Christ's fishes and loaves. True, Christ did not take over the bank accounts and did not seize the gold of those he fed. But 21st century Venezuela is a good deal more-prosperous than 1st century Galilee. Nowadays, you have to organise a blockade if you want people to be grateful for your humanitarian aid.

This is not a problem. The US-UK duo did it in Iraq, as marvellous Arundhati Roy wrote in April 2003 (in The Guardian of old, before it turned into an imperial tool): After Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged the blockade and war were followed by you guessed it! Humanitarian relief. At first, they blocked food supplies worth billions of dollars, and then they delivered 450 tonnes of humanitarian aid and celebrated their generosity for a few days of live TV broadcasts. Iraq had had enough money to buy all the food it needed, but it was blocked, and its people received only some peanuts.

And this was rather humane by American standards. In the 18th century, the British colonists in North America used more drastic methods while dispensing aid to disobedient natives. The Red Indians were expelled from their native places, and then they were provided humanitarian aid: whiskey and blankets. The blankets had been previously used by smallpox patients . The native population of North America was decimated by the ensuing epidemics from this and similar measures. Probably you haven't heard of this chapter of your history: the USA has many Holocaust museums but not a single memorial to the genocide near home. It is much more fun to discuss faults of Germans and Turks than of your own forefathers.

First, you starve people; then you bring them humanitarian aid. This was proposed by John McNaughton at Pentagon: bomb locks and dams, by shallow-flooding the rice, cause widespread starvation (more than a million dead?) "And then we shall deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Vietnamese". Or, rather, "we could offer to do [that] at the conference table." Planning a million dead by starvation, in writing: if such a note would be found on the ruins of the Third Reich, it would seal the story of genocide, it would be quoted daily. But the story of the genocide of the Vietnamese is rarely mentioned nowadays.

They did it in Syria, too. At first, they brought weapons for every Muslim extremist, then they blockaded Damascus, and then they sent some humanitarian aid, but only to the areas under rebel control.

This cruel but efficient method of breaking nations' spirit has been developed by lion tamers for years, perhaps for centuries. You have to starve the beast until it will take food from your hands and lick your fingers. 'Starvation-taming', they call it.

The Israelis practice it in Gaza. They block all export or import from the Strip, interdict fishing in the Mediterranean and drip-feed the captive Palestinians by 'humanitarian aid'. Jews, being Jews, make it one better: they made the EU to pay for the humanitarian aid to Gaza AND to buy the aid stuff from Israel. This made Gaza an important source of profit for the Jewish state.

So in Venezuela they follow an old script. The US and its London poodle seized over 20 billion dollars from Venezuela and from Venezuelan national companies. They stole over a billion in gold ingots Venezuela had trustingly deposited in the cellars of the Bank of England.

Well, they said they will give this money to a Venezuelan Random Dude, rather. To the guy who already promised to give the wealth of Venezuela to the US companies. And after this daylight robbery, they bring a few containers of humanitarian aid to the border and wait for the rush of bereft Venezuelans for food.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted : "The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but Venezuela's military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE."

Venezuelans aren't starving, even though they are going through difficulties. The biggest noise is made by the wealthy, as always. If Pompeo wants to help Venezuelans, he might lift the sanctions, return the funds, lift the blockade. The biscuits he wants to provide are of but little use.

President Maduro is right when he refuses to let this hypocrisy bribe the stomachs and hearts of his people. It is not just that he remembers his Virgil and knows, Timeo danaos et dona ferentes , "beware gift-bearing Greeks." There are too many American and Colombian soldiers around the pending delivery place, and this place is suspiciously close to an airport with an extra-long runway suitable for a an airlift.

The US is known for its propensity to invade its neighbours: Panama was invaded in 1989 to keep the Panama Canal in American hands and to roll back the agreement signed by the good-hearted President Jimmy Carter. President George Bush Sr sent his airborne troops in after calling Panama president "a dictator and cocaine smuggler". This is exactly what President Trump says about Venezuela's president.

They are likely to use this aid to invade and suborn Venezuela. Wisely, Maduro began large military exercises to prepare the army in case of invasion. The situation of Venezuela is dire enough even without invasion. Their money has been appropriated, their main oil company is as good as confiscated; and there is a strong fifth column waiting for Yankees in Caracas.

ORDER IT NOW

This fifth column consists mainly of compradors , well-off young folk with a smattering of Western education and upbringing, who see their future within the framework of the American Empire. They are ready to betray the unwashed masses and invite the US troops in. They are supported by the super-rich, by representatives of foreign companies, by Western secret services. Such people exist everywhere; they tried to organise the Gucci Revolution in Lebanon, the Green Revolution in Iran, the Maidan in the Ukraine. In Russia they had their chance in the winter of 2011/2012 when their Mink-Coat Revolution was played at Moscow's Bolotnaya Heath.

In Moscow they lost when their opponents, the Russia-First crowd, bettered them by fielding a much-bigger demo at Poklonnaya Hill. The Western news agencies tried to cover the defeat by broadcasting pictures of the Putin-supporters demo and saying it was the pro-Western Heath. Other Western agencies published pictures of 1991 rallies saying they were taken in 2012 on the Heath. In Moscow, nobody was fooled: the mink-coat crowd knew they were licked.

In the Ukraine, they won, for President Yanukovich, a hesitant and pusillanimous man of two minds, failed to gather massive support. It is a big question whether Maduro will be able to mobilise Venezuela-First masses. If he is, he will win the confrontation with the US as well.

Maduro is rather reticent; he hasn't disciplined unruly oligarchs; he does not control the media; he tries to play a social-democrat game in a country that is not Sweden by long shot. His subsidies have allowed ordinary people to escape dire poverty, but now they are used by black marketeers to siphon off the wealth of the nation. Far from being a disaster zone, Venezuela is a true Bonanza, a real Klondike: you can fill a tanker with petrol for pennies, smuggle it to neighbouring Colombia and sell it for market price. Many supporters of the Random Guy have made small fortunes this way, and they hope to make a large killing if and when the Americans come.

A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce. Now they can't buy and they do not produce. Imagine a democratic Saudi Arabia hit by blockade.

In order to save the economy, Maduro should drain the swamp, end the black market and profiteering, encourage agriculture, tax the rich, develop some industry for local consumption. It can be done. Venezuela is not a socialist state like orderly Cuba, nor a social-democratic one like Sweden and England in 1970s, but even its very modest model of allowing the masses to rise out of misery, poverty and ignorance seems too much for the West.

It is often said there are two antagonists in the West, the Populists and the Globalists, and President Trump is the Populist leader. The Venezuela crisis proved these two forces are united if there is a chance to attack and rob an outsider country. Trump is condemned at home when he calls his troops back from Afghanistan or Syria, but he gains support when he threatens Venezuela or North Korea. He can be sure he will be cheered on by Macron and Merkel and even by The Washington Post and The New York Times .

He has the real WMD, the Weapons of Mass Deception, to attack Venezuela, and these WMD had been activated with the beginning of the creeping coup. When a rather unknown young politician, the leader of a small neoliberal rabidly pro-American fraction in the Parliament, Random Dude, claimed the title of president, he was immediately recognised by Trump, and the Western media reported that the people of Venezuela went out in mass demos to greet the new president and demand Maduro's removal.

They beamed videos of huge Caracas demos back to Venezuela. Not many viewers abroad noticed that the video was old, filmed in 2016 demos, but the Venezuelans saw that at once. They weren't fooled. They knew that there is no chance for a big protest demo on that day, the day of a particularly important baseball game in the professional league between Leones of Caracas and Cardenales de Lara from Barquisimeto.

But the WMD kept lying. Here is a report by Moon of Alabama : the reports of large anti-government rallies are fake news or prophecies hoping to become self-fulfilling ones:

Agence France-Press stated at 11:10 utc yesterday that "tens of thousands" would join a rally.

AFP news agency @AFP -- 11:10 utc -- 2 Feb 2019

Tens of thousands of protesters are set to pour onto the streets of Venezuela's capital #Caracas Saturday to back opposition leader Juan Guaido's calls for early elections as international pressure increased on President #Maduro to step down http://u.afp.com/Jouu

They lie that there are army deserters spoiling for a fight with the army. The young guys CNN presented weren't deserters, and they didn't live in Venezuela. Even their military insignia were of the kind discarded years ago, as our friend The Saker noticed .

However, these lies won't avail -- my correspondents in Caracas report that there are demos for and against government (for Maduro slightly bigger crowds), but the feelings aren't strong. The crisis is manufactured in Washington, and the Venezuelans aren't keen to get involved.

That's why we can expect an American attempt to use force, preceded by some provocation. Probably it won't be a full-blown war: the US never fought an enemy that wasn't exhausted prior to the encounter. If the Maduro administration survives the blow, the crisis will take a low profile, until sanctions do their work and further undermine the economy.

ORDER IT NOW

In this struggle, President Trump is his own bitter enemy. He seeks approval of the War Party, and his own base will be disappointed by his actions. His sanctions will send more refugees to the US, wall or no wall. He undermines the unique status of the US dollar by weaponising it. In 2020, he will reap what he sow.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net


Cyrano , says: February 13, 2019 at 2:57 am GMT

I am pretty sure that there won't be any military intervention by US in Venezuela. How do I know this? Well, if it was any other nation, – for example a nation of people whose brains have been turned into mush by decades long propaganda – then I would be worried.

Luckily, US have one of the best informed populations on earth – they have all those bastions of truth like CNN, CBS, NYT and so on. That's why I am fairly certain that the US wouldn't dare to attack Venezuela. Their peace-loving nation wouldn't let them.

The only way it can happen is if in the next few weeks a group of Venezuelan terrorists hijacked few planes and flew them into some tall buildings in the US. That's the only way that the public opinion in the peace loving nation can be swayed towards war.

Remember, every time the US has gone to war, they had to stage various versions of 9/11 – in order to convince the well informed and peace loving Americans that someone hates their freedoms, so they have to go over there to fight for those freedoms, rather than wait over here for someone to bring the fight to them.

Cyrano , says: February 13, 2019 at 2:57 am GMT
I am pretty sure that there won't be any military intervention by US in Venezuela. How do I know this? Well, if it was any other nation, – for example a nation of people whose brains have been turned into mush by decades long propaganda – then I would be worried.

Luckily, US have one of the best informed populations on earth – they have all those bastions of truth like CNN, CBS, NYT and so on. That's why I am fairly certain that the US wouldn't dare to attack Venezuela. Their peace-loving nation wouldn't let them.

The only way it can happen is if in the next few weeks a group of Venezuelan terrorists hijacked few planes and flew them into some tall buildings in the US. That's the only way that the public opinion in the peace loving nation can be swayed towards war.

Remember, every time the US has gone to war, they had to stage various versions of 9/11 – in order to convince the well informed and peace loving Americans that someone hates their freedoms, so they have to go over there to fight for those freedoms, rather than wait over here for someone to bring the fight to them.

israel shamir , says: February 13, 2019 at 8:58 am GMT
@Verymuchalive According to numbers from Venezuela's Ministry of Agriculture, after relatively stagnant food production throughout the 1990s, from 2003 to 2011 milk production increased by 230 percent, beef production by 19 percent, chicken by 60 percent, rice by 25 percent, corn by 116 percent, and beans by 320 percent.

As can be seen, the claims among Chavez's critics of a decrease in food production are simply false. And while it is true that there have been food shortages, the real reason is quite different from what the media reports. An impressive increase in food production in recent years has simply been outpaced by growing consumption that has increased even more rapidly, creating supply problems in many basic items and the need to import increasing amounts of food. Though often cited as a major failure of the Chavez government, it is actually the result of millions of poor Venezuelans eating better and consuming more than ever before. As one Venezuelan recently said to an opposition activist who insisted that empty supermarket shelves were proof of the government's failures and demanded to know, "Then where is the milk?": "The milk," he replied, "is in the bellies of Venezuela's poor."
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7513

As for the USSR, only now the Russians are coming to the levels of modest affluence circa 1985, after the disaster of anti-communist rule in 1990s.
Russian Communism is a secularised Russian Orthodox Christianity. Likewise, American system is secularised Judaism.

renfro , says: February 14, 2019 at 6:25 am GMT
BRAVO OMAR ..2 nd time in my life I have seen balls in congress.

Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams Lose His Cool During Tense Exchange With Rep. Ilhan Omar

Watch the video at link

"Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by president George H.W. Bush," began Omar. "I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful."

"If I could respond to that " interjected Abrams.

"It was not a question," shot back Omar.

After a brief exchange in which Abrams protested "It was not right!" Omar cut Abrams off, saying "Thank you for your participation."

February 13, 2019

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51105.htm

Wally , says: February 14, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@bluedog Please present you proof your 'forced labor living in holes in the ground, women selling themselves for bread'.
You cannot, or you would have.

We note your avoidance of the facts. Violent Stone Age 'Indians':
– kept slaves
– were in constant states of war with other tribes
– treated & traded women like cattle
– practiced genocide against other 'Indian' tribes
– used crude environmentally destructive slash & burn agricultural methods
– decimated the animal populations
– the first acts by them when they got horses from the Spaniards was to attack and decimate other tribes
– engaged in cannibalism
– roasted people alive
– routinely butchered children
– engaged in human sacrifice
– constant rapes
– took scalps from their enemies

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~kw/crichton.html
"The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths"

Willem , says: February 14, 2019 at 8:12 pm GMT
What the author refers to is called: 'winning hearts and minds' (wham)

John Pilger has an intersting article about wham, and how that worked in Vietnam

http://johnpilger.com/articles/mourn-on-the-fourth-of-july

Now featuring in Venezuela?

RVBlake , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm GMT
@bluedog I've read biographies of Custer and can only recall two villages attacked by him at the head of his regiment, the 7th U.S. Cavalry. In November 1868 he led an attack on the Cheyenne encampment on the Washita River, in Oklahoma. Reports differ on the casualties, but this was decidedly not a friendly village. The second is his celebrated and perhaps precipitous attack on the massive summer encampment of Lakota/Cheyenne/Arapaho on the Little Bighorn River.in June of 1876. They had refused President Grant's order to return to their reservations the previous January, and placed themselves subject to military action. He had been involved in other skirmishes with hostile Indians, in Kansas in 1867 and on the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873, but I'm unaware of any other attacks on villages.
APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm GMT
@Wally Pock-faced smallpox survivors were immune.

Cowpox inoculations conferred immunity.

The English used biological warfare, as did the Romans.

Deal with it.

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@bluedog The Cherokee committed treason in the War of 1812, by fighting for the British.

The Cherokee got their just desserts.

Whah!

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:58 pm GMT
@RVBlake Lt. Col. George Armstrong (Autie) Custer died by his own hand, when his mounted escape failed.

Not that I blame him for eating a bullet, in an active Indian massacre.

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 11:04 pm GMT
@Wally The 'civilized-tribes' of the Eastern Seaboard were the best of the lot.

The Pueblos were OK.

Most of the rest are as you described.

Verymuchalive , says: February 14, 2019 at 11:06 pm GMT
@Denis

I'm hardly a communist myself, but not everything can be blamed on communism. Venezuela is not a communist state by any stretch of the imagination, and Chavez and Maduro can hardly be compared to Lenin and Stalin, that's just a bit too much .

I didn't claim that Chavez and Maduro were Communists. Only that they had had a disastrous effect on Venezuelan agriculture as Lenin and Stalin had on Soviet agriculture – though of course Bolshevism was many degrees worse. I said elsewhere that Chavez used money from oil to import ever more food from abroad, rather than stimulate indigenous food production. I said that this was a very odd form of Socialism. In fact, it's not Socialism at all.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s – if, like me, you are old enough to remember – there were a number of pseudo-Communist 3rd World States, like North Yemen, Angola and Ethiopia. Beneath the very thin veneer, they were kleptocracies run to benefit those in power.
Venezuela is a similar pseudo-Socialist kleptocracy. Before he obtained power, Chavez presented himself as a Reformer, rather than a Socialist. Afterwards, he claimed he was " Bolivarian Socialist ".
Oil is a very capital intensive industry. If you fail to invest sufficiently, then production will tail off, particularly the heavy, sulphurous product Venezuela produces. Chavez took this money and used it to bribe the masses in welfare payments. Talk about being bribed by your own money ! As much money if not more was stolen by the kleptocracy for their own benefit – over $200bn or more if Forbes is to believed.
Oil production has gone down from 3.5bbp day before Chavez to 2.4bbp day on his death. It is now down to 1 bbp day. By the end of the year, it will be be 0.5bbp day or less, regardless of what America does.
I totally agree with you. The US should stay out of this conflict. Whether it wishes to embargo Venezuelan crude imports is up to the American government. Otherwise, keep out. Regardless, the Venezuelan Government would collapse within 18 months. Venezuela will need a great deal of aid, not only to reconstruct their country, but also to invest heavily in oil production. If the Us supplies this, let them have the oil. It will be the most expensive oil in the world

Gringo , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:57 am GMT
A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce.

Under two decades of Chavismo, Venezuela became much more a monoculture economy than it used to be. Oil exports as a percentage of Venezuelan exports increased from 71.7% in 1998, the year Chávez was elected, to 97.8% by 2013. Which implies that Chávez was following, to quote your words, a "neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce."

Yet you say this about the current Chavismo opponent.

When a rather unknown young politician, the leader of a small neoliberal rabidly pro-American fraction in the Parliament, Random Dude, claimed the title of president,

You inform us the leader of the opposition is "neoliberal," which implies that Maduro and Chavismo are NOT neoliberal, in fact are far from being neoliberal. Yet you also inform us that Chavismo, in its two decades in power followed "neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce."

You are not making sense.

Fuel exports (% of merchandise exports)
1998 71.7%
2013 97.8%

https://data.worldbank.org/country/venezuela-rb?view=chart

Gringo , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
Venezuelans aren't starving, even though they are going through difficulties.

Venezuelans report big weight losses in 2017 as hunger hits (Feb 21,2018)

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelans reported losing on average 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in body weight last year and almost 90 percent now live in poverty, according to a new university study on the impact of a devastating economic crisis and food shortages.
Over 60 percent of Venezuelans surveyed said that during the previous three months they had woken up hungry because they did not have enough money to buy food. About a quarter of the population was eating two or less meals a day, the study showed.

Last year, the three universities found that Venezuelans said they had lost an average of 8 kilograms during 2016. This time, the study's dozen investigators surveyed 6,168 Venezuelans between the ages of 20 and 65 across the country of 30 million people.

Most people would term "difficulties" a euphemism for that.

Gringo , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:40 am GMT
@israel shamir As can be seen, the claims among Chavez's critics of a decrease in food production are simply false.

FAO Stats tell us otherwise. You could find no data beyond 2011? Probably because your information source, the Venezuelan Ministry of Agriculture didn't want to release embarrassing data.

Chávez was elected in 2016. FAO Stats inform us that from 1998 to 2016,
Venezuela's net per capita Crops (PIN) production has fallen 35.7%.
Venezuela's net per capita Cereals, Total production (here corn and rice) has fallen 46.9%.

Cereals production fell a further 17% in 2017. From 2014-2017, Cereals production in Venezuela fell 59%.

Cereals, total production, metric tons
2014 3,597,762
2015 2,294,532
2016 1,782,326
2017 1,475,140

"Claims among Chavez's critics of a decrease in food production are simply false ?" As they say in Venezuela, "Dime otro de vaqueros." Tell me another cowboy story. Tell me another fish tale.

FAO Stats: Production Indices
Net per capita Production Index Number (2004-2006 = 100)
Cereals,Total
Crops (PIN)

http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#country/236 Cereals production 2014-2017

[Feb 13, 2019] Making Globalism Great Again by C.J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Pretty biting satire
Notable quotes:
"... So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under. ..."
"... Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly). ..."
"... Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela. ..."
"... And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Maybe Donald Trump isn't as stupid as I thought. I'd hate to have to admit that publicly, but it does kind of seem like he has put one over on the liberal corporate media this time. Scanning the recent Trump-related news, I couldn't help but notice a significant decline in the number of references to Weimar, Germany, Adolf Hitler, and " the brink of fascism " that America has supposedly been teetering on since Hillary Clinton lost the election.

I googled around pretty well, I think, but I couldn't find a single editorial warning that Trump is about to summarily cancel the U.S. Constitution, dissolve Congress, and proclaim himself Führer . Nor did I see any mention of Auschwitz , or any other Nazi stuff which is weird, considering that the Hitler hysteria has been a standard feature of the official narrative we've been subjected to for the last two years.

So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.

I'm referring, of course, to Venezuela, which is one of a handful of uncooperative countries that are not playing ball with global capitalism and which haven't been "regime changed" yet. Trump green-lit the attempted coup purportedly being staged by the Venezuelan "opposition," but which is obviously a U.S. operation, or, rather, a global capitalist operation. As soon as he did, the corporate media immediately suspended calling him a fascist, and comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and so on, and started spewing out blatant propaganda supporting his effort to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country.

Overthrowing the governments of sovereign countries, destroying their economies, stealing their gold, and otherwise bringing them into the fold of the global capitalist "international community" is not exactly what most folks thought Trump meant by "Make America Great Again." Many Americans have never been to Venezuela, or Syria, or anywhere else the global capitalist empire has been ruthlessly restructuring since shortly after the end of the Cold War. They have not been lying awake at night worrying about Venezuelan democracy, or Syrian democracy, or Ukrainian democracy.

This is not because Americans are a heartless people, or an ignorant or a selfish people. It is because, well, it is because they are Americans (or, rather, because they believe they are Americans), and thus are more interested in the problems of Americans than in the problems of people in faraway lands that have nothing whatsoever to do with America. Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly).

Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela.

The entire global capitalist empire is working in concert to force the elected president of the country out of office. The US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina have officially recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, in spite of the fact that no one elected him. Only the empire's official evil enemies (i.e., Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and other uncooperative countries) are objecting to this "democratic" coup. The global financial system (i.e., banks) has frozen (i.e., stolen) Venezuela's assets, and is attempting to transfer them to Guaido so he can buy the Venezuelan military. The corporate media are hammering out the official narrative like a Goebbelsian piano in an effort to convince the general public that all this has something to do with democracy. You would have to be a total moron or hopelessly brainwashed not to recognize what is happening.

What is happening has nothing to do with America the "America" that Americans believe they live in and that many of them want to "make great again." What is happening is exactly what has been happening around the world since the end of the Cold War, albeit most dramatically in the Middle East. The de facto global capitalist empire is restructuring the planet with virtual impunity. It is methodically eliminating any and all impediments to the hegemony of global capitalism, and the privatization and commodification of everything.

Venezuela is one of these impediments. Overthrowing its government has nothing to do with America, or the lives of actual Americans. "America" is not to going conquer Venezuela and plant an American flag on its soil. "America" is not going to steal its oil, ship it "home," and parcel it out to "Americans" in their pickups in the parking lot of Walmart.

What what about those American oil corporations? They want that Venezuelan oil, don't they? Well, sure they do, but here's the thing there are no "American" oil corporations. Corporations, especially multi-billion dollar transnational corporations (e.g., Chevron, ExxonMobil, et al.) have no nationalities, nor any real allegiances, other than to their major shareholders. Chevron, for example, whose major shareholders are asset management and mutual fund companies like Black Rock, The Vanguard Group, SSgA Funds Management, Geode Capital Management, Wellington Management, and other transnational, multi-trillion dollar outfits. Do you really believe that being nominally headquartered in Boston or New York makes these companies "American," or that Deutsche Bank is a "German" bank, or that BP is a "British" company?

And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. Ask yourself, honestly, what have the "American" regime change ops throughout the Greater Middle East done for any actual Americans, other than get a lot of them killed? Oh, and how about those bailouts for all those transnational "American" investment banks? Or the billions "America" provides to Israel? Someone please explain how enriching the shareholders of transnational corporations like Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin by selling billions in weapons to Saudi Arabian Islamists is benefiting "the American people." How much of that Saudi money are you seeing? And, wait, I've got another one for you. Call up your friendly 401K manager, ask how your Pfizer shares are doing, then compare that to what you're paying some "American" insurance corporation to not really cover you.

For the last two-hundred years or so, we have been conditioned to think of ourselves as the citizens of a collection of sovereign nation states, as "Americans," "Germans," "Greeks," and so on. There are no more sovereign nation states. Global capitalism has done away with them. Which is why we are experiencing a "neo-nationalist" backlash. Trump, Brexit, the so-called "new populism" these are the death throes of national sovereignty, like the thrashing of a suffocating fish before you whack it and drop it in the cooler. The battle is over, but the fish doesn't know that. It didn't even realize there was a battle until it suddenly got jerked up out of the water.

In any event, here we are, at the advent of the global capitalist empire. We are not going back to the 19th Century, nor even to the early 20th Century. Neither Donald Trump nor anyone else is going to "Make America Great Again." Global capitalism will continue to remake the world into one gigantic marketplace where we work ourselves to death at bullshit jobs in order to buy things we don't need, accumulating debts we can never pay back, the interest on which will further enrich the global capitalist ruling classes, who, as you may have noticed, are preparing for the future by purchasing luxury underground bunkers and post-apocalyptic compounds in New Zealand. That, and militarizing the police, who they will need to maintain "public order" you know, like they are doing in France at the moment, by beating, blinding, and hideously maiming those Gilets Jaunes (i.e., Yellow Vest) protesters that the corporate media are doing their best to demonize and/or render invisible.

Or, who knows, Americans (and other Western consumers) might take a page from those Yellow Vests, set aside their political differences (or at least ignore their hatred of each other long enough to actually try to achieve something), and focus their anger at the politicians and corporations that actually run the empire, as opposed to, you know, illegal immigrants and imaginary legions of Nazis and Russians. In the immortal words of General Buck Turgidson, "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed," but, heck, it might be worth a try, especially since, the way things are going, we are probably going end up out there anyway.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

[Feb 13, 2019] Stephen Cohen on War with Russia and Soviet-style Censorship in the US by Russell Mokhiber

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia. ..."
"... Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate." ..."
"... "When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media." ..."
"... "And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything." ..."
"... "That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that." ..."
"... Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On stage at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. this past week was Princeton University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen, author of the new book, War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.

Cohen has largely been banished from mainstream media.

"I had been arguing for years -- very much against the American political media grain -- that a new US/Russian Cold War was unfolding -- driven primarily by politics in Washington, not Moscow," Cohen writes in War with Russia. "For this perspective, I had been largely excluded from influential print, broadcast and cable outlets where I had been previously welcomed."

On the stage at Busboys and Poets with Cohen was Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation magazine, and Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future.

During question time, Cohen was asked about the extent of the censorship in the context of other Americans who had been banished from mainstream American media, including Ralph Nader, whom the liberal Democratic establishment, including Borosage and Vanden Heuvel, stiff armed when he crashed the corporate political parties in the electoral arena in 2004 and 2008.

Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union.

"Until some period of time before Trump, on the question of what America's policy toward Putin's Kremlin should be, there was a reasonable facsimile of a debate on those venues that had these discussions," Cohen said. "Are we allowed to mention the former Charlie Rose for example? On the long interview form, Charlie would have on a person who would argue for a very hard policy toward Putin. And then somebody like myself who thought it wasn't a good idea."

"Occasionally that got on CNN too. MSNBC not so much. And you could get an op-ed piece published, with effort, in the New York Times or Washington Post ."

"Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times six or seven years ago. But then it stopped. And to me, that's the fundamental difference between this Cold War and the preceding Cold War."

"I will tell you off the record – no, I'm not going to do it," Cohen said. "Two exceedingly imminent Americans, who most op-ed pages would die to get a piece by, just to say they were on the page, submitted such articles to the New York Times , and they were rejected the same day. They didn't even debate it. They didn't even come back and say – could you tone it down? They just didn't want it."

"Now is that censorship? In Italy, where each political party has its own newspaper, you would say – okay fair enough. I will go to a newspaper that wants me. But here, we are used to these newspapers."

"Remember how it works. I was in TV for 18 years being paid by CBS. So, I know how these things work. TV doesn't generate its own news anymore. Their actual reporting has been de-budgeted. They do video versions of what is in the newspapers."

"Look at the cable talk shows. You see it in the New York Times and Washington Post in the morning, you turn on the TV at night and there is the video version. That's just the way the news business works now."

"The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate."

"If you are not, then you struggle to create your own alternative media. It's new in my lifetime. I know these imminent Americans I mentioned were shocked when they were just told no. It's a lockdown. And it is a form of censorship."

"When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media."

"Dissidents created what is known as samizdat – that's typescript that you circulate by hand. Gorbachev, before he came to power, did read some samizdat. But it's no match for newspapers published with five, six, seven million copies a day. Or the three television networks which were the only television networks Soviet citizens had access to."

"And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything."

"That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that."

Cohen appears periodically on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News. And that rankled one person in the audience at Busboys and Poets, who said he worried that Cohen's perspective on Russia can be "appropriated by the right."

"Trump can take that and run on a nationalistic platform – to hell with NATO, to hell with fighting these endless wars, to do what he did in 2016 and get the votes of people who are very concerned about the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia," the man said.

Cohen says that on a personal level, he likes Tucker Carlson "and I don't find him to be a racist or a nationalist."

"Nationalism is on the rise around the world everywhere," Cohen said. "There are different kinds of nationalism. We always called it patriotism in this country, but we have always been a nationalistic country."

"Fox has about three to four million viewers at that hour," Cohen said. "If I am not permitted to give my take on American/Russian relations on any other mass media, and by the way, possibly talk directly to Trump, who seems to like his show, and say – Trump is making a mistake, he should do this or do that instead -- I don't get many opportunities – and I can't see why I shouldn't do it."

"I get three and a half to four minutes," Cohen said. "I don't see it as consistent with my mission, if that's the right word, to say no. These articles I write for The Nation , which ended up in my book, are posted on some of the most God awful websites in the world. I had to look them up to find out how bad they really are. But what can I do about it?"

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

[Feb 13, 2019] Rep. Walter Jones, Rest in Peace The American Conservative

Feb 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Jones was a longtime friend of TAC , and he delivered the opening remarks at our 2017 foreign policy conference . Listen to what he said here:

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

He not only acknowledged early on that his initial support for the Iraq war was wrong, but spent the rest of his career fighting for a more restrained and peaceful foreign policy. Rep. Jones was one of the original Republican co-sponsors of the first House antiwar resolution to end U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen . He co-authored an op-ed with Reps. Khanna and Pocan in 2017 in support of their resolution:

We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians in order to further the Saudi monarchy's regional goals. Our House resolution is a first step in expanding democracy into an arena long insulated from public accountability. Too many lives hang in the balance to allow this American war to continue without congressional consent. When our bill comes to the floor for a vote, our colleagues should consider first the solution proposed by the director of Unicef, Anthony Lake, for stopping the unimaginable suffering of millions of Yemenis: "Stop the war."

It is unfortunate that Rep. Jones did not live to see the House pass that resolution to end U.S. support for the war, but when a new version of that resolution passes later this month it will be thanks in no small part to his leadership.

Jones became a reliable scourge of unnecessary and unauthorized foreign wars wherever they happened to be . He saw the continuation of open-ended and illegal wars as an attack on the Constitution and an abuse of the men and women who volunteered to serve their country. His opposition to these wars earned him the enmity of Republican hawks , who repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought to unseat him through primary challenges. Whatever their disagreements with him may have been over the years, his constituents recognized and appreciated his integrity and his dedication to the country.

The cause of peace and restraint has lost one of its great defenders, TAC has lost one of our good friends, and America has lot one of its most honorable and decent public servants. May his memory be eternal.


Longtime TAC Reader February 11, 2019 at 3:14 am

The loss of Walter Jones is devastating.

I hope that good and true Americans inspired by his example will pick up the colors he carried so long and faithfully, carry them forward, renewing his dogged efforts to rein in military intervention and preserve true freedom.

God bless you, Walter Jones.

God bless you.

RIP , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:52 am
This is a blow, and no denying it.

For all that, you may be certain that somewhere the vermin are jumping for joy, because when it comes to their vile wars and meddling they brook no dissent, and Jones's voice was strong and sure, grounded in truth and "the better angels of our nature".

Very sorry to have lost this good and valuable American. Hats off also to the people of his district, many of them soldiers or families of soldiers, who kept sending him back to Washington. May they find someone to replace who has the same gumption, character, and commitment to basic Americanism.

Virginia Catholic Girl , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:36 am
If there were more people like him in Washington, we wouldn't be in the state we're in. I wrote him a "fan" letter back in 2006 or thereabouts, about his regrets about the Iraq war and writing to all the families of those KIA. Also appreciated him being one of the few in Congress that actually tried to follow the Constitution and do something about our national debt. He also was all about constituent service,especially for veterans and those in Eastern North Carolina affected by the recent hurricanes. Eternal rest, grant him, Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

[Feb 13, 2019] The recent pool in which 57% of population supported Maduro reflects the Venezuelan people's polarization. The Chavistas always had circa 60% and the right-wing circa 40%

Notable quotes:
"... The book Giants: The Global Power Elite by Peter Philips provides extensive detail on how imperial capital issues its instructions to the institutions it controls. ..."
"... I am very suspicious of the 32% figure. I don't trust it. A poll conducted a few weeks ago has shown just 20% of Venezuelans knew who Guaidó was. How can it be that 32% now consider him the legitimate President? ..."
"... I can certainly picture Trump pulling out all of the stops to overthrow the Venezuelan government the closer it gets to the US elections. I could even see Trump encouraging Colombia and Brazil to invade Venezuelan, but we'll have to wait see. ..."
"... Polls have had a long history of being used to bend the public narrative, slide the Overton window and otherwise obfuscate the core issue(s)......because money pays for them ..."
"... It is so weird to see this unfolding. Nobody even seems to be asking why Guaido didn't just run for president -- he wasn't barred. ..."
"... the moment the Venezuelan right-wing realized the USA chose Guaidó, they quickly begun to "support" him. Of course, this is all a farce: they know Guaidó is merely a code word for American military intervention and regime change. This is textbook color revolution. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Feb 11, 2019 2:46:28 PM | link

This poll basically reflects the Venezuelan people's polarization. The Chavistas always had circa 60% and the right-wing circa 40%.

What this poll shows, though, is that the people knows how to play politics: those 32% who answered Guaidó is the "legitimate president" know he's not, but they say he is either way; they're sending a message to the USA: "please, bomb our country and exterminate the Chavistas, and we'll serve you as a Puppet State".

Patricia E Schild , Feb 11, 2019 3:17:11 PM | link

I can't wrap my brain around Venezuela "wanting" the USA to intervene in their sovereign affairs... When Chavez took power the rich were scattering like cockroaches....Now, they're seeking their revenge and trying to get back into power. After the results we've seen from western intervention in the Middle East, I hope very strongly that the USA fails in Veneuela. The true people of Venezuela deserve so much better. #Istandwiththepeopleofvenezuela
worldblee , Feb 11, 2019 3:20:45 PM | link
I'm surprised that even out of the right wing/bourgeois constituency of Venezuela, 32% would say the Guaido is the legitimate President. However, I guess that means the "opposition" are at least temporarily united behind Random Guy, for now. (Of course, constitutionally, even if Maduro did step down the Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, would be the next Constitutional President.)
Yeah, Right , Feb 11, 2019 4:09:34 PM | link
@9 AriusArmenian No, don't arrest him. Not yet. According to the Venezuelan constitution an "interim President" can only be in that position for 30 days, no more, no less.

Let him run around making a fool of himself for 30 days, then tap him on the shoulder and say "times up buddy, you haven't even called for an election. What was the point of all this?"

This about it this way: whatever thin veneer of "legitimacy" he has claimed for himself disappears after a month, so there is no need to rush this. After all, it isn't as if Guaido is building up any momentum. Quite the opposite, by the look of things.

Dennis18 , Feb 11, 2019 4:12:07 PM | link
Over at the Saker, two articles about Venezuela
  • The Straw that Breaks the Empire's Back? By Peter Koenig
  • Eric Zuess What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela -- A Case of News-Suppression.

I have read the first and its good ..

Lozion , Feb 11, 2019 4:16:37 PM | link
@9 Good question. I think Maduro is being smart by ignoring Random Dude's pleas. Arresting him might create a martyr for their cause and serve as a pretext for more US ingerence. The longer he talks the more he shows the workd the shallowness and ineffectiveness of the coup attempt..
Jen , Feb 11, 2019 4:18:50 PM | link
Worldblee @ 8:

Hinterlaces' poll that B cites above does not say where the polling was done or how it was done. For all we know, the "direct interviewing" - one assumes this is face-to-face polling, not polling by phoning people selected randomly from city phone-books or electoral rolls - could have been done in neighbourhoods where the interviewers felt most comfortable and these neighbourhoods may be less supportive of the government on average.

Areas where the people are most in favour of the government are likely to be areas deemed unsafe to travel on foot because there is a perception that these neighbourhoods are violent and dominated by drug and other gangs.

I got some information about Hinterlaces itself using Google Translate and this is what the agency says about itself:

Hinterlaces is the first Venezuelan Intelligence Agency, specializing in public opinion and market research services, situational analysis and strategic consulting, with emphasis on the scientific interpretation of the cultural and symbolic dimension of society.

Our mission

Hinterlaces provides intelligence for strategic decision making. Through studies of public opinion and markets, Hinterlaces is dedicated to producing knowledge, making situational and environmental analyzes, providing strategic lines to build, enrich, renew and / or surpass the social, political, business and commercial performance of our clients.
http://hinterlaces.com/quienes-somos/

This is a polling agency whose agenda might incline towards favouring the private commercial sector. So take heart that even with in-built bias, the poll Hinterlaces conducted still showed that a majority of Venezuelans support the Maduro government.

ben , Feb 11, 2019 4:37:35 PM | link
Gee, imagine if the U$A actually lived up to the rhetoric it spews daily about it caring for democracy and freedom. Then I woke up. The millions of lives ruined, and the innocents we kill daily, all for the sake of greed and avarice of a few wealthy elites, is mind numbing.

Venezuela is just the latest target in the empire's lust for global domination...

Babyl-on , Feb 11, 2019 5:01:35 PM | link
I ask you to step back for a moment and take a look at the whole world. The US is at war in one form or another with the entire world, 7 or 8 countries in the Middle East in its effort to gain control of central Eurasia just a Brzezinski dreamed, threatening Iran for its access to the Caspian Sea and more. The US has troops and is actually fighting and killing in 52 of 54 African countries. The US has built numerous new military bases all around Latin America and is threatening Venezuela. It is doing everything it can to contain China with military maneuvers in the South China Sea and trade, and of course Russia nothing needs to be said.

It is the US led western empire against the rest of the world. The Empire apparently believes it is all or nothing time.

The US led Empire is not the US, the US government is the home of the imperial institutions, it is Imperial HQ.

The actual "king" and ruler of the Western world is its core block of capital which acts as one force it is today 50 trillion dollars which is managed by 17 management funds - and guess what - they all invest in each other.

The book Giants: The Global Power Elite by Peter Philips provides extensive detail on how imperial capital issues its instructions to the institutions it controls.

Yonatan , Feb 11, 2019 5:07:30 PM | link
The Venezulean military have been running massive exercises (scheduled 11-15 February) - showing their willingness to fight for Venezuela under Maduro. Their actual combat abilities are unknown but motivation goes a long way.

Photo essay at: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4769272.html

Grieved , Feb 11, 2019 5:08:11 PM | link
@13 Jen

That was my thought too, that the percentage for Guaido was so high it must have been an attempt to get a majority, which failed. If the poll had asked whether the US should be sponsoring an unelected president, I'm sure the number would be 80% saying "no".

@9 AriusArmenian

Regarding whether Guaido should be arrested - he can't be. As the speaker of the National Assembly, he's immune from prosecution except as the Venezuelan supreme court rules. The government applied to the Court, which ruled to prohibit Guaido from leaving the country, and to freeze his assets. Beyond this, we have not yet heard any more.

Everything is being played by the Maduro government to the letter of the law - which is the great tactical weakness in the US play here, and the place to strike back.

Ger , Feb 11, 2019 5:17:36 PM | link
It is the oil ..... the 'bananas' of United Fruit Company when a neighbor country was over run by Americans. WTF, I've been brainwashed by them little Russian puppies on social media, we (US) don't interfere in other countries.
Adrian E. , Feb 11, 2019 5:32:45 PM | link
I think it is better to wait. Of course, the interpretation that the Venezuelan presidency is vacant and that in that special case, the president of the National Assembly rather than the vice president takes over is odd. It presupposes quite a number of things that defy reality (there is an elected president) and certainly should not be claimed by anyone outside Venezuela (for that view, all Venezuelan institutions except the National Assembly and in particular the Supreme Court would have to be regarded as illegitimate, not just the president).

But even if that interpretation is odd, it is still a fiction that is probably quite important for some European governments that now support an attempted (and so far failed) coup against the democratically elected president of Venezuela.

What will happen after 30 days when the „interim presidency" of Guaido is over? If he still claims to be president after the 30 days are over, he is an illegitimate usurper even according to the strange fiction many governments cling to in order to pretend they support the constitution of Venezuela when in fact they support a would-be coup leader (or rather the puppet of one). Will these governments then say that they don't care about the constitution of Venezuela, after all, and still support Guaido after he has even lost any semblance of legitimacy? Will Guaido call for new elections or even „conduct" them, which he certainly can't?

Then, I think it is also relevant that (unless I am mistaken), the next regular date for elections for the National Assembly is already 2020. Perhaps these uncooperative opposition parties should rather think about how they are going to campaign - after all, it seems likely that they will lose (more moderate opposition parties that are not involved in the current coup attempt might have better chances). The playbook for the coup attempt has probably been written in Washington, but the fear of the parties that currently dominate the National Assembly that they will lose the 2020 elections is probably a motivating factor, they want to escalate the situation beforehand in the hope that the 2020 elections either will not take place or under undemocratic circumstances after a coup or foreign invasion that are favorable to them.

The elections in Venezuela have all generally used the same system. The pro-US forces have won just once, while in most elections the Chavists won. These pro-US forces that support sanctions against their own country and even don't exclude supporting a foreign invasion of their country have won just one election, and they claim that all elections they lost or in which they voluntarily did not participate are illegitimate. Probably, they don't have much hopes of winning the 2020 elections after their despicable behavior since the last elections, so they want to come to power by force and with foreign support rather than by democratic means.

Ella , Feb 11, 2019 5:50:15 PM | link
American propaganda is working it seems. "32% said Juan Guaidó." That's terrible! Very depressing.
Curtis , Feb 11, 2019 5:56:30 PM | link
Our political parties and media have as much contempt for the democratic process and people choosing their leaders as the Rhodes/Milner group. They didn't respect the Syrian elections of 2012 or 2014 even with multiple parties participating and monitors present.
Peter AU 1 , Feb 11, 2019 6:02:34 PM | link
The evidence of Maduro's popularity in Venezuela comes through plain as day in the MSM. This newest coalition of the killing to take down the Syrian government is calling for new elections in which Maduro does not participate. There can be no other reason for this other than the coalition of the killing know that Maduro will win any free and fair election.
Same applied to Assad.
karlof1 , Feb 11, 2019 6:25:47 PM | link
32% is roughly the % that voted for opposition presidential candidates. I'd like to see a polling company ask if the Outlaw US Empire has any right to interfere with Venezuela whatsoever; and if yes, then how so.

S , Feb 11, 2019 6:41:22 PM | link

I am very suspicious of the 32% figure. I don't trust it. A poll conducted a few weeks ago has shown just 20% of Venezuelans knew who Guaidó was. How can it be that 32% now consider him the legitimate President? Perhaps the poll asked whom they supported/sympathized with/wanted as President, not who was the legitimate one?
Augustin L , Feb 11, 2019 8:02:03 PM | link
Keep in mind that 75% of Venezuela's radio and TV stations are in private hands and property of oligarchs bent on sabotaging the bolivarian revolution. Under 5% of media in Venezuela are state-owned...

So even though western proxies and compradors elites holding iron clad propaganda monopoly, they can barely muster a third of venezuelans to support their reactionary program of social regression.

We're witnessing Hugo Chavez's failure to neutralize the brutal European oligarchy that ran Venezuela as a latifundia for centuries.

One thing is certain 60% of slaves are now refusing to go back to pre-Bolivarian years. Without kinetic action, the compradors aligned with the West have no chance to pull off a successful change of regime.

Kadath , Feb 11, 2019 8:45:59 PM | link
The longer this Guaidó (i'm sorry I mean Gweedo) farce goes on the stronger the Maduro government's position becomes (although not necessary Maduro's position itself). given that the US has been working to overthrow the Venezuelan government since at least 2003 and have now crossed the Rubicon by declaring "Gweedo" president (there's no way to take that back and return to recognizing Maduro).

I imagine that the Maduro government's plan is to ride out this crisis till the next election cycle (I think in 2023/2024) and have Maduro step down in favour of his hand-picked successor, this would then give the US a face-saving option of recognizing Maduro's successor as the new President, without the humiliation of having to go back to recognizing Maduro.

The problem however is the 2020 election cycle in the US. For the last 30 years, US presidents have developed a (another) terrible tradition when going into reelection (the US also never seems to end a war once it starts one, which is why the US is now current fighting at least 7 undeclared wars, plus dozens of military operations in various countries). Trump is desperate for a "Win" going into the 2020 cycle and right now that column is pretty thread-bare in terms of achievements for the average American worker (the economy is doing well, but more and more people are concerned that the US is heading towards a recession in 2019, so that may not hold until the 2020). although Trump launching a full-scale invasion seems unlikely, I can certainly picture Trump pulling out all of the stops to overthrow the Venezuelan government the closer it gets to the US elections. I could even see Trump encouraging Colombia and Brazil to invade Venezuelan, but we'll have to wait see.

psychohistorian , Feb 11, 2019 8:50:55 PM | link
I don't trust the numbers. Does anyone have the specific questions that were asked? Who owns this "independent" polling company? I didn't read who paid for the poll? I keep think that the US is being set up to fail big time so that default on the US debt seems "reasonable" given the circumstances. That is when the deals will be made to set the next stage of ??? humanity....though it might be a bit rocky for a while...
Jen , Feb 11, 2019 10:38:34 PM | link
Psychohistorian @ 36 (and anyone else who is interested): Oscar Schemel is the director of the Hinterlaces polling agency which carried out the survey. He was elected to the National Constituent Assembly (the legitimate legislative body of the government) in 2017, representing the business sector. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Schemel (You'll need Google Translate.)

The questions asked are now available in English at Grayzone Project: https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/venezuelans-oppose-intervention-us-sanctions-poll/

psychohistorian , Feb 11, 2019 11:10:06 PM | link
@ Jen with the links....thanks

The results from the Grayzone article do not comport with what is reported here by b and so maybe is another study but seems to be the same number of participants.....but then says was done before Guaido became a thing. Still don't know specific questions for reported results nor who funded it.

Polls have had a long history of being used to bend the public narrative, slide the Overton window and otherwise obfuscate the core issue(s)......because money pays for them

S , Feb 11, 2019 11:11:02 PM | link
@Jen: Okay, so, according to The Grayzone translation of Schemel's presentation, only 17% support U.S. sanctions applied against Venezuela to remove Maduro, only 20% support international intervention to remove Maduro, only 12% support international military intervention to remove Maduro, and only 15% don't want any dialogue between government and opposition to resolve economic problems in the country.

How does that fit in with 32% supposedly recognizing Guaidó as "legitimate President"? This can't be. Something is fishy with the 32% figure.

S , Feb 12, 2019 12:02:33 AM | link
b cites a news piece by Globovisión , a private Venezuelan media company. I can't see any polls on Hinterlaces website having a 57% / 32% / 11% result. In fact, the company seems to have stopped operating: the latest news is from 5 September 2017, the latest tweet is from 3 September 2017, and the latest YouTube video is from 25 November 2017. One of the last polls published on the website, specifically, a poll from 13 August 2017 says the following ( machine translation ):
86% "DISAGREE" WITH MILITARY INTERVENTION AGAINST VENEZUELA

Monitor País reveals that 66% of Venezuelans would prefer Maduro to take effective measures and solve Venezuela's economic problems.

71% are "in disagreement" with the United States applying economic and financial sanctions against Venezuela to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power, while 24% "agree", reveals Monitor País de Hinterlaces about what Venezuelans think of an eventual international intervention and the "exit" of Maduro from the presidency.

The study carried out between July 22 and August 9, conducted through 1,580 telephone interviews, details that 67% of Venezuelans believe that the presidential elections of 2018 should be expected , while 32% demand the "exit" of the Mature.

With a level of confidence of 95% and a maximum admissible error of +/- 2.5% for the figures obtained, the research maintains that 66% of Venezuelans would prefer the Maduro government to take effective measures and solve the economic problems of the country, while 30% would prefer an opposition government to come.

Opinion on intervention

86% of Venezuelans are "in disagreement" with an international military intervention in Venezuela to get Maduro out of power, while 13% are "in agreement",

76% of Venezuelans are "in disagreement" that there is an international intervention in Venezuela to remove President Maduro from power, while 22% are "in agreement".

59% believe that the US government is promoting a foreign intervention in Venezuela to get President Maduro out of power, while 31% consider "no".

How do we know the company still exists? And if it does, how do we know Globovisión is citing it properly and not just inventing some random numbers?

lgfocus , Feb 12, 2019 12:23:46 AM | link
@ ben #38
There is one Democratic candidate that is in the race specifically to fight the Empires forever wars. Tulsi Gabbard. And she is being smeared badly by the MSM. But getting a lot of support from the non-MSM, even from many on the other side of the spectrum.
S , Feb 12, 2019 12:26:38 AM | link
Pro-coup Twitter accounts actually accuse Hinterlaces of working for "the regime" (skim through this thread ), while, in my opinion, its numbers (if true) are skewed in favor of Guaidó. Anyway, this whole discussion is pointless: anybody can claim anything, as the company seems to have stopped operating a year and a half ago.
Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 12, 2019 1:51:15 AM | link
Apart from reinforcing the case that Maduro's Presidency has the support of a simple majority of voters, this poll is virtually meaningless and irrelevant. The only way to make it relevant would be to insist that each of the Nazified, Christian Colonial countries which oppose Maduro conduct a similar poll of the voters in their own country.
i.e. Compare the popularity of the President/PM of the country with popularity of current Opposition contenders for the Leadership role.

Would Trump, Micron, Mrs May or Scum Mo score anything like 57%? No effing way, imo.

To keep everything neat and tidy it would be helpful, and conducive to much mirth and merriment, to conduct the same poll in the countries whose leaders have recognised and endorsed Maduro's legitimacy.

anonymous , Feb 12, 2019 1:52:16 AM | link
It is so weird to see this unfolding. Nobody even seems to be asking why Guaido didn't just run for president -- he wasn't barred. There was lots of criticism of Maduro in the papers, so the press had the freedom to get behind one or another candidate. There was other opposition that ran.

Why did some of the opposition boycott the elections? Who was the opposition that was barred from running by the supreme court, where they wildly popular? Why didn't they declare themselves president with popular support, rather than this newbie? Why did the opposition ask UN observers to stay away? It is so blatant that there are narratives being sold.

Ma Laoshi , Feb 12, 2019 2:29:47 AM | link
I don't see this poll as good news for the Maduro govt at all; looking at other people's comments, I don't seem to be the only one.

A short month ago, Guaido was a nobody, while Maduro was the unquestioned, even though not universally liked of course, president.

Once Uncle Sam went to work on the issue, some clown who basically just started calling himself president seems to have over 1/3 behind him, while Maduro is only slightly above 50%.

Washington probably feels it's successful in moving the needle, and will go all out trying to move it further.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 12, 2019 2:49:43 AM | link
Ma Laoshi

Take a look at the picture in this article and read the caption. The picture itself speaks a thousand words as to the numbers backing random guy. Looks to be taken in a dark garage or something with a few reasonably photogenic faces arranged around pretty boy like a vase of flowers. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/venezuela-opposition-rallies-to-tell-maduro-let-aid-in-idUSKCN1Q10DU

john , Feb 12, 2019 5:12:48 AM | link
karlof1 @ 30 says: She[AOC] seems to suddenly have become a coward whereas she was fearlessly relentless during her campaign

being groomed ? softened up?

Jen , Feb 12, 2019 5:16:18 AM | link
Psychohistorian @ 40:

B quotes Globovision's report that the Hinterlaces poll was carried out some time between 21 January and 2 February 2019. Grayzone Project refers to a poll carried out in early January 2019 before 23 January 2019 when Guaidó made his announcement. So there is a possibility that these are two separate questionnaires conducted at different times - but maybe with the same sample (too small, in my opinion, for the issue the surveys address).

Please also refer to my comment @ 13 about my misgivings about the validity of the poll. We do not know how the sample was selected, how the interviews were done (although since I posted the comment, I found some other online sources suggesting they were telephone interviews) and whether the interview design had inbuilt biases reflecting Hinterlaces' own agenda. The website offers no explanation and appears to have been neglected since 2017.

vk , Feb 12, 2019 5:40:44 AM | link
@ Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Feb 12, 2019 2:29:47 AM | 48

Well, news travel fast nowadays: the moment the Venezuelan right-wing realized the USA chose Guaidó, they quickly begun to "support" him. Of course, this is all a farce: they know Guaidó is merely a code word for American military intervention and regime change. This is textbook color revolution.

Zanon , Feb 12, 2019 6:41:57 AM | link
Over 30% for Guaido is worrying enough, it shows his popularity or rather, the antidemocratic forces within Venezuela.
Zanon , Feb 12, 2019 6:46:12 AM | link
Jen

Of course its not photoshopped. You could see the event here: https://youtu.be/566vQUH992I?t=5083

[Feb 13, 2019] US media ignore -- and applaud -- economic war on Venezuela by Gregory Shupak

Notable quotes:
"... Originally published: FAIR by Gregory Shupak (February 6, 2019) ..."
"... In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect [of] the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States. ..."
"... While internal errors also contributed to the nation's problems, Russian said it's likely that few countries in the world have ever suffered an "economic siege" like the one Venezuelans are living under. ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Originally published: FAIR by Gregory Shupak (February 6, 2019)

The U.S. media chorus supporting a U.S. overthrow of the Venezuelan government has for years pointed to the country's economic crisis as a justification for regime change, while whitewashing the ways in which the U.S. has strangled the Venezuelan economy ( FAIR.org , 3/22/18 ).

Sister Eugenia Russian, president of Fundalatin , a Venezuelan human rights NGO that was established in 1978 and has special consultative status at the UN, told the Independent ( 1/26/19 ):

In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect [of] the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States.

While internal errors also contributed to the nation's problems, Russian said it's likely that few countries in the world have ever suffered an "economic siege" like the one Venezuelans are living under.

While the New York Times and the Washington Post have lately professed profound (and definitely 100 percent sincere) concern for the welfare of Venezuelans, neither publication has ever referred to Fundalatin.

Alfred de Zayas, the first UN special rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years, told the Independent ( 1/26/19 ) that U.S., Canadian and European Union "economic warfare" has killed Venezuelans, noting that the sanctions fall most heavily on the poorest people and demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change in a "sister democracy."

Read more at

https://mronline.org/2019/02/08/u-s-media-ignore-and-applaud-economic-war-on-venezuela

Read also

"From Memory to Power" March in Chile on the Anniversary of the Military Coup

[Feb 13, 2019] Legitimacy of Maduro vs legitimacy of the USA actions

Looks like classic Trump style bulling of the nation that can't respond with something similar. Gun boat imperialism in a new form.
Feb 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Mike Perry , February 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm

It's a great article. I want to thank CN, because I feel that Steve's conclusions and his predictions are excellent.

But like anyone, I always hate to show my ignorance's, and do I have to admit that I need some help. In this case my ignorance has to do with the word sanction.

For instance ( to name just a few ):
1- In order for the U.S. to legally implement sanctions, it declared "..a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States". What, and where was this evidence provided, and was it conducted under fair hearings with both sides represented?
2 – How does a State seize the property of another State when no trial has been conducted?
3 – Isn't this punishing victims (34 million in this case) who have committed no crime?
4 – Did countries like England, France, Germany, etc., provide any proof of "emergency", in order to wholesale deny it's own citizens the right to free markets (.. let alone, Venezuelans)?
5 – Since, sanctions only have significant (wmd) impact when they are implemented by empires, does a collective body like the U.N., (that I assume) is suppose to represent every country, want to touch sanctions with a forty foot pole?
6 – What about that "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement" with Israel?

I could go on & on with many more questions.. But, I know that most here can dissect this word "sanction" much better than I. .. And, I wish you would.

This is from 2014:
http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2377482&CategoryId=10717
"President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela. The targeted sanctions in the E.O. implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which the President signed on December 18, 2014, and also go beyond the requirements of this legislation.
..
"We are committed to advancing respect for human rights, safeguarding democratic institutions, and protecting the U.S. financial system from the illicit financial flows from public corruption in Venezuela," the White House said.
..
We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government's efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents. Venezuela's problems cannot be solved by criminalizing dissent. We have consistently called on the Venezuelan government to release those it has unjustly jailed as well as to improve the climate of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. These are essential to a functioning democracy, and the Venezuelan government has an obligation to protect these fundamental freedoms. The Venezuelan government should release all political prisoners, including dozens of students, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Mayors Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma."

.. And as I understand it, declaring that "national emergency" -- was of course, the legal prerequisite to imposing today's sanctions..

Thank You.

jaycee , February 12, 2019 at 1:50 pm

The declaration of national emergencies is one facet of "executive power" as envisioned by the lawyers Dick Cheney brought into the White House. This allows for policy to be declared and implemented without Congress and without public debate. These theories of executive power have never actually been challenged on Constitutional/ legal grounds, and in fact the W Bush administration several times backed away from an executive power directed policy rather than have it challenged in court. The Democrats, once assuming executive power themselves under Obama, dropped their Constitutional objections to embrace the convenience a wide-ranging executive power concept provided.

bevin , February 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

"How does it get more inappropriate, more threatening than American officials contacting members of Venezuela's armed forces and luring them to revolt?

"Americans, is this the kind of work you elect your government to perform?"
It most certainly is. It is precisely the way that President Zelaya was removed, overnight, in Honduras, after the State Department , under Hillary Clinton, had given permission.

Garrett Connelly , February 12, 2019 at 11:17 am

Only three brave congressional representatives voted against the united democratic and republican party war lust directed at Venezuela.

Antonio Costa , February 12, 2019 at 10:46 am

The UN has recognized the Maduro government as the official administration. This was determined by the UN's general assembly.

There is nothing in the Venezuelan constitution that would allow Guaidó (a small time instigator and relatively small opposition party member) to swear himself in as president. This was also confirmed by the Venezuelan high court. Furthermore, after the May election of 2018, the opposition parties signed off on the election results (which were monitored by hundreds on internation observers and declared fair election), Maduro was sworn in, end of story.

Therefore any negotiation and/or aid must go through the Maduro administration, not Guaidó. This is a covert thug regime change by the US.

torture this , February 12, 2019 at 10:14 am

"The stigma would undoubtedly scuttle their chances of maintaining longstanding majority support and in doing so would undermine their authority and ability to govern."

Support of the people doesn't matter in the U.S. because all the avenues to power are largely blocked for anyone except those endorsed by the elites, themselves. So, I doubt that the oligarchs will have any problems in disappearing and murdering anybody who speaks up for ordinary people in Venezuela. What the U.S. does to its own dissenters is anything but democracy.

Sally Snyder , February 12, 2019 at 8:16 am

As shown in this article, American intervention to protect its economic interests in South America is not unprecedented:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/01/john-bolton-venezuela-and-how.html

Unfortunately, Washington is incapable of seeing the unintended consequences of its global agenda.

michael , February 12, 2019 at 7:13 am

While I am sure that the regime change in Venezuela is a long time in coming (with Trump or not), as evidenced by most of the EU (UK, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark) 'instant' recognition of Guaido, I am curious as to the lack of American politicians at least giving lip service against the coup (has anyone outside of Tulsi Gabbard spoken up?)
In addition to the albatross of John Bolton around his neck, the neocons have also saddled Trump with Elliott Abrams? There are no decent diplomats/ bureaucrats willing to work (and risk their careers) with Trump?

[Feb 12, 2019] We have elections that are far more like Soviet elections than the average 'conservative' voter can allow himself to imagine. The great difference Soviet elections and ours today is who what entity owns the system, meaning which cultural values rule, dictate.

Feb 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: February 12, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT

The USSR had elections of various types. They meant nothing because the Party owned everybody.

We have elections that are far more like Soviet elections than the average 'conservative' voter can allow himself to imagine. The great difference Soviet elections and ours today is who – what entity – owns the system, meaning which cultural values rule, dictate.

Ours is the Anglo-Zionist Empire. This is the end game of the Judaizing heresies that destroyed Christendom. This nightmare is where WASP culture leads and always lead.

[Feb 12, 2019] Regime Change Made in the USA by Steve Ellner

Looks like events have complex dynamics and Washington did not fully understand possible blowback from its actions to unseat Maduro.
As usual Trump administration actions are not consistent with the rule of law and elementary knowledge of international relations. It's pure imperial bulling and as such it might well backfire. In addition to the albatross of John Bolton around his neck, the neocons put Elliott Abrams? looks like there are no decent diplomats/ bureaucrats willing to work (and risk their careers) with Trump...
Notable quotes:
"... Furthermore, Venezuelans will perceive any sign of economic recovery under a Guaidó government as made possible by aid, if not handouts, from Washington, designed to discredit Maduro's socialist government, though such assistance will undoubtedly be used to further U.S. economic and political interests. In fact, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has indicated that he is already calling on oil companies to opt for investments in Venezuela once Maduro is overthrown. ..."
"... The U.S. effort to encourage the military to step in was again made evident on Wednesday in a tweet by John Bolton . ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The Trump administration's blatant and undisguised interventionism may in fact backfire and help Maduro counter his sagging poll numbers, which last October the polling firm Datanálisis reported was 23 percent. Maduro recently lashed out on Twitter at the close nexus between Washington and the opposition, saying "Aren't you embarrassed at yourselves, ashamed at the way every day by Twitter Mike Pence, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo tell you what you should do." ..."
"... Anti-imperialism is, of course, a major cornerstone of the Chavista movement, born from resentment of U.S. interventionism and heavy-handedness that had for decades controlled many of Venezuela's resources and dictated its economic policies. The maneuvers of the Trump administration and its allies only double down on this narrative, and are counterproductive at best when it comes to solving the crisis. Their actions also risk fanning the flames of anti-Americanism throughout the continent ..."
"... Meanwhile, President Donald Trump appointed neocon Elliott Abrams as special envoy to Venezuela. As a longtime U.S. diplomat, Abrams has in many ways personified the application of the Monroe Doctrine with his blatant disregard for human rights violations and the principle of non-intervention in Guatemala , Nicaragua, and El Salvador in the 1980s and his alleged involvement in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chávez. ..."
"... While condemning anti-democratic actions and fraudulent elections in Venezuela, these sanctions ignore the rule of law. The Maduro government was never given the opportunity to defend itself and legal procedures were not followed ..."
"... Yet regardless of short-term results of U.S. support for Guaidó, the final outcome will be negative. There are a number of reasons why: first, it bolsters the position of the most radical elements of the opposition led by the VP party, thus contributing to the fragmentation of the anti-Chavista movement. Second, it attaches a "made in U.S.A." label to those positioned to govern should Maduro fall. ..."
"... the appeal to the military to save Venezuela has terrifying implications for a continent with a long history of military rule. And finally, the seizure of Venezuelan assets, which have then been turned over to a political ally, violates sacred norms of property rights, and in the process erodes confidence in the system of private property ..."
"... NACLA: Report on the Americas ..."
"... Latin American Perspectives ..."
"... The intention behind the pressure directed at Venezuela is quite clear: the current government is being told to resign and hand power over to a selected member of the opposition. To advance this strategy, various degrees of, frankly, organized crime style threats of punishment or positive inducement are daily publicized, iterated by US public officials. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Trump's backing of Juan Guaidó's shadow government could weaken the opposition's longstanding support among the majority of Venezuelans, writes Steve Ellner.

Since its outset, the Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Venezuela and radicalized its positions. In the process, the Venezuelan opposition has become more and more associated with -- and dependent on -- Washington and its allies. An example is the opposition protests that occurred last week. The actions were timed to coincide with the European Union's " ultimatum ," which stated they would recognize the shadow government of Juan Guaidó if President Nicolás Maduro had not called elections within a week's time.

The opposition's most radical sectors, which include Guaidó's Voluntad Popular party (VP) along with former presidential candidate María Corina Machado, have always had close ties with the United States. Guaidó, as well as VP head Leopoldo López and the VP's Carlos Vecchio, who is the shadow government's chargé d'affaires in Washington, were educated in prestigious U.S. universities -- not uncommon among Latin American economic and political elites. The ties between the opposition and international actors are strong: last weekend, Vecchio called the campaign to unseat Maduro "an international effort ." At the same time, Guaidó, referring to opposition-called protests, stated "today, February 2, we are going to meet again in the streets to show our gratitude to the support that the European Parliament has given us." In doing so, Guaidó explicitly connected the authority of outside countries to his own assumption of leadership.

The outcome of Washington's actions is bound to be unfavorable in a number of ways, regardless of whether or not they achieve regime change. Most importantly, a government headed by Guaidó will be perceived both by Venezuelans and international observers as "made in U.S.A." Further, the opposition's association with foreign powers has enabled the Maduro leadership to keep discontented members of the Chavista movement in their ranks.

Furthermore, Venezuelans will perceive any sign of economic recovery under a Guaidó government as made possible by aid, if not handouts, from Washington, designed to discredit Maduro's socialist government, though such assistance will undoubtedly be used to further U.S. economic and political interests. In fact, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has indicated that he is already calling on oil companies to opt for investments in Venezuela once Maduro is overthrown. As he told Fox News , "we're in conversation with major American companies now It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela."

Washington Dictating Strategy

Either explicitly or implicitly, Washington is dictating strategy, or at least providing input into its formulation. One of the challenges the opposition faces is the need to demonstrate to rank-and-file Venezuelans that the current offensive against Maduro will be different from the disastrous attempts of 2014 and 2017, when anti-government leaders assured protesters that the president would be toppled in a matter of days. The opposition leadership claims that this time is different for two reasons. First, the regional Right turn has deepened, and the opposition is more able than ever to rely on decisive support from Washington and other governments, regardless of how democratic they are -- see the neofascist credentials of Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro .

Second, the opposition is counting on the backing of military officers, particularly lower-ranking ones who have allegedly lost patience with Maduro. In addition to some defections, junior officers attempted to stage a military coup just two days before mass opposition protests on Jan. 23 when Guaidó declared himself president. Previously, the Venezuelan opposition expressed a degree of contempt for military officers for their unwillingness to defy the Chavista government. The opposition's new perspective dates back to Trump's three meetings with military rebels and his statement , made alongside President Iván Duque of Colombia in September of last year, that the Maduro government "could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that." The U.S. effort to encourage the military to step in was again made evident on Wednesday in a tweet by John Bolton .

Recently, Guaidó made a similar offer to military officers, implying continuity and closeness between Washington and the shadow government.

Also noteworthy is that Guaidó and other VP leaders are closer to Washington than the rest of the opposition. The Wall Street Journal reported that Guaidó consulted Vice President Mike Pence the night before his self-proclamation as president on Jan. 23. According to ex-presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski the majority of the opposition parties were not aware of Guaidó's intentions and in fact did not support the idea.

Calling on Military

To make matters worse, the VP-led opposition is openly working hand-in-glove with Washington. Last week Guaidó announced that he would attempt to transport humanitarian aid the United States has deposited on the Colombian and Brazilian borders into Venezuela. He called on the Venezuelan military to disobey orders from the Maduro government by facilitating the passage of goods, while Maduro ordered it blocked. While playing political benefactor, Washington was clearly manipulating the optics of the situation to discredit Maduro and rally more international support for Guaído. In an apparent rebuke to Washington and Guaidó, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric on Wednesday insisted that the humanitarian aid be " depoliticized. "

Opposition leaders and the Trump government are also working together to isolate Venezuela economically throughout the world. Julio Borges, a leading member of the opposition, has campaigned to convince international financial institutions to shun Venezuelan transactions and has urged Great Britain to refuse to repatriate Venezuelan gold stored in London. President Maduro has responded by calling on the attorney general to open judicial proceedings against Borges on grounds of treason. Along similar lines, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are currently attempting to convince international business interests to deny the Venezuelan government access to national assets in their possession.

The Trump administration's blatant and undisguised interventionism may in fact backfire and help Maduro counter his sagging poll numbers, which last October the polling firm Datanálisis reported was 23 percent. Maduro recently lashed out on Twitter at the close nexus between Washington and the opposition, saying "Aren't you embarrassed at yourselves, ashamed at the way every day by Twitter Mike Pence, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo tell you what you should do."

Cornerstone of Chavista Movement

Anti-imperialism is, of course, a major cornerstone of the Chavista movement, born from resentment of U.S. interventionism and heavy-handedness that had for decades controlled many of Venezuela's resources and dictated its economic policies. The maneuvers of the Trump administration and its allies only double down on this narrative, and are counterproductive at best when it comes to solving the crisis. Their actions also risk fanning the flames of anti-Americanism throughout the continent. It wouldn't be the first time: In 1958, then-Vice President Richard Nixon was attacked by a riotous crowd in Caracas, and a decade later Nelson Rockefeller's fact-finding tour arranged by then-President Nixon faced off with angry disruptive protests. Both incidents were responses to Washington's self-serving support for regimes that came to power through undemocratic means, in some cases with U.S. involvement.

In its strategy towards Venezuela, Washington is invoking not only its Cold War policy but the Monroe Doctrine and its view of Latin America as the U.S.' "backyard," -- a claim that is especially anathema throughout the region. Indeed, Pence told Fox News , in answering a question about why Trump is withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan while intervening in Venezuela: "President Trump has always had a very different view of our hemisphere. He's long understood that the United States has a special responsibility to support and nurture democracy and freedom in this hemisphere and that's a longstanding tradition."

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump appointed neocon Elliott Abrams as special envoy to Venezuela. As a longtime U.S. diplomat, Abrams has in many ways personified the application of the Monroe Doctrine with his blatant disregard for human rights violations and the principle of non-intervention in Guatemala , Nicaragua, and El Salvador in the 1980s and his alleged involvement in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chávez.

Finally, Trump's decision regarding CITGO, a U.S.-based company owned by Venezuela's state oil company, speaks to a dangerous precedent. Last week he declared that jurisdiction over CITGO would be turned over to the shadow government, and appealed to other countries to follow similar steps. While condemning anti-democratic actions and fraudulent elections in Venezuela, these sanctions ignore the rule of law. The Maduro government was never given the opportunity to defend itself and legal procedures were not followed.

It is always a dubious exercise to guess at Trump's intentions. His actions in Venezuela could be designed to divert attention from the multiple probes into his own unethical behavior, or they may be a way to draw attention away from the utter fiasco of U.S. interventions in the Middle East, from Libya to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Trump may also view his Venezuela policy as a quick fix to Make America Great Again. Along similar lines, Trump evidently sees the downfall of the Maduro government as the ultimate proof that socialism doesn't work. He indicated as much in his State of the Union address when he used the topic of Venezuela as a springboard for declaring: "We are born free, and we will stay free America will never be a socialist country."

Yet regardless of short-term results of U.S. support for Guaidó, the final outcome will be negative. There are a number of reasons why: first, it bolsters the position of the most radical elements of the opposition led by the VP party, thus contributing to the fragmentation of the anti-Chavista movement. Second, it attaches a "made in U.S.A." label to those positioned to govern should Maduro fall.

The stigma would undoubtedly scuttle their chances of maintaining longstanding majority support and in doing so would undermine their authority and ability to govern. Third, the appeal to the military to save Venezuela has terrifying implications for a continent with a long history of military rule. And finally, the seizure of Venezuelan assets, which have then been turned over to a political ally, violates sacred norms of property rights, and in the process erodes confidence in the system of private property. These four considerations are an indication of the multiple adverse impacts that the Trump administration's rash approach to the Maduro government will have on the United States, Venezuela, and the rest of the region.

Steve Ellner is a retired professor from Venezuela's University of the East, a long-time contributor to NACLA: Report on the Americas , and currently associate managing editor of Latin American Perspectives . Among his over a dozen books on Latin America is his edited "The Pink Tide Experiences: Breakthroughs and Shortcomings in Twenty-First Century Latin America" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).

jaycee , February 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm
The intention behind the pressure directed at Venezuela is quite clear: the current government is being told to resign and hand power over to a selected member of the opposition. To advance this strategy, various degrees of, frankly, organized crime style threats of punishment or positive inducement are daily publicized, iterated by US public officials.

The government-in-waiting is supposedly preparing new elections, at least that's wha they say – but Guaido's representative in Washington told reporters last week that such elections might happen by the end of the year, maybe not, but a new government's priorities would be changing the structural underpinnings of the country's economy.

So the new government will be installed and will swiftly dismantle all of the popular programs instituted by the Chavistas over the past twenty years. That is, a political platform which has lost elections consistently for these past twenty years will be engaged without popular mandate, and before any new elections will be permitted. That's a coup, not a restoration of democracy.

[Feb 12, 2019] Food Shortages and Smuggling in Venezuela - Borgen Project

Notable quotes:
"... Earlier this month, Maduro stated that smuggling seizure efforts in Colombia have recovered close to $400 million U.S. dollars worth of goods. Due to these smuggling incidents, the Venezuelan government intends to introduce a biometric tracking system that will limit citizens' food purchases via a fingerprint scanning. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | borgenproject.org

Venezuela's government continues to battle a food hoarding and smuggling epidemic . It accuses food smugglers of causing national food shortages in the country. The government states that food smugglers hoard goods to resell for profit and smuggle such items into Venezuela's neighboring countries.

Due to currency controls and a lack of U.S. dollars, Venezuela has found it to be increasingly difficult to import foreign food products from other countries. One of the most popular countries for food smuggling is Colombia , which borders Venezuela. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos have both acknowledged the problem.

Earlier this month, Maduro stated that smuggling seizure efforts in Colombia have recovered close to $400 million U.S. dollars worth of goods. Due to these smuggling incidents, the Venezuelan government intends to introduce a biometric tracking system that will limit citizens' food purchases via a fingerprint scanning.

A military spokesperson for the government told El Universal newspaper that the quantity of goods smuggled to Colombia "would be enough to load the shelves of our supermarkets."

This July, the government seized more than 11 tons worth of fish, chicken and beef.

Last month, Venezuela began to close its border to Colombia at night and deploy thousands of troops in an effort to stop the smuggling in Venezuela from taking place. However, opposition to the plan suggests that the policy will treat Venezuelan citizens as criminals and even breach individual privacy. Many have suggested that the policy leans toward food rationing.

[Feb 12, 2019] The Booming Smuggling Trade Between Venezuela and Colombia

Looks like the border situation between Venezuela and Columbia is complex and control of border flows is weak...
Mar 31, 2016 | Time

Smuggling is a way of life in the Colombian border town of Cúcuta -- and for decades, that's meant drugs. But in recent years it's ordinary goods like gasoline or oranges or diapers that make their way from Venezuela to Colombia. The side of the road into Cúcuta is dotted with illegal gasoline vendors, while the shelves of the local stores are stocked with products labeled "Produced for the Venezuelan market." That's because the combination of the extremely low valuation of the Venezuelan Boliviar -- it takes 800 boliviars to buy a U.S dollar compared to just 200 one year ago -- and the strong price controls that the Venezuelan government has applied to many basic goods has made it extremely profitable to buy just about anything cheaply in Venezuela, and smuggle it into neighboring Colombia, where no such price controls exist and the local currency, the peso, is significantly stronger.

Venezuela is hurting -- for the second year in a row, Bloomberg has ranked the Venezuelan economy "the most miserable economy" and the IMF predicts that the country's inflation rate will hit 720 percent this year, up from 141.5 percent near the end of last year. For comparison, the U.S. has maintained an inflation rate between one and five percent over the last decade. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly blamed both the smuggling and the migration of people into Venezuela to take advantage of the highly subsidized health and education for his country's economic woes.

... ... ...

Though Maduro announced a crackdown on smuggling last year and closed the major border crossings, the financial incentive to keep goods flowing is high. McDermott estimates that the smuggling trade is back up to previous levels. And Colombian smugglers like Gabriela and Camila -- two sisters in their 30s, each divorced, who work to support their mother and multiple children -- are part of the reasons why.

Early each morning Gabriela and Camila hitch a ride along a road that runs north from Cúcuta and traces the river that makes up the border between Colombia and Venezuela. They head past the small city of San Faustino and across the river into Venezuela. Once there, they meet a local who has purchased about 60 kilos of beef at the Mercal, the state subsidized supermarket, for the equivalent of just $54. By the end of the day that same quantity of meat will be on a market shelf in Cucuta, where it will sell for over $200.

On one recent morning, the sisters hitched a ride back to Cúcuta from Venezuela. Along the way they had to pass back through San Faustino, where a police check point was established to crack down on just this kind of smuggling. Their car was stopped, and as police officers began to inspect the plastic bags of meat in the trunk, Camila slipped a 10,000-peso bill–worth just over three dollars–to the police officer. After initially expressing concern over the goods, he decides everything is fine and allows the car to continue on.

... ... ...

The neighborhood of Escobal in Cúcuta was once a busy and free-flowing crossing point between Venezuela and Colombia. Now, under orders from Maduro, the bridge has been blockaded to prevent any vehicles from passing, while police and customs agents check the papers of those who cross by foot. Even here, a location actively monitored by law enforcement, the smuggling is obvious. Those crossing east into the Venezuelan town of Ureña are usually empty handed or just carrying a backpack. Those on the return path lug huge bags, often working in pairs just to carry the weight. Inside is everything from baby diapers to cooking oil to cigarettes -- all illegal imports, all much cheaper in Venezuela than in Colombia.

These commuters are mostly Colombian citizens who lived in Venezuela for years before Maduro announced a crackdown on both smuggling and migration following the murder of three Venezuelan soldiers who were looking for smugglers late last year. The government expelled over a thousand Colombians, while another 20,000 fled back over the border out of fear. Maduro accused many of the banished Colombians of being part of paramilitary groups and involved in the long-running Colombian civil conflict between the government and various paramilitary forces. However, many of these same people had originally fled into Venezuela to escape violence in Colombia, and were now being forced to return.

... ... ...

After months of negotiations, the two governments agreed to allow some Colombians to return to Venezuela for schooling or health care. But the border remains officially closed at night. In a land with rule-of-law that is vague at best, however, simply closing bridges at night isn't anywhere near enough come to stop the flow of contraband across the border, though it has pushed much of the activity to more rural areas.

... ... ...

Less than a quarter-mile downstream from the official crossing point in Escobal, young smugglers gather on the under the shade of tropical trees on the riverbank waiting for work. Using their rugged motorcycles, they spend the day and night ferrying people across the border who don't have the proper papers to cross the nearby bridge, or they pick up contraband brought back over the river by hikers or people on bicycles and deliver it to the market towards the center of Cúcuta.

They might appear harmless and disorganized -- but they're not. A ruthless paramilitary group controls this territory, like each of the areas along the border. Within Cúcuta there are about a dozen such groups, and they have a well-earned reputation for violence. Paramilitary-related murders are common in this part of Colombia. For many years Cúcuta was a stronghold of an armed criminal group called the Rastrojos, but they have weakened in recent years and since 2011 the Urabeños, one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Colombia, has taken control of the contraband hub, according to InSight Crime, a foundation that studies organized crime in the Americas.

Less than a thousand feet away from the riverbank is a police station. The motorcycles travel right past with their freshly smuggled contraband. Those police officers, like the majority of the police officers charged with cracking down on smuggling in Cúcuta, are paid off, explained "El Jefe," a smuggler who has been in the business for decades and who served three years in prison after getting caught smuggling cocaine several years ago. He got out of the drug business, but still runs a profitable commodity depot where smugglers drop off and repackage goods coming from Venezuela. In Cúcuta there is an unspoken rule: as long as the officials remain paid off, business continues as usual. "The few times that local police make big busts, it is often a punishment for a certain group of smugglers failing to pay off the proper authorities," said El Jefe.

... ... ...

The majority of contraband moves over the border at night and arrives at the Cúcuta market called Cenabustos in the early hours of the morning. At 1am wood-paneled trucks start pulling into large parking lots outside sprawling warehouses. They are filled with rice, citrus, onions, potatoes, plantains and any other kind of produce or commodity subsidized by the Venezuelan government. The citrus gives away the smuggling operation. Citrus isn't produced in Cúcuta or any of the surrounding areas, which means it must have come from Venezuela

[Feb 12, 2019] Venezuela Showdown Juan Guaido Sets Date for Food Caravans

Gene Sharp recipes in action: the talking point in the article below were taken directly from EuroMaydan: opposition rallies are huge; pro-government rally are tiny and activists were delivered by buses.
This gambit with aid delivery is pretty inventive and might play in favor of opposition: they try present the government as cruel and indifferent to sufferings of common people. Meanwhile smuggling food out of Venezuela continues unabated. "Thousands of Venezuelans living near the border discovered years ago that smuggling heavily subsidized food into Colombia made them far more money than the meager wages from regular jobs." Reuters
Feb 12, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Read a QuickTake: Why Venezuela Has Two Presidents, One Thorny Standoff

Guaido, who says he's the rightful leader of Venezuela after Maduro's election was widely disputed, has made a political tool of the food stalled in the Colombian border town of Cucuta. Traditional aid groups have shunned the effort as a ploy, and it's been unclear whether the trailers of rice, flour and other staples would actually be able enter the country. Maduro's security forces are using shipping containers and a tractor-trailer to close off an international bridge.

'In Caravans'

Guaido's supporters had spoken of using clandestine means, even bringing it in by sea. He said Tuesday that 250,000 people have signed up on a website to volunteer for his initiative. "We'll have to go in caravans, as a protest," he said.

People cross a bridge from Cucuta, Colombia to Urena, Venezuela on Feb. 12. Photographer: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

While Venezuela faces deep shortages of necessities like antibiotics, first-aid supplies and baby formula, Maduro has portrayed the shipments as a pretext for an invasion, sent to humiliate him and undermine his presidency.

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said at a news conference Tuesday that the food sent by the U.S. is a "biological weapon."

"That humanitarian aid is contaminated and poisoned," she claimed. "It's carcinogenic. This has been proven by different scientific studies."

'So Desperate'

The U.S. Agency for International Development has said the first phase of a $20 million assistance program will include food and hygiene kits, nutritional supplements and emergency medical kits. Lester Toledo, Guaido's international coordinator for humanitarian aid, said Brazil had authorized a collection center in the border state of Roraima. Supplies will also come through a Caribbean island.

People eat at a soup kitchen for Venezuelan migrants in the town of La Parada, Cucuta, Colombia, on Feb. 11. Photographer: Ivan Valencia/Bloomberg

At the blocked Tienditas Bridge in Cucucta, small groups of opposition protesters gathered Tuesday, singing the national anthem and praying the Lord's Prayer.

"Our relatives and our compatriots die for the lack of antibiotics or something as simple as a dehydration caused by diarrhea," said Rafael Polos, a 48-year-old former airport manager who fled to Colombia and now sells candies in the street. "The change in Venezuela is close. We are so desperate. In fact we wanted to enter the bridge and take all that humanitarian aid to Venezuela, but we have to do things the right way."

Tuesday's protests were the third protest in the past two weeks against Maduro, the largest wave of overt resistance since 2017. The regime has largely allowed citizens to march, however, police have raided neighborhoods at night in search of opposition supporters. At least 35 people have died and more than 850 have been detained, according to human-rights groups including Provea and Penal Forum.

relates to Venezuela Showdown Nears as Guaido Sets a Date for Food Caravans
Supporters of Juan Guaido during a rally in Caracas on Feb. 12 Photographer: Fabiola Ferrero/Bloomberg

In eastern Caracas, Guaido's supporters filled the streets. People streamed down Francisco de Miranda Avenue, draping flags over their shoulders and holding signs. Shops and restaurants remained open, but some of the main avenues in downtown Caracas were closed near a plaza where government supporters took in a video address from Maduro. A large truck blasted reggaeton with government propaganda.

The opposition march filled several blocks with thousands of people, and it seemed more like a celebration than a protest. Rap singers took selfies with demonstrators, who walked with small children or dogs. There were no hooded protesters or the confrontational mood seen in 2017.

"We're moving forward. We have international support, and soon we'll open a path for elections," said Nathalie Torres, 37, a shopkeeper. She was marching from the working-class neighborhood of La Candelaria alongside three other women, all wearing white shirts and tricolor hats. At least one U.S. flag waved amid the Venezuelan colors.

VENEZUELA protest
Supporters of Nicolas Maduro participate in a pro-government demonstration in Caracas on Feb. 12. Photographer: Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo

Many fewer people came to the rally point for the regime's march: Hundreds filled only a couple of blocks, despite the government buses that lined the streets to transport them. Many who marched were state employees and wore shirts and hats representing ministries and public institutions.

"The United States refuses to understand that we are free," said Pedro Villegas, 25, a student leader in Maduro's socialist PSUV party. "Guaido is a lackey; he has been imposed by a foreign agenda to steal power."

[Feb 12, 2019] Unsustainable cross-border direcrepances in prices of staples

So two years ago there was already large scale smuggling...
Jun 08, 2016 | www.reuters.com

Thousands of Venezuelans living near the border discovered years ago that smuggling heavily subsidized food into Colombia made them far more money than the meager wages from regular jobs.

But with crisis-hit Venezuela suffering drastic food shortages this year and local resale prices spiraling, some have decided to flip the business model: zipping into Colombia to buy flour, rice and even diapers for desperate shoppers back in Venezuela.

... ... ...

Rice, for instance, can be bought in Colombia for the equivalent of about 1,300 bolivars and sold in Venezuela for around 1,800 bolivars.

Venezuela's government fixes a kilo of rice at some 120 bolivars, but on the local black market the coveted product now fetches approximately 2,000 bolivars - just $2 at the unofficial foreign exchange rate but around one-fifth of a monthly minimum wage, factoring in monthly food tickets.

[Feb 12, 2019] Busted! Over 90 Tons of Food, Hoarded, Smuggled, Kept out of Venezuela s Retail Markets This Week by Les Blough

Notable quotes:
"... These illegal operations for destabilization have a two-fold purpose: (1) To disrupt the lives of the people, create unrest and blame the government for inefficiency and inability to provide food and other essentials for the people. (2) To occupy government time and resources, diverting it from the regular daily work on infrastructure, social and security services that are normally expected from all governments. ..."
Aug 14, 2015 | www.democraticunderground.com

Anyone who has been paying attention to the economic war against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will be familiar with the hoarding, dumping and smuggling of food as part of destabilization efforts by opposition food processing plants, points of sale and foreign entities.

Here in my home state of Aragua, we have been experiencing certain missing products in our retail markets for a week or two, only to reappear in a later week to create long lines of people waiting to buy from the new delivery. That problem has to do with the privately-run distribution system over which the government still hasn't gained control. When a big shipment of the missing item(s) does arrive at a later date, it is typically off-loaded at a single store in this city of 300,000 people, creating the long lines of buyers who may wait for hours to make their purchase. The store itself often opens only one cashier for the desired product to make the sale of the product even slower. When the missing product does appear, another suddenly disappears. During the past two weeks our local supermarkets suddenly had zero rice or pasta, products that were there in abundance during weeks past. The illegal smuggling and hoarding operations are being busted on a weekly basis if not daily. But imagine the cost and difficulty for the government to search out all the hidden sites in a country of 30 million people across 23 states. However, the fact that the smuggling mafia are resorting to new innovative methods to hoard their stolen products (see second report with photos below) shows that the pressure is on.

These illegal operations for destabilization have a two-fold purpose: (1) To disrupt the lives of the people, create unrest and blame the government for inefficiency and inability to provide food and other essentials for the people. (2) To occupy government time and resources, diverting it from the regular daily work on infrastructure, social and security services that are normally expected from all governments.

We could report on Axis of Logic these discoveries of food held in secret warehouses and kept off the retail markets on a regular basis but the two that follow will serve as examples for the doubters.

On August 13, Noticias 24 reported the confiscation of 14,144 tons of processed whole chicken in the State of Falcon. The government's Superintendency for the Defense of Socio-Economic Rights (Sundde) coordinated the operation with the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) and authorities in Falcon State to locate and confiscate the birds. The final destination of the shipment a warehouse located in Puerto Cumarebo on the northwest tip of Venezuela's Caribbean coast. The massive illegal cargo was detected through Sundde's contact network.

More:
http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_71293.shtml

[Feb 12, 2019] Venezuelan opposition and the Church of Scientology

Ukrainian coup d'état leader Yatsneyuk sister is a prominent member of the church of Scientology
Feb 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Bowles , Feb 12, 2019 10:14:38 AM | link

Internationalist 360° Editorial Comment:

The fact that the opposition can conspire and operate openly is proof that the government has not suppressed them in any way. While it is dangerous that they continue to collaborate to overthrow the government, they are emboldened by the freedoms granted and upheld by the same Constitution they seek to obliterate. Their continued freedom is evidence that Venezuela is not only a democracy, but a tolerant, peaceful society.

https://libya360.wordpress.com/author/internationalist360/

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 12, 2019 10:23:30 AM | link

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 12, 2019 9:47:29 AM | 60

In case the link between Scientology and Venezuela which I'm proposing isn't obvious, and obviously reliant on pitiful levels of Public Gullibility, it is adequately illustrated by the fact that the goals of the Venezuela Scam are just as nebulously unspecified as the goals of Scientology itself.

In the doco mentioned above there's a segment exposing an entire lavishly funded Dept withing Scientology which is tasked with recruiting celebrities.

The segment outlines the way the decision to recruit Tom Cruse was planned and executed. It involved flattering Cruse into accepting 'help' from cult members in every aspect of his life.

Fiendishly clever, but unflattering to Tom's intelligence, imo.

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 12, 2019 9:47:29 AM | link
Posted by: anonymous | Feb 12, 2019 1:52:16 AM | 47
(Lots of questions NOT being asked about Guiado)

You've nailed it.

The whole charade is about tightly controlling the narrative, and there are many ugly precedents for this modus operandi. There was a reminder of one particularly well-known and infamous example on TV this evening in the form of one of a series of docos about Scientology called Scientology And The Aftermath.

Basically, the crux of the Scientology scam is a set of Utopian Principles which prospective members are required to swear to uphold at any cost and to pledge undying devotion and obedience to the Church. These pledges are then used to blackmail members into 'proving' their loyalty to The Dream by undertaking unconscionable and unethical tasks in pursuit of the Church's nebulously unspecified goals.

There's plenty of damning info about Scientology in general, and this series in particular, on the www including a Rolling Stone article called 5 Things We Learned From Leah Remini's Scientology TV Show.

[Feb 12, 2019] Does no one remember Boris Nemtsov? When this phase of the Empire's regime change operation loses steam and Guido's moment in the spotlight is fading, the CIA will murder him to provide the corporate mass media with evidence of how brutal the Venezuelan government is.

Feb 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Feb 12, 2019 7:12:05 AM | link

Does no one remember Boris Nemtsov?

This Random Guido is going to die.

When this phase of the Empire's regime change operation loses steam and Guido's moment in the spotlight is fading, the CIA will murder him to provide the corporate mass media with evidence of how brutal the Venezuelan government is. They will personally blame Maduro for Random Guido's death. When Random Guido's trajectory of fame begins to turn from polarizing figure to laughingstock, the CIA will terminate him to extract a bit of extra value and hide the fact that the coup failed to win popular support.

Count on it.

[Feb 12, 2019] It's quite possible the outcome will be far worse than the Bay of Pigs for the forces of reaction within the region

Feb 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Feb 12, 2019 12:49:04 PM | link

Screenshots of today's pro-Guaido demo show a rather tiny crowd exceedingly smaller than earlier boasts. The opposition refuses to talk while the government continues to govern and attempt to alleviate its citizen's complaints. The theft of National Wealth that's owned by all Venezuelans by the Outlaw US Empire was a disastrous move. Every day that goes by Maduro grows stronger while the usurper weakens further.

It's quite possible the outcome will be far worse than the Bay of Pigs for the forces of reaction within the region.

[Feb 12, 2019] The problem with the Florida senator is his absolute blind obedience towards the Zionist state, his engagement against the BDS movement and his loyalty to Israel's stalwarts in the US. He is not the only US politician in Congress who is in the pocket of the Zionist lobby. At least the American Middle Eastern policy is run by the Zionist Israel Lobby in the US.

Feb 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ludwig Watzal , says: Website February 12, 2019 at 11:16 am GMT

With friends like Marco Rubio, the United States doesn't need enemies. I still remember very well, when then-candidate Donald Trump ridiculed Rubio as "little Marco" during the 2016 debates. He was perfectly right. Like Phil Giraldi demonstrated Rubio's "intellectual" capability, It seems he has a birdbrain. Joke aside, Rubio's political busyness Israel is concerned raises the question who owns his true loyalty. Instead of working for his constituency, he is on the road primarily for Israel. As it seems he loves Israel more than his birthplace the United States, and he despises Cuba that political system is more social-oriented that the American one.

The problem with the Florida senator is his absolute blind obedience towards the Zionist state, his engagement against the BDS movement and his loyalty to Israel's stalwarts in the US. He is not the only US politician in Congress who is in the pocket of the Zionist lobby. At least the American Middle Eastern policy is run by the Zionist Israel Lobby in the US. But from all walks of life, their influence is also not to be underestimated.

The so-called unbreakable bond between the US and Israel is mere rhetoric, but most members of Congress believe in this nonsense just out of mere political survival. Israel is not an ally but a massive liability to US national interest in the region. The Zionist political class uses the American political system to its advantage and pays nothing in return. The opposite is true. The State of Israel is massively spying on the US and cause the American people a lot of damage.

There are not only the assassinations of JFK and RFK, but also the killing of JFK, Jr. who's private plane crashed into the sea right of the coast of Martha's Vineyard. It was the same cover-up as in the case of his father and his uncle. There are persistent rumors in the wind that the Israeli Mossad was behind it, such as Laurent Guyénot laid out in his two excellent articles on UNZ Review. Among large parts of the truther movement, some segments make a strong argument that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks, although with the collaboration of sections of the Bush/Cheney administration.

To refer to Israel as a friend or ally such as Rubio does is just a joke. Israel is nothing more than an albatross like an ally. The whole American-Israeli relationship must be put to the test. There is no room for romance because such romanticism is for the sole detriment of the United States and the American People.

Highly recommended articles by Laurent Guyénot:

http://www.unz.com/article/the-broken-presidential-destiny-of-jfk-jr/
https://www.unz.com/article/did-israel-kill-the-kennedies/

lavoisier , says: Website February 12, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT

How such a lightweight came to be a Senator of the United States of America eludes me.

I know this question is meant to be a bit rhetorical but let me try and answer it.

This senator, and the vast majority of his ilk in the Congress, are venal lying whores in thrall to a foreign party and to money interests. He is not unique in this regard but only one of many lying whores in power.

And the American people–by and large–are so dumbed down by a dumbed down culture and a dumbed down media that they cannot recognize these treacherous weasels for the traitors that they are.

The Republic is in free fall.

NoseytheDuke , says: February 12, 2019 at 12:40 pm GMT
@RobinG What a shame that there aren't enough George Galloways to go around.
EliteCommInc. , says: February 12, 2019 at 12:56 pm GMT
I think we have gone over the edge.

The Senator is using contentions meant to protect us citizens from unfair business practices by state and enterprise to launch protections against free speech for a foreign entity.

That is painfully funny. I hope it is only a feeling, a sensation, but our political leadership seems to have abandoned their collective minds. But this is convenient for the Sen. because nullifying the constitution is one way of nullifying borders.

DESERT FOX , says: February 12, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT
Zionists control our money via the unconstitutional FED and that gives the Zionist banking cabal total control over the U.S. government and we the goyim/proles!

Nathan Rothschild infamously said, I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England for the man who controls the money supply controls the British Empire and I am that man!

It is the same here in America and every country in the world that has a Zionist central bank and that is almost all of them!

Rubio is just another puppet of the Zionist banking kabal and is just like the rest of congress and in fact congress would be better named as the lower house of the Knesset.

Charles Pewitt , says: February 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm GMT
Marco Rubio Is A Complete And Total Politician Whore For Jew Billionaires Norman Braman and Paul Singer and Shelly Adelson.

Marco Rubio does the bidding of Jew Billionaires by putting the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the United States.

Jew Billionaires Norman Braman and Paul Singer and Shelly Adelson all push nation-wrecking mass legal immigration and amnesty for illegal alien invaders.

Marco Rubio pushes nation-wrecking mass legal immigration and amnesty for illegal alien invaders.

Jew Billionaires Shelly Adelson and Paul Singer and Norman Braman have bought the mass legal immigration policies and the amnesty for illegal alien invaders immigration policy of the Republican Party ruling class and Marco Rubio and Shyster Boy Trump.

Marco Rubio and New York City Shyster Boy Trump have been bought and paid for like common whores by Jew Billionaires Shelly Adelson and Paul Singer and Norman Braman.

Tweet from 2015:

[Feb 12, 2019] Being Marco Rubio: The boyish senator from Florida is owned by the Israel Lobby by Philip Giraldi

Israel is powerful only to extent its goals are well correlated with the goal of the US MIC. So like neocons Israel serves as a collective lobbyist of MIC. If this would not be the case, all power of AIPAC and similar organizations would disappear, and the organization itself would be put under FARA where it belongs.
The same is true for Zionists billionaires. The minute they turn against MIC would the minute some dirty dealing and connections with organized crime would be exposed and some pedophile scandals put on the front pages of MSM.
Notable quotes:
"... There wouldn't be calls for BDS movement if the US wasn't providing 3.8 billion per to a country whose domestic policy is apartheid and foreign policy goal is an attack on Iran. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Thomm , says: February 12, 2019 at 5:16 am GMT

All these anti-Semitic articles fail a basic logical test :

i) If gentiles are so smart, why are Zionists, whom gentiles outnumber 40:1 across the combined Western World, able to control everything? The entire premise of White Nationalism fails.
ii) If Israel is able to manipulate the US government this totally, why can't someone like China, with deeper pockets, do the same? Conversely, why can't Israel manipulate Russia or the EU?
iii) Virtually everything that White Nationalists say about Zionists is what blacks say about whites. Given the small number of Zionists and no prior history of enslavement, the WN claim is even weaker.

There is a reason that the conspiracy theories regarding Zionists don't get any purchase outside of a small fringe.

Thanks,
-Ira Rabinowitz

Nehlen , says: February 12, 2019 at 6:10 am GMT
@Thomm i) It's not so surprising given the wholesale lies pedaled by the predominantly Zionists media and entertainment sectors of Western civilization, compounded by the outright censorship of opposing views by those same groups with the assistance of the ADL, SPLC, et al. Add to that the altruistic nature and generally independent spirit of Whites as opposed to the *dare I say tribal* nature of Zionists.

ii) China's recent ascent to global dominance was not built on usury and manipulation of foreign nation states through a diaspora of what has been described as "nations within nations." I'd say Zionists in Russia (ever hear of the Holodomor?) manipulated that part of the world for over a century quite completely, and in Eastern Europe for slightly less time, to the tune of 100 million dead White Christians.

iii) Interesting you bring up Blacks but leave out the part about Zionists manipulating Whites with "Birth of a Nation" being the first movie many arriving White immigrants viewed. Shock status: imagined. Clearly, that's but one of a laundry list of things any reasonably educated White person could hold up as an example of manipulation of public opinion.

Calling truisms tropes doesn't absolve ... crimes committed against humanity.

Every single day Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Han Chinese, are criticized and critiqued for all sorts of reasons and all manner of circumstances. Only one category of people is immune from criticism: Zionists. It's a double standard, and it must end.

silviosilver , says: February 12, 2019 at 6:15 am GMT
@Thomm

> If gentiles are so smart, why are Zionists, whom gentiles outnumber 40:1 across the combined Western World, able to control everything? The entire premise of White Nationalism fails.

WN's largely agree that Zionists are more intelligent, so they are not surprised that Zionists have been able to achieve outsized influence (to "control everything," in the language of this lame troll).

ii) If Israel is able to manipulate the US government this totally, why can't someone like China, with deeper pockets, do the same? Conversely, why can't Israel manipulate Russia or the EU?

If the Chinese attempted the same thing, Americans would be permitted to notice . Noticing Zionists political activity is "anti-semitic", so many Americans don't notice it (or pretend not to).

There are far fewer Zionists in the EU and Russia, but they enjoy outsized influence in those lands too – just not to the same extent as in the U.S.

iii) Virtually everything that White Nationalists say about Zionists is what blacks say about whites. Given the small number of Zionists and no prior history of enslavement, the WN claim is even weaker.

Incorrect. WN's admit that Zionists are more intelligent than white gentiles; blacks who accuse whites of racism seldom admit that whites are more intelligent than blacks. Ultimately, WN's want separation from Zionists. Blacks who accuse whites of racism virtually never desire separation from whites. I'm not even a WN, but it really shouldn't be controversial to admit these obvious facts.

Why does Phil have such a hard time banning moronic trolls like this clown? (Who everybody suspects is just a sad little hindoo, but it's possible is a deranged little zionut.)

Mark James , says: February 12, 2019 at 9:16 am GMT
There wouldn't be calls for BDS movement if the US wasn't providing 3.8 billion per to a country whose domestic policy is apartheid and foreign policy goal is an attack on Iran.

I was disappointed to see that one of my two senators voted for the bill. And I would have to say the biggest surprise was Sen. Gillibrand who probably wanted to say 'aye' but didn't.

The next step is likely to be that any public disagreement with the state of Israel is akin to antisemitism. Which I'm certain that the Republicans will be happy to throw at the Dem. congress.

[Feb 12, 2019] Walter Jones, Congressman Behind Freedom Fries Who Turned Anti-War Firebrand, Dies At 76

Notable quotes:
"... However, he was one of the few politicians initially supporting the Iraq invasion to later express profound public regret over his decision , and went on to become a consistent advocate for ending regime change wars and Washington's military adventurism abroad. As part of these efforts, he was an original Board Member of the Ron Paul Institute. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. died at the age of 76 on Sunday after an extended illness for which was a granted a leave of absence from Congress last year.

The Republican representative for North Carolina's 3rd congressional district since 1995 had initially been a strong supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and even became well-known for getting french fries renamed as "freedom fries" in the House cafeteria as a protest against French condemnation of the US invasion.

... ... ...

However, he was one of the few politicians initially supporting the Iraq invasion to later express profound public regret over his decision , and went on to become a consistent advocate for ending regime change wars and Washington's military adventurism abroad. As part of these efforts, he was an original Board Member of the Ron Paul Institute.

Remembering Jones as a tireless advocate of peace, Ron Paul notes that he " turned from pro-war to an antiwar firebrand after he discovered how Administrations lie us into war . His passing yesterday is deeply mourned by all who value peace and honesty over war and deception." The Ron Paul Institute has also called him "a Hero of Peace" for both his voting record and efforts at shutting down the "endless wars".

And Antiwar.com also describes Jones as having been among the "most consistently antiwar members of Congress" and a huge supporter of their work:

By 2005, Jones had reversed his position on the Iraq War. Jones called on President George W. Bush to apologize for misinforming Congress to win authorization for the war. Jones said, "If I had known then what I know today, I wouldn't have voted for that resolution."

Jones went on to become one of the most antiwar members of Congress, fighting for ending US involvement in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Also the BBC describes Rep. Jones' "dramatic change of heart" concerning the Iraq war starting in 2005, after which he began reaching out to thousands of people who had lost loves ones in combat.

Rep. Walter Jones led an effort in the House to call French Fries "Freedom Fries" instead, but came to profoundly regret his role in supporting Bush's war.

Noting that "no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq" and that the war was justified by the Bush administration based entirely on lies and false intelligence, the BBC describes:

At the same time, Mr Jones met grieving families whose loved ones were killed in the war. This caused him to have a dramatic change of heart, and in 2005 he called for the troops to be brought home.

He spoke candidly on several occasions about how deeply he regretted supporting the war, which led to the deaths of more than 140,000 Iraqi and American people.

"I have signed over 12,000 letters to families and extended families who've lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars," he told NPR in 2017. "That was, for me, asking God to forgive me for my mistake."

In total he represented his district for 34 years, first in the North Carolina state legislature, then in Congress. He took a leave of absence last year after a number of missed House votes due to declining health.

[Feb 12, 2019] A Coup Is A Coup - Why Venezuela's Guaido Doesn't Have A Constitutional Leg To Stand On

Guado reminds me Alexei Navalny -- the leader of unsuccessful "While color revolution" of 2011-2012 in Russia.
Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Roger Harris via Counterpunch.org,

Donald Trump imagines Juan Guaidó is the rightful president of Venezuela. Mr. Guaidó, a man of impeccable illegitimacy, was exposed by Cohen and Blumenthal as "a product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington's elite regime change trainers."

Argentinian sociologist Marco Teruggi described Guaidó in the same article as "a character that has been created for this circumstance" of regime change.

Here, his constitutional credentials to be interim president of Venezuela are deconstructed. Educated at George Washington University in DC, Guaidó was virtually unknown in his native Venezuela before being thrust on to the world stage in a rapidly unfolding series of events. In a poll conducted a little more than a week before Guaidó appointed himself president of the country, 81% of Venezuelans had never even heard of the 35-year-old.

To make a short story shorter, US Vice President Pence phoned Guaidó on the evening of January 22rd and presumably asked him how'd he like to be made president of Venezuela. The next day, Guaidó announced that he considered himself president of Venezuela, followed within minutes by US President Trump confirming the self-appointment.

A few weeks before on January 5, Guaidó had been installed as president of Venezuela's National Assembly, their unicameral legislature. He had been elected to the assembly from a coastal district with 26% of the vote. It was his party's turn for the presidency of the body, and he was hand-picked for the position. Guaidó, even within his own party, was not in the top leadership.

Guaidó's party, Popular Will, is a far-right marginal group whose most enthusiastic boosters are John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, and Mike Pompeo. Popular Will had adopted a strategy of regime change by extra-parliamentary means rather than engage in the democratic electoral process and had not participated in recent Venezuelan elections.

Although anointed by Trump and company, Guaidó's Popular Will Party is not representative of the "Venezuelan opposition," which is a fractious bunch whose hatred of Maduro is only matched by their abhorrence of each other. Leading opposition candidate Henri Falcón, who ran against Maduro in 2018 on a neoliberal austerity platform, had been vehemently opposed by Popular Will who demanded that he join their US-backed boycott of the election.

The Venezuelan news outlet, Ultimas Noticias , reported that prominent opposition politician Henrique Capriles, who had run against Maduro in 2013, "affirmed during an interview that the majority of opposition parties did not agree with the self-swearing in of Juan Guaidó as interim president of the country." Claudio Fermin , president of the party Solutions for Venezuela, wrote "we believe in the vote, in dialogue, we believe in coming to an understanding, we believe Venezuelans need to part ways with the extremist sectors that only offer hatred, revenge, lynching." Key opposition governor of the State of Táchira, Laidy Gómez, has rejected Guaidó's support of intervention by the US, warning that it "would generate death of Venezuelans."

The Guaidó/Trump cabal does not reflect the democratic consensus in Venezuela, where polls consistently show super majorities oppose outside intervention . Popular opinion in Venezuela supports negotiations between the government and the opposition as proposed by Mexico, Uruguay, and the Vatican. The Maduro administration has embraced the negotiations as a peaceful solution to the crisis facing Venezuela.

The US government rejects a negotiated solution , in the words of Vice President Pence: "This is no time for dialogue; this is time for action." This intransigent position is faithfully echoed by Guaidó. So while most Venezuelans want peace, the self-appointed president, backed by the full force of US military power, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that it was possible to "end the Maduro regime with a minimum of bloodshed."

The Guaidó/Trump cabal's fig leaf for legitimacy is based on the bogus argument that Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution gives the National Assembly the power to declare a national president's "abandonment" of the office. In which case, the president of the National Assembly can serve as an interim national president, until presidential elections are held. The inconvenient truth is that Maduro has shown no inclination to abandon his post, and the constitution says no such thing.

In fact, the grounds for replacing a president are very clearly laid out in the first paragraph of Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution and do not include fraudulent or illegitimate election, which is what the cabal has been claiming . In the convoluted logic of the US government and its epigones, if the people elect someone the cabal doesn't like, the election is by definition fraudulent and the democratically elected winner is ipso facto a dictator.

The function of adjudicating the validity of an election, as in any country, is to be dealt with through court challenges, not by turning to Donald Trump for his approval.

And certainly not by anointing an individual from a party that could have run in the 2018 election but decided to boycott.

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), which is the separate supreme court branch of the Venezuelan government has certified Maduro's reelection, as have independent international observers. Further, no appeal was filed by any of the boycotting parties, while all participating parties – including opposition ones – signed off on the validity of the election after the polls closed.

The far-right opposition has boycotted the high court as well as the electoral process. They contest the legitimacy of the TSJ because some members of the TSJ were appointed by a lame duck National Assembly favorable to Maduro, after a new National Assembly with a majority in opposition had been elected in December 2015 but not yet seated.

Even if President Maduro were somehow deemed to have experienced what is termed a falta absoluta (i.e., some sort of void in the presidency due to death, insanity, absence, etc.), the National Assembly president is only authorized to take over if the falta absoluta occurs before the lawful president "takes possession." However, Maduro was already "in possession" before the January 10, 2019 presidential inauguration and even before the May 10, 2018 presidential election. Maduro had won the presidency in the 2013 election and ran and won reelection last May.

If the falta absoluta is deemed to have occurred during the first four years of the presidential term, the vice president takes over. Then the constitution decrees that a snap election for the presidency must be held within 30 days. This is what happened when President Hugo Chávez died while in office in 2013. Then Vice President Nicolás Maduro succeeded to the presidency, called for new elections, and was elected by the people of Venezuela.

If it is deemed that the falta absoluta occurred during the last two years of the six-year presidential term, the vice president serves until the end of the term, according to the Venezuelan constitution. And if the time of the alleged falta absoluta is unclear – when Maduro presided over "illegitimate" elections in 2018, as is claimed by the far-right opposition – it is up to the TSJ to decide, not the head of the National Assembly or even such an august authority as US Senator Marco Rubio . Or the craven US press (too numerous to cite), which without bothering to read the plain language of the Bolivarian Constitution, repeatedly refers to Guaidó as the "constitutionally authorized" or "legitimate" president.

As Alfred de Zayas , United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, tweeted: "Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution is inapplicable and cannot be twisted into legitimizing Guaidó's self-proclamation as interim President. A coup is a coup ."


dogismycopilot , 1 minute ago link

The insanity of the US Deep State and Trump are on full display.

It is **** like this that will make the world question how credit worthy a country with $22 trillion in debt and run by mental patients really is.

edit: I hate communists but Venezuela is not our fuckin' problem. Build the wall. Seal the hatches. It's lifeboat economics now.

Aussiestirrer , 2 minutes ago link

And a puppet is a puppet.....

napper , 9 minutes ago link

Guaido should be arrested as soon as possible, and prosecuted for treason, sedition, and conspiracy.

Learn from Erdogan of Turkey -- he's set a good example in dealing with traitors, agitators and conspirators.

Offer a good deal to Russia and China to set up military bases and bring in advanced weaponry and staff. Do not wait. Don't end up like Libya.

Hurricane Baby , 21 minutes ago link

If Bolton and Pompeo are against 'em, I'm for 'em. And vice versa.

Possible Impact , 30 minutes ago link

Practical Horse advice:

Hello, I'm Mr. Fed

A coup is a coup, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a coup of course
That is, of course, unless the coup is from the famous Mr. Fed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. Fed.

source( altered ): https://lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/mredlyrics.html

Mr. Ed Theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GAbc5uQXJo

MozartIII , 44 minutes ago link

Maybe because there was no election for anyone to vote for him. He is just a western puppet??? Weird right. Never seen this **** before...

Justin Case , 35 minutes ago link

A self professed country calling itself a Capitalista and democracy erects a Gov't for the people of Venezuela. What a shill murica has become. They did it for Ukraine as well. When the capitalistas lost the prize, the Russian military port, they abandoned the whole country an left it to the neo-nazis they erected. The neo nazi regime went after Russians living in Ukraine and were killing them, while muricans sat by silently. The Russians stepped in and took in the refugees to safety and also sent caravans of aid for those that choose to stay, mostly the elderly.

Capitalists and democracy. POS dictators masking as a democracy while their own country becomes a **** hole.

[Feb 11, 2019] Venezuelan Colonel Urges Soldiers To Help US Aid Enter, Says 90% Of Army Against Maduro

Feb 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The latest senior military officer to defect from the Nicolas Maduro government claims that 90% of the armed forces are "unhappy" with Maduro and stand ready to defect, according to The Times .

Colonel Rubén Paz Jimenez posted a short video to social media over the weekend declaring his support for US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó. "Ninety per cent of us in the armed forces are really unhappy," he said in the video message. "We are being used to keep them in power." He further urged soldiers to resist orders to block humanitarian aid shipped by the United States and to instead facilitate its entry into the country.

According to The Times Col. Paz is a military doctor and appears to be taking advantage of Guaido's offer of amnesty to army officers who switch loyalties to him as interim president :

A stockpile of US aid -- medicines, medical equipment and nutritional supplements -- is in the Colombian border city of Cucuta. Colonel Paz, a doctor, urged soldiers to help the aid get into Venezuela . Mr Guaidó has offered amnesty to those in the army who abandon Mr Maduro, 56, peacefully.

He's been further described as deputy of the Directorate of the Military Hospital in Maracaibo and the timing of his defection is interesting given the contested issue of US humanitarian aid.

Trump administration officials like John Bolton have also of late actively encouraged Venezuelan military defections, something that so far has been limited to a tiny handful of officers, at least one of them an Air Force commander -- while also attempting to force the issue of American aid delivery.

Colonel Ruben Paz Jimenez, deputy of the Directorate of the Military Hospital in Maracaibo, announced his support for Guaido and urged others to follow: Bolton recently invoked the "authorization" of Interim President Juan Guaido to ship humanitarian aid into the country including "medicine, surgical supplies, and nutritional supplements for the people of Venezuela" according to his statement. He urged Maduro "to get out of the way".

The Times report noted the Venezuelan pharmaceutical association has put the situation of medicine access to the population at extreme crisis levels :

The Venezuelan pharmaceutical association has said that 80 per cent of medicines are in short supply . Most Venezuelans report involuntary weight loss over the past two years, and three million people -- almost a tenth of the population -- have left since 2014. The economy has collapsed and inflation is estimated at 2.7 million per cent .

Meanwhile the socialist government in Caracas insists it isn't experiencing a humanitarian crisis; instead Maduro has slammed US aid to the country as a "political show".

The United States urged the UN to act by presenting a draft resolution before the security council demanding that Venezuelan forces unblock the aid at the border, reportedly coming via Brazil and US ally Colombia, in order for the people to access it. Russia is expected to block the resolution.

Interestingly, prior to this latest defection of military doctor Col. Paz, another high ranking officer had cited the exact same "90 percent" figure describing armed forces who are actually against Maduro. The highest ranking armed forces member to defect thus far, Air Force General Francisco Yanez, who was part of the air force's high command, in his own video message early this month claimed a wave of defections is coming.

The obvious question remains: is this a mere opposition propaganda talking point employed in the hopes of gaining momentum? Given the scant number of high level officers willing to abandon Maduro over the past two weeks as international pressure grows, it appears merely an empty scripted claim.

Last month National Assembly leader and now US-recognized "Interim President" Guaido first began appealing to the military to switch sides following a local and short-lived attempt of 27 officers to lead a revolt on Jan. 21, quickly put down by security forces after they stormed an armory and police checkpoint.

To encourage more such defections, which so far hasn't appeared to penetrate the top layers of military leadership, Guaido has offered amnesty protection to any officer previously accused of corruption or human rights abuses should they defect.

But so far there's been a tiny - we might even say insignificant - trickle as the country's most powerful institution continues to stand by Maduro's side against "foreign aggression" and the regime change rhetoric issuing from the White House.


[Feb 11, 2019] How Washington Funded the Counterrevolution in Venezuela The Nation by Tim Gill and Rebecca Hanson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Maduro might not possess widespread legitimacy, but his government retains control of much of the state apparatus and remains far more entrenched than many opposition members and their supporters would like to believe. ..."
"... Nearly every day over the past two weeks, both National Security Adviser John Bolton and Republican Senator Marco Rubio have used their Twitter accounts to call on the military to align with Guaidó, "defend democracy," and oust Maduro. ..."
"... Guaidó's announcement assuming the role of interim president generated a wave of support from some capitals as well as the Organization of American States. Now the crisis is in a stalemate. Indeed, as Francisco Toro notes , the United States, in granting diplomatic recognition to Guaidó's "government," has created a precarious situation by confusing a normative judgment about who should run the country with the objective fact of who does run the country -- that is, who actually has control over national territory and the state apparatus. ..."
"... If this gamble, this all-or-nothing approach, does not go as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, NSA adviser Bolton, and others hope it will, what will happen in a few weeks, if Maduro remains president? Will Washington continue with economic sanctions and fall into a pattern similar to its decades-long standoff with Cuba? Will it take to exploding cigars and other absurd and criminal plots of subversion? ..."
"... The United States now has little room to play a constructive role in interim efforts, such as the negotiations proposed by Mexico and Uruguay to bring the two sides to the table ..."
"... In fact, Guaidó is from one of the most hard-line political parties among the opposition. ..."
"... More than anything else, Guaidó appears to be a product of the right-wing, middle-class student movement that developed in opposition to the Chávez government in the mid-to-late 2000s. This movement, which took to the streets of Caracas to demand the ouster of Chávez, received much of its funding and training from Washington ..."
"... Over the course of several years, Washington worked with middle-class, opposition-aligned students through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI). Indeed, OTI often works in war-torn countries that are, as the office's name indicates, experiencing a "political transition," such as Burma, Iraq, and Libya. When Gill asked a former high-ranking USAID member why OTI worked in Venezuela, he stated that OTI are "the special forces of the democracy assistance community." Another USAID functionary told Gill that OTI allowed the United States to provide funds to opposition members in Venezuela faster than if they used traditional channels. ..."
"... What were the ultimate objectives of USAID/OTI in Venezuela during the years they worked with the student movement? US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield specifically laid them out in a secret embassy cable secured by Chelsea Manning and released by WikiLeaks: "1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez' Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally." ..."
"... Thereafter, USAID/OTI largely shifted its efforts toward the burgeoning student movement that developed in the mid-2000s -- the movement in which Guaidó "cut his political teeth," according to a report in The Guardian . A former USAID/OTI member who helped devise US efforts in Venezuela said the "objective was that you had thousands of youth, high school, and college kids that were horrified of this Indian-looking guy in power. They were idealistic. We wanted to help them to build a civic organization, so that they could mobilize and organize. This is different than protesting." In other words, USAID/OTI sought to take advantage of racialized fear of Chávez to organize middle-class youth around a long-term strategy to defeat him. ..."
"... most successful time was during 2007, when the student movement developed. The US had a very daring movement and brought a lot of money to the students through OTI, and it grew a lot as a result ..."
"... Although they could not confirm the specific US origins of this assistance, this sort of aid has been used for CIA operations in the past. ..."
"... While it is unclear what Guaidó's role was in these groups at the time, it is clear that US "democracy promotion" financed his cohort's formation and its demonstrations for over a decade . ..."
"... This is not to suggest that Guaidó, Goicoechea, or any other opposition member is merely a puppet of the United States. But it is clear that Guaidó and others in his circle share a worldview and certain goals with the US government. Many of them linked up with US agencies, which provided them with the resources needed to amplify their voices and reach a much larger audience. ..."
"... A recently released document outlining some of Guaidó's proposals -- accepting much-needed humanitarian aid, eliminating currency controls, and courting private investment -- did little to clarify his vision for the future. Still hanging in the air is how Guaidó intends to accomplish these goals. The lack of specificity is at least partly due to the heterogeneity of the opposition coalition, which is composed of former Communist Party members as well as proponents of neoliberalism. But Guaidó's already cozy relationship with the United States certainly raises concerns that his plans remain vague because they involve massive privatization, the rollback of state services, and other policies that would make Venezuela more "inviting" for foreign investors at the expense of many Venezuelans ..."
"... Finally, though most Venezuelans may not be aware of the ties between Guaidó's party and the United States, his uncritical acceptance of US support has filled some with uncertainty about his motives. ..."
"... At the international level, the stars have surely aligned for Guaidó and the opposition, with right-wing allies like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Donald Trump in the United States now in power. ..."
"... The only real hope for a peaceful outcome lies in dialogue. Given that many citizens do not trust either Maduro or Guaidó, the two sides would need to make serious gestures toward working together to resolve both the economic and political crisis. This would require that Guaidó walk back his refusal to participate in negotiations. ..."
"... Decoupling humanitarian aid from political interests could also demonstrate that Guaidó isn't just focused on gaining power. The Red Cross has already cautioned the United States about the dangers of sending aid to Venezuela if it is not "shielded" from politics and does not have the approval of Venezuelan authorities. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.thenation.com

in February 4, more than a dozen European countries recognized the president of Venezuela's National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as the country's legitimate president. This decision came almost two weeks after the United States, Canada, and most countries in Latin America backed Guaidó's claim to the presidential office. Despite continued Chinese and Russian support for Nicolás Maduro's government, the international community is quickly isolating it, as never before. A strange coalition of left- and right-wing political parties has formed to assist Guaidó, and knee-jerk support from both pundits and politicians who profess concern about the country's humanitarian crisis has generated an allegiance to this little-known politician and his call for Maduro's resignation. Many of Guaidó's supporters have cited Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution as grounds for his assumption of the presidency, arguing that the unfair nature of the 2018 presidential election has rendered the Maduro government illegitimate. There is no question that Venezuelans are suffering and want to see a change in governance. Maduro is wildly unpopular, even among the working class, and many have grown tired of the economic crisis that has exploded under his watch. This doesn't mean, though, that citizens necessarily support the opposition or, worse, US military intervention.

Many continue to identify as chavista , and even those who have shed this identification continue to acknowledge that the Bolivarian Revolution once improved their livelihoods. Those improvements, though, have largely evaporated under Maduro.

Since some of the most powerful countries in the world have now decided to back Guaidó, there is good reason to ask who he is, what sort of future he represents for Venezuela, and whether domestic support for Guaidó's call for Maduro's resignation equals support for him as leader of the country.

Dangerous Brinkmanship

Maduro might not possess widespread legitimacy, but his government retains control of much of the state apparatus and remains far more entrenched than many opposition members and their supporters would like to believe. In many ways, chavismo remains dominant and has reshaped Venezuelan society. Whether they like it or not, the opposition will not be able to entirely overturn the legacy of the Bolivarian Revolution or erase the fondness that many citizens still have for the late Hugo Chávez and the policies he implemented as president. Some members of the opposition seem to realize this.

There should not be any doubt, though, about what the United States, alongside other countries within and beyond the Western Hemisphere, are pushing for in Venezuela: a military overthrow of the Maduro government. The situation is messy, and there are multiple interpretations concerning the origins of the political-economic crisis in Venezuela, as well as how to solve the political crisis and reboot the Venezuelan economy. But Washington and its allies seem intent on some basic interventionist strategies. Nearly every day over the past two weeks, both National Security Adviser John Bolton and Republican Senator Marco Rubio have used their Twitter accounts to call on the military to align with Guaidó, "defend democracy," and oust Maduro.

For now, the United States has seemed to settle for imposing harsh sanctions on Venezuela that portend economic catastrophe. These sanctions target the lifeblood of the economy: the state oil company (PDVSA) and its sales to the United States. The aim, of course, is to weaken Maduro's position by taking away the government's most important source of revenue. But this could very easily backfire. Venezuelan citizens might blame the United States for worsening the economic crisis, though it won't automatically translate into support for Maduro. And it certainly won't help build support for international mediation or fondness for the United States on the part of most Venezuelans.

If these sanctions do break the government, it is likely some portion of the population will feel that whatever comes next is the product of coercion. If the opposition centered around Guaidó then wins a presidential election, that government may face questions regarding its own legitimacy. Even for many who do not support Maduro, anti-imperialist sentiments run deep; elections that take place as a result of US strong-arming will be tainted by these dynamics.

Guaidó's announcement assuming the role of interim president generated a wave of support from some capitals as well as the Organization of American States. Now the crisis is in a stalemate. Indeed, as Francisco Toro notes , the United States, in granting diplomatic recognition to Guaidó's "government," has created a precarious situation by confusing a normative judgment about who should run the country with the objective fact of who does run the country -- that is, who actually has control over national territory and the state apparatus.

If this gamble, this all-or-nothing approach, does not go as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, NSA adviser Bolton, and others hope it will, what will happen in a few weeks, if Maduro remains president? Will Washington continue with economic sanctions and fall into a pattern similar to its decades-long standoff with Cuba? Will it take to exploding cigars and other absurd and criminal plots of subversion?

The United States now has little room to play a constructive role in interim efforts, such as the negotiations proposed by Mexico and Uruguay to bring the two sides to the table. In fact, Washington's intransigence only bolsters opposition intransigence. Indeed, since January 23, we have seen escalation upon escalation, potentially setting the stage for violent conflict, even civil war.

Washington's Campaign: 'Dividing Chavismo' and 'Protecting Vital US Business'

Following the opposition's victory in 2015 parliamentary elections, opposition-party leaders agreed to a rotating cast of leadership within the National Assembly. In 2019, Guaidó, representing the Voluntad Popular party, assumed the position of National Assembly president. Very few know much about the 35-year-old Guaidó. Indeed, a common remark about him from Venezuelans is that he has "come out of nowhere" ( viene de la nada ).

In fact, Guaidó is from one of the most hard-line political parties among the opposition. While some parties have sought to displace chavismo through an electoral route, Leopoldo López, one of the founders of Voluntad Popular, led protests in 2014 -- many of which became violent -- demanding Maduro's exit. After Maduro's first election, in 2013, López justified undemocratic approaches to removing him by declaring his government illegitimate. One of the few things we do know about Guaidó is that López has been one of his political mentors; some have even suggested López is continuing to call the shots while still under house arrest in suburban Caracas.

More than anything else, Guaidó appears to be a product of the right-wing, middle-class student movement that developed in opposition to the Chávez government in the mid-to-late 2000s. This movement, which took to the streets of Caracas to demand the ouster of Chávez, received much of its funding and training from Washington.

The following reporting is based on Tim Gill's extensive research on US foreign policy toward Venezuela under Chávez, and the ways in which Washington sought to"promote democracy." Gill conducted interviews with numerous US state actors and members Venezuelan civil society.

Over the course of several years, Washington worked with middle-class, opposition-aligned students through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI). Indeed, OTI often works in war-torn countries that are, as the office's name indicates, experiencing a "political transition," such as Burma, Iraq, and Libya. When Gill asked a former high-ranking USAID member why OTI worked in Venezuela, he stated that OTI are "the special forces of the democracy assistance community." Another USAID functionary told Gill that OTI allowed the United States to provide funds to opposition members in Venezuela faster than if they used traditional channels.

What were the ultimate objectives of USAID/OTI in Venezuela during the years they worked with the student movement? US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield specifically laid them out in a secret embassy cable secured by Chelsea Manning and released by WikiLeaks: "1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez' Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally."

These efforts initially focused on setting up community groups in working-class neighborhoods, which appeared neutral but were actually operated by opposition activists. Since USAID/OTI could not directly fund political parties, they worked with party leaders, including those from Voluntad Popular, to help opposition activists set up these community groups in neighborhoods where chavistas were predominant. The groups, which claimed to promote and provide training related to participatory democracy, ultimately aimed to put opposition activists in contact with Chávez supporters in an effort to generate chavista support for their political parties. One USAID/OTI contractor who helped to organize these groups in Venezuela explained to Gill:

We even developed new NGOs that were looking very neutral in the eyes of the government; by them we can help people in the poor neighborhoods. They looked neutral because they had no affiliation with no political party. They were people from the neighborhood, even though they were opposition. They create the organizations with no past relation to political parties. So when they worked in the barrios , they looked very neutral. So we gave them money, but they succeeded in helping democratic values. They were pulling people away from Chávez in a subtle manner. We were telling them what democracy is, and showing them what democracy means. We developed very nice materials and took care of every word to give them, so it didn't look like we were sympathizing with the opposition.

The campaign didn't work out as planned. Chávez continued to garner support among the popular classes, and many barrio inhabitants eventually caught on that the community groups were organized by the opposition, so most stopped attending.

Thereafter, USAID/OTI largely shifted its efforts toward the burgeoning student movement that developed in the mid-2000s -- the movement in which Guaidó "cut his political teeth," according to a report in The Guardian . A former USAID/OTI member who helped devise US efforts in Venezuela said the "objective was that you had thousands of youth, high school, and college kids that were horrified of this Indian-looking guy in power. They were idealistic. We wanted to help them to build a civic organization, so that they could mobilize and organize. This is different than protesting." In other words, USAID/OTI sought to take advantage of racialized fear of Chávez to organize middle-class youth around a long-term strategy to defeat him.

How exactly did the United States help these students? One USAID/OTI contractor who worked directly with them on a routine basis revealed to Gill that Washington provided funding and training to the student groups that developed at the same time Guaidó was part of them. This contractor said that for USAID/OTI, the

most successful time was during 2007, when the student movement developed. The US had a very daring movement and brought a lot of money to the students through OTI, and it grew a lot as a result. I can say with pride that a lot of people [now] in the Congress -- I know them from our projects. I'm proud. It's like you see your son and daughter grow up. I knew them when they grew up the potential leaders when/if there is a change of government, and we were the ones who showed them the first steps.

Washington gave money to these student groups for a number of purposes. As one USAID/OTI employee put it, the funding was for "all the things they needed: microphones, things for presentations, paper." Another USAID/OTI employee described hosting seminars and courses with student protesters. One employee described the training this way: "what is democracy, what is the vote, all the pillars with the democracy system, to reinforce them, what language they have to use." However, one USAID worker contended that Washington -- albeit not through USAID -- was also providing the students with items that could "be used in the street and protect themselves, [such as] masks, but it was not part of open grants." Although they could not confirm the specific US origins of this assistance, this sort of aid has been used for CIA operations in the past.

While it is unclear what Guaidó's role was in these groups at the time, it is clear that US "democracy promotion" financed his cohort's formation and its demonstrations for over a decade . Two of the key actors that USAID/OTI contractors interacted with during this period were Yon Goicoechea and Freddy Guevara, who like Guaidó were from Voluntad Popular. All three have been widely documented in the media as leading student protests against the Chávez government at the same time, putting them in the same organizational circles.

This is not to suggest that Guaidó, Goicoechea, or any other opposition member is merely a puppet of the United States. But it is clear that Guaidó and others in his circle share a worldview and certain goals with the US government. Many of them linked up with US agencies, which provided them with the resources needed to amplify their voices and reach a much larger audience. When Gill asked one USAID/OTI member whether the goal was "to get Chávez out of office," the member responded, "That was the idea."

What Does Guaidó Want?

Fast-forward to 2019, when Guaidó is at the forefront of the movement to oust Maduro. As with much of the Venezuelan opposition, though, Guaidó has been vague about his actual policies. On January 30, he presented a "Plan País" at the Central University of Venezuela. But much of this time was spent criticizing what the government has done and talking in generalities about how Guaidó would improve the economy. This included vague references to "stabilizing the economy" and "establishing legal certainty for business."

A recently released document outlining some of Guaidó's proposals -- accepting much-needed humanitarian aid, eliminating currency controls, and courting private investment -- did little to clarify his vision for the future. Still hanging in the air is how Guaidó intends to accomplish these goals. The lack of specificity is at least partly due to the heterogeneity of the opposition coalition, which is composed of former Communist Party members as well as proponents of neoliberalism. But Guaidó's already cozy relationship with the United States certainly raises concerns that his plans remain vague because they involve massive privatization, the rollback of state services, and other policies that would make Venezuela more "inviting" for foreign investors at the expense of many Venezuelans.

According to a glowing recent article in The New York Times , "While it's still far from certain that Mr. Guaidó will ever set foot in the presidential palace, the number of ordinary Venezuelans and foreign powers taking his side is growing." This formulation confuses provisional support for Guaidó as a means of clearing the way for elections with support for Guaidó as president -- a dangerous conflation to make in a country where it could take up to one or two years to organize elections. And so far, we still don't know what Guaidó is more committed to: putting his friends and party members into power, or supporting democratic elections, regardless of the outcome. The only thing we know for sure is that in the short term, he wishes to fully assume the presidency.

Guaidó's intransigent opposition to negotiations is perhaps another reason to question his motives. Undoubtedly, previous talks have not generated confidence or optimism on either side. In lockstep with the United States and several other countries, Guaidó has asserted that the time for dialogue is over. This position seems to have only encouraged Maduro to dig in his heels.

It's unlikely the Maduro government will simply calmly step aside and cede the government to Guaidó. High-ranking military members seemingly remain on board with Maduro -- maybe because they fear an end to the economic benefits they now receive, or even prosecution under an opposition government. The opposition, for its part, is working to provide an exit ramp for military officers tangled up with the Maduro government. Given this standstill, Guaidó's resistance to dialogue only moves the needle closer to US military intervention. And his embrace of economic sanctions will hammer the poor before anyone else.

Guaidó's calls for more protests and military defections, and his actions at the international level (for example, his rush to appoint ambassadors to sympathetic countries) seem designed to bait Maduro into pursuing him legally. Bolton et al. have publicly warned Maduro that actions against Guaidó will have consequences. Clearly, the Iraq War–endorsing national-security adviser and his new colleague -- the notorious neocon Elliott Abrams, Trump's recently appointed special envoy to Venezuela -- are eager to assert US political and military dominance over a neighboring country that has irritated Washington for two decades.

Guaidó's Shaky Support

Over the past few years, discontent with the Maduro government has clearly grown, but we should not conflate that growth in opposition with support for Guaidó. For years, the opposition coalition has asserted that it represents a majority of the country, even as it has ignored the poor and working class. The fact that Guaidó's mobilizations in Caracas on February 2 were centered in Las Mercedes, one of the richest neighborhoods, does not generate confidence that the opposition has moved beyond its narrow, elitist base. In late January Rebecca Hanson conducted research in Catia, a conglomeration of poor and working-class neighborhoods in west Caracas where she has worked since 2009, on perceptions of the self-proclaimed interim president. She found that even those who voice support for Guaidó do so because he is not Maduro -- that is, they support him not for who he is, but for who he isn't. At most, there may be tentative agreement that Guaidó represents una esperanza (a hope) for a change in government.

It was not excitement about potential change but rather pessimism and hopelessness that characterized one group interview that Hanson organized with women in Los Magallanes, a section of Catia, only 10 days after Guaidó's proclamation. Though the women participating said that Guaidó offered some hope, this was limited to getting Maduro out of office. Most of them felt that there is no real difference between Maduro and Guaidó, with one fighting to maintain his position in power and the other fighting to seize it. As one participant in the interview put it, the two are in a fight to distribute the spoils of war among their respective inner circle. "You don't know who to believe"; "I don't believe in anyone"; and "All politicians want the same thing" were common refrains.

What is more, no one Hanson interviewed was under the illusion that the opposition under Guaidó was different from when it was under López or Henrique Capriles, the opposition's 2012 and 2013 presidential candidate. In other words, no one was convinced that Guaidó had the interests of the people at heart. These and other conversations suggest that at least some Venezuelans will support Guaidó only, or at least primarily, because they feel they have been backed into a corner, either by Maduro's incompetence or his unwillingness to make serious economic changes.

Finally, though most Venezuelans may not be aware of the ties between Guaidó's party and the United States, his uncritical acceptance of US support has filled some with uncertainty about his motives. Some would prefer that he "put his house in order" without outside intervention -- that he demonstrate his ability to generate support within Venezuela. For others, his very public endorsement of the United States recalls memories of Venezuela's status decades ago, during the cuarta republica , when "our oil was not our own," as chavistas that Hanson has conducted research with often say. Still others worry that Venezuela is being sold off bit by bit to Russia and China. The choice between Guaidó and Maduro could, sadly, end up being a question of which empire to serve.

No Peace Without Chavismo

At the international level, the stars have surely aligned for Guaidó and the opposition, with right-wing allies like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Donald Trump in the United States now in power. Yet the Venezuelan government has fended off international intervention before. Hugo Chávez survived Bush and his overt support for the 2002 coup (as well as former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and his saber rattling). However, in earlier years, the so-called Latin American Pink Tide, with leftist governments in countries like Ecuador and Brazil, gave Venezuela firm regional allies. This is no longer the case.

True, Maduro does retain the support of China and Russia. Over the past decade they have supplied Venezuela with shipments of missiles, advanced aircraft, and tanks, which have shored up a sizable military. This could make a US invasion more complicated than what the Pentagon faced in Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989, two military forays that Trump and others often reference in defense of this possibility.

The only real hope for a peaceful outcome lies in dialogue. Given that many citizens do not trust either Maduro or Guaidó, the two sides would need to make serious gestures toward working together to resolve both the economic and political crisis. This would require that Guaidó walk back his refusal to participate in negotiations. A few global actors like Mexico and Uruguay understand this and have urged the government and opposition to sit down and work out a plan for the future.

Dialogue is a much better option than the current US plan to starve Venezuelans into revolt by applying crippling economic sanctions. Have US elites learned nothing from the experience of Cuba, Iran, or Zimbabwe? These economies limped on, and their leaders clung to state power for decades, despite sanctions. Far from damaging US foes, sanctions have primarily taken their toll on the citizens they were allegedly designed to liberate.

Guaidó could invest less time in courting international actors and more time winning over sectors in Venezuela that have traditionally supported chavismo . For example, he could take a page from the playbook of Henrique Capriles, who announced during his 2012 presidential campaign that social programs like Barrio Adentro, which provided free health care in popular sectors, should not only be maintained but improved and extended. Although Guaidó has criticized militarized police raids that have killed hundreds in poor neighborhoods, the Guaidó-led opposition has remained silent about how their government would protect the rights and well-being of the poor, suggesting that it has yet to concede that these sectors, the majority of the population, must be the priority of any future government. Given the high level of discontent with the Maduro government, this is a luxury he can probably afford -- in the short term. Eventually, however, he will need to put forward a platform demonstrating that the poor and working-class sectors will not end up bearing the brunt of the transition if he wishes to secure their support.

Decoupling humanitarian aid from political interests could also demonstrate that Guaidó isn't just focused on gaining power. The Red Cross has already cautioned the United States about the dangers of sending aid to Venezuela if it is not "shielded" from politics and does not have the approval of Venezuelan authorities. Humanitarian aid should not be a bargaining chip, and using it as such contributes to the perception that the battle Guaidó is waging is for power, not el pueblo . Finally, and not least, Guaidó should put forward a concrete plan for new elections, guaranteeing the participation of chavista candidates. There is no political future in Venezuela without chavista participation, and, one way or another, the opposition and chavismo will eventually need to work together toward a new future. See also

[Feb 11, 2019] The Making of Juan Guaidó How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela s Coup Leader by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal

Dismal economic performance of Venezuelan economy and impoverishment of population created perfect environment for the color revolution...
Notable quotes:
"... But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world's largest oil reserves. ..."
"... CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means "resistance" in Serbian,