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Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA and destroys not enhance 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
From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss  Color revolutions John Dilulio letter Mayberry Machiavellians Madeleine Albright Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Leo Strauss and the Neocons
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Deception as an art form The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The ability and willingness to employ savage methods Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism   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 Guardian paper LA Times Paper by Neal Gabler   Washington Post paper by Mike Allen    
Mayberry Machiavellians Corporatism Hong Cong Color Revolution of 2014   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 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.

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.

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 and several European nations such as GB and France. 

In Russia neocons supported radical Islam and Wahhabism promoting it in such areas as Chechnya and Dagestan, 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). Organized by them putsch against the legitimate (albeit corrupt) government of Yanukovich. 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.

Iraq was a huge, humiliating disaster. Probably the biggest one. 

Afghanistan was a disaster of lesser scale.

Libya were another, more small scale disaster.

Syria is a potentially huge disaster, due to international consequences of creating ISIS in this region. 

Ukraine is a huge and very expensive disaster, which might lead to the WWIII, a nuclear holocaust (neocons like to speculate on tragedy of Jewish population during the WWII but now are acting like Nazi and ally with far right extremists)

They successfully revived the threat of nuclear war with Russia (probably in the name of "US security", as neocons understand it ;-). Moreover they moved Russia closer to China, which is no way is in the USA geopolitical interests.

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. 

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. 

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 Kaplan and Ferguson 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

[Apr 20, 2018] Stench of hypocrisy British 'war on terror' strategic ties with radical Islam by John Wight

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have, in pursuing the so-called 'national interest' abroad, colluded for decades with radical Islamic forces, including terrorist organizations. They have connived with them, worked alongside them and sometimes trained and financed them, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. Governments have done so in often desperate attempts to maintain Britain's global power in the face of increasing weakness in key regions of the world, being unable to unilaterally impose their will and lacking other local allies. Thus the story is intimately related to that of Britain's imperial decline and the attempt to maintain influence in the world. ..."
"... But whereas Sharif Hussein was a follower of orthodox Sunni Islam, Ibn Saud adhered to the radical doctrine of Wahhabism, which Winston Churchill was moved to describe as " bloodthirsty ..."
"... British support for the mujahideen, married to the huge support provided by Washington, was indispensable in the eventual success of these self-styled 'holy warriors' in taking control of a country that had embraced modernity and turning it into a failed state mired in religious oppression, brutality, backwardness and poverty. ..."
"... Britain, along with the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. Military, financial and diplomatic backing was given to Islamist forces which, while forcing a Soviet withdrawal, soon organized themselves into terrorist networks ready to strike Western targets. ..."
"... Islamic resistance ..."
"... We trust the Western leaders are prepared for the enormous beneficial possibilities that could just possibly open up if the Afghan rebellion were to succeed. ..."
"... Manchester, England is home to the largest Libyan community in Britain, and there is strong evidence to suggest that when the Libyan uprising broke out MI6 facilitated the ability of Libyan Islamists in Britain to travel to Libya to participate in the fighting. Among them was Salman Abedi, who it is thought received military training in the country before being allowed to return to the UK thereafter. ..."
"... This brings us on to Syria and, as with Libya, the question of how so many British Muslims have been able to travel from the UK to Syria via Turkey to take part in the anti-Assad insurgency since 2011? It also brings into sharp focus a policy that has veered between the ludicrous and the reckless. ..."
"... As for the recklessness of Britain's actions in Syria, look no further than the country's recent participation in the illegal missile strikes that were carried out in conjunction with the US and France, justified on the basis of as yet unproven allegations that Syrian government forces had carried out a chemical weapons attack on Douma, just outside Damascus. The only beneficiaries of such actions by the Western powers are Salafi-jihadist groups such as ISIS (whom it was later reported took advantage of the missile strike to mount a short-lived offensive), Al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam. ..."
"... The latter of those groups, Jaysh al-Islam, is a Saudi proxy. It was the dominant group in Douma and throughout Eastern Ghouta until the district's liberation by the Syrian Army and its allies with Russian support. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Britain's strategic relationship with radical Islam goes back decades and continues to this day. There is no more foul a stench than the stench of hypocrisy, and there is no more foul a hypocrisy than the British government painting Bashar al-Assad as a monster when in truth he and the Syrian people have been grappling with a twin-headed monster in the shape of Salafi-jihadi terror and Western imperialism. Both are committed to destroying Syria as an independent, non-sectarian state, and both are inextricably linked.

Author and journalist Mark Curtis charts in detail the contours of this history in his book 'Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam':

" British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have, in pursuing the so-called 'national interest' abroad, colluded for decades with radical Islamic forces, including terrorist organizations. They have connived with them, worked alongside them and sometimes trained and financed them, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. Governments have done so in often desperate attempts to maintain Britain's global power in the face of increasing weakness in key regions of the world, being unable to unilaterally impose their will and lacking other local allies. Thus the story is intimately related to that of Britain's imperial decline and the attempt to maintain influence in the world. "

As far back as the First World War, when the Middle East began to assume strategic importance in the capitals of Western imperial and colonial powers, the British ruling class went out of its way to identify and recruit loyal local proxies in pursuit of its regional objectives. Britain's relationship with the Arab tribal chief, Ibn Saud, who would go on to establish Saudi Arabia in the early 1930s, began in 1915 with the Darin Pact, demarcating the territory then controlled by Saud as a British protectorate.

The following year, the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans erupted. Begun and inspired by Saud's fierce rival, Sharif Hussein, head of the Hashemite Arab tribe, the revolt was heavily bankrolled and supported by the British – a period immortalized in the exploits of British military agent T E Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia.

But whereas Sharif Hussein was a follower of orthodox Sunni Islam, Ibn Saud adhered to the radical doctrine of Wahhabism, which Winston Churchill was moved to describe as " bloodthirsty " and " intolerant ." Regardless, when it came to its imperial interests there was no tiger upon whose back the British ruling class was not willing to ride during this period, and which, as events have proved, it has not been willing to ride since.

The most egregious example of this policy, one that continues to have ramifications today, was the support provided by the UK to the Afghan mujahideen in the late 1970s and 1980s. The insurgency's objective was the overthrow of Kabul's secular and left-leaning government, whose crime in the eyes of the Islamist insurgency's US and UK sponsors was that it had embraced the social and economic model of Moscow rather than Washington during the first Cold War.

British support for the mujahideen, married to the huge support provided by Washington, was indispensable in the eventual success of these self-styled 'holy warriors' in taking control of a country that had embraced modernity and turning it into a failed state mired in religious oppression, brutality, backwardness and poverty.

Mark Curtis again:

" Britain, along with the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. Military, financial and diplomatic backing was given to Islamist forces which, while forcing a Soviet withdrawal, soon organized themselves into terrorist networks ready to strike Western targets. "

While Washington's primary role in channeling military and financial support to the Afghan mujahideen, known as Operation Cyclone , may until have succeeded in overshadowing London's role in this dirty war, declassified British government cabinet papers which were made public in 2010 and reported in the UK media make grim reading.

They reveal that three weeks after Soviet forces arrived in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government in Kabul, struggling to deal with an insurgency that had broken out in the countryside, the Thatcher government was planning to supply military aid to the " Islamic resistance ." A confidential government memo provides a chilling insight into the insanity that passed for official policy: " We trust the Western leaders are prepared for the enormous beneficial possibilities that could just possibly open up if the Afghan rebellion were to succeed. "

It will be recalled that out of the ensuing collapse of Afghanistan emerged the Taliban, under whose rule the country was turned into a vast militant jihadist school and training camp. Many of the most notorious Islamist terrorists began their careers there, fighting the Soviets and then later broadening out their activities to other parts of the region and wider world. In this regard, Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda loom large.

Other notorious names from the world of Salafi-jihadism for whom Afghanistan proved indispensable include the Jordanian Abu al-Zarqawi, who founded Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) during the US-UK occupation, an organization that would over time morph into ISIS.

Abdelhakim Belhaj and other Libyan Islamists cut their jihadist teeth in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Returning to Libya, they formed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in the eastern city of Benghazi. Though the group may have been disbanded in 2010, having failed to topple Gaddafi despite repeated attempts to assassinate the Libyan leader with, it's been claimed , the support of Britain's MI6, former members of the LIFG, including Belhaj, were important actors in the 2011 Libyan uprising.

By way of a reminder, the uprising in Libya started in Benghazi and would not have succeeded without the air support it received from NATO. Britain's then prime minister, David Cameron, was key in pushing for that air support and the sanction of the UN under the auspices of Security Council Resolution 1973. Though protecting civilians was central in wording of this UNSC resolution, it was shamefully distorted to justify regime change, culminating in Gaddafi's murder by the 'rebels.'

Staying with the LIFG, in the wake of the Manchester suicide-bomb attack in May 2017, which left 23 people dead and 500 injured, the fact that the bomber, a young Libyan by the name of Salman Abedi, was the son of a former member of the LIFG, did not receive anything like the media attention it should have at the time.

Manchester, England is home to the largest Libyan community in Britain, and there is strong evidence to suggest that when the Libyan uprising broke out MI6 facilitated the ability of Libyan Islamists in Britain to travel to Libya to participate in the fighting. Among them was Salman Abedi, who it is thought received military training in the country before being allowed to return to the UK thereafter.

This brings us on to Syria and, as with Libya, the question of how so many British Muslims have been able to travel from the UK to Syria via Turkey to take part in the anti-Assad insurgency since 2011? It also brings into sharp focus a policy that has veered between the ludicrous and the reckless.

Emblematic of the former was ex-prime minister David Cameron's claim , which he made during a 2015 Commons debate over whether the Royal Air Force should engage in air strikes against ISIS in Syria, that fighting as part of the Syrian were 70,000 moderates.

As for the recklessness of Britain's actions in Syria, look no further than the country's recent participation in the illegal missile strikes that were carried out in conjunction with the US and France, justified on the basis of as yet unproven allegations that Syrian government forces had carried out a chemical weapons attack on Douma, just outside Damascus. The only beneficiaries of such actions by the Western powers are Salafi-jihadist groups such as ISIS (whom it was later reported took advantage of the missile strike to mount a short-lived offensive), Al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam.

The latter of those groups, Jaysh al-Islam, is a Saudi proxy. It was the dominant group in Douma and throughout Eastern Ghouta until the district's liberation by the Syrian Army and its allies with Russian support.

Given the deep and longstanding ties between London and Riyadh; given the fact, reported towards the end of 2017, that British military personnel were embedded in a training role with Saudi forces in Yemen; given the news that a British special forces sergeant was killed in northern Syria at the end of March this year while embedded with the Kurds, revealing for the first time that British troops were operating in the country on the ground – given all that, the question of who else British special forces and military personnel may be embedded with in Syria is legitimate.

In the context of the British state's long and sordid history when it comes to riding the back of radical Islam in pursuit of its strategic objectives, readers will doubtless draw their own conclusions.

Read more

John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1

[Apr 19, 2018] The biggest damage from the strikes on Syria was to the credibility of the US, French and Airstrip One governments. In the days of dubya at least some effort was put into the false flags

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

RobinG , April 19, 2018 at 4:22 am GMT

More from Douma, with Pearson Sharp -

OAN'S PEARSON SHARP REFUTES MSM REPORTS OF ALLEGED SYRIAN CHEMICAL ATTACK

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD9C9koRmro&feature=youtu.be

WhiteWolf , April 19, 2018 at 4:23 am GMT
The biggest damage from the strikes on Syria was to the credibility of the US, French and Airstrip One governments. In the days of dubya at least some effort was put into the false flags.
Carlton Meyer , Website April 19, 2018 at 4:30 am GMT
Great article, except the USA did not "acquire the Philippine Islands", it invaded! The Syrian disaster is best explained by a Columbia University professor, who was mistakenly booked on MSNBC, as Jimmy Dore explains:

Bombshell Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria - YouTube

[Apr 19, 2018] The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again! by W. Patrick Lang

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Middle East Policy ..."
"... Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind's best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness. ..."
"... Local rulers must be removed as the principal obstacle to popular emulation of Western and especially American culture and political forms. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. ..."
"... This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct. Often the natives are willing to fight you long and hard to retain their own ways. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the US acquired the Philippine Islands and sought to make the islands American in all things. The result was a terrible war against Filipino nationalists who did not want to follow the example of the "shining city on a hill." No, the "poor fools" wanted to go their own way in their own way. The same thing happened in Iraq after 2003. The Iraqis rejected occupation and American "reform" of their country and a long and bloody war ensued. ..."
"... I am told that the old neocon crew argued as hard as possible for a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government's ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels. John Bolton, General (ret.) Jack Keane and many other neocons argued strongly for this campaign as a way to reverse the outcome of the civil war. James Mattis managed to obtain President Trump's approval for a much more limited and largely symbolic strike but Trump was clearly inclined to the neocon side of the argument. What will happen next time? ..."
"... Paul Wolfowitz infamously told the US Senate "we chose to use the fear of nuclear weapons because we knew that would sell." ..."
"... The current US is rather like a cross country trip in bad weather. The vehicle is bogged down in deep mud, giving the driver and occupants two options 1) Look out the windows and say, "We're bogged down in deep mud. What are we going to do?" 2) Refuse to look out the windows and say, "There's something wrong with this vehicle. Can we fix the engine?" ..."
"... Well clearly the US's European satrapies don't share directly in the US updated Manifest Destiny idea, but the US sphere elites in general are fully indoctrinated in the universalist ideology of internationalist social-liberalism and "democracy"-uber-alles (where "democracy" – whether in Republican, constitutional monarchic or other form – is in reality a kind of managed gerrymander to keep the established and US-favoured elites safely in control and ensure "populists" are excluded by any means necessary), and sees itself as on a mission to promote the spread of US style liberal (managed) "democracy" throughout the world (except where it's currently inconvenient to push it too hard for reasons of temporary expedience, such as in places like Saudi Arabia). ..."
"... The current breed of opportunists operating without any kind of responsibility makes the international corps of political whores-in-charge. These politicians look at the Blairs (a $100 million fortune) and Cheney & Bush (both getting richer with every day) and they know that the opportunisms, however criminal, will be rewarded by the "deciders." The incompetent and sycophantic politicians in the EU/UK governments have zero regards for their citizenry. We can be absolutely sure that there are no idealists among the leading UK politicians in power. ..."
"... Short answer, F,UK were the world's leading imperial powers before WWII and seek to leverage American military and financial power to restore some degree of imperial power. The Atlantic Charter and the UN Charter were bitter pills for the old empires. France sought to override the UN Charter by force in Vietnam and Algeria, but lacked the wherewithall. Britain, France, and Israel sought to override it by force in the 1956 Suez Crisis until Daddy Ike told them that it wasn't cool. The umbrella of American power is their best remaining means of re-establishing imperial power. It puts the onus on the US for violations of international law, but promises them some restoration of imperial power in MENA. ..."
"... "Making the world safe for democracy" was the sales pitch for preserving the F, UK empires long before there was Israel. That effort was driven largely by American Blue Blood bankers who had risky investments in the UK war effort. American Jews were suspected of loyalty to the Kaiser because they loathed the Russian Tsar. ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

In 2004 I published an article in the journal, Middle East Policy that was entitled "Drinking the Koolaid." The article reviewed the process by which the neocon element in the Bush Administration seized control of the process of policy formation and drove the United States in the direction of invasion of Iraq and the destruction of the apparatus of the Iraqi state. They did this through manipulation of the collective mental image Americans had of Iraq and the supposed menace posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Not all the people who participated in this process were neocon in their allegiance but there were enough of them in the Bush Administration to dominate the process. Neoconism as it has evolved in American politics is a close approximation of the imperialist political faction that existed in the time of President William McKinley and the Spanish-American War. Barbara Tuchman described this faction well in "The Proud Tower."

Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind's best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness. For people with this mindset the explanation for the continuance of old ways lies in the oppressive and exploitative nature of rulers who block the "progress" that is needed. The solution for the imperialists and neocons is simple. Local rulers must be removed as the principal obstacle to popular emulation of Western and especially American culture and political forms. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans.

This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct. Often the natives are willing to fight you long and hard to retain their own ways. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the US acquired the Philippine Islands and sought to make the islands American in all things. The result was a terrible war against Filipino nationalists who did not want to follow the example of the "shining city on a hill." No, the "poor fools" wanted to go their own way in their own way. The same thing happened in Iraq after 2003. The Iraqis rejected occupation and American "reform" of their country and a long and bloody war ensued.

The neocons believe so strongly that America must lead the world and mankind forward that they accept the idea that the achievement of human progress justifies any means needed to advance that goal. In the case of the Iraq invasion the American people were lectured endlessly about the bestialities of Saddam's government. The bestialities were impressive but the constant media display of these horrors was not enough to persuade the American people to accept war. From the bestialities meme the neocons moved on to the WMD meme. The Iraqi government had a nuclear weapons program before the First Gulf War but that program had been thoroughly destroyed in the inspection regime that followed Iraq's defeat and surrender. This was widely known in the US government because US intelligence agencies had cooperated fully with the international inspectors in Iraq and in fact had sent the inspectors to a long list of locations at which the inspectors destroyed the program. I was instrumental in that process.

After 9/11 the US government knew without any doubt that the Iraqi government did not have a nuclear weapons program, but that mattered not at all to the neocons. As Paul Wolfowitz infamously told the US Senate "we chose to use the fear of nuclear weapons because we knew that would sell." Once that decision was made an endless parade of administration shills appeared on television hyping the supposed menace of Iraqi nuclear weapons. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were merely the most elevated in position of the many vendors of the image of the "mushroom shaped cloud."

And now we have the case of Syria and its supposed chemical weapons and attacks. After the putative East Gouta chemical attack of 2013, an OPCW program removed all the chemical weapons to be found in Syria and stated its belief that there were no more in the country. In April of 2017 the US-Russian de-confliction process was used to reach agreement on a Syrian Air Force strike in the area of Khan Sheikoon in southern Idlib Province. This was a conventional weapons attack and the USAF had an unarmed reconnaissance drone in the area to watch the strike go in against a storage area. The rebel run media in the area then claimed the government had attacked with the nerve gas Sarin, but no proof was ever offered except film clips broadcast on social media. Some of the film clips from the scene were ludicrous. Municipal public health people were filmed at the supposed scene standing around what was said to be a bomb crater from the "sarin attack." Two public health men were filmed sitting on the lip of the crater with their feet in the hole. If there had been sarin residue in the hole they would have quickly succumbed to the gas. No impartial inspection of the site was ever done, but the Khan Sheikoon "gas attack" has become through endless repetition a "given" in the lore of the "constant Syrian government gas attacks against their own civilians."

On the 4th of April it is claimed that the Syrian Government, then in the process of capturing the town of Douma caused chlorine gas to be dropped on the town killing and wounding many. Chlorine is not much of a war gas. It is usually thought of as an industrial chemical, so evidently to make the story more potent it is now suggested that perhaps sarin was also used.

No proof that such an attack occurred has been made public. None! The Syrian and Russian governments state that they want the site inspected. On the 15th of April US Senator Angus King (I) of Maine told Jake Tapper on SOTU that as of that date the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had not been given any proof by the IC or Trump Administration that such an attack had occurred. "They have asserted that it did" he said.

The US, France and the UK struck Syria with over a hundred cruise missiles in retaliation for this supposed attack but the Administration has not yet provided any proof that the Syrian attack took place.

I am told that the old neocon crew argued as hard as possible for a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government's ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels. John Bolton, General (ret.) Jack Keane and many other neocons argued strongly for this campaign as a way to reverse the outcome of the civil war. James Mattis managed to obtain President Trump's approval for a much more limited and largely symbolic strike but Trump was clearly inclined to the neocon side of the argument. What will happen next time?

Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years


Chet Roman , April 19, 2018 at 5:15 am GMT
The most important part of this article on neocons and their policies is what was never mentioned: Israel. While superficially the neocons may claim they believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States to impose American democracy on other cultures, the truth is that below the superficial is a deep and unquestioning obedience to further Zionist policies and the promotion of Israel über alles. Syria is a prime example of this and any article on U.S. policies regarding regime change or bombing Syria that leaves out a mention of Israeli influence is all foreplay and nothing else and just about as satisfying.
HooperHooper , April 19, 2018 at 5:18 am GMT
@Carlton Meyer

I understand your point, but Col. Lang's statement of acquired is correct. The USA "acquired" the Phillipine islands as a result of the treaty ending the Spanish-American war. There was a following military occupation and war against nationalist rebels, but that doesn't make his wording incorrect.

Wally , April 19, 2018 at 5:25 am GMT
But who are the "Neo-Cons"? Who is their loyalty to?

http://www.codoh.com

joseph51 , April 19, 2018 at 7:04 am GMT
The neocons have a right to their opinion and their desired world order, just like anyone else. What they DO NOT have, is the right to perpetrate WARS OF AGRESSION, which include both War Crimes an Crimes Against Humanity under its purview, to reach those goals. Under our Constitution and system of government ONLY Congress is legally authorized to declare war on another nation. Congress has NOT declared war on the sovereign nation of Syria, there is no self defense issue here and such an attack has not been approved by the United Nations so, IT IS NOT UP TO THE PRESIDENT AND SOME GROUP OF HIS ADVISORS.

Those in the military have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution. You are not obligated to obey obviously criminal orders, in fact you are obligated to defend against all those violating our Constitution. By God, do your duty.

Where is Congress? They should be making sure that these criminals do not exercise authority that is reserved to Congress. By not preventing these crimes the military and Congress become accomplices and accessories to the most heinous crime defined by mankind WAR OF AGRESSION.

Any and all those in authority who ordered past attacks and or order future attacks are guilty of WAGING AGGRESSIVE WAR. Any one who assisted in any way are accomplices, and/or accessories to the crimes and are equally guilty and subject to arrest and prosecution without time limit. The excuse of following orders will not be accepted.

If the neocons actually carry out the criminal act of "a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government's ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels," don't be surprised if the Russians and Chinese vaporize the United States.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 19, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT

the putative East Gouta chemical attack of 2013

I have to wonder why, with the known facts of this 2013 attack in the public domain, our 'other IC' never goes there except with the most vague allusions. Here is the 2013 attack in known detail:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/15/what-can-be-known-vs-what-will-be-known/

I'm no fan of 'Realpolitik', let the chips fall as they should. In fact, the reality of 2013 should inform us of the reality of 2018, and where to bring the pressure to pop the abscess – before the abscess becomes WWIII

Randal , April 19, 2018 at 7:44 am GMT
Great to see Colonel Lang added to the list of Unz writers. His direct expertise and experience in ME military and intel matters are unsurpassed, and as someone who has been intentionally excluded from the mainstream media because of his determination to express inconvenient truths that the powerful would prefer remain unsaid, he fits perfectly into the Unz mission statement: "A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media."

After the putative East Gouta chemical attack of 2013, an OPCW program removed all the chemical weapons to be found in Syria and stated its belief that there were no more in the country.

Let's recall whilst considering this point that the OPCW is not some anti-American bureaucracy uninfluenced by US power. Here is what happened to an OPCW leader who crossed the US neocons:

"We can't accept your management style," Bolton told Bustani in 2002, as Bustani recounted to The Intercept.

"You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don't comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you," he reportedly continued. After a pause, Bolton reportedly said, "We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York."

Bustani was taken aback by Bolton's directness, but did not back down, according to The Intercept.

Bustani eventually was forced to step down after the US convinced its allies in the organization to rally against him, according to The Times. He was forced out by a stunning vote of 48 to 7 and 43 abstentions.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/john-bolton-threatened-family-of-brazilian-diplomat-iraq-war-2002-2018-3

If the OPCW appears to be cooperating suspiciously with US objectives on an issue, that's credible. The contrary, not so much.

On that note, let's also recall that the OPCW inspected one of the main targets of the recent US action, claimed by the US and its collaborators to be an active chemical weapons site, the Barzeh research centre, in 2017:

He said it's "totally incorrect" that chemical weapons were being developed there. "The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited here and didn't report anything wrong with this place."
.
CBS News looked into the OPCW report from Barzeh and it noted the Syrians had delayed the visit for security concerns, but didn't find any red flags.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/syria-airstrikes-brazeh-complex-damascus-2018-04-14/

Realist , April 19, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@WhiteWolf

In the days of dubya at least some effort was put into the false flags.

The shallowness and insouciance of Americans has rendered that superfluous.

Mishra , April 19, 2018 at 8:27 am GMT
While I certainly agree with the gist of this essay, the following quotation is news to me and I'd appreciate a citation–I can't find it anywhere.

Paul Wolfowitz infamously told the US Senate "we chose to use the fear of nuclear weapons because we knew that would sell."

English Outsider , April 19, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
I have long been a fan of Colonel Lang's stand against the current neocon policy in the Middle East. Here I find the most authoritative account of the thinking behind the Syrian disaster I have seen.

I am still puzzled by the support given by our European and UK politicians to this destructive policy. Is it merely a matter of catching the crumbs from the neocon's table? Our politicians surely can't think they're exceptional too. Though in a way one hopes they might be – I no longer believe that those politicians represent the thinking of the great mass of people in Europe and the UK.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 9:09 am GMT
@Chet Roman

Lang spelled that out in "Drinking the Koolaid," the 2004 article mentioned in the first sentence.

He wrote:

" . . .single-minded intensity in pursuing his goals was nothing new for [Douglas] Feith. In July 1996, he had been a principal author of a study prepared for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This paper advocated abrogation of the Oslo accords and the launch of a new regional balance-of-power scheme based on American-Israeli military dominance with a subsidiary military role for Turkey and Jordan . The study was produced by the "Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies" (IASPS), a Jerusalem-based Likud-party-linked think tank, and was called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." In it, Feith and company wrote,

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq -- an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right -- as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions."

The study-group leader was Richard Perle . Other members of the team included Charles Fairbanks Jr., a longtime friend of Paul Wolfowitz since their student days together at the University of Chicago; and David Wurmser , an American Enterprise Institute Middle East fellow, and his wife, Meyrav Wurmser , who headed the Washington, DC office of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Her boss in that group was a retired Israeli intelligence officer, Yigal Carmon.

On July 8, 1996, Richard Perle presented the "Clean Break" document to Netanyahu, who was visiting Washington. Two days later, the Israeli prime minister unveiled the document as his own regional foreign-policy design in a speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/drinking-kool-aid?print

Regulars on Unz forum regularly mention "A Clean Break," but noting the "regional balance-of-power scheme based on American-Israeli military dominance with a subsidiary military role for Turkey and Jordan, " and given the amount of money and military aid US taxpayers provide to Israel, why is this group hiring, training and arming "moderate rebels" to "foil Syria's regional ambitions" rather than carrying out the mission themselves?

Also, and based on comments by US Congressman Steven Russell (R-OK) (among others) in appearances on C Span, where praise is lavished on Jordan's king Abdullah, it appears Jordan is still on board the aging ship Clean Break , tho Turkey is threatening mutiny.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?444201-5/washington-journal-representative-steve-russell-r-ok-discusses-congress-role-syria-conflict

The same actors -- including the sociopathic Michael Ledeen– of this neocon cabal have been reading the same script from the run-up to war with Iraq

to the fulfillment of their obsession with attacking Iran:

Notice that fifteen years on, the neocon criminal gang has added new, younger members, i.e. Richard Goldberg and Michaela Dodge. Goldberg is fanatically pro-Israel from his Jewish day school primary school to his anti-BDS activities in Illinois government and anti-Iran achievements in US senate.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 9:23 am GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Disagree because Jimmy Dore made a mistake in heaping so much praise on Sache without knowing who he was. In my opinion, Jeffrey Sachs's appearance on MSNBC is a smokescreen, political cover to exonerate the Deep State, banister predators and Israel firsters from complicity in the destruction of Syria. Sachs was a leading actor, together with George Soros, Paul Wolfowitz and Jonathan Bush, brother-in-law of the late, sainted Barbara Bush, in the Rape of Russia in the Yeltsin years.

h/t The Saker, complete w/ transcript: https://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/

EliteCommInc. , April 19, 2018 at 10:04 am GMT
Our southern neighbors are the largest threat to the US than any Middle Eastern State.

I will continue to contend to drop the label "neoconservative" because it is inaccurate. What we have are those who desire intervention for political and mercantilism *economic" ambitions -- interventionists.
-- -- -- -- -- -- –

" I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct. Often the natives are willing to fight you long and hard to retain their own ways. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the US acquired the Philippine Islands and sought to make the islands American in all things."

I am unclear why you are equivocating here. It is entirely incorrect as demonstrated throughout the region repeatedly.

Seamus Padraig , April 19, 2018 at 10:05 am GMT
@Chet Roman

True. I love Col. Lang's blog and have followed it for years now. He's really good at military strategy, and–as a ME specialist–is very helpful in analyzing and predicting events in Syria, Iraq, etc. But the main thing that's missing at his blog ('Sic Semper Tyrannis') is any analysis of Israel's role in this. There's no mention of the Oded Yinon plan, or the Clean Break memo, or the 'Pearl Harbor-type event' paper. And while Lang is very good at pointing out the absurdity of Washington's statements relative to reality, he's not so good at untangling propaganda from what really motivates the highest-level people who are behind all of this . Hint: it's not 'democracy promotion'.

jilles dykstra , April 19, 2018 at 10:12 am GMT
I wonder if the neocons have any idea about forward. Their forward for me is just world domination, that what Franklin Roosevelt already tried, but what failed miserably. In 1946 the Soros then, Bernard Baruch, in vain pleaded for a world government, that is, the USA governing the world. Stalin and Mao tse Tung had other ideas.

We now have Putin, the Chinese government, India, Iran, IS, the other BRICS countries, I think the majority of Muslims, most S and Middle American countries, with other ideas. Even on German sites debate exists on the continuing USA occupation. Soros' conflict with Hungary is there for anyone to see.

Fool Macron states that the EU must have more power, to destroy increasing nationalism. He does not see that with more EU power nationalism rises. Shortly before the Brexit referendum someone in Britain said 'they even interfere with vacuum cleaners'.

Ivan K. , Website April 19, 2018 at 10:18 am GMT
You're just wasting your nerves, and time. Just looking at what is done rather than what is being said, I see the world geopolitically moving in a splendid direction, with practically enlightened leaders in the major three countries. I see a false flag that had cost no lives, Syria becoming invincible to both NATO and Israel – a dream come true, I also see Russia firmly establishing itself on the Med for a first time, a forging of peace between the two Koreas after 60 years. All those are results to which the White House under Trump crucially contributes. (*)

In the rest of the world, we can see improvement in the living conditions in most parts of the world unparalleled in history.

The biggest problem are the European & American chattering and fear-mongering classes, imperialists and anti-imperialists alike. Surprisingly, they look like two sides of a same coin. On his website, Mr. Patrick Lang speaks about Mr. Trump, his president, in the most pejorative terms, while he has the highest praises for Collin Powell, who steadily and with a pronounced servility served the neocons. It was exactly Mr. Lang that, by serving Collin Powell, assisted the neocon dominance in the White House, and, among else, the Iraq disaster. Our greatest enemy demons are those inside ourselves.

(*) Trump's critics want to have their cake and eat it: Trump is wrong because of his stupendous warmongering, and by being such "a moron" as to be disastrous for his mad plans. Occam's Razor applied to those two extraordinary observations points to the solid likelihood they are illusions. Illusion-making would be consistent with what I know about DJT personally anda fine a tit-for-tat to what the msm do to him. When surrounded by open mouths of beasts, throw them a bone or two.

iffen , April 19, 2018 at 11:34 am GMT
@Chet Roman

The most important part of this article on neocons and their policies is what was never mentioned: Israel.

Yeah, one has to willfully ignore the overwhelming historical evidence of the perfidious Jewish cabal dragging TR and his "conscripts" by the nose up San Juan Hill.

Jake , April 19, 2018 at 11:37 am GMT
If the Neocons would follow the example of (atheist or perhaps actual demon worshipping, socialist/Marxist, drug addict, bisexual) Jones and his main female inner circle and its largely black male inner circle of enforcers and also drink the kool-aid and die, then we'd be happy they were making a batch.

The world would become safer and more sane.

iffen , April 19, 2018 at 11:43 am GMT
@Randal

Great to see Colonel Lang added to the list of Unz writers.

Yes, excellent addition.

Seamus Day , April 19, 2018 at 12:20 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Trump has made a complete mess of this and "next time" thus inevitably means something much more solid. He has dug himself deeper into the Russiagate hole and there's only one way out. Since Putin is totally bogged down in Syria, there's no hurry on "next time". All Putin can do is sit and wait for it to happen. Trump will probably have to act before the midterms.

I think this whole charade served another purpose. And Nikki Haley's comments added to it ("we will never be friends with Russia and will we smack Russia whenever we want"). It allowed the Russians to start thinking the unthinkable. Unleashing the nuclear genie and using MAD to end the madness. I believe it will create a ramping up of nuclear forces in Russia. I don't believe the option was really on the table until the false flag and the completely irrational and unhinged response from the West. Preceded by the other ludicrous Skripal affair which the U.S. and other Western countries accepted as true and evicted Russian officials based on it. I think in the final hours before the missile strikes of last Friday it was a somber mood among Russian military planners and there was a a begrudging willingness to consider the unthinkable nuclear option. Now I think it is fully on the table and Russian planners will start thinking and visualizing about scenarios and will make its future use more real and thus much easier to undertake. In fact, merely thinking about and visualizing about scenarios will create an excitement which will animate their future decision. If the Punjabi Clemson accounting major, Nimrata Randhawa, is correct and will not be friends with Russia and smack them whenever "we" want, you'd better get right with God and live your final days virtuously because the end of the world as we know it is at hand.

for-the-record , April 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm GMT
@Randal

Regarding Barzah/Barzeh, here is the actual OPCW document dated 23 March 2018 referring to the November 2017 inspection:

In accordance with paragraph 11 of Council decision EC-83/DEC.5, the second round of inspections at the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities of the SSRC was concluded on 22 November 2017. The results of the inspections were reported as an addendum (EC-87/DG.15/Add.1, dated 28 February 2018) to the report entitled "Status of Implementation of Executive Council Decision EC-83/DEC.5 (dated 11 November 2016)" (EC-87/DG.15, dated 23 February 2018). The analysis of samples taken during the inspections did not indicate the presence of scheduled chemicals in the samples, and the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention during the second round of inspections at the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities

https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/88/en/ec88dg01_e_.pdf

Interestingly, this document is not particularly easy to find, for some (no doubt innocent) reason it has not (yet?) been included among the list of "Progress Reports" on the OPCW site:

https://www.opcw.org/special-sections/syria/related-official-documents/

Miro23 , April 19, 2018 at 12:41 pm GMT

Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind's best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness.

So the Neocons want to better the lives of Iraqis, Filipinos and Syrians by "introducing" them to the American way of life?? – Such kind and well meaning people.

The current US is rather like a cross country trip in bad weather. The vehicle is bogged down in deep mud, giving the driver and occupants two options 1) Look out the windows and say, "We're bogged down in deep mud. What are we going to do?" 2) Refuse to look out the windows and say, "There's something wrong with this vehicle. Can we fix the engine?"

The US as a society, isn't going anywhere until it can face reality, and have an open and frank public debate about the Israeli/Zionist subversion of US institutions.

Carlton Meyer , Website April 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm GMT
@HooperHooper

Your view is a common myth. Why do people assume the Philippines belonged to Spain, who could give it away? Anyway, by the time the American Army arrived, there was an established Filipino government and a large regular army that was running the nation. Just a few tiny pockets of Spanish troops remained waiting for rescue. After the Americans saved them, they attacked and invaded the Philippines, fighting the regular Army for over a year until it was destroyed, then the resulting insurgency. The US military conquered the Philippines beginning with the bloody "Battle of Manila".

DESERT FOX , April 19, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
The fact is that Israel and the dual citizen ziocons aka neocons control the U.S. gov and proof of this is that Israel did the attack on the WTC on 911 and got away with it, and also did the attack on the USS LIBERTY and got away with that, and numerous other subversive things that would take a book to document, and got away with it all.

Israel is destroying America.

Seamus Padraig , April 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT
@Mishra

Lang may have been loosely paraphrasing here. The version I'm familiar with is:

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason," Wolfowitz was quoted as saying in a Pentagon transcript of an interview with Vanity Fair.

Inter alia: https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-05-30-wolfowitz-iraq_x.htm

Z-man , April 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

The Zionist Entity, the great albatross around America's neck. In a way it was fine that W. Patrick Lang did not mention the Zionist Entity by name. It's smart not to mention it all the time as it can be like 'beating a dead horse' among other things . Not mentioning it directly and just saying Neocon deflects the accusation of the anti-'S' label but in a subtle manner associates Zionism with Neocons, which can be a more persuasive way to make the point without screaming, like me (lol), that it's the same thing.

Ozymandias , April 19, 2018 at 1:16 pm GMT
" administration shills appeared on television hyping the supposed menace of Iraqi nuclear weapons. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "

I propose that international politics would be greatly clarified if we were to place a 'CFR' next to the name of every member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Patrick Lang , Website April 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the US at the end of the Spanish American War.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 2:01 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

If so, that's awfully sloppy, even for a paraphrase, and in no way a legitimate use of quotation marks.

Mike Whitney , April 19, 2018 at 2:04 pm GMT
I'm very glad to see Colonel Pat Lang writing for the Unz review. His own website–Sic Semper Tyrannis– is one of the best, most informative sites on the internet. It is "must read" for anyone who wants to follow national security issues, Syria, Ukraine and beyond.

Lang doesn't mince words or pull his punches. And his analysis is never short of brilliant. This is really a great addition for the Unz Review. Good work, Ron and a hearty "Welcome" to Colonel Lang!

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
@Svigor

re:

"This is what you get when you have too much Jewish influence over opinion. Friedlander says "regime change never works," but obviously it does, sometimes, like in Japan and Germany after WWII. "

WWII actions against Japan and Germany were not "regime changes" that "worked," they were total wars of destruction, conquest and genocide of the German people, in the case of Germany, which lost ~10 of its pop. while Japan lost ~5%.

Japan has recovered, to a certain extent, probably because Japan's adversary was not Jews. Germany is still a fully occupied and de-culturalized state. Witness, for example, the Thompson article where Hindemann is compelled to discuss "Nazis" totally out of context.

Wally , April 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

Another hasbarist in disguise has spoken. "To themselves" only after satisfying the demands of "that shitty little country". http://www.codoh.com

anon [228] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT
"I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct."

Only the meanest culture -free bastards can get away with this as a policy statement . It is millions times worse when someone condones it by saying " It is not necessarily correct"

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 3:41 pm GMT
@Svigor

That argument rests on assumptions that I consider ugly, a-historical, and counterproductive. What was done to Germany and Japan -- and to the former Ottoman empire as well as Iran -- from ~1907 'til today, was precipitated by some of the world's greatest psychopaths. They are still at large. THAT is the problem, not "HBD."

anon [228] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 3:44 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

One of the reasons Tom Friedman supplied for his support to Iraq war among many similar excuses, was the support Saddam offered to the suicide bombers. One of the reason the terrorist one day may think is the support given by the Zionists to the bombers attacker gentile politicians .

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 5:16 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

Come to think of it, I mostly agree with this comment: Col. Lang conflated American operating principle of "Manifest Destiny" with the zionist / neoconservative ideology (psychopathology).

imo the process is more subtle: Manifest Destiny/Anglos and zionist/neoconservatives share mythological roots in Abrahamism, which posits that the "chosen" have a lock on truth, morality and god, and that they have the right and obligation to destroy anyone who fails to subscribe to that truth and their overlordship of it -- Evangelical Christians and Anglicans hold this concept fast.

The zionist twist on this is twofold: First, Jews believe they are the ordained by god to be in charge; Jews have been chosen by god to "teach the world ethics, to drag the rest of the world kicking and screaming to behave morally." http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/96037069.html Apparently, some Jews really believe this.

Second, but the larger zionist agenda is to establish Jews as a hegemonic if not global imperial power from a base in Israel, and they are using USA treasure, political and military power as its tool to achieve what are, ultimately, Jewish goals.

To be sure, US policymakers, elites, and tens of thousands of ordinary citizens willingly and/or unwittingly subscribe to a similar predatory and dominating agenda. But if (when?) Jewish zionists achieve their goals, US will be discarded like toilet paper.

It's useful to recognize that the early leaders of the zionist movement -- Herzl, Nordau, Pinsker and others -- recognized early on that Jews needed the support of a major power to achieve their goals, and solicited that support from the German kaiser, the Ottoman sultan, and the British.

When Chaim Weizmann's activities to gain British support were successful, the same zionist Jews who had earlier petitioned Germany and Ottoman turned violently against those same powers and brought about their destruction. Germany's destruction was maneuvered in short order; the destruction of the Ottoman empire successor states has taken longer.

Maybe those Arabs aren't so dumb after all.

EliteCommInc. , April 19, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@Svigor

there are plenty of interventionists on the press for democracy and "capitalism" as cause for stabilizing regions that are not Jews or all that active in Zionists policies.

The desire to regime change in North Korea and parts of Africa are not all that beneficial to Zionist ambitions. I am not all convinced that Israel is a democracy. But it's clear that neither Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan are going to raving democratic capitalist states – every. Muslim faith precludes such a system. even if said states did embrace democracy -- there is no evidence and would in all likelihood not reflect what exists in the US. Because what exists in the US is founded on a particular history and environment and inter-relational dynamics.

The grand narrative they advance would be attractive as policy even minus the existence of Israel.

-- Cutting off nonsense at the pass: I do think Israel has a right to exist. –

Patrick Lang , Website April 19, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

Ah, you want me to propagandize for your preferred positions. You want me to scream every day that the JEWS did it. You are supposed to be able to read between the lines and understand the truth of things. You are more of sa simpleton than I had thought. You should stay off my blog.

jilles dykstra , April 19, 2018 at 5:57 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

There was neither regime change nor unconditional surrender in Japan. Germany was destroyed, physically and politically. Indoctrination of the Germans with their guilt for two world wars, and the murder of six million jews, goes on to this day. But even this indoctrination is crumbling.

Many Germans do not see how the country they live in, that should just have a defensive army, cooperates in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Many Germans see how the poor jews who survived the holocaust treat the Palestinians. Germany now is going to buy Predators:

https://kenfm.de/keine-kampfdrohnen/

Trans 'No drones for battle'.

RobinG , April 19, 2018 at 6:06 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

Okay, Sachs has corpses in his closet. And yes, Dore is dopey. (Sachs has been on MSNBC many times. It was no mistake.) But, IMO, take gold where you find it . limited hangout or not.

If your adversary speaks some truth, that doesn't make it a lie. Plus, you're not going to get every angle covered n every clip. The fact that he called out US covert fomentation of regime-change in Syria makes this golden.

Here's the clip without Jimmy Dore's interruptions, only 5 min.

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs on Syria

Anon [673] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 6:23 pm GMT
If you split the difference between two extremes, you end up pleasing no one and being attacked by both sides. Democracy is a flower that smells sweet and ends up in the pipe of every crackpot loon in history. In this world, facts and reality matter. Ideology is the shortcut that retards use to move the masses towards easy solutions that make life hard.

Blood and religion form bonds. Ideas just make the stupid angry and the smart embrace theories and abandon reliable methods. New ideas can be beneficial or they can be fair, they rarely can be both. Without winners there are no losers. Unless you benefit from work, there is no incentive to do it.

There are no simple solutions. There are no complex problems. Problems can always be simplified by division and parsing. Solutions can only be simplified to avoid the hard facts and avoid actually solving them.

What has any of this have to do with the subject? These are the things you need to bring to the table.

Discussing this issue will lead to nothing but overly emotional hype and obfuscation. Using the above can stop the endless appeals to emotionalism that carries the masses away from facts.

Patrick Lang , Website April 19, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

I'll say to you what I say to others. I beat up the Zionists both here and in Israel all the time but I am not going to say that all Jews are responsible for the ills of the world. As for the neocons their agenda is much larger than just Zionism.

Randal , April 19, 2018 at 6:30 pm GMT
@English Outsider

I am still puzzled by the support given by our European and UK politicians to this destructive policy. Is it merely a matter of catching the crumbs from the neocon's table? Our politicians surely can't think they're exceptional too.

Well clearly the US's European satrapies don't share directly in the US updated Manifest Destiny idea, but the US sphere elites in general are fully indoctrinated in the universalist ideology of internationalist social-liberalism and "democracy"-uber-alles (where "democracy" – whether in Republican, constitutional monarchic or other form – is in reality a kind of managed gerrymander to keep the established and US-favoured elites safely in control and ensure "populists" are excluded by any means necessary), and sees itself as on a mission to promote the spread of US style liberal (managed) "democracy" throughout the world (except where it's currently inconvenient to push it too hard for reasons of temporary expedience, such as in places like Saudi Arabia). There might well be a psychological component akin to Stockholm Syndrome, whereby people like Blair, Macron etc see the power of the US and the US exceptionalist ideology over their countries, know they are subordinate to it, and seek to internalise a wider version of it for themselves so that they can tell themselves that when they are serving Washington's objectives and profiting handsomely thereby, they are actually doing it for their own noble ideals.

Then of course, human beings being human, there are also other self-serving motivations underlying the idealist pretext – collaboration for personal gain with the jewish/Israeli lobby that is hugely powerful in the UK and Europe as well as in the US, military-industrial types wanting to boost the status and budgets of the military, etc. These are the real motivations, as opposed to the legitimising pretext that is the supposedly noble ideal of American exceptionalism or internationalist social liberalism.

Lately the British regime's enthusiasm for the interventionist project seems to be greater even than that of the US regime, for instance.

Titus I , Website April 19, 2018 at 6:37 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

The American Empire is facing a historical junction: does become a mercenary putative force for Zionist Israel or Will the USA priorize its own NATIONAL interests over Israeli. The prize of becoming a Zionist surrogate will mean the progressive deterioration of the American empeirein the Middle East, and the world. America faces severe national debt, decaying infrastructure, and internal social fragmentation. On the other hand Israel is poised to become the ENERGY hub for the European, African, Asian economies,without Israeli OIL supply lines all those economies will be paralyzed. Furthermore American blind,almost irrational support for Israel will mean more dangerous terrorists attacks and more frequent..The Trump presidency is in fact a Neocon presidency, the democratic decision making (war) process is dead, and this Syrian war means that it doesn't matter whom iselected president ultimately AIPAC, Israel, make the final decisions.

annamaria , April 19, 2018 at 6:51 pm GMT
@RobinG

More from The Jimmy Dore Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=292&v=_O2TRzA2ezk

kemerd , April 19, 2018 at 7:06 pm GMT
I don't know if anyone outside US believes so called "theoretical background"of the neocons that they think US is the pinnacle of the human civilization that they want to export their model to the other places in the world, etc. This is so absurdly stupid is that it is hard to believe anyone would buy it. All of what they do just talks volumes about what they care for: money and power; the rest, as can be understood from their lousy "philosophy", are just details.

I also think that their affection to Israel is fake. People in the power positions do not have such dispositions. I am sure there is some genuine idiots among US political class who buys what they actually say but most of them just ride the tide while it is useful for them. I am sure that once Israel loses its usefulness for the ones who actually wield power inside US political class, Israel would also be trashed just like Arab countries they destroyed.

RobinG , April 19, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
@English Outsider

Don't assume US neocons are calling all the shots. It was Sarkozy (goaded by Zionist Bernard Henri Levy) took the lead to attack Libya. And at least some believe London is still the core of Imperialist aggression.

Yesterday, for the first time, a Russian general pierced this lie on RT when he stated that there was proof that the UK was behind the well-orchestrated and completely staged "gas attacks" in Douma.

Yes, you read that right, he said the UK. Not the US, not Israel, not Saudi Arabia, but the UK. Those of you familiar with my writing know that I am constantly pointing my finger at the City of London for the lies, deception, and wars which dominate the headlines of their propaganda rags."

Crown Bulldog Attacks Syria

https://hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/crown-bulldog-attacks-syria/

As fort the "[non] thinking of the great mass of people," since when does that matter?

annamaria , April 19, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
@English Outsider

"Is it merely a matter of catching the crumbs from the neocon's table? "

-- Correct. The current breed of opportunists operating without any kind of responsibility makes the international corps of political whores-in-charge. These politicians look at the Blairs (a $100 million fortune) and Cheney & Bush (both getting richer with every day) and they know that the opportunisms, however criminal, will be rewarded by the "deciders." The incompetent and sycophantic politicians in the EU/UK governments have zero regards for their citizenry. We can be absolutely sure that there are no idealists among the leading UK politicians in power.

To believe that American ruling class (which is heavily zionized) has any idealistic motivations instead of a rabid drive for money and power is an illusion. The majority of the US politicians are committed to the criminal enterprises, whether local or global, when the enterprises promise a gesheft, which is the only criterion.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 8:14 pm GMT
@Svigor

OK. I understand the basic thing you are saying in #69. I don't get your bit about HBD being the reason regime change won't work wrt Arabs.

WHY will regime change "not work w/ Arabs" ? Is it because Arab states have fewer and less complex political structures and institutions? That surely does not apply to Iran, but then Iran is not Arab (tho many Arabs are in the Iranian population. Thus, Iran is already a more complex culture than USA/Europe is willing to be).

I cannot buy the notion that Arabs as Arabs are biologically capable of lesser civilizational attainment -- different, maybe, but it takes an exceptionalist to claim that civilization A is superior to civilization B, for solely biological reasons.

Svigor , April 19, 2018 at 8:27 pm GMT
@RobinG

Reading the Wikipedia article on Timber Sycamore, I'm struck by the significance of Sachs' omission; TS is a US program, but the overall effort it's a part of is more of a Sunni Arab project than an American one. Saudi Arabia is providing more money and weapons, Jordan is hosting the effort, Qatar gives money, etc; it's a US-backed Sunni program.

I'm talking about the moral component; I think our Zionist interventionist policies are stupid, not in American interests, and really only serve Zionist interests. but it's not really "our" mess, as Sachs states, so much as a Sunni/Zionist mess.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Patrick Lang

hmmm.

Glad you made that distinction, between zionists and neocons.

Zionism is just about the most complex -ism on the planet.

Neocons are just what they say they are: Trotskyites in Beltway drag. Trotskyites dominated the Jerusalem Conference in 1979 when GWOT was birthed; G H W Bush did doula duty.

I wonder what the linkage is between Jabotinsky and Trotsky? Both are revolutionaries, both advocate violence. Jabotinsky picked up on that change in Jewish behavior from petitioning from a posture of subservience– shtadlones – to demanding, with arrogance; Netanyahu is his worthy acolyte.

Neocons have some genuine psychopaths among them -- the world would be a better place if an ice axe were wielded in Ledeen's vicinity.
It's consistent with what Ronen Bergman told Brian Williams http://www.nbcnews.com/video/rock-center/46318982#46318982
"Israel has long used assassination against its enemies, "hoping that by taking out individuals, they can alter, change the course of history,"

JerseyJeffersonian , April 19, 2018 at 9:44 pm GMT
@Svigor

Svigor,

It would be really nice if it were possible to "put this tired, tattered old straw man to bed", but it is not likely to happen. The radical Zionists immediately use criticism of Israel to conflate criticism of Zionism with anti-Semitism. This is made far easier for them by the confusion around "Jewishness" that is deliberately (and conveniently, for their purposes) cultivated; is being a Jew a racial thing, a religious thing, a cultural thing regardless of the individual Jew's adherence to and practice of the tenets of Judaism? This ambiguity opens the door for claims that criticisms of the excesses of radical Zionism are at root leveled against all Jews regardless of their actual beliefs, political behaviors, and their self-perception regarding their roles in the life of the nation. Of course, true anti-Semites do in fact hold all Jews responsible for the actions of rabid Zionists, so everybody "wins".

Except for real flesh and blood Jews, who are individuals with their own agency. My oldest friend is a Jew, I work with Jews, I make classical music with Jews. So I will never buy the blanket condemnation of Jews qua Jews. Do I wish that more American Jews would distance themselves from and be more critical of the "professional Jews" who are in leadership roles at radical Zionist organizations? Yes, but I have some sympathy for why this does not happen. As a historically disparaged minority, albeit with some reasons for that status, the reluctance is self-enforcing; there is a disincentive to talk smack on your "community" for fear of the ostracism, and reputational and career damage that might follow (there is no reasoning with one-issue fanatics, after all).

Look at how blacks who lodge criticism of the behaviors of some in their community make out. Not too well, even when the criticisms are justified, and the ills perpetuated by these criticized behaviors work to the detriment not only of individual blacks, but also to the perception of blacks in general in the wider society.

So I think that Col. Lang is justified in his refusal to tar all Jews with the sins and excesses of some portion of that community. This seems to me to be intellectually and morally correct. Certainly it serves to help put the criticisms of NeoConservatism out there while yet insulating him to a degree from the blanket charges of anti-Semitism. And indeed, the NeoCons are not strictly radical Zionists, and some among them have other motivations behind their actions.

Thirdeye , April 19, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
@English Outsider

Short answer, F,UK were the world's leading imperial powers before WWII and seek to leverage American military and financial power to restore some degree of imperial power. The Atlantic Charter and the UN Charter were bitter pills for the old empires. France sought to override the UN Charter by force in Vietnam and Algeria, but lacked the wherewithall. Britain, France, and Israel sought to override it by force in the 1956 Suez Crisis until Daddy Ike told them that it wasn't cool. The umbrella of American power is their best remaining means of re-establishing imperial power. It puts the onus on the US for violations of international law, but promises them some restoration of imperial power in MENA.

Looking at the parade of toads that have occupied the White House in recent years, I have more and more respect for Eisenhower's balls in the 1956 crisis. Such a move by an American President seems unimaginable today.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 10:31 pm GMT
Neocon-run Twitter took out Red Elephants account.

Twitter bans Red Elephants but lets CNN have many accounts. Twitter favors Official Lies of the Conspiratorial Deep State against Speculative Dissent of Free Thinkers. PC is War against ASK SPEECH. We are not supposed to ASK questions of the Globalist Power.

According to Rules of Political Correctness, ASK SPEECH is not FREE SPEECH. Don't you dare ASK Questions. Just accept the Answers provided by Ministry of Propaganda or MSM that colludes with Deep State of NSA, CIA, FBI, Wall Street, and Hollywood. PC says we should Ass-kiss than Ask Questions.

World is divided between Askingers and Ass-Kissers. Those who ask questions of the power and those who ass-kiss the power. Unsurprisingly, most people in power got there by ass-kissing and being ass-kissed. We must ASK WHY.

Thirdeye , April 19, 2018 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

"Making the world safe for democracy" was the sales pitch for preserving the F, UK empires long before there was Israel. That effort was driven largely by American Blue Blood bankers who had risky investments in the UK war effort. American Jews were suspected of loyalty to the Kaiser because they loathed the Russian Tsar.

bjondo , April 20, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
@RobinG

In addition to corpses in his closet, wonder how much looted Russian loot in his off-shore account(s)?

[Apr 19, 2018] Trump foreign policy differ little from bush and Obama

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

RobinG , April 19, 2018 at 2:14 am GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Hillary Mann Leverett, (looking very sharp), Michael Patrick Flanagan, Don DeBar.

CrossTalk on US Foreign Policy: Aggressive Posture

"It doesn't matter who the president is. It doesn't matter which party controls the White House. One can easily ask the following question: Is Trump's time in office serving George W. Bush's third term or Barack Obama's third term? The neocons are firmly in the saddle."

[Apr 19, 2018] Jews vs non-Jews in Trump administration

It is much better to view this issue in ideological terms as neocons and neoliberalas and remnant of paleoconservatives and News Dealers.
Notable quotes:
"... Jews are a powerful voice but they are, by and large, not in the decision-making seat. Why do you absolve Trump, Haley, Pence, Bolton, etc.? Maybe they are "brainwashed" by the Jews? Well maybe the Jews are "brainwashed" too? ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

CalDre , April 18, 2018 at 10:46 pm GMT

@Art

Today, America's Big Jews and Little Jews bear responsibility for this sad situation – end of story.

That is simply ignorant and racist. Most of the Senate is not Jews, the President is not a Jew, the Secretary of Defense is not a Jew, and the vast majority of general aren't Jews. Yet they are all going along with this "bomb Syria" thing, with a few exceptions – one of them being Bernie Sanders, a Jew.

Jews are a powerful voice but they are, by and large, not in the decision-making seat. Why do you absolve Trump, Haley, Pence, Bolton, etc.? Maybe they are "brainwashed" by the Jews? Well maybe the Jews are "brainwashed" too?

I don't see how you get to selectively blame one group and absolve others except via ignorant, counterproductive and stupid racism.

By the way, Jerry Brown is a huge advocate of open borders and a primary contributor to it. Is he a Jew too?

It's fair and honorable to point out the Jewish role in these affairs, but it is just as unfair and dishonorable to not only ignore, but try to bury, the non-Jewish role in these affairs.

I agree with "think peace" – but the non-Jews Trump, Pence, Ryan, Haley, Pompeo, etc. are anything but peaceful. I don't see any Jewish guns to their head, so they are 100% responsible for their own actions. Why do you excuse them? Hmmm?

[Apr 19, 2018] I was one of Jeff Sessions' biggest supporters, complained loudly when Trump wanted to fire him. Now I wish I hadn't.

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

anon [119] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 2:08 am GMT

The Zioncons have got Trump by the balls through their pitbull Robert Mueller and poodle Rod Rosenstein. I despise Alan Dershowitz as he is a major Zionist but I agree with him when he said Jeff Sessions needs to unrecuse himself, fire Mueller and Rosenstein. Trump's hands are tied. If he fires any of these 3 clowns, both the DNC and GOP will immediately try to impeach him. It's time for Jeff Sessions to grow a pair, unrecuse himself, fire the pitbull and the poodle, and start immediate investigation into Mueller, Rosenstein and their collusion with Clinton on Uranium One.

I was one of Jeff Sessions' biggest supporters, complained loudly when Trump wanted to fire him. Now I wish I hadn't. Trump was right and should've fired him. He's easily the weakest, most worthless AG. The biggest case is swirling around him threatening to kill off everything that Trump wanted to do, and he's doing absolutely nothing to help the man who hired him.

[Apr 19, 2018] Few Saudis and 9-11: Wolfowitz al Saud, Zelikow al Saud, Feith al Saud, Wurmsers al Saud, Libby al Saud, Zakheim al Saud, Chertoff al Saud. Just a very few.

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

Eric Zuesse , April 19, 2018 at 1:24 am GMT

@NoseytheDuke

According to Wikipedia's article on him, Larry Silverstein built 7 World Trade Center, then in January 2001 bought the entire WTC complex from the Port Authority of NY & NJ, then "After a protracted dispute with insurers over the amount of coverage available for rebuilding World Trade Center buildings 1, 2, 4 and 5, a series of court decisions determined that a maximum of $4.55 billion was payable and settlements were reached with the insurers in 2007.[21]" It says nothing about his receipt of funds from the collapse of #7, which was surely a controlled demolition that he ordered, so that he had to have known in advance and planned for the 9/11 attacks -- on the taller buildings, 1 & 2. But foreknowledge doesn't necessarily mean that he planned the 9/11 attacks, nor that he financed them -- far less that the Mossad did the attacks.

If the 19 fanatical Sunnis who did 9/11 did it, and some people (such as here) think that Israel financed them, or ordered them, then people can believe anything, but mere foreknowledge doesn't necessarily mean causation. All of the actual evidence, thus far released, indicates that the Sauds, working with George W. Bush, planned the attacks, but that Bush demanded deniability and therefore instructed Condoleezza Rice not to let George Tenet in during the final days to tell him the details so that action to prevent it would be able to be taken.

If you google just the three words (no quotation-marks) "zuesse sauds 9/11″ you can see the articles, which link through to the base evidence, all of which implicates the Sauds, and none of which implicates Israel (though my linked article on Israel as the hypothesis does discuss and demolish 'evidence' that Israel did it).

NoseytheDuke , April 19, 2018 at 12:29 am GMT
@Eric Zuesse

Sir, You are shredding your own credibility here. The more anyone looks into the lead up to 9/11 and the events following, the more one has to conclude that Israel was behind it. Sure, there were others who played minor roles but you can only see things as you say you do by selectively excluding certain incriminating facts because taken all together, Israel did it.

A cursory understanding of physics reveals the truth of the statement in that short video clip that if one building was wired for demolition, all three were. This was a large, costly and sophisticated undertaking so who had access? Who supervised the security of the buildings? How many of the names one comes across suddenly abandoned homes and businesses and returned to Israel after the event? Who was able to quash earlier, more accurate reports and organise the media chorus of the fake narrative in time for the evening news broadcasts? The list is long indeed, I have listed but a small fraction of indicators that Israel did indeed do it.

I look forward to your response.

bjondo , April 19, 2018 at 2:06 am GMT
@Eric Zuesse

Get serious.

You are an agent to deceive.

Bush demanded deniability

Did you make this up while on the toilet or while keyboarding your UNZ BS?

W was the one NOT in the loop. Too dumb to trust. The yehudi Saudis do what they are told.

The evidence implicating the Sauds would consist of lies. Like the 'evidence' implicating Assad to chemical attacks if such even occur.

Few Saudis and 9-11: Wolfowitz al Saud, Zelikow al Saud, Feith al Saud, Wurmsers al Saud, Libby al Saud, Zakheim al Saud, Chertoff al Saud. Just a very few.

[Apr 19, 2018] Sachs worked closely w/ Soros to plunder USSR/ FSU

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

SolontoCroesus , April 18, 2018 at 9:08 pm GMT

@Anon

UUUge mistake, Jimmy Dore; you should have done some homework before you elevated Jeffrey Sachs to truth-teller status. Spend a few minutes with The Saker -- William Engdah interview: http://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/ Sache is not trustworthy.

SolontoCroesus , April 18, 2018 at 9:31 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Sachs worked closely w/ Soros to plunder USSR/ FSU. His job now is to establish Jews/Israel/banker class, Deep State of which he's a part, and think tankers as absolutely innocent of any complicity in the destruction of Syria. He's most likely in it up to his eyeballs.

[Apr 19, 2018] They never planned to let "Harvey" survive to see an actual trial, because of the lack of evidence against him, and therefore the evidence of a high-level conspiracy would then be so obvious.

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

Paul Jolliffe , April 19, 2018 at 12:12 am GMT

@jilles dykstra

"Harvey" Oswald didn't shoot anyone -- his denial was perfectly plausible, and his murder at Ruby's hands was a desperate stopgap measure to shut him up before he started naming his handlers who had framed him. Badly.

They never planned to let "Harvey" survive to see an actual trial, because of the lack of evidence against him, and therefore the evidence of a high-level conspiracy would then be so obvious.

No trial, no test of the evidence against him.

"Harvey" was exactly what he claimed to be -- he was the patsy.

[Apr 19, 2018] Effectiveness of anti cruse missiles weapons: 47 of the 71 intercepts they claim were done by modern Pantsir and Buk systems that Syria purchased around 2010.

Notable quotes:
"... The Russians have clearly prepared for such an attack ever since the Shayrat strike the very powerful Russian radars in Syria are capable of tracking any flying object and the Syrian SAM batteries are networked into that system and are fed that radar data in real time ..."
"... As for the Pantsir yes this point defense system is the perfect tool to shoot down cruise missiles it is the successor of the Tor SAM system that was designed specifically to shoot down T-hawks ..."
"... The older SAMs did not perform badly according to the Russian MoD assessment the S125 is a 1950s era system that the Serbs used to down two F117s and an F16 much more difficult targets than a T-hawk ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

Zogby , April 18, 2018 at 7:45 pm GMT

In case people missed it, The Russian MOD published more detailed statistics about the attack which can be found here

http://tass.com/defense/1000148

If taken at face value, one detail that stands out is that the Russians' original boast that the missile attack was thwarted by "old Soviet-era air defense" is not true. 47 of the 71 intercepts they claim were done by modern Pantsir and Buk systems that Syria purchased around 2010. The older systems had noticeably worse performance than the modern systems.

The other interesting tidbit there is that the Russian General claims that "the survey of this and other facilities revealed neither this number of ammunition fragments nor the corresponding number of craters". In other words, as FB states above, that even though 25 missiles hypothetically got through in the attacks on Barzeh and Djaramani, the damage on the ground does not correspond to that many missiles.

FB , April 18, 2018 at 1:36 pm GMT

@The Scalpel

' I don't believe that "the fix was in" because the runways of major military airports were targeted. There was no guarantee that the Pantsir and Buk's would be as effective as they were. I don't see Putin happily agreeing to have those airport runways put out of commission. a bit of deconfliction, yes, a total charade, no '

I agree with this on the basis of sound logic. There is no way that we can know the facts about what kind of communuication and coordination [if any] took place behind the scenes. But we have a lot of inconsistencies in the US narrative first we were told that eight targets were going to be hit then, post facto, it was just three.

One of the sites the Barzeh research center in Damascus area was supposedly hit 76 times this on an area of about one acre [half a hectare...5,000 square meters]. Looking at high quality pictures of the site after the attack it is clear that adjacent buildings only meters from the targeted site are undamaged as are light poles surrounding the whole complex as well as stands of pine trees again only meters away

The idea that 76 450kg high explosive warheads detonated here is visibly absurd and is quite easy to analyze technically using accepted and authoritative engineering methods for explosive effects

As I have done on my comment on another thread

I consider it proven beyond doubt that there is no chance whatsoever that 76 missiles hit that site I doubt it would even be one tenth of that

And it is also logical to ask why would you even launch 76 missiles on a one acre complex that has three buildings a single T-hawk can take out a building or even a ship as seen on the pentagon show off video below

The answer is obvious of course no military professional would send 76 missiles on one small target that is simply bullshit

So that brings us to the next logical question if they did not send 76 missiles at Barzeh where did they go ?

Well that's what makes the story of airfields targeted but the missiles intercepted believable

Let's remember we are dealing with Proven Liars here everybody knows that recetly Phil Giraldi had an article here titled 'Liars Lying About Everything '

Not to mention that Robert Fisk has now blown the Douma 'chemical attack' story out of the water

Philip Owen , Website April 18, 2018 at 3:29 pm GMT
The few pictures I've seen of interception attempts were all too high in the sky to be targetting a TLAM or a Storm Shadow which are ground following missiles. They need to fly high enough to avoid power lines but that's it. (Apparently in Iraq 1, hitting power lines was the main mechanism by which they and most lost US Marine Corps helicopters were destroyed ).
exiled off mainstreet , April 18, 2018 at 4:39 pm GMT
The professional military people knew what was at stake in limiting the damage engendered by the war crime engaged in to placate the neocon power structure. Since armageddon was at stake, even according to Mattis's own statements, he apparently was able to rein Trump in to some degree, according to this contribution and more clearly from some other reports. We now also have increasing proof that the "chemical weapons" thing was a provocation, though the yankee regime's worldwide propaganda wurlitzer keeps playing the same nihilist song. I agree with others who have concluded that if Mattis is eliminated, that is when we will have to worry. Presumably, for now, since the normal secrecy is combined with a laudable profound survival instinct, the military will keep a lid on any investigations this generates. If not, as Whitney has indicated, we are in deep shit.
FB , April 18, 2018 at 4:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Quick question Tampon Phil

What exactly do you know about the flight characteristics of cruise missiles ?

Over on the other thread you first tried to argue that the Barzeh site I discussed in my technical analysis was not the site of the missile strike

Then when I provided a sat image released by the pentagon and published in newspapers around the world confirming definitively that the site I analyzed in my original comment was indeed the site of the missile strike you said this

' I didn't say it was a fake picture. I said it was a demolition site. The same site being demolished as a conjecture. The best alternative at the moment is that the payloads were not 450 kg '

I then pointed out to you the physical fact of flight that removing 450 kg from the nose of a winged cruise missile would shift its center of gravity in the aft direction and make the missile unflyable

Not being able to argue with the laws of physics you then suggested that the 450 kg warhead was replaced by an equal weight with less explosive power since we had already established that the lack of damage to nearby structures was inconsistent with 76 claimed T-hawk hits on that small site

At which point I mentioned that your statements were on a level with the Prince Charles infamous 'tampon' phone call hence your new nickname Tampon Phil

Now here you are again just asking for more punishment

Ok as a start you may wish to review my technical discussion of the T-hawk flight characteristics on the 800 lb Gorilla thread

You may also wish to consult a topographical map of Syria to see some of the mountains that these cruise missiles would have to fly over to reach those inland targets

You will note the north to south mountain chain along the coast including the Anti-Lebanese Mountains that rise to 10,000 ft

My discussion of the T-hawk technical characteristics in that link above includes such crucial parameter as wing loading and thrust to weight ratio which determine this flight vehicle's climb rate and turn rate

' The few pictures I've seen of interception attempts were all too high in the sky to be targetting a TLAM or a Storm Shadow which are ground following missiles.

They need to fly high enough to avoid power lines but that's it '

And how do they get over those mountains Tampon Phil ?

Are they ground following there too ?

And also please let us know the scaling method you used to determine the height of those missiles from photos that would be helpful

FB , April 18, 2018 at 10:49 pm GMT
@Zogby

Thanks for the Tass article link

Yes there is no question that the US would have targeted Syrian airfields apparently a few did get through at one airfield but the others were fully rejected

Laymen who know nothing about aircraft or missiles do not understand the complexities and detail involved they simply accept the brochure 'information' presented on wikipedia and such about the capabilities of such flight vehicles

This does not shed any light on a fascinating and important subject important because now we have had some air combat between US and Nato airpower [Ship, sub and air launched cruise missiles vs. Russian air defenses]

Clearly the Russians won there was not a single death on the Syrian side the US did destroy a few buildings most notably the Barzeh research center in the Damascus area

We can tell the Russians won this round because the US is claiming completely ridiculous stuff that they launched 76 T-hawks with a combined TNT tonnage of nearly 40 tons yet little pine shrubs standing 20 feet away are completely intact

I mean how stupid ?

Clearly the US is claiming such a high number of attacks on the three buildings that they did hit because they failed to hit those airfields and we know that they failed to hit those airfields because if they did we would have satellite imagery being boastfully released

You can tell as much by the information that is withheld as you can by the information they give out

Now for some basic technical facts cruise missiles are not hard to shoot down once they are spotted but the hard part is spotting them because they are small and thus do not bounce back strong radar reflections

They can fly close to terrain although this is not always the case as I have explained previously and depends on the ingress route and the type of terrain along that flight path ie if it is required to fly over mountainous terrain it must fly quite high

In 1999 the Serbs shot down a number T-hawks with their 1950s era Soviet equipment here is the remains of one T-hawk airframe in the Belgrade Aviation Museum

Once spotted on radar the T-hawks and similar subsonic cruise missiles are sitting ducks they have no means of evading missile shots either from an air to air missile launched from a fighter jet or a surface to air missile launched from an air defense battery

A fighter jet relies on a radar warning receiver to alert the crew that it has been targeted by a missile shot and the crew can instantly commence evasive maneuver which is basically going into a steep banked turn so as to break radar lock and evade the missile shot

Cruise missiles have no such RWR and it would be pointless to equipment with such since they have very poor turning performance

This is due to their very high wing loading which is the ratio of wing area to aircraft weight a T-hawk weighs about 3,000 lb but has a wing area of only about 10 square feet for a wing loading of 300 lb/ft^2

That is about three times as high as a passenger jet's wing loading and as much as five times higher than a fighter jet

Think of wing loading and how it relates to maneuverability by considering a person carrying a backpack if that person is running and they need to change course having that extra weight on their back will not let them zigzag like a runner carrying no weight

The same is true for climb performance think of carrying 100 lb in your backpack and climbing up a set of stairs

The physical laws of flight performance are based on Newtonian Mechanics and cannot be argued with

The thrust to weight ratio of a cruise missile is about comparable to that of a passenger jet the thrust of the T-hawks Williams turbofan engine is about 700 lb against a weight of 3,000 lb that is less than 0.25 thrust to weight

A powerful fighter like an F15 will have a thrust to weight ratio of close to unity or even above ie it's engine thrust is actually equal to or greater than its weight and the airplane can thus climb straight up like a rocket

So the key in defending against subsonic cruise missiles which fly at about the same speed as passenger jet, about 500 mph [800 km/hr] is to pick them up on radar

The Russians have clearly prepared for such an attack ever since the Shayrat strike the very powerful Russian radars in Syria are capable of tracking any flying object and the Syrian SAM batteries are networked into that system and are fed that radar data in real time

We also saw in some of those missile intercept videos near the Damascus airport that Syrian jets were taking off and landing this is because the jets would use their onboard radar to find the cruise missiles and data link that info back to the SAM batteries

A fighter is easily capable of taking down a cruise missile with an AA shot also but this all comes down to pilot skill and training something which the SyAAF may not be dealing with on a regular basis considering their focus on the fight against ground targets in Jihadist areas

As for the Pantsir yes this point defense system is the perfect tool to shoot down cruise missiles it is the successor of the Tor SAM system that was designed specifically to shoot down T-hawks

The older SAMs did not perform badly according to the Russian MoD assessment the S125 is a 1950s era system that the Serbs used to down two F117s and an F16 much more difficult targets than a T-hawk

The S200 is a huge missile with a 350 km range exceeded only by the latest S400 long range missile introduced into service only a couple of years ago

It flies extremely fast 2,500 m/s which is about Mach 8 it is even faster than the new S400 missiles which fly at 2,000 m/s by comparison the USN Raytheon SM6 air defense missile used on Aegis missile ships flies only at M3.5 about 1,000 m/s

The high speed of the S200 is actually its disadvantage against a slow moving target like a cruise missile the laws of physics tell us that the faster the vehicle is flying, the larger its turn radius will be thus the big S200 is not going to do well against cruise missiles this is not surprising

Overall the Russian MoD version of events is certainly way more credible than the US version which is full of holes

[Apr 19, 2018] Trump's Missile Fiasco: Did the Pentagon collaborate with Moscow on which targets to hit? by Mike Whitney

Looks like it was all about Turkey. "Turkey seems to me to be the swing state here. You cannot isolate Russia without Turkey. Not only do they uncork themselves form the Black Sea , there will be no NATO fodder with casualties that no one cares about. Turkey is a big chunk of NATO. This is to sy nothing about trade. Sanction sound nice and dandy in the US, but in Turkey it wrecks their economy."
Notable quotes:
"... Suffice it to say, that the information from these US-funded organizations is invariably unreliable. Their sole task is to create a justification for more carnage. ..."
"... In fact, the appointments of warhawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to the national security team, suggests that Trump may be planning a major escalation in the near future. The president has aligned himself with a Zionist right-wing fringe who see the conflict as a proxy-war with Iran that must be won in order to establish US-Israeli regional hegemony and maintain a stranglehold on vital resources and pipeline corridors. Trump's missile attack is just a minor skirmish in that much larger war. ..."
"... I am a card carrying deplorable. I prefer Trump to Mueller. But I can no longer defend Trump. He is a Zionist first and an American second. ..."
"... I don't believe that "the fix was in" because the runways of major military airports were targeted. There was no guarantee that the Pantsir and Buk's would be as effective as they were. ..."
"... If Trump gets in trouble for a fake missile attack in response to a fake chemical weapons attack that made use of non-existent WMD, then what can I say? ..."
"... Regardless of Trump's ignorance, who still believes in presidents having real power by status of function alone, Obama never mattered neither, the pot-shots were a worthy experiment on how to apply global rule, by global consensus ..."
"... "Or perhaps we should judge Trump by the company he keeps. Bolton in Washington and Israel/Saudi Arabia in the MENA. The scum of the earth." ..."
"... Yes, I base my opinion of Trump's loyalties on exactly that. It started with his appointment of Nikki Haley and all the Trumpeteers on ZH chanting "keep your friends close and your enemies closer". Just seeing the way his choices of neocons and Goldman Sachs thieves for his inner circle were being defended by people who claimed to have voted for him kept me from defending Trump. ..."
"... Turkey seems to me to be the swing state here. You cannot isolate Russia without Turkey. Not only do they uncork themselves form the Black Sea , there will be no NATO fodder with casualties that no one cares about. Turkey is a big chunk of NATO. This is to sy nothing about trade. Sanction sound nice and dandy in the US, but in Turkey it wrecks their economy. ..."
"... Seems to me that Trump is trying to walk a tightrope here he likely knows the 'chemical' attack is a false flag and his response was designed to appease the zios without actually causing much damage ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

In short, the attacks accomplished nothing except, perhaps, to temporarily mollify the warmongering western media and their bloodthirsty puppetmasters in the foreign policy establishment.

The fact that Trump felt compelled to launch the attacks before the chemical weapons inspectors from the OPCW had even touched down in Damascus, shows that Washington is not interested in providing justifications for its criminal aggression. Similar to claims of Russia hacking the 2016 US elections or the alleged use of toxic nerve agent in the Skripal incident, the case against Syrian President Bashar al Assad was based on the thin gruel of uncorroborated allegations by jihadist-linked organizations on the ground whose long history of staging provocative incidents to foment a crisis is part of the public record. We're not going to waste our time on that nonsense here. Suffice it to say, that the information from these US-funded organizations is invariably unreliable. Their sole task is to create a justification for more carnage.

... ... ...

Some readers will remember that Trump tacitly revealed his motivation for the attacks in a tweat he delivered just days before the incident. Here's what he said on April 11:

"Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!" The Real Donald Trump

What Trump is saying is that his real enemy is Mueller not Putin. It's Mueller, the bigwig Dems and the media that are fomenting this Russphobic hysteria and trying to destroy Trump. And that's what precipitated the 'wag the dog' scenario that unfolded on April 14th. Trump was trying to get his enemies off his back by incinerating a few empty buildings in Syria. And, it almost worked, but now information is beginning to leak-out that could be damaging to both Trump and his chief lieutenants.

... ... ...

...how does one explain this tidbit from RT:

"Before we took the action, the United States communicated with the Russian Federation to reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties," (US Ambassador to Russia) Jon Huntsman said, claiming that "all the targets were linked with the Assad regime's illegal chemical weapons program."

The US ambassador to Russia said that the US strikes were coordinated with Russia to avoid a great power confrontation." (RT)

Military analyst Publius Tacitus is even more explicit in a post at Colonel Pat Lang's website, Sic Semper Tyrannis. He says:

"Russia was told where we were going to strike. Russia in turn warned the Syrians. Both the Syrians and the Russians evacuated key personnel and equipment from the target sites. Any claim by the United States that we caused devastating damage or destroyed essential capabilities is total fantasy." (Trump's big Flop in Syria", Publius Tacitus, Sic semper Tyrannis)

... ... ...

In any event, we can see that the April 14 missile attacks were largely a symbolic muscle-flexing exercise that was aimed at pacifying Trump's domestic rivals rather than punishing Assad for crimes he never committed. (It is worth mentioning that there have been many credible reports that the US used banned substances in its siege of Raqqa last year.) The fact that Putin limited his response to a perfunctory denunciation, suggests that Trump achieved his objectives. (In other words, he avoided WW3) Here's part of what Putin said:

"Russia condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack against Syria, where Russian military personnel are assisting the legitimate government in its counterterrorism efforts.

Through its actions, the US makes the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria even worse and brings suffering to civilians. In fact, the US panders to the terrorists who have been tormenting the Syrian people for seven years, leading to a wave of refugees fleeing this country and the region.

The current escalation around Syria is destructive for the entire system of international relations." (Kremlin, RU)

Putin is right. Washington's support for the Sunni extremists in Syria has prolonged the war and turned the country into a smoldering wastelands. Unfortunately, it does not look like the US is going to throw in the towel anytime soon. In fact, the appointments of warhawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to the national security team, suggests that Trump may be planning a major escalation in the near future. The president has aligned himself with a Zionist right-wing fringe who see the conflict as a proxy-war with Iran that must be won in order to establish US-Israeli regional hegemony and maintain a stranglehold on vital resources and pipeline corridors. Trump's missile attack is just a minor skirmish in that much larger war.


reiner Tor , April 17, 2018 at 2:03 pm GMT

I'd find it scary if it turned out that Dunford had to defy orders to avoid WW3. It'd confirm that Trump was actually insane.
WorkingClass , April 17, 2018 at 2:38 pm GMT
"What Trump is saying is that his real enemy is Mueller not Putin."

What the failure to withdraw from Syria is saying is that Mueller is Commander In Chief.

Or perhaps we should judge Trump by the company he keeps. Bolton in Washington and Israel/Saudi Arabia in the MENA. The scum of the earth.

I am a card carrying deplorable. I prefer Trump to Mueller. But I can no longer defend Trump. He is a Zionist first and an American second.

Dan Hayes , April 18, 2018 at 4:35 am GMT
Mike Whitney:

Prof Emeritus Steve Cohen essentially concurs with your analysis. Tonight Cohen expressed concern that the national drumbeat against Trump essentially checkmates any efforts to repair US-Russian relations.

As an aside, UR readers are referred to Robert Fisk's very recent report in the UK Independent that the purported Syrian gas attack actually arose from artillery-induced asphyxiation in underground tunnels.

The Scalpel , Website April 18, 2018 at 5:56 am GMT
I don't believe that "the fix was in" because the runways of major military airports were targeted. There was no guarantee that the Pantsir and Buk's would be as effective as they were. I don't see Putin happily agreeing to have those airport runways put out of commission. a bit of deconfliction, yes, a total charade, no. This could have quite easily escalated
jilles dykstra , April 18, 2018 at 6:58 am GMT
Why fiasco ? The effectiveness of anything can only be judged by knowing what the objective was. Those who want Syria, or/and Assad attacked, most of them, have the idea that something was done. Difficult for USA propaganda media to state that Trump did nothing.

Then there now is the fact that Syrian systems are quite capable of resisting missile attacks. Possibly Israel will think twice before launching another attack. So in my opinion, what Trump did is possibly a great success.

Seamus Padraig , April 18, 2018 at 7:50 am GMT
If Trump gets in trouble for a fake missile attack in response to a fake chemical weapons attack that made use of non-existent WMD, then what can I say? It's really Trump himself more than the neocons who's to blame. His refusal to grow a pair and stand up to Washington will ultimately be his downfall.

What Trump is saying is that his real enemy is Mueller not Putin. It's Mueller, the bigwig Dems and the media that are fomenting this Russphobic hysteria and trying to destroy Trump. And that's what precipitated the 'wag the dog' scenario that unfolded on April 14th.

It's long past time for Trump to fire Mueller. The fake 'RussiaGate' investigation is over and didn't find anything actionable. How much longer is Trump going to allow this little fishing expedition to go on?

Trump was trying to get his enemies off his back by incinerating a few empty buildings in Syria. And, it almost worked, but now information is beginning to leak-out that could be damaging to both Trump and his chief lieutenants.

As a candidate, Trump never hesitated to call out the BS in DC. But if, as president, he goes along with this kabuki-theater, then he deserves what he gets.

Realist , April 18, 2018 at 8:55 am GMT
@reiner Tor

I'd find it scary if it turned out that Dunford had to defy orders to avoid WW3. It'd confirm that Trump was actually insane.

I don't know about insane but he is certainly a feckless, nutless POS.

m___ , April 18, 2018 at 11:35 am GMT
Regardless of Trump's ignorance, who still believes in presidents having real power by status of function alone, Obama never mattered neither, the pot-shots were a worthy experiment on how to apply global rule, by global consensus. Next to it, Gaza comes to mind, even the South African government of "natives" see the potential for Boers containment as inspired by Gaza.

Pot-shots, latter Russia moves, Chinese containment attitudes:

By experimenting, science progresses, the science of governing, the size of experiments, containment, all these goodies that matter and can make for advancements in efficiently, ruling the human mess into survival. Building data, in a few years, resulting into something of predictability in a global context, over longer periods of time. More of this dipping into the chest of tools.

The element to be accented: local experiments, global intent.

Twodees Partain , April 18, 2018 at 12:10 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

"Or perhaps we should judge Trump by the company he keeps. Bolton in Washington and Israel/Saudi Arabia in the MENA. The scum of the earth."

Yes, I base my opinion of Trump's loyalties on exactly that. It started with his appointment of Nikki Haley and all the Trumpeteers on ZH chanting "keep your friends close and your enemies closer". Just seeing the way his choices of neocons and Goldman Sachs thieves for his inner circle were being defended by people who claimed to have voted for him kept me from defending Trump.

I figured that he was getting support from a pool of neocons and that made him one of them.

DESERT FOX , April 18, 2018 at 12:42 pm GMT
The missile attacks confirmed Israels control over the U.S. gov which was proven by the fact that Israel did 911 and got away with killing some 3000 Americans. Israel and her ziocons control the U.S. gov lock stock and gun barrel and are destroying America.

Assad has never used gas attacks on the Syrian people , these attacks were perpetrated by the CIA and the MOSSAD and MI6 and NATOs Operation Gladio, these people are satanist war mongers straight from HELL.

God bless Assad and Syria and Putin and Russia for standing against these satanic forces that are HELL bent on destroying Syria.

Carroll Price , April 18, 2018 at 3:05 pm GMT
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American people believe is false." CIA director William Casey (CIA director, 1981-1987)

gwynedd1 , April 18, 2018 at 4:51 pm GMT

@WorkingClass

Turkey seems to me to be the swing state here. You cannot isolate Russia without Turkey. Not only do they uncork themselves form the Black Sea , there will be no NATO fodder with casualties that no one cares about. Turkey is a big chunk of NATO. This is to sy nothing about trade. Sanction sound nice and dandy in the US, but in Turkey it wrecks their economy.

gda , April 18, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

What a bunch of shite. It just shows that Mike Whitney and his fans have no idea of what is actually going on behind the scenes, and continue to glom on to the MSM shrieks of Mueller and Russia, Russia, Russia.

If you believe this had anything whatsoever to do with Mueller then you're a chump and clearly don't even deserve to be enlightened. I would suggest turning off the CNN, but you're already infected.

Mueller has been cock-blocked and Trump is in command. The revelations to come from the IG Report and more are going to be delicious. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

gda , April 18, 2018 at 6:03 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Sorry mate, Trump Derangement Syndrome seems to have taken over your brain. Turn off the CNN and take the red pill.

gda , April 18, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT
@FB

Robert Fisk? Seriously? LOL

anonymous [353] Disclaimer , April 18, 2018 at 6:11 pm GMT
The point was to send a message to Assad that the US and it's allies are able and willing to take action should he try to cross the red line drawn around Saudi Arabia. Once the war winds down and the Syrian state starts regrouping and rebuilding there's naturally going to be a payback time against the regional actors who poured so many resources into trying to demolish the Syrian state. This means Saudi Arabia which is vulnerable in a number of ways. SA is a huge customer and spends billions in the US and allied countries and is thus under the US umbrella of protection as a valuable ally. There's bound to be a lot of nervousness in Riyadh right now so the US must demonstrate a willingness to act militarily to them.
gda , April 18, 2018 at 6:16 pm GMT
@Realist

So he's brought NATO to the table regarding funding, is about to solve the greatest crisis/threat to the world by bringing NK to the table re; Denuclearization, and has plans to solve the ME situation (which you clearly know nothing about) using the GCC.

Yet he's a feckless, nutless POS.

You seem to be somewhat lacking in judgement. Beyond redemption with your TDS. A crazed loon.

Did you miss the first part of the IG's report? Do you realize what's to come? Nah, it's all Russia, Russia, Russia nonsense with your ilk.

Keep it up – you keep us amused with your ignorant thrashing about.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , April 18, 2018 at 7:46 pm GMT
Redemption of Sachs?
Herald , April 18, 2018 at 7:48 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

You raise points of doubt and effectively deal with them yourself. Putin would have been very unlikely to have been involved in any detailed negotiations over targets. These would have been dealt with by his military commanders. If airfields were targeted then it would appear details were indeed known to the Syrian defenders. This goes some of the way to explain the abysmal success rate of the US missiles in this fiasco as Mike Whitney and many others rightly call it. So a hoax it certainly was and one to compare with the hoax gas attack in Eastern Ghouta.

Moi , April 18, 2018 at 9:14 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Trump is in the pockets of the Zionists, and has become a Zionist because the one thing he understands is which side his bread is buttered on. To make sense of anything we do in the ME, you only need to ask one question: "What does Israel want."

Carroll Price , April 18, 2018 at 9:29 pm GMT
@Sean

It just seems like a very dangerous ploy for a meaningless reward (the natural resources Syria and strategic importance of Syria are very modest).

Maybe true, except for the fact that Syria, under Assad's leadership serves as a convenient land route over which sophisticated weapons produced in Iran are delivered to Hezbollah defense forces in Lebanon. In my opinion, this is the primary reason behind current US and Israeli efforts being made to destroy Assad. The bottom line is that Israel has been attacking it's weak neighbors for such a long time, until they simply find it impossible to live with the reality of being unable to invade Lebanon on the slightest pretext. In addition and more ominous, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Rouhani has publically stated that Hezbollah defense forces may eventually extend their protection to the Palestinian people held captive in the Gaza Strip

Sowhat , April 18, 2018 at 9:38 pm GMT
This is what tomfoolery looks like- when "I love mah Generals" and you allow them to "lead the way."
At the same time we have a "three-pete" of the absolutely idiotic accusations that Assad used chem-WMDs on his own civilians. Everyone that uses the internet can ferret out the truth. This isn't ten years ago. This is 2018. Doesn't Intel realize how immature they appear? I'm not only mad as hell, I'm SO disappointed in just how stupid the Government of the United States appears to anyone with half a brain.
I'm ashamed of the Country I thought I loved.
GourmetDan , April 18, 2018 at 9:48 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

I am a card carrying deplorable. I prefer Trump to Mueller. But I can no longer defend Trump. He is a Zionist first and an American second.

Seems to me that Trump is trying to walk a tightrope here he likely knows the 'chemical' attack is a false flag and his response was designed to appease the zios without actually causing much damage

KA , April 19, 2018 at 1:53 am GMT
Iran doesn't want to escalate the situation and give Trump any leverage on Iran deal. Iran wants to deprive any moral political or legal supports from EU to USA on this. Trump pulls out. Rest remains same. This will give Iran moral political and legal authorities to pursue its nuclear program with China and Russia . This will have domino effects on other areas of these 3 countries – how to conduct business internationally.

So a choreographed coordinated attack works for Iran. Trump is happy. His base angry. His enemies can't go after him for few hours or days . Mad madam prostitute Nick Halley has to be soothed by Kudlow telling her she was not a demented rat.

anon [119] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 2:16 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Why are many commenters so excited? Everything is appropriate: fake missile strike in response to fake chemical weapons use.

That's a good way to put it. Just wish Trump had exercised more restraint in his tweet, he should not have called Assad a "monster". The real monsters are right here in the US, the Israel Lobby and the Deep State led by Rod Rosenstein the fucking weasel, and the biggest monster of them all is right there in the White House with him, Mike Pence, the one who hired Rosenstein, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton. Pence the Ziocon has been working hard to subvert Trump since Day 1. He wants to be president.

[Apr 19, 2018] Merkel is a CIA asset. She has skeletons in her closet from her time in East Germany, and her meteoric rise to power was clearly engineered by a third party she herself lacked both the experience and the power base within the party for doing it herself

Judging from German press, Germany really looks like a US colony, not even vassal state.
Notable quotes:
"... She was promoted over Kohl's natural successor, Schaeuble, who was discredited using comparatively trifling allegations of accepting improper donations (aka bribes) on behalf of the party. ..."
"... Merkel has betrayed German interests at every turn, most blatantly in the context of the Greek debt fiasco and the refugee fake crisis. She goes along with imposing sanctions on Russia, which hurts export-oriented Germany like no other Western country. ..."
"... Merkel's selection as chancellor does not explain why German electorate keep electing her party as majority, which then is in the position to name her as chancellor. German people have been lobotomized and neutered after decades of Soros-Neocon brainwashing. ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

WorkingClass , April 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT

The most interesting aspect of this false response to a false flag attack is the non participation by Germany. Turkey has one foot in both camps. Germany will be next to turn. Time is working against Imperial Washington.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 5:50 pm GMT

@WorkingClass

German expat here.

Merkel is a CIA asset. She has skeletons in her closet from her time in East Germany, and her meteoric rise to power was clearly engineered by a third party -- she herself lacked both the experience and the power base within the party for doing it herself. She was promoted over Kohl's natural successor, Schaeuble, who was discredited using comparatively trifling allegations of accepting improper donations (aka bribes) on behalf of the party.

Merkel has betrayed German interests at every turn, most blatantly in the context of the Greek debt fiasco and the refugee fake crisis. She goes along with imposing sanctions on Russia, which hurts export-oriented Germany like no other Western country. At the same time, the "ultra-right" (i.e. common sense) party "Alternative fuer Deutschland" is forever mired in ridiculous infighting, which regularly escalates just ahead of elections -- funny how that is. Must be those meddling Russians.

Long story short, hell will freeze over before Merkel decides herself what is for breakfast, never mind for policy. I wish we could clone Putin and import him.

Avery , April 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm GMT
@Mike P

Merkel's selection as chancellor does not explain why German electorate keep electing her party as majority, which then is in the position to name her as chancellor. German people have been lobotomized and neutered after decades of Soros-Neocon brainwashing.

There is no other explanation for people who are committing slow self-extermination as a distinct ethnos. Same with the French electorate: they had a chance to elect a true French patriot and instead chose another globalist weirdo poodle.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 7:49 pm GMT
@Avery

Merkel's party has no majority – actually her party's share of the vote is at historic lows with less than one third (traditionally it was 45-50%). She has moved that formerly conservative party to the left by co-opting green and welfare agendas of the competing parties. The other formerly strong party, the Social Democrats, have been reduced to a status of auxiliaries in an eternal "grand coalition". In spite of infighting, the new "right-wing" AfD came in third in the last elections.

But of course, as you say, the people's failure to get rid of her is due in large measure to relentless media brainwashing, they swallow the refugee nonsense because it is subliminally suggested that it atones for the "holocaust" etc. I don't read a single German newspaper anymore, the manure is just too depressing.

Sean , April 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Mike P

Militarily subsidised by Nato, Germany spends next to nothing on its own defence and is keeping wages down even more than usual by importing immigrants, thereby aiding its deindustrialising of the rest of the EU. Russia is declining in national power compared to Germany by getting into silly pissing contests with America. Adolf Hitler always said it would be necessary to sacrifice millions of Germans to make Germany Great. He would approve of Merkel.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 9:47 pm GMT
@Sean

What keeps German wages down, in real terms, is the Euro, not the migrants.

You are correct on the neglect of the armed forces. I have griped about it often, but I have recently changed my tune. If the forces were indeed up to snuff, this would only cause the U.S. to "ask" for their deployment in their many endless idiotic wars. Letting the troops degrade to some sort of war museum on wheels is a sly way of getting out of that – can't deploy in the short term, sorry, no spark plugs, but will be more than happy to go along for the next war so I now see this as one of the few things Merkel got right.

[Apr 19, 2018] Theresa May ties with military-industrial complex

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

anon [107] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 1:47 am GMT

@S. N.

UK PM's husband's Capital Group is largest shareholder in BAE, shares soar since Syrian airstrikes: https://www.rt.com/uk/424392-may-husbands-capital-group/

"Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for a company that is the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since the recent airstrikes in Syria.
The company, Capital Group, is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin -- a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week. . . ."

h/t http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/04/real-reporting-on-syria-by-publius-tacitus.html

annamaria , April 19, 2018 at 2:14 am GMT
@Philip Owen

We have got it: Philip Owen believes religiously in the words of Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and Gavin Willaimson. And, of course, Blair is a paragon of honesty for Philip Owen.

What are you doing here, on the Unz Review? -- This is not a ziocon stink-tank source of (dis)information, and this is not the ziocons-controlled MSM's presstitutes' haven.

You make yourself ridiculous by parroting the MSM "wisdom." Your frustration over the impending defeat of "moderate" terrorists in Syria affects your reason and amplifies your rabid hatred of Russia. Don't expect any sympathy for your "victimhood" on this site.

This is the reality: "Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack Reveals $70 Million Pentagon Program at Porton Down," by Dilyana Gaytandzhieva – https://southfront.org/salisbury-nerve-agent-attack-reveals-70-million-pentagon-program-porton/

"Porton Down is just one of the Pentagon-funded military laboratories in 25 countries across the world, where the US Army produces and tests man-made viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct violation of the UN convention . These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program– Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.
The Pentagon-funded military facilities are not under the direct control of the host state as the US military and civilian personnel is working under diplomatic cover. The local governments are prohibited from public disclosure of sensitive information about the foreign military program running on their own territory."
– All statements in this article are sourced, unlike the pronouncement of the miserable puppets Blair, May, Johnson, and Willaimson.

[Apr 19, 2018] You forgot the man of exemplary truthfulness: Colin Powell with his vial at the UN. That became a meme.

Notable quotes:
"... You forgot the man of exemplary truthfulness: Colin Powell with his vial at the UN. That became a meme. ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , April 19, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT

Why are many commenters so excited? Everything is appropriate: fake missile strike in response to fake chemical weapons use.
AnonFromTN , April 19, 2018 at 1:31 am GMT
@FB

You forgot the man of exemplary truthfulness: Colin Powell with his vial at the UN. That became a meme.

[Apr 19, 2018] Trump is a typical business tycoon: a clueless moron. Pence is just a weasel

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , April 19, 2018 at 3:09 am GMT

@anon

Trump is a typical business tycoon: a clueless moron. Pence is just a weasel. Weasels are carnivores, but small ones: sometimes they eat, sometimes they get eaten. I hope Pence gets eaten.

[Apr 19, 2018] New Trump reality show: A fake response to a fake gas attack with fake WMDs

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

m.a. kaiser , April 18, 2018 at 9:20 pm GMT

Trust a reality show star to do this one right, LOL. All theatrics, nothing concrete in the whole situation. Just a lot of American fireworks.

[Apr 19, 2018] You can't make it up: Oklahoma congressman Steve Russell told the C Span Washington Journal audience this morning that there was "no danger from a chemical plume" after missiles struck Syrian chemical plants "because the attack was designed to burn up" the fumes.

This even better then Onion
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 12:58 am GMT

@Zogby

In response to a caller's concern, Oklahoma congressman Steve Russell told the C Span Washington Journal audience this morning that there was "no danger from a chemical plume" after missiles struck Syrian chemical plants "because the attack was designed to burn up" the fumes.

Russell explained that while "Nazis used chemicals in the holocaust." and Russians deliberately target hospitals and schools with barrel bombs, "no other nation takes as much care to prevent harm to civilians" as the USA.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?444201-5/washington-journal-representative-steve-russell-r-ok-discusses-congress-role-syria-conflict

Except maybe Fallujah.
And Vietnam.
Little bit in North Korea.
Some slip-ups over Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

[Apr 19, 2018] The Corrupt U.S. Congress Cheers as the War Industry Steals Billions from the People's Coffers !

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

S. N. , April 19, 2018 at 12:43 am GMT

The Corrupt U.S. Congress Cheers as the War Industry Steals Billions from the People's Coffers !

Christian Sorensen | April 13, 2018

"Missile Production Capacity

In February, Newsbud reported on the war industry increasing its capacity to produce Hellfire missiles.

Capacity to produce other missile types is expanding as well.

On 6 March 2018, BAE Systems received close to $13.7 million to help increase production capacity of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS). With its headquarters in London, BAE Systems links the U.K. war industry to the United States, effectively underpinning the 'special relationship' between the two countries.

On 19 March 2018, Raytheon received roughly $7.8 million to improve the production capacity of AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles. Steps Raytheon might take to increase missile production include adding more equipment, altering staffing levels, and upgrading its facilities.

The war industry has been operating at full steam for the past seventeen years. Now, these contracts tell us, the boardrooms of prominent war industry giants believe there is reason to produce more Hellfire, APKWS, and Sidewinder missiles. Is it war with Iran? A bigger offensive against President Assad's forces in Syria? Conflict in Korea?

The U.S. war industry is expecting more sustained, high-tempo hostilities in the near future. You've been warned."

https://www.newsbud.com/2018/04/13/the-corrupt-u-s-congress-cheers-as-the-war-industry-steals-billions-from-the-peoples-coffers/

[Apr 19, 2018] Mad madam prostitute Nick Halley has to be soothed by Kudlow telling her she was not a demented rat.

Notable quotes:
"... So a choreographed coordinated attack works for Iran. Trump is happy. His base angry. His enemies can't go after him for few hours or days ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

KA , April 19, 2018 at 1:53 am GMT

Iran doesn't want to escalate the situation and give Trump any leverage on Iran deal. Iran wants to deprive any moral political or legal supports from EU to USA on this. Trump pulls out. Rest remains same. This will give Iran moral political and legal authorities to pursue its nuclear program with China and Russia.

This will have domino effects on other areas of these 3 countries -- how to conduct business internationally.

So a choreographed coordinated attack works for Iran. Trump is happy. His base angry. His enemies can't go after him for few hours or days . Mad madam prostitute Nick Halley has to be soothed by Kudlow telling her she was not a demented rat.

[Apr 19, 2018] Looks like Pompeo is compete idiot despite hs Harvard degree

Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

RJJCDA , April 19, 2018 at 12:03 am GMT

At Sec. St. nomination hearing, Pompeo bragged that "we had killed a couple of hundred Russian contractors." As a former civilian contractor in a war zone, I note that he just put a target on the forehead of every American contractor working in a war zone. It is now open season on them. Who will have blood on their hands?

[Apr 18, 2018] An excellent summary of the whole Syrian war right up to the present

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

apHarri | Apr 18, 2018 6:41:29 AM | 109

An excellent summary of the whole Syrian war right up to the present, should open the minds of friends, family and colleagues still partially under the MSM propaganda spell but starting to realise the truth not what they've been told.

Listen and share:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wHsfc49Y_Fk

[Apr 18, 2018] IRGC-controlled Syrian militia declares jihad against US forces in Syria

Israel is very concerned about Iranian forces in Syria, and the US should also take note.
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon | Apr 18, 2018 11:09:19 AM | 137

IRGC-controlled Syrian militia declares jihad against US forces in Syria

Syrian militia led by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) declared jihad on April 6 against US and allied forces in Syria. Since 2017, the US has twice come into direct contact with the group. The IRGC is likely to boost its military support to the group as it explores avenues to drive the US out of Syria.

The Baqir Brigade (AKA Liwa al Baqir or Liwa al Imam al Baqir) published on its social media page a statement with the Baqqara Tribe, to which its members belong. The tribe claims descent from the fifth Shiite Imam, Muḥammad al Baqir, the brigade's namesake. The group's open declaration features a militia logo that is a replication of the rising hand and AK-47 in the official logo of the IRGC and militias under its control. . .

here

The US military units in Syria are not in a contiguous force. Vulnerable US "bases" in Syria are small spread-out outposts, totaling (they say) 2,000 troops plus probably several thousand contractors . . .(latest report on Iraq and Syria (combined) here .)

[Apr 18, 2018] I don't find anything convincing about this FUBAR administration intention to go to full scale war in Syria. Certainly it is not a government fit to go to another war (not having won a war in fifty years, not for lack of trying).

Notable quotes:
"... The simple fact is that Syria [government] controls the majority of the populated part of the country, and gaining more every day. The US can do nothing about it on a lasting basis. That's clear and pretty convincing. ..."
"... The French "explanation" for a chemical attack (Assad's ostensible need to create negative PR for himself by sadistically punishing people who did not leave town on the Idlib Express) is literally the only theory true believers can come up with. ..."
"... Almost as funny as the Pentagon's "all 100+ missiles we fired successfully hit their targets" and then showing pictures of the sites with barely any debris visible and no large craters. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon | Apr 18, 2018 11:18:07 AM | 139

@WJ 131

I find all this pretty convincing.

Myself, I don't find anything convincing about the FUBAR administration you describe. Certainly it is not a government fit to go to another war (not having won a war in fifty years, not for lack of trying).

The simple fact is that Syria [government] controls the majority of the populated part of the country, and gaining more every day. The US can do nothing about it on a lasting basis. That's clear and pretty convincing.

Moshe Mossad Schlomostein , Apr 18, 2018 11:26:30 AM | 140

@7 Cassandra,

The French "explanation" for a chemical attack (Assad's ostensible need to create negative PR for himself by sadistically punishing people who did not leave town on the Idlib Express) is literally the only theory true believers can come up with.

Because killing and punishing Syrians who chose not to collaborate with the forces fighting the state totally makes sense....if you desperately need a gas attack story to keep your narrative from unraveling.

Almost as funny as the Pentagon's "all 100+ missiles we fired successfully hit their targets" and then showing pictures of the sites with barely any debris visible and no large craters. Must have been brand new super duper nano missiles or something. Sadly the average dimwit will believe it because for him the "news" is a proxy for thinking. Besides( everybody knows the "news" is never wrong.

[Apr 18, 2018] Russia, China, Iran and others are increasingly concerned with curtailing the damage that the US can still inflict

Notable quotes:
"... The clearing of Ghouta puts a serious dent in this plan. Demoralizing the population of Damascus is now almost impossible. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Apr 18, 2018 11:59:00 AM | 145
Don Bacon
PavewayIV

The West wins by making Syria a hell on earth. That means no reconstruction funding, no trade, and continuous harassment by "rebels".

The clearing of Ghouta puts a serious dent in this plan. Demoralizing the population of Damascus is now almost impossible.

But Lebanon is only about 15 miles from Damascus, and US/Israel would have to deal with Hez at some point anyway, so why not sooner rather than later?

Grieved | Apr 18, 2018 12:00:50 PM | 146

@131 WJ and 134 Don Bacon

I appreciate this discussion.

On a side note I would add that 3-4 years ago when Ukraine was boiling, much of the discussion by concerned people focused on countries outside of the US, and the damage caused by the US. The US, in this context, was largely regarded as an evil but coherent entity.

But that coherence has now come more and more into question. Discussion shifted gradually, as the US made more and more mistakes and lost battle after battle in so many theaters, and revealed itself as a failing actor. And in the last year or two there's much more discussion about the US itself, largely trying to pierce the obscurity of how that country is actually run and by whom. This shift was already happening, and Trump of course added to the fascination.

I was glad to see that gradual shift. To me it indicated the war itself was won, while many battles were yet to be fought. I think it's true that Russia, China, Iran and others are increasingly concerned with curtailing the damage that the US can still inflict. Every day they increase in actual, effective power, and the US decreases in that power. Yesterday's battle will be fought differently tomorrow, because the balance of that power will have shifted again by then.

Syria has been an enormously useful magnifying glass to show us so much about the relative power balances of many nations. And even as the US lashes out in its death throes, it is increasingly cornered and stymied. The same is true of Israel. It's reaching the point - if not already there - that every move made by the US will result in clear damage to itself, with no gain, and no damage to its targets.

The other side has had sufficient time to wargame countless contingencies, and think them through and make preparations for them. Increasingly, it gets to choose what damage to allow and what to stop, because the costs of every action have now been calculated - and the passage of time reduces the costs too, so the equation constantly updates.

This is true outside of Syria also, in all theaters and on many planes of activity.

[Apr 18, 2018] The US Deep State doesn't want to "conquer" any country. Then they'd have to pay the bill for the destruction they caused... think an actual Marshall Plan, not the Iraq and Afghan Debacles. It is not trying to "win". It is trying to destroy those countries' ability to function outside the iron-fist influence of the IMF/BIS

Notable quotes:
"... Trumpty Dumbdy is trapped, just trying to convince his base that he really is getting the US out ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

A P | Apr 18, 2018 1:42:41 PM | 160

The US Deep State doesn't want to "conquer" any country. Then they'd have to pay the bill for the destruction they caused... think an actual Marshall Plan, not the Iraq and Afghan Debacles. It is not trying to "win". It is trying to destroy those countries' ability to function outside the iron-fist influence of the IMF/BIS/etc. banks/economy.

... ... ..

As for US operations in Syria being handed off "to others", i.e. to Prince's latest iteration of Blackwater/Xi/Academia, the last we heard of Erik was trying to sell a budget airforce/drone system to countries in Africa. What a joke.

Not going to happen in Syria, because Russia, Iran, Hezbolla and Syria would have no qualms about directly assaulting Prince's Kurd/Arab/Wahabbist mercenaries... Eric may be a self-serving parasite, but he's not stupid enough to directly take on the Russian military, or even the SAA for that matter. Especially with no NATO air cover...

Killary is not around to unilaterally impose a Libya-style no-fly-zone.

Trumpty Dumbdy is trapped, just trying to convince his base that he really is getting the US out of being Israel's and the Rothschilds' bitch, but that is not a potential reality.

It would involve dismantling the FED and cutting off the yearly $multi-billion military aid tap to Israel. I doubt he is smart or informed enough to comprehend the situation he is in. Any sane, intelligent person would walk away and tell the Zionist/Rothschild/Deep State to find another patsy.

[Apr 18, 2018] Obama vs Trump: That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142

Don Bacon

Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!

There's more but I won't belabor the point.

[Apr 18, 2018] The strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lozion | Apr 17, 2018 1:56:16 PM | 3

I know b is not fond of us posting content from other blogs but the Saker has just put up a must-read interview with a personal favorite author of mine, F. William Engdhal, entitled "The rape of Russia". Very informative, it documents the strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS. Enjoy!

http://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/

[Apr 18, 2018] A Note on KGB Style -- Central Intelligence Agency

Apr 18, 2018 | www.cia.gov

After collapse of the USSR the mount of infometion that has flown to the West is staggering. KGB might be then most open of intelleigence services in this sense. multiple defector probably created a very complete picture of the organization and its methods.

July 2, 1996

A NOTE ON KGB STYLE

Wayne Lambridge

The KGB like any enduring institution has a style, its own way of doing things. When we seek to understand the service and its officers, we should perhaps pay attention to how they do business as well as to what kind of business they do. This article is intended to raise the subject for discussion, to present largely one man's opinion. It is far from a definitive study.

By way of indicating something about KGB style, consider the implications for the organization as a whole of a communication system that carries one tenth or less as much traffic -- both electric and by pouch -- as its American equivalent. The KGB sends very few cables and its dispatches are infrequent. For maximum security, they are pouched on undeveloped microfilm, which is recovered and printed when the dispatch reaches its destination. Although Moscow headquarters does excellent and prompt printing, both exposure and development are sometimes haphazard in the field. Ten years ago, they were downright unreadable at times. Now, the quality is generally better. Volume, however, does not seem to have risen much.

The prints of the developed films are seen by the Rezident (the KGB Chief of Station) and by the case officer concerned. In large Rezidentury (KGB Stations) some intermediate may also read the traffic, but that is by no means always the case. The Rezident keeps a file -- sometimes in the form of notes or perhaps as copies of pertinent cables and dispatches -- for reference. The case officer keeps all his files in a briefcase or a notebook. Calling them "files" is perhaps misleading. It is better to say that the KGB officer keeps a movable In-Box. When a document leaves that box it is either returned to the Rezident or destroyed and the fact of destruction recorded. The case file is really in the case officer's head. The excellent memory that KGB officers often display concerning the details of their operations may well be traceable to the necessity of remembering the vital information on each operation that they cannot look up anywhere. Of course, when a new case officer replaces an old one, especially if the latter has been unable to brief his successor fully, complications may ensue. Illness, car accidents and PNG'ing have led to real chaos in some KGB operations when a harassed new man has tried to tie down the broken threads of a departed colleague's dropped contacts.

Although the amount of paper that he sees is small, the KGB case officer is held strictiy accountable for each sheet of it. When he destroys a document, a notation to that effect is included on a record. Even his scrap paper may bear a serial number and have to be accounted for. At the Moscow headquarters each document is sewn into the file by the senior officer directly responsible for the case. A special record of all documents in the file is kept by the case officer and its accuracy is regularly verified by the case officer's supervisor. Safe storage areas are locked and sealed with wax each night.

The ritual of sewing in the documents is often regarded as a waste of time by senior case officers in Moscow. Nevertheless, they would not dream of delegating the job. It seems to have a symbolic significance as an embodiment of both their authority and their responsibility.

The KGB case officer is his own intel assistant. At headquarters he does his own traces, gets his own documents from the archives and handcarries his own messages. Not too long ago, he also often wrote or typed his own dispatches. Even now he may write his own telegrams and personally take them and dispatches to his supervisor for review. In the field he is, if anything, even more responsible for doing everything connected with his operation except for technical surveillance and the like where he must call on experts.

The field case officer under official cover often works at his cover job about as much as do his colleagues who do not have intelligence responsibilities. This obligation is usually not as demanding on the case officer's time as it might first appear because KGB cover slots are usually selected so that cover duties complement intelligence tasks to a substantial degree. By contrast, other KGB officers have virtually no serious cover responsibilities and rely on the all-embracing security system of the Soviet colony to protect their true affiliation. In either case, the 'KGB officer is not expected to spend much time on the administrative or reporting aspects of his intelligence job. Within the limitations of his cover assignment, he is supposed to be out on the street, making contacts, working agents and performing other intelligence tasks, reporting only the highlights and the most crucial information back to headquarters.

In developing new sources, he will usually bring things along to the point where recruitment or some other substantial development is clearly foreseeable before asking for traces from headquarters or getting approval to go ahead with his plan. Local informers and support agents are sometimes picked up without reference to headquarters at all, except perhaps after the fact of recruitment. The KGB officer must account with some precision, however, for his operational expenditures and is usually quite limited in what he can spend for development prior to coming up with a concrete proposal for recruiting a source.

Once an agent is recruited or is established as a source, headquarters' control and demands for accountability are exacting, though never voluminous. For a recruited source with significant access, a senior officer, such as a branch chief or his deputy is specifically charged with responsibility for the case. Moscow's concern to insure that information is really coming from the source as described by the case officer and that the source is bona fide is very considerable. Somewhat by contrast, Moscow's requirements (outside of S&T operations) sometimes seem quite general, apparently leaving it up to the case officer and source to report what seems to them most important. On the other hand, reporting is expected to be factual and documentary, if possible. Sometimes the KGB seems obsessed with documents as the only reliable sources. Speculation is not usually encouraged.

In such a system of extreme compartmentation and vertical lines of communication and authority, the advisory role of staffs and other elements not within the chain of command is small. The First Chief Directorate, the foreign intelligence arm of the KGB, has a counterintelligence unit, for example, that actually takes over a case from the regular chain of command in the event that the agent appears to be doubled, compromised or in danger of compromise. The field case officer may remain the same, but in Moscow the Counterintelligence Service assumes full authority for directing the case. Deception and some types of complex political action operations often appear to be run directly by the headquarters element, Department A, that prepares the operation in Moscow. In such cases, of course, local assets of a Rezidentura may well be employed in support, but the operations are frequently run by specialists.

The typical KGB officer, trained in an environment where political agitation is part of daily fare, sees political action and propaganda as part of his regular routine. There are numerous examples of Soviet officers around the world who seem to concentrate almost exclusively on pushing the Soviet line on the issues of the day with whatever contacts they meet. To them the political approach is not something apart from spotting, developing, assessing, recruiting and agent handling. It is integral to that effort. Some do it crudely, some ineffectively, some with great skill. The point is that in almost all cases, it is a part of the operation.

In addition to politics, KGB recruiting and training of staff personnel emphasizes operational and area knowledge and experience from bottom to top. The main sources for new KGB officers are the institutes of International Affairs and Eastern Languages in Moscow. These institutions, which are better compared to the U.S. service academies than to other organizations of higher learning in America, prepare young Soviet citizens for careers abroad not only in the intelligence services, but for the foreign service, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Radio Moscow, etc. Assignment of a student after graduation is worked out among the various consuming organizations. The students are under what amounts to military discipline and are required to accept the assignment given them. Few students, see much difference among the organizations these days except for differences in pay, length and location of overseas service and other practical matters.

In the course of their education the students learn two or three foreign languages well and study the history and culture of the area in which they specialize in considerable detail, although current politics is likely tobe a much weaker course than history. Access to native sources is still circumscribed. A substantial number of students go for a year or more as exchange students or as trainees with Soviet organizations working abroad. As a result, they often end up knowing the area, its language, its politics, customs, police systems, local geography and so on very well. Although the old-style Soviet intelligence officer who was raised in the shadow if not the institutions of the Komintern and could recruit agents through appeals to an international revolutionary ideology are long since past, the newest generation of Soviet intelligence officers can be quite effective by trading on their precise knowledge of target personalities and the problems and frustrations of the countries in which they operate.

A KGB officer is ranked in his service by two systems. He progresses up the ladder from junior lieutenant to senior lieutenant and so on up to colonel and general. At the same time, he is classified as a junior case officer, case officer or senior case officer and then as he progresses further by his position, such as Rezident, which he may hold. His pay depends on his ranking in both hierarchies and there is no necessary coincidence between where he stands in one and where he stands in the other. The operational designations are based on his experience and performance as an operator. His formal rank is largely based on length of service up through major or lieutenant colonel. The chain of command is designated through the operational positions rather than formal rank. For example, a major of State Security from some other part of the KGB might be transferred into the First Chief Directorate under the designation of junior case officer and find himself subordinate to a senior lieutenant who had attained the position of case officer.

The phenomenon of marked disparity between formal rank and operational designation was probably more common during the period of considerable expansion of the First Chief Directorate's personnel ten and more years ago than it is today. At that time officers from other branches of the service were being brought into the First Chief Directorate more frequently than they are now. Nevertheless, the emphasis on operational experience and operational ability continues to be a marked element of the KGB style. The top officers in the service, for example, usually involve themselves directly in operations. They meet and develop agent candidates, they recruit and they handle agents.

In part this is a consequence of the strongly operational orientation of the KGB as a whole. A direct involvement in operations comes naturally to almost everyone in the organization. This operational orientation is manifest also in the concentration of relatively few cases per case officer. Generally, one man may handle four or five agents or targets under development. He is not expected to spread his range of intelligence activities further, although he may well be encouraged to develop a large circle of casual contacts from whom a relatively small number of serious targets may be selected.

From the foregoing one can see that the typical KGB officer is a man who sees himself in a strict vertical chain of command. He expects to do everything necessary for his operation without much outside help, except in technical matters. Depending upon circumstances, the case officer may be closely guided by the Rezident in a particular operation, but he is not supposed to discuss it with anyone else. (Gossip and shop-talk are endemic, however, in part to overcome the excessive official compartmentation.) Although the case officer is held strictly to account for the results of his actions, he is not expected to report on day-to-day developments to headquarters and in fact the capacity of his communications system is far too limited to permit him to do so. He is street-oriented in the concept of his job and does not put in a lot of time at the desk writing reports, reading guidance from headquarters or maintaining his files. When he has a problem he takes it up with his boss and he is generally not expected to have many problems. He is supposed to know the difference between what he really needs consultation about and what he ought to be able to handle on his own.

His boss in turn has the responsibility of not only guiding the case officers that work for him, but of ensuring that vital information pertinent to the work of one case officer but acquired through another is made available. In both operational guidance and information sharing, the role of the Rezident is crucial. There is virtually no lateral distribution of communications and an extreme emphasis on compartmentation. Although the rigid compartmentation of the system is probably a major vulnerability, superiors both in the field and headquarters are usually able to keep up with each case because they are not overwhelmed with paper. Relatively primitive (in terms of capacity) communications equipment and the custom that each officer prepare his own reports and keep them brief make it possible for such reports as do get written to be read all the way up the chain of command. The general in command of the First Chief Directorate has been reported on several occasions as reading all the incoming traffic. Much of the outgoing traffic is also signed personally by him.

The strictness of the chain of command and the limited amount of communications place a great weight of responsibility on each Rezident and on each case officer. As with all Soviet officials, KGB case officers have a norm to fulfill for the year and are usually called to account for their activities during part of the annual home leave in the Soviet Union. In a system like that, if something goes wrong, someone must be found to have been responsible. This can encourage an extreme of caution, particularly when the relations between case officer and the Rezident are not of the best or when the headquarters desk officer is not cooperative and understanding of the problems in the field.

Although we are accustomed to think of Soviet organizations as highly impersonal, in the KGB personalities and the private connections of individual officers are often crucial to the success or failure of an operation -- or a career. In many ways, the KGB is an organization made to order for the man who wants to claim all the glory for himself and put all the mistakes on the backs of his subordinates. Family connections or other personal contacts have special significance in this sort of an organization because they can provide a secure and effective second channel for communication in a system in which there is otherwise only one narrow route watched over by jealous monitors for all the messages an officer may want to send.

The emphasis on the role of the individual in the organization also has its advantages, of course. A capable officer, particularly one from an influential family, working under a Rezident who knows his business and will accept responsibility is likely to find himself in a stimulating work environment that may compensate very well for shortcomings of the service or the Soviet system as a whole that might otherwise disturb him.

While the KGB style as outlined above is in many ways admirably suited to running operations, it appears to have limitations in the way it makes use of the product of its operations and in evaluating whether the operations themselves are really worthwhile. There are enough instances on record to permit the generalization that in political matters especially Moscow is often reluctant to receive bad news. The ambitious case officer may find himself frustrated by pressure to conform, either from his Rezident or from Moscow, when he tries to report things as he sees them. To a large degree this is probably an inevitable manifestation of the extreme isolation from the outside world in which the Soviet policy makers live and their lack of exposure to unwelcome information. In addition, the emphasis on operations as such and the overall environment of the KGB, which is predominantly an internal security, criminal investigation, and antisubversive organization, probably discourages the kind of critical intellect by whom frank reporting, regardless of its content, is most prized.

This last consideration, the emphasis on an investigative, operational style at the expense of analytical curiosity, may well be the source of considerable tension within the First Chief Directorate today. Bigoted and inflexible ultimate consumers are problems enough. But also the older generation of KGB officers, including many of today's Rezidenty, was largely trained in war time and internal security operations. Their juniors, speaking broadly, are more academically inclined, more tempted to discourse on their theories, more interested in foreign societies and politics per se and less dedicated to fulfilling the obligations of the party and the state. They are often perceptive and realistic about developments not only abroad, but also in their own country. Bearing in mind the importance of personal relations and the dependence of juniors on seniors in the rigid chain of command, the signs we see these days of tension and cynicism among these younger officers should not be surprising.

As they rise in the KGB, we may see some organizational changes over time. If these changes preserve the laconic style of communication while at the same time do away with some of the most cumbersome and archaic aspects of the communications and records keeping systems, the KGB could become an even more formidable institution than it is today. The problem of encouraging intelligence analysis and imaginative, critical thinking is a problem for Soviet society as a whole. As a part of that society, the KGB shares the problem, but probably not in greater degree than other Soviet institutions and possibly less than many.

Judgments about the influence the KGB style has on KGB officers as individuals, about the implications for KGB operations of the way they do business, about the relevance of the style to Western operations against Soviet targets, and about many other related matters lead us beyond the scope of this note which, as stated in the introductory paragraph, hopes only to raise an interesting topic for further comment. If this piece succeeds in making the point that KGB organizational style is important to Western intelligence and that we should concern ourselves with it more than we have, it will have served its purpose.

[Apr 18, 2018] There was a credible interview of an ISIS commander sometime last year, he stated that they had direct guidance and on-the ground advisors from many countries

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

English Outsider | Apr 17, 2018 5:19:54 PM | 44

I've been puzzling over the frequent claims that Western Special Forces were "embedded" with the Jihadists.

This is an article by Seymour Hersh, via a comment on SST by "ISL", about the Khan Shaykhun alleged poison gas attack -

https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

- and this is the passage that caught my attention:-

"One reason for the Russian message to Washington about the intended target was to ensure that any CIA asset or informant who had managed to work his way into the jihadist leadership was forewarned not to attend the meeting. I was told that the Russians passed the warning directly to the CIA. "They were playing the game right," the senior adviser said."

We know that Syrian Intelligence had penetrated many Jihadist groups. It is therefore likely that Western Intelligence agents had done the same.

Could the existence of such "assets" or "informants" account for the frequent reports that there are Western Special Forces embedded with the Jihadis?

Could that also account for the fact that if those Western "assets" are in place then neither the Syrians nor the Russians would wish to expose them when they are found amongst groups of defeated or surrendered Jihadists? That would account for the frequent complaints on the more partisan pro-Syrian websites that the Russians keep passing up the chance of a propaganda victory by putting such "assets" on public display when found.

The whole question of Western support for the Jihadists in Syria is a vexed one. For my part I believe that we went further than merely hoping they'd unseat Assad. We were instrumental in supplying arms, training, and indeed foreign Juhadists. We did this on the transparent pretext that we were helping "moderate" rebels. We ourselves were therefore largely responsible for the death and destruction visited on the Syrian people.

But, for all the claims made, I've seen no proof put forward that we went further than that and were directing or assisting the Jihadist onslaught. Nor that we were doing this indirectly through mercenaries and the like. This is in contrast to our activities in the Ukraine, where it was clear that Western forces of one sort or another were directing or assisting the Ukrainian forces.

Perhaps there's been no proof put forward because it simply didn't happen in Syria. Those claimed "embedded" Western Forces were merely intelligence "assets" of the type Sy Hersh refers to. Is this a reasonable conclusion to come to on the basis of what is known of our involvement in the Syrian conflict?

jonku , Apr 17, 2018 5:42:55 PM | 46

English Outsider 44

"I believe that we went further than merely hoping they'd unseat Assad."

There was a credible interview of an ISIS commander sometime last year, he stated that they had direct guidance and on-the ground advisors from many countries, implied US, UK, and Israel at least were supplying things like maps, satellite data and other information about their opponents. He spoke of a fully equipped, modern command center.

In addition there is US news about training, arming and paying these attackers. The US has supplied false end user certificates for literally tons of armaments and munitions bought from eastern European countries that have ramped up factories to produce AK-47s, ammunition and more. The EUCs state that the destination for the weapons is US however they are passed on to rebel forces.

I believe "we" went further than merely hoping too.

sejomoje , Apr 17, 2018 5:51:13 PM | 47
Oh there is proof all right. Guys like this African American "muslim" , a "former comedian" who was on some sort of embedded mission in Aleppo. His cover was of a religious "journalist". Take away the beard and the "bio" and he's clearly a spec ops guy. During Aleppo's "fall"(liberation) he was filming himself in the location where days later, piles of massacred locals were found after the jihadis were bussed away. Sorry no link maybe someone can help me out.
Castellio , Apr 17, 2018 6:03:33 PM | 52
@44

It's a good question.

My response: where's the distinction between "arming and training" and "directing and assisting"?

Then, if you do find a distinction there: where's the distinction between "arming and training in the field" and "directing and assisting"?

Jen , Apr 17, 2018 6:09:38 PM | 53
English Outsider @ 44:

The Syrian Arab Army apparently found a makeshift chemistry lab in East Ghouta in mid-March this year after the area was liberated from the jihadis. Sharmine Narwani was one of the first journalists if not the first or only reporter to visit the site. You can see some of the photos taken of the site and the equipment (some of it with American brand names) within at this link:
https://steemkr.com/ghouta/@syrianaanalysis/terrorists-own-chemical-weapons-sharmine-narwani-reveals-shocking-info-from-ghouta

The Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva has been investigating a massive covert weapons shipment network linking eastern Europe and the Caucasus region (Azerbaijan in particular) to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, apparently supervised by the CIA and other Western intel agencies. Weapons and equipment from eastern European countries were being flown under diplomatic cover by the state Azerbaijani airline company Silk Way Airlines to the Middle East and then forwarded on to jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-28/journalist-interrogated-fired-story-linking-cia-and-syria-weapons-flights

Buzzfeed.com has been running a series of reports on a small US firm Purple Shovel which has been running weaponry from eastern Europe including Belarus to Syrian jihadi groups:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/the-secret-arms-deal-behind-americas-syria-fiasco?utm_term=.ramx5rxgq#.ycr7Oq7NB

Jen , Apr 17, 2018 6:18:52 PM | 55
English Outsider @ 44:

More information from Bulgarian newspaper Trud (Gaytandzhieva's employer before she was fired) including copies of documents about the Silk Way Airlines "diplomatic" flights between Europe and the Middle East in which weaponry - some of it heavy weaponry - was flown to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil sheikhdom sponsors of the jihadis in Syria. These documents implicate not only the US but also several EU countries including Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

https://trud.bg/350-diplomatic-flights-carry-weapons-for-terrorists/

If Gaytanzhieva sounds familiar to some MoA barflies, that's because she's the one who tweeted about Vil Mirzayanov's million-dollar home in Colorado in a recent MoA post on the Skripal poisoning incident.

English Outsider , Apr 17, 2018 6:26:48 PM | 56
Jonku @ 46,

Thanks. The information in your penultimate paragraph is near as dammit certain. Also Israeli assistance, though the report from a UN observer was of an observation made at a distance. Also there's a lot of murky stuff about MI6 or their pals doing propaganda work though I doubt we'll ever get to the bottom of that. If it wasn't Obama romancing, then his admission that they "didn't throw a bunch of airstrikes" at ISIS when they were going into Iraq, and that that was to put pressure on the then Iraqi government, is further proof that we weren't interested in saving the local populations from atrocities but were using ISIS for our own purposes. I suppose my intense disillusionment with Obama stems from the realisation then that he'd swallowed the Brzezinski nonsense and had bought into the Grand Chessboard; and tough luck on the pawns. That was when for me he ceased to be the mouthy, ineffectual but well intentioned loser and became the standard model Drone King. Welcome to the world of the neocon psychos, Mr President.

So there's all that. As you say, we did go further than "merely hoping".

But where's the proof for the pre-penultimate paragraph? Are the Syrians now showing journalists round the remnants of the command centre? Are the more credible pro-Syrian journalists giving us chapter and verse? Do we not undercut our true statement that we've visited mayhem on the Syrians by advancing that further unproved statement that our forces fought with the Jihadis?

Maybe it'll come out later, but nothing solid's come out yet and there's been time for it. That's why I put in my query. Maybe we should put up or shut up on that one.


By the way, "we" means just that. We voted the bastards in, after all.

ben , Apr 17, 2018 9:40:36 PM | 72
English Outsider @ 44: This is where it all began, and still continues.

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

Hiring Jihadists to destabilize other governments is no secret..

[Apr 18, 2018] There is nothing like American policies in the Trump era. Even the president is not necessarily the last word

Notable quotes:
"... Actually, there is nothing like "American policies" in the Trump era. The Washington Post carried two reports this week underlining the utter confusion within the Trump administration. Even the president is not necessarily the last word. ..."
"... One of these two astonishing reports titled Trump a reluctant hawk has battled his top aides on Russia and lost (here) narrates shocking details on how the former NSA in the White House HR McMaster simply hoodwinked a bumbling Trump into approving the proposal to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US last month: ..."
"... The second WaPo report (here) narrates how even the famous Nikki Haley can no longer pretend to be Trump's authoritative voice. ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | blogs.rediff.com

Actually, there is nothing like "American policies" in the Trump era. The Washington Post carried two reports this week underlining the utter confusion within the Trump administration. Even the president is not necessarily the last word.

One of these two astonishing reports titled Trump a reluctant hawk has battled his top aides on Russia and lost (here) narrates shocking details on how the former NSA in the White House HR McMaster simply hoodwinked a bumbling Trump into approving the proposal to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US last month:

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia

Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. "There were curse words," the official said, "a lot of curse words."

The second WaPo report (here) narrates how even the famous Nikki Haley can no longer pretend to be Trump's authoritative voice.

I'm reminded of Roman Emperor Caligula (AD 37-41). He had a favorite horse by name Incitatus whom he once planned to designate as Roman consul. Caligula used to hold parties for friends in the steed's grand stables. In a fit of exuberant joy, he once named Incitatus a Minister of State.

The Trump presidency has not quite reached that point yet, but bizarre things are happening in the Washington Beltway – like in Caligula's decadent Rome in decline and fall. India will be well advised to keep distance.

[Apr 18, 2018] A small problem with Saudi Prince promise to send troops in Syria: approximately 70% of Saudi troops would defect to ISIS in no time!

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tom | Apr 17, 2018 11:48:43 PM | 151

#111 and #144. Saud Arabia already have "troops" in Syria, Jaysh al-Islam and the rest of their inbred motley crew. That's the problem. If that happens, poor Kurds, stuck between rock and a hard place. My bet is that 70% of Saudi troops would defect to ISIS in no time!

[Apr 18, 2018] How dare Larry Kudlow suggest Nikki got confused!!!

Notable quotes:
"... "She's done a great job," Kudlow said of Haley. "She's a very effective ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that. But if you talk to Steve Mnuchin at Treasury and so forth, he will tell you the same thing. They're in charge of this. We have had sanctions. Additional sanctions are under consideration but not implemented, and that's all." ..."
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh | Apr 17, 2018 8:47:50 PM | 65

Confused!!! How dare Larry Kudlow suggest Nikki got confused!!!

>White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted more sanctions were merely under consideration. On Tuesday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Haley "got ahead of the curve."

"She's done a great job," Kudlow said of Haley. "She's a very effective ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that. But if you talk to Steve Mnuchin at Treasury and so forth, he will tell you the same thing. They're in charge of this. We have had sanctions. Additional sanctions are under consideration but not implemented, and that's all."

Haley, speaking for the first time since the White House dialed back her claims, rejected the idea that she was confused.

"With all due respect, I don't get confused," Haley said in a statement read by Fox News' Dana Perino and confirmed by CBS News Tuesday.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/with-all-due-respect-i-dont-get-confused-nikki-haley-says-of-russia-sanctions/

[Apr 17, 2018] Back to Brinkmanship by Jacob Heilbrunn

One interesting thing is that Trump is apparently hard at work pushing and pushing and pushing China to take Russia's side more forcefully. China ususally don't support Russia in UNSC. Most often Russia stands alone with Iran.
What we are observing is a slow collapse of The US-centered global neoliberal empire. Neoliberalism like Bolshevism before it is a self-defeating ideology that eats the flesh of society on which it parasites.
In a way Trump election is sign of this crisis, as well as attempt of some part of the US elite for find a way out of the current crisis, which started in 2008 with the collapse of neoliberal ideology.
Notable quotes:
"... Managerial Revolution ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | nationalinterest.org
You and the Atomic Bomb ," which he wrote two months after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, George Orwell coined the term "cold war" to describe the new epoch that he saw emerging after the fall of Nazi Germany and the rise of the Soviet Union and the United States. He predicted that the bomb would "put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging indefinitely a 'peace that is no peace.'" It was this very scenario that he depicted in his dystopian novel 1984 , which drew on James Burnham's Managerial Revolution and features Eurasia, Oceania and Eastasia in a permanent standoff several decades after an atomic war. Any actual conflicts or skirmishes take place in borderlands that are located well away from the three main empires.

This cold peace was pretty much what obtained after 1945 in international affairs. The two superpowers, the Soviet Union and United States, avoided direct conflict. Instead, they used proxy powers and national liberation movements, mostly located in the Third World, to try and shift the correlation of forces, as the Kremlin used to call it, in their favor, whenever and wherever they could. The territory under their direct control was off limits -- the United States did not intervene during uprisings in the eastern bloc in East Germany, Hungary or Poland. The Kremlin confined itself to helping to fund communist parties in France and Italy, and to supporting the peace movement clandestinely. The peril of an atomic exchange was so immense that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States went to war over flashpoints such as Cuba and Berlin. What Orwell did not anticipate was that one side, the Soviet Union, would collapse completely, leaving the other as Mr. Big.

... ... ...

The war in Iraq was a fiasco. Afghanistan is a quagmire. In America, terms such as "regime change" have fallen into disrepute. The West has lost its confidence. Populists are looking for a way to escape the iron cage of modernity. The era of Reagan and Thatcher proclaiming the verity of the free market and the expansion of freedom seems almost as remote as the scientific laws of history that Marxists once propounded.

... ... ...

...President Donald Trump explained that he seeks to curb a new arms race that is "getting out of control," but also boasted that "we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have." Already Trump has vastly expanded the American military budget, raising outlays to $700 billion for the fiscal year 2019. Trump, in a decision first approved by President Barack Obama, intends to devote $1 trillion to modernizing the American nuclear force over the next three decades.

... ... ...

With his combination of bluff and bombast, Trump could stumble into a calamitous two-front war in Asia and the Middle East.

Jacob Heilbrunn is editor of the National Interest.

[Apr 17, 2018] Trump Strikes Syria (And the Possible Consequences) by Dave Majumdar

Notable quotes:
"... Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for ..."
"... . You can follow him on Twitter: ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

... ... ...

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was one lawmaker who opposed Trump's strike on Syria -- noting that only Congress has the power to authorize the use of force except in cases of self-defense. "President Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress's approval is illegal and -- absent a broader strategy -- it's reckless," Kaine said in a statement. "Today, it's a strike on Syria -- what's going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next? The last thing Congress should be doing is giving this president a blank check to wage war against anyone, anywhere."

Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash agreed. "These offensive strikes against Syria are unconstitutional, illegal, and reckless," Amash said in a tweet . "The next speaker of the House must reclaim congressional war powers as prescribed in Article I of the Constitution. @SpeakerRyan has completely abdicated one of his most important responsibilities."

... ... ...

International Law

Trump's strike on Syria is a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter -- to which the United States is a party -- according to a number of legal experts. "This military action is illegal," Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project, said in a statement . "In the face of constitutional law barring hostile use of force without congressional authorization, and international law forbidding unilateral use of force except in self-defense, President Trump has unilaterally launched strikes against a country that has not attacked us -- and without any authorization from Congress. Doing so violates some of the most important legal constraints on the use of force."

...the Russian government has reacted with fury to the Trump's strike on Syria -- and is promising there will be consequences. "The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard," Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said in a statement. "A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris. Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible. The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries."

Iran's Reaction

Iran, which also has forces engaged in Syria, condemned the allied attack. "The attack is the blatant violation of international laws, as well as ignoring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria," Bahram Qasemi, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, said . "No doubt the US and its allies that are engaged a military intervention in Syria without any substantiated document and before any final report of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and have supposed themselves as the world police and judge, are responsible for regional and international repercussions of the adventure, and should be held accountable."

... ... ...

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest . You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar .

[Apr 17, 2018] Robert Fisk Reports Head of Douma Clinic Denies Chemical Weapons Attack by Craig Murray

Notable quotes:
"... It also says a great deal about our media that one of the greatest living British journalists is employed only by The Independent, a newspaper which has become extremely marginal, while other genuine greats like Jon Pilger, with a fantastic pedigree, do not have access to UK mainstream media at all. 60,000 people on average are reading my journalism here every day, but no mainstream outlet will carry it. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Robert Fisk is one of the very few excellent investigative journalists still employed in the UK. He is twice winner of the British Press Awards ' Journalist of the Year prize, and seven time winner of the British Press Awards' Foreign Correspondent of the Year. He is extremely smart and knows the Middle East very well. He has just made his way – not accompanied by Russian or Syrian government officials – to Douma and this is what he reports.

If you care to search for Robert Fisk on twitter, the attacks on his reputation and integrity at this very moment from achieve nothing neo-con trolls and media lackeys are astonishing. He is in Douma – they are at their desks.

--- Audio link deleted ---

It also says a great deal about our media that one of the greatest living British journalists is employed only by The Independent, a newspaper which has become extremely marginal, while other genuine greats like Jon Pilger, with a fantastic pedigree, do not have access to UK mainstream media at all. 60,000 people on average are reading my journalism here every day, but no mainstream outlet will carry it.

* is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk

[Apr 17, 2018] Poor Alex

Highly recommended!
Now the color revolution against Trump just does not make any sense. We got to the point where Trump=Hillary. Muller should embrace and kiss Trump and go home... Nobody care if Trump is impeached anymore.
Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Donald Trump's far-right loyal fans must be really pissed off right now after permanently switching himself to pro-war mode with that evil, warmongering triplet in charge and the second bombing against Syria. Even worse, this time he has done it together with Theresa May and the neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron.

We can tell that by watching the mind-blowing reactions of one of his most fanatic alt-right media supporters: Alex Jones. Jones nearly cried(!) in front of the camera, feeling betrayed from his 'anti-establishment', 'anti-interventionist' idol and declared that he won't support Trump anymore. Well, what did you expect, Alex? expect, Alex?

A year before the 2016 US national elections, the blog already warned that Trump is a pure product of the neoliberal barbarism , stating that the rhetoric of extreme cynicism used by Trump goes back to the Thatcherian cynicism and the division of people between "capable" and "useless".
Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders. Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Donnie sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008!

The only hope that has been left, was to resist against starting a war with Russia, as the US deep state (and Hillary of course) wanted. Well, it was proven to be only a hope too. Last year, Trump bombed Syria under the same pretext resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of confrontation with Russia. Indeed, a year later, Trump already built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish triplet.

And then, Donnie ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neo-colonial friends.

It seems that neither this strike was a serious attempt against the Syrian army and its allies. Yet, Donnie probably won't dare to escalate tension in the Syrian battlefield before the next US national elections. That's because many of his supporters are already pissed off with him and therefore, he wants to go with good chances for a second term.

Although we really hope that we are are wrong this time, we guess that, surrounded by all these warmongering hawks, Donnie, in a potential second term, will be pushed to open another war front in Syria and probably in Iran, defying the Russians and the consequent danger for a WWIII.

Poor Alex et al: we told you about Trump from the beginning. You didn't listen ...

[Apr 17, 2018] John Bolton In Search of Carthage by By Michael Shindler

Looks like Iran is Carnage for Bolton and neocon fellow travelers in Trump administration such as Haley and Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... In that vein, it is Bolton who merits historical comparison: to Cato the Elder, a conservative-yet-eccentric Roman statesman who, according to Plutarch, would often and invariably call for the destruction of Carthage, even though the Carthaginian threat was neither imminent nor apparent. Eventually, Cato's words wended their way into the ears of power and hundreds of thousands of Carthaginians were pointlessly slaughtered. According to the Greek historian Polybius, Scipio Aemilianus, the young Roman General who led the attack, at seeing the carnage of a great people, "shed tears and wept openly." ..."
"... Michael Shindler is an Advocate with Young Voices and a writer living in Washington, D.C. Follow him @MichaelShindler . ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Last week, John Bolton ascended to the office of National Security Advisor, following in the hurried footsteps of Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster. Two peculiar characteristics set Bolton apart from most folks in D.C.: an unabashedly luxurious mustache and an unmatched penchant for unjustified preemptive violence.

At the University of Chicago in 2009, Bolton warned , "Unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran's program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future." Thankfully, Israel didn't take Bolton's advice and, as most predicted, Iran never lived up to his expectations. Similarly, in a 2015 op-ed in the New York Times , Bolton opined , "The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure . Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed." Three short months later, a non-proliferation deal wherein Iran agreed to a 98 percent reduction in its enriched uranium stockpile and a 15-year pause in the development of key weapons infrastructure was negotiated.

More recently in February, Bolton advised in the Wall Street Journal that "Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute . It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current 'necessity' posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first."

By this point Bolton's record of calling for war in every possible situation had lost the ability to shock. Still, the Founding Fathers would probably be appalled.

A comparatively irenic vision pervades the philosophy of the founders. James Wilson, in his Lectures on Law, wrote that when a nation "is under an obligation to preserve itself and its members; it has a right to do everything" that it can "without injuring others." In Federalist 4, John Jay advised that the American people ought to support steps that would "put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it." And in his Farewell Address, George Washington asserted that the United States should be "always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."

A preemptive nuclear strike justified on the flimsy basis of "gaps in U.S. intelligence" hardly seems concordant with such military restraint and "exalted justice." And lest it be thought these ideals were mere lofty notions, consider how, as American history proceeded, they became enshrined in American diplomacy.

In 1837, Canadian rebels sailing aboard the Caroline fled to an island in the Niagara River with the help of a few American citizens. British forces boarded their ship, killed an American member of the crew, and then set the Caroline ablaze before forcing it over Niagara Falls. Enraged, American and Canadian raiders destroyed a British ship. Several attacks followed until the crisis was at last ended in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. In the aftermath, the Caroline test was established, which stipulates that an attack made in self-defense is justifiable only when, in the words of Daniel Webster, the necessity is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." This principle remains the international standard, though some like Bolton think it's outdated.

With the Caroline test in mind, Bolton wrote while arguing in favor of a preemptive strike against North Korea, "The case against preemption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from prenuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times." In other words, Bolton believes that we can no longer afford to wait for the situation to be "instant" and "overwhelming," and makes an offense out of abstaining from immediate preemptive action, regardless of the potential costs involved.

Relatedly, one of Bolton's most colorful jabs at President Obama involved likening him to Æthelred the Unready, a medieval Anglo-Saxon king remembered for his tragic indecisiveness. Yet given the costs of groundless preemption, indecisiveness is often a midwife to careful contemplation and peace. Had Prime Minister Netanyahu or Obama been persuaded by Bolton's retrospectively warrantless calls for preemption in Iran, tragedy would have followed.

In that vein, it is Bolton who merits historical comparison: to Cato the Elder, a conservative-yet-eccentric Roman statesman who, according to Plutarch, would often and invariably call for the destruction of Carthage, even though the Carthaginian threat was neither imminent nor apparent. Eventually, Cato's words wended their way into the ears of power and hundreds of thousands of Carthaginians were pointlessly slaughtered. According to the Greek historian Polybius, Scipio Aemilianus, the young Roman General who led the attack, at seeing the carnage of a great people, "shed tears and wept openly."

In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood, Bolton should reconsider whether the flimsy merits of rash preemption truly outweigh the durable wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the lessons of history.

Michael Shindler is an Advocate with Young Voices and a writer living in Washington, D.C. Follow him @MichaelShindler .


Janwaar Bibi April 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm

From the Wikipedia article for Bolton:

During the 1969 Vietnam War draft lottery, Bolton drew number 185. (Draft numbers corresponded to birth dates.) As a result of the Johnson and Nixon administrations' decisions to rely largely on the draft rather than on the reserve forces, joining a Guard or Reserve unit became a way to avoid service in the Vietnam War. Before graduating from Yale in 1970, Bolton enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard rather than wait to find out if his draft number would be called. (The highest number called to military service was 195.) He saw active duty for 18 weeks of training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from July to November 1970.

After serving in the National Guard for four years, he served in the United States Army Reserve until the end of his enlistment two years later.[1]

He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost." In an interview, Bolton discussed his comment in the reunion book, explaining that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."

Why is it that the US leads the world in production of chicken-hawks? Even these mangy ex-colonial countries like the UK and France do not have as many chicken-hawks as we do.

connecticut farmer , says: April 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm
Cato the Elder: "Carthago dalenda est!" ("Carthage Must Be Destroyed!")

John Bolton: "Syria dalenda est!" "Iran dalenda est!" Russia dalenda est!" And etc etc.

Connecticut Farmer: "Bolton dalenda est!"

Kent , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm
"In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood,"

That ship sailed awhile back.

JonF , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm
Comparing Obama to Athelred is absurd. Athelred's problem was not that he was indecisive, but rather that he refused to listen to advice from anyone (the moniker "Unready" actually meant "Uncounseled" in Old English) and that he was extremely impulsive and deeply bigoted. Hence he ordered a general massacre of the Danes in England. Luckily it was only carried out in a limited region, unluckily the victims included the King of Denmark's sister and her children, leading to an open blood feud war, and also cost Aethelred any support he might have had from his wife's kinsman, the Duke of Normandy. If anyone is a good match for old Aethelred, it's Donald Trump.

[Apr 17, 2018] The long hand of Bolton

Apr 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

CE , Apr 15, 2018 12:38:18 PM | 34

@16 "The long hand of Bolton"

I've posted the following deep in the previous thread, so here for those who missed it:

As to the OPCW making "political decisions", The Intercept had an interesting piece by Mehdi Hasan recently, about a certain John Bolton.

In 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had penned a letter to [OPCW head José] Bustani, thanking him for his "very impressive" work. By March 2002, however, Bolton -- then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs -- arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization's chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn't mince words. "Cheney wants you out," Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. "We can't accept your management style."

Bolton continued, according to Bustani's recollections: "You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don't comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you."

There was a pause.

"We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York."

[Apr 17, 2018] Trump Prisoner of the War Party by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump became a despicable warmonger. That true. And undisputable after the recent attack on Syria ("operation Stormy Daniels"). But was it War Party that coerced him or were other processes involved?
The main weakness of Buchanan hypothecs is that it is unclear wether Trump was coerced by War Party, or he was "Republican Obama" from the very beginning performing classic "bait and switch" operation on gullible electorate (as in "change we can believe in") . The second hypothesis is now strong then the fist and supported by more fact. just look at the "troika" of Haley-Bolton-Pompeo -- all three were voluntarily selected by the President and all three are rabid neocons. So it looks liek no or little coercion from the War Party was necessary.
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will." ..."
"... Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election. ..."
"... We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMDs. ..."
"... The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands. ..."
"... As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
April 16, 2018, 9:55 PM "Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria.' We convinced him it was necessary to stay."

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, adding, "We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term."

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian Civil War "for the long term"?

If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons will not again be used by Bashar al-Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump's commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is "inoperative."

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

The better U.S. strategy is to turn Syria into the Ayatollah's Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian, and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will."

The Journal 's op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon: "Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits."

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force, or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMDs.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this?

What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post on Sunday dismissed this as "fatalistic" and "misguided." We have a vital interest, says the Post , in preventing Iran from establishing a "land corridor" across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this "land corridor." The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953. The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country. The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Apr 16, 2018] Israeli lobby and the US foreign policy

Apr 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , April 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm GMT

@Greg Bacon

Just remember the Jew are behind ALL the US warring in the ME and ALL the following events you are looking at right now today.

AIPAC Bristles at Obama's Reminder of Iraq War Lobbying -- LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/aipac-bristles-at-obamas-reminder-of-iraq-war-lobbying/

Aug 6, 2015 -- Jim Moran (D-VA), told Tikkun Magazine that AIPAC. has pushed [the Iraq war] from the beginning. I don't think they represent the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all, but because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful -- most of them are quite wealthy -- they

The Iraq war -- What did AIPAC do and when did it do it? -- Mondoweiss mondoweiss.net/2012/ /the-iraq-war-coverup-what-did-aipac-do-and-when-did-it-do

Feb 2, 2012 -- Let's skip forward to the Iraq war itself, 2003. In The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Walt and Mearsheimer clearly show that AIPAC pushed the Iraq war, though quietly. AIPAC usually supports what Israel wants, and Israel certainly wanted the United States to invade Iraq. Nathan Guttman made this

Barney Frank says Israel and AIPAC lobbied Congress to support war
mondoweiss.net/2015/03/lobbied-congress-support/

Mar 12, 2015 -- Tempers flared even more, they said, when Frank claimed that Israel and AIPAC had lobbied members of Congress a decade ago to support the war in Iraq. Remember that Walt and Mearsheimer were tarred as anti-Semites for saying in 2006 that the Israel lobby pushed the Iraq war.

Moran Down | The New Republic

https://newrepublic.com/article/61979/moran-down

Sep 30, 2007 -- He said that AIPAC was in favor of the Iraq war and "pushed this war from the beginning." And he claimed that on the Iraq war, AIPAC didn't represent "the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all." Moran had other things to say -- much of it having to do with AIPAC's lobbying on U.S. relations to Iran.

AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action -- Haaretz

https://www.haaretz.com/aipac-pushing-hard-for-syria-action-1.5330700

Sep 7, 2013 -- But they had generally wanted the debate to focus on U.S. national security rather than how a decision to attack Syria might help Israel, a reflection of their sensitivity to being seen as rooting for the United States to go to war. Obama AIPAC -- AP -- 22.5.11 U.S. President Barack Obama arriving at the AIPAC

Dems slam Moran's tying AIPAC to Iraq war -- POLITICO

https://www.politico.com/story/ /dems-slam-morans-tying-aipac-to-iraq-war-005925

Sep 19, 2007 -- Democrats offended by Jim Moran's statement that Israel lobby group AIPAC "pushed [the Iraq] war."

AIPAC beats the drums of war -- The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/aipac the war/ /gIQASVMZtR_story.htmlMar 5,

2012 -- But once inside the hall, the AIPAC attendees heard the sound of war drums. "Iran's nuclear Nine years ago this month, there was a similar feeling of inevitability -- that despite President George W. Bush's frequent insistence that "war is my last choice," war in Iraq was coming. Now Israel is moving toward

AIPAC and the Push Toward War -- The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/ /aipac push-toward-war/253358/

Feb 21, 2012 -- The bad news is that, as Kampeas also reports, "AIPAC is expected to make the resolution an 'ask' in three weeks when up to 10,000 activists culminate its Greg Thielmann of the Arms Control Association notes that, "Even after crushing Iraq in the first Gulf War, the international coalition only imposed a ..

[Apr 16, 2018] Russia's Red Lines in Relations with America by Stephen Lendma

Apr 16, 2018 | stephenlendman.org

n ( stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman )

How much more US hostility toward Russia will it tolerate before declaring unacceptable red lines were crossed?

Washington and Moscow are on opposite sides of endless war in Syria – a US imperial project from day one of hostilities.

According to neocon Russophobe Nikki Haley and US ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman, further (illegal) Trump administration sanctions on Russia are coming, likely Monday.

They'll be imposed for Kremlin involvement in combating US-supported terrorists in Syria – cutthroat killers falsely called "rebels."

According to Haley, Russian enterprises allegedly "dealing with equipment related to Assad and any chemical weapons use" will be targeted.

No Syrian CWs exist, the nation's entire stockpile destroyed in 2014, confirmed by the OPCW. Yet according to Haley (and other lunatic fringe Trump administration Russophobes), Damascus has undisclosed CWs. Moscow is "covering this up."

The Big Lie persists. No evidence supports it. Facts on the ground never deter Washington from pursuing it diabolical imperial agenda.

US administrations and bipartisan congressional members consistently blame sovereign independent nations for US high crimes committed against them.

Haley falsely accused Moscow of aggressive behavior, turning truth on its head, claiming the Kremlin facilitated the alleged Douma CW incident.

Medical personnel on the ground treated no one for toxic poisoning, no one killed, ill or harmed, no CW residues found by Russian technical experts at the alleged site.

The false flag incident was staged to blame Syria and Russia for a nonevent – the Big Lie used as a pretext for US-led terror-bombing of Syrian sites, followed by more illegal sanctions on Moscow coming Monday.

On Sunday, OPCW inspectors arrived in Douma to inspect the site of the alleged CW attack, according to Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan.

AMN news said following US-led terror-bombing of Syrian sites, Russia is sending government forces more weapons and heavy equipment.

According to Southfront, the Pentagon lied, claiming all missiles fired struck Syrian targets – at the same time expressing concern about mission results.

An internal probe will be conducted to produce a more accurate after-action report, including why Syrian air defense systems downed most incoming missiles – reportedly 71 of 103 fired.

Washington intends permanent occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. According to Assad UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari, one-third of the country is illegally occupied by US forces, adding:

Security Council debates omit discussing this key issue. Along with terrorists permanent SC members America, Britain and France support, Damascus faces "three aggressors:" Washington, London and Paris. "We are a state," Jaafari stressed, "the sovereignty of which has been violated by a permanent member of the UNSC."

The international community ignores this core issue of the conflict, along with US-led aggression, using terrorists as foot soldiers, pretending endless war is "civil."

After the latest US-led aggressive incident on a sovereign state, what's next? Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the Kremlin has "obvious red lines," adding Moscow will do all it can to pull East/West relations out of a dangerous "political nosedive." Addressing the issue diplomatically assures continued failure, along with weakness, encouraging Washington to slam Russia and Syria harder.

Dealing with hegemonic America requires using the only language it understands – challenging it forcefully. Pursuing failed policies assures making a bad situation worse ahead. Washington isn't likely to step back from the brink unless pushed. Diplomacy is futile, accomplishing nothing, encouraging greater US hostility, including endless aggression in Syria and tough anti-Russia actions.

Washington's rage for global dominance likely assures an eventual East/West showdown. Responding weakly to hostile US actions assures more to come, likely harsher than already. When will Russia respond with toughness – better to risk it in Syria than be forced to act in defending its heartland.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

[Apr 16, 2018] America's Fling With the Kurds Could Cause Turkey and NATO to Split by Mark Perry

Notable quotes:
"... "This is clientism," the senior military officer with whom I spoke explains. "All of these guys have served together and trust each other. And, you know, this is the way it works. The U.S. Central Command has the Middle East as a client and the European Command has the Europeans and Turkey as clients. But if you take a look at Mattis and the people around him, well, you know, it's all Centcom. ..."
"... Erdogan emphasized three growing concerns he has that America's temporary and "transactional" support for the YPG is becoming permanent. This same official went on to note that, in his opinion, it's not a coincidence that Trump floated the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria ("I want to get out," he said. "I want to bring our troops home") -- a suggestion that did not go over well with Centcom partisans at the Pentagon. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In fact, just how "ugly" the relationship has become is fast becoming a matter of public debate. During his March visit, Scaparrotti appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to give testimony on the challenges facing his command. While most members focused on Russia and cyberwar issues, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine explored the U.S.-Turkey dust-up, hinting that it might be time for the U.S. to dampen its YPG ties. Scaparrotti didn't disagree, while soft-pedaling the disagreements over the issue that he's had with Votel and Centcom. "Where do we want to be in a year, two years and five years?" he asked. "With a close NATO ally like Turkey, we know that we want to maintain and strengthen our relationship. So that's the long-term objective and if we look at the long-term objective, it can begin to inform what we're doing today with respect to NATO." The senior military officer with whom I spoke proved a willing translator: "What Scaparrotti is saying is that the real marriage here is between the U.S. and Turkey. The YPG is just a fling."

But convincing James Mattis of that is proving difficult, in part because Scaparrotti is outgunned. Every defense secretary surrounds himself with people he can count on and who he listens to. But for Mattis almost all of them have had experience in the Middle East -- and at Centcom. There's Mattis himself (a former Centcom commander), JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford (who served with Mattis in Iraq), Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Jr. (a Marine who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq), retired Rear Admiral Kevin M. Sweeney (the former Centcom executive officer), Rear Admiral Craig S. Faller (a Mattis advisor, and a Navy commander during both the Afghan and Iraq wars), and current Centcom commander General Joseph Votel -- the former commander of the U.S. Special Operation Command ("a trigger puller," as he was described to me by a currently serving officer). Votel is the most outspoken YPG supporter of any of them, and because he's the combatant commander, his support carries weight.

"This is clientism," the senior military officer with whom I spoke explains. "All of these guys have served together and trust each other. And, you know, this is the way it works. The U.S. Central Command has the Middle East as a client and the European Command has the Europeans and Turkey as clients. But if you take a look at Mattis and the people around him, well, you know, it's all Centcom. So Scaparrotti is worried, and he ought to be. We don't want to be sitting around 30 years from now reading historical pieces with titles like 'Who Lost Turkey?'"

Even someone as careful in his public utterances as Admiral James Stavridis, who once held Scaparrotti's command and is now the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, is raising concerns. While he waves off the "who lost Turkey" formulation as "a trope that is moving around the Internet," he told me in an email exchange that "it would be a mistake of epic proportions to allow Turkey to drift out of the transatlantic orbit" -- a repeat of the warning issued by Scaparrotti to Mattis in March. But like Scaparrotti, Staviridis is slow-rolling his disagreement. "This is a distinction without a difference," the senior officer and NATO partisan with whom we spoke says. "By drifting out of NATO, Stavridis means leaving. He's as worried as anyone else."

Concerns over Turkey are probably a surprise in the White House, given its almost daily crisis over the looming Russia-gate investigation, but they shouldn't be. The president has had extended telephone exchanges with Turkish President Tayyip Erodogan twice in the last three weeks. While the White House has refused to give details of these conversations, the Turkish official with whom we spoke told TAC that in both conversations (on March 23 and again on April 11), Erdogan emphasized three growing concerns he has that America's temporary and "transactional" support for the YPG is becoming permanent. This same official went on to note that, in his opinion, it's not a coincidence that Trump floated the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria ("I want to get out," he said. "I want to bring our troops home") -- a suggestion that did not go over well with Centcom partisans at the Pentagon.

On April 3, the same day Trump issued his let's-get-out statement, Joseph Votel and Brett McGurk appeared at the U.S. Institute of Peace, arguing that the U.S. needed to stay in. "The hard part, I think, is in front of us," Votel said, "and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting back to their homes. There is a military role in this," he went on to say. "Certainly in the stabilization phase."

The Votel appearance was exasperating for those worried about NATO's future, and for those concerned that the endless conflicts in the region are draining the defense budget of badly needed funds to rebuild U.S. military readiness. For them, a group that now includes a growing number of very senior and influential military officers, "stabilization" is not only a codeword for "nation building," it signals support for a mission that is endangering the future of NATO, the institution that has guaranteed peace in Europe for three generations.

"It's not worth it," the senior military commander who spoke with TAC concludes. "On top of everything else, it puts us on the wrong side of the political equation. This whole thing about how the enemy of my enemy is my friend is a bunch of bullshit. The enemy of my enemy is now making an enemy of our friend. I don't know who we think we're fooling, but it sure as hell isn't Turkey. And it isn't the American people either."

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a contributing editor to The American Conservative, and the author of The Pentagon's Wars (2017).

[Apr 16, 2018] But what neither the British Government nor the OPCW have, to the present, acknowledged is that blood samples from the Skripal's contained two nerve agents, A-234, aka Novichok, plus 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate, aka BZ or Buzz.

Apr 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

CanSpeccy , Website April 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT

The technical ability of Porton Down to identify a chemical has never been in doubt, and the only "finding of the United Kingdom " the OPCW has confirmed is the identity of the chemical.

But what neither the British Government nor the OPCW have, to the present, acknowledged is that blood samples from the Skripal's contained two nerve agents, A-234, aka Novichok, plus 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate, aka BZ or Buzz.

Novichok is a convulsant (which acts by preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, with the result that muscles go into full contraction, hence the symptoms of convulsions, vomiting, etc.), whereas BZ is a paralytic agent (which acts by binding to acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction without activating them, thereby preventing muscle contraction, hence the symptoms of paralysis and ultimately death by asphyxiation).

Thus, BZ will serve as an antidote to Novichok poisoning, wheras Novichok will serve as an antidote to BZ poisoning. So the presence of Novichok in the Skipal blood samples is not conclusive evidence that Novichok was the poison, rather than the antidote, as I have discussed here: 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate: The Antidote to Novichok , and here: Novichok: Russia's Antidote to Seafood Poisoning .

[Apr 16, 2018] Tracing the Rush to War by Craig Murray

Notable quotes:
"... And in the later articles posted here, he writes: "That puts Saudi Arabia (and its client jihadists), Saudi Arabia's close ally Israel, the UK and the USA all in the frame in having a powerful motive in inculcating anti-Russian sentiment prior to planned conflict with Russia in Syria. Any of them could have attacked the Skripals." ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

I have never ruled out the possibility that Russia is responsible for the attack in Salisbury, amongst other possibilities. But I do rule out the possibility that Assad is dropping chemical weapons in Ghouta. In this extraordinary war, where Saudi-funded jihadist head choppers have Israeli air support and US and UK military "advisers", every time the Syrian army is about to take complete control of a major jihadist enclave, at the last moment when victory is in their grasp, the Syrian Army allegedly attacks children with chemical weapons, for no military reason at all. We have been fed this narrative again and again and again.

We then face a propaganda onslaught from neo-con politicians, think tanks and "charities" urging a great rain of Western bombs and missiles, and are accused of callousness towards suffering children if we demur. This despite the certain knowledge that Western military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have had consequences which remain to this day utterly disastrous.

I fear that the massive orchestration of Russophobia over the last two years is intended to prepare public opinion for a wider military conflict centred on the Middle East, but likely to spread, and that we are approaching that endgame. The dislocation of the political and media class from the general population is such, that the levers for people of goodwill to prevent this are, as with Iraq, extremely few as politicians quake in the face of media jingoism. These feel like extremely dangerous times.


Ronald Thomas West , Website April 16, 2018 at 4:58 am GMT

Precisely what is meant to negate the "why on earth are we entering armed confrontation with a nuclear power" argument, I do not know

Well, Craig, you could try bringing some heat here:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/15/what-can-be-known-vs-what-will-be-known/

^ It beats singing to the choir

ValmMond , April 16, 2018 at 5:08 am GMT
I stopped reading at:

"I have never ruled out the possibility that Russia is responsible for the attack in Salisbury"

Time for timid half-truths is over. If by now you haven't identified the Skripal affair as the joint UK/US production it is, Act I of the AngloZionist war on Syria, Russia and humanity, your analysis isn't worth the pixels it's written on. There is zero doubt. Case closed. Especially after this:

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/04/15/swiss-governmental-lab-identifies-the-substance-used-on-the-skripal-case-as-being-linked-to-the-nato/

I wish you realize that appeals to skepticism and lines like "I'm not fan of Putin/Assad" get you nowhere. You are facing a brutal, fact-twisting, intellect-insulting, lying, propaganda machine. Any concession you make to their "arguments" comes with the smell of blood. They'll mock your "moderate" views and will try to make you look weak and foolish as Sky-news did. You can't be only half-brave, half-informed and half-right. And why engage those shameless liars if not to destroy completely their blatant lies?

Wally , April 16, 2018 at 5:44 am GMT
BREAKING: British-US Toxin, Not Novichok used in Salisbury Attack

https://principia-scientific.org/breaking-british-us-toxin-not-novichok-used-in-salisbury-attack/

Swiss lab says 'BZ toxin' used in Salisbury, not produced in Russia, was in US & UK service

jilles dykstra , April 16, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
Who pulls the strings ?

When Hungary prepared democratically laws to stop Soros meddling in Hungary Soros phoned Brussels, spoke to Juncker and Tusk, the next day Timmermans tried to intimidate the Hungarian government.

Just now there have been Hungarian elections, anti migration and anti Soros Orban was elected.

European parliament member Sargenti now wants to take Hungary's voting right in the EU away.

Sargenti is on the 231 member list that seem to be followers of Soros.

As Jimmy Carter once said 'those that want war do not expect that they themselves are going to be hurt'.

That in the next world war anyone will be more than hurt, killed, the war mongers do not understand, cannot believe.

Randal , April 16, 2018 at 10:03 am GMT
@ZummaZero

Please, why don't you mention the other possibilities, instead of "the Russian one"?

Bit harsh to criticise Craig Murray on that score. I see your point, and it would be a valid point to raise with an establishment journo who has been generally an effective part of the anti-Russia propaganda campaign, but Murray has discussed the other options on many occasions (and been the brunt of some pretty harsh establishment bullying in response).

In this case, it can safely be regarded as just efficient writing.

Vojkan , April 16, 2018 at 11:12 am GMT
Even if Assad did use gas, which he obviously didn't, who the heck are the Americans, the British, and the French to lecture anyone on morality, given that they unlike Assad did practice chemical warfare, and killed uncounted millions around the globe with "conventional" means in order to loot them, and to "punish" Assad as the bankster with an Oedipus complex Macron put it?
Tsar Nicholas , April 16, 2018 at 11:21 am GMT
@ValmMond

I think you are being unfair.

Mr Murray lost his job because he stood up for the right thing in 2004 and he has been abused ever since. His sanity has been called into question ever since he suggested the British government weren't telling the truth. His brief period in an instiuttion after Blair sacked him has been brought up more than once.

I suspect Craig's position of apparent open-mindedness has arisen from a lengthy Sky News TV interview with the appalling Kay Burley. He was careful in an eighteen minute segment not to give cause for Burley to label him as a Putin bot. He was most careful not to take the focus off the weakness in the British government's position and I think that was correct.

As soon as you see the tissue of lies emanating from London the innocence of Moscow follows naturally. Mr Murray was correct not to allow himself to be provoked by Kay Burley and she was visibly annoyed by her failure.

Sky News tried to bury the confrontation but somebody recorded it and you can find the interview at craigmurray.org

TT , April 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm GMT

The ever excellent Campaign Against the Arms Trade is back in the English High Court again today in its continuing attempts to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It is against UK law to sell arms to a country which is likely to use them in breach of international humanitarian law , and that Saudi Arabia consistently and regularly uses British weapons to bomb schools, hospitals and civilians is indisputable.

Why didn't the High Court ban arm sales to UK army, which is using them in breach of international humanitarian law, consistently & regularly since its colonial era, in Vietnam & Korea wars, Blair's Iraq WMD illegal war, Cameron's illegal Libya bombing, and now May's illegal attack to Syria.

Saudi arabia Yemen's war pale in comparison to UK long history of atrocities. What a British hypocrite law enacted in a kangaroo judicial system? A country of government infested with shameless warmonger liars & paedophiles, yet popularly elected by its people. What a great Anglosaxon-West civilization & glorious demoncrapcy system to be spread around the world for easy subversion & regime change.

Proven guilty Iraq war criminal Tony Blair is walking free, repeating his same lies again to push for illegal Syria attack. Yet not a single war protest from UK people. Touch a LBGT issue or Trumps visit, British will gone hysteria protest in London, oh what a great nation. World Capital of paedophiles, war criminals & pathological liars.

How can God save the Queen that connive criminals, with stolen wealth soaking with innocents blood.

EliteCommInc. , April 16, 2018 at 3:53 pm GMT
I appreciated the frame you provided. That's a very serious charge against Great Britain -- sadly, I found it a somewhat compelling and disconcerting.

I suspect that in all of this there are fears that it's a response to enemies without as opposed to enemies from within. I have no idea where this notion comes from -- that states can act as authority for UN missions without the consent of the UN. Great Britain's press here sounds very much like the legal gymnastic of the US to invade Iraq and has much weight -- I agree.

The chaos in Libya, Syria, the Ukraine is the direct result of US and EU manipulation. I just don't know how to support "wrongness" on so many levels and consider myself a person of integrity. The humanitarian crisis in all of the regions is exacerbated by our own violations of law and foreign policy best practices.

Pale hobo , April 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm GMT
Not a bad article, but superficial. Does not address the why question and the huge ideological difference between Russia and the 'West' which leads to war.
Zumbuddi , April 16, 2018 at 4:21 pm GMT
@ValmMond

Agree. Resisting lying provocation to war should be done with what ZUSA terms "moral clarity." Said another way, No Quarter, No Mercy. If the need is felt to characterize Assad, the only things that needs be said are that he is the legitimate leader of a sovereign nation, and that attempts to topple him, by ZUSA & Anglos, are in direct violation of United Nations charter.

Greg Bacon , Website April 16, 2018 at 5:02 pm GMT

I have never ruled out the possibility that Russia is responsible for the attack in Salisbury, amongst other possibilities.

And I have never ruled out the word which can not be spoken, that ISRAEL was behind both attacks, to justify getting their US/UK/French lackeys to do in Syria what they can not without taking losses, attacking Syrian cities with cruise missiles.

Poisoned toothpaste and exploding phones: New book chronicles Israel's '2,700' assassination operations

Poisoned toothpaste that takes a month to end its target's life. Armed drones. Exploding mobile phones. Spare tyres with remote-control bombs. Assassinating enemy scientists and discovering the secret lovers of Muslim clerics.

A new book chronicles these techniques and asserts that Israel has carried out at least 2,700 assassination operations in its 70 years of existence. While many failed, they add up to far more than any other western country, the book says.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mossad-assassinations-israel-foreign-operations-arafat-book-shin-bet-ronan-bergman-interviews-a8181391.ht

The main beneficiary of the recent cruise missile attacks against Syria is Israel, so let's be honest and see what happens.

From an April 2003 Haaretz article:

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible.

This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/white-man-s-burden-1.14110

Mike P , April 16, 2018 at 7:37 pm GMT
@James Brown

So, aside from selling weapons to Syria and Iran – and thus, giving up control over those weapons – what exactly should Putin have done to continue receiving your approval? Start WW3?

Another question: if this is just a staged play of good cop, bad cop – why does the puppet master behind the scenes not advance the plot? Why the need for silly diversions into the bucolic English countryside, and for embarrassing cameos by French boy princes?

Mike P , April 16, 2018 at 8:36 pm GMT
@Stonehands

Not sure where you are from, but some countries – particularly those that have experienced it at home – consider war a serious business, not quite the same as a bar brawl in Dodge City.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , Website April 16, 2018 at 8:51 pm GMT
Western Media are turning into a Laughing Gas attack.
paul23 , April 16, 2018 at 8:58 pm GMT
I keep hearing that the Qatar – Europe pipeline is the source of the Syria War, what I cant understand if their so desperate for this why does it need to go through Syria, theres`s other ways like across SA and up the red sea?
Antiwar7 , April 16, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT
@ZummaZero

In Murray's first post on the Skripal story, he lists other possible suspects as Orbis Intelligence (who produced the Steele dossier) and the state of Israel:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/russian-to-judgement/

And in the later articles posted here, he writes: "That puts Saudi Arabia (and its client jihadists), Saudi Arabia's close ally Israel, the UK and the USA all in the frame in having a powerful motive in inculcating anti-Russian sentiment prior to planned conflict with Russia in Syria. Any of them could have attacked the Skripals."

SolontoCroesus , April 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm GMT
@Sean

The West would simply like him to meet his obligations and stop gassing people as there is an international agreement against killing people that way. Why can't he just stick to the normal use of high explosives to blast them to pieces?

Why can't he just stick to the normal use of high explosives to blast them to pieces?

Because that process is still under Israeli patent protection??

ValmMond , April 16, 2018 at 9:49 pm GMT
@Stonehands

Didn't he and various generals plainly state that retaliation would be swift and immediately delivered to any such platform?

Yes, if Russian military assets in Syria are targeted or hit. The US strike was the warfare equivalent of a plate smashing fit thrown by a hysterical tranny. Just a loud demonstration of impotence and fishing for attention. It's better handled unanswered. Now, if the tranny decides to go in a full abuser mode, Putin may seriously mess up her makeup.

[Apr 16, 2018] The Bolton-Pompeo Package

Notable quotes:
"... Given that a key function of that position is to ensure that the bureaucracy provides the relevant options and most accurate information to the president before major national security decisions, it is hard to think of anyone more ill-suited to that duty. Bolton's method of policy formation has been to try to bully any part of the bureaucracy that does not subscribe to his personal agenda, and to try to bully away any part of the truth that does not serve his objectives. ..."
"... The Senate is about to have an opportunity to weigh in on another highly important foreign policy position, that of secretary of state, for which President Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo. Senators ought to consider that nomination in tandem with the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser, even though the Senate formally has a role with only one of those appointments and not with the other. Senators should consider the two as a package deal. They should not vote to confirm Pompeo if they are uncomfortable with either part of the package. ..."
"... The main reason to approach the Pompeo nomination this way is that the nation currently has a president who, sad to say, needs restraint. He will need restraint all the more during the coming months as troubles of his own making increase the chance that he will lash out in destructive ways . ..."
"... But both Pompeo and Bolton are more likely to accentuate Trump's impulses than to restrain them. Bolton got his job because the sort of things he says on Fox are more what Donald Trump likes to hear than the briefings that H.R. McMaster gave him, which evidently were too long for Trump's taste or for his short attention span. ..."
"... Pompeo did not rise so quickly from being a relatively junior congressman functioning as a partisan attack dog to where he is now, on the verge of occupying Thomas Jefferson's chair, by telling Trump what he needs to hear rather than what he wants to hear. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

This week John Bolton assumes the job of national security adviser. Given that a key function of that position is to ensure that the bureaucracy provides the relevant options and most accurate information to the president before major national security decisions, it is hard to think of anyone more ill-suited to that duty. Bolton's method of policy formation has been to try to bully any part of the bureaucracy that does not subscribe to his personal agenda, and to try to bully away any part of the truth that does not serve his objectives. Bolton's objectives are characterized by never meeting a war or prospective war he didn't like. He still avows that the Iraq War -- with all the costs and chaos it has caused, from thousands of American deaths to the birth of the group that we now know as ISIS -- was a good idea. That someone with this perspective has been entrusted with the job Bolton now has is a glaring example of how there often is no accountability in Washington for gross policy malpractice.

Appointments as national security adviser are not subject to Senate confirmation. If they were, it would be appropriate for the Senate to react as it did the last time Bolton came before that body as a nominee for a job that does require confirmation. In 2005 the Senate turned down his nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations. The Senate review brought to light some of the uglier aspects of Bolton's conduct in his previous job as an undersecretary of state. President George W. Bush gave him a recess appointment to the U.N. job, but fortunately that meant there was a time limit to the destruction Bolton could wreak in that position.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9521689830966886?pubid=ld-7032-4043&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=nationalinterest.org&width=637

The Senate is about to have an opportunity to weigh in on another highly important foreign policy position, that of secretary of state, for which President Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo. Senators ought to consider that nomination in tandem with the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser, even though the Senate formally has a role with only one of those appointments and not with the other. Senators should consider the two as a package deal. They should not vote to confirm Pompeo if they are uncomfortable with either part of the package.

The main reason to approach the Pompeo nomination this way is that the nation currently has a president who, sad to say, needs restraint. He will need restraint all the more during the coming months as troubles of his own making increase the chance that he will lash out in destructive ways . The copious commentary during the fifteen months of the Trump presidency about having "adults in the room" to restrain the worst urges of an inexperienced and impulsive president speaks to an important truth. Whether adult supervision of this sort succeeds or fails depends on the collective impact of all of the president's senior subordinates. To the extent any one subordinate is especially influential in this regard on foreign policy, it probably is the national security adviser who is best positioned either to accentuate or to restrain Trump's impulses. Having Bolton in that job makes the restraining ability of the secretary of state all the more important.

But both Pompeo and Bolton are more likely to accentuate Trump's impulses than to restrain them. Bolton got his job because the sort of things he says on Fox are more what Donald Trump likes to hear than the briefings that H.R. McMaster gave him, which evidently were too long for Trump's taste or for his short attention span. P

Pompeo's winning of favor with Trump, during what reportedly has been lots of face time with him at the White House during the past year, has a similar dynamic. Pompeo did not rise so quickly from being a relatively junior congressman functioning as a partisan attack dog to where he is now, on the verge of occupying Thomas Jefferson's chair, by telling Trump what he needs to hear rather than what he wants to hear.

Senators hold up confirmation of nominees, and sometimes vote against them, for all kinds of reasons unrelated to the resumé of the nominee. It would be proper for them to vote against a nominee for secretary of state partly because of who the national security adviser is, given that both of them are in service to an unstable president.

There are other reasons to consider Pompeo and Bolton in tandem. In several respects they are two hazardous peas in a pod. On North Korea, Bolton's bellicose posture is matched by Pompeo's statements about seeking ways to "separate" Kim Jong Un from his nuclear weapons , suggesting a priority to regime change over keeping a volatile situation on the Korean peninsula from blowing up. Both Pompeo and Bolton, along with Trump, have sworn eternal hostility to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral agreement that closed all possible paths to an Iranian nuclear weapon. Neither man bothers to explain how destruction of the agreement, which would free Iran to produce as much fissile material as it wants and would end the intrusive international inspections of the Iranian program, could possibly

[Apr 16, 2018] Why Do They Tell US Transparent Lies by Paul Craig Roberts

Apr 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

US officials and the presstitutes tell us that the illegal US missile attack on Syria destroyed chemical weapons sites where chlorine and sarin are stored/manufactured. If this were true, would not a lethal cloud have been released that would have taken the lives of far more people than claimed in the alleged Syrian chemical attack on Douma? Would not the US missile attack be identical to a chemical weapons attack and thus place the US and its vassals in the same category as Washington is attempting to place Assad and Putin?

[Apr 16, 2018] Alas, this is far from over! by The Saker

Russia can do nothing alone. NATO is way too strong.
Notable quotes:
"... my honor is called solidarity ..."
"... my honor is loyalty ..."
"... by not taking any action the Russians also failed to deter any future attacks. But what could the Russians have done? ..."
"... Sic transit gloria mundi ..."
"... Trump demonstrated that the U.S. can still bomb non nuclear countries without regard for the Constitution, international law or common decency. The Deplorables demonstrated that elections will not change anything. Only the death of the U.S. dollar will end Anglo/Zio Imperial aggression. ..."
"... Russia was outgunned, so they did not respond. It was probably a wise decision. They did damage control admirably, and now have an opportunity to improve the Syrian arsenal with obvious justification. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, Russia is tightening the noose in Syria. Air defenses are improving. ..."
"... My precious, too many players want to start a real war between the Mercans and Russians. Aside from the casual suspects (KSA and Israel), Chinese also objectively benefit from the confrontation, which explains their aloofness. Should this come to a nuclear war, Chinese will be the one and only winner. For this old smart monkey is still sitting on the tree, and nothing has changed since Chairman Mao times. ..."
"... For Iran, this war will certainly enhance the Iran-Russia axis and thus may postpone the US aggression. Turkey loves it too because it can play both sides. ..."
"... Ironically, only the USA and Russia will be the biggest losers regardless of the outcome. ..."
"... In UNSC, China has surprisingly took abstained neutral stand, allowing it to play the coordinator role & denying US UK Fr to get any legit for attack. This avoid relegating UNSC into two sides shouting. Nikki Harley was thus preempted her wish of striking with or without UNSC mandate since all ended agreed to let UN conduct independent inspection. Overall, this continue to lock US UK Fr inside UNSC framework. ..."
"... The general idea seems to be containment of Russia, hemming them in within their own borders and cutting them off from being able to extend their influence outward. ..."
"... As part of this any allies of theirs such as Syria come under attack; if the west can't own them then they're to be reduced to chaos and rendered into costly burdens for the Russians. ..."
"... It's all a very cynical and calculated plan that fits into the overall picture of encircling the Russians to stymie their development and influence. NATO expansion up to their borders, the Ukraine coup, encirclement, picking off vulnerable allies, economic warfare and political subversion without end, the pattern is clear. At some point an actual clash might come about, not necessarily now with Syria as the trigger but somewhere all along the entire line of points of friction. Unfortunately it seems inevitable that something bad is going to happen somewhere down the line as the irresistible force meets the immovable object. ..."
"... As a fervent anti-war activist since the sixties, I have been appalled at all the regime change the US has and continues to do around the world including both military covert operations and economic warfare. Well Putin had me at his 2007 Munich speech. ..."
Apr 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Let's begin by a short summary of events.

About a month ago Nikki Haley announces to the UNSC that the USA is ready to violate the rules of this very self-same UNSC should a chemical attack happen in Syria Then the Russians announced that they have evidence that a chemical false flag is being prepared in Syria Then a chemical attack (supposedly) takes place (in a location surrounded and, basically, controlled by government forces!) The OPWC sends investigators (in spite of western powers loudly proclaiming that no investigation was needed) The AngloZionists then bomb Syria Next, the UNSC refuses to condemn the violation of its own rules and decisions Finally, the US Americans speak of a 'perfect strike'

Now tell me -- do you get a sense that this is over?

If you tell me that 32/103 is hardly perfect, I will reply that you are missing the point. In fact, if anything, 32/103 is further incentive to bomb again!

Let's look at the differently for a second and ask this: what has the AngloZionist attack actually demonstrated?

The western general public is so terminally zombified that false flag attacks can now be announced 4 weeks in advance The Europeans now live by the motto " my honor is called solidarity " (a variation of the SS motto " my honor is loyalty ") Led by the USA, western countries have no objections to wars started in violation of their own national laws The UN Security Council has no objections to wars started in violation of the UN Charter and International Law The PRC leaders, in their infinite wisdom, act as if they have nothing personal at stake and act like bystanders The Israelis, via the UN Neocons, are now in total control of the Empire and use it to "clean house" next door

Oh, I hear the objections. They go something like this:

But the attack was a dismal failure! So what? the Empire did not pay any price for executing it. But the US Americans did blink! The attacked from Jordanian airspace and from the Red Sea! They avoided the Russians completely! They are afraid of them! So what? They still bombed a Russian ally with total impunity. But, surely you are not suggesting that the Russians should have started a war against the USA over a strike which did not even kill a single person?

No, of course not, but by not taking any action the Russians also failed to deter any future attacks. But what could the Russians have done?

Now *that* is the right question!

Let's look at it a little closer. Roughly speaking, the Russians have a choice of 3 types of retaliatory measures: political, economic and military. However, each one of them has a specific set of prerequisites which are currently problematic to say the least:

Measures Political Economic Military
Prerequisites Assumes a minimal amount of decency, integrity and respect for the rule of law by the rest of the planet. Assumes that other countries, especially China, would be willing and able to support such measures. Assumes that Russia has the military capability to defeat the AngloZionist "coalition".
Current reality Russia can moan, bitch, complain, protest, appeal to higher values, logic or facts -- nobody gives a damn. The Chinese and the rest of them are not willing to do anything at this time to support Russia. Russia can militarily defeat the AngloZionists, but only by risking the future of our planet.

This really can be summarized a simple sentence: the AngloZionist Hegemony is a threat for the entire planet, but nobody besides Russia and Iran is willing to take it on. Ain't that an irony!

The so-called "Christian West" has become a willing host for its Zionist parasite and the only ones with the courage and moral integrity to take it on are Orthodox Christians and Muslims! Sic transit gloria mundi indeed

But what is even more important is this: while it is true that the US Neocons did not succeed in delivering the kind of massive attack they would have wanted to, and while it is true that the US attack was just about as lame as can be, you need to completely forget about these facts. Facts simply don't matter. And neither does logic. All that matters are perceptions!

And the perception is that "we" (the AngloZionist rulers and their serfs) "kicked" Assad's "ass" and that "we" will "do it again" if "we" feel like it. That is all that matters in the Empire of Illusions which the AngloZionist Hegemony has become.

As soon as you understand that, you also will have to agree that Trump was right: it was a "perfect strike" (again, not in reality, but in the world of illusions created around it).

So now we come full circle.

The AngloZionist Hegemony demands that the entire planet bows down and worships it . Except for Russia and Iran, everybody meekly goes down on their knees or, at most, meekly looks away. In their own delusional reality, the 'Mericans feel empowered to smack down Russia or Iran at anytime. There is nothing Iran can do to stop them, and while Russia can, she can only do that at the risk of the future of our entire planet.

Now you tell me -- do you really think this is over?


aleksandar , April 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm GMT

" There is nothing Iran can do to stop them "

That's clearly a civilian assertion. By no way, the US can defeat Iran, unless they are ready to send 500 000 grunts there. And they are not. No US president will survive a 10 000 body bag return.

They can use air power for sure, but that will never be enough to force Iran to bow.And I'm quite sure the Russian will provide them everything they have to help Iran.And China probably too.

Without even mentioning destruction of Barbaric Saudi and closin Ormuz strait. It's clearly not over but the US are not as powerful as you think.

Antonio , April 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm GMT
Well, firstly, I don't think the future of our planet is at risk, if you mean by that extinction of life on Earth. Current arsenals can't do that, even in the worst case scenario. Nor even can they extinct human race either. Lots of deaths? Yes, sure. Extinction? Nope.

Secondly, there is no rule of law because there is no punishment. Once punishment is delivered, things will change quickly. I agree with you that political or economical punishment will not work. But military punishment will do. Sink some US carriers or destroy some Israel bases, and you will see how they become well-behaved.

(BTW, the EU stopped being Christian long ago.)

Diversity Heretic , April 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm GMT
The best advice that I could give Russia would be what Reese says to Sarah Connor about the Terminator (substitute AngloZionist Empire).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKbZMIP4XUE

WorkingClass , April 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm GMT
Trump demonstrated that the U.S. can still bomb non nuclear countries without regard for the Constitution, international law or common decency. The Deplorables demonstrated that elections will not change anything. Only the death of the U.S. dollar will end Anglo/Zio Imperial aggression.
Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , April 15, 2018 at 3:52 pm GMT
Uhhh no.

It is not only Russia and Iran that does not bow down. North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Phillipines, China etc. Etc. These countries have done as much as the Russians have. Its not like Russia sank a carrier or anything and it's not like Russia is defender of the world on a crusade to defend the planet. They are only acting because they are in the crosshairs.

If America was targeting Cuba, Russia would not say or do anything against America.

El Dato , April 15, 2018 at 7:56 pm GMT

If you tell me that 32/103 is hardly perfect

True if true. US says this was all in the pipe, 5 by 5:

Warship ruse and new stealth missiles: How the Syria attack unfolded

While both vessels [USS Winston Churchill, USS Donald Cook] carry as many as 90 Tomahawk missiles -- the main weapon used in the Friday evening strike on Syria -- neither ship in the end fired a shot. Instead, according to a person familiar with White House war planning, they were part of a plan to distract Russia and its Syrian ally from an assault Assad's government could do little to defend itself against.

It worked. Pentagon officials on Saturday said they faced little resistance to their targeted attack on what they said were three Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Most of the Syrian countermeasures, including defensive ballistic missiles, were fired after U.S. and allied weapons hit their targets, Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said Saturday.

"No Syrian weapon had any effect on anything we did," McKenzie said. He described the joint U.S., French and U.K. strike as "precise, overwhelming and effective."

Where can I get correct assessments? For, umm . research yeah.

The Scalpel , Website April 15, 2018 at 8:17 pm GMT
Russia was outgunned, so they did not respond. It was probably a wise decision. They did damage control admirably, and now have an opportunity to improve the Syrian arsenal with obvious justification.

Slowly but surely, Russia is tightening the noose in Syria. Air defenses are improving. The next step is likely to be an arsenal of anti-ship missile's. If necessary ICBMs might follow some sort of mutual defense treaty.

At some point, Syria itself will be able to deliver the bloody nose to the USA that is so necessary for justice and world peace. That point will be reached when Syrian abilities to inflict pain outweigh the costs of escalation

JR , April 15, 2018 at 8:54 pm GMT
Probably Saker didn't see this yet.

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1098059.shtml

China supporting Russia using reasoning in line with the Saker.

Antonio , April 15, 2018 at 8:55 pm GMT
@El Dato

@ElDato: Try borrowing some observation time from these guys

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spot_Image https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RapidEye
peterAUS , April 15, 2018 at 9:26 pm GMT

Facts simply don't matter. And neither does logic. All that matters are perceptions!

Yup.

There is nothing Iran can do to stop them, and while Russia can, she can only do that at the risk of the future of our entire planet.

Not quite. Or, the regime in Kremlin could've stopped all this had it acted, properly , a couple of years ago. Opportunity missed.

Now you tell me -- do you really think this is over?

Of course not. This is just a starter.

aleksandar , April 15, 2018 at 10:06 pm GMT
@El Dato

Nowhere, stay tuned to Radio Pentagon, that's all you can understand anyway.

Smeagol , April 16, 2018 at 12:16 am GMT
My precious, too many players want to start a real war between the Mercans and Russians. Aside from the casual suspects (KSA and Israel), Chinese also objectively benefit from the confrontation, which explains their aloofness. Should this come to a nuclear war, Chinese will be the one and only winner. For this old smart monkey is still sitting on the tree, and nothing has changed since Chairman Mao times.

For Iran, this war will certainly enhance the Iran-Russia axis and thus may postpone the US aggression. Turkey loves it too because it can play both sides.

Ironically, only the USA and Russia will be the biggest losers regardless of the outcome. It seems they both realize that and are treading carefully. But can they manage to get out of the clinch? And for how long they can be avoiding the all-out conflict? So no, -- it's definitely ain't over. We hates it, but the best is yet to come.

Linda , April 16, 2018 at 4:52 am GMT
You forget ballsy little Bolivia defends Russia in UN with both votes and condemnation of barking Nikki. It looks like they are offering all they have -- moral condemnation of Empire and her vassals.
Linda , April 16, 2018 at 5:21 am GMT
This is a very interesting post from Zaid Fadel at Syrian Perspective. https://syrianperspective.com/2018/04/attack-on-syria-big-flop-air-defenses-robust-massive-failure-for-trump-may-macron-and-the-usual-gang-of-idiots.html

The reason I give it a lot of weight is that the night before the bombing, either Vanessa Beasley or Eva Bartlett called in to Israeli News Live and gave 12 points explaining what Syria was expecting to happen and it seems it pretty well went down as they had said. I'm sorry I can't find the broadcast link. Apparently the Russians said if the strike went into a second day they would strike back even if Russians were not hit. Looks like the "strike" was pretty well pre-determined by both sides.

Gave each side a look at the others capabilities and allowed US a chance to waste missiles and Northrup sell new ones. Same old, same old.

Every time my country says or does something insane (which is often) this Lee Greenwood song goes thru my mind with modified lyrics. "Ashamed to be an American, where I'm duped to think I'm free".

hunor , April 16, 2018 at 7:27 am GMT
" This is far from over ! "

How can it be over ? It is a war in progress. One side of the warring party is creating they own reality, and present it on the world stage with absolute conviction, and determination. This fake reality is part of the war game , it should not be considered as lies or staged events. It is war ! Fake reality is part of the repertoire , just like the missiles. It is war , no rules just brutal conflict.

The other side not understanding any of it. They are running around , like chickens in the rain. UNSC talk , talk and talk some more. Nobody give a them. They are counting how many missiles they intercepted , they are analyzing , they are theorizing . Do something you are about to be wiped off !

Robert Magill , April 16, 2018 at 10:50 am GMT
This is theatre;

Act 2 . China sells tickets. Total now of two hundred missiles used; nothing much destroyed. Top brass satisfied. Neocons, mollified. Audience, US, asleep in our seats as usual.

Act 3 . The big love scene: Trump and Putin do Romeo & Juliet, audience confused. Back to sleep. China offers no refunds.

https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/women-of-the-world-summit-2/

TT , April 16, 2018 at 1:36 pm GMT

Measures Political Economic Military

Prerequisites

Current reality

The Chinese and the rest of them are not willing to do anything at this time to support Russia. Russia can militarily defeat the AngloZionists, but only by risking the future of our planet.

Saker correctly pointed out Russia is showing unnecessary weakness in only moaning & bitching with empty threats that nobody bother, relegating itself to a weakling gas station.

But to falsely accused China & the rest not willing to do anything at this time to support Russia is too far fetch, a foolish remark like a whining self pitied child blaming everyone for his own spilled milk.

Does Saker expect its few allies China, NK, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, SAA to launch attack on US Nato when RuA refused/not permit?

Economically, China is known to have financially back the entire costly war, signed numerous huge deals worth hundreds of Bil with Russia to booster its sanctioned economy, deliver re-construction materials, medicine & food for tens of millions soldiers & Syrians. A astromical cost.

Military, it has also supply lot of weapons & ammunition under so called old contract with SAA, sent in its most senior advisors & Special forces to help fighting & get train, esp to mop up Uyghur ISIS terrorists(CIA assets).

It even cut short a mammoth 40 vessels Liaoning a/c strike group drill in SCS to declare a unprecedented proximate live firing drill in Taiwan Straits, literally forcing existing USN three strike groups to tied down in SCS. This sent a very clear signal that if US start a hot war in Syria with Russia, China might open another war front to take back Taiwan which USM will be overstretched to defend.

Also China despatched its Defense Minister in a high profile visit to Russia, declaring its military solidarity with Russia against US tyranny (a rare glaring mentioned of US name directly) . This sent a very strong signal to USM, China may intervene directly or asymmetrically.

China also took an unusual hard stand in a looming trade war, threatened to fight at all cost without slight compromise, hence refusing Trumps any leeway to back down while he up ante to save face.

China foreign ministry further declare the trade war will not limit in trade but shall utilize all asymmetric tools, including non cooporation in strategic issues, sanction of US hugely profiting investments in China. Also Trumps redneck farming vote bank was purposely targeted to pressure him in coming Nov election. With China $4T war chess & US people resistance, US can ill afford to fight China if Syria war breakout. Every major war will see USD artificially hike >30% historically for expenditure mileage.

In UNSC, China has surprisingly took abstained neutral stand, allowing it to play the coordinator role & denying US UK Fr to get any legit for attack. This avoid relegating UNSC into two sides shouting. Nikki Harley was thus preempted her wish of striking with or without UNSC mandate since all ended agreed to let UN conduct independent inspection. Overall, this continue to lock US UK Fr inside UNSC framework.

China Prez Xi also in Baao seminar announced expedite opening of China huge financial market. This stirred the world into frenzy to prepare for huge investment, skillfully denied US ability to pull EU, Jp & others to joint US trade war. All US financier & trade bodies will loathe any trade or hot war that will derail their golden opportunity.

What else happen behind door we won't know. But whatever we can see now, China has done every heavy lifting it could, very comprehensive & well plan, short of attacking USM in Syria which it can't with limited projection force.

Yet Saker is accusing China & others are doing NOTHING to help Russia, when Putin is refusing to even take down a Israel airfield as a warning to USM. Killing a chicken to frighten the monkey.

Is Saker demonstrating a typical Russian nature, unappreciative & endless blaming, always ready to throw ally under bus? This might explain why Russia has few or no true trusted ally, even ex-Soviet countries. Assad Syria & Iran interest are seen routinely been sacrificed.

Will China one day decided Russia is not a trusted ally afterall to reconsider US G2 invitation?

TT , April 16, 2018 at 1:51 pm GMT
@Linda

I think one US ally in ME also abstained to refuse support of US proposal, Qatar?

c matt , April 16, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT
@aleksandar

I think the point of the article was precisely that the US is not as strong as it thinks. Hence, the attack was all for "show" so the US can perpetuate the delusion it can handle Russia/Iran. The danger is that this delusion may cause a major misstep, especially if (when) the US starts believing it's own bullshit and really pokes the bear.

anonymous [187] Disclaimer , April 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT
The general idea seems to be containment of Russia, hemming them in within their own borders and cutting them off from being able to extend their influence outward.

As part of this any allies of theirs such as Syria come under attack; if the west can't own them then they're to be reduced to chaos and rendered into costly burdens for the Russians.

It's all a very cynical and calculated plan that fits into the overall picture of encircling the Russians to stymie their development and influence. NATO expansion up to their borders, the Ukraine coup, encirclement, picking off vulnerable allies, economic warfare and political subversion without end, the pattern is clear. At some point an actual clash might come about, not necessarily now with Syria as the trigger but somewhere all along the entire line of points of friction. Unfortunately it seems inevitable that something bad is going to happen somewhere down the line as the irresistible force meets the immovable object.

Linda , April 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
The problem here is that moving to a multi-polar world will require many countries to contribute what and where they can as we fight a very entrenched international Cabal. But, the largest responsibility lies with the people living within the Evil Empire and its vassal states. Those whose counties are committing these atrocities need to step up and call foul on their own governments. This is difficult to do since the Project Mockingbird press continues to spew unbelievable lies on a non-stop basis. But those lies are getting more and more difficult to believe. Unless your brain is totally disconnected, you have to realize that what they are saying is inconsistent and illogical.

Besides calling and berating my representatives, signing petitions, etc. I have taken to wearing a teeshirt with a picture of Putin and the Russian bear (Putin in a suit, not riding the bear bare chested).

I wear it to all social events for the purpose of starting a discussion. Most Americans are not engaged. They have little trust in their government and most feel like there is nothing they can do about it. I live in the mountain west where people are more libertarian and more willing to fight. I try to provide them with ammunition and point them to places to go to get "real" news. I tell them not to "believe" any news, but get a variety of points of view and use their own minds to determine what is true.

A few years ago, I was very disturbed when I kept hearing Dr. Stephen Cohen say that Putin was the greatest statesman of our time. As I had studied Soviet history in school, I had sort of kept abreast of what was happening in Russia. As an economist, I was aware of how the West, especially the USA, came to help Russia with Democracy and "free markets". It was obvious to me that we were just assisting in selling Russia by the pound to the moneyed class. I had followed Dr. Cohen over the years as well. But sceptical of his assessment of Putin, I have gone back and watched and read almost everything Putin has said and watched what Russia has done and I believe Dr. Cohen is correct.

As a fervent anti-war activist since the sixties, I have been appalled at all the regime change the US has and continues to do around the world including both military covert operations and economic warfare. Well Putin had me at his 2007 Munich speech. The one the West called a rant.

Finally someone was calling out this criminal behavior on an international stage! Putin has continued with these messages and as far as I can see, Russia is operating accordingly. No one country, not Russia, not China, no one can destroy this international Cabal on its own. It will take a concerted effort of all peace seeking people from around the world to force their governments on a different path. Starting in my case with the people of the USA.

[Apr 16, 2018] Trump is the Republican Obama. The follow the same model of government: faux populist leader dogged by crazy critics that want to derail a righteous agenda. Less slick, but more jingoistic

In reality Trump proved again that POTUS does not matter and presidential elections matter very little. In was he is like drunk Obama, reckelss and jingoistic to the extreme. Both foreign and domestic policy is determined by forces, and are outside POTUS control, with very little input possible. But the "deep state" fully control the POTUS, no matter who he/she are.
Notable quotes:
"... To Trump apologists: Trump is the Republican Obama. The follow the same model of government: faux populist leader dogged by crazy critics that want to derail a righteous agenda. ..."
"... Obamabots gave similar excuses. Real populists simply don't get have a chance of being elected in US money-driven elections. ..."
"... Why was there only two populists running for President in 2016? Sanders, Hillay's sheepdog, destroyed the movement that would been the best check on the establishment and the rush to war. That movement was never going to be allowed to take root. Trump, a friend of the Clinton's was probably meant to prevail. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 15, 2018 5:57:58 PM | 105

To Trump apologists: Trump is the Republican Obama. The follow the same model of government: faux populist leader dogged by crazy critics that want to derail a righteous agenda.

Obamabots gave similar excuses. Real populists simply don't get have a chance of being elected in US money-driven elections.

Why was there only two populists running for President in 2016? Sanders, Hillay's sheepdog, destroyed the movement that would been the best check on the establishment and the rush to war. That movement was never going to be allowed to take root. Trump, a friend of the Clinton's was probably meant to prevail.

Rome had bread and circuses. We've got crumbs and tweets.

[Apr 16, 2018] Trump Hits Russia With New Sanctions Over Syria Gas Attack

Apr 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Occams_Razor_Trader Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

Lindsey Graham with tits. Those who want war never have to fight it!

FBaggins -> Occams_Razor_Trader Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:33 Permalink

I Am a Syrian Living in Syria: "It was Never a Revolution nor a Civil War. The Terrorists are sent by your Government"

American People, Please Help Us

by Mark Taliano

https://www.globalresearch.ca/i-am-a-syrian-living-in-syria-it-was-neve

Adolph.H. -> FBaggins Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:34 Permalink

It would be legitimate to wonder if the U.S. MIC will stealthily add to the long list of sanctimonious sanctions the interdiction for any western vassal state to buy the vastly superior Russian weapon systems in a not so distant future. One can feel it coming. Needless to say this kind of short sighted vision will be the straw that will break the camel's back.

These sanctions are ultimately going to hurt more the USA than Russia because little by little countries are leaving the American sphere of influence for the more balanced and reasonable Eurasian one. Nobody wants to stay with a maniac like Nikki or a fool like trump...

The Americans will be begging to be integrated once they hit the bottom.

[Apr 16, 2018] Trump voters dissatisfaction now reached boiling level

Apr 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Whoa Dammit -> Adolph.H. Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:35 Permalink

The reason we voted for Trump is because we are tired of this sanctimonious hypocritical horse shit. Instead we get more of what we didn't vote for. All Russia did was kindly not sink any of our war ships when we attacked Syria on an assumption.

crossroaddemon -> Whoa Dammit Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:19 Permalink

You got exactly what you voted for... because if you were dumb enough to think you could actually get an outsider maverick anywhere near the white house I have to think you are too dumb to figure out how to turn on a computer.

Lore -> JohninMK Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:14 Permalink

Trump's in deep over his head. It was an open question whether he posed any genuine obstacle to the pathocracy, but it seems more clear now that, one way or another, he has been brought more tightly under their control. THAT, much more than any individual false-flags or other deceptions or wrongs, should be cause for the rational world to fear. The psychopaths are still on the march, and Trump is at least paying lip service to their chicanery. The further out on a limb he goes, the more reluctant and then helpless he will be to backtrack as pathology becomes more extreme and events escalate under their own momentum. With markets looking more precarious than ever, how long will it be before the psychopaths commit more and bigger false flags?

Sid Davis -> serotonindumptruck Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:55 Permalink

Cornered animal; that sounds like Trumps modus operandi. Notice that anyone who criticizes him gets lambasted with personal attacks instead of a reasoned response.

We need a President who understands freedom and who is a reasonable person, neither of which traits are possessed by Trump. He didn't win the election on his own qualification but on Hillary's lack of qualification. This speaks to the point, "The lesser of two evils is still evil".

silverer Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:47 Permalink

Trump sucks. He started out good, but now that's over. I expect things to continue to deteriorate daily.

VW Nerd Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:48 Permalink

I love the smell of unprovoked missile attacks and sanctions in the morning. Reminds me of........desperation.

[Apr 16, 2018] BREAKING US media claims Nikki Haley is author of Trump's anti-Iran policies

Notable quotes:
"... Haley is known to be among the most hardened neo-cons in the Trump administration, with strong ties to the anti-Iranian American Israel lobby. ..."
"... Nikki Haley has often defied the moderate voice of Rex Tillerson and even James "Mad Dog" Mattis on a number of issues. Haley for example has repeatedly said that 'Assad must go', while Tillerson and Mattis have been far more realistic about the fact that President Assad will in all likelihood, continue to govern Syria for the foreseeable future. ..."
"... Nikki Haley also famously said that Russians cannot be trusted, while Rex Tillerson has worked closely (albeit usually through phone calls rather than grandiose public meetings) with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and was seen as instrumental in creating the joint Russian-US-Jordanian de-escalation zone in south western Syria. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | theduran.com

The claims give insight into Trump's apparent defiance of his most senior Cabinet officials, Rex Tillerson and James "Mad Dog" Mattis.

by Adam , 14:09 4.8k Views

The US media outlet Politico has published claims based on internal White House leaks, which report that the controversial US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is the author of Trump's anti-JCPOA and broader anti-Iran policies, which were conveyed in his speech form the White House, yesterday evening.

Everything you need to know about Trump's de-certification of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)

http://theduran.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-trumps-de-certification-of-the-jcpoa-iran-nuclear-deal/embed/#?secret=xaZPdRsyGp

Haley is known to be among the most hardened neo-cons in the Trump administration, with strong ties to the anti-Iranian American Israel lobby. Her role as US Ambassador has been far more public than that of most of her predecessors. Many, including myself, suspect that Haley who has no previous foreign policy experience, is using her position at the UN to promote a future entry into elected politics at a Federal level.

President of the United States Nikki Haley–it could happen

http://theduran.com/president-of-the-united-states-nikki-haley-it-could-happen/embed/#?secret=93g295S6zE

According to Politico, in July of this year, Trump grudgingly certified the JCPOA under advice from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis. However, at the time, Haley was said to have volunteered to author an argument which could be employed in the future, which would attempt to justify a US de-certification of the JCPOA.

Politico reports ,

"At a mid-day meeting in the Oval Office in late July, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley came to President Donald Trump with an offer.

Trump had grudgingly declared Tehran in compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal earlier in the month, at the urging of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Trump hated the deal. But the two men pushed him to certify it, arguing in part that he lacked a strong case for declaring Iran in violation. A refusal to do so would have looked rash, they said, convincing Trump sign off for another 90 days.

Haley, in that July meeting, which also included National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence, asked the president to let her make the case for decertification

'Let me lay a foundation for it', she said, according a source familiar with the proceedings. The president agreed.

Haley would become the administration's most vocal public proponent of decertification -- and Trump's favorite internal voice on Iran -- further boosting her standing with the president at a time when she is seen as a potential successor to Tillerson, whose tense relationship with Trump has burst into the open in recent days.

A month after her talk with Trump, Haley flew to Vienna to visit the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Association, where she pressed officials about Iranian compliance with the deal. Soon after, she delivered a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., airing her "doubts and concerns" about the agreement.

Haley's role was described by a half-dozen administration officials who took part in the Iran policy review. While many of the president's cabinet members, aides, and advisers work to restrain his impulses, when it came to Iran deal Haley did the opposite -- channeling what many Democrats and even some Republicans consider the president's destructive instincts into policy".

The story from Politico which also argues that arch neo-con John Bolton pushed for a full withdrawal from the JCPOA from his position outside of the White House, follows may well known trends. This helps explain why Mattis recently stated that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA and why Rex Tilleron's State Department has officially said the same.

Nikki Haley has often defied the moderate voice of Rex Tillerson and even James "Mad Dog" Mattis on a number of issues. Haley for example has repeatedly said that 'Assad must go', while Tillerson and Mattis have been far more realistic about the fact that President Assad will in all likelihood, continue to govern Syria for the foreseeable future.

She has also echoed Donald Trump's aggressive statements about North Korea, whereas Rex Tillerson has often repeated his view that the US does not and should not seek regime change in Pyongyang and instead will continue to pursue a diplomatic process.

Nikki Haley also famously said that Russians cannot be trusted, while Rex Tillerson has worked closely (albeit usually through phone calls rather than grandiose public meetings) with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and was seen as instrumental in creating the joint Russian-US-Jordanian de-escalation zone in south western Syria.

At one point, Rex Tillerson was said to have privately reprimanded Haley for inventing her own foreign policy without consulting her superiors at the State Department. However, it seems that in respect of Iran, Trump has overruled Tillerson and allowed Haley to take charge.

Haley later told journalists that she was offered the position of Secretary of State but turned it down, before being offered the position of Ambassador to the UN. Haley further attested that she sent Trump a list of demands that she never expected to be agreed upon, as a precondition for accepting her current position.

Nikki Haley was offered Secretary of States job and turned it down

http://theduran.com/nikki-haley-was-offered-secretary-of-states-job-and-turned-it-down/embed/#?secret=FF4q2WSDlC

Haley who has long been seen as a rogue figure in the Trump administration and one who is widely exceeding her authority, is apparently doing so with Donald Trump's approval.

With rumours swirling that Rex Tillerson planned on resigning, even before it emerged that he allegedly called Trump a "fucking moron", there is now an increased possibility that a hyper-neo-con, might soon become the chief foreign policy maker in a Trump administration that was elected on the basis of opposing the neo-con ideology.

With many Trump administration officials coming and going in short order, there is a very worrying possibility that Nikki Haley's role will only be enhanced in future months. This is dangerous not only for the United States, but for the wider world. Haley's inexperience is only matched by her zeal for bellicose measures against countries which have not done any harm to the American people. Such a person should not be anywhere near power, but it seems as though she has Trump's ear, far more than the vastly more mature Tillerson and Mattis.

[Apr 16, 2018] To Secure Democratic Vote Pompeo Masks Regime Change Agenda

Notable quotes:
"... And if there's no chance that we can fix it I will recommend to the president that we do our level best to work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and a better deal. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | therealnews.com

... ... ...

SPEAKER: What is your view as to whether America should withdraw unilaterally from the Iran nuclear agreement?

MIKE POMPEO: I want to fix this deal. That's the objective. I think that's in the best interest of the United States of America.

SPEAKER: But if the agreement cannot be changed. My question is pretty simple. We're running very close to a deadline on certification.

MIKE POMPEO: And if there's no chance that we can fix it I will recommend to the president that we do our level best to work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and a better deal.

SHARMINI PERIES: Pompeo is a member of the Tea Party movement, and is generally viewed as a pro-war hardliner who has previously vowed to cancel the Iran agreement ...

... ... ...

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, let's just take the issue of Iran, for starters. There he said at the hearing that he would not try to get out of the Iran nuclear deal, that he wants a better deal. But in the past he's talked about getting out of the Iran nuclear deal. And not only that he said that regime change is the only way to deal with Iran. And as CIA director he also downplayed the CIA's assessment that Iran was complying with the deal although at the hearing he said he has no reason to deny that Iran is complying. So he says very different things and in different places. But I think his actions and his statements in the past speak louder than the words at the hearing, which were quite deceptive, and he's trying to win over Democrats. So he was evasive on some of the issues that he has been very clear about in the past, such as striking Iran, North Korea, and certainly he was open about the president's right to bomb Syria.

... ... ...

SHARMINI PERIES: Right. Now, speaking of Syria and the tensions that are arising with Russia over the chemical attack that Russia now says, and in fact Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, is on record saying they have information that some one else, some other country, initiated this attack in Syria. This is really a heightening the tension between Russia and the United States. So let me go to you on this, Phyllis, first, and then we'll go back to Medea. But your take on this rising tension between U.S. And Russia?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: This is a very, very dangerous moment, when we have Trump, with all of his own proclivities towards war and against diplomacy, surrounding himself by what looks like a clear war cabinet. The danger of escalation in Syria is very serious. It could lead to a direct clash between the two most powerful nuclear weapon states in the world, the United States and Russia. You have completely opposite claims emerging from Washington and Moscow, with the U.S. claiming that they know, even though they also agree that they don't have information, but they know that chemical weapons were used as they were used by the regime in Syria. They seem to know a lot for a government that admits it doesn't know anything yet.

The Russians, on the other hand, have variously said that another country might be involved. Another Russian diplomat has said that there was no chemical attack at all. So for myself, I don't actually believe any of these claims by any of the governments. I'm waiting to hear what the report is of the team that's on its way to D ouma right now, the town outside of Damascus where the alleged chemical weapons attack occurred. The team of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons. That's the the internationally acknowledged, internationally credible team that will be determining whether or not chemicals were used, what chemicals were used if there were any, who was affected, what delivery systems, et cetera. They are not mandated to determine who fired or who gave the orders to fire. That's a much more political question that will come back to the Security Council and may stall there, we don't know.

But at the moment we don't know at all what happened in Douma on that weekend 10 days ago. So I think that we need to do everything possible to ramp down this level of rhetoric. When the U.S. continues to talk about the inevitability of new strikes against Syria, knowing that this is a direct violation of both, again, international law and U.S. domestic law and threatens the possibility of retaliation against U.S. troops in the region, U.S. warships in the Mediterranean, U.S. warplanes in the skies, and, most importantly, threatens the possibility, the likelihood, of killing more Syrian civilians. We are facing a very, very urgent crisis even before we get to the possibility of serious escalation.

So this is something that Congress needs to take very seriously. And unfortunately in what we've seen in the Pompeo hearing there was simply not enough, not enough pushing for this candidate to be the supposed leader of diplomacy in the United States, to push him on the necessity not of saying well, we hoped that we could have a diplomatic solution, but if not well then nothing is off the table. That's not OK. That's not acceptable to the U.S. chief diplomat. And we are simply not hearing enough pressure to make that position known.

... ... ...

But I was going to put it in the context of remember that we have Bolton as the national security adviser, who did not have to have a confirmation hearing. This is why somebody like Jeff Merkley, a senator from Massachusetts, came out and said he will not vote for Pompeo because he recognizes it as part of this larger cabinet, that this is a war cabinet, and therefore a vote for Pompeo is a vote for war. So I would say continue the fight not to get a confirmation for Mike Pompeo.

SHARMINI PERIES: Phyllis, is that even possible?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: Absolutely. And it's crucial. This is exactly what we need to be focusing on right now. The way the votes come down, it's very, very tight. There are at least, at least one Republican, Rand Paul, who has said he will vote against Pompeo. It looks like McCain will not be there because of his illness. That cuts out two votes. So it's certainly a possibility. But it's going to take an enormous amount of work. Enormous numbers of phone calls and visits and protests and threats of not voting back those members of Congress who, who would go ahead and vote for this person as being the new head of diplomacy. This is as urgent as it gets.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Phyllis. I thank you so much for joining us. Phyllis is with the Institute for Policy Studies New Internationalism Project. And Medea Benjamin, thank you so much for joining us. And Medea's from Code Pink. Thank you both.


0040 13 hours ago ,

Nonsense lead . The regime change trope is totally bi-partisan as yesterdays air strikes clearly indicate. Pompeo etal like most American federal government officialdom are now lackeys and on the payrolls of the MIC , CIA, and banksters. There is no Iran nuclear deal , Trump is right about that . Iran has moved under Russia's nuclear umbrella as North Korea is now under China's, making the rush to develop nukes unnecessary at the present time. Obombers treaty was/is a worthless face saving effort, after the destruction of Libya.. Trump increasing represents the wishes of the duopoly, not the electorate, his latest terror attack on Syria bumped his popularity 5% across Americas, knocking down the looming Stormy scandal perhaps...

neoconbuster 14 hours ago ,

Phyllis: "But at the moment we don't know at all what happened in Douma on that weekend 10 days ago."

We do know, because we listen daily to the other side of the story too. There was NO Chemical attack . The White Helmets filmed the deception.

These two Workers of the Douma Hospital's Emergency room, are eyewitnesses of the Lie that was sold by the Western MSM, which is a tool of the Deep State:

-Syrian Eyewitnesses Reveal How Douma Provocation Was Made- (Published by Sputnik, on Apr 13, 2018)

https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Howie Lisnoff 15 hours ago ,

Arguing for a right-wing Congress to overturn decades of executive war making "privilege" is a bit of a lost cause at this point. Pompeo is the latest iteration in a long line of those at the State Department who have ditched diplomacy in favor of war.

gustave courbet > novychelovek

Consistent theme in caricatures of other nations/groups relates to their inherent "otherness." Be it Clapper's comment about Russians being "genetically driven" to "co-opt," or Kim Jong-un's reputation as a madman, or Iran's fundamentalist world view, they have in common the tendency to project a fundamentally irrational disposition on one's adversaries.

In reality, most governments, be they pseudo-democratic, theocratic, etc are motivated by pragmatic self-interest. In Iran's case, they can use history to compare non-nuclear states to nuclear powers in regards to US bellicosity and see a clear pattern.

[Apr 15, 2018] We know this empire is destined to eat itself up due to greed and hubris. My only concern is how long that will take.

Notable quotes:
"... This is very clear path toward a confrontation with Russia. America is not going to stop . Russia continues to be punished because does not leave Syria and does not bow to America. ..."
Apr 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

serotonindumptruck -> Janet smeller Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:44 Permalink

Russia knows that this diplomatic, economic, and military aggression will never stop. These military strikes and economic sanctions from the West represent the death throes of a dying empire. A dying empire is like a gravely wounded, cornered animal.

This is an extremely dangerous animal, because it is willing to arbitrarily kill anyone and anything before it dies.


serotonindumptruck -> spyware-free Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:00 Permalink

I still believe that the USA and its European allies will be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping no doubt recognize the grave circumstances, and they are using the utmost restraint to avoid the provision of a military pretext that the West/USA is seeking in their effort to greatly escalate hostilities.

GoinFawr -> serotonindumptruck Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:07 Permalink

" I still believe that the USA ... will be the first to use nuclear weapons . "

Eg. Nagasaki and Hiroshima

dirty fingernails -> serotonindumptruck Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

The US will only use nukes to secure their dominance. The people in change aren't beholden to any country or continent being filthy rich and/or dual citizens. So the plan is to deny the US an excuse to use nukes while cutting the empire off at the knees.

Otherwise, I agree it'll be a NATO country that nukes first. That's part of the desire to make smaller nukes. "Small" nukes are seen as a way to nuke but not start a global exchange. Fucking insane people gambling with all higher life forms.

Chupacabra-322 -> dirty fingernails Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:38 Permalink

"Small Nuke."

You make it sound like she's just "a little pregnant."

dirty fingernails -> spyware-free Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:01 Permalink

Russia will tolerate it as long as possible. The delay only weakens the US and allies. All have serious issues domestically and even alliances are strained. Don't interrupt when your enemy is making a mistake

serotonindumptruck -> dirty fingernails Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:22 Permalink

That is certainly some excellent Sun Tzu advice.

However, Sun Tzu never calculated criminal insanity into his logical strategems.

When your enemy refuses to concede defeat, and is willing to suicide the entire world in their obstinance, the only winning move is not to play.

Pernicious Gol -> serotonindumptruck Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:48 Permalink

He did talk about that.

dirty fingernails -> serotonindumptruck Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:50 Permalink

True, but look around us. There is no need to nuke cities and military targets in the US. Shut down the electrical grid and the population would lose it in a matter of hours. Within days it would be chaos on so many levels that it would take a long time to recover. We really are our own worst enemies because we are so fractured and polarized of the stupidest shit.

serotonindumptruck -> dirty fingernails Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:01 Permalink

If limited global depopulation is the ultimate goal, then yes, the USA will suffer the most due to the prevalence of firearms and the general hostility that is clearly evident within its citizenry.

That's obviously not the main objective for the warmongers and neocons in DC.

The ultimate objective is global dominance, and the complete and total subjugation of humanity.

Like I said, criminal insanity is the paradigm that rules the West.

Sid Davis -> serotonindumptruck Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:55 Permalink

Cornered animal; that sounds like Trumps modus operandi. Notice that anyone who criticizes him gets lambasted with personal attacks instead of a reasoned response.

We need a President who understands freedom and who is a reasonable person, neither of which traits are possessed by Trump. He didn't win the election on his own qualification but on Hillary's lack of qualification. This speaks to the point, "The lesser of two evils is still evil".

Cosmicserpent -> Adolph.H. Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:42 Permalink

We won't hit bottom without taking everyone with us. The Republic was lost when JFK was assassinated.

spyware-free -> Adolph.H. Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:43 Permalink

This will work out about as good as Obama "isolating" Russia. Nothing more than a ziocon jerkfest.

khnum -> I woke up Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:51 Permalink

That proposition plus a ban on all US agricultural produce is currently being put up in their parliament

veritas semper -> FBaggins Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:43 Permalink

This is very clear path toward a confrontation with Russia. America is not going to stop . Russia continues to be punished because does not leave Syria and does not bow to America.

This recent American fiasco in Syria is just the opening overture. In May we have the moving of American embassy to Jerusalem and the unilateral withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal. I think we will not reach the end of the year without a big war : America is losing power and needs it.

Jumanji1959 -> FBaggins Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

Actually the terrorists were sent by Israel and more specifically, the Mossad, who trained them. Israel wants to expand its territory by committing a GENOCIDE.

keep the basta -> FBaggins Sun, 04/15/2018 - 20:25 Permalink

The chemical weapons organisation in Damascus and elsewhere in Syria found NO chemical weapons at the site the USA UK And FR bombed for that. The only chemical weapons are those found in the tunnels in East Ghouta after Syria bussed the militant occupiers away. The 40 tons of chemicals have manufactuer names, serial numbers and addresses eg Porton Down Salisbury.

Occams_Razor_Trader -> Occams_Razor_Trader Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:38 Permalink

Cui Bono? Trump says he's going to pull out of Syria -- Things never looked better for Assad -- and he gets the bright idea, to turn the world against him by gassing gassing his own people? I'm not buying it. I-F-F (Israeli False Flag)

[Apr 15, 2018] Trump s in deep over his head. It was an open question whether he posed any genuine obstacle to neocons, but it seems more clear now that, one way or another, he has been brought more tightly under their control.

Apr 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

JohninMK -> Lumberjack Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

The sanctions will no doubt apply to the supplier of that high tech stuff in that chemical lab that the SAA discovered last month in Ghouta.

Just remembered, it was US made and sold through Saudi.

Lore -> JohninMK Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:14 Permalink

Trump's in deep over his head. It was an open question whether he posed any genuine obstacle to the pathocracy, but it seems more clear now that, one way or another, he has been brought more tightly under their control. THAT, much more than any individual false-flags or other deceptions or wrongs, should be cause for the rational world to fear. The psychopaths are still on the march, and Trump is at least paying lip service to their chicanery. The further out on a limb he goes, the more reluctant and then helpless he will be to backtrack as pathology becomes more extreme and events escalate under their own momentum. With markets looking more precarious than ever, how long will it be before the psychopaths commit more and bigger false flags?

JohninMK -> Lore Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:54 Permalink

Forgot to say that theses sanctions are downright embarrassing.

So we illegally attack a different country, that country's ally doesn't respond to our act of aggression, and we're now slapping sanctions on that country... for not responding to our attack? Not only sanctions but sanctions on products that both parties actually know aren't there. Unless the US is sanctioning the supply chain of swimming pool and industrial/domestic cleaning agents based on chlorine.

Brilliant just the way to get an agreement from them next time.

dirty fingernails -> JohninMK Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:59 Permalink

They don't want any agreements except submission. Anything less is unacceptable.

veritas semper -> Lore Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:04 Permalink

Trump had 1 BILLION $ in debt to the chosen banks ; maybe this can point toward whether or not he was part of the deep state from the beginning ? But ,does it matter any longer ?

the phantom -> chumbawamba Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

Sanctions... act of war. Dropping bombs on a sovereign country (without UN approval even)... act of war. Insulting foreign leaders and creating false flags to justify your illegal actions... act of war. Don't be fooled into thinking that just b/c Russia did not respond to the US actions, that "nothing happened". War has started, this is just the beginning.

If you think otherwise, you are a fool.

r0mulus -> Whoa Dammit Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:41 Permalink

Here we go again- the ever-plotting West trying to create reality on the fly -- attempting to make the alleged chemical weapons attack into a fait accompli, painting the tape of reality with the shadow-puppets of the operation mockingbird-controlled, corporate (MIC) media!

Any good reason we shouldn't just start calling the 5(+1)-eyez media environment the Oceania State News Network (OSNN) right now?

veritas semper -> r0mulus Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:16 Permalink

America starts the war on Syria, by financing, training, paying the terrorists . America builds military bases there.

And Syria , with help from her allies , still wins the war.

America asks her remaining terrorists there to plan, execute a false flag . As a casus belli.

America attacks , the coalition is small .

Syria stuns the world with her courage and old Soviet era air defense . The aftermath for America is embarrassing .

America gives sanctions to Syria because Syria defended herself , to Russia because Russia still doesn't bow .

Iran is next .

In May we will have further escalation.

[Apr 15, 2018] Haley announced new sanctions on the base of false flag Douma operation

Apr 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Anon , Apr 15, 2018 11:48:39 AM | 16

Putin: Further Western Strikes in Syria Contrary to Int'l Law Will Lead to Chaos https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201804151063585034-syria-actions-violations-chaos/

Haley responds: US to Impose Sanctions on Russia Over Support of Assad - Envoy to UN https://sputniknews.com/us/201804151063584536-haley-us-troops-syria/

Best wore if Haley catch a brain stroke, that would save peace.

[Apr 15, 2018] Neocons destroyed Trump. Or was he just a decoy like Oabam to ensure continuation of neocon policies which he secretly supports himself

Apr 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Apr 15, 2018 4:09:16 PM | 72

From what I can make of Trump, he wants to return the US to its general prosperity that it has enjoyed in the past, a country with world leading infrastructure, were average workers are better of than workers of other countries. He is not interested in wars that are detrimental or costly to the US. If a war is profitable for the US, he may be interested.

Like Erdogan in Turkey, Trump is heading for the multi-polar world. Personally I don't like the US culture of full blown capitalism and privatization that is US culture and gave rise to the neo-cons, but that is not the point. Trump wants the capitalism of the likes of Henry Ford whose innovation? of production line produced good quality cheap products but paid workers two to three times the going rate.

The neo-cons, with their never ending wars for total dominance are destroying the world and the US. It is starting to look like they will also destroy Trump.

Anon , Apr 15, 2018 4:12:18 PM | 74
Peter AU1

Considering Trump kick out Tillerson and so forth and added many neocons one can't deny the reality of what is going on. Trump knows perfectly well what he is doing and did in Syria. He isn't pushed by anyone.

Peter AU 1 , Apr 15, 2018 4:28:53 PM | 79
A further thought to my post @72

The photographs of Trump with his arms folded and the general look. Defensive or beaten type look. In Trump's book, Art of the Deal, what he respects most is people that deliver what they promise. He uses hyperbole to sell a product, but above all he must deliver what the people want. He campaigned on pulling US out of foreign entanglements and useless expensive wars.

The choreographed attack on Shayrat airbase preempted the neocons and took the wind out of their sails. This latest strike, rather than being pre-emptive, was forced on him. He has not been able to deliver the product he promised and what people bought when they elected him.
The reaction of the likes of Alan Jones and other Trump supporters on Twitter and elsewhere is evidence of that failure.

Peter AU 1 , Apr 15, 2018 4:31:07 PM | 80
Anon 74

The neo-con world butters Tillerson's bread. I suspect he was a snake in the grass like Obama.

ben , Apr 15, 2018 4:59:27 PM | 82
Peter AU1 @ 79 said: "In Trump's book, Art of the Deal, what he respects most is people that deliver what they promise."

Trump must not respect himself much, because according to people who have followed his entire career say he never delivers things promised..

[Apr 15, 2018] Obama And Lynch Jeopardized Clinton Email Investigation Comey

Apr 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With the country's attention focused on James Comey's book publicity gala interview with ABC at 10pm ET, the former FBI Director has thrown former President Obama and his Attorney General Loretta Lynch under the bus, claiming they "jeopardized" the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Comey called out Obama and Lynch in his new book, A Higher Loyalty , set to come out on Tuesday. In it, he defends the FBI's top brass and counterintelligence investigators charged with probing Clinton's use of a private email server and mishandling of classified information, reports the Washington Examiner , which received an advanced copy.

" I never heard anyone on our team -- not one -- take a position that seemed driven by their personal political motivations . And more than that: I never heard an argument or observation I thought came from a political bias. Never ... Instead we debated, argued, listened, reflected, agonized, played devil's advocate, and even found opportunities to laugh as we hashed out major decisions .

("Guys, LMAO, we totally just exonerated Hillary! My sides! Hey Andy, how's Jill's Senate race going?")

Comey says that multiple public statements made by Obama about the investigation "jeopardized" the credibility of the FBI investigation - seemingly absolving Clinton of any crime before FBI investigators were able to complete their work .

" Contributing to this problem, regrettably, was President Obama . He had jeopardized the Department of Justice's credibility in the investigation by saying in a 60 Minutes interview on Oct. 11, 2015, that Clinton's email use was "a mistake" that had not endangered national security," Comey writes. "Then on Fox News on April 10, 2016, he said that Clinton may have been careless but did not do anything to intentionally harm national security, suggesting that the case involved overclassification of material in the government."

" President Obama is a very smart man who understands the law very well . To this day, I don't know why he spoke about the case publicly and seemed to absolve her before a final determination was made. If the president had already decided the matter, an outside observer could reasonably wonder, how on earth could his Department of Justice do anything other than follow his lead." - Washington Examiner

Of course, Comey had already begun drafting Clinton's exoneration before even interviewing her, something which appears to have been "forgotten" in his book.

" The truth was that the president -- as far as I knew, anyway -- he had only as much information as anyone following it in the media . He had not been briefed on our work at all. And if he was following the media, he knew nothing, because there had been no leaks at all up until that point. But, his comments still set all of us up for corrosive attacks if the case were completed with no charges brought."

"Matter" not "Investigation"

Comey also describes a September 2015 meeting with AG Lynch in which she asked him to describe the Clinton email investigation as a "matter" instead of an investigation.

"It occurred to me in the moment that this issue of semantics was strikingly similar to the fight the Clinton campaign had waged against The New York Times in July. Ever since then, the Clinton team had been employing a variety of euphemisms to avoid using the word 'investigation,'" Comey writes.

" The attorney general seemed to be directing me to align with the Clinton campaign strategy . Her "just do it" response to my question indicated that she had no legal or procedural justification for her request, at least not one grounded in our practices or traditions. Otherwise, I assume, she would have said so.

Comey said others present in the meeting with Lynch thought her request was odd and political as well - including one of the DOJ's senior leaders.

" I know the FBI attendees at our meeting saw her request as overtly political when we talked about it afterward . So did at least one of Lynch's senior leaders. George Toscas, then the number-three person in the department's National Security Division and someone I liked, smiled at the FBI team as we filed out, saying sarcastically, ' Well you are the Federal Bureau of Matters ,'" Comey recalled.

That said, Comey "didn't see any instance when Attorney General Lynch interfered with the conduct of the investigation," writing "Though I had been concerned about her direction to me at that point, I saw no indication afterward that she had any contact with the investigators or prosecutors on the case."

In response, Loretta Lynch promptly issued a statement in which she said that if James Comey " had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did."

[Apr 15, 2018] Now artificially concentrated in

Apr 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder | Apr 14, 2018 5:59:38 PM | 96

Next Astana meeting in one month, May 14-16, exact date not yet set.

Meanwhile, in Idlib, the crazies are killing one another, as they have for over a year. The Russian plan of pouring all the "retreaters" into one province was brilliant. The Russians knew each group of AQ, al Nusra and ISIS terrorists would fight one another.

Turkey will protest and try to protect "their guys" but the inevitable will occur. Putin already allowed Turkey to do its thing against the Kurds. Afrin, and its months long ground assaults Olive Branch massacres of Kurds is all Erdogan will get.

If he sticks his nose in the final destruction of the Idlib holdouts, he will get slapped down by Russia.

His place at the table of big three is dependent on agreeing with Putin. The Kurds are looking to make a deal with Putin for a piece of the Syrian pie.

The US is betting they can scuttle Astana and force everyone to their manipulation of the Geneva talks.
But Astana has always set the terms and conditions. Geneva is just the use of the UN. If the US forces the issue, Geneva will be left at the station, so to speak.

The Syrian Opposition, which boycotted Sochi Peace talks in January, have no place to go but the battlefield. If they don't get into the political development of Syria, they will lose all relevance.

The US is trying to get an insurgency war started to keep the conflict going, to justify their staying in Syria.

I suspect the Russian Aerospace will have the last vote on such insurgency. And maybe a few thousand of Kadyrov's Chechen Spetsnaz who have all the experience in Chechnya, and all the credibility as Sunnis in Syria to destroy such a bogus insurgency.

The coming summer and autumn will be interesting times.

Ukraine, the World Cup, and the winding down of "civil war" in Syria.

[Apr 15, 2018] How Will Moscow Respond to the Syria Strikes by Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Apr 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Moscow is calling for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council about the western strikes on Syria. Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that President's Trump's move is both an "act of aggression" and a "destructive influence on the entire system of international relations." Russia is claiming that the Syrian military was able to use a Soviet-era missile defense system to target and destroy dozens of missiles launched at Syrian air bases. There is also speculation that Moscow will respond with cyberattacks for the attack on Syria. Col. Gen Sergei Rudskoi has stated that Russia may now deliver S-300 air defense systems to Syria.

But for all the dangers of escalation, so far the entire Syria affair appears to have had a highly choreographed nature to it. After days of public signaling, the moving around of equipment and personnel, and plenty of backchannel communications (a role played with great assiduity by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in constant and close contact with both Washington and Moscow), the United States, Britain and France launched a coordinated but circumscribed attack on specific Syrian. The exercise seems to have been framed in terms of upholding honor--a public transgression was committed by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, with the apparent backing of Russian president Vladimir Putin--and in response to that transgression, a penalty and penance has been exacted.