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

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

Introduction

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

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

The greater the hawkishness, the greater the ignorance.

Max Blumenthal, sited from Zero Hedge

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

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

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

Laurent Guyénot, The Unz Review. Apr 8, 2019

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

Neoconservatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

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

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

Democracy promotion as the universal door opener

See also Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support of Israel as the key goal

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

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

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

Wolfowitz Doctrine as quintessential Neoconservatism

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

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

Superpower status

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

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

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

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

U.S. primacy

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

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

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

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

Unilateralism

The doctrine downplays the value of international coalitions.

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

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

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

Pre-emptive intervention

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

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

This was softened slightly in the April 16 release.

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

Russian threat

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

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

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

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

Middle East and Southwest Asia

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

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

...

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

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

Neocon architects of American foreign policy are destroying American national security

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

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

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

Patrick L. Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were? Please explain.

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

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

It’s an important word for Putin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that indeed the ambition?

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

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

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

Interesting.

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

I think Chancellor Merkel understands this, too.

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

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

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

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

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

Can you talk about this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would have guessed the latter.

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

Interesting.

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

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

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

Zapatero?

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

Felipe Gonzalez, I think it was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Labour in Britain is a perfect example.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Patrick L. Smith.  

Nulandgate as an example of disastrous neocon foreign policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Robert Kagan

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

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

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

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

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

Instead of conclusions: Neocons are the War Party

Justin Raimondo aptly described neocons as the war party:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...


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

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

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

Reality-based community - Wikipedia

[Aug 22, 2019] What Happened to Putting Americans First by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... President Trump said Wednesday that Jewish Americans who vote for Democratic candidates are "very disloyal to Israel," expanding on his remarks from the previous day and dismissing criticism that his remarks were anti-Semitic. ..."
"... "I think if you vote for a Democrat, you are very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people," Trump said in an exchange with reporters outside the White House before departing for an event in Kentucky. ..."
"... The president is using explicit anti-Semitic rhetoric here, and he is attacking most American Jews because they are not loyal to a foreign country. ..."
"... Because Trump has made a habit of indulging the Israeli government and giving Netanyahu everything he wants regardless of the consequences for the U.S., he apparently assumes that this is the attitude everyone else should have. ..."
"... Trump's attacks are the latest example of how Israel and U.S. policy towards Israel have been made into part of the domestic culture war where being a "pro-Israel" hard-liner is associated with nationalism at home. "Pro-Israel" nationalists imagine that they have more in common with hard-liners in other countries than they do with their fellow citizens, and they see no contradiction in being aggressively nationalist here while also subordinating U.S. interests overseas to the preferences of a small client state. ..."
Aug 21, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Trump repeated his outrageous anti-Semitic statement earlier today:

President Trump said Wednesday that Jewish Americans who vote for Democratic candidates are "very disloyal to Israel," expanding on his remarks from the previous day and dismissing criticism that his remarks were anti-Semitic.

"I think if you vote for a Democrat, you are very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people," Trump said in an exchange with reporters outside the White House before departing for an event in Kentucky.

There wasn't really any doubt about what Trump meant the first time when he launched this attack on the vast majority of American Jews, and now he has removed any doubt that might have remained. The president is using explicit anti-Semitic rhetoric here, and he is attacking most American Jews because they are not loyal to a foreign country.

Because Trump has made a habit of indulging the Israeli government and giving Netanyahu everything he wants regardless of the consequences for the U.S., he apparently assumes that this is the attitude everyone else should have. This is the twisted logic of the "pro-Israel" hawk who assumes that Jewish people everywhere should be "loyal" to Israel and should be condemned if they are deemed not to be. It turns the old anti-Semitic attack upside down, but retains the same ugly core of singling out fellow citizens as disloyal because of their identity and vilifying them for political purposes. In one of the more disgraceful episodes of Trump's presidency, he once again denounces Jewish Americans for putting America and our values first.

Trump's attacks are the latest example of how Israel and U.S. policy towards Israel have been made into part of the domestic culture war where being a "pro-Israel" hard-liner is associated with nationalism at home. "Pro-Israel" nationalists imagine that they have more in common with hard-liners in other countries than they do with their fellow citizens, and they see no contradiction in being aggressively nationalist here while also subordinating U.S. interests overseas to the preferences of a small client state.

Paul Pillar touched on some of this in his recent article :

First, viewpoints that do not prevail in domestic political competition are seen not just as losing arguments regarding the best way to pursue the national interest but rather as not a worthy part of the nation at all. Second, some foreign interests are seen not just as allies or means that can be used to pursue the U.S. national interest but rather as objects of affection or identity in their own right. These two developments are two sides of the same coin. The more that the concept of a national interest breaks down domestically into a sharp division between one viewpoint to be cherished and an opposing one to be scorned, the more natural a step it is to identify with like-minded elements overseas rather than with one's own fellow citizens.

It isn't possible to put America and Americans first when the president and his allies are determined to take the side of a foreign government against American citizens and members of Congress. If we want a foreign policy that actually serves the American interest, we can't tolerate political leaders that attack fellow Americans to score points with foreign leaders and cast hateful aspersions against minorities in the name of promoting a relationship with another country. Trump is incapable of conducting such a foreign policy, and these anti-Semitic outbursts are the latest reminder of why he can't.


Ready for 2020 16 hours ago

A lot of us voted for Trump hoping for an America First president. Instead we got a self-described "King of Israel". Screw that.
Sydney 16 hours ago
From MAGA to MIGA, or was it always MIGA? MAGA is easier to sell to disillusioned American voters who are fed up with the establishment.
Ben's List 12 hours ago
It has become common knowledge that some American politicians and officials cater to Israel for the money and votes, but it's still shocking to have Trump lay it all out so starkly. Nonetheless, at least now we know how things are, and we can decide where we stand.

I've voted Republican most of my adult life, for Tea Party candidates in 2010, and Trump in 2016, but all I want now is to get this disgusting freak out of the White House. Him and his establishment GOP enablers.

[Aug 22, 2019] Trump Doesn t Know How to Negotiate by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
The problem with Trump is that everything in him is second rate. Even bulling. and many americans were aware of that and voted for him just because that thought that Hillary was worse. Much worse.
Actually Madeleine (not so bright) Albright was of the same mold... Gangster style bulling and extortion as the only Modus operandi
And Daniel Larison is correct: when Trump faces strong backlash he just declare the partner in negotiation "terrible" and walks out and try to justify his defeat ex post facto.
Notable quotes:
"... As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation. ..."
"... The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender. ..."
"... he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up. ..."
"... "Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas." ..."
"... The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price. ..."
"... "Trump has always been a lousy negotiator." ..."
"... But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself. ..."
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Michael Hirsh reminds us that Trump has always been a lousy negotiator:

Michael D'Antonio, a Trump biographer who interviewed him many times, agrees with Lapidus that there is no discernible difference in the way Trump negotiates today, as president, compared to his career in business. "His style involves a hostile attitude and a bullying method designed to wring every possible concession out of the other side while maximizing his own gain," D'Antonio said. "As he explained to me, he's not interested in 'win-win' deals, only in 'I win' outcomes. When I asked if he ever left anything on the table as a sign of goodwill so that he might do business with the same party in the future he said no, and pointed out that there are many people in the world he can work with, one at a time."

As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation.

The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender.

He seems particularly obsessed with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) because the trade-off inherent in any agreement made with Iran was that they would regain access to frozen assets, and he ignorantly equates this with "giving" them money. The fact that the JCPOA heavily favored the U.S. and the rest of the P5+1 doesn't interest Trump. Iran was allowed to come away with something at the end, and even the little bit they were able to get is far too much for him. This is one reason he has been so closely aligned with Iran hawks over the last four years, and it helps explain why he endorses absurd, unrealistic demands and "maximum pressure" of collective punishment. He is doing more or less the same thing he has always done, and he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up.

Here is another relevant point from the article:

"Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas."

The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price.


JSC2397 8 hours ago

Pulling off that "greatest trick" was amazing easy, actually: all Trump and his creatures had to do was go on the assumption that most Americans will readily believe what they see on television. Especially when it jibes with their prejudices.
david 8 hours ago
"Trump has always been a lousy negotiator."

But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself.

Martin Ranger 6 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

While I agree with pretty much all of the article, let us not forget that a majority of Americans was not, in fact, fooled.

Zsuzsi Kruska 6 hours ago
He can negotiate, but the thugs in Wash. don't want to. They are doing everything they can to start a war somewhere.
me 5 hours ago
Americans are certainly paying a price Benjamin Franklin warned about. But as for other countries, theirs is due strictly to their own doing, for relying excessively on the goodwill of America and turning a blind-eye to our imperialism. Quite frankly, up to now, US allies have been enablers.
Gary Rosenberg 5 hours ago
Add to that, " When someone hits me, I hit them back ten times harder."
This is not what we teach our children. It is a miserable way to live, or to run a country. No wonder the President is longer referred to as "the leader of the free world." He gave up that title. These are sad days.
d_hochberg 3 hours ago
Yes, he is utterly incompetent on his main selling point, his supposed skill at negotiating. It is very inconvenient having Trump as our standard-bearer.
Alan Vanneman 3 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

Actually, the people who voted for Trump and who support him now love him for being a bully. That's what they want. They want a Tony Soprano as their president, a guy who will go out and beat up all the people they hate. They don't want "negotiation". They want a guy who has a baseball bat and knows how to use it. What's "interesting" is that despite all of Trump's appeals to violence, and his willingness to support violence (for example, Saudi Arabia), he largely shrinks from it himself. We've seen far fewer Tomahawks than one might have expected, particularly considering the great press he received the first time around. Will we continue to be lucky? I hope so, but it's hard to be optimistic.

[Aug 22, 2019] The US Can't 'Get' Iran to 'Shut Down' Its Nuclear Program

That's how polls distort public opinion and promote militarism...
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
survey shows that most Americans don't want war with Iran. Only 18% of all American adults favor military action against Iran, and even among Republicans that number is just 25%. 78% favor economic and diplomatic efforts. That's fine as far as it goes, and it shows that there is very little support for a new war at this time. The framing of the question is the bigger problem and makes the results from the poll much less useful.

The poll asks, "What do you think the United States should do to get Iran to shut down its nuclear program -- take military action against Iran, or rely mainly on economic and diplomatic efforts?" The question assumes that it is within our government's power to "get Iran to shut down its nuclear program," when the experience of the last twenty years tells us that it is not. The nuclear negotiations that produced the JCPOA show beyond any doubt that there are limits to what Iran is willing to concede on this point. It is good that most Americans prefer non-military options to pursue this fantastical goal, but the assumption that Iran will one day "shut down" its nuclear program is completely unrealistic. On the contrary, the more pressure that the U.S. puts on Iran in an attempt to force such a shutdown, the more inclined Iran's government is to build up its program.

If Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful, there is no need for them to shut it down. The long-term goal of the JCPOA has been to demonstrate to the satisfaction of all parties that Iran's nuclear program is and will remain peaceful, and then at that point Iran will be treated like any other member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The U.S. doesn't need to do anything to "get" Iran to do this because the goal of shutting down the program is a foolish and impossible one. Perceiving Iran's possession of a peaceful nuclear program as a problem to be solved is one of the reasons why our debate over Iran policy is so warped and biased in favor of coercive measures. The idea that Iran has to "shut down" a program that it is legally entitled to have under the NPT is bizarre, but it is obviously a common view here in the U.S.

The question is misleading in another way, since it suggests that military action could be effective in forcing Iran to "shut down" the program. In reality, attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would at most set back the program, but it would give the Iranian government a strong incentive to develop and build a deterrent that would discourage the U.S. from launching more attacks in the future. Attacking a country when it doesn't have nuclear weapons is a good way to encourage them to acquire those weapons as quickly as possible.

That makes the results to the follow-up question all the more dispiriting. The poll also asks, "Suppose U.S. economic and diplomatic efforts do not work. If that happens, do you think the United States should -- or should not -- take military action against Iran?" Once again, the question assumes that getting Iran to "shut down" its nuclear program is both a legitimate and realistic goal. If non-military measures "do not work," there is additional support for military action from a depressing 42% of those who initially favored "economic and diplomatic efforts." Put them together with the initial supporters of military action, and you have a narrow majority of all American adults that thinks the U.S. should take military action:

The 42% of those who favor military action if nonmilitary efforts fail translates to 35% of all U.S. adults. Combining that group with the 18% who favor military action outright means a slim majority of Americans, 53%, would support military action against Iran if diplomatic and economic efforts are unsuccessful.

There is a disturbingly high level of support for launching an illegal attack on another country for something it is legally permitted to have. The assumption that "economic and diplomatic efforts" will be "unsuccessful" if they don't force Iran to abandon its nuclear program helps to push respondents to give that answer, but they wouldn't endorse a military option if they hadn't been led to think that Iran's nuclear program is an intolerable danger. That is partly because of the bad framing of the questions, but it is also a product of decades of relentless propagandizing about a supposed threat from Iran's nuclear program that is completely divorced from reality. We need better poll questions on this subject, but we also need better, more informed debate about Iran and we have to stamp out the threat inflation that poisons and distorts the public's perceptions of threats from other states.

[Aug 22, 2019] Chaotic Unpredictable Iran Vows Oil Routes Won't Be Safe If It Can't Export

Aug 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The White House policy of taking Iranian oil exports to "zero" still has a long way to go, thanks in no small part to China , and also despite Pompeo touting this week that US sanctions have removed nearly 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from global markets.

US frustration was evident upon the release of the Adrian Darya 1, with Gibraltar resisting Washington pressures to hand over the Iranian vessel, given as its en route to Greece, American officials are now warning that they will sanction anyone who touches the tanker .

Seizing on Washington's frustration as part of its own "counter-pressure" campaign of recent weeks, Iran has again stated if it can't export its own oil, it will make waterways unsafe and "unpredictable" for anyone else to to so .

[Aug 21, 2019] Difference between Obama and bioden is somewhat similar to difference between Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy

Aug 21, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Biden (D)(2): "Biden's Complicity in Obama's Toxic Legacy" [ Counterpunch (Re Silc)]. "Central to [Biden's] narrative is the presentation of the difference between Trump and Obama as akin to the difference between Hitler and Gandhi. A better analogy – especially when it comes to foreign policy – would be the difference between John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer who was known for dressing up as a clown at public events, and Ted Bundy, the tall, handsome serial killer who enticed his victims into his car with his charm and good looks." • I picked out the sickest burn, if we still say that, but the article as whole is quite a bill of particulars.

[Aug 21, 2019] Obama How Many Times Is Biden Gonna Say Something Stupid

Aug 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

Obama reportedly asked his senior staff to "fix this problem with Biden" - something they never quite got a handle on. Thus, Biden went on embarrassing the top of his ticket during both private fundraisers with big-time donors, and with the general public.

The bitterness only escalated from there, especially as Biden began making more frequent gaffes on the campaign trail. In the final week of September alone, Biden "equated paying higher taxes with patriotism," told voters both he and Obama were opposed to coal -- contrary to their platform – and second guessed the campaign's messaging strategy.

In the wake of such gaffes, Obama purportedly told his staff to "fix this problem with Biden," but refrained from getting involved himself. All of that changed two weeks before Election Day, when Biden claimed at a fundraiser that Obama, if elected, would stare down an international crisis in his first six-months.

The prophesy would not have stirred much concern, except Biden gave the impression to those in attendance and the media that he was "showing off" for wealthy donors, and the crisis in question would be "generated."

"Mark my words," Biden told the crowd. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Biden's inability to stop making cracks about Obama's 'lack of experience' infuriated the candidate in a way that even the sharpest jabs from Hillary never quite managed to do. Halperin and Heilemann described how, during one call not long after the above-mentioned remark, a furious Obama fumed about "how many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?"

On Obama's nightly call, the candidate hit the ceiling. ([Chief strategist David] Axelrod was already up there, needing to be peeled off, having let fly a string of F-bombs when he first found out what Biden had said.) 'Golly, man!' Obama said, with more anger in his voice than 'gollys' normally carry. He was, in fact, as pissed off as most people on the call had ever heard him, more so than he'd been at even the wickedest jabs from Hillary Clinton. 'How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?'"

Not long after, Obama set up a private call with Biden where he laid into his running mate, accusing him of failing to 'have his back.'

A couple of days later, Obama phoned Biden and laid into him. You were supposed to have my back, he said, not be out there creating problems...More than that, though, what rankled Obama was that Biden hadn't bothered to pick up the phone and apologize. Worse, Biden didn't say that he was sorry when Obama called; he showed no remorse for his...comments or understanding that they posed a real political problem.

All of this is why Obama reportedly told Biden during a private call before the 76-year-old launched his campaign that he 'didn't need to do this.'

"You don't have to do this, Joe, you really don't," Obama told Biden before the 76-year-old formally launched his campaign in April.

For Democratic primary voters, this is definitely something worth keeping in mind.

[Aug 21, 2019] Syria - Army Cuts Off Khan Shaykhun - Russia Bombs Turkish Reinforcement

Aug 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Aug 19 2019 23:00 utc | 26

I'm inclined to agree with James @ 21 and some others that President Erdogan would like to cut the takfiris in Idlib province loose, since most of them are not originally Turkish citizens anyway but have come from Central Asia and western China (Xinjiang province) on false Turkish passports and moreover brought their families and are bringing them up in their extremist ways. The foot-dragging delay that Turkey has made over the past year or so in clearing out Idlib, to the extent that the Russians and Syrians must have lost patience with Ankara as far back as last century, could be explained by Turkey's reluctance and inability to take these Central Asians and Uyghurs into its own territory and resettle them without their causing problems for its own people.

Turkey's purchase of the S-400 missile defence systems from Russia probably makes little difference to the situation in Idlib or northern Syria because the systems are designed to defend against NATO weapons, not Russian ones. Also, where have the systems been placed in Turkey? Are they around the capital Ankara or Erdogan's hometown Istanbul or the country's borders? If they are around the city where Erdogan spends most of his time, then he is afraid of another US-made coup against him.

Canthama , Aug 19 2019 23:05 utc | 27

The turkish regime military convoy was roughly for show, no one believe 28 vehicles would change a thing against thousands of SAA soldiers and well equipped, the Turkish regime gambled and lost big time, but on the eyes of their terrorists it may actually worked out, at least to some of them...on the other side, expect terrorists to kill each other as well, the loss of all northern Hama will cost them immensely, this was a frontline built for years, a sort of terrorists' maginot line, which si gone for good, meaning Inside Idlib Province there is no major frontlines, which tends to equate to faster liberation at lower cost by the SAA.

The pincer move was instrumental and well executed by the SAA, forcing the terrorists to flee the cauldron which is exactly what happened today.

The turkish backed terrorists were badly defeated in the past 2-3 days but they are still a dangerous force, equipped by Turkey with thousands of ATGM/TOWs and MANPADS, the offensive will continue, though there is a delay from Kabanah, without controlling Kabanah the SAA can not attempt a larger pincer move...down the hill from Kabanah on the M4 and a new frontline to be open near Saraqib.

God bless the SAA and its heroes, alive or martyred, they are doing a favor to all humanity.

Stever , Aug 19 2019 23:12 utc | 28

ISIS Is Regaining Strength in Iraq and Syria

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/us/politics/isis-iraq-syria.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Can anyone make sense of this NYTimes propaganda piece - the usual suspect Eric Schmitt is one of the authors. They really don't want the US to leave.

Perhaps someone here with a NYTimes account can provide a good response if they put comment up?

Hoarsewhisperer , Aug 19 2019 23:27 utc | 30
One imagines that the Yankees squatting on Syria's oil resources will be 'reviewing their options'. It'd be Karmic if Syria's Spook Service could persuade some jihadis to eliminate the Yankee cancer in return for amnesty/ repatriation...
Bobby , Aug 19 2019 23:42 utc | 31
If I am advising Mr President Assad , I will tell him to inform Putin and Iran leaders to help him get all of his lands including Adlib , north eastern Syria by putting pressure on Turkey and the USA . Or he will go and meet with Mr Trump , May be he will get a better deal with a peace with Israel and the USA .
He and the Syrian people will be better off with this scenario unless immediate help from Iran and Russia to do as above and supply the country with petroleum and basic needs .
The Syrian citizens waiting hours to get basic life support including gasoline for their cars and heat for their homes.
Enough is enough , it seems to me that Putin and Khamenei have other interests .
vk , Aug 19 2019 23:51 utc | 32
Turkey's problem (since Erdogan's rise to power) is the same as Germany's: it still thinks it has a viable shot at being an empire (which, in the modern sense of the word would mean one of the "poles" in the new multipolar order).

At least Germany has the Euro Zone and a legacy of a (for now) strong export base in value terms. Turkey is just a neoliberal banana republic a la Brazil who happened to be blessed with what may be the best geopolitical geographic position of our post-war era.

Kadath , Aug 20 2019 0:18 utc | 34
@ Stever #28,

I would say the article is trying to do two things, embarrass Trump by implying that he "failed to destroy Isis" and remind Americans that they must stay in Iraq and Syria forever to "fight" Isis. Imperial thinking and Trump Derangement syndrome have infected the political class completely now, they simply are incapable of thinking of anything except expanding the empire and taking down what Trump represents to his blue collar followers.

durlin , Aug 20 2019 0:24 utc | 35
To Stever, read Operation Gladio, Oded Yinon Plan and Operation Timber Sycamore, this is all for the benefit of Israhell.
Igor Bundy , Aug 20 2019 0:24 utc | 36
Russain aviation terrorize Militants

TANKS- 37 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

BMPs- 18 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

TRUCKS- 9 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

APCs- 29 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

BULLDOZERS- 4 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

MLRS SYSTEMS/VEHICLES- 8 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

MOTORBIKES- 4 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

TECHNICALS- 117 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

UNKNOWN VEHICLES- 12 Destroyed, captured, or damaged. 5 Armored.

PANTERA APCs- 3 Destroyed, captured, or damaged. (correct name provided by u/Woofers_MacBarkFloof)

BVP-1 TYPES- 2 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

2S1 GVOZDIKA- 1 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

LARGE ARTILLERY- 3 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

HUMVEES- 2 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

O , Aug 20 2019 0:52 utc | 39
"The leader of Faylq al-Sham, a 'Syrian rebel' group controlled by the Turkish intelligence service, was escorting the Turkish army convoy in a technical. He was killed. No Turkish soldiers were harmed. The convoy stopped and will have to return to Turkey. The tanks and the ammunition will not reach the jihadis in Khan Shaykhun."


What comical bullshit was it not just last month Turkey and Russia furthering partnershship were going to "tip the scales in the Middle East?"


"Senators are now urging President Donald Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey. Erdogan "has chosen a perilous partnership
with (Putin) at the expense of Turkey's security, economic prosperity and the integrity of the NATO alliance," four senators, including chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a bipartisan statement last week."


It seems Jen, James and AtaBrit have brains Erdy letting his hired guns get killed on purpose so he does't have to pay them anymore and keeps his hands cleaned when they are forever removed from the payroll.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/17/how-us-sanctions-on-turkey-over-russian-s400-deal-could-backfire.html

What Turkey's S-400 missile deal with Russia means for Nato
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48620087

Jen , Aug 20 2019 1:10 utc | 40
Atabrit @ 29:

I must confess I hadn't made the connection you seem to have made - that a second US-made coup against Erdogan would be made by the very takfiris he has cultivated over the years, among others. The purchase of the S-400 missile defence systems might therefore be one part of a strategy Erdogan is creating to protect himself against a hydra monster he helped create.

AtaBrit , Aug 20 2019 1:35 utc | 41
@Jen | 40
Not sure where the S-400s will be placed or whom they'll be used against - might just be a showpiece purchase for Russia - but the issue of the jihadists swarming into Turkey is ooenly discussed in Turkey and is definitely a security threat. (Of course no one in Turkey openly makes the connection that they are indeed Turkey's own proxies!))))
Gerard , Aug 20 2019 1:56 utc | 42
Now that the SAA are making big gains retaking Idlib it's time to use Chemical Weapons so Trump can launch another missile attach.
J Swift , Aug 20 2019 3:23 utc | 43
I concur that Ergodan is the quintessential weasel and will say anything and use anyone if he thinks it will help him gain power (or at this point, hang on to it). I don't believe he wants these radical head choppers in Turkey, he wants them to die while looking like he's "got their back." When I hear that a terrorist leader was killed but not a single Turk, it really smells like this was theater from the start, and the Turkish military may well have tipped off the Russians with all the details of this little excursion, asking them to please take out the lead vehicle but nothing else so that they could go home. This would also explain the presence of RuAF in the attack--normally if there was a risk of accidentally striking Turks, the Russians would probably prefer the SAAF carry out the strike, but if the fix was in, and what was needed was ultra-high precision, you'd want Russian's and their most accurate guided weapons for the strike.

I can't help but notice over and over that the terrorists seem absolutely unable to grasp the concept of defense-in-depth. They fight like the devils they are from their Western-prepared tunnels and front lines, but once broken and relying upon their own skills, they seem to have nothing.

james , Aug 20 2019 3:25 utc | 44
@43 j swift... i concur... same take as mine, lol... erdogan better watch his ass.. mind you, he probably has russia watching it for him..
michaelj72 , Aug 20 2019 5:20 utc | 47
the plot thickens

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russian-su-35-jets-allegedly-intercepted-turkish-warplanes-over-idlib/

almasdar news reports that 2 Russian fighter jets intercepted and forced to retreat some Turkish war planes from over the southern countryside of the Idlib Governorate , near the action at Khan Sheikhoun - those turks skidaddled from Syria pretty fast.

I don't think these comments about the military re-supply attempt by the turks to the jihadists being a ruse of some sort are not accurate

chu teh , Aug 20 2019 6:00 utc | 50
BM @ 5:57
wiki "A technical is a light improvised fighting vehicle, typically an open-backed civilian pickup truck or four-wheel drive vehicle mounting a heavy weapon, such as a machine gun, anti-aircraft gun, rotary cannon, anti-tank weapon, anti-tank gun, ATGM, mortar, howitzer, multiple rocket launcher, or recoilless rifle, etc"
chu teh , Aug 20 2019 6:05 utc | 51 Grieved , Aug 20 2019 6:14 utc | 52
@46 Jen - "wherewithal to be able to survive or figure out things on their own"

They're not on their own. Officers of the empire are with them, to the extent they can guide them, preserve them and re-deploy them. That extent is not absolute. There will be losses.

It would be useful to see analysis on the strength and demographics of the irregular terrorist forces available for the use of the rich and privileged throughout this world and time. That would make a nice discussion.

Larchmonter over at the Saker says that the US has a quarter of a million terrorist/contractors at its disposal. As we have seen, it tries to save all the fighters it can, but only as a resource for further mayhem. And it seems the impressive logistical capacity of the Pentagon exists in part to move these pawns across the entire board at need. And my thought is that we seem to live in an age where these people will fight because they have nowhere else to go, no matter their previous situation, and no matter how harsh the present terms. So that force cannot be dissipated except by death.

This said, it also seems clear that an indigenous fighting force such as the SAA - aided by its allies with all their various weapons - cannot any longer be overcome by all these contractors, if this is all there are.

If all the world can supply is 250,000 amoral fighters to be brought into fighting shape as an army - and a hunch tells me this is all the world can supply - then all the aggravations can be slapped aside by the locals, such as Hezbollah and the Houthi and the SAA and the PMU of Iraq. Not to mention the IRGC of Iran and the PLA of China and the Russian Armed Forces.

And all these national and indigenous forces are joining together in mutual security pacts.

~~

Frankly, many of us were surprised and overwhelmed by the size of the ISIS force when it first appeared in its Toyota caravan of plunder - because who could have thought a non-state actor such as the CIA could afford such an army? But I think this will not take any of the general staffs of the axis by surprise in the future, and the goal will be to whittle down the numbers of these forces at every chance.

And eventually there will be more dead of these tormented beings than alive.

And there will be the peace.

imo , Aug 20 2019 7:07 utc | 53
@52 "It would be useful to see analysis on the strength and demographics of the irregular terrorist forces available for the use of the rich and privileged throughout this world and time. That would make a nice discussion."

Attended a conference back a decade where at a German professor set out his stats and thesis on the (at the time) ME issues. The major correlation with 'troubles' was to the number of 2nd+ born males. 1st born are kept back to get the 'farm' and continue lineage etc. The remainder are sent off to find their fortune or disappear etc. Sounded plausible at the time and supported by fertility stats. Once 1st son and lineage is at risk then peace magically breaks out. I never followed it up but if would be interesting to see the demographics of the current round of ME and European invasions. Odds-on they are mainly 2nd-3rd sons on the loose etc. Happy to be corrected with facts.

Clueless Joe , Aug 20 2019 8:27 utc | 56
imo - 53
"The major correlation with 'troubles' was to the number of 2nd+ born males. 1st born are kept back to get the 'farm' and continue lineage etc. The remainder are sent off to find their fortune or disappear etc. Sounded plausible at the time and supported by fertility stats. Once 1st son and lineage is at risk then peace magically breaks out."
To an extent, this is what fuelled the crusades back between 1100 and early 1200s - then the toll of both crusades and growing inter-European wars put a stop to it -, and what fuelled Spanish conquest of America (and most possibly previous Reconquista).
Arioch , Aug 20 2019 9:18 utc | 60
I can't help but notice over and over that the terrorists seem absolutely unable to grasp the concept of defense-in-depth.

Posted by: J Swift | Aug 20 2019 3:23 utc

D-i-D is a rather expensive gadget.
Actually they had it, in the prime time of ISIS.
Remember 2015 - many months, after arraiving - Russian AirForce was doing what? Bombing out the depots, the logistic paths, the storngholds. While frontlines were more or less standing still. RAF did not offered air support for gorund offensive. It was just boringly and methodically blasting depots. IOW RuAF was wipoing off that very defense in depth.

Will ISIS pretend a state again and defence into D-i-D infrastructure again - what you would see is probably the same as it was in 2015: frontlines stop moving and "heavy gear" starts flying like Tu-22M, Tu-95 and Kalibr.
Since D-i-D installations does not fight back to the bombs falling from a-high, it would actually a good think to Syria and friends if wakhabi would try to rebuild their D-i-d thingies.

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 9:49 utc | 61
This said, it also seems clear that an indigenous fighting force such as the SAA - aided by its allies with all their various weapons - cannot any longer be overcome by all these contractors, if this is all there are.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 20 2019 6:14 utc

It is not about "any longer", they never could. They are by their origin guerilleros, who can inflict "thousand cuts" but can not claim land control like regular armies do.

It was why US and French army had to war in Libya, destroying Libyan army before "rebels" could take power, calling their invasion "no fly zones".
It was why US invaded Iraq, where Hussein (Baathist like Assad and remnant of the same United Arab Republic dream) and his army never let ISIS (maiden name Al Qaeda in Iraq, before west-helped rebranding) raise their head up, so USA had to destroy that army.
It was why NATO invaded Serbia to gave Kosovo Liberation "Army" air support.
It was why USA and friends did and still occasionally do bomb Syrian army units and installations, and Clinton made war with Russia promise part of her public election interview, using the same fake term from Libyan war.

Insane bloodthirsty headchoppers are good to terrorize civilians and held them captive, and that is what western Army can no do so well because they need to pretend wearing "white gloves". But to do it efficiently they need to be matched agaisnt civilians, not against army. And that is where NATO kicks in, preemptively destroying everyone who would offer resistance to Al Qaeda and co. Then they resupply Al Qaeda on their military bases, like they did in Mosul in summer 2014, when SAA seemed to overcome initial Al Qaeda inroads and started to pushing them outside.

AtaBrit , Aug 20 2019 10:24 utc | 64
@michaelj72 | 47
Turkey is a master of distraction so I'd wait and see what happens. Don't forget that Erodgan creates an entire parallel reality for Turkish consumption- hence complete media control - , this may be part of it. (Remember Bahceli's comment about Erdogan "bombing empty mountains" in NIraq?)

@C I eh? | 18
Interesting point about Erdogan transitioning. We are already seeing signs of another transformation. There was even talk about a new AK Party. Need to remember that he is first and foremost a mafia head. He will protect himself and his own. Also he doesn't have many scapegoat candidates left, but Bahceli himself may be next ...)))

michaelj72 , Aug 20 2019 10:47 utc | 65
yes my sentence @47 should read:

"I don't think these comments about the military re-supply attempt by the turks to the jihadists being a ruse of some sort are accurate"

AtaBrit @64
there certainly are difference between what leaders say for public/domestic consumption and what they then say and then do for real/to other world leaders or in private.

Russia is the cat, and Erdogan is the king of rats ....trying to run around/outsmart or outflank the cat at Khan Shaykhun. I doubt it will work... the Russian and syrian militaries drew the line by bombing that convoy

another source - Aug 19, 2019 13:11:49
https://en.muraselon.com/2019/08/syrian-air-force-strikes-turkish-convoy-in-south-idlib-videos/

"...Muraselon News has learned that a Turkish Army convoy, accompanied by Ankara-backed insurgents, attempting to reach the city of Khan Sheykhun was engaged by the Syrian Air Force as it passed south from Marat al-Numan on the M5 Highway in south Idlib

Sources report that an unspecified number of militants from the Free Syrian Army's Rahman Legion were caught in the strikes by Syrian warplanes and killed. It is unknown if Turkish service personnel were harmed....."


jared , Aug 20 2019 13:55 utc | 82
I thought Turkey's interest in this was in protecting against infiltration by the kurds?
I don't see why they would have interest in harrassing Syria, unless it were to serve interests of U.S.
Though I gather Erdogan is a bit of an opportunist.

Any info re. status of Syrian northeast?
Is that where Syria will move next or is that untouchable for the near term?

[Aug 21, 2019] China warns of next jihadist wave in Syria. Indicates a new wave of groups are being resurrected (as in sleeping cells), to commit crimes.

Aug 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

jordi , Aug 20 2019 14:50 utc | 85

It is important to fix the wrong article title. Russia did not bomb Turkey reinforcement column. According to Syrian sources, it is the Syrian Arab Army's AirForce which "bombed the road" in which a column of vehicles from Turkey was present. Nevertheless Turkey AirForce was also lurking around Idlib. Later followed / intercepted by Russia Su-35 .

Currently huge operations are being conducted. See at: Russian Air Force unleashes large attack on ISIS in eastern Syria . This leads to think, Russia and Syria are willing to break the situation and start cleansing the region of "bad rebels".

It is also curious the following warning: China warns of next jihadist wave in Syria . Indicates a new wave of groups are being resurrected (as in sleeping cells), to commit crimes. Interesting to see how China enters the international arena in openly talking about this in public. Maybe willing to even enter the conflict in Syria to fight a group of "chinese muslims that might be around there". This could put pressure in Turkey, as everybody else is willing to fight "bad rebels", instead of using the conflict [for another purpose?].

[Aug 21, 2019] Further US sanctions on Russia. Russian gdp growth is very low now, forecasts are about mere 1,2 % per anum, and thus Russia's share of world GDP is declining

Notable quotes:
"... EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me. ..."
Aug 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 14:22 utc | 83

> Further US sanctions on Russia. Russian gdp growth is very low now, forecasts are about mere 1,2 % per anum, and thus Russia's share of world GDP is declining.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 20 2019 13:15 utc

You think "harming Russia" is a good answer to question "how does it boost USA the hegemon?". Well, let's suppose it...

Problem then is, Russia does not care that much about nominal GDP and even about PPP GDP. It is "average temperature in hospital", where some patients are in 41C fever and others in 4C morgue, but on average they all have that healthy 36,6C.

However, even for those sanctions that did hit Russia and EU hard (and those were enacted mostly in 2015), under the "China-Russia double helix" model, economic soft power is Chinese responsibility, so targetting EU and Russia economically was perhaps a mis-aiming, like would be targetting China militarily.

Also, take a single line - "congress obliges Trump to enlist Russian officials for sanctions" and do the search in both pro-Clinton Google and in DDG. first page of Google has zero relebvant results. DDG however starts with

Trump Administration Sends Congress List of Possible Russia ...
www.nytimes.com/2017/10/26/us/politics/trump-russia-sanctions.html

Congress has tied Trump's hands on Russian sanctions - Vox
www.vox.com/2017/7/29/16061878/trump-russian-sanctions-sign

Congress Forces Trump to Sanction Russia - Fash the Nation
fashthenation.com/2018/03/congress-forces-trump-to-sanction-russia/

Trump Finally Imposes Russia Sanctions That Congress Ordered ...
www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/trump-finally-imposes-russia-sanctions-that-congress-ordered-months-ago/

Is 2017 so far ago that we already forgot it? Trump has no freedom of choice to sanction Russia or not. It is not his authority to make this choice. Trump is ordered to sanction and he would do. If he has any leeway, it is to how specifically sanction, but even that choice is framed into UIS domestic politic fuel, as a vehicle to fry Trump over being "Putin's shil" and looking "not enough" into evil Russians.

> China postponed for overtaking the US in gdp MER to 2032 from 2024.

Estimations are just that, estimations. Guesses into the future mixed with propaganda. If you don't buy Trump's tweets about "China begging for deal" and Obama's about "Russian economy in tatters" - why to buy these estimations?

> Indian growth downgraded - which taken together with China means slowing down Asia's rise.

Pro-American Modi in power of India was a definite win for USA. But I do not think Trump did it in 2016. Such events are grown for years and years of undercover works.

Same for the Brazil fiasco, which i perceive was much heavier blow upon BRICS than Modi. But Brazilian coup was in preparation yet before Trump's oath. May 2016 was the FINAL act, prepared months before: nytimes.com/interactive/2016/world/americas/brazil-dilma-rousseff-impeachment.html

> Iran in recession - long term growth is low - it means that Iran's share of the world economy is now declining. This will lower Iranian influence in the long term.

Long term? like Trump is planning for long term? Would he, like Putin, still be American president in 2016+18=2034 ?
Well, maybe. However does it boost much US the hegemon position today?

Also notice how this pushes Iran back to Russian bucket. Before JCPOA Iran was flirting with "Lesser Satan" a lot, promising to buy russian airliners, promising to barter Iranian goods (oil and others) for Russian goods, thus de facto letting Russia be quasi-monopolistic seller of Iranian goods on world market for any margin Russia would manage to extract. All those hints and kinda-plans were squashed instantly after JCPOA. Iran rushed to trade with EU directly, to buy Boeing and Airbis jets.... But was shot into the leg before it started. I think China would also find their way to be "big helping brother" to Iranian economy, on some conditions of course.

> Venezueala in deep recession

True, and this is again fitting the isolationist bill, to a degree. If Team Trump ready to exclude USA from global trade - it would have to secure oil supply. Enslaving a nearby oil-containing nation would do.

Additionally, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States–Venezuela_relations lists 2014 as start of economic sanctions against Venezuela. So, Trump has inherited "office of Venezuelan affairs" from Cinton/Obama. And... he brought it to light and headlines by making that idiotic wannabe-coup. The sh*t that previously USA did silently pretending whitegloved "shining beacon", Trump exposed.

Did it really made USA position better in 2018 than it was in 2014? I doubt. To me it seemes more like T.T. accelerated things and "threw it all on the table" making Venezuela "hit the rock bottom". Now Venezuela can adjust to the new brave world, while USA would probably not be in position to tighten its grip - it already burned all the reserves and in so clumsy way, that Bolton and Co became a laughing stock. If anything, it exposed that while most gov't there would be paying lip service to USA, none would go with something material. France invaded with USA Libya, Germany invaded with USA Serbia, but none enlisted to invade Venezuela with USA.

> In Latin America most governments are now US puppet governments.

Brazil was indeed a huge blow into the BRICS dream. But i see it more of that indirect, covert "soft power" that USA secret services prepared and rushed to implement before Trump.

> Weakened the EU, via support for Brexit and other ways - it means that the euro will not be a viable alternative for replacing the dollar

Basically turning EU elites against USA and splitting "Western Hegemony" into rivaling factions.

From multipolar view circa 2010, would it be much difference for, say, Russia or China or Iran, whether USD or EUR would be "reserve currency"?

After Alexander of Macedonia died his empire split to pieces, and some of those pieces soon started warring. Did this enhance Greek hegemony or reduced it?

When COMECOM and Warsaw Pact disbanded did it enhanced Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe or reduced it? But it slashed exports of those lands, Bulgaria is not more agriculture super-power it used to be, "Ikarus" bus is still often meet in Moscow street but in the "remnants of old times still able to run" kind, Poland is no more producing ocean-grade ships. So, was it enhancing USSR share of world economy then?

Also, didn't he kind of forced EU elites into Chinese OBOR camp? That said, similarly Russia was forced towards China in 2013-2014 by Western lunacy, so i would not say it was Trump's novelty to push EU eastwards.

EU was in with US in looting Libya, EU was in with US in looting Serbia, now US calls for EU to join in "patrolling" Persian Gulf and response is... like the one about invading Venezuela. Hegemon became stronger?

> Trade wars seem to be hitting EU's export dependent economy pretty hard.

And i wish to see more of those wars not less. Won't you? EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me.

> Turkey has serious economic problems - partly due to the US again - which again means slowing down multipolarity

Wasn't in 2012 Turkey part of Hegemon entourage neck-deep in bloody ISIS affair?
Wasn't Turkey for decades be knockign into closed EU membership doors?
Wasn't Turkey send their people into Germany to intertwine and cross-influence?

Turkey as part of multipolarity? Maybe. But exactly because it was prohibited from what they see their place in global western world. However i am not very sure that would West offer "larger piece" to Turkey in their crippling hegemony, turkey would not turn back yet again. Goog thing, it would be hard to do as few believe western promises today, but again, didn't Trump (but other western politicians too, and including many pre-Trump) invested into making West glaringly "not agreement-capable" in but everyone's view?

Trump could smash Turkey and instate Kudistan.
Trump could smash Kurds and make amends with Erdo.
Instead Trump is breaking pots with both. Neither Kurds not Turks no trust "the shining beacon".

> Overall situation - the US share in the world economy is declining at slower rates than before

Won't this mean Trump's economic policy is if limited success?

> the retarding of growth of everyone else, which means defacto slowing down multipolarity and the replacement of the US dollar

That may be what some faction of Team Trump counting upon. But i have reservations.
Uni-polarity is not about economic growth. It is about trading on One True Market, hegemon's one.
And when everything goes down, another factors start to weigh in. Like elasticity of demand and replacement with cheaper substitutes. Like, if i need a tooling for my house, i would perhaps want to purchase Japanese Makita or German Bosh. Those are famous brands with decades of well earned reputation. But if i only can salivate on them, then perhaps i can go with some cheaper Chinese knock-off? Or perhaps to blow the dust from my grandpa's old tool and purchase nothing at all? If i can buy genuine American Levi's it is a fad, but if i can, then perhaps i will make it in Turkey-made or China-made or Philipinnes-made or even Syria-made jeans? You know, their cut is not that fitting as European or American, but perhaps we can deal with it for the price? If in Russia i can no more buy Czech or German beer as before 2014, then perhaps i can sooth myself with apple cidre from semi-eastern Altai region of Russia? And then, will my gov't still had the same need for USD for those adjusted trade transactions, as it used to?

[Aug 20, 2019] The trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling by James Bovard

While the USA run the show, EU was complicit in this war.
Notable quotes:
"... The American Conservative, ..."
"... In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts ..."
"... Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites." ..."
"... a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation. ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

In a 2011 review for The American Conservative, I scoffed, "After NATO planes killed hundreds if not thousands of Serb and ethnic Albanian civilians, Bill Clinton could pirouette as a savior. Once the bombing ended, many of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo were slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground. NATO's 'peace' produced a quarter million Serbian, Jewish, and Gypsy refugees."

In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts .

Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites."

The New York Times reported that the trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling: "Past investigations of reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo have been undermined by witnesses' fears of testifying in a small country where clan ties run deep and former members of the KLA are still feted as heroes. Former leaders of the KLA occupy high posts in the government." American politicians almost entirely ignored the scandal. Vice President Joe Biden hailed former KLA leader and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010 as "the George Washington of Kosovo." A few months later, a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation.

Clinton's war on Serbia opened a Pandora's box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and pundits portrayed that war as a moral triumph, it was easier for subsequent presidents to portray U.S. bombing as the self-evident triumph of good over evil. Honest assessments of wrongful killings remain few and far between in media coverage.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy , The Bush Betrayal , Terrorism and Tyranny , and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors. He is on Twitter at @jimbovard. His website is at www.jimbovard.com This essay was originally published by Future of Freedom Foundation .

[Aug 20, 2019] Trump's Persian-Gulf Car Crash Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... the Iranian economy is in a free fall with oil exports down as much as 90 percent from mid-2018 levels. As far as Iran is concerned, this means that it's already at war with the United States and has less and less to lose the longer the U.S. embargo goes on. ..."
"... MBS, as he's known, celebrated by launching an air war in neighboring Yemen two months later – and then disappearing on a week-long vacation in the Maldives – and by funneling hundreds of U.S.-made TOWs (anti-tank guided missiles) to Syrian rebels under the command of Al-Nusra, the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, for use in an offensive in that country's northwest province of Idlib. ..."
"... For the Saudis, it was a neo-medieval crusade whose goal was to topple two religio-political allies of Iran, the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus and Yemen's Houthis, who adhere to a non-Iranian form of Shi'ism that is no less anathema to the Sunni Wahhabist theocracy in Riyadh. ..."
"... Just two days after the start of the Saudi air assault in Yemen, Obama meanwhile telephoned Salman to assure him of U.S. support. When asked why America would back a war by one of the Middle East's richest countries against the very poorest, another anonymous U.S. official told The New York Times (April 2, 2015): ..."
"... "If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." ..."
"... The Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression. ..."
"... The American empire was possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients. Even while making peace with Iran, Obama thus green-lit Saudi wars that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, the 2015 nuclear negotiations, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others. ..."
"... Announcing his presidential bid in June 2015, he launched into a typical Trumpian rant against China, Japan, Mexico – and Obama's nuclear talks. "Take a look at the deal he's making with Iran," he said. "He makes that deal, Israel maybe won't exist very long." A month later, he tweeted that the agreement, just inked in Vienna, "poses a direct national security threat." Two months after that, he told a Tea Party rally in Washington: ..."
"... Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all. Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran , Trump did an about-face. In May 2017, he flew to Riyadh, announced an unprecedented $110-billion arms deal, and proclaimed himself the kingdom's newest BFF – best friend forever. ..."
"... He echoed the Saudis by accusing Iran of funding "terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region" and backed a Saudi blockade of neighboring Qatar. When ISIS launched a bloody assault on central Tehran in early June that killed 12 people and injured 42, the only White House response was to declare that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote." ..."
"... It was Democrats who, in a typical attempt to outflank Trump on the right, introduced legislation in June 2017 by forcing him to impose penalties on Russia, North Korea, and Iran as well. But after repudiating the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, Trump upped sanctions even more in November – not only against the Iranian government but against some 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. After Iran shot down a $130-million U.S. surveillance drone last month, Trump imposed sanctions on "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his office, and his closest associates. Two weeks ago, he imposed penalties on Mohammad Javad Zarif , Iran's U.S.-educated foreign minister. ..."
"... It was a gesture of contempt for the very idea of diplomacy. So what happens next? The problem is that re-starting negotiations would not be enough. Instead, Iran has demanded that the U.S. remove all sanctions and apologize before agreeing to a new round of talks. Since this would be tantamount to re-authorizing the JCPOA, it's unlikely in the extreme. While Trump is known for changing his mind in a flash, a course correction of this magnitude is hard to imagine. ..."
"... The pro-Israel Lobby owns both Republican and Democrat Russiagate enthusiasts and is the source of near hysterical demands for opposition with Iran. ..."
"... But in June 1914, clearly there were multiple political and military leaders in Europe for whom war was far from inconceivable. War was simply a question of timing and so it would be better to have a war when the circumstances were most propitious. "I consider a war inevitable", declared senior German generals such as Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in 1912. "The sooner the better". ..."
"... such blatant and reprehensible behavior carries risks for everyone but mostly the targets of our barbaric behavior seems never to enter the President, his neocon handlers' and his rabid supporters' minds. ..."
"... "If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." That is unmitigated nonsense. Why not be honest. We don't want to stop it. ..."
"... To "stop it", Uncle Sam would have to first cease being a part of it. The bombing of Yemen came courtesy of U.S. mid-air refueling efforts, targeting "intelligence", and "made in America" weaponry. The blockade (starvation) of Yemen is also a duel accompaniment. It's supposed to look like a Saudi "thing", but in actuality, it's just more Uncle Sam doing his thing. Obama called it "leading from behind". ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Trump has taken an insane U.S. policy towards Iran and make it even crazier, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

T raffic accidents normally take just a second or two. But the coming collision in the Persian Gulf, the equivalent of a hundred-vehicle pile-up on a fog-bound interstate , has been in the works for years. Much of it is President Donald Trump's fault, but not all. His contribution has been to take an insane policy and make it even crazier.

The situation is explosive for two reasons. First, the Iranian economy is in a free fall with oil exports down as much as 90 percent from mid-2018 levels. As far as Iran is concerned, this means that it's already at war with the United States and has less and less to lose the longer the U.S. embargo goes on.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RmPTycekYJg?feature=oembed

Second, after Trump denounced the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord from the moment he began his presidential run , it's all but impossible at this point for him to back down. The result is a classic collision between the immovable and the unstoppable with no apparent way out.

How did the world bring itself to the brink of war? The answer, ironically, is by bidding for peace.

The process began in early 2015 just as the nuclear talks were entering their final stages. Despite last-minute hand-wringing , it was clear that success was in sight simply because the participants – China, France, Russia, Germany, Britain, the European Union, Iran and the U.S. – all wanted it.

Saudi Proxy War

But other regional players felt differently, Saudi Arabia first and foremost. The kingdom's survival strategy depends on its special relationship with America, its patron since the 1940s. Hence, it was panic-stricken by anything smacking of a U.S. rapprochement with its long-standing arch-enemy Iran. The upshot was a proxy war in which the Saudis set out to roll back Iranian power by striking out at pro-Iranian forces.

The offensive began after a new Saudi monarch ascended the throne in January 2015. King Salman, a doddering 79-year-old reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's , immediately handed over the reins to his favorite son, 29-year-old Muhammad bin Salman, whom he named deputy crown prince and minister of defense. MBS, as he's known, celebrated by launching an air war in neighboring Yemen two months later – and then disappearing on a week-long vacation in the Maldives – and by funneling hundreds of U.S.-made TOWs (anti-tank guided missiles) to Syrian rebels under the command of Al-Nusra, the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, for use in an offensive in that country's northwest province of Idlib.

For the Saudis, it was a neo-medieval crusade whose goal was to topple two religio-political allies of Iran, the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus and Yemen's Houthis, who adhere to a non-Iranian form of Shi'ism that is no less anathema to the Sunni Wahhabist theocracy in Riyadh.

President Barack Obama went along. With regard to Syria, an unidentified "senior administration official" told The Washington Post that while the White House was "concerned that Nusra has taken the lead," all he would say in response to U.S.-made missiles winding up in Al-Qaeda hands was that it was "not something we would refrain from raising with our partners." (See " Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda ," May 2, 2015.)

Just two days after the start of the Saudi air assault in Yemen, Obama meanwhile telephoned Salman to assure him of U.S. support. When asked why America would back a war by one of the Middle East's richest countries against the very poorest, another anonymous U.S. official told The New York Times (April 2, 2015):

"If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." But plainly the nuclear negotations were key. The Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression.

The upshot has been Saudi wars claiming hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, Obama's efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others.

Over-Extended Empire

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with King Salman bin Abdulaziz at Erga Palace in Riyadh, Jan. 27, 2015. (White House/Pete Souza/Flickr)

The American empire was possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients. Even while making peace with Iran, Obama thus green-lit Saudi wars that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, the 2015 nuclear negotiations, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others.

The results were so devastating in a region torn by war, sectarianism, and economic collapse that Trump could not possibly make them any worse – except that he did.

Announcing his presidential bid in June 2015, he launched into a typical Trumpian rant against China, Japan, Mexico – and Obama's nuclear talks. "Take a look at the deal he's making with Iran," he said. "He makes that deal, Israel maybe won't exist very long." A month later, he tweeted that the agreement, just inked in Vienna, "poses a direct national security threat." Two months after that, he told a Tea Party rally in Washington:

"Never, ever, ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran . They rip us off, they take our money, they make us look like fools, and now they're back to being who they really are. They don't want Israel to survive, they will not let Israel survive, [and] with incompetent leadership like we have right now, Israel will not survive."

Iran's Landmark Concession

It was all nonsense. Rather than threatening the Jewish state, the treaty represented a landmark concession on Iran's part, since Israel, with an estimated 80 to 90 nuclear warheads in its arsenal and enough fissile material for a hundred more, would maintain its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East indefinitely. As for "our money," the $150 billion in various foreign accounts were actually Iranian assets that had been frozen for years – a sum, moreover, that was closer to $56 billion once Iran settled its foreign debts. Once sanctions were lifted, it was hardly unreasonable that such assets be restored.

Still there was hope. While railing against Iran, Trump also taunted the Saudis for their role in 9/11: "Who blew up the World Trade Center?" he told Fox & Friends. "It wasn't the Iraqis, it was Saudi [Arabia]." He repeatedly assailed the 2003 invasion of Iraq – even if he exaggerated his own role in opposing it – and criticized Obama for supporting Saudi-backed jihadis seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Assad is bad," he said in an October 2015 interview . "Maybe these people could be worse."

Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all. Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran , Trump did an about-face. In May 2017, he flew to Riyadh, announced an unprecedented $110-billion arms deal, and proclaimed himself the kingdom's newest BFF – best friend forever.

He echoed the Saudis by accusing Iran of funding "terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region" and backed a Saudi blockade of neighboring Qatar. When ISIS launched a bloody assault on central Tehran in early June that killed 12 people and injured 42, the only White House response was to declare that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

But back in September 2003, some 60,000 Iranian soccer fans had observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the World Trade Center while then-President Mohammad Khatami declared on nationwide TV:

"My deep sympathy goes out to the American nation, particularly those who have suffered from the attacks and also the families of the victims. Terrorism is doomed, and the international community should stem it and take effective measures in a bid to eradicate it."

Yet all the Trump administration could say was that Iran had it coming.

It was Democrats who, in a typical attempt to outflank Trump on the right, introduced legislation in June 2017 by forcing him to impose penalties on Russia, North Korea, and Iran as well. But after repudiating the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, Trump upped sanctions even more in November – not only against the Iranian government but against some 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. After Iran shot down a $130-million U.S. surveillance drone last month, Trump imposed sanctions on "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his office, and his closest associates. Two weeks ago, he imposed penalties on Mohammad Javad Zarif , Iran's U.S.-educated foreign minister.

Crowd at Tea Party rally listening to Donald Trump denounce the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Sept. 9, 2015. (YouTube)

It was a gesture of contempt for the very idea of diplomacy. So what happens next? The problem is that re-starting negotiations would not be enough. Instead, Iran has demanded that the U.S. remove all sanctions and apologize before agreeing to a new round of talks. Since this would be tantamount to re-authorizing the JCPOA, it's unlikely in the extreme. While Trump is known for changing his mind in a flash, a course correction of this magnitude is hard to imagine.

Thus, the confrontation is set to continue. Iran may respond by seizing more oil tankers or downing more drones, but the problem is that the U.S. will undoubtedly engage in tit-for-tat escalation in response until, eventually, some kind of line is crossed.

If so, the consequences are unpredictable. U.S. firepower is overwhelming , but Iran is not without resources of its own , among them anti-ship ballistic missiles, mobile short-range rockets that can hit naval targets, plus heavily-armed high-speed boats, mini-subs, and even " ekranoplans ," floating planes designed to skim the waves at 115 miles per hour. Such weaponry could prove highly effective in the 35-mile-wide Strait of Hormuz. Iran also has allies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah, which has an estimated 130,000 missiles and rockets in its own arsenal, Assad's battle-hardened military in Syria, Yemen's Houthis, and pro-Iranian forces in Shi'ite-majority Iraq.

The upshot could be a war drawing in half a dozen countries or more. A confrontation on that scale may seem inconceivable. But, then, war seemed inconceivable in the wake of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in June 1914.

Daniel Lazare is the author of "The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy" (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at D aniellazare.com .


Jeff Davis , August 20, 2019 at 12:42

America is Israel's b*tch.

The American experiment is over. A variety of corporate/neoliberal interests and foreign interests have hollowed it out, and soon, when every last bit of loot has been extracted, the dried up husk of the Empire will collapse. There is no saving it because the looters are still in control. Their control is unbreakable because buying Congress is such a minor and manageable expense for them, and the Congressmen/women are simply incapable of setting aside personal interest and personal ambition for the good of the country. Incapable, because if they ever chose country over their own careers , the "owners" -- ie donors/looters -- would find someone to replace them. There is no way out until it comes crashing down.

Don Bacon , August 20, 2019 at 11:33

Iran whipped the US in Syria, cementing the 'Shia crescent' from Tehran to Beirut, which gives Iran the mantle of ME leadership. Washington had to respond to that fact because it threatens the US and its Carter-Doctrine position as the predominate ME power. So don't blame Israel.

Zhu , August 20, 2019 at 05:44

You forgot to mention pressure from Religious Right Republicans, eager for the Rapture, the Return of Jesus, etv., etc. Christism Zionists in short.

Broompilot , August 20, 2019 at 01:19

I find it interesting that there is no mention of Netanyahu appearing before Congress or the U.N. drawing silly looking pictures of bombs. Or Netanyahu claiming he had jacked some new documents from Iran proving they had a nuclear weapons program. Or Netanyahu disrespecting Obama with his appearance in Congress. Or Bibi's landing in L.A. with a motorcade that screwed up traffic all over town to demonstrate who is really important in this country. Reading this piece you would think this is 95% about Saudis and has very little to do with Israel. There is no doubt that the gulf monarchies do not want successful representative governments breaking out on their borders and giving their citizens ideas, but I doubt they have anything resembling the Israeli lobbies and their influence operating in the U.S. with the power to influence Iran policy.

AnneR , August 20, 2019 at 08:23

True, Broompilot. And I too awaited throughout the article for Mr Lazare to discuss the really existing and marked part that Israel has played and is playing in all of the more recent destruction in neighboring countries, and that illegitimate state's huge influence on this country's politics, military actions (in the MENA countries when those actions might benefit Israel), administration decisions (not to mention the cooperation among US and Israeli secret services *and* electronic-internet companies which anyway themselves both derive from the military and remain closely entwined with it).

Most US presidents – and seemingly all US Congresses – since WWII have aided and abetted Israel and its appalling human rights record which never ends and continues with impunity. But Trump is perhaps more so than most if only because his daughter, a convert to Judaism, is married to an ardent Zionist, and buddy-buddy to Netanyahu. Lazare hints at Trump's pro-Zionism (whatever its basis) but leaves it there.

Marko , August 19, 2019 at 22:50

"Trump's Persian-Gulf Car Crash"

When you view foreign policy as a Demolition Derby competition , as Trump and the neocons do , this is called "Winning !"

Gregory Herr , August 19, 2019 at 20:44

The war of terrorism waged upon the people of Syria didn't come about because the U.S. was "possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients", or because the "Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression."

Washington's Long War on Syria (Stephen Gowans) began well before Obama, Yahoo, Erdogan, and Petraeus set up rat lines of weaponry and training for terrorists in Jordan and Turkey. The current iteration of "topple thru terror" was in the offing, with or without Saudi "impetus".

Syria stands in the way of Greater Israel and Wall Street/central bank dominance.

Obama "went along" alright. But it wasn't the Saudis he was "appeasing".

Obama should have normalised relations with Iran and disavowed all the b.s. rhetoric about them. His "deal" had "made to be broken" written all over it because of his rhetoric. All done in bad faith with the Path to Persia kept open.

Jeff Harrison , August 19, 2019 at 18:30

The big problem is that the US is convinced that it knows what it's doing when, in fact, it is clueless. The US also is perpetually optimistic when it has nothing upon which to base said optimism. It's not as if we've actually defeated anybody in the Middle East. Revoltin' Bolton may think he's scaring people with aircraft carriers and B52s but you'll notice that Iran snatched the British tanker and the Iraqi tanker after the US moved it's carrier and bombers into the Gulf. They also shot down our drone in the same time frame.

We're playing a losing strategy.

Jeff Davis , August 20, 2019 at 12:11

We're playing a losing strategy because America is Israel's bitch.

The American experiment is over. A variety of corporate/neoliberal interests and foreign interests have hollowed it out, and soon, when every last bit of loot has been extracted, the dried up husk of the Empire will collapse. There is no saving it because the looters are still in control. Their control is unbreakable because buying Congress is such a minor and manageable expense for them, and the Congressmen/women are simply incapable of setting aside personal interest and personal ambition for the good of the country. Incapable, because if they ever chose country over their own careers , the "owners" -- ie donors/looters -- would find someone to replace them. There is no way out until it comes crashing down.

Don Bacon , August 19, 2019 at 18:29

"It was all nonsense. Rather than threatening the Jewish state, the treaty represented a landmark concession on Iran's part,. . ."

Calling the Obama agreement a treaty is nonsense, rather it was an agreement involving only the executive branch and not the Senate as required by the Constitution for treaties. Obama needed an achievement for his presidential library, so he waited until his term was almost over to do what he could have done, with Brazil and Turkey, in 2010. Therefore Trump had every right to overturn an agreement made by his hated predecessor, with the knowledge that the Senate never would have approved it since they are all corrupted.

This is another example (Bush-43 on Iraq withdrawal was another) of what the US has come to. This so-called "rules-based democracy" has become a stomping ground for the "commander-in-chief" to display his executive privilege and do any damned thing he takes a mind to, including war, with nary a peep from the so-called "checks and balance" folks who are supposed to be looking after US democracy, but aren't.

robert e williamson jr , August 19, 2019 at 16:18

I found this a Jeff Morely's Deep State Blog https://deepstateblog.org/2019/08/19/iraq-curbs-uk-s-flights-after-reported-israeli-attacks/#comment-1308

These actions by Israel should be expected as well as the Iranian response, which could very easily be war.

All the result of having an idiot at the wheel of the ship of state. Trump and his supporter will own it if it happens.

The Israeli government know no limits or no shame, a very dangerous group for the rest of the world to have to deal with.

Trump needs to be impeached no earlier than one month before the next presidential election and exiled to Israel like the turn coat he is.

Robyn , August 19, 2019 at 19:14

That link didn't work, try this one:

https://deepstateblog.org/2019/08/19/iraq-curbs-u-s-flights-after-reported-israeli-attacks/

Abe , August 19, 2019 at 15:45

"Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all."

It never existed.

A clueless Lazare has been repeatedly informed of the fact in the comments of his CN articles.

Now he's feebly wondering "if".

"Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran, Trump did an about-face."

The pro-Israel Lobby owns both Republican and Democrat Russiagate enthusiasts and is the source of near hysterical demands for opposition with Iran.

Trump has never been under "intense pressure" and has not done "an about-face" because he has always been avowedly "1000 percent" pro-Israel.

A worse than clueless Lazare has been repeatedly informed of the fact in the comments of his CN articles.

Lazare apparently finds lots of things "hard to imagine", even "inconceivable".

But in June 1914, clearly there were multiple political and military leaders in Europe for whom war was far from inconceivable. War was simply a question of timing and so it would be better to have a war when the circumstances were most propitious. "I consider a war inevitable", declared senior German generals such as Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in 1912. "The sooner the better".

Current Israeli leadership holds such a view. The Trump administration foreign policy purchased by the pro-Israel Lobby reflects this view.

But for the obviously very well informed but perpetually clueless Lazare, it all somehow remains "inconceivable"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIP6EwqMEoE

Abe , August 19, 2019 at 16:56

Vigorous efforts by the pro-Israel Lobby keep the US committed to a succession of classic blunders:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmT0_hKSUrw

Abe , August 20, 2019 at 00:24

Trump has walked away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and has performed numerous other services, including threatening war on Iran, precisely because the Israelis wanted them done.

Don't confuse Trump's servility to the pro-Israel Lobby for "isolationism".

The arrogant aggression of the Trump-Bolton-Pompeo troika is bought and paid for by Israel.

Herman , August 19, 2019 at 14:39

Depressing. Having defended Trump because attacks were directed at the President of the United States, any president, it is hard to support a man whose every move is a political calculation. That such blatant and reprehensible behavior carries risks for everyone but mostly the targets of our barbaric behavior seems never to enter the President, his neocon handlers' and his rabid supporters' minds.

One comment in this depressing article caught my eye.

"If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." That is unmitigated nonsense. Why not be honest. We don't want to stop it. The We, of course, being our decision makers and a too large segment of our brainwashed electorate.

Gregory Herr , August 19, 2019 at 19:52

To "stop it", Uncle Sam would have to first cease being a part of it. The bombing of Yemen came courtesy of U.S. mid-air refueling efforts, targeting "intelligence", and "made in America" weaponry. The blockade (starvation) of Yemen is also a duel accompaniment. It's supposed to look like a Saudi "thing", but in actuality, it's just more Uncle Sam doing his thing. Obama called it "leading from behind".

[Aug 20, 2019] Idlib and foreign jihadists

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Aug 20 2019 17:17 utc | 102

Most powerfully, the SAA demonstrated today with squeezing the Hama salient that when it decides to move there is fuck all that the jihadists can do to stop it. In historical terms this is akin to the Battle of St Quentin Canal back in WW1 where part of the British Fourth Army including British and Australian divisions with two US divisions tore a 17km gap in the strongest part of the Hindenberg Line and demonstrated that the Imperial German Army was fucked, as the western allies could pretty much to what they wanted where and when they decided.

There will be no race to capture Idlib City as that will mean taking a lot of jihadists prisoner and why should the Syrians have to deal with the foreign jihadists? Instead, war will be replaced with politics and the foreign jihadists will be "encouraged" to return to their own countries. Either that or take the war to Turkey because of Erdogan's complete failure to support them. And all the other countries that failed the jihadists will be "remembered" sometime in the future.

As for the Russians, the jihadists will remember that the Russian intervention in Syria was trivial in the scheme of things (less than a hundred aircraft?) and that if the jihadists try to mess with Russia again, will understand what a full-blown intervention by Russia will look like.

There might be some holdouts in Idlib but they will be dealt with, and today the balance of power in the Middle East and also the world tilted notably in favour of "the axis of evil" (yet another example of American projection because the United States and its poodles are the real axis of evil!

[Aug 20, 2019] When, If Ever, Can We Lay This Burden Down by Pat Buchanan

Pat lost its touch with reality " Around the world, America is involved in quarrels, clashes and confrontations with almost too many nations to count." That's what empires do. Why he can't understand this simple fact?
Aug 20, 2019 | www.unz.com
Pat Buchanan 800 Words 30 Comments Reply

Friday, President Donald Trump met in New Jersey with his national security advisers and envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is negotiating with the Taliban to bring about peace, and a U.S. withdrawal from America's longest war.

U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001, in a war that has cost 2,400 American lives.

Following the meeting, Trump tweeted, "Many on the opposite sides of this 19 year war, and us, are looking to make a deal -- if possible!"

Some, however, want no deal; they are fighting for absolute power.

Saturday, a wedding in Kabul with a thousand guests was hit by a suicide bomber who, igniting his vest, massacred 63 people and wounded 200 in one of the greatest atrocities of the war. ISIS claimed responsibility.

Monday, 10 bombs exploded in restaurants and public squares in the eastern city of Jalalabad, wounding 66.

Trump is pressing Khalilzad to negotiate drawdowns of U.S. troop levels from the present 14,000, and to bring about a near-term end to U.S. involvement in a war that began after we overthrew the old Taliban regime for giving sanctuary to Osama bin Laden.

Is it too soon to ask: What have we gained from our longest war? Was all the blood and treasure invested worth it? And what does the future hold?

If the Taliban could not be defeated by an Afghan army, built up by the U.S. for a decade and backed by 100,000 U.S. troops in 2010-2011, then are the Taliban likely to give up the struggle when the U.S. is drawing down the last 14,000 troops and heading home?

The Taliban control more of the country than they have at any time since being overthrown in 2001. And time now seems to be on their side.

Why have they persevered, and prevailed in parts of the country?

Motivated by a fanatic faith, tribalism and nationalism, they have shown a willingness to die for a cause that seems more compelling to them than what the U.S.-backed Afghan government has on offer.

They also have the guerrillas' advantage of being able to attack at times and places of their own choosing, without the government's burden of having to defend towns and cities.

Will these Taliban, who have lost many battles but not the war, retire from the field and abide by democratic elections once the Americans go home? Why should they?

The probability: When the Americans depart, the war breaks out anew, and the Taliban ultimately prevail.

And Afghanistan is but one of the clashes and conflicts in which America is engaged.

Severe U.S. sanctions on Venezuela have failed to bring down the Nicholas Maduro regime in Caracas but have contributed to the immiseration of that people, 10% of whom have left the country. Trump now says he is considering a quarantine or blockade to force Maduro out.

Eight years after we helped to overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is still mired in civil war, with its capital, Tripoli, under siege.

Yemen, among the world's humanitarian disasters, has seen the UAE break with its Saudi interventionist allies, and secessionists split off southern Yemen from the Houthi-dominated north. Yet, still, Congress has been unable to force the Trump administration to end all support of the Saudi war.

Two thousand U.S. troops remain in Syria. The northern unit is deployed between our Syrian Kurd allies and the Turkish army. In the south, they are positioned to prevent Iran and Iranian-backed militias from creating a secure land bridge from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut.

In our confrontation with Iran, we have few allies.

The Brits released the Iranian tanker they seized at Gibraltar, which had been carrying oil to Syria. But when the Americans sought to prevent its departure, a Gibraltar court ruled against the United States.

Iran presents no clear or present danger to U.S. vital interests, but the Saudis and Israelis see Iran as a mortal enemy, and want the U.S. military rid them of the menace.

Hong Kong protesters wave American flags and seek U.S. support of their demands for greater autonomy and freedom in their clash with their Beijing-backed authorities. The Taiwanese want us to support them and sell them the weapons to maintain their independence. The Philippines wants us to take their side in the dispute with China over tiny islets in the South China Sea.

We are still committed to go to war to defend South Korea. And the North has lately test-fired a series of ballistic missiles, none of which could hit the USA, but all of which could hit South Korea.

Around the world, America is involved in quarrels, clashes and confrontations with almost too many nations to count.

In how many of these are U.S. vital interests imperiled? And in how many are we facing potential wars on behalf of other nations, while they hold our coat and egg us on?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

[Aug 20, 2019] For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Aug 20 2019 18:26 utc | 107

"For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence.."
Not necessarily. The US is gambling that it will beat Venezuela. But if it doesn't, if Venezuela simply outlasts the imperialist sanctions, it will emerge much stronger.
In recent years there has been a drift towards compromise with the US in Venezuela. Chavez was always very generous towards his opponents and this has continued. As a result the old Creole ruling class has been relatively undisturbed. It has retained its power over the media, for example and left in a position to sabotage the economy through its control of supermarkets, banks and commerce. It has retained its landholdings and maintained its agribusiness.

And now, in cahoots with the imperialists, it has come out against the government and chavismo. Its racist, neo fascist propensities and its contempt for its own countrymen and women- the poor and the working class- have been revealed. While the people are fighting to defend themselves against imperialism, Guido and the Venezuelan right, the capitalist class have made their positions very obvious. Given any sort of opportunity they will smash the social security and food security networks that keep the poor from starvation. They will privatise- Honduras style- and death squads will roam the working class districts torturing and killing.
In short the people of Venezuela have been shown exactly what to expect if the US wins. And the allies of the US have been revealed to be the country's worst enemies: traitors and Quislings.

In the end, if the US does not replace the Maduro government, it will find itself much worse off. All its Fifth Columnist friends will be in exile or hiding. All their wealth will have been distributed to the poor or nationalised.


And the US will have one more sworn and permanent enemy, the people of Venezuela.

[Aug 20, 2019] Impeachment Time by Philip Giraldi

Some comments are edited for clarity...
This is a very weak article full of emotion but does not clarifing anything. Zionisn is just far right Jewish nationalism colored by the occupation of Palestine. Nothing special about it and in a sense critique of Israel for Zionism falls short. whether Zionists control the USA via fifth column or the USA elite thinks that Zionist policies in Middle East are perfectly compatible with the USA geopolitical goals in the region remains to be seen. I suspect the latter.
In this case calling Trump Zionist puppet completely misses the point. The USA and Israel currently are fellow travelers. That might change in the future.
Incident with Representative [Ilhan] Omar and Representative [Rashida] Tlaib is just a minor insident and should be trated as such.
Notable quotes:
"... The likelihood that Donald Trump will be impeached (and it's the House of Representatives that impeaches, not the Senate) for any action that pleases Israel is zero. ..."
"... "Why not just support a Gabbard campaign?" Because we've been swindled by two "antiwar" candidates in a row already. We don't want to be slow learners, do we? ..."
"... If the Zionist Enterprise and Uncle Sam (and their apologists) are resentful about the strategic depth Iran has created in Syria they should not have supported a bunch of whack job head choppers like HTS, Al Qaeda, ISIL, etc., etc. Blow back pure and simple like 9/11 and US intervention in Afghanistan. ..."
"... On November 22, 1963, our last Constitutional Government was overthrown in a Coup D'état, with our last Constitutional President, John F. Kennedy , assassinated in a hail of bullets. ..."
"... You really have to have a lot of chutzpah to claim that Trump isn't presidential. After 32 years of Clinton, Bush II, Obama? What is wrong with you, Phil? ..."
"... I like Giraldi generally, that said the whole "acting Presidential" thing is way, way overrated -- that's what we've had for decades an "actor" reading a teleprompter, part of the Uniparty team selected to screw average normal Americans of all races ..."
"... As though the ziostate is a separate country from the Imperialist States of Amerikastan, instead of a parasitic twin. And as though the Imperialist States of Amerikastan is in any way innocent of the crimes of the ziostate. ..."
"... Old pensioners , even younger are political, pathetic amateurs.. Amateurs or worse. Daily declarations of never ending and growing up and up "Uber Love" for Israel means what ? Emptiness , absence of any ability ? ..."
"... Looks like President and administrations become more and more lost and lost their way in our world ? Can not USA acts and even understand, on its own, what is going on around?? ..."
"... They push Iran and Russia together,after they did the same with China, Venezuela /with 6 millions of Columbians in there/, and Turkey, before.. USA lost Syria ..."
"... And if you need a good reason to not impeach Trump here it is: Mike Pence would become President. ..."
"... Mega Group, Maxwells and Mossad: The Spy Story at the Heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal ..."
"... The picture painted by the evidence is not a direct Epstein tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations. ..."
"... "Hey, let's buy Greenland!", "Let's send a guy to Mars!". Swear to God, every day's a new adventure with this guy. ..."
"... Ignoring someone is the strongest form of bullying. BDS is this stupid path that will lead to violence just like picking up a stick in the first place. The way to deal with Israel and the Empire is by demanding the declassification of all historical secrets, and having an open conversation. We haven't done this for a century as a society. ..."
"... When that happens, it will become clear Israel has always been a colonial project of European and Jewish elites (at the top the %es warrant the statement), that human rights interventions have been designed with neo-colonial intentions in mind from the get-go (after all the creation of Israel was the first such neo-colony), and that the only way to solve this issue is through full on decolonisation. ..."
"... Trump is an idiot and a puppet of Israel. Our Congress is controlled by Israel. Trump isn't Presidential is true. But Giraldi once again seems to be clueless of all the underhanded foreign policy games Obama played. Obama is a cool Crime Lord if there ever was one. ..."
"... The CIA and the other Intelligence agencies protected Obama because he let them do whatever they wanted. Obama's fiasco in Libya was covered up and according to my friends in the CIA is one the greatest foreign policy failures in American history. But Giraldi once again ignores this type of stuff. ..."
"... Pence is also an idiot and nutbag ZioChristian. What Giraldi doesn't seem to understand is that even though Trump is an idiot etc. look at the Democrats and what does the populace see? For many they see that he is less evil than all the Democrats running. ..."
"... First I was glad to see Tlaib had the smarts to tell the Likudniks to pound sand with their new invitation. It would to me, quickly evolve into a fiasco (probably as soon as she got off her flight). Good move by the Rep. If this is a zero-sum game, she wins not Trump/Netanyahu. ..."
"... I see no stomach for impeachment during the election cycle. As well as no chance for a senate conviction. Vile crook that he is, he was elected. Now it's up to voters to make that decision again. Yes on a personal level he's terrible but if we are lucky he won't do catastrophic damage. Like Bush. ..."
"... I agree with Mr. Giraldi entirely on this matter. Unfortunately, given that the Democratic Party is determined to present voters with less than reasonable alternatives, I am fully confident that we will be enjoying another four-year term with this imbecilic, Zionist bootlick as our head-of-state ..."
"... But it is true that Trump -- like every President since LBJ -- has become an obsequious waterboy for the Zionist mafia. For me, this marks Trump's greatest failure. Wasn't he going to 'Make America Great Again'? How can a nation be great if it is not sovereign? ..."
"... A guy with interesting views about the end of the world probably shouldn't be put in a position where he could actually end it. ..."
"... Business as usual for US Presidents for at least 70 years, perhaps at least 120 years. Under the principles of equity, these would not justify impeachment. ..."
"... I really hate to admit this but you may be correct. I do think Trump is anti-war. But he's too erratic and nobody should trust him. Netanyahu is gaming him but I don't think he trusts Trump either. ..."
"... Impeachment is inherently political and there are plenty of good reasons to impeach Trump as there were to impeach Obama, Bush II, Clinton and for that matter such all time greats as Lincoln and FDR. There are better reasons not to impeach him. If impeachment fails it paves the way for a backlash that would lead to Trump's re-election by a landslide and more subservience to Israel than ever. ..."
"... If it succeeds, he is followed by Pence and more subservience to Israel than ever. And if a Democrat other than Tulsi Gabbard gets elected in 2020, keep in mind that the Democratic establishment is solidly pro-Israel as well. Only among some of the Democratic rank-and-file is there any opposition to doing the bidding of the Israeli government. ..."
"... Haven't you Bush-Cheney-Trump Republicans noticed that every four years Americans rent a pig in a poke for the next four years. ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

It is astonishing to observe some Americans twisting themselves into pretzels so they can continue to make excuses to explain the bizarre behavior of President Donald Trump on the world stage. The line most commonly heard is that he has "kept us out of new wars." The reality is somewhat different. He has kept us in old wars in Afghanistan and Syria that he could have ended while also needlessly ratcheting up tension with countries like Russia, Venezuela, Iran and China that could easily escalate into armed conflict. The situation with Moscow is particularly dangerous as President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned that his country's defense doctrine includes going nuclear if there is an attack on Russia by a superior force.

But the most frightening aspect of the current situation is the feeling that the man whose finger is on America's nuclear trigger is not quite sane. The steady stream of insulting and vulgar tweets that seem to serve as a substitute for more substantial mental activity reveals a man who is profoundly ignorant, completely narcissistic and hopelessly insecure. To say the least, Trump is not presidential. He is not even rational except in a conniving, manipulative fashion intended to embarrass his adversaries and place them on the defensive. And his enemies list appears to include all Americans who are not "with him."

The Constitution of the United States in Articles I and II details the procedure for impeachment by the Senate of a president who commits "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." I believe that threshold has finally been crossed. It was crossed last Thursday when President Trump telephoned either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or some other senior Israeli government official before, one hour later, tweeting the following: "It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Representative [Ilhan] Omar and Representative [Rashida] Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel and all Jewish people. And there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!"

Netanyahu then followed Trump's lead with a series of tweets of his own, banning the visit of the two congresswomen because "Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel's legitimacy. For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it."

The two women are in fact the only two congressional supporters of the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to use economic pressure to convince Israel to end its brutal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, meaning that the other 533 members of congress are not so inclined. BDS supporters have been blocked from travel to Israel under an anti-boycott law passed by the Knesset in March 2017, suggesting that free speech in Israel is conditional.

Even though BDS is a non-violent protest movement, it has been condemned by the U.S. Congress and also by nearly all Jewish groups in America, quite possibly because it is having a real impact in an environment where legitimate criticism of Israel is effectively forbidden. There is considerable irony in the fact that Jewish groups have in the past used boycotts to advance their own tribal interests while condemning the use of the same tactic when it is employed against Israeli oppression.

The Israeli ban was subsequently partially lifted to allow Tlaib to travel to the occupied West Bank to visit her 90 year old grandmother, but the congresswoman indicated that she has refused the offer as she is being treated "like a criminal." Clearly, Netanyahu and Trump saw political benefit coming out of the exchange. Netanyahu is facing re-election in two weeks and will be able to boast of his demonstrated ability as a "strong leader" to obtain maximum support for anything he does from the White House. Trump is also already running for re-election next year and is working hard to make Israel an issue, labeling the Democrats as the party that is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. He will also expect Netanyahu to do him favors as appropriate closer to the actual U.S. election.

So much for the view from the two heads of government. The other perspective, and why the president should be impeached, is that Trump's decision was, as usual, to propagate a disgusting and deliberate lie that is also extremely damaging to actual United States interests as well as to our form of government.

To put it in simplest terms, President Trump is conniving with a foreign government headed by a war criminal to block the entry of and also demonize two congresswomen whose political views differ from his own. He is endangering the women, who have already received death threats, by expanding on the lies that are being circulated about them due to their criticism of Israel's appalling human rights record.

Netanyahu, for his part, would prefer that prominent observers not be able to report on the actual conditions prevailing on the West Bank and in Gaza. Indeed, Israel's occupation of much of the West Bank is an ongoing crime that is carefully hidden from most foreign visitors. Netanyahu's government already carefully manages the summer recess annual pilgrimage by members of Congress, such as the one that ended last week where 31 Republicans and 41 Democrats made the journey to kiss the prime minister's ring. And it should be noted that as Omar and Tlaib are only two of a handful of Democratic lawmakers who dare to criticize Israel, their impact on party policy is decidedly limited, rendering even more incomprehensible the panic over their travels.

There are a number of other things wrong with what took place between Trump and Netanyahu vis-à-vis the two congresswomen. First of all, Israel is the top recipient of U.S. military aid at more than $3 billion each year. It also profits from trade arrangements, co-production projects and charitable contributions from American Jews and Christian Zionists that amount to an estimated three times that much annually. That members of Congress should have the right, even the obligation, to visit Israel to see where all that money goes should be unquestioned and it has, indeed, been unchallenged prior to this incident. Tlaib and Omar are the first congressmen to be denied entry to Israel. That Trump apparently orchestrated the entire incident in connivance with a foreign government in support of his own political ambitions and that foreign power's narrow interests is a clear abuse of executive power.

To be sure, numerous Democrats have decried the Israeli decision, but they have tended to frame it in such a way as to praise Israel while also slamming Trump. They note, in a friendly way, that it will hurt Israel's otherwise pristine image as an upstanding democracy and close ally, both of which assertions are in any event demonstrably false. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that was typical, saying "As one who loves Israel, I am deeply saddened by the news that Israel has decided to prevent Members of Congress from entering the country. Last month, Israeli Ambassador Dermer stated that, 'Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any Member of Congress into Israel.' This is a sad reversal and is deeply disappointing. I pray that the Government of Israel will reverse that denial. Israel's denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel. The President's statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President."

Senator Bernie Sanders was one of the few legislators to actually approach the heart of the matter, saying "The idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which, by the way, we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage. And if Israel doesn't want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a firsthand look at what's going on -- and I've been there many, many times -- but if he doesn't want members to visit, maybe [Netanyahu] can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel."

Even the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) disapproved of the decision, stating in a tweet that "We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib's support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib's calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand."

One of the few Republicans to enter into the discussion was Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who characteristically tweeted what amounted to an attack on the congresswomen, stating that it was a mistake for the Israeli government to deny them entry because "Being blocked is what they really hoped for all along in order to bolster their attacks against the Jewish state."

Trump's attack on the two congresswomen comes on top of another bizarre foreign policy related intervention. It involved sending his official hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien to Stockholm on the taxpayers' dime to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. Trump did not actually know Rocky, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. Trump also exercised his usual disregard for standard diplomatic courtesy by tweeting furiously against Sweden's prime minister, Stefan Lofven, over Rocky's detention. The negotiator was instructed to threaten Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be "negative consequences" for the bilateral relationship.

And if you need more good reasons to impeach Donald Trump, here they are:

Trump has twice attacked Syria with cruise missiles based on flawed intelligence without a declaration of war and without Damascus representing an actual threat. That is a war crime and the stationing of American soldiers in Syria without the consent of that country's government is also illegal. The Trump administration's "Justice" Department is seeking to extradite truth-teller Julian Assange of WikiLeaks so he can be locked up for life or killed in prison like Jeffrey Epstein. America's Secretary of State and National Security Advisors are implementing policies that impose punitive sanctions that have served to starve or otherwise kill thousands of Venezuelans, Iranians and Yemenis. Far from being Russian President Vladimir Putin's patsy, Trump has unnecessarily escalated tensions with Moscow more than any American president since the end of the cold war by moving NATO troops up to the Russian border and arming Ukraine, putting our nation and much of the world at risk of a nuclear exchange whether by accident or design. Trump has unnecessarily withdrawn from an Iranian nuclear agreement and from two arms treaties with Russia, all of which enhanced the national security of the United States. The Trump administration has continued to lavish support on the Middle East's two kleptocracies Saudi Arabia and Israel, endorsing everything they do. The tilt towards Israel, including U.S. recognition of sovereignty over illegally occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, has been particularly unfortunate as it could lead to a major war in the region with the U.S. placed right in the middle of the conflict.

Finally, there are certainly some who oppose getting rid of Trump because it would give us Mike Pence as acting president. True enough, and Mike certainly has some interesting Christian Zionist views about the end of the world, but how could he possibly be worse than Donald Trump?

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


obwandiyag , says: August 19, 2019 at 10:32 pm GMT

Sorry. But he didn't start any wars, and didn't heat any up either. He couldn't end them, although he is basically anti-war, because you know why.
A123 , says: August 19, 2019 at 10:53 pm GMT
Let me help. What you are actually advocating is better represented by this:

GIRALDI Endorses MIKE PENCE for President

Did you forget that the VP takes the Presidency if the sitting President is impeached?

Do you really believe that PENCE would be better than Trump on foreign policy?

__________

He has kept us in old wars in Afghanistan and Syria that he could have ended

Trump has drawn down troops from Afghanistan.

The primary issue with pulling troops out of Syria is Iran, although Turkey and the deep state bureaucracy are also complicating factors. Hopefully, Iran's impending exit from Syria will allow Trump to also exit.

Iranian troops are in conflict with Assad and they are rapidly wearing out its welcome in Syria (1):

the Iranian Revolutionary Guards "took over the al-Nurain Mosque and houses around it on Korniche Street in the city, where they prevented civilians, members of regime forces, and NDF from entering or passing through the area, without orders from the command forces located in al-Mayadin."

Iran is also intentionally provoking Russia and undermining Putin's credibility (2):

due to the permanent infiltration efforts conducted by Iran and Hizbullah, a very unique situation has unfolded on the ground. Hizbullah and pro-Iranian proxies' checkpoints, coordinated by the regime's Fourth Division deployed in the area, have been erected almost adjacent to the Russian checkpoints. Pro-Iranian patrols have been patrolling the area in the very same axis patrolled by the Russians. As a result, frictions between the Russian and the pro-Iranian proxies occur from time to time, creating tensions between Moscow and Tehran.

It is now a test of wills between Ayatollah Khamenei and Putin, and it is pretty clear that Putin is going to win.

PEACE

____

(1) https://m.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iranian-Revolutionary-Guard-forces-Assad-supporters-out-of-checkpoint-596661

(2) http://jcpa.org/article/the-iranian-conquest-of-syria/

Aletho , says: Website August 19, 2019 at 11:09 pm GMT
It's not saying much but Trump seems to be the sanest of the bunch. Even Sanders wants more militarism. His support for Israel, though less overtly obnoxious, achieves the same end result. I could possibly exclude Gabbard. Why not just support a Gabbard campaign?
Diversity Heretic , says: August 19, 2019 at 11:28 pm GMT
The likelihood that Donald Trump will be impeached (and it's the House of Representatives that impeaches, not the Senate) for any action that pleases Israel is zero.
Kelso , says: August 19, 2019 at 11:48 pm GMT
Tulsi Gabbard should embrace the BDS movement and move ahead of the other candidates. This is in spite of her ill-advised vote recently to condemn BDS. It would be a dramatic about face -- she will be vilified no matter what she does, but she will please a large and growing segment of the electorate, not unlike Ross Perot's Independence Party.
Twodees Partain , says: August 19, 2019 at 11:57 pm GMT
"Mike certainly has some interesting Christian Zionist views about the end of the world, but how could he possibly be worse than Donald Trump?"

Mike Pence could be worse than Hillary Clinton without half trying. For that matter, he could be worse than GW Bush without breaking a sweat. You underestimate him, Phil.

Twodees Partain , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:00 am GMT
@Aletho

"Why not just support a Gabbard campaign?" Because we've been swindled by two "antiwar" candidates in a row already. We don't want to be slow learners, do we?

JoaoAlfaiate , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:11 am GMT
@A123

If the Zionist Enterprise and Uncle Sam (and their apologists) are resentful about the strategic depth Iran has created in Syria they should not have supported a bunch of whack job head choppers like HTS, Al Qaeda, ISIL, etc., etc. Blow back pure and simple like 9/11 and US intervention in Afghanistan.

Durruti , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
Giraldi

No more excuses for a train-wreck foreign policy

Yes, The entire post November 22, 1963 American Government, with only a few exceptions should be Impeached.

On November 22, 1963, our last Constitutional Government was overthrown in a Coup D'état, with our last Constitutional President, John F. Kennedy , assassinated in a hail of bullets.

If you (Giraldi), read Unz' article on the subject of the Coup, and just who performed the Coup, or a dozen other articles to the point, you should understand that our post-constitutional government has been increasingly controlled by Foreign Zionist Banking Oligarchs. Our so-called 'elected Representatives' function as bought Minions of the Rothschilds , and live in fear of their MOSSAD and puppet CIA police.

I assume you have read your own articles on the subject of just who controls the USA. Or do I have to cite them for you?

You advocate an Impeachment Process to be brought against Casino Trump . And who, pray tell, will do the impeaching? You are advocating an effort that lends a certain Legitimacy to a pathetic Puppet government, long at the service of the Zionist World Order. Do you dream that the pathetic band of almost 537 Traitors are up to the task?

You expect a Congress, perhaps led by the Democrap Gangers, to begin the process of removing the current Hollywood actor ("You're Fired"), in a pretend Constitutional Process performed by a Pretend Constitutional Government.

Ron Unz -- er. Philip Giraldi, our Yellow Brick Road to Liberty involves, of necessity, a Restoration of Our Republic, with a restoration of our Constitution, with a restoration of our honor, and a restoration of our Beloved Nation's Sovereignty.

But I will deal with you as a well meaning and brave American, a friend. If you have a way to trigger, or begin the process of impeachment of Casino Trump, even in the Pretend World we will have to live in to swallow the Show, I and my friends will do all we can to follow your lead.

This is your article and your lead. Hell! We might get lucky. On with the show. You will not fight alone.

Now. if your article is just an intellectual appeal to the powers that be (whomever they are), to advance an impeachment show for us to passively observe, a show where nothing essential will change, and nothing will be learned, then our Citizens will have no option but to continue following the Foreign Zionist controlled Democrap & Republicant Gangs to Hell.

Durruti

restless94110 , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:41 am GMT
You really have to have a lot of chutzpah to claim that Trump isn't presidential. After 32 years of Clinton, Bush II, Obama? What is wrong with you, Phil?

You evidently are a one-issue guy with a hitherto serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

You've know joined the ranks of The Mooch and that lunatic Kristol.

Hope you enjoy the company you keep.

getaclue , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
I like Giraldi generally, that said the whole "acting Presidential" thing is way, way overrated -- that's what we've had for decades an "actor" reading a teleprompter, part of the Uniparty team selected to screw average normal Americans of all races

Ppersonally not having been a Trump fan ever -- I like the fact that he doesn't act like an actor teleprompter reading robot and that he swings back at the lying Propagandist Mainslime Media and Dems who are complete insane lunatics at this point (I was a Dem myself for 40 years and even voted for Obama the first time -- no more.

They are actively plotting to destroy the country by importing "replacement" illegal aliens to vote for them as sane people won't and Identity "hate whitey" politics -- why would any sane "white" person vote for them?).

Do I like all Trump is doing? No. His Israel "love" and Javanka etc .But who exactly would Mr. Giraldi recommend we support/vote for that has any possible chance of getting elected who is not a pre-selected Uniparty stooge/traitor? Trump is all we got, and by his wide range of obvious enemies we can tell he is also obviously not fully "on board" with the cretins of the Deep State -- and those who "run" things view him as a threat, gotta like that .

Precious , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:17 am GMT
If I have to choose between Trump and those two harpies then Trump is in. Those two women are fake Americans who should go back to where they came from.
Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website August 20, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
As though the ziostate is a separate country from the Imperialist States of Amerikastan, instead of a parasitic twin. And as though the Imperialist States of Amerikastan is in any way innocent of the crimes of the ziostate.
Paw , says: August 20, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT
@getaclue Elites do not let anybody from the younger generation up , through filter. Old pensioners , even younger are political, pathetic amateurs.. Amateurs or worse. Daily declarations of never ending and growing up and up "Uber Love" for Israel means what ? Emptiness , absence of any ability ?

Looks like President and administrations become more and more lost and lost their way in our world ? Can not USA acts and even understand, on its own, what is going on around??

They push Iran and Russia together,after they did the same with China, Venezuela /with 6 millions of Columbians in there/, and Turkey, before.. USA lost Syria ..And what about Yemen ? At the same time they expose Israel, towards many dangerous developments in that area around .And in the whole world.. Negativity against Israel is growing..

They/together/ never solve and end, this horrible situation with Palestine.. Sanction are deadly weapon against all children and their future everywhere..Are the they blind ? As well ? Have They declared sanctions on their own sights ??

Colin Wright , says: Website August 20, 2019 at 4:35 am GMT
' And if you need more good reasons to impeach Donald Trump, here they are '

And if you need a good reason to not impeach Trump here it is: Mike Pence would become President.

Charles Martel , says: August 20, 2019 at 4:36 am GMT
What's that coming out of your ears, Mr. Giraldi?

Your ridiculous, TDS-fueled list of President Trump's alleged sins does not include a single high crime or misdemeanor. It merely states your despicable preference for a world run by Mohammedans and a country run by the likes of those Mohammedan Congress-snakes.

Repeat these words in front of your local imam -- hopefully as the blood spurts from a camel's throat on Eid; it earns you extra points and a delicious camel steak.

"There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet."

Until you do that, we will know that you lack the courage of your convictions.

WWebb , says: Website August 20, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
Question:

Would changing potus or any puppet make any real difference, at all, when the clear cancerous origin of the decline of the usa, and in fact, the entire western world is not completely eliminated?

With US Liberty, JFK, and 911 in mind, here is an opportunity to expose and eliminate.

Mega Group, Maxwells and Mossad: The Spy Story at the Heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

The picture painted by the evidence is not a direct Epstein tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations.

by Whitney Webb

https://www.mintpressnews.com/category/epstein-investigation/

Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid , says: August 20, 2019 at 4:54 am GMT
"Hey, let's buy Greenland!", "Let's send a guy to Mars!". Swear to God, every day's a new adventure with this guy. The Gonzo Presidency, like going to Vegas with Hunter S. Thompson.
Ilya G Poimandres , says: August 20, 2019 at 4:59 am GMT
Ignoring someone is the strongest form of bullying. BDS is this stupid path that will lead to violence just like picking up a stick in the first place. The way to deal with Israel and the Empire is by demanding the declassification of all historical secrets, and having an open conversation. We haven't done this for a century as a society.

When that happens, it will become clear Israel has always been a colonial project of European and Jewish elites (at the top the %es warrant the statement), that human rights interventions have been designed with neo-colonial intentions in mind from the get-go (after all the creation of Israel was the first such neo-colony), and that the only way to solve this issue is through full on decolonisation.

niteranger , says: August 20, 2019 at 5:06 am GMT
Trump is an idiot and a puppet of Israel. Our Congress is controlled by Israel. Trump isn't Presidential is true. But Giraldi once again seems to be clueless of all the underhanded foreign policy games Obama played. Obama is a cool Crime Lord if there ever was one.

He is most likely a product of his mother and other relatives being in the CIA chain if you investigate thoroughly. The CIA and the other Intelligence agencies protected Obama because he let them do whatever they wanted. Obama's fiasco in Libya was covered up and according to my friends in the CIA is one the greatest foreign policy failures in American history. But Giraldi once again ignores this type of stuff.

America is a Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State. Our leaders are just players in the game. Trump realizes he is not in charge of the foreign policy and most of the Intelligence Agencies have gone rogue. They answer to the Corporations of the World not to Nations. Just look at the debacle of the FBI and the Trump investigation. Who was in charge and what were they trying to do? They were trying to prevent Trump from becoming president and the NSA who were monitoring everything did what? Just like William Binney former NSA intelligence officer stated how far they have gone in their own game plan against the citizens of the USA.

Pence is also an idiot and nutbag ZioChristian. What Giraldi doesn't seem to understand is that even though Trump is an idiot etc. look at the Democrats and what does the populace see? For many they see that he is less evil than all the Democrats running.

Once again this seems like a rather naive analysis from someone with the credentials of Giraldi.

Wally , says: August 20, 2019 at 5:29 am GMT
@obwandiyag I wonder why Obama, the Clintons, Bush 1&2, etc. get no "good reasons to impeach" list.

Trump is small beer in comparison. Generally you do good work, Phil Giraldi, but this time your avoiding the big picture . while you ignore the 2016 alternative, Hillary.

Regards.

Mark James , says: August 20, 2019 at 5:58 am GMT
First I was glad to see Tlaib had the smarts to tell the Likudniks to pound sand with their new invitation. It would to me, quickly evolve into a fiasco (probably as soon as she got off her flight). Good move by the Rep. If this is a zero-sum game, she wins not Trump/Netanyahu.

I see no stomach for impeachment during the election cycle. As well as no chance for a senate conviction. Vile crook that he is, he was elected. Now it's up to voters to make that decision again. Yes on a personal level he's terrible but if we are lucky he won't do catastrophic damage. Like Bush.

# As an aside just a note on Sen. Gillibrand calling for forgiveness in the cases of Al Franken and Mark Halperin. The NY'er is a skilled politician but this is a bit too obvious. Would she be calling for second chances if their surnames were Smith and Jones? I don't think so. Not in the current atmosphere of 'me to.'
She was doing this to make amends for damage done to her among liberals and Jews. Not because she has second thoughts, about whether she was wrong about them initially.

Bardon Kaldian , says: August 20, 2019 at 6:29 am GMT
OK, who else instead of Trump? Crickets ..
Oleaginous Outrager , says: August 20, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT

To say the least, Trump is not presidential.

So what you're sayin', Phil, is we need more drone strikes.

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website August 20, 2019 at 7:29 am GMT
I agree with Mr. Giraldi entirely on this matter. Unfortunately, given that the Democratic Party is determined to present voters with less than reasonable alternatives, I am fully confident that we will be enjoying another four-year term with this imbecilic, Zionist bootlick as our head-of-state .
Olifant , says: August 20, 2019 at 7:38 am GMT
My take on Trump is that he knows something that not every politician knows: to bring down those who are the greatest threat to your country, you sometimes have to give them all they want and more, after which you'll shed crocodile tears at the news of their demise. Just give them more rope!
mark green , says: August 20, 2019 at 7:42 am GMT
Interesting article (as usual) by Philip Giraldi. I'm not sure that I'm ready to throw in the towel on Trump however -- though I'm getting close.

As for Trump, he is far more of a leader and independent thinker than his VP, so the idea of having Zio-devout, 'end-of-times' Pence take over for Trump seems rash.

But it is true that Trump -- like every President since LBJ -- has become an obsequious waterboy for the Zionist mafia. For me, this marks Trump's greatest failure. Wasn't he going to 'Make America Great Again'? How can a nation be great if it is not sovereign?

Trump is manifesting some of the usual, toxic symptoms and embracing some of the bizarre, extra-national 'values' that make a politician 'mainstream' in America.

These values include 1) eager capitulation to the Zionist community involving all 'matters of concern' to World Jewry, and 2) don't forget the first part.

These crypto-Zionist 'values' however cause immense and toxic distortions in US policies, our nation's intellectual climate, and American culture in general. This is no small matter. As a consequence, the issue of oversized Jewish influence in the West is not supposed to be addressed -- much less critically examined and dealt with.

If a problem cannot be addressed, how can it be understood and contained?

It can't.

... ... ...

Exhibiting a 'hostility' towards Israel or discharging a virulent 'whiff' of anti-Semitism can easily become a political death sentence. This is power. This is Jewish-Israeli power.

Americans exist in a heavily monitored, strategically censored, post-Holocaust, pro-Zionist, white-guilt-tripping, fabricated kosher wonderland. Therefore, do say the right thing. Never say the wrong thing. Never. Indelicate speech has how been criminalized. That's BAD.

Preemptive bombing and wholesale annihilation on the other hand has been sanctified. Democracy! It's all very strange and twisted. But perfectly normal now.

If nothing else, 'reckless and insane' Trump's steady and deliberate subservience to the Zionist establishment proves how astonishingly powerful they are.

Anonymous [172] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT

Mike certainly has some interesting Christian Zionist views about the end of the world, but how could he possibly be worse than Donald Trump?

You've answered your own question. A guy with interesting views about the end of the world probably shouldn't be put in a position where he could actually end it.

Lot , says: August 20, 2019 at 8:45 am GMT
@A123 Giraldi shows that ultimately anti-Semite nutcases will always side with America's enemies as long as they attack Israel.

Turning Minnesota into New Somalia he doesn't care, Ilhan Omar is solid on the JQ!

22pp22 , says: August 20, 2019 at 8:46 am GMT
With any other president but Trump, you would be doing Israel's fighting in Iran RIGHT NOW.
The Alarmist , says: August 20, 2019 at 9:02 am GMT

I believe that threshold has finally been crossed. It was crossed last Thursday when President Trump telephoned either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or some other senior Israeli government official before, one hour later, tweeting the following .

Not a crime, not an impeachable offence.

The other perspective, and why the president should be impeached, is that Trump's decision was, as usual, to propagate a disgusting and deliberate lie

Impeaching a politician for lying; now that's rich!

that is also extremely damaging to actual United States interests as well as to our form of government.

Trump would be at the end of a very long line if you are talking about his collaboration with Israel.

beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.

Still no crime or impeachable offence there. Dignity of the Office of the President? The Rubicon was crossed a long time ago.

And if you need more good reasons to impeach Donald Trump, here they are .

Business as usual for US Presidents for at least 70 years, perhaps at least 120 years. Under the principles of equity, these would not justify impeachment.

anarchyst , says: August 20, 2019 at 9:32 am GMT
I must disagree with Mr. Giraldi on this one. Trump is smart like a fox. He KNOWS the machinations and dirty dealings of the jews as he has had to deal with jews all of his life. There is a saying: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". It is possible that Trump is doing just that.

Trump KNOWS that the "deep state" is real and has "eliminated" those who do not "toe the line" and is smart enough to know that. Trump's "weak spot" is the appointment of his son-in-law Kushner to handle his "foreign policy" arrangements. All in all, Trump IS "getting things done".

Mark James , says: August 20, 2019 at 9:53 am GMT
@22pp22

With any other president but Trump, you would be doing Israel's fighting

I really hate to admit this but you may be correct. I do think Trump is anti-war. But he's too erratic and nobody should trust him. Netanyahu is gaming him but I don't think he trusts Trump either. Bottom line is Trump doesn't think spending the money is worth it and not even the Israel lobby can convince him (we hope). Bottom line is everyone who deals with him thinks he's nuts. Sooner or later that's going to catch up and bite us.

Anonymous [172] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 9:56 am GMT
@Olifant So that's how 44D chess is played? You give the enemy so much support and resources that they just seize up from all the goodies? Sounds legit.

Man, I wish I was smart enough to play on that level.

Sean Breathnach , says: August 20, 2019 at 10:05 am GMT
@Rich Yes I agree, it's all about the Benjamin's. Neither of the two women are anti-white or anti-American but it sounds like you in fact are a racist, just like Trump.
Realist , says: August 20, 2019 at 10:07 am GMT
@anarchyst

All in all, Trump IS "getting things done".

All in all, the Deep State IS "getting things done". FIFY. Trump like most elected officials serves at the pleasure of the Deep State.

Amon , says: August 20, 2019 at 10:09 am GMT
Holy smokes is there a lot of MAGA boomers railing in defence of Trump. The orange clown should have been booted out of office on the very day he invited the swamp to infest his government.
Amon , says: August 20, 2019 at 10:13 am GMT
@Olifant The only thing Trump knows is how to obey his jewish handler(Jared) and his daughter.

Would not surprise me if Orange Clown and Epstein had fun with Ivanka on a joint fligth decades ago.

Kolya Krassotkin , says: August 20, 2019 at 10:18 am GMT
@restless94110 Add Bush I to your list of un-presidential Presidents. As to the Mooch, every time I see him on TV, I change the channel.

We already have Andy and Chris Cuomo: Two goombahs are company, three a crowd.

Whitewolf , says: August 20, 2019 at 10:33 am GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

OK, who else instead of Trump? Crickets ..

That lapdog Guido or whatever his name is that they had lined up for Venezuela? He's already house trained so it would be a smooth transition.

BuelahMan , says: August 20, 2019 at 11:00 am GMT
@Olifant It is this idiotic hope that puts you on equal footing with any Clintonista, Bushie, Obama Maniac or Drumpfter.

They are all the same idiotic "believers". No. Trump is owned lock, stock and barrel by Chabad sect. To suggest anything different is foolish or obvious deception.

Antares , says: August 20, 2019 at 11:01 am GMT
This is why I'm happy with Trump:

-- France wants cooperation with Russia.
-- Germany wants cooperation with Russia.
-- Russia should rejoin G8, according to these European countries.

-- American's hubris is now plain to see for everyone.
-- Israel's hubris is now plain to see for everyone.

-- We are not going to buy expensive American LNG.
-- Our gas will not flow through Ukraine.

Before Trump this was unthinkable! I don't know how that would work out with Pence. Changing foolishness for pure evil is risky. Please let us hate Trump but don't get rid of him!

Herald , says: August 20, 2019 at 11:13 am GMT
@Wally What is the point of giving reasons to impeach the Clintons and Bushes, when it is Trump who is the incumbent of the White House? Your post makes absolutely no sense and seems little more than a feeble attempt at giving cover in regard to Trump's erratic behaviour.
Exile , says: August 20, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT
Trump letting the neocons back into the White House, particularly giving the egregious Bolton the NSA chair, was a much more momentous event than mean tweets or interference in the Squad Qwainz travel plans. Syria and Iran sabre-rattling and ham-fisted destabilization efforts in Venezuela and Hong Kong are a lot worse than this as well. None of it is impeachment-worthy.

Phil's venting here. No one's more critical of Trump's Zio-cucking than I am, but talking about impeachment over this or any of the other aggregate offenses he lists isn't serious. Phil's not writing a Hopkins Russiagate /sarc piece but it comes across like one.

The entire US Congress is Israeli-occupied territory (h/t Pat Buchanan). Mossad's latest blackmailer of America's Davos-tier was just strangled to death in custody. If Zio-cuckery is impeachable, we might as well call a new constitutional convention and send all three branches packing. That's the ugly truth and worrying over the Qwainz is just a trivial sideshow distraction for the cucks and anti-cucks alike.

Anon [382] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm GMT
November 2020 is roughly 15 months away. I watched a Trump rally on Fox the other night. He was sharp as a razor. Even when speaking impromptu on a few subjects, he didn't misspeak or struggle for or with words. One might not like a great deal of what he does, but he is quite in control of his faculties.
Barnaby , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm GMT
@Kelso Agreed. Tulsi needs to get off the fence and make a clear statement regarding Israel and her own plans, if any, to deal with Zionist influence on the US gov.
Bill Jones , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm GMT
Ah, Phillip, You know damn well that starting wars is one thing that guarantees no impeachment. Israel is the other.
RoatanBill , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:23 pm GMT
It's not President Trump that needs impeaching, it's the entire Federal Government that should be excised from the planet. It's the system, not any particular individual that's the real problem. It's the concentration of power and the usurpation of control by unelected bureaucrats commonly referred to as the 'deep state' that threatens the entire world.

"The way to get rid of corruption in high places is to get rid of high places." -- Frank Chodorov

Get rid of Trump and a new moron will take his place. We need to get rid of the Nancy Pelosi's and the Chuck Shumer's along with the monstrosities like the NSA, CIA, Air Force, Army, Raytheon, etc so the people of the 50 states can separately decide on how they want to proceed. It is the monopoly of the Fed Gov that's the real problem not any particular pinhead.

Kirt , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:24 pm GMT
Impeachment is inherently political and there are plenty of good reasons to impeach Trump as there were to impeach Obama, Bush II, Clinton and for that matter such all time greats as Lincoln and FDR. There are better reasons not to impeach him. If impeachment fails it paves the way for a backlash that would lead to Trump's re-election by a landslide and more subservience to Israel than ever.

If it succeeds, he is followed by Pence and more subservience to Israel than ever. And if a Democrat other than Tulsi Gabbard gets elected in 2020, keep in mind that the Democratic establishment is solidly pro-Israel as well. Only among some of the Democratic rank-and-file is there any opposition to doing the bidding of the Israeli government.

therevolutionwas , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:33 pm GMT
Pence could be much worse than Trump; he could be Trump unleashed to do what Trump only threatened. Trump is just the tail of the dog anyway. It is the power of the deep state that needs to be diminished, and there are many peaceful ways to accomplish that.
DESERT FOX , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:50 pm GMT
Trump is a wholly owned promoter of zionism and a puppet of the zionists who has sold out America and Americans who thought they were getting a change from the warmongers and the MIC and the zionist control over the zio/US government only to find they elected a Trojan Horse of zionism who will do anything his zionist overlords tell him to do.

JFK was the last patriot POTUS and that is why he was shot in full view of the American people, shot as an example that the satanic overlords of America were still in charge!

If interested read the book JFK, the CIA and Vietnam by Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, can be had on amazon.

anon [393] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:54 pm GMT
@Lot Attacking Israel involves attacking the system which supports Israel. It is 1 pragmatic . It is 2 moral and 3 ethical to do so when it is found out that these forces have been lassoed roped penned and put into serving parasitic Israel 24/7 . At least the offspring of the skates will have a better future .

Don't you agree a lot and not only to 123 .

anon [393] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:55 pm GMT
@Charles Martel I told you not to read that Scofield Bible again but you didn't listen . Not only that you also sat down bowed head listening to fat misshaped Hagee in your local CUFI outlet . Don't do that . Get some crayons and start drawing Star of David on your viagra worked dick . There is Canadian nurse who I knew in Detroit , used to talk a lot about My Brothers Keeper . May be she also knew the real keeper Epstein . Lot of kept .
Moi , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm GMT
@obwandiyag Come to think of it, Trump is a perfect president for a violently insane and amoral nation. Sweet Lord Yeshua!
Charles , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:02 pm GMT
No one (who I ever hear or read) who claims Trump should be impeached knows what that even means. Similarly to being indicted, being impeached means a political figure stands trial. Being impeached guarantees nothing -- Bill Clinton was impeached and naturally it turned into a farce, whether he was provably guilty of what he was accused or not. Even more importantly there's the little matter of having a REASON to impeach. Hating an individual -- even when that person is an oddball, as is certainly the case with Trump -- because that person behaves eccentrically in your eyes is not and never will be "impeachable".
Anon [300] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:04 pm GMT
Phil, here's the thing: on the evil scale of 1 to 10 Trump is a 9.5, but everyone else around him is a 9.9 or 10. So we are stuck with the fool for now.
anon [393] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:09 pm GMT
Accidental war is possible but the trend is towards more shouting and screaming followed by climb down. Unless Pompeo fat or Bolton walrus drown accidentally or intentionally in some Israeli supplied water , war remains a possibility , Even the frowning might not help . It can be blamed on Iran . Israel might supply the water if it feels Pomeo might get tired of being told what to do and start telling the truth behind war against Iran .

The real concern is recession . If that hurts Trump's re-election , he might do something stupid . He might buy the water from Israel with trillions of dollars ( just the advice on how to initiate the war against Iran but AIPAC-Likud charges for that ) and drown the USA . There is no climbdown. Iran will be in ruins . Trump will be the president . America has seen it's last president .

Another ' Richard Pearle ' will say to Americans "Pompeo and Bolton didn't do the job and Neither Trump did as was told . They didn't listen . We tried to help but they couldn't carry out . They are not Roosevelt Churchill or Reagan . We were mistaken , "

Paul Bustion , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
Trump has not broken any laws, even though his behavior is inappropriate. Even if he colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, he did not break any laws in doing so. Even though his collaboration with Israel is inappropriate, he did not break any laws in collaborating. Neither in the case of collaborating with Russia nor with Israel did he commit treason against the USA or accept illegal campaign contributions from their governments, which would be the only way the collaboration would be illegal. So there is no legal basis on which to impeach him. Additionally, there is a principle of sovereign immunity that, in fact if not in theory, has some limited application to the president, it would not be possible to successfully remove a president from office, even if he was guilty of a crime, unless it was an extremely serious one. So trying to impeach Trump would be a complete waste of time. Impeaching Trump would be even more ridiculous than impeaching Clinton was.
War for Blair Mountain , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:21 pm GMT
And the CANNON FODDER occupation of the shithole Afghanistan will continue apace during the reign of the OLD FARTING BOOMER GRANNY POTUS Elizabeth Warren .on the advice of Irish Skank Samantha Powers and the midget mulato negro Susan Rice .
Hossein , says: August 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm GMT
Sorry you Goys are all doomed. The next president ,Democrat or the orangegutan will continue to bow before the real emperor, Netanyahu.

The only way to get rid of virus of Zionism is to implement a real American constitutional government where loyalty will be 100% to the US and not to foriegn governments. Best of luck to all of you Goys.

nsa , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
@Hossein "Best of luck to all of you Goys" New improved motto for the hapless MAGAstinians ..Make America Goy Again.
follyofwar , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:05 pm GMT
@Wally I concur, Wally, exept for your use of the term "small beer." Love him or hate him, there's nothing small beer about Mr. Trump.

It seems to me that those advocating for Trump's impeachment could, unwittingly, guarantee his re-election. Most, I think, don't like a legally elected president to be impeached over policy differences. Using that criteria, every president could be impeached.

Mr. Giraldi asks if VP Pence could "possibly be worse than Donald Trump." Emphatically I say that he not only COULD be, but quite likely WOULD be. One example: Trump should have never sent such a huge naval presence into the Persian Gulf, but, who knows, Pence may have done so even sooner. And, after that Iranian shoot down of the US drone, would Pence, an Israel-first neocon in good standing, have held back from retaliating?

Lastly, I find it a little odd that Mr. Giraldi uses the Omar/Tlaib incident as grounds for impeachment. Trump was ill-advised to say what he did (sadly a nearly daily occurrence), but that seems like a minor incident, similar in severity to the republicans ridiculous attempt to impeach Clinton over lying about Lewinsky's semen stained blue dress. The easy way to get rid of Trump is the way this country usually does it -- vote him out of office at the ballot box, not make him a martyr by trying to get rid of him a few months before next November's election. Besides, the Senate will never convict.

DESERT FOX , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm GMT
In regards to impeachment, we patriots are screwed, Pence is just as bad as Trump , and in regards to the elections for POTUS , the demon-rats and the republi-cons are the same zionist controlled bullshit, until Americans wake up to that fact, nothing will change. The demon-rats are the zio/US version of the bolsheviks and the republi-cons are a farce!
wayfarer , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm GMT
Israel, the rich selfish beggar nation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blue_Boy

rich: abundant possessions, especially material wealth.
selfish: unquiet with one's own well-being without regard for others.
beggar: one who lives by asking for gifts or charity.

anon [401] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:18 pm GMT
Netanyahu asked US lawmakers in June to condemn Tlaib, Omar for BDS support. In missive to Democratic leaders predating row over ban, Netanyahu wrote that the congresswomen were the 'antithesis to strong support for Israel' https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-asked-us-lawmakers-to-condemn-tlaib-omar-for-bds-support-in-june/

Now Trump has done more for Israel as per request of Israel, US media and some in Israeli media are blaming Trump for wrecking"bipartisan support" to Israel and for endangering "special relationship"

Thats the way Zionist work . They prod they force they bribe or blackmail and get the things done .Then they blame the perpetrator for doing what Israel has been asking them them do.

Iran war will be another example of 'wrecking bipartisan relationship" or "special relationship being endangered " by the Zionist media because of the danger of Israel would be pointed out correctly to be the mastermind to be the payer to be the controller to be the open and only figure forcing some corrupt lawmakers do it

Charles Martel , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm GMT
@anon Warning: prions in camel steaks have an adverse effect on peoples' brains to the extent that they can't frame a coherent thought. Lay off the steaks!

Meanwhile, here's a little Eid present for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkS2f3DyDr4

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:45 pm GMT
@therevolutionwas "It is the power of the deep state that needs to be diminished, and there are many peaceful ways to accomplish that."

Enlighten us, please!

Buzz Baldrin , says: August 20, 2019 at 2:54 pm GMT
Haven't you Bush-Cheney-Trump Republicans noticed that every four years Americans rent a pig in a poke for the next four years.

Four years later, the voters can extend the rental or rent a new pig.

No accountability, other than impeachment, which like the presidential election, is political.

By impeaching Sheldon Adelson's pet pig, Americans hold the Bitter Twitter accountable for risking an accidental or insane nuclear exchange with Russia. Hold him accountable for exploding the national debt to create an asset bubble for the finance racket. And hold him accountable for flooding the country with legal and illegal immigrants and prisoners released to keep up with the Kardashians.

That's why Philip Giraldi is right about impeachment. Where his critics show their ignorance is their certainty that the process automatically leads to Pence. It could easily lead to the Nixon alternative. The bipartisan impeachment of Nixon was the last step of a negotiated deal as Watergate unfolded. First Agnew resigned. Then Nixon and the House made Gerald Ford vice president. "We gave Nixon no choice but Ford," House Speaker Carl Albert recalled later (Ford's Wikipedia page).

In the last act, Tricky Dick resigned in return for a pardon. The danger of Pence begs for a similar outcome.

Wally , says: August 20, 2019 at 3:09 pm GMT
@follyofwar Thanks.

-- Comparatively speaking, Trump is indeed small beer next to the warmongering of Hillary 'forcefully ending the Russian presense in Syria' Clinton, for example.

-- And while Trump blusters about places like Iran, he's nowhere close to McCain school of 'attack now, ask questions later'.

-- Trump's "sending" of naval forces is hardly the same as actually attacking with those forces.

-- BTW, the impeachment of Clinton was based upon his lying under oath concerning his sexual abuse of Gennifer Flowers, not about his semen on Lewinsky.

-- Trump's re-election is guaranteed. Hell, he now has a +50% rating with Hispanics and there are more & more some blacks who are tired of being on the neo-Marxist plantation and are seeing through their game.

Che Guava , says: August 20, 2019 at 3:10 pm GMT
Well Doc Giraldi, as an outsider, I understand your disgust and change of tack. However, although I don't know about Tlaib, she seems rather sensible, unlike her three insane allies. Also, Omar is a multiple violator of your U.S. immigration law. That is a fact. Easy to ascertain. It is only by many others of the same stripe being dumped in the same area, many also liars, and I would not doubt, many voters intimidated by people with whom she is conected (the large Somali population dumped there and/or brainwashing, from mainly Jewish sources) other voters had no say in her election.

So. impeach Trump on the grounds you state, it would be great for your USA. It would never be permitted. He is the greatest dupe of your colonial masters in Israel to date. You would know that. Likewise, ejection of Omar from her seat and deportation for immigration fraud are perfectly legal and sane, and will never happen.

Ragno , says: August 20, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
I must have missed the part where Giraldi offered up a list of replacement politicians who, as President, who could be relied upon to put illegal immigration on the front burner (until Trump, that was a grand total of ZERO) ..rework the insane, suicidal sweetheart deal we had previously arranged with China .and could credibly give Israel and its countless agents, apologists and apparatchiks throughout the West, what-for.

All things considered, two out of three ain't bad.

Hey, nobody (except the neverTrumpers who intend to shit all over him and his family the very moment he's out of office, the same as any michaelmoore would) is happy about Trump's kowtowing to Team Shmuel certainly nobody in his "base" is crazy about this setup .but I have the oddest feeling that Trump assiduously licks those Hebraic hindquarters as the Cost of Doing Business (ie, the only reliable Assassination Insurance an American President can hope to purchase).

In the end, it's all about the art of the deal; and from Robert Maxwell to Jeffrey Epstein and all points between, history tells us that the greatest ability any power-broker can demonstrate is survivability . Ask Bubba.

Priss Factor , says: Website August 20, 2019 at 3:12 pm GMT
Trump and his opponents are all scum. Trump is a 'racist' in the sense that he favors Zionist supremacism over the much-oppressed Palestinians. He also praises criminal blacks while having done nothing for whites. But of course, NYT is okay with Trump's pro-Zionist bigotry.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ydD8HagdO9U?feature=oembed

Zumbuddi , says: August 20, 2019 at 3:22 pm GMT
@Buzz Baldrin As I type this I am listening to Mike Pence lead an all-star cast to discuss the Trump-PENCE space initiative (s), including the 6th branch of DoD, the Space Force.

It should be excitin g but it is terrifying: DoD is "unified" with the intelligence agencies & space force -- to ensure a total, space-based surveillance state.

US will collaborate "with its allies" -- i.e. Israel. Pence's quasi-religious delusions, and the broadly shared Abrahamic ideology: that Abrahamics possess the RIGHT idea, and have not only the RIGHT but the obligation to impose that ideology on all mankind -- will have at his ready access the most powerful & intrusive technology.
Those technologies will be militarized.

It would be a mistake to misunderestimate the ambition, cunning, and delusional vision of Mike Pence.

Precious , says: August 20, 2019 at 3:26 pm GMT
@Realist "Trump like most elected officials serves at the pleasure of the Deep State." If that were true, there would have been no Spygate coup. The Deep State doesn't quite have the lock on US elections you think it does.
Germanicus , says: August 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm GMT
I am actually thinking, Trump is a true gift. He keeps showing the US unmasked, raw, vile and criminal as it is, and in good company with the criminal jewish entity.
What has been done for decades, masked and filtered away as democracy BS, freedom defending BS, "american values" aka corruption, intimidation and threats, is becoming under Trump just blatantly obvious for every one to see. The US administration are a mafia, a crime syndicate that spreads tumors with its military.
Robjil , says: August 20, 2019 at 3:37 pm GMT
@Bill Jones The attempted impeachment of Clinton was timed around the talk of war against Yugoslavia. He wasn't impeached.

https://www.historyonthenet.com/was-bill-clinton-impeached

With television cameras rolling, on February 12, 1999 the whole world watched as the senators stood up to vote inside the chamber. 55 Senators voted "not guilty" on the charge of perjury. The Senate split 50/50 against Clinton when it came to the charge of obstruction of justice. This meant that the 2/3 majority was not achieved, the President was acquitted and allowed to serve out the rest of his term of office up until January 2001.

A month later and twelve days after his get of Dodge card was given to him, the war on Yugoslavia was put in place.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-s-war-of-aggression-in-yugoslavia-who-are-the-war-criminals/2144

Twenty years ago in the early hours of March 24, 1999, NATO began the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. "The operation was code-named "Allied Force " -- a cold, uninspired and perfectly descriptive moniker" according to Nebosja Malic.

Impeachment is the branding rode for Z Puppet Presidents by the our warmongering ZUS rulers. Our "presidents" are treated like cattle too, just like us little people.

[Aug 20, 2019] Something about Trump impeachment

Aug 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Bill Jones , says: August 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm GMT

Ah, Phillip, You know damn well that starting wars is one thing that guarantees no impeachment ;-). Israel is the other.

[Aug 20, 2019] Tulsi A Living Reminder of Iraq s Liars and Apologists by David Masciotra

Notable quotes:
"... Gabbard calls out the betrayers; Dems try to forget their heroes Mueller and Biden are among them. ..."
"... The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion -- weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein's connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint -- remain "murky at best." That's a quote from the 9/11 Commission's conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden's group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history. ..."
"... As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion. ..."
"... Gore Vidal once christened his country the "United States of Amnesia," explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: "Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before." ..."
"... The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago, but it might as well have never taken place, given the curious lack of acknowledgement in our press and political debates. As families mourn their children, babies are born with irreversible deformities, and veterans dread trying to sleep through the night, America's political class, many of whom sold the war to the public, have moved on. When they address Iraq at all, they act as though they have committed a minor error, as though large-scale death and destruction are the equivalent of a poor shot in golf when the course rules allow for mulligans. ..."
"... As the Robert Mueller fiasco smolders out, it is damning that the Democratic Party, in its zest and zeal to welcome any critical assessment of Trump's unethical behavior, has barely mentioned that Mueller, in his previous role as director of the FBI, played a small but significant role in convincing the country to go to war in Iraq. ..."
"... Mueller testified to Congress that "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program poses a clear threat to our national security." He also warned that Saddam could "supply terrorists with radiological material" for the purposes of devising a nuclear bomb. Leaving aside any speculation about Mueller's intentions and assuming he had only the best of motives, it is quite bizarre, even dangerous, to treat as oracular someone who was wrong on such a life-or-death question. ..."
"... The former vice president now claims that his "only mistake was trusting the Bush administration," implying he was tricked into supporting the war. This line is not as persuasive as he imagines. First, it raises the question -- can't we nominate someone who wasn't tricked? Second, its logic crumbles in the face of Biden's recent decision to hire Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, as his campaign's foreign policy advisor. Burns was also a vociferous supporter of the war. An enterprising reporter should ask Biden whether Burns was also tricked. Is the Biden campaign an assembly of rubes? ..."
"... Instead, the press is likelier to interrogate Biden over his holding hands and giving hugs to women at public events. Criticism of Biden's "inappropriate touching" has become so strident that the candidate had to record a video to explain his behavior. The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war. ..."
Aug 02, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Gabbard calls out the betrayers; Dems try to forget their heroes Mueller and Biden are among them.

Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, toxicologist at the University of Michigan, has organized several research expeditions to Iraq to measure the contamination and pollution still poisoning the air and water supply from the tons of munitions dropped during the war. It does not require any expertise to assume what the studies confirm: disease is still widespread and birth defects are gruesomely common. Back home, it is difficult to measure just how many struggle with critical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion -- weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein's connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint -- remain "murky at best." That's a quote from the 9/11 Commission's conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden's group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history.

As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion.

Gore Vidal once christened his country the "United States of Amnesia," explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: "Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before."

The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago, but it might as well have never taken place, given the curious lack of acknowledgement in our press and political debates. As families mourn their children, babies are born with irreversible deformities, and veterans dread trying to sleep through the night, America's political class, many of whom sold the war to the public, have moved on. When they address Iraq at all, they act as though they have committed a minor error, as though large-scale death and destruction are the equivalent of a poor shot in golf when the course rules allow for mulligans.

As the Robert Mueller fiasco smolders out, it is damning that the Democratic Party, in its zest and zeal to welcome any critical assessment of Trump's unethical behavior, has barely mentioned that Mueller, in his previous role as director of the FBI, played a small but significant role in convincing the country to go to war in Iraq.

Mueller testified to Congress that "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program poses a clear threat to our national security." He also warned that Saddam could "supply terrorists with radiological material" for the purposes of devising a nuclear bomb. Leaving aside any speculation about Mueller's intentions and assuming he had only the best of motives, it is quite bizarre, even dangerous, to treat as oracular someone who was wrong on such a life-or-death question.

Far worse than the worship of Mueller is the refusal to scrutinize the abysmal foreign policy record of Joe Biden, currently the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Of the Democrats in the Senate at that time, Biden was the most enthusiastic of the cheerleaders for war, waving his pompoms and cartwheeling in rhythm to Dick Cheney's music. Biden said repeatedly that America had "no choice but to eliminate the threat" posed by Saddam Hussein. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his blustering was uniquely influential.

The former vice president now claims that his "only mistake was trusting the Bush administration," implying he was tricked into supporting the war. This line is not as persuasive as he imagines. First, it raises the question -- can't we nominate someone who wasn't tricked? Second, its logic crumbles in the face of Biden's recent decision to hire Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, as his campaign's foreign policy advisor. Burns was also a vociferous supporter of the war. An enterprising reporter should ask Biden whether Burns was also tricked. Is the Biden campaign an assembly of rubes?

Instead, the press is likelier to interrogate Biden over his holding hands and giving hugs to women at public events. Criticism of Biden's "inappropriate touching" has become so strident that the candidate had to record a video to explain his behavior. The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war.

Polling well below Biden in the race is the congresswoman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard. She alone on the Democratic stage has made criticism of American militarism central to her candidacy. A veteran of the Iraq war and a highly decorated major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, Gabbard offers an intelligent and humane perspective on foreign affairs. She's called the regime change philosophy "disastrous," advocated for negotiation with hostile foreign powers, and backed a reduction in drone strikes. She pledges if she becomes president to end American involvement in Afghanistan.

When Chris Matthews asked Gabbard about Biden's support for the Iraq war, she said, "It was the wrong vote. People like myself, who enlisted after 9/11 because of the terrorist attacks, were lied to. We were betrayed."

Her moral clarity is rare in the political fog of the presidential circus. She cautions against accepting the "guise of humanitarian justification for war," and notes that rarely does the American government bomb and invade a country to actually advance freedom or protect human rights.

Gabbard's positions are vastly superior to that of the other young veteran in the race, Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend recently told New York that one of his favorite novels is The Quiet American , saying that its author, Graham Greene, "points out the dangers of well-intentioned interventions."

Buttigieg's chances of winning the nomination seem low, and his prospects of becoming a literary critic appear even lower. The Quiet American does much more than raise questions about interventions: it is a merciless condemnation of American exceptionalism and its attendant indifference to Vietnamese suffering.

Americans hoping for peace won't find much comfort in the current White House either. President Trump has made the world more dangerous by trashing the Iran nuclear deal, and his appointment of John Bolton, a man who makes Donald Rumsfeld look like Mahatma Gandhi, as national security advisor is certainly alarming.

America's willful ignorance when it comes to the use of its own military exposes the moral bankruptcy at the heart of its political culture. Even worse, it makes future wars all but inevitable.

If no one can remember a war that ended merely nine years ago, and there's little room for Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary, how will the country react the next time a president, and the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declare that they have no choice but to remove a threat?

Norman Solomon, journalist and founder of the Institute for Public Accuracy, knows the answer to that question. He provides it in the title of his book on how the media treats American foreign policy decisions: War Made Easy .

David Masciotra is the author of four books, including Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky) and Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing).

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Walter a day ago

Where ae the people who told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Should they be tried for lying to the American public? 4500 troops killed and over $1.1 TRILLION wasted with no good results .With hundreds of thousands of Iraq's killed. .
Clyde Schechter Walter a day ago
Where are they, indeed? They are still running US foreign policy; that's where they are. They are pundits in all the major media; that's where they are.

I cannot even imagine what historians will say about the uncanny persistence of these charlatans' influence in this era after a consistent record of disastrous, abysmal misadventures.

JeffK from PA Walter 17 hours ago
You don't have to look too hard to find them. Bolton, Pompeo, and other neocons are hiding in plain sight. The Military Industrial Complex is embedded in our foreign policy like a tick on a dog.
Sid Finster JeffK from PA 13 hours ago
Why not start with Bush and Blair?
IanDakar Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Because you'd be knocking out a storm trooper instead of the emperor, at least as far as Bush goes. Same for why the focus is on Bolton rather than simply Trump.

I CAN see an argument that Trump/Bush knew what they were doing when they brought those people in though. f you feel that way and see it more of an owner of a hostile attack dog then yeah, you'd want to include those two too.

JeffK from PA Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Cheney. Pure evil.
Sid Finster Walter 13 hours ago
Nuremberg provides an instructive precedent. Start at the top with Bush and Blair keep going on down.
Disqus10021 Sid Finster 11 hours ago
Recommended viewing: the 1961 movie "Judgment at Nuremberg".
L Walter 12 hours ago
One might wonder where that intelligence was gathered, and then maybe we could find out why these wars have been happening.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) a day ago
Here stands Tulsi. A woman, who, unlike their conventional troupe, can win this election. They reject her because... what? Moar war? She's not the member of the Cult? Or it's simply some sort of collective political death wish?
Anonne Alex (the one that likes Ike) 12 hours ago
They reject her because she had the temerity to speak truth to power and supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race. She stepped down from her position as Vice Chair of the DNC to endorse Sanders. She has real courage, and earned their wrath. She's not perfect but she's braver and stronger than almost the entire field. Only Bernie is on par.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Anonne 9 hours ago
And Bernie is the one they also hate, maybe a little bit less openly. Thus they reject those who can win the election. It's either a self-destructiveness or they think that it's better to keep on losing than to rebuild the party into what it needs to be.
Nelson Alex (the one that likes Ike) 8 hours ago
What do you mean "they"? Anyone is free to support her campaign.
former-vet a day ago • edited
Democrats and the Republican establishment, both, love war. It wasn't a coincidence that Hillary Clinton chose Madeleine Albright to be a keynote speaker at "her" party convention ("we think the deaths of a half million children are worth it"). Liberals know that there isn't really any "free" free, and that taxing the rich won't match their dreams -- it is the blood and bones of innocent foreigners that must pay for their lust. Establishment Republicans are more straightforward: they simply profit off the death and destruction.

This is why Trump is being destroyed, and why Tulsi is attacked. If only "she" (the one who gloated over Khameni's murder) had been elected, we'd be in a proxy war with Russia now! A real war with Iran! This is what the American people want, and what they'll likely get when they vote another chicken-hawk in come 2020.

Sid Finster former-vet 13 hours ago
Agree, except that Trump is not governing as a non-interventionist.

About the only thing one can say is that his is a slightly less reckless militarist than what the political class in this country wants.

Nelson former-vet 8 hours ago
Khameni is still alive. You're thinking of Gaddafi.
Fayez Abedaziz a day ago
Tulsi, like Sanders is a 'danger' to everything Israel wants.
So, all...all the main 'news' networks and online sites don't like them and give more coverage to the same old Dem bull peddlers like ignorant Booker and the lousy opportunist low IQ Kamala Harris and Gillibrand.
TomG 17 hours ago • edited
Manafort and his ilk can be tried and convicted for their lies. I guess if the lie is big enough we grant a pass on any need for prosecution. Justice for all? I don't think so.

Max Blumenthal posted a powerful piece at Consortium News (7/31/2019) about Biden's central and south American mis-adventures. Biden still extols his own policies however disastrous. The hubris of the man is worse than nauseating.

Great article, Mr. Masciotra.

OrvilleBerry 14 hours ago
Whether one thinks Gabbard has a shot at the nomination or not, it's important to keep her on the stage in the next round of debates. Go to Tulsi2020.com and give her just one dollar (or more if you can)
so she has enough unique contributors to make the next round. And if you get polled,early on give her your vote.
Strawman 12 hours ago
The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war.

Perfectly encapsulates the collective puerility of the American electorate. Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave.

Disqus10021 12 hours ago • edited
The total US costs related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to be considerably larger than $1.1 trillion, according to this study:
https://www.hks.harvard.edu...
Try $4-$6 trillion, according to the author of the study.

Long after I, Andrew Bacevitch and Hillary Clinton have gone to our reward, there will still be thousands of wounded warriors from these US Middle East adventures dependent on VA benefits for their survival and competing with civilian seniors for government handouts. A war with Iran would make the US fiscal situation that much worse.

The religious folks who were so anxious to protect family values only a few years ago seem to have their heads in the sand when it comes to the financial future of today's young Americans.

A few weeks ago, I made a token contribution to Tulsi Gabbard's campaign to help her qualify for the July Democratic debates. She will need more new contributors to qualify for the next round of debates.

david 12 hours ago
"The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago,..."

Ahh..., really? So why do we still have over 5000 soldiers in Iraq?

christopher kelly police ret. 11 hours ago
Tulsi was marvelous in knocking out Harris.
Zsuzsi Kruska 10 hours ago
Tulsi hasn't a chance of the nomination, but she's exposing things and maybe more people will get a clue about what's really going on with American lives and taxes being squandered for the profit of the few who benefit from these atrocities and wars abroad, done in the name of all Americans.
Eric 10 hours ago
Donated my $3 to Tulsi yesterday. She's the only Democrat I would vote for and she needs to stay in this race as long as possible.
Steve Naidamast 10 hours ago
Being a supporter of Tulsi Gabbard for the very reasons that the author writes, has me agreeing with everything he has promoted in his piece.

However, to answer his own question as to why Americans are lured into commenting on such innocuous and foolish things in such an important election such as Biden's touching of women, is answered by the author's own prose.

He states that Americans are only provided such nonsense from the press that is monitoring the election process. What else can people talk about? And even if many Americans are clearheaded enough to understand the charade of the current Democratic debates, what or who will actually provide legitimate coverage with the exception of online sites as the American Conservative, among others?

If most Americans were actually thinking individuals, Tulsi Gabbard would be a shoo-in for the presidency in 2020. However, given the two factors of a highly corrupted mainstream press and too many Americans not studying enough civics to understand what is going on around them, it is highly unlikely that Tulsi Gabbard will even get close to the possibility of being nominated...

JeffK from PA 10 hours ago
Cheney, mentioned in the article, was pure evil. I voted for GB2 for two reasons. 1) He was a very good Texas governor. He actually got anti-tax Texas to raise taxes dedicated to support education, in return for stricter standards for teachers. A good trade since Texas public schools were awful. 2) Dick Cheney. I thought he was the adult in the room that would provide steady and reliable guidance for Bush.

Boy was I wrong about Cheney. "Deficits don't matter". Just watch the movie Vice. Christian Bale does an incredible job portraying the pure evil of Cheney and the Military Industrial Complex. The movie is chilling to watch. And it is basically true. Politifact does a good job of scoring the accuracy of Cheney's role in the Bush administration as portrayed in the movie.

https://www.politifact.com/...

Mccormick47 10 hours ago
The trouble is, Conservatives promoting Gabbard and Williamson as their preferred candidates poisons their chances of staying in the race.
Mark Thomason 9 hours ago
I remember a friend of mine, a proud Marine, saying before the Iraq War, "Well, they better find some WMD for all this."

They didn't. That should matter.

[Aug 19, 2019] Trump's Foreign Policy All Coercion, No Diplomacy

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump's Foreign Policy: All Coercion, No Diplomacy By Daniel Larison August 19, 2019, 1:54 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, President Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton at the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. [State Department photo/ Public Domain] Matt Lee reports on the Trump administration obsessive use of sanctions:

Call it the diplomacy of coercion.

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Many are questioning the results even as officials insist the penalties are achieving their aims.

It is true that the Trump administration is using economic coercion as its default approach to almost everything, but there doesn't appear to be any diplomacy involved. There is such a thing as "coercive diplomacy," but there is no evidence that Trump and his officials understand the first thing about it. An administration that genuinely wanted to secure lasting diplomatic agreements with other states would apply pressure only as a means to a specific, achievable goal, but with this administration they are waging purely destructive economic wars that the targeted states cannot end without capitulating. The "maximum pressure" description implies an unwillingness to relieve pressure short of the other side's surrender.

It is not just that it is a "combination of more sticks and fewer carrots." The Trump administration's policies are all punishment and no reward. In the case of Iran, it could hardly be otherwise when the administration chose to penalize Iran with sanctions for daring to comply with a multilateral nonproliferation agreement. Iran behaved constructively and acceded to the demands of the P5+1 four years ago, and in return for their cooperation they have been subjected to a grueling economic war despite fully complying with their commitments. When our government punishes another state for doing what previous administrations wanted them to do, no amount of punishment could force that state to trust our government a second time.

The administration approaches each case in the same way: they impose penalties, they make threats, they offer no incentives, and they make outrageous, far-fetched demands that no government would ever accept. Trump handles the trade wars in much the same way that he handles the "maximum pressure" campaigns against intransigent governments, and he fails every time because he can't conceive of a mutually beneficial agreement and therefore refuses to compromise. Trump's "diplomacy" is no diplomacy at all, but a series of insults, sanctions, tariffs, and threats that achieve nothing except to cause disruption and pain. Unsurprisingly, a pressure campaign that is aimed at toppling a government or forcing it to give up everything it has cannot be successful on its own terms as long as the targeted government chooses to resist, and the stakes for the targeted government will always higher than they are for the administration. In a contest of wills, the party that is fighting to preserve itself has the advantage.

[Aug 19, 2019] War Party Hates Putin Loves al-Qaeda by Justin Raimondo

Late Justin Raimondo was an astute analyst of events in Syria... This is his analysys from 2015. It is still cogent as of August 2019.
Notable quotes:
"... "War on terrorism" turns into cold war against Russia ..."
"... By the way, according to the Pentagon's own testimony before a congressional committee, only sixty "vetted" fighters were sent into Syria to take on both Assad and ISIS. And while they denied, at first, that their pet "moderates" betrayed Washington and handed over most of their weapons and other equipment to al-Qaeda in return for "safe passage," the Pentagon later admitted it . ..."
"... [I]t is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade ..."
"... It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them. ..."
"... "I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here? The recent incident where the most 'moderate' opposition group handed over their weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that. ..."
Oct 02, 2015 | original.antiwar.com

"War on terrorism" turns into cold war against Russia

Posted on August 19, 2019 August 18, 2019 In both Yemen and Syria, the War Party has found an ally that they can get behind, you know, one that really supports our values: al-Qaeda. From time to time they have even managed to get President Trump to go along with this nonsense – presumably due to the baleful influence of John Bolton. (See Ron Paul's recent discussion of recent developments.) It is worth a look back at an earlier high-points in this strange alliance between the West and al-Qaeda against Russia and Syria. Justin's column from four years ago (October 2, 2015) analyzes it in depth.

Originally published October 2, 2015

As Russian fighter jets target al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, the Western media is up in arms – and in denial . They deny the Russians are taking on ISIS – and they are indignant that Putin is targeting al-Qaeda , which is almost never referred to by its actual name, but is instead described as " al-Nusra ," or the more inclusive " Army of Conquest ," which are alternate names for the heirs of Osama bin Laden.

And there are no ideological lines being drawn in this information war: both the left and the right – e.g. the left-liberal Vox and the Fox News network – are utilizing a map put out by the neoconservative "Institute for the Study of War" to "prove" that Putin isn't really attacking ISIS – he's actually only concerned with destroying the "non-ISIS" rebels and propping up the faltering regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The premise behind this kind of propaganda is that there really is some difference between ISIS and the multitude of Islamist groups proliferating like wasps in the region: and that, furthermore, al-Qaeda is "relatively" moderate when compared to the Islamic State. Yes, incredibly, the US and British media are pushing the line that the al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, known as al-Nusra, are really the Good Guys.

Didn't you know that we have always been at war with Eastasia?

There is much whining , this [Thursday] morning, that a supposedly US-"vetted" group known as Tajammu al-Aaza has felt Putin's wrath – but when we get down into the weeds, we discover that this outfit is fighting alongside al-Qaeda:

"Jamil al-Saleh, a defected Syrian army officer who is now the leader of the rebel group Tajammu al-Aaza, told AlSouria.net that the Russian airstrikes targeted his group's base in al-Lataminah, a town in the western Syrian governorate of Hama. That area represents one of the farthest southern points of the rebel advance from the north and is therefore a crucial front line in the war. An alliance of Syrian rebel factions, including both the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and groups considered by Washington to be more moderate, successfully drove Assad regime forces out of the northern governorate of Idlib and are now pushing south into Hama."

By the way, according to the Pentagon's own testimony before a congressional committee, only sixty "vetted" fighters were sent into Syria to take on both Assad and ISIS. And while they denied, at first, that their pet "moderates" betrayed Washington and handed over most of their weapons and other equipment to al-Qaeda in return for "safe passage," the Pentagon later admitted it . Furthermore, we were told that these were the only "vetted" fighters actually in the field, but now we are confronted with "Tajammu al-Aaza," which – it's being reported – is deploying US-supplied missile guidance systems against Syrian government forces.

So a handful of "vetted" fighters suddenly turns into an entire armed force – one which, you'll note, has effectively merged with al-Qaeda.

The lies are coming at us so fast and thick in the first 24 hours of the Russian strikes that we face a veritable blizzard of obfuscation. They range from the egregious – alleged photos of "civilian casualties" that turn out to be fake – to the more subtle: a supposed Free Syrian Army commander is reported killed by a Russian air strike, and yet it appears that very same commander was kidnapped by ISIS last year . We are told that the town of Rastan, the site of Russian strikes, isn't under the control of ISIS – except it was when ISIS was executing gay men there .

The Russians make no bones about their support of Assad: in his speech to the United Nations, Putin stated his position clearly: "We think it's a big mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian authorities and government forces who valiantly fight terrorists on the ground." On the other hand, the objectives of the Western alliance in Syria aren't so clear: on the one hand, Washington claims to be directing the main blow against ISIS, but its claims of success have been greatly exaggerated . Yet we have spent many millions arming and training "vetted" rebels who have been defecting to ISIS and al-Qaeda in droves.

It's almost as if we're keeping ISIS around so as to put pressure on Assad to get out of Dodge. As Putin put it in his UN speech :

" [I]t is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade .

" It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.

"I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here? The recent incident where the most 'moderate' opposition group handed over their weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that. "

The reality is that there are no "moderates" in Syria, and certainly not among the rebel Islamist groups: they're all jihadists who want to impose Sharia law, drive out Christians, Alawites, and other minority groups, and set up an Islamic dictatorship. These are our noble "allies" – the very same people who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and against whom our perpetual "war on terrorism" was launched.

[Aug 19, 2019] Rest assured "The Great War" did not mean "The Splendid war"

Aug 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

It was the World's largest war at that time and surpassed WW II in many statistics, although probably not "tonnage of bombs dropped". That latter was WW II, not surpassed until the Gulf War when USAF used up all it's old arsenal (the better to let more contracts, my dear).
To be fair, military aviation was in its infancy then. The slaughter on the Western front broke England's Social Structure and paved the way for the destruction of the British Empire. Four other empire's died as a consequence of WW I (German, Austrian, Russian, and Turkish)
Note: "Kaiser" derives from "Caesar" which was an Imperial title of the late Roman Empire besides being Gaius Julius Caesar's family name). Promises made to both Arabs and Jews by the two-faced British Foreign Office paved the way for today's Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
It was a shattering event which tend to occur at 100 year intervals. The one previous was the Napoleonic Wars. I forget the one before that. War of the Spanish succession? And coincidentally, we are now living a hundred years later in the Middle east Forever war, which I fully expect to have similar consequences. The rights and civil liberties of free Americans are already a casualty.

The Great War set the stage for the Great Depression. I think a similar depression occurred after the War of 1812 (Napoleonic War in Europe). I'd have to consult a history text to see about others, but our 1970's economic travails were mirrored after the Civil war and the dot com bust is eerily similar to the Depression of 1890.

There is a theory that wars and revolutions occur at two cycles of approximately 100 and 170 years based on temperature and rainfall cycles. Every 500 years they coincide in a 5-3 resonance and whole civilizations fall or are transformed. Toynbee's 1000 year cycles can be seen as two such resonances. Following his analysis, the first crisis turns the civilization inwards and autocratic. The second breaks it entirely. Religions change too. I forget how. My Toynbee is packed away. does anyone here know what were the religious changes? Interestingly, the next 500 year supercycle fell in 2000 AD, so we are now in the first major crisis of Western Technical Civilization? (my name for the Renaissance and beyond, usually prosaically called "Modern"). this should turn WTC inward and autocratic, eventually dying in the next event around 2500 AD which should entire the collapse of civilization and a great folk-wandering sparked by environmental collapse. (loss of Eurasian pasture in the case of 500AD, turning steppe peoples westward (China was having a civilization peak, no way were the Huns turning east. In fact, they were expelled from China.

Ain't history fun? unless you are living it.

[Aug 19, 2019] There Once Was a President Who Hated War. American elites used to see war as a tragic necessity. Now they're completely addicted to it by Stephen M. Walt

Notable quotes:
"... Stephen M. Walt ..."
"... Steven A. Cook ..."
"... Jeffrey Lewis ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | foreignpolicy.com
A statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his dog Fala are seen at the FDR Memorial September 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt is often hailed as one of the United States' greatest presidents. FDR gave Americans hope during the Great Depression, created key institutions like Social Security that remain broadly popular today, led the country to victory in World War II, and created a broad political coalition that endured for decades. He made mistakes -- as all presidents do -- but it's no wonder he's still regarded with reverence.

On Aug. 14, 1936 -- 83 years ago -- FDR gave a speech at Chautauqua in upstate New York, fulfilling a promise he had made at his inauguration in 1933. It is a remarkable speech, where FDR lays out his thoughts on the proper American approach to international affairs. He explains his "good neighbor" policy toward Latin America, along with his belief that although a more liberal international trade may not prevent war, "without a more liberal international trade, war is a natural sequence."

For me, the most remarkable feature of this speech is Roosevelt's blunt, vivid, and passionate denunciation of war, expressed with a candor that is almost entirely absent from political discourse today. After making it clear that "we are not isolationists, except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war," he acknowledges that "so long as war exists on Earth, there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war."

But then he goes on:

"I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line -- the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war."

Roosevelt then reminds his listeners that war can result from many causes (including, in a passage that surely speaks to us today, "political fanaticisms in which are intertwined race hatreds"). He hopes to preserve U.S. neutrality should conflict erupt elsewhere and warns against the few selfish men who would seek to embroil the country in war solely to reap war profits. To make sure the country does not foolishly choose profits over peace, he calls for the "meditation, the prayer, and the positive support of the people of America who go along with us in seeking peace."

Yet, for all that, FDR leaves no doubt that the American people will defend themselves and their interests if war is forced on them. In his closing paragraph, he declares: "If there are remoter nations that wish us not good but ill, they know that we are strong; they know that we can and will defend ourselves and defend our neighborhood." And it is precisely what Roosevelt ultimately did.

Seriously, can you think of a recent U.S. president who spoke of war and peace in similar terms, with equal passion and frankness?

Bill Clinton was no militarist, but he was so worried about being labeled a dove that he kept boosting defense spending, firing off cruise missiles without thinking, and blindly assuming that exporting democracy, expanding trade, and issuing open-ended security guarantees would suffice to bring peace around the world. And when he had a golden opportunity to broker a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace, he whiffed.

By contrast, George W. Bush was a swaggering frat boy who brought wars to several places and peace nowhere. He liked to pose in a nifty flight suit and give high-minded, tough-talking speeches, but the unnecessary wars he launched killed hundreds of thousands of people and severely damaged America's global position.

Barack Obama may have agonized over every targeted killing and major military decision, but he also ramped up the drone war, sent additional troops to Afghanistan to no good purpose, helped turn Libya into a failed state, and tacitly backed the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (!), his acceptance speech focused as much on defending America's role in the world -- including its widespread use of military force -- as it did on extolling the virtues of peace and the measures that must be taken to advance it.

Ironically, though Donald Trump loves military parades, flybys, and the other visible trappings of military power, he seems rather leery of war. Like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who sought and received five separate deferments from the draft during Vietnam, Trump (or his father) apparently saw military service as something that only less fortunate people ought to participate in. As president, he does seem to recognize that starting some new war could hurt him politically, even as his more hawkish advisors keep pushing him in that direction. And we've yet to hear him extolling the virtues of peace as candidly as Roosevelt did in 1936.

Look, you don't have to tell a realist like me that we live in an imperfect world and that perpetual peace is a pipe dream. But the difficulty of the task is precisely why it merits serious attention. Yet instead of embracing peace as a virtue, U.S. politicians go to great lengths to show how tough they are and how ready they are to send Americans into harm's way in order to take out some alleged enemy. But how often do they talk about trying to understand the complex origins of most contemporary conflicts? How often do they try to empathize with the United States' adversaries, not in order to agree with them but so as to understand their position and to figure out a way to change their behavior without resorting to threats, coercion, or violence? How often do prominent politicians say, as Roosevelt did, that they "hate war"?

As I've said before , the U.S. disinterest in peace isn't just morally dubious; it's strategically myopic.

The United States should not shrink from fighting if such fighting is forced on it, but it should be the country's last resort rather than its first impulse. The United States is remarkably secure from most external dangers, and apart from political malfeasance at home (see: the Trump administration), the only thing that could really screw things up in the short term is a big war. War is bad for business (unless you're Boeing or Lockheed Martin), and it tends to elevate people who are good at manipulating violence but not so good at building up institutions, communities, or companies. When you're already on top of the world, encouraging the use of force isn't prudent; it's dumb. Peace, in short, is almost always in America's strategic interest.

Which makes it even more surprising that the word has mostly vanished from Americans' strategic vocabulary, and here I think two big factors are responsible. First, fewer politicians (and especially presidents) have "seen war" in the way that Roosevelt had. Harry Truman did, and so did Dwight D. Eisenhower (obviously), John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush. Needless to say, none of the post-Cold War presidents ever saw war in the same way.

Equally important, both the political class and the public have been imbibing an intoxicating brew of militarist rhetoric, imagery, and argument for decades. Americans cheer the troops at baseball games, wave giddily at thunderous aerial flybys, and finance all of their military adventures by borrowing money so that no one has to make obvious sacrifices now.

In Roosevelt's era, Americans were still reluctant to "go abroad in search of monsters to destroy," but they fought with unexpected ferocity when attacked. They were slow to anger but united in response. The situation today is the exact opposite -- they are quick on the trigger provided that none of them have to do very much once the bullets are flying. Instead of seeing war as a tragic necessity that is to be avoided if at all possible, Americans regard it as a rather sanitary "policy option" that takes place in countries most of them cannot locate and is conducted primarily by drones, aircraft, and volunteers. Americans fight all the time but without clear purpose or firm resolve. As one would expect, they usually lose, although others often pay a much larger price than they do.

There are faint signs that this situation is changing, after nearly 25 years of mostly failed adventures abroad. The foreign-policy elite may have acquired a certain addiction to war , but longtime addicts sometimes decide to turn their lives around and kick the habit. As noted above, Trump hasn't started any new wars yet, and his various Democratic challengers aren't pushing for more war either. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Tulsi Gabbard have pretty fair ( but not perfect ) records on this broad issue, and each has been vocal in opposing U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Pete Buttigieg wants the United States to rely less on military force in some places (but not others), Kamala Harris has been mostly silent on the issue, and the other leading candidates have more mixed records. Don't forget that Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War, and both Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar lean in more hawkish directions.

I'm waiting for one of them to start talking openly and intelligently about peace. What is needed to promote it, and how can the United States use its still considerable power to keep itself out of war and to help others escape its destructive clutches? If any of the 2020 candidates decide to tackle this issue head-on, they might start by reading what a great president once said, 83 years ago.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. View
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Tags: Peace , U.S. Foreign Policy , United States , Voice , War

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Voices There Once Was a President Who Hated War Stephen M. Walt Erdogan Plays Washington Like a Fiddle Steven A. Cook A Mysterious Explosion Took Place in Russia. What Really Happened? Jeffrey Lewis ❌

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[Aug 19, 2019] The Deeper Meaning in a Lost War -- Strategic Culture

Aug 19, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

It's pretty clear. Saudi Arabia has lost, and, notes Bruce Riedel, "the Houthis and Iran are the strategic winners". Saudi proxies in Aden – the seat of Riyadh's Yemeni proto-'government' – have been turfed out by secular, former Marxist, southern secessionists. What can Saudi Arabia do? It cannot go forward. Even tougher would be retreat. Saudi will have to contend with an Houthi war being waged inside the kingdom's south; and a second – quite different – war in Yemen's south. MbS is stuck. The Houthi military leadership are on a roll , and disinterested – for now – in a political settlement. They wish to accumulate more 'cards'. The UAE, which armed and trained the southern secessionists has opted out. MbS is alone, 'carrying the can'. It will be messy.

So, what is the meaning in this? It is that MbS cannot 'deliver' what Trump and Kushner needed, and demanded from him: He cannot any more deliver the Gulf 'world' for their grand projects – let alone garner together the collective Sunni 'world' to enlist in a confrontation with Iran, or for hustling the Palestinians into abject subordination, posing as 'solution'.

What happened? It seems that MbZ must have bought into the Mossad 'line' that Iran was a 'doddle'. Under pressure of global sanctions, Iran would quickly crumble, and would beg for negotiations with Trump. And that the resultant, punishing treaty would see the dismantling of all of Iran's troublesome allies around the region. The Gulf thus would be free to continue shaping a Middle East free from democracy, reformers and (those detested) Islamists.

What made the UAE – eulogised in the US as tough 'little Sparta' – back off? It was not just that the Emirs saw that the Yemen war was unwinnable. That was so; but more significantly, it dawned on them that Iran was going to be no 'doddle'. But rather, the US attempt to strangulate the Iranian economy risked escalating beyond sanctions war, into military confrontation. And in that eventuality, the UAE would be devastated. Iran warned explicitly that a drone or two landed into the 'glass houses' of their financial districts, or onto oil and gas facilities, would set them back twenty years. They believed it.

But there was another factor in the mix. "As the world teeters on the edge of another financial crisis", Esfandyar Batmanghelidj has noted , "few places are being gripped by anxiety like Dubai. Every week a new headline portends the coming crisis in the city of skyscrapers. Dubai villa prices are at their lowest level in a decade, down 24 percent in just one year. A slump in tourism has seen Dubai hotels hit their lowest occupancy rate since the 2008 financial crisis – even as the country gears up to host Expo 2020 next year. As Bloomberg's Zainab Fattah reported in November of last year, Dubai has begun to "lose its shine," its role as a center for global commerce "undermined by a global tariff war -- and in particular by the US drive to shut down commerce with nearby Iran"".

An extraneous Houthi drone landing in Dubai's financial zone would be the 'final nail in the coffin' (the expatriates would be out in a flash) – a prospect far more serious than the crisis of 2009, when Dubai's real estate market collapsed, threatening insolvency for several banks and major development companies, some of them state-linked – and necessitating a $20 billion bailout.

In short, the Gulf realised MbS' confrontation project with Iran was far too risky, especially with the global financial mood darkening so rapidly. Emirati leaders faced off with MbZ, the confrontation ideologue – and the UAE came out of Yemen formally (though leaving in situ its proxies), and initiated outreach to Iran, to take it out of that war, too.

It is now no longer conceivable that MbS can deliver what Trump and Netanyahu desired . Does this then mean that the US confrontation with Iran, and Jared Kushner's Deal of the Century, are over? No. Trump has two key US constituencies: AIPAC and the Christian Evangelical 'Zionists' to 'stroke' electorally in the lead up to the 2020 elections. More 'gifts' to Netanyahu in the lead into the latter's own election campaign are very likely also, as a part of that massaging of domestic constituencies (and donors).

In terms of the US confrontation with Iran, it seems that Trump is turning-down the volume on belligerence toward Iran, hoping that economic sanctions will work their 'magic' of bringing the Islamic Republic to its knees. There is no sign of that however – and no sign of any realistic US plan 'B'. (The Lindsay Graham initiative is not one).

Where does that leave MbS in terms of US and Israeli interests? Well, to be brutal, and despite the family friendships 'expendable', perhaps? The scent of an eventual US disengagement from the region is again hanging in the air.

The deeper meaning in the 'lost Yemen war', ultimately, is an end to Gulf hopes that 'magician' Trump would undo the earlier Gulf panic that the West would normalise with Iran (through the JCPOA), thus leaving Iran as the paramount regional power. The advent of Trump, with all his affinity towards Saudi Arabia, seemed to Gulf States to promise the opportunity again to 'lock in' the US security umbrella over Gulf monarchies, protecting these states from significant change, as well as leaving Iran 'shackled', and unable to assume regional primacy.

A secondary meaning to Yemen is that Trump and Netanyahu's heavy investment in MbS and MbZ has proved to be chimeric. These two, it turned out were 'naked' all along. And now the world knows it. They can't deliver. They have been bested by a ragtag army of tough Houthi tribesmen.

The region now observes that 'war' isn't happening (although only by the merest hair's breadth): Trump is not – of his own volition – going to bomb Iran back to the 1980s. And Gulf States now see that if he did, it is they – the Gulf States – who would pay the highest price. Paradoxically, it has fallen to the UAE, the prime agitator in Washington against Iran, to lead the outreach toward Iran. It represents a salutary lesson in realpolitik for certain Gulf States (and Israel). And now that it has been learned, it is hard to see it being reversed quite so easily.

The strategic shift toward a different security architecture is already underway, with Russia and China proposing an international conference on security in the Persian Gulf: Russia and Iran already have agreed joint naval exercises in in the Indian Ocean and Hormuz, and China is mulling sending its warships there too, to protect its tankers and commercial shipping. Plainly, there will be some competition here, but Iran has the upper hand still in Hormuz. It is a powerful deterrent (though one best threatened, but not used).

Of course, nothing is assured in these changing times. The US President is fickle, and prone to flip-flop. And there are yet powerful interests in the US who do want see Iran comprehensively bombed. But others in DC – more significantly, on the (nationalist) Right – are much more outspoken in challenging the Iran 'hawks'. Maybe the latter have missed their moment? The fact is, Trump drew back (but not for the stated reasons) from military action. America is now entering election season – and it is fixated on its navel. Foreign policy is already a forgotten, non-issue in the fraught partisan atmospherics of today's America.

Trump likely will still 'throw Israel a few bones', but will that change anything? Probably, not much. That is cold comfort – but it might have been a lot worse for the Palestinians. And Greater Israel? A distant, Promethean hope.

[Aug 19, 2019] Can Ukraine gradually put Western Ukrainian nationalists in it proper place

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

,

, , , , Beckow , says: Next New Comment August 18, 2019 at 7:33 pm GMT
@Kiza

miscalculation that the rotten West will help them instead of use them to create a festering sore on Russian border for just a few billion dollars in loans.

A possibly a fatal miscalculation for Ukraine, but there is also an ideology involved. In Maidan-Ukrainians case that ideology is Ukrainian nationalism combined with a servile Western worship of almost cargo-cult level. An odd combination that has led to odd result.

West wanted Zelensky to win, the question is why. Tactically, Zelensky neutralized large Russia-leaning block of voters: the 70% vote would have gone somewhere and they were not going to vote for Poroshenko or Tymoshenko. So that misdirection was successful. But what was the point? Let's look at what Zelensky is actually doing (not the throw-away comedy and rhetoric): he is trying to allow sale of Ukrainian land to foreign investors. My guess is that he will push it through and that will his main legacy. Buying up Ukrainian arable land has been a wet dream for many in the West since 1991. Zelensky could deliver on it, and then move on.

In 3-5 years we could have an interesting scenario in Ukraine with land (its main wealth) owned by foreign investors and a large % of population with Russian or Polish and other EU passports. As always with ideology, the result is the exact opposite of what that ideology claims: the dictatorship of proletariat impoverished and killed proletariat, Nazis dramatically shrunk German lebensraum, liberals obsession with ' liberty and universal brotherhood ' is leading to censorship, suppression and group hostilities. But here we are and the ideological idiocy that Maidan-Ukrainians embraced might not be reversible. This is not good for anybody.

Beckow
August 18, 2019 at 11:04 pm GMT • 100 Words @AnonFromTN

EU might decide to send its US overlords to Hell and pay Russia to take the hand grenade away from the monkey.

How would EU go against its overlord? Even if EU would try, the existential nihilism in Kiev will prevent compromise. Ideologues can't admit that their 'idea' didn't work, they prefer destroying everything around. West is also at this point incapable of admitting an error – they literally can't do it, the lying has to go on. That means that even groundwork for any possible compromise can't be put in place. This is all the way down with fireworks and it won't be pretty.

There is such a thing as a catastrophic error and the last 5 years in Ukraine comes pretty close to it. That is not really fixable. The monkey night as well use the grenade.

[Aug 18, 2019] Can Ukraine gradually put Western Ukrainian nationalists in it proper place

It's very sad that Ukraine is just a pawn in dirty geopolitical games of the USA, the EU and Russia.
Notable quotes:
"... In 3-5 years we could have an interesting scenario in Ukraine with land (its main wealth) owned by foreign investors and a large % of population with Russian or Polish and other EU passports. As always with ideology, the result is the exact opposite of what that ideology claims: the dictatorship of proletariat impoverished and killed proletariat, Nazis dramatically shrunk German lebensraum, liberals obsession with ' liberty and universal brotherhood ' is leading to censorship, suppression and group hostilities. But here we are and the ideological idiocy that Maidan-Ukrainians embraced might not be reversible. This is not good for anybody. ..."
"... For Ukraine these are all irreversible losses, but from Western perspective, these are little victories: Russia was forced to spend more. As the West does not give a hoot about Ukraine, the US and its vassals can freely celebrate these victories. ..."
"... So, it all depends on the point of view. The West never cared about aborigines, so their point of view does not come into its calculations. ..."
"... Currently prevailing mood in Russia is that Ukraine, whoever is the power there, gets nothing, nada, zilch. ..."
"... But Ukrainian authorities worked pretty hard to achieve it, and now Ukraine has to live with this new reality. It won’t be pretty. The US was simply following its standard policy: leave a pile of shit, declare victory, and leave, waiting for someone else to clean up. ..."
"... Now there is only one way Russia would clean up: if the EU pays full price for it. As this is unlikely, the aborigines are going to bear the brunt of the consequences. ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

Beckow , says: Next New Comment August 18, 2019 at 7:33 pm GMT

@Kiza

miscalculation that the rotten West will help them instead of use them to create a festering sore on Russian border for just a few billion dollars in loans.

A possibly a fatal miscalculation for Ukraine, but there is also an ideology involved. In Maidan-Ukrainians case that ideology is Ukrainian nationalism combined with a servile Western worship of almost cargo-cult level. An odd combination that has led to odd result.

West wanted Zelensky to win, the question is why. Tactically, Zelensky neutralized large Russia-leaning block of voters: the 70% vote would have gone somewhere and they were not going to vote for Poroshenko or Tymoshenko. So that misdirection was successful. But what was the point?

Let's look at what Zelensky is actually doing (not the throw-away comedy and rhetoric): he is trying to allow sale of Ukrainian land to foreign investors. My guess is that he will push it through and that will his main legacy. Buying up Ukrainian arable land has been a wet dream for many in the West since 1991. Zelensky could deliver on it, and then move on.

In 3-5 years we could have an interesting scenario in Ukraine with land (its main wealth) owned by foreign investors and a large % of population with Russian or Polish and other EU passports. As always with ideology, the result is the exact opposite of what that ideology claims: the dictatorship of proletariat impoverished and killed proletariat, Nazis dramatically shrunk German lebensraum, liberals obsession with ' liberty and universal brotherhood ' is leading to censorship, suppression and group hostilities. But here we are and the ideological idiocy that Maidan-Ukrainians embraced might not be reversible. This is not good for anybody.

AnonFromTN , says: Next New Comment August 18, 2019 at 9:39 pm GMT

Why does the Saker think that Ze had any choice? He is a puppet, a stuffed shirt brought to ”power” by Kolomoisky and allied oligarchs. The only goal was to chase Porky and allied thieves from the trough to be able to steal more.

Now, the people of Ukraine had choice. But they blew it again, like many times before: each Ukrainian “president” is worse than his predecessor. As the saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you…” Ukrainians let themselves be fooled six times already, so there is no doubt where the shame goes.

It was said that the nationalism is the last resort of a scoundrel. But it isn’t the only one. Nationalism, stupid unrealistic dreams to feed sheeple, fairy tales about aggression, and the war create perfect smokescreen for blatant thievery. It continues unabated, ever since 1991.

Russia does need to make its choice. But it is complicated by the role of Russian thieves (polite word is oligarchs) in current Russian state. Putin kicked some out. The remaining ones have enough brains to figure that they need a strong state to protect them, lest their loot be stolen by Western thieves. So, they are a step ahead of Ukrainian thieves who did not tumble even to this simple realization. But no more than one step ahead.

The economic reality is that Russian state does not have the resources to restore Ukraine, even if sane forces come to power there. So, Ukraine would likely keep festering, losing millions of working age people (like today), possibly losing chunks of territory (as the joke has it, whoever remains in Ukraine pays off the debt). The problems of that huge Somalia can only be solved by concerted effort of many European countries and Russia. This is not on the cards, at least not until Ukies create yet another Chernobyl. Then the EU might decide to send its US overlords to Hell and pay Russia to take the hand grenade away from the monkey. I don’t think Putin will live long enough to see that happen.

Beckow , says: Next New Comment August 18, 2019 at 11:04 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

…EU might decide to send its US overlords to Hell and pay Russia to take the hand grenade away from the monkey.

How would EU go against its overlord? Even if EU would try, the existential nihilism in Kiev will prevent compromise. Ideologues can’t admit that their ‘idea’ didn’t work, they prefer destroying everything around. West is also at this point incapable of admitting an error – they literally can’t do it, the lying has to go on. That means that even groundwork for any possible compromise can’t be put in place. This is all the way down with fireworks and it won’t be pretty.

There is such a thing as a catastrophic error and the last 5 years in Ukraine comes pretty close to it. That is not really fixable. The monkey night as well use the grenade.

AnonFromTN says: August 18, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT • 100 Words
@Beckow

Minsk agreement was an incredibly generous deal, if Poroshenko had half a brain he would had jumped on it and today Donbas would be a remote backwater with autonomy.

That would be true if Porky was interested in Ukraine. As it is, his only interest and loyalty was and is his personal loot. To keep stealing, he (and allied thieves) needed the smokescreen of war, fairy tales of “aggression”, and pipe dreams of “greater Ukraine” for the sheeple. He succeeded in his thievery for five years. Now another gang of thieves pushed his gang from the trough. End of story.

annamaria says: August 18, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMT • 100 Words

@Bardon Kaldian

Are you a teenager unaware of the history of the Maidan regime-change “revolution?”
Here are two most influential Ukranian parties-participants in the “revolution:”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)

The Svoboda Party was founded in 1991 as the Social-National Party of Ukraine … It is widely considered a fascist..party….

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

Time has described it [the Right Sector Party] as a “radical right-wing group … a coalition of militant ultra-nationalists” with an ideology that “borders on fascism”.

Die Welt, The New York Times, and Le Monde Diplomatique have described some of Right Sector’s constituent groups as radical right-wing, neofascist, or neo-Nazi…

https://www.globalresearch.ca/conspiring-neo-nazi-parties-washington-eu-role-kiev-coup/5684545

AnonFromTN says: August 19, 2019 at 12:56 am GMT • 300 Words

@Beckow

You are a pessimist (or a fatalist). I agree that EU is shamefully subservient to the US, but when some of their core interests are at stake, even slavish EU can show some teeth. Just think of Nord Stream-2: the US is jumping out of its skin to damage this project, but Germany stands remarkably firm.

From Western point of view, Ukie provocation was not a complete failure (even though it’s a catastrophic failure from Ukrainian point of view): Russia had to spend a lot to develop the production of military things it used to import from Ukraine, like ships, ship engines, helicopter engines, spaceship control systems, etc.

Now that it acquired the capability to produce these things, there will be no going back regardless who rules Ukraine: it’s industries that used to export to Russia are doomed. These include such giants as Nikolaev shipbuilding plant, Motor Sich in Zaparozie, Antonov aircraft building plant in Kiev, etc. The same goes for transit.

It is not just natural gas transit everybody talks about. Russia used to transport ammonia to Odessa, where it was partially exported and partially converted into fertilizers. The plant that used to do that is dead.

Ukraine tried to sell it for $5 billion under Yanuk and got no takers, about a year ago it tried to sell it for 10% of that price, and got no takers again.

There also used to be substantial Russian payments for transport via the railway going across Eastern Ukraine.

Russia built an alternative bypassing Ukraine, so they might as well dismantle the rails on their route.

For Ukraine these are all irreversible losses, but from Western perspective, these are little victories: Russia was forced to spend more. As the West does not give a hoot about Ukraine, the US and its vassals can freely celebrate these victories.

So, it all depends on the point of view. The West never cared about aborigines, so their point of view does not come into its calculations.

AnonFromTN says: August 19, 2019 at 1:13 am GMT • 100 Words

@Andrei Martyanov

That’s true, when it comes to resources, there are always alternatives how to spend them.

Currently prevailing mood in Russia is that Ukraine, whoever is the power there, gets nothing, nada, zilch.

Considering how closely Ukrainians are related to Russians, this feat wasn’t easy.

But Ukrainian authorities worked pretty hard to achieve it, and now Ukraine has to live with this new reality. It won’t be pretty. The US was simply following its standard policy: leave a pile of shit, declare victory, and leave, waiting for someone else to clean up.

Now there is only one way Russia would clean up: if the EU pays full price for it. As this is unlikely, the aborigines are going to bear the brunt of the consequences.

[Aug 18, 2019] Ukie nationalism vs Otto von Bismarck by The Saker

Saker is naive and badly educated. It is stupid to call Ukraine an oligarchy. All countries on Earth are oligarchies. The real question is which group of oligarchs is in power. In case of Ukraine those are privatization sharks, the worst kind of neoliberal financial scum. Often real criminals.
Otto von Bismarck created a powerful German state which exists to this day. While vassal of the USA it is still a state now. And Merkel role in EuroMaidan definitely reminds Drang nach Osten in neoliberal packaging. Neocolonialism in its pure form
Ukraine is just a pawn in a bigger geopolitical game of the USA and EU against Russia. That explains in the current state of Ukrainian economics and the level of Ukrainian population sufferings. Ukrainian nationalist paradoxically served as the fifth column for the neoliberal oligarchy. The phenomenon similar to the US nationalists role under Trump.
At the same time despite dismally low standard of living Ukrainian population is showing great resilience in the current hardships and infrastructure while completely worn out still works. But Ukraine is now completely Latin-Americanized, which was the goal of the USA from the very beginning for all Soviet space. Ukraine now is a debt slave of the West which is completely opposite to any nationalist movement goals.
According to Wikipedia just 5% of population lives of less than $5.50 a day. That's baloney. In reality the percentage is probably two-three times times higher (average monthly pension is typically less then $1500 grivna which is less then $60) so most of pensioners live on less then $2 a day. 8 million of the approximately 12 million of Ukrainian pensioners were receiving the minimum pension of 1312 (around $50) while medium pension amounted to 1886 UAH (Pensions in Ukraine - Wikipedia) And 12 million is 28% of Ukrainian population (around 42-43 million total down from 45.55 before EuroMaydan ). It is declining around 200 persons daily. On average there are 462,052 births and 662,571 deaths in Ukraine per year.
While pensioners are definitely starving the situation at least stabilized with grivna around 25 per dollar (something like 300% after the EuroMaydan). So Nuland advantures cost dearly for average Ukrainian.
Notable quotes:
"... These guys are a minority, a pretty small one even, but they have enough muscle and even firepower to threaten any nominal Ukrainian leader. ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

As I have indicated in a recent article , the Ukraine is not a democracy but an oligarchy : ever since 1991 the most prosperous Soviet republic was mercilessly plundered by an entire class (in the Marxist sense of the word) of oligarchs whose biggest fear has always been that the same "horror" (from their point of view) which befell Russia with Putin, would eventually arrive at the Ukraine.

Here we need to make something clear: this is NOT, repeat, NOT about nationality or nationalism. The Ukrainian oligarchs are just like any other oligarchs: their loyalty is to their money and nothing else. If you want to characterize these oligarchs, you could think of them as culturally "post-Soviet" meaning that they don't care about nationality, and even though their prime language is Russian, they don't give a damn about Russia or Russians (or anybody else, for that matter!). Since many of them are Jews, they have a network of supporters/accomplices in Israel of course, but also in the West and even in Russia. In truth, these guys are the ultimate "internationalists" in their own, toxic, kind of way.

Some fine specimens of "ochlocrats"

The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs. Their power is not a democracy either, but an ochlocracy . These guys are a minority, a pretty small one even, but they have enough muscle and even firepower to threaten any nominal Ukrainian leader.


Korenchkin , says: August 15, 2019 at 7:42 am GMT

Can you stop with the Ukronazi crap, what kind of Nazi Government has a Jewish PM and Jewish President ?
Azov guys dying in Donbass and the street thugs in Kiev are just cannon fodder, they don't run shit

The majority of Ukranians don't want to be in this conflict, I don't see the point in demonizing all of them because of some fascist larpers

Malla , says: August 15, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT
People need to move on from the past and stop all that hating others for some past deeds. Polish or Western Ukrainian hatred for Russians, Russian hatred for Germans, Chinese & Korean hatred for the Japanese, Indian hatred for the British or the Chinese, Black South African hatred for Afrikaners. All these are counter productive for the people and are emotions which can be whipped up by the elites to have commoners die like cannon fodder at worst or to take away attention towards a past historic enemy to hide their own corruption/ incompetence at best.
People need to see things from the other side as well.

As far as the Satanic Zio elite pigs, they will use any ideology as long as it serves them. Democracy, Communism, anti-Communism, Islamic fundamentalism, anti-Islam, Jingoistic Nationalism, Anti-Nationalism/One Worldism, feminism, Hindutva, Buddhist fundamentalism (Sri Lanka BBS and the secret Zionist hand), Neo-Conservatism, Leftism, Colonialism, anti-Colonialism as long it suits them. They use them and discard them away when needed. But this seems to be the most extreme case ever. For the first time the Zio elites are using National Socialism as an ideology to serve them. The ideology which was probably the greatest enemy and threat to the Zio elites, in human history. Freakin crazy!!!

Mr. Hack , says: August 15, 2019 at 2:39 pm GMT
More grist for Saker's suckers. The Galicians (and Ukro-Nazi Jews) are behind everything. In Saker's simplistic mind the Galicians have infiltrated all of Ukrainian society and run the whole show, when in fact this is just a bunch of nonsense. Well, at least Saker is putting to use his favorite Ukrainian pejorative do I really need to repeat it again, ad nauseum?
Colin Wright , says: Website August 15, 2019 at 4:38 pm GMT
' Russia will always remain the reality check on their delusions. This was as true in the distant 13th century as it is nowadays '

It's nit-picking, but you might want to edit that sentence slightly.

In the thirteenth century, both the Ukrainians and the Russians faced more dire threats than each other.

Colin Wright , says: Website August 15, 2019 at 4:53 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack ' Ukro-Nazi Jews '

You have to admit that's an impressive combination.

Adûnâi , says: August 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm GMT
"The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs."

Where are death camps for the Jews? Where are racial laws that expel non-Ukrainians? Where is the propaganda of eugenics and healthy lifestyle? Where are construction projects bringing in jobs, and state-subsidized recreation tours?

Ukraine is a Jew-driven shithole that has nothing to do with National Socialism. They don't even honour the sacrifice of the SS Galizien.

"but what they are genuinely fantasizing about is the territory, and only the territory. As for the 2 million-plus virulently anti-Nazi people currently living on these lands, they simply want them either dead or expelled)."

A lie. Currently, more than a half of those "expelled" have migrated inside Ukraine. A stark contrast to Croatia where the Serbs were driven out of the country, and their land given to Croats.

Again, Ukraine is suicidal and full of civic nationalism, nothing about it is blood-based.

"They and their Polish supporters want Russia to break apart in numerous small state-lets which they (or, in their delusional dreams, the Chinese) could dominate."

Why do you consider this as a negative for the Russian people? The current Russian state is in its death throes as much as the US and France – the ethnic Russians are dying out, fleeing and being replaced. Any alternative might prove out more hopeful.

"In contrast, the LDNR forces seem to be doing pretty well, and their morale appears to be as strong as ever (which is unsurprising since their military ethos is based in 1000 years of Russian military history)."

I have to remind you that the Donbass was colonized far more recently than Ukraine – in the 18-19th centuries. What "ancient" traditions?

"but Novorussia also is a never healing wound in the side of Nazi-occupied Ukraine"

The Donbass has never been part of Novorussia which is to the west, from Dniepropetrovsk to Odessa. Admittedly, Novorussia's colonists were mostly from Ukraine – it is clearly seen on the language maps.

"The problem with this slogan is that there is simply no way the (relatively small) Galician population can ever succeed in permanently defeating their much bigger (and, frankly, much smarter) Jewish, Polish or Russian neighbors."

Khmelnitsky managed to do just that – 100k dead Jews. And he's on the Ukrainian currency. Too bad modern "Nazi" Ukrainians have elected a Jew President. This is not the Khmelnitsky uprising, this is Kiev under the Khazar Khaganate before Oleg came from the North.

AP , says: August 15, 2019 at 10:45 pm GMT
It's a of nonsense as usual. This piece is quickly refuted:

ever since 1991 the most prosperous Soviet republic

People who spread this myth are ignorant or liars. It's a common one, though.

In 1990 Ukraine's per capita GDP was $1570.

Russia's was $3485.
Belarus was $2124.

So in Soviet times, Ukraine was the poorest of the three Slavic Soviet Republics. It still is, the position hasn't changed. It's just fallen further behind.

::::::::

Everything else is just as nonsensical, I won't even bother to detail it, most of the commenters here are as dumb/ignorant/dishonest (take your pick) as the author pretends to be.

Curmudgeon , says: August 15, 2019 at 11:15 pm GMT
I don't know where Saker sources his history. Lenin had nothing to do with the creation of Ukraine.

I live in Western Canada, where Ukrainians come starting in the late 19th century. I'm not referring to the primarily German speaking Mennonites that left South Central Ukraine, in the 1870s, fleeing religious persecution. By WWI, more than 200,000 were in Western Canada from all parts of Ukraine. They considered themselves Ukrainians, not Russians, or Galicians. They were, and to a great extent, still are Ukrainian nationalists. There continues to be friction with Polish and German local populations, although prior to the "rebirth" of Ukraine, it had largely subsided. Recent Russian immigrants are shunned as much as the "Poles" and "Germans". Politically, they are generally left of center, and have been since their arrival, although in recent decades more have become "conservative" (whatever that means these days). A long ago former Russian Jewish co-worker who was a late 60s "escapee" from the USSR, told me that he would never vote for one of our political parties, because there were "too many Ukrainians" in the party. I asked a "Ukrainian" friend, who I had known since grade school, what that meant. His explanation was that there had always been tensions between Jews and Ukrainians, for centuries, because of what Ukrainians believed was exploitation by the Jews. Other "Ukrainians" and "Jews" have confirmed this.

The reality is, that most people in most countries just want to live their lives in peace, with a job good enough to provide a decent home and food for the family. That 70% of Ukrainians want that is not surprising, it's normal. That doesn't mean they aren't nationalists, and it doesn't mean they are Nazis. However screwed up they are in trying to do so, Ukrainians are struggling to retain their identity and culture. IMO, they are up against internationalist forces from all sides, and none are interested in letting that happen.

Beckow , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:22 am GMT
@Curmudgeon The Nazi name-calling is over the top, and not just with regard to Ukraine or Galicia. Historical grievances or revisions are not 'Nazism'. Too many people look at Ukraine and over-interpret the nostalgia for Bandera or simple national self-assertion.

But I think Saker is right about where this is going. Russian side has local dominance and that will not change. The only game in town for the last 5 years has been to see if the Western squeeze of Russia will work faster than the Russian squeeze of Ukraine. By now it is obvious that it won't.

Kiev has made some fatal mistakes. E.g. Minsk agreement was an incredibly generous deal, if Poroshenko had half a brain he would had jumped on it and today Donbas would be a remote backwater with autonomy . So? The state would be intact, taxes would be paid, passports centrally issued, etc The eastern European dynamic is that any population always ends up disliking its immediate rulers – how long before local leaders in Donbas would be challenged by some younger corruption fighters.

The whole Maidan thing was also terribly mismanaged – at its core it was about getting the best potential deal for Ukraine with EU (and Russia). In the middle of the negotiation suddenly Maidanistas decided that symbols are more important than reality and basically folded in front of EU. Consequently Russia walked. Thus Kiev got justa bout the worst possible combination on non-EU and deep hostility with Russia. Smarter guys would had handled it much better, playing both sides against each other – raising the stakes.

And let's not even get started on Crimea, while Ukies ate stale cookies, they lost overnight their most valuable possession – they couldn't anticipate it? Being able to anticipate is a key to intelligence and in playing any game.

So we can talk about what or who is driving modern Ukraine, oligarchs, Galicians, Jews, Kiev thugs, Canadians – it doesn't matter, what matters is that they are incompetent. From Yushenko to Zelensky they are amateurs driven by emotion and greed. There is no state-forming force, there is no true Ukrainian nationalism that would play up Ukraine's strengths and manage its weaknesses. Saker is basically right – they are in a no-win cul-de-sac, at this point any move will make their situation worse. Their best (only?) hope is a collapse of Russia. Now, how likely is that?

bevin , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:33 am GMT
@Korenchkin " what kind of Nazi Government has a Jewish PM and Jewish President ?"
Israel.
Felix Keverich , says: August 16, 2019 at 8:23 am GMT
@peterAUS This is not a real nation. There is no such thing as "genuine Ukrainian nationalists".

AP doesn't count – the dude lives in Canada! So Galician nutters is all you get.

Korenchkin , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:14 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Autism of this degree does not pop out of nowhere
You had Cossacks and Mercenaries from the Ukraine joining up with the Poles, Swedes, Napoleon, Germans and others. Calling diaspora nationalists stupid is all fine and dandy but the constant bickering between people in current Ukraine and in Russia stinks of divide and conquer (which is what Ukraine vs Russia conflicts always were)

Calling them stupid and calling their ethnicity fake(which they make an actual effort to preserve, such as it is) stinks of hypocrisy when so many Great Russians were willing to tear their country, religion and people apart in 1917 and join up with the Bolsheviks in the rape and pillaging

You'd probably get far more progress calling them a branch of Russian civilization, you can cite Belarus and Siberian Ukraine as examples
It's easy to dogpile on some poor Hohol since they will always be on the defensive, but it's much harder to understand him and admit your own faults while not backing down from your standpoint that you are both one people

Serbs often made the same mistakes with Montenegro, and the result is the modern day shitfest where both it and Ukraine are run by hostile US puppets

peter mcloughlin , says: August 16, 2019 at 3:58 pm GMT
The Saker is correct that reality and pragmatism are essential 'when trying to figure out what is going on and what might happen next.' It is a hard calculation to make in a world increasingly chaotic and dark. The Minsk Accord is probably the only glimmer of light for Ukraine, but then all the lights – across the world – are going out.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Andrei Martyanov , says: Website August 16, 2019 at 5:36 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon

However screwed up they are in trying to do so, Ukrainians are struggling to retain their identity and culture. IMO, they are up against internationalist forces from all sides, and none are interested in letting that happen.

What you posted is called a generic "to be against everything bad, for everything good". Living in a world of unicorns and having rainbows as result of bowel movement is, of course, a worthy aspiration but reality with Ukraine is a teeny-weeny bit more complicated than mere attempts to "retain their identity and culture". I'll give you a hint, vast swaths of Ukrainian population (including in the East Ukraine) believe, as an example, that Ukrainian civilization precedes a Sumerian one. Many, very many, also still believe that valiant Ukrainian Armed Forces still fight, for the 5th year in a row, mighty Russian Army in the East. We are talking here about down right mental breakdown on a national level, granted, as I always say, modern Ukraine did happen, that is coalesced, as a political nation.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website August 16, 2019 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Beckow

There is no state-forming force, there is no true Ukrainian nationalism that would play up Ukraine's strengths and manage its weaknesses

There is one–modern Ukraine is a "anti-Russia" project, that is also a foundation of its state ideology and, I may add, mythology.

mejohnr1 , says: August 16, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT

In the thirteenth century, both the Ukrainians and the Russians faced more dire threats than each other.

In the 13th century there were no Ukrainians or Ukraine. There was Russia though, Rus'. Imagine a US state becoming independent today, from the rest of the US.. like Ohio.. and people are going to say "the first man on the moon was an Ohioan (Armstrong), not an American. Sorry, doesn't work like that..

Commentator Mike , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:10 am GMT
@Colin Wright

' Ukro-Nazi Jews '

You have to admit that's an impressive combination.

Yes, but it wasn't the Saker who invented it; it does seem to reflect what's going on there. My only criticism is that he has given more prominence to the Nazis than the Jews, unless we consider "oligarchs" as a synonym for Jews.

Bardon Kaldian , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:39 am GMT
When I see words like "Nazis" in relation to Ukrainians, I know that article is sh!t & not worth reading.
Commentator Mike , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:42 am GMT
@peterAUS

why he writes like that/we have such posts here?

Like you have said in the past he is taking the Russian side. I think it's a fairly good analysis of the situation if you go beyond his propagandistic terminology and what he leaves unsaid. Russia really doesn't want to engage directly in the conflict but its best policy would be to bide its time and to encourage more pro-Russian separatism in Odessa and all other regions along the coast so as to eventually cut off Ukraine from access to the sea altogether. That would serve Russian interests best and strengthen its position against NATO, the EU, and the rump Ukraine, for whatever is to follow. It's a shame for any real Ukranian nationalists but then they should have been smarter than to join all those colour revolutions on Maidan organised by the CIA, Soros, Jewish oligarchs, etc.

That's a frozen conflict for now. Let's have another article on UR about the latest from the US sponsored colour revolution in Hong Kong and what are the best measures that PR China can take to quell the riots. And it's about time they took back Formosa, but it won't be as easy as the Russian takeover of Crimea, unless they can send a million Red Army guards there disguised as tourists to stage a silent putsch.

Tom Welsh , says: August 18, 2019 at 10:38 am GMT
"As I have indicated in a recent article, the Ukraine is not a democracy but an oligarchy "

Like the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India

None of those countries have ever been democracies in any sense of the word.

Robjil , says: August 18, 2019 at 11:24 am GMT
@Bardon Kaldian Neonazis is a good term for the people used in the Ukrainian ZUS coup. That is the people that was used to gain control of Ukraine for ZUS.

This coup in Ukraine, woke me up.

V. Nuland's war cry to bless the coup was "F–k The EU"

She used Neonazis to take over Ukraine.

Wait. She is Jewish. I guess the 6 million story must be bogus. She admitted it, since if the 6 million story was real. She would have a great fear of a tidal wave of anti-S'ism overcoming her and her people. She had no fear. Thus, the 6 million story was proved to be false by V. Nuland. Thanks V. Nuland for freeing the world of that nightmarish propaganda that has saddled humanity for seventy odd years.

Secondly, she told the world the reality of J. Supremacism by stating " F..k the EU". The world thought that ZUS loved the EU as its sister in world domination. I guess not. Would V. Nuland ever say "F..k Israel"? I think not.

Thanks V. Nuland. A new Queen Esther or Queen Victoria.

Robjil , says: August 18, 2019 at 11:37 am GMT
@Tom Welsh Yes, ZUS ukraine is being run just like the rest of us in the west.

The little people are considered "deplorable" and treated that way.

At least, ZUS ukraine is not be over run by people fleeing ZUS wars and coups.

I guess since ZUS ukraine is not in good shape for these fleeing people.

ZUS ukraine is in the same shape as the nations that the fleeing people come from.

So there is no reason for them to go to ZUS ukraine.

GMC , says: August 18, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
Yep, agree with Saker – I lived there before , during and now after the Maidan and he's spot on with most of everything – he has been, since the beginning. Zelinsky has a dozen or more bosses and he has Zero experience in what he's doing. . Zionist Bankers and their arms dealers, Nato, Banderas gang,Washington, US Navy, Monsanto/Bayer, Royal Dutch {shell oil }, Dupont, Lilly Pharma, Cargill, and the list could go on. He'll be lucky if he isn't in Diapers by the time his term is up, otherwise he will be rich. I see that Poroshanster is being called out for taking 8 billion bucks out of Ukie-Ville. I wonder how much Trump and his family will end up stealing?. Thanks Unz Review.
Kiza , says: August 18, 2019 at 1:10 pm GMT
@Beckow

Thus Kiev got justa bout the worst possible combination on non-EU and deep hostility with Russia. Smarter guys would had handled it much better, playing both sides against each other – raising the stakes.

As usual, you nailed it Beckow.
Also, Saker often misunderstands things but he is right that Ukraine is in a one way street mainly because of the out-of-this-World miscalculation that the rotten West will somehow help them instead of use them to create a festering sore on Russian border for just a few billion dollars in loans. It is the rest of Ukraine, excluding Donbas, that will have to pay off these war loans already stolen by the oligarchs.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: August 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/d2xCLqQnnjs?feature=oembed

Bill Jones , says: August 18, 2019 at 2:23 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike I recall that at the time of the Zionist coup (We do remember Ms Noodleman's : "fuck the EU" don't we?) Ukrainian Nazi's were a leading force in kicking things off.
Skeptikal , says: August 18, 2019 at 2:43 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack "In Saker's simplistic mind the Galicians have infiltrated all of Ukrainian society and run the whole show, "

This was not what I read.
The Saker said that oligarchs and Nazi militia groups have enough power to impose their will and their agenda on the rest of the population.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website August 18, 2019 at 3:22 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

When I see words like "Nazis" in relation to Ukrainians, I know that article is sh!t & not worth reading.

This is because you don't know what Raguli(stan) is and you cannot possibly know, because there are no "books" written yet which would encapsulate this whole phenomenon. Of course, Ukies have no relation to Fichte and Volkskrieg. Other than that you will find an attentive audience among local ignoramuses.

[Aug 18, 2019] The fundamental problem in politics is not the opposition of wickedness, but the restraint of righteousness. Hillary has always loved to kill people is distant lands

Aug 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

stevek , 18 minutes ago link

Hillary has always loved to kill people. Its in her (evil) blood.

Creative_Destruct , 22 minutes ago link

"This damn Serbian war is a symbol of all that is wrong with the righteous approach to the world and to problems within this nation."

Story of the last several decades (fill in the blank with your pick of the name of a US war or a SJW cause):

This damn _________ war is a symbol of all that is wrong with the righteous approach to the world and to problems within this nation.

Kissinger had many flaws, but he hit the nail on the head when he said:

"The fundamental problem in politics is not the opposition of wickedness, but the restraint of righteousness"

TheDayAfter , 1 hour ago link

We all know the Hypocrisy of that War. Clinton had to distract the masses from MonicaGate and Hillary had to prove to the MIC that she could be beneficial to them.

Result : Those Kosovo Albanians had a state handed to them, and instead of building it(with uncle Sam's and EU help) as prosperous country, they used their weapons and "expertise" in becoming the low level gangsters of Europe. Every Europol analysis points to the direction of Kosovo Albanians as the criminal thugs in prostitution and drug trade and protection rackets. The largest percentage of a single ethnic group in European jails is that of Albanians.

TeaClipper , 1 hour ago link

The most unjust and illegal of wars in the late 20c.

There was only one reason to bomb white Christian brothers in Serbia thereby aiding the Muslim of Kosovo and Albania, and that was Russia, which by that stage had got its act together and dealt with the traitorous oligarchs who had sold their country out to the west.

Hillary and her cronies no doubt lost a lot of money when the Russians shut their rat lines down.

I hope I live long enough to see those fuckers swing, and Tony Blair, Alistair Campnell and Peter Mandelson as well.

PKKA , 3 hours ago link

Again, your Muslims are to blame for everything. Muslims are all different. And it is necessary to separate the faithful Muslims from the bandits who are only covered by Muslim slogans.
NATO and your godless government are to blame!

An Afghan Freedom Fighter in Donbass - ENG SUBTITLE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc2KeSkl5H0

Joe A , 3 hours ago link

It happened at the time of the Lewinsky affair and the possible impeachment of Clinton. They needed a distraction.

Milosevic btw. agreed to all conditions imposed on the FR of Yugoslavia except for one condition that nobody would accept: the full and unhindered access to the territory of FRY by NATO troops. That effectively meant an occupation. Nobody would agree to that. NATO and Albright deliberately came up with that condition for they knew it was unacceptable. Even Kissinger said that condition was over the top. NATO and Albright wanted that war. Serbia btw. saved Albright twice when she was still a little Slovakian Jewish girl whose family found refuge twice in Serbia. Once they escaped the Nazis that way and the second time the communists.

NATO thought they would need 48 hours but they needed 78 days and Milosevic only gave in after NATO switched from hitting military targets to civilian targets: Hospitals, commuter trains, civilian industry, an open market, random houses in random villages. After Milosevic pulled out his troops out of Kosovo, the KLA started killing Serbs and moderate Albanians, not to mention engage in organ trafficking (...). As the article said, well over 200k Serbs, moderate Albanians, Roma and other minorities were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo.

The US also used cluster bombs and DU weapons. Of the 4000 Italian KFOR troops that went into Kosovo after the bombing, 700 are dead from cancer and leukemia with several hundreds more seriously ill. The American KFOR troops wore hazmat suits. The Italians did not have them and were not warned. Today, many people in southern Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo itself are sick and dying.

HoyeruNew , 3 hours ago link

yes just like USA tried to help Vietnam against communists... by killing 2 million Vietnamese. and tried to help Korea by killing 20 % of the population. and by helping Iraq get rid of "bad" Saddam Hussein by killing 2 million Iraqies.

Oh, the Americans are oh so helpfiul!

ItsDanger , 2 hours ago link

Not disagreeing with you but lets remember that communists were killing a lot of people in other areas not long before those wars in SE Asia. May have been a wash in the end.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

13 million gallons of agent orange dropped on Vietnamese forests was our way of saying we love you. The genetic deformities are still widespread.

So glad they kicked the US out of there.

Magnum , 3 hours ago link

That conflict led to hundreds of thousands of BOSNIANS moving to USA. Gotta keep the refugees flowing no matter what....

JoeBattista , 3 hours ago link

Bring back the draft. On the whole Americans have no idea what the carnage of combat produces. Combat vets do. And the ones that aren't natural psychopaths never want to experience it again. This volunteer army we have is over loaded with a them. A military draft will actually bring some sort civilian control.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

They killed the draft so they would no longer be embarrassed by student protests and having to mow them down.

It worked. Today's snowflakes don't care about slaughter , only mini verbal aggressions against perverts.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

Such ********. Do the millions we kill have any human rights? It's been going on for 4000 years. Ruthless pursuit of empire and fabricating phony justifications.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 3 hours ago link

Hillary seems to enjoy killing people. If it wasn't Gaddaffi, it was all the people on her body bag count, and now it's known she encouraged killing people in Serbia. Someone needs to take that old cow out into the center of the town and burn her at the stake.

Red Corvair , 4 hours ago link

Partially true, otherwise as usually excellent Dr. Paul, ... The Pandora's box situation was opened years before Clinton's bombing of Serbia, which was part of a larger scheme started nearly a decade before.

That was when the US armed the religious extremists in Bosnia, in order to bring war, "civil war" and chaos, and disintegration, the way they more recently tried to do with Syria, or "succeeded" in doing in Libya, bringing chaos and open-air slave markets in a country that was one of the most developed on the African continent under Gaddafi (a truth that was so easily erased by propaganda).

And the whole neocon scheme started two decades before, with the Zbigniew Brzezinski doctrine, when the US started arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan, provoking the trap for the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was the real opening of US neocon's Pandora's box we are regrettably so familiar with by now. We've all fallen in that old neocon/military-industrial-congressional-complex trap by now. And there seems to be no end in sight to those eternal wars "for civilization" (the old colonial trope dressed under new fatigues). Unless serious societal and political changes take place in the US to put an end to the US "imperial" death drive.

[Aug 18, 2019] US Bullies Its Way Into Dispute, Moves to Seize Iranian Tanker by Barbara Boland

Notable quotes:
"... "Designed to provoke Tehran: Just as #Iran-UK-#Gibraltar were set to have #Grace1 tanker released today, #Trump admin moves in to spoil the effort. Will become another source of tension in Europe-US relations over Iran policy," Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted . ..."
"... As TAC previously reported , the legal rationale for detaining the Iranian vessel and its crew is questionable, because Iran is not a member of the European Union and thus can not violate EU sanctions. ..."
"... "The UK had no legal right to enforce those sanctions," writes Gareth Porter, and the seizure "was a blatant violation of the clearly defined global rules that govern the passage of merchant ships through international straits." ..."
Aug 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

British Gibraltar ordered the ship's release to ease tensions. Washington wasn't having any of it.

A ship approaches supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. – Iran demanded on July 5, 2019 that Britain immediately release an oil tanker it has detained in Gibraltar, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States. Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite eleventh hour efforts on the part of the U.S. to detain the Grace 1 Iranian oil tanker seized by the Royal Navy in July, the vessel was released Thursday. Gibraltar's Chief Minister said he had accepted a pledge from Iran that if the tanker was released, it would not be taken to Syria.

The Grace 1 was seized last month by the British Royal Navy for alleged European Union sanctions violations. The British claimed that Iran was using the tanker to ship oil to Syria.

Before the last minute U.S. legal action, authorities in Gibraltar had announced they would release the Grace 1 and drop legal actions against the ship's captain and crew in order to ease tensions.

The U.S. application was scheduled to be heard later on Thursday by the Gibraltar Supreme Court. The U.S. Department of Justice sought to extend the detention of the oil tanker, but the Gibraltar Supreme Court later dropped the detention order, essentially moving evaluation of the U.S. request to another government agency for consideration, according to CBS. In the mean time, the tanker is free to leave.

The U.S. filing seems to confirm reports that the U.S. urged the British detention of the Iranian ship in July.

" Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its #EconomicTerrorism -- including depriving cancer patients of medicine -- the US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas," tweeted Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. "This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin's contempt for the law."

After the British decision to detain the Grace 1 in July, Iran seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions with Tehran have escalated since the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and resumed economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Without citing specific evidence, the U.S. has blamed Iran for recent attacks on other oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

"Designed to provoke Tehran: Just as #Iran-UK-#Gibraltar were set to have #Grace1 tanker released today, #Trump admin moves in to spoil the effort. Will become another source of tension in Europe-US relations over Iran policy," Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted .

As TAC previously reported , the legal rationale for detaining the Iranian vessel and its crew is questionable, because Iran is not a member of the European Union and thus can not violate EU sanctions.

"The UK had no legal right to enforce those sanctions," writes Gareth Porter, and the seizure "was a blatant violation of the clearly defined global rules that govern the passage of merchant ships through international straits."

It is unclear whether UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will support Washington's maximum pressure campaign against Iran. But the American decision to pursue its case in Gibraltar's courts may indicate that Britain is unwilling to further escalate tensions with the Islamic Republic.

Barbara Boland is 's foreign policy and national security reporter. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC.

[Aug 18, 2019] The Destruction Is the Point [ of Trump policy toward Iran] by Daniel Larison

How current prices correlate with Pompeo statement that "We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market." ? Something really strange is happening here.
Notable quotes:
"... Given these statements, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Pompeo is not being entirely honest when he claims the maximum pressure campaign is succeeding. Rather than leveling with the American people and making an argument about why the administration is persisting with the policy in spite of the lack of progress, he has chosen to deceive the public in order to defend a dangerous policy. ..."
"... Pompeo has made a habit of deceiving the public as Secretary of State on a range of issues from Yemen to North Korea, but for the most part he has been allowed to get away with that. ..."
"... When Pompeo has been asked for proof that the sanctions are "working," he cannot point to any positive change in the Iranian government's behavior, and instead he boasts about the harm that has been done to Iran's economy and its people: ..."
"... We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market. ..."
"... Pompeo is deception, lies, absolute dishonesty. But of course that is the mark of the trump regime in general terms. ..."
Aug 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nicholas Miller has delivered a devastating response to Pompeo's pitiful propaganda op-ed from earlier this month:

Given these statements, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Pompeo is not being entirely honest when he claims the maximum pressure campaign is succeeding. Rather than leveling with the American people and making an argument about why the administration is persisting with the policy in spite of the lack of progress, he has chosen to deceive the public in order to defend a dangerous policy.

Pompeo has made a habit of deceiving the public as Secretary of State on a range of issues from Yemen to North Korea, but for the most part he has been allowed to get away with that. He probably thinks that there is no price to be paid for constantly lying and misrepresenting things to the public and Congress, and so he keeps doing it.

The more important reason why Pompeo keeps deceiving the public is that he is also eager to please the president, and so he has to keep claiming success for failing policies because reports of success are what the president wants to hear. When Pompeo's ridiculous op-ed came out last week, one of the common questions that many people asked was, "Who is the audience for this?" The point these people were making was that the "argument" in the op-ed was so facile and nonsensical that it can't possibly have been intended to persuade anyone, so the purpose of it had to be to placate Trump and reassure him that the policy "works."

Miller does an outstanding job picking apart Pompeo's various claims and using Pompeo's previous contradictory claims against him, and he shows that the Secretary's defense of "maximum pressure" is a joke to any minimally informed person. But as far as Pompeo is concerned, all that matters is that Trump sticks with the policy. When Pompeo has been asked for proof that the sanctions are "working," he cannot point to any positive change in the Iranian government's behavior, and instead he boasts about the harm that has been done to Iran's economy and its people:

I remember, David – I'm sure no one in this room, but many here in Washington said that American sanctions alone won't work. Well, they've worked. We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market.

Miller addressed Pompeo's use of economic damage as proof of the policy's success this way:

Using economic damage to gauge the success of sanctions is like using body counts to measure success in counter-insurgency -- it's an indicator that your policy is having an effect, but does not necessarily imply you're any closer to achieving strategic objectives.

For a hard-liner like Pompeo, continuing with a destructive and bankrupt policy is a matter of ideology and an expression of hostility towards the targeted country. It doesn't matter to hard-liners if the policy actually achieves anything as long as it does damage, and so they take pride in the damage that they cause without any concern for the consequences for the U.S. and Iran. Rational critics of this policy rightfully object that this is just aimless destruction, but the destruction is the point of the policy.


Sid Finster 3 days ago

The current administration, like its predecessors, is not merely incompetent, it is actively malicious.
Zsuzsi Kruska Sid Finster 3 days ago
It only appears incompetent until you discover who benefits, and it isn't the majority of Americans. Who has benefited so far? The Plutocrats, oligarchs, Israel, Saudi, MIC, Big Oil, Big Rx, immigration related services. This is just a partial list, but guess who it doesn't include?
maninthewilderness Sid Finster 3 days ago
Perhaps it's a precondition for being the administration.
Littleredtop 3 days ago
Any nation that allows "freedom of speech" has made the assumption that either everyone is honest or everyone is smart enough to know bull sh !t when they hear it.
Taras77 3 days ago
Pompeo is deception, lies, absolute dishonesty. But of course that is the mark of the trump regime in general terms.

[Aug 17, 2019] The Unraveling of the Failed Trump Coup by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko trace to Steele dossier is a real shocker.
Notable quotes:
"... On December 5, 2016, Bruce Ohr emailed himself an Excel spreadsheet, seemingly from his wife Nellie Ohr, titled " WhosWho19Sept2016 ." The spreadsheet purports to show relationship descriptions and "linkages" between Donald Trump, his family and criminal figures, many of whom were Russians. ..."
"... If you want to have more fun, search the pdf using the term "BAYROCK." You will discover that Nellie Ohr, like a female Don Quixote, is searching desperately to link Trump and Sater to dirty Russian money. What she does not suspect is that Sater was being used, via his company Bayrock, to try to gain access to Russians who were potential targets of the FBI. ..."
"... What is not emphasized in the piece, and it is something I want to direct you to, is that the idea or impetus to launch the investigation of Butina came courtesy of Christopher Steele, who was relaying rumor and conjecture to Bruce Ohr. ..."
"... FBI Director Christopher Wray reminds me of one of the workers in the bowels of the Titanic who was furiously shoveling coal into the doomed boilers of the sinking ship. The FBI, like the Titanic, is in trouble. ..."
"... It also gave immunity to all of the people on Hillary's team that participated in obstruction of justice. On that same day, Jim Comey signed off on a separate memo that decided not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... Larry..Fusion GPS has always refused to Reveal who where its Financial support came from... ..."
"... So..the Timeline Indicates Fusion GPS was hired by The "Washington Free Beacon" around October 2015 to background checks and Profiles of The Republican Candidates for President.and that Fusion GPS continued to do so until May 2016..when it became clear that Donald Trump clinched the Nomination.. ..."
"... I wonder why AG Barr isn't forcing the FBI to comply sooner with Judge Boasberg's ruling to hand over unredacted Comey Memos and Archey Declarations? ..."
"... So what did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it? ..."
"... Nellie Ohr was working for a privately-owned firm that had employed her to make false accusations about Trump's alleged connections to Russians in order to sabotage his presidency and lay the groundwork for his impeachment. ..."
"... They also hired foreign agent, Chris Steele to concoct a thoroughly-debunked dossier for the same purpose. ..."
"... Can these people be charged with a crime or have we entered a new world of 'dirty tricks'??? ..."
"... Examination of the Nellie Ohr documents given to the FBI shows some of her source material also came from former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and a lawsuit she filed against Manafort. ..."
"... So, Bruce Ohr became a conduit of information not only for intelligence from Clinton's British opposition-researcher but also from his wife's curation of evidence from a Clinton foreign ally and Manafort enemy inside Ukraine. Talk about foreign influence in a U.S. election! ..."
"... The lines between government officials and informants, unverified political dirt and real intelligence, personal interest and law enforcement, became too blurred for the Justice Department's own good. ..."
Aug 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

There are many moving pieces in the drama surrounding the Deep State attempt to kill the Trump Presidency. God Bless Judicial Watch. I think most of the key evidence that has surfaced came courtesy of Tom Fitton, Chris Farrell and their team of tireless workers.

I want to bring you back to Mr. Felix Sater . He was part of Bayrock, which worked closely with Donald Trump's organization and, most importantly of all, was an FBI Confidential Human Source since December of 1998.

Thanks to Judicial Watch we have a new dump of Bruce Ohr emails, which include several from his wife, Nellie. There are 330 pages to wade thru (you can see them here ). There is one item in particular I encourage you to look at:

On December 5, 2016, Bruce Ohr emailed himself an Excel spreadsheet, seemingly from his wife Nellie Ohr, titled " WhosWho19Sept2016 ." The spreadsheet purports to show relationship descriptions and "linkages" between Donald Trump, his family and criminal figures, many of whom were Russians. This list of individuals allegedly "linked to Trump" include: a Russian involved in a "gangland killing;" an Uzbek mafia don; a former KGB officer suspected in the murder of Paul Tatum; a Russian who reportedly "buys up banks and pumps them dry"; a Russian money launderer for Sergei Magnitsky; a Turk accused of shipping oil for ISIS; a couple who lent their name to the Trump Institute, promoting its "get-rich-quick schemes"; a man who poured him a drink; and others.

The spreadsheet starts on page 301. If you search the document for the name Felix Sater, he will pop up. Now here is the curious and, I suppose, reassuring thing about this document--Nellie Ohr did not have a clue that Felix Sater was an active FBI informant. We can at least give the FBI credit for protecting Sater's identity from Nellie Ohr and, more importantly, her husband, DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

If you want to have more fun, search the pdf using the term "BAYROCK." You will discover that Nellie Ohr, like a female Don Quixote, is searching desperately to link Trump and Sater to dirty Russian money. What she does not suspect is that Sater was being used, via his company Bayrock, to try to gain access to Russians who were potential targets of the FBI.

One point is clear--she uncovered no evidence implicating Trump working with the Russians, either thru Felix Sater or one of the other "suspects" she exhaustively listed.

Shifting gears, there are two very important pieces recently posted at The Conservative Tree House that I encourage you to read:

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/08/12/quirky-angle-overstock-ceo-patrick-byrne-2016-fbi-activity-was-political-espionage/#more-168122 https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/08/12/federal-judge-completely-rejects-doj-argument-orders-archey-declarations-descriptions-of-comey-memosreleased/ The first piece focuses on CEO Patrick Byrne and the role he played in trying to entrap and portray Marina Butina as a Russian agent.

What is not emphasized in the piece, and it is something I want to direct you to, is that the idea or impetus to launch the investigation of Butina came courtesy of Christopher Steele, who was relaying rumor and conjecture to Bruce Ohr.

You can find this information in the Bruce Ohr 302s that Judicial Watch also secured. Marina Butina was unfairly and unjustly portrayed and prosecuted as a Russian intelligence agent. It was a damn lie.

I do not ever want to hear another American complaining about an American State Department or CIA employee who is entrapped and unfairly prosecuted in Russia.

We have done the same damn thing that we have accused the Soviets of doing. The same thing. It is shameful.

The second piece is the ultimate feel good piece. Kudos to its author, Sundance.

He details how a Federal Judge, infuriated by the FBIs stupidity and mendacity, tells the Bureau to go pound sand. The FBI is frantically trying to prevent the Archey Declarations from being revealed thanks to a lawsuit brought by CNN (finally, CNN did something right).

The Archey Declarations provide a detailed description of the memos written and illegally removed from FBI Headquarters by that sanctimonious twit, Jim Comey. More shoes will be dropping in the coming days.

It appears that Inspector General Horowitz is going to present at least one report on Jim Comey and one report on the FISA abuse by the FBI.

FBI Director Christopher Wray reminds me of one of the workers in the bowels of the Titanic who was furiously shoveling coal into the doomed boilers of the sinking ship. The FBI, like the Titanic, is in trouble.

Finally, Gateway Pundit's Joe Hoft put up an important piece today ( see here ). Here is the bottomline, and keep this in mind as you read the piece, on June 20, 2016 the FBI signed off on a deal with Hillary Clinton's attorney's that gave Hillary's team the right to destroy computers and emails.

It also gave immunity to all of the people on Hillary's team that participated in obstruction of justice. On that same day, Jim Comey signed off on a separate memo that decided not to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

The fix was in more than a month before Jim Comey appeared on camera to try to explain why he was not recommending prosecution of Hillary for putting Top Secret information on her unclassified server.

Jim Comey lied when he declared that could not prove "intent."

I am sure that those of you who have never held a clearance and handled Top Secret material probably believed that lie.

But anyone who knows how the TS system is set up knows that the ONLY WAY, I repeat, the ONLY WAY to put TS material on an unclassified server is to do so intentionally. There is no way to do this mistakenly.


Jim Ticehurst said in reply to Jim Ticehurst... ,

Larry..Fusion GPS has always refused to Reveal who where its Financial support came from...

So..the Timeline Indicates Fusion GPS was hired by The "Washington Free Beacon" around October 2015 to background checks and Profiles of The Republican Candidates for President.and that Fusion GPS continued to do so until May 2016..when it became clear that Donald Trump clinched the Nomination..

creating Phase 2..Operations..

"The Washington Free Beacon ".Has an Editor in Chief ..who is William Kristols Son In Law..And William Kristols ..Father....Irving Kristol..is Called..."the God Father of Neo Conservatism". William Kristol..was a John McCain supporter..

Thus Fusion GPS..retained Nellie Ohr..(strangly..NO Wiki Profile) who apparently had to Use her husbnd Bruce Ohrs Clearances,,to continue Her Collaberation with Fusion GPS..

By June 2016 the Strategy was to bring in Christopher Steele..who was know to Bruce Ohr back to 2006.. Strange.. NO early life BIOS for Bruce or Nellie Ohr..

Jack , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
Larry

Do you believe the current DOJ under Barr will really investigate and convene a grand jury to hear testimony from Comey, Brennan and Clapper?

And what do you make of the fact that Epstein who was on suicide watch either was murdered or killed himself while in custody?

akaPatience , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
I wonder why AG Barr isn't forcing the FBI to comply sooner with Judge Boasberg's ruling to hand over unredacted Comey Memos and Archey Declarations?

The Gateway Pundit item about the ridiculously unfair and unethical deals made in Hillary Clinton's email scandal investigation is just further proof of how the Clinton taint infected the FBI. "Crooked" is a very apt epithet, that's for sure. I'd love to know how much Bill and Hill raked in during her Sec'y. of State racketeering.

Fred , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
So what did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it?
plantman , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
You say: "One point is clear--she uncovered no evidence implicating Trump working with the Russians, either thru Felix Sater or one of the other "suspects" she exhaustively listed."

This is true, but it is also true that Nellie Ohr was working for a privately-owned firm that had employed her to make false accusations about Trump's alleged connections to Russians in order to sabotage his presidency and lay the groundwork for his impeachment.

They also hired foreign agent, Chris Steele to concoct a thoroughly-debunked dossier for the same purpose.

Can these people be charged with a crime or have we entered a new world of 'dirty tricks'???

Keith Harbaugh , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
Let me just add this piece by John Solomon: "New evidence shows why Steele, the Ohrs and TSA workers never should have become DOJ sources" by John Solomon, 2019-08-15
...
Examination of the Nellie Ohr documents given to the FBI shows some of her source material also came from former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and a lawsuit she filed against Manafort.

Why is that significant? Tymoshenko and Hillary Clinton had a simpatico relationship after the former secretary of State went out of her way in January 2013 to advocate for Tymoshenko's release from prison on corruption charges.

So, Bruce Ohr became a conduit of information not only for intelligence from Clinton's British opposition-researcher but also from his wife's curation of evidence from a Clinton foreign ally and Manafort enemy inside Ukraine. Talk about foreign influence in a U.S. election!
...
The tales of Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, Yulia Tymoshenko, and those DEA and TSA agents raise a stark warning:

The lines between government officials and informants, unverified political dirt and real intelligence, personal interest and law enforcement,
became too blurred for the Justice Department's own good.

That's a problem sorely in need of fixing.

oldman22 said in reply to Keith Harbaugh... 17 August 2019 at 01:16 AM

The person responsible for securing the release of Yulia Tymoshenko was Chancellor Merkel. Further, that USA opposed Tymoshenko.

quote
As for one of the leaders of the war party in Kiev, Merkel has privately and publicly endorsed every claim of Yulia Tymoshenko, promoting her release from prison and protecting her campaigns for war against Russia, even though – according to the high-level German source – “they [Chancellery, Foreign Ministry] have known for years that [Tymoshenko] was a crook.”
endquote

There is a lot more detail Tymoshenko's corruption and Merkel's rescue here:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/02/john-helmer-the-political-motivation-of-chancellor-merkels-embrace-of-yulia-tymoshenko-and-war.html

(republished from John Helmer's website, includes a great cartoon worth viewing)

If you want more sources for this story,google
"Merkel, Tymoshenko, prison"

[Aug 17, 2019] America s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia by James Bovard

By all measures Clinton is a war criminal... Hilary is a female sociopath or worse.
Notable quotes:
"... Hillary Clinton revealed to an interviewer in the summer of 1999, "I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?" ..."
"... The Kosovo Liberation Army's savage nature was well known before the Clinton administration formally christened them "freedom fighters" in 1999. ..."
"... Sen. Joe Lieberman whooped that the United States and the KLA "stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." ..."
"... Clinton administration officials justified killing civilians because, it alleged the Serbs were committing genocide in Kosovo. After the bombing ended, no evidence of genocide was found, but Clinton and Britain's Tony Blair continued boasting as if their war had stopped a new Hitler in his tracks. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | www.fff.org

Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton commenced bombing Serbia in the name of human rights, justice, and ethnic tolerance. Approximately 1,500 Serb civilians were killed by NATO bombing in one of the biggest sham morality plays of the modern era. As British professor Philip Hammond recently noted, the 78-day bombing campaign "was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called 'dual-use' targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorise the country into surrender."

Clinton's unprovoked attack on Serbia, intended to help ethnic Albanians seize control of Kosovo, set a precedent for "humanitarian" warring that was invoked by supporters of George W. Bush's unprovoked attack on Iraq, Barack Oba-ma's bombing of Libya, and Donald Trump's bombing of Syria.

Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo, and there is an 11-foot statue of him standing in the capitol, Pristina, on Bill Clinton Boulevard. A commentator in the United Kingdom's Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton "with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999." It would have been a more accurate representation if Clinton was shown standing on the corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the U.S. bombing campaign.

Bombing Serbia was a family affair in the Clinton White House. Hillary Clinton revealed to an interviewer in the summer of 1999, "I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?" A biography of Hillary Clinton, written by Gail Sheehy and published in late 1999, stated that Mrs. Clinton had refused to talk to the president for eight months after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. She resumed talking to her husband only when she phoned him and urged him in the strongest terms to begin bombing Serbia; the president began bombing within 24 hours. Alexander Cockburn observed in the Los Angeles Times,

It's scarcely surprising that Hillary would have urged President Clinton to drop cluster bombs on the Serbs to defend "our way of life." The first lady is a social engineer. She believes in therapeutic policing and the duty of the state to impose such policing. War is more social engineering, "fixitry" via high explosive, social therapy via cruise missile . As a tough therapeutic cop, she does not shy away from the most abrupt expression of the therapy: the death penalty.

I followed the war closely from the start, but selling articles to editors bashing the bombing was as easy as pitching paeans to Scientology. Instead of breaking into newsprint, my venting occurred instead in my journal:

The KLA

The Kosovo Liberation Army's savage nature was well known before the Clinton administration formally christened them "freedom fighters" in 1999. The previous year, the State Department condemned "terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army." The KLA was heavily involved in drug trafficking and had close to ties to Osama bin Laden. Arming the KLA helped Clinton portray himself as a crusader against injustice and shift public attention after his impeachment trial. Clinton was aided by many congressmen eager to portray U.S. bombing as an engine of righteousness. Sen. Joe Lieberman whooped that the United States and the KLA "stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values."

In early June 1999, the Washington Post reported that "some presidential aides and friends are describing [bombing] Kosovo in Churchillian tones, as Clinton's 'finest hour.'" Clinton administration officials justified killing civilians because, it alleged the Serbs were committing genocide in Kosovo. After the bombing ended, no evidence of genocide was found, but Clinton and Britain's Tony Blair continued boasting as if their war had stopped a new Hitler in his tracks.

In a speech to American troops in a Thanksgiving 1999 visit, Clinton declared that the Kosovar children "love the United States because we gave them their freedom back." Perhaps Clinton saw freedom as nothing more than being tyrannized by people of the same ethnicity. As the Serbs were driven out of Kosovo, Kosovar Albanians became increasingly oppressed by the KLA, which ignored its commitment to disarm. The Los Angeles Times reported on November 20, 1999,

As a postwar power struggle heats up in Kosovo Albanian politics, extremists are trying to silence moderate leaders with a terror campaign of kidnappings, beatings, bombings, and at least one killing. The intensified attacks against members of the moderate Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, have raised concerns that radical ethnic Albanians are turning against their own out of fear of losing power in a democratic Kosovo.

American and NATO forces stood by as the KLA resumed its ethnic cleansing, slaughtering Serbian civilians, bombing Serbian churches, and oppressing non-Muslims. Almost a quarter million Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other minorities fled Kosovo after Clinton promised to protect them. In March 2000 renewed fighting broke out when the KLA launched attacks into Serbia, trying to seize territory that it claimed historically belonged to ethnic Albanians. UN Human Rights Envoy Jiri Dienstbier reported that "the [NATO] bombing hasn't solved any problems. It only multiplied the existing problems and created new ones. The Yugoslav economy was destroyed. Kosovo is destroyed. There are hundreds of thousands of people unemployed now."

U.S. complicity in atrocities

Prior to the NATO bombing, American citizens had no responsibility for atrocities committed by either Serbs or ethnic Albanians. However, after American planes bombed much of Serbia into rubble to drive the Serbian military out of Kosovo, Clinton effectively made the United States responsible for the safety of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo. That was equivalent to forcibly disarming a group of people, and then standing by, whistling and looking at the ground, while they are slaughtered. Since the United States promised to bring peace to Kosovo, Clinton bears some responsibility for every burnt church, every murdered Serbian grandmother, every new refugee column streaming north out of Kosovo. Despite those problems, Clinton bragged at a December 8, 1999, press conference that he was "very, very proud" of what the United States had done in Kosovo.

I had a chapter on the Serbian bombing campaign titled "Moralizing with Cluster Bombs" in Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton–Gore Years (St. Martin's Press, 2000), which sufficed to spur at least one or two reviewers to attack the book. Norman Provizer, the director of the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership, scoffed in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, "Bovard chastises Clinton for an illegal, undeclared war in Kosovo without ever bothering to mention that, during the entire run of American history, there have been but four official declarations of war by Congress."

As the chaotic situation in post-war Kosovo became stark, it was easier to work in jibes against the debacle. In an October 2002 USA Today article ("Moral High Ground Not Won on Battlefield") bashing the Bush administration's push for war against Iraq, I pointed out, "A desire to spread freedom does not automatically confer a license to kill . Operation Allied Force in 1999 bombed Belgrade, Yugoslavia, into submission purportedly to liberate Kosovo. Though Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic raised the white flag, ethnic cleansing continued -- with the minority Serbs being slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground in the same way the Serbs previously oppressed the ethnic Albanians."

In a 2011 review for The American Conservative, I scoffed, "After NATO planes killed hundreds if not thousands of Serb and ethnic Albanian civilians, Bill Clinton could pirouette as a savior. Once the bombing ended, many of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo were slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground. NATO's 'peace' produced a quarter million Serbian, Jewish, and Gypsy refugees."

In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts. Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites."

The New York Times reported that the trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling: "Past investigations of reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo have been undermined by witnesses' fears of testifying in a small country where clan ties run deep and former members of the KLA are still feted as heroes. Former leaders of the KLA occupy high posts in the government." American politicians almost entirely ignored the scandal. Vice President Joe Biden hailed former KLA leader and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010 as "the George Washington of Kosovo." A few months later, a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation.

Clinton's war on Serbia opened a Pandora's box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and pundits portrayed that war as a moral triumph, it was easier for subsequent presidents to portray U.S. bombing as the self-evident triumph of good over evil. Honest assessments of wrongful killings remain few and far between in media coverage.

This article was originally published in the July 2019 edition of Future of Freedom .

Category: Foreign Policy & War

James Bovard is a policy adviser to The Future of Freedom Foundation. He is a USA Today columnist and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New Republic, Reader's Digest, Playboy, American Spectator, Investors Business Daily, and many other publications. He is the author of Freedom Frauds: Hard Lessons in American Liberty (2017, published by FFF); Public Policy Hooligan (2012); Attention Deficit Democracy (2006); The Bush Betrayal (2004); Terrorism and Tyranny (2003); Feeling Your Pain (2000); Freedom in Chains (1999); Shakedown (1995); Lost Rights (1994); The Fair Trade Fraud (1991); and The Farm Fiasco (1989). He was the 1995 co-recipient of the Thomas Szasz Award for Civil Liberties work, awarded by the Center for Independent Thought, and the recipient of the 1996 Freedom Fund Award from the Firearms Civil Rights Defense Fund of the National Rifle Association. His book Lost Rights received the Mencken Award as Book of the Year from the Free Press Association. His Terrorism and Tyranny won Laissez Faire Book's Lysander Spooner award for the Best Book on Liberty in 2003. Read his blog . Send him email .

[Aug 17, 2019] Candidates Must Commit to Immediate US Withdrawal From Afghanistan by Marjorie Cohn

Aug 15, 2019 | truthout.org
In July 30, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the Afghan government and international military forces, primarily the United States , caused most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2019. That's more killings than those perpetrated in the same time period by the Taliban and ISIS combined.

Aerial operations were responsible for 519 civilian casualties (356 deaths and 156 injuries), including 150 children (89 deaths and 61 injuries). That constitutes a 39 percent increase in overall civilian casualties from aerial attacks. Eighty-three percent of civilian casualties from aerial operations were carried out by the international forces.

The targeting of civilians amounts to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

... ... ...

Team Trump's deadly actions are a continuation of the Bush and Obama administrations' commission of the most heinous crimes in Afghanistan. On April 12, the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber found a "reasonable basis" to believe that the parties to the Afghan conflict, including the U.S. military and the CIA, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, most of them occurring between 2005 and 2015. They include "the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the U.S. authorities."

The chamber, however, refused to open a formal investigation into those crimes, as recommended by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. In concluding that "an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice," the chamber questioned the feasibility of such a probe. An investigation would be "very wide in scope and encompasses a high number of alleged incidents having occurred over a long time period," the chamber wrote. It noted the extreme difficulty in gauging "the prospects of securing meaningful cooperation from relevant authorities for the future" and found "the current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited."

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

[Aug 17, 2019] Debunking the Putin Panic by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm not aware that Russia attacked Georgia. The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia.

So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east.

Now NATO is sitting on Russia's borders from the Baltic to Ukraine. So Russians aren't fools, and they're good-hearted, but they become resentful. They're worried about being attacked by the United States. In fact, you read and hear in the Russian media daily, we are under attack by the United States. And this is a lot more real and meaningful than this crap that is being put out that Russia somehow attacked us in 2016. I must have been sleeping. I didn't see Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and 2016. This is reckless, dangerous, warmongering talk. It needs to stop. Russia has a better case for saying they've been attacked by us since 1991. We put our military alliance on the front door. Maybe it's not an attack, but it looks like one, feels like one. Could be one.


Disturbed Voter , July 30, 2018 at 6:32 am

Real politik. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Don't start fights in the first place. The idea that American leadership is any better than mid-Victorian imperialism, is laughable.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am

Here's the RNN link to part one: The Russia "National Security Crisis" is a U.S. Creation .

integer , July 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

AARON MATE: We hear, often, talk of Putin possibly being the richest person in the world as a result of his entanglement with the very corruption of Russia you're speaking about

Few appear to be aware that Bill Browder is single-handedly responsible for starting, and spreading, the rumor that Putin's net worth is $200 billion (for those who are unfamiliar with Browder, I highly recommend watching Andrei Nekrasov's documentary titled " The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes "). Browder appears to have first started this rumor early in 2015 , and has repeated it ad nauseam since then, including in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 . While Browder has always framed the $200 billion figure as his own estimate, that subtle qualifier has had little effect on the media's willingness to accept it as fact.

Interestingly, during the press conference at the Helsinki Summit, Putin claimed Browder sent $400 million of ill-gotten gains to the Clinton campaign. Putin retracted the statement and claimed to have misspoke a week or so later, however by that time the $400 million figure had been cited by numerous media outlets around the world. I think it is at least possible that Putin purposely exaggerated the amount of money in question as a kind of tit-for-tat response to Browder having started the rumor about his net worth being $200 billion.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 11:39 am

The stories I saw said there was a mistranslation -- but that the figure should have $400 thousand and not $400 million. Maybe Putin misspoke, but the $400,000 number is still significant, albeit far more reasonable.

Putin never was on the Forbes list of billionaires, btw, and his campaign finance statement comes to far less. It never seems to occur to rabid capitalists or crooks that not everyone is like them, placing such importance on vast fortunes, or want to be dishonest, greedy, or power hungry. Putin is only 'well off' and that seems to satisfy him just fine as he gets on with other interests, values, and goals.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yes, $400,000 is the revised/correct figure. My having written that "Putin retracted the statement" was not the best choice of phrase. Also, the figure was corrected the day after it was made, not "a week or so later" as I wrote in my previous comment. From the Russia Insider link:

Browder's criminal group used many tax evasion methods, including offshore companies. They siphoned shares and funds from Russia worth over 1.5 billion dollars. By the way, $400,000 was transferred to the US Democratic Party's accounts from these funds. The Russian president asked us to correct his statement from yesterday. During the briefing, he said it was $400,000,000, not $400,000. Either way, it's still a significant amount of money.

JohnnyGL , July 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I hadn't heard about the revision/edit to the $400M, thanks!

Seems crazy to think how much Russo-phobia seems to have been ginned up by one tax-dodging hedgie with an axe to grind.

Procopius , July 31, 2018 at 1:11 am

There's something weird about the anti-Putin hysteria. Somehow, many, many people have come to believe they must demonstrate their membership in the tribe by accepting completely unsupported assertions that go against common sense.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

In a sane world we the people would be furious with the Clinton campaign, especially the D party but the R's as well, our media (again), and our intel/police State (again). Holding them all accountable while making sure this tsunami of deception and lies never happens again.

It's amazing even in time of the internetz those of us who really dig can only come up with a few sane voices. It's much worse now in terms of the numbers of sane voices than it was in the run up to Iraq 2.

CenterOfGravity , July 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Regardless of broad access to far more information in the digital age, never under estimate the self-preservation instinct of American exceptionalist mythology. There is an inverse relationship between the decline of US global primacy and increasingly desperate quest for adventurism. Like any case of addiction, looking outward for blame/salvation is imperative in order to prevent the mirror of self-reflection/realization from turning back onto ourselves.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

we're not to believe we're not supposed to believe we're supposed to believe

Believe whatever you want, however your comment gives the impression that you came to this article because you felt the need to push back against anything that does not conform to the liberal international order's narrative on Putin and Russia, rather than "with an eagerness to counterbalance the media's portrayal of Putin". WRT to whataboutism, I like Greenwald's definition of the term :

"Whataboutism": the term used to bar inquiry into whether someone adheres to the moral and behavioral standards they seek to impose on everyone else. That's its functional definition.

Rojo , July 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Invoking "whataboutism" is a liberal team-Dem tell.

Amfortas the Hippie , July 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

aye. I've never seen it used by anyone aside from the worst Hill Trolls.
Indeed, when it was first thrown at me, I endeavored to look it up, and found that all references to it were from Hillaryites attempting to diss apostates and heretics.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , July 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Eh, probably

John Oliver, whos been completely sucking lately with TDS, did a semi decent segment on Whataboutism.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

The degree of consistency and or lack of hypocrisy based on words and actions separates US from Russia to an astonishing level. That is Russia's largest threat to US, our deceivers. The propaganda tables have turned and we are deceiving ourselves to points of collective insanity and warmongering with a great nuclear power while we are at it. Warmongering is who we are and what we do.

Does Russia have a GITMO, torture Chelsea Manning, openly say they want to kill Snowden and Assange? Is Russia building up arsenals on our borders while maintaining hundreds of foreign bases and conducting several wars at any given moment while constantly threatening to foment more wars? Is Russia dropping another trillion on nuclear arsenals? Is Russia forcing us to maintain such an anti democratic system and an even worse, an entirely hackable electronic voting system?

You ready to destroy the world, including your own, rather than look in the mirror?

rkka , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

You're talking about extending Russian military power into Europe when the military spending of NATO Europe alone exceeds Russia's by almost 5-1 (more like 12-1 when one includes the US and Canada), have about triple the number of soldiers than Russia has, and when the Russian ground forces are numerically smaller than they have been in at least 200 years?

" to put their self-interests above those of their constituents and employees, why can't we apply this same lens to Putin and his oligarchs?"

The oligarchs got their start under Yeltsin and his FreeMarketDemocraticReformers, whose policies were so catastrophic that deaths were exceeding births by almost a million a year by the late '90s, with no end in sight. Central to Yeltsin's governance was the corrupt privatization, by which means the Seven Bankers came to control the Russian economy and Russian politics.

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

Central to Putin's popularity are the measures he took to curb oligarchic predation in 2003-2005. Because of this, Russia's debt:GDP ratio went from 1.0 to about 0.2, and Russia's demographic recovery began while Western analysis were still predicting the death of Russia.

So Putin is the anti-oligarch in Russian domestic politics.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

"While it's true that power corrupts"

I know of many people who sacrifice their own interests for those of their children (over whom they have virtually absolute power), family member and friends. I know of others who dedicate their lives to justice, peace, the well being of their nation, the world, and other people -- people who find far greater meaning and satisfaction in this than in accumulating power or money. Other people have their own goals, such as producing art, inventing interesting things, reading and learning, and don't care two hoots about power or money as long as their immediate needs are met.

I'm cynical enough about humans without thinking the worst of everyone and every group or culture. Not everyone thinks only of nails and wants to be hammers, or are sociopaths. There are times when people are more or less forced into taking power, or getting more money, even if they don't want it, because they want to change things for the better or need to defend themselves.
There are people who get guns and learn how to use them only because they feel a need for defending themselves and family but who don't like guns and don't want to shoot anyone or anything.

There are many people who do not want to be controlled and bossed around, but neither want to boss around anyone else. The world is full of such people. If they are threatened and attacked, however, expect defensive reactions. Same as for most animals which are not predators, and even predators will generally not attack other animals if they are not hungry or threatened -- but that does not mean they are not competent or can be dangerous.

Capitalism is not only inherently predatory, but is inherently expansive without limits, with unlimited ambition for profits and control. It's intrinsically very competitive and imperialist. Capitalism is also a thing which was exported to Russia, starting soon after the Russian Revolution, which was immediately attacked and invaded by the West, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet Russia had it's own problems, which it met with varying degrees of success, but were quite different from the aggressive capitalism and imperialism of the US and Europe.

Not every culture and person are the same.

BenX , July 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The pro-Putin propaganda is pretty interesting to witness, and of course not everything Cohen says is skewed pro-Putin – that's what provides credibility. But "Putin kills everybody" is something NOBODY says (except Cohen, twice in one interview) – Putin is actually pretty selective of those he decides to have killed. But of course, he doesn't kill anyone, personally – therefore he's an innocent lamb, accidentally running Russia as a dictator.

rkka , July 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

The most recent dictator in Russian history was Boris Yeltsin, who turned tanks on his legislature while it was in the legal and constitutional process of impeaching him, and whose policies were so catastrophic for Russians (who were dying off at the rate of 900k/yr) that he had to steal his re-election because he had a 5% approval rating.

But he did as the US gvt told him, so I guess that makes him a Democrat.

Under Putin Russia recovered from being helpless, bankrupt & dying, but Russia has an independent foreign policy, so that makes Putin a dictator.

Plenue , July 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

"Does any sane person believe that there will ever be a Putin-signed contract provided as evidence? Does any sane person believe that Putin actually needs to "approve" a contract rather than signaling to his oligarch/mafia hierarchy that he's unhappy about a newspaper or journalist's reporting?"

Why do you think Putin even needs, or feels a need, to have journalists killed in the first place? I see no evidence to support this basic assumption.

The idea of Russia poised to attack Europe is interesting, in light of the fact that they've cut their military spending by 20%. And even before that the budgets of France, Germany, and the UK combined well exceeded that of Russia, to say nothing of the rest of NATO or the US.

Putin's record speaks for itself. This again points to the absurdity of claiming he's had reporters killed: he doesn't need to. He has a vast amount of genuine public support because he's salvaged the country and pieced it back together after the pillaging of the Yeltsin years. That he himself is a corrupt oligarch I have no particular doubt of. But if he just wanted to enrich himself, he's had a very funny way of going about it. Pray tell, what are these 'other interpretations'?

"The US foreign policy has been disastrous for millions of people since world war 2. But Cohen's arguments that Russia isn't as bad as the US is just a bunch of whattaboutism."

What countries has the Russian Federation destroyed?

witters , July 31, 2018 at 1:30 am

Here is a fascinating essay ["Are We Reading Russia Right?"] by Nicolai N. Petro who currently holds the Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. His books include, Ukraine
in Crisis (Routledge, 2017), Crafting Democracy (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy (Harvard, 1995), and Russian Foreign Policy, co-authored with Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Longman, 1997). A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is the recipient of Fulbright awards to Russia and to Ukraine, as well as fellowships from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington,
D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. As a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State from 1989 to 1990. In addition to scholarly publications
on Russia and Ukraine, he has written for Asia Times, American Interest, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), The Nation, New York Times, and Wilson Quarterly. His writings have appeared frequently on the web sites of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and The National Interest.

I warn you – it is terrifying!

http://npetro.net/resources/Petro-FF+Spring+2018.pdf

Carolinian , July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

Thanks for so much for this. Great stuff. Cohen says the emperor has no clothes so naturally the empire doesn't want him on television. I believe he has been on CNN one or two times and I saw him once on the PBS Newshour where the interviewer asked skeptical questions with a pained and skeptical look. He seems to be the only prominent person willing to stand up and call bs on the Russia hate. There are plenty of pundits and commentators who do that but not many Princeton professors.

Thye Rev Kev , July 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

It has been said in recent years that the greatest failure of American foreign policy was the invasion of Iraq. I think that they are wrong. The greatest failure, in my opinion, is to push both China and Russia together into a semi-official pact against American ambitions. In the same way that the US was able to split China from the USSR back in the seventies, the best option was for America to split Russia from China and help incorporate them into the western system. The waters for that idea have been so fouled by the Russia hysteria, if not dementia, that that is no longer a possibility. I just wish that the US would stop sowing dragon's teeth – it never ends well.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

The best option, but the "American exceptionalists" went nuts. Also, the usual play book of stoking fears of the "yellow menace" would have been too on the nose. Americans might not buy it, and there was a whole cottage industry of "the rising China threat" except the potential consumer market place and slave labor factories stopped that from happening.

Bringing Russia into the West effectively means Europe, and I think that creates a similar dynamic to a Russian/Chinese pact. The basic problem with the EU is its led by a relatively weak but very German power which makes the EU relatively weak or controllable as long as the German electorate is relatively sedate. I think they still need the international structures run by the U.S. to maintain their dominance. What Russia and the pre-Erdogan Turkey (which was never going to be admitted to the EU) presented was significant upsets to the existing EU order with major balances to Germany which I always believed would make the EU potentially more dynamic. Every decision wouldn't require a pilgrimage to Berlin. The British were always disinterested. The French had made arrangements with Germany, and Italy is still Italy. Putting Russia or Turkey (pre-Erdogan) would have disrupted this arrangement.

John Wright , July 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

>which is oddly not easy to locate on its site

It appeared to me that Aaron Mate knew he was dealing with a weak hand by the end of the interview.

When Mate stated "it's widely held that Putin is responsible for the killing of journalists and opposition activists who oppose him."

There are many widely held beliefs in the world, and that does not make them true.

For example, It was widely held, and still may be believed by some, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the events of 9/11.

It is widely believed that humans are not responsible, in any part, for climate change.

Mate may have been embarrassed when he saw the final version and as a courtesy to him, the interview was made more difficult to find.

pretzelattack , July 30, 2018 at 11:35 am

iirc he didn't say it was true.

Elizabeth Burton , July 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

The Crimea voted to be annexed by Russia by a clear majority. The US overran Hawaii with total disregard for the wishes of the native population. Your comparison is invalid.

vato , July 31, 2018 at 3:37 am

"Putin's finger prints are all over the Balkan fiasco".How is that with Putin only becoming president in 2000 and the Nato bombing started way beforehand. It's ridiculous to think that Putin had any major influence at that time as govenor or director of the domestic intelligence service on what was going during the bombing of NATO on Belgrad. Even Gerhard Schroeder, then chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, admitted in an interview in 2014 with a major German Newspaper (Die Zeit) that this invasion of Nato was a fault and against international law!

Can you concrete what you mean by "fingerprints" or is this just another platitudes?

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

o Eager and uncritical ingestion and social-media regurgitation of even the most patently absurd MSM propaganda. For example, the meme that releasing factual information about actual election-meddling (as Wikileaks did about the Dem-establishment's rigging of its own nomination process in 2016) is a grave threat to American Democracy™;

o Recent-onset veneration of the intelligence agencies, whose stock in trade is spying on and lying to the American people, spreading disinformation, election rigging, torture and assassination and its agents, such as liar and perjurer Clapper and torturer Brennan;

o Rehabilitation of horrid unindicted GOP war criminals like G.W. Bush as alleged examples of "norms-respecting Republican patriots";

o Smearing of anyone who dares question the MSM-stoked hysteria as an America-hating Russian stooge.

[Aug 17, 2019] The Anti-Russia Inquisition Intensifies by