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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

[Jun 23, 2019] Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

by Tyler Durden Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:25 2 SHARES Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Tensions in the Persian Gulf are reaching a point of no return . In recent weeks, six oil tankers have been subjected to Israeli sabotage disguised to look like Iranian attacks to induce the United States to take military action against the Islamic Republic. Some days ago Iran rightfully shot out of the sky a US Drone. In Yemen, the Houthis have finally started responding with cruise and ballistic missiles to the Saudis' indiscriminate attacks, causing damage to the Saudi international airport of Abha, as well as blocking, through explosive drones , Saudi oil transportation from east to west through one of the largest pipelines in the world.

As if the political and military situation at this time were not tense and complex enough, the two most important power groups in the United States, the Fed and the military-industrial complex, both face problems that threaten to diminish Washington's status as a world superpower .

The Fed could find itself defending the role of the US dollar as the world reserve currency during any conflict in the Persian Gulf that would see the cost of oil rise to $300 a barrel , threatening trillions of dollars in derivatives and toppling the global economy.

The military-industrial complex would in turn be involved in a war that it would struggle to contain and even win, destroying the United States' image of invincibility and inflicting a mortal blow on its ability to project power to the four corners of the world.

Just look at how surprised US officials were about Iran's capabilities to shot down an advanced US Drone:

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region."

The Fed and the defense of the dollar

The US dollar-based economy has a huge debt problem caused by post-2008 economic policies. All central banks have lowered interest rates to zero or even negative, thus continuing to feed otherwise dying economies.

The central bank of central banks, the Bank for International Settlements, an entity hardly known to most people, has stated in writing that "the outstanding notional amount of derivative contracts is 542 trillion dollars." The total combined GDP of all the countries of the world is around 75 trillion dollars.

With the dimensions of the problem thus understood, it is important to look at how Deutsche Bank (DB), one of the largest financial institutions in the world, is dealing with this. The German bank alone has assets worth about 40 trillion dollars in derivatives, or more than half of annual global GDP.

Their solution, not at all innovative or effective, has been to create yet another bad bank into which to pour at least 50 billion dollars of long-term assets, which are clearly toxic.

Reuters explains :

"The bad bank would house or sell assets valued at up to 50 billion euros ($56 billion) – after adjusting for risk – and comprising mainly long-dated derivatives.

The measures are part of a significant restructuring of the investment bank, a major source of revenue for Germany's largest lender, which has struggled to generate sustainable profits since the 2008 financial crisis."

Thus, not only has Deutsche Bank accumulated tens of billions of dollars in unsuccessful options and securities, it seeks to obtain a profit that has been elusive since 2008, the year of the financial crisis. Deutsche Bank is full of toxic bonds and inflated debts kept alive through the flow of quantitative easing (QE) money from the European Central Bank, the Fed and the Japanese Central Bank. Without QE, the entire Western world economy would have fallen into recession with a chain of bubbles bursting, such as in public and private debt.

If the economy was recovering, as we are told by soi-disant financial experts, the central-bank rates would rise. Instead, rates have plummeted for about a decade, to the extent of becoming negative loans.

If the Western financial trend is undoubtedly heading towards an economic abyss as a result of the monetary policies employed after 2008 to keep a dying economy alive, what is the rescue plan for the US dollar, its status as a global-reserve currency, and by extension of US hegemony? Simply put, there is no rescue plan.

There could not be one because the next financial crisis will undoubtedly wipe out the US dollar as a global reserve currency, ending US hegemony financed by unlimited spending power. All countries possessing a modicum of foresight are in the process of de-dollarizing their economies and are converting strategic reserves from US or US-dollar government bonds to primary commodities like gold.

The military-industrial complex and the harsh reality in Iran

In this economic situation that offers no escape, the immediate geopolitical effect is a surge of war threats in strategic locations like the Persian Gulf. The risk of a war of aggression against Iran by the Saudi-Israeli-US axis would have little chance of success, but it would probably succeed in permanently devastating the global economy as a result of a surge in oil prices.

The risk of war on Iran by this triad seems to be the typical ploy of the bad loser who, rather than admit defeat, would rather pull the rug out from under everyone's feet in order to bring everybody down with him. Tankers being hit and then blamed on Iran with no evidence are a prime example of how to create the plausible justification for bombing Tehran.

Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the actions of Bolton and Pompeo seem to be aligned in prolonging the United States' unipolar moment, continuing to issue diktats to other countries and failing to recognize the multipolar reality we live in. Their policies and actions are accelerating the dispersal of power away from the US and towards other great powers like Russia and China, both of which also have enormous influence in the Persian Gulf.

The threat of causing a conflict in the Persian Gulf, and thereby making the price of oil soar to $300 a barrel, will not save US hegemony but will rather end up accelerating the inevitable end of the US dollar as a global reserve currency.

Trump is in danger of being crushed between a Fed that sees the US dollar's role as the world's reserve currency collapse, and the need for the Fed to blame someone not linked to the real causes of the collapse, that is to say, the monetary policies adopted through QE to prolong the post-crisis economic agony of 2008.

At the same time, with Trump as president, the neocon-Israeli-Saudi supporters see a unique opportunity to strike Iran, a desire that has remained unchanged for 40 years.

As foolish as it may seem, a war on Iran could be the perfect option that satisfies all power groups in the United States. The hawks would finally have their war against Tehran, the world economy would sink, and the blame would fall entirely on Trump. The Donald, as a result, would lose any chance of being re-elected so it makes sense for him to call off possible strikes as he did after the US drone was shot out of the sky.

While unable to live up to his electoral promises, Trump seems to be aware that the path laid out for him in the event of an attack on Iran would lead to his political destruction and probably to a conflict that is militarily unsustainable for the US and especially its Saudi and Israeli allies. It would also be the catalyst for the collapse of the world economy.

In trying to pressure Iran into new negotiations, Trump runs the risk of putting too much pressure on Tehran and giving too much of a free hand to the provocations of Pompeo and Bolton that could end up triggering a war in the Strait of Hormuz.

Putin and Xi Jinping prepare for the worst

Our current geopolitical environment requires the careful and considered attention of relevant heads of state. The repeated meetings between Putin and Xi Jinping indicate that Russia and China are actively preparing for any eventuality. The closer we get to economic collapse, the more tensions and chaos increase around the world thanks to the actions of Washington and her close allies.

Xi Jinping and Putin, who have inherited this chaotic situation, have met at least a dozen times over the last six months , more recently meeting at least three times over two months. The pressing need is to coordinate and prepare for what will inevitably happen, once again trying to limit and contain the damage by a United States that is completely out of control and becoming a danger to all, allies and enemies alike.

As Putin just recently said:

"The degeneration of the universalistic model of globalization and its transformation into a parody, caricature of itself, where the common international rules are replaced by administrative and judicial laws of a country or group of countries.

The fragmentation of global economic space with a policy of unbridled economic selfishness and an imposed collapse. But this is the road to infinite conflict, trade wars and perhaps not just commercial ones. Figuratively, this is the road to the final struggle of all against all.

It is necessary to draft a more stable and fair development model. These agreements should not only be written clearly, but should be observed by all participants.

However, I am convinced that talking about a world economic order such as this will remain a pious desire unless we return to the center of the discussion, that is to say, notions like sovereignty, the unconditional right of each country to its own path to development and, let me add, responsibility in the universal sustainable development, not just its own."

The spokesman of the Chancellery of the People's Republic of China, Hua Chun Ying, echoed this sentiment:

"The American leaders say that 'the era of the commercial surrender of their country has come to an end', but what is over is their economic intimidation of the world and their hegemony.

The United States must again respect international law, not arrogate to itself extraterritorial rights and mandates, must learn to respect its peers in safeguarding transparent and non-discriminatory diplomatic and commercial relations. China and the United States have negotiated other disputes in the past with good results and the doors of dialogue are open as long as they are based on mutual respect and benefits.

But as long as these new trade disputes persist, China informs the government of the United States of America and the whole world that it will immediately impose duties on each other, unilaterally on 128 products from the United States of America.

Also, we think we will stop buying US public debt. It's all, good night!"

I wonder if Europeans will understand all this before the impending disaster. I doubt it.

[Jun 23, 2019] Iran Goes for Maximum Counter-Pressure by Pepe Escobar

Derivatives exposure is Achilles spot of the USA in this conflict
Jun 23, 2019 | www.unz.com
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Sooner or later the US "maximum pressure" on Iran would inevitably be met by "maximum counter-pressure". Sparks are ominously bound to fly.

For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.

As I previously reported , shutting down the Strait of Hormuz

would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world's $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.

Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.

Soleimani's intervention would align with consistent signs already coming from the IRGC. The Persian Gulf is being described as an imminent "shooting gallery." Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran's ballistic missiles are capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with pinpoint precision. The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources.

We'll let you know when it's closed

Then, it happened.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, went straight to the point ; "If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces."

The facts are stark. Tehran simply won't accept all-out economic war lying down – prevented to export the oil that protects its economic survival. The Strait of Hormuz question has been officially addressed. Now it's time for the derivatives.

Presenting detailed derivatives analysis plus military analysis to global media would force the media pack, mostly Western, to go to Warren Buffett to see if it is true. And it is true. Soleimani, according to this scenario, should say as much and recommend that the media go talk to Warren Buffett.

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle.

The key point is it doesn't matter how the Strait of Hormuz is blocked.

It could be a false flag. Or it could be because the Iranian government feels it's going to be attacked and then sinks a cargo ship or two. What matters is the final result; any blocking of the energy flow will lead the price of oil to reach $200 a barrel, $500 or even, according to some Goldman Sachs projections, $1,000.

Another US banking source explains; "The key in the analysis is what is called notional. They are so far out of the money that they are said to mean nothing. But in a crisis the notional can become real. For example, if I buy a call for a million barrels of oil at $300 a barrel, my cost will not be very great as it is thought to be inconceivable that the price will go that high. That is notional. But if the Strait is closed, that can become a stupendous figure."

BIS will only commit, officially, to indicate the total notional amount outstanding for contracts in derivatives markers is an estimated $542.4 trillion. But this is just an estimate.

The banking source adds, "Even here it is the notional that has meaning. Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world's GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability."

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It's self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone.

War dogs barking mad

As much as 30% of the world's oil supply transits the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Wily Persian Gulf traders – who know better – are virtually unanimous; if Tehran was really responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident, oil prices would be going through the roof by now. They aren't.

Iran's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz amount to 12 nautical miles (22 km). Since 1959, Iran recognizes only non-military naval transit.

Since 1972, Oman's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz also amount to 12 nautical miles. At its narrowest, the width of the Strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km). That means, crucially, that half of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, and the other half in Oman's. There are no "international waters".

And that adds to Tehran now openly saying that Iran may decide to close the Strait of Hormuz publicly – and not by stealth.

Iran's indirect, asymmetric warfare response to any US adventure will be very painful. Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran once again reconfirmed, "even a limited strike will be met by a major and disproportionate response." And that means gloves off, big time; anything from really blowing up tankers to, in Marandi's words, "Saudi and UAE oil facilities in flames".

Hezbollah will launch tens of thousands of missiles against Israel. As

Hezbollah's secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches, "war on Iran will not remain within that country's borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family."

It's quite enlightening to pay close attention to what this Israel intel op is saying . The dogs of war though are barking mad .

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to CENTCOM in Tampa to discuss "regional security concerns and ongoing operations" with – skeptical – generals, a euphemism for "maxim pressure" eventually leading to war on Iran.

Iranian diplomacy, discreetly, has already informed the EU – and the Swiss – about their ability to crash the entire world economy. But still that was not enough to remove US sanctions.

War zone in effect

As it stands in Trumpland, former CIA Mike "We lied, We cheated, We stole" Pompeo – America's "top diplomat" – is virtually running the Pentagon. "Acting" secretary Shanahan performed self-immolation. Pompeo continues to actively sell the notion the "intelligence community is convinced" Iran is responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident. Washington is ablaze with rumors of an ominous double bill in the near future; Pompeo as head of the Pentagon and Psycho John Bolton as Secretary of State. That would spell out War.

Yet even before sparks start to fly, Iran could declare that the Persian Gulf is in a state of war; declare that the Strait of Hormuz is a war zone; and then ban all "hostile" military and civilian traffic in its half of the Strait. Without firing a single shot, no shipping company on the planet would have oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf.


Justsaying , says: June 23, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT

American government arrogance under the control of sickos has not shied away from the belief that destroying countries that do not cave in to Washington's demand of "surrender or perish" -- an ultimatum made in Israel. Indeed it regards that despicable policy as an entitlement – to protect the "international community". Iran may well be the nation that will do away with the nations of turbaned lapdogs and absolute monarchs who have been kept in power by the dozens of US military bases in the area. Maybe a serious jolt of the global economy is long overdue, to bring the Washington dogs of perpetual war to come to their senses.

Was Iran succumbing to the JCPOA provisions and abiding by them not sufficient capitulation for the insane leaders in Washington?

Realist , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@joeshittheragman

I hope we don't go into another stupid war. Bring all our troops home from all around the world. Just protect this Republic. We're not the policemen of the world.

The Deep State would never allow that to happen.

alexander , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
@joeshittheragman It astonishes me that people are still using the phrase "policemen of the world" to define US behavior.

The last time I recall The US even remotely acting as the "worlds's policeman" was in 1991, when we pushed Saddam out of Kuwait.

The Iraq 2003 "debacle", the Libya"shit show" and the Syria" fiasco" have all proven, over time, to be acts of wanton carnage and illegal aggression, . not "police work".

The United States, under Neocon tutelage , is no "policeman" .not by any stretch

It is more like a humongous version of "Bernie Madoff meets Son of Sam."

We have become a grotesque, misshapen empire .of lies fraud .,illegal war, .mass murder ..and heinous f#cking debt.

Policeman ?!? Hahaha.ha ..

RoatanBill , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm GMT
You have to hand it to the Iranians for basically announcing their intentions to destroy the US economy via the derivatives market that the US financial industry largely produced. Kill them with their own weapon.

A show down between the US and some entity is inevitable. Be it Iran, China or Russia, the US will be over extended and their very expensive weaponry will, I believe, come up wanting on all counts. The MIC has been scamming the country for decades. The military brass is just bluster. When it comes down to an actual confrontation, the US military will come up short as BS won't cut it.

Yes, they will destroy lots of stuff and kill lots of people but then their toys will run out and then what? Missiles will take out the aircraft carriers and the world will see that the emperor is naked.

Sean , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy America is backed by brute military force. That is why India has stopped buying Iranian oil, and sent ships to the Gulf to back America

http://www.aei.org/publication/iran-the-contrast-between-sovereignty-and-moral-legitimacy/

In June of 2014, as the forces of the Islamic State swept toward Baghdad, President Barack Obama began to recommit American military forces to Iraq. He also observed that "Iran can play a constructive role, if it sends the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending, which is that Iraq only holds together if it is inclusive." In an instantly famous article by Atlantic magazine correspondent and White House amanuensis Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama indicated that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states had to learn to "share" the Middle East with Iran.

In imagining a kind of strategic partnership with Tehran, Obama is recycling a deeply held belief of late-Cold War "realists" like former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. "For U.S. strategy, Iran should be viewed as a potential natural partner in the region, as it was until 1979," when Shah Reza Pahlavi was toppled in the Khomeini revolution." "Envisioning 2030: U.S. Strategy for a Post-Western World," foresaw that "a post-Mullah dominated government shedding Shia political ideology could easily return to being a net contributor to stability by 2030

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/143606/Mearsheimer-S-Arabia-a-threat-not-Iran
"The truth is that it is the United States that is a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, with much prompting from Israel and Saudi Arabia, has its gunsights on Iran. The aim is regime change.

America does not seem to think the Iranian regieme can do anything except bluster as they are slowly smothered.

eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy I can't buy the derivatives stuff.

Famous last words -- review what Bernanke said just before subprime exploded: 2007 -- Bernanke: Subprime Mortgage Woes Won't Seriously Hurt Economy -- that said, I have no idea what will happen if Iran decides to interfere with shipping in the straits -- or how likely that is.

The biggest long-term threat to the US is the end of the petrodollar scheme -- due to its unmatched worldwide political and military hegemony, and 'safe haven' status, the dollar has largely been insulated from the consequences of what are in reality staggering, almost structural (at this point) US deficits -- but that can't and won't go on forever.

Jason Liu , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
Russia and China need to set up global deterrence against interventionism by western democracies.
eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
In 2018, U.S. net imports (imports minus exports) of petroleum from foreign countries averaged about 2.34 million barrels per day, equal to about 11% of U.S. petroleum consumption. This was the lowest percentage since 1957.

In reality, the US is today far less dependent on imported oil than most people probably imagine, and therefore far less vulnerable to any import supply issue.

DESERT FOX , says: June 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
Israel and the zio/US has interfered in Iran since the 1953 CIA/Mossad coup and at intervals ever since then and have brought this problem on by the zio/US and Israeli meddling in the affairs of Iran and an all out war via illegal sanctions which in fact are a form of war.

Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not the problem , the problem is the warmongers in the zio/US and Israel and will not end as long as the warmongers remain in power.

A good start to ending these problems would be to abolish the CIA!

Mike P , says: June 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
@MLK Yes, the sanctions on Iran are having an effect, and the recent Iranian actions acknowledge this; but that does not mean Iran is weak. Iran is telling the U.S. that it is NOT Venezuela or North Korea. Kim is all bark, but no bite; Trump was quite right to call him "little rocket man." Even he, with his singular lack of style and grace, is not doing this to the Iranian leadership.

The economic sanctions against Iran already constitute acts of war. The Iranians have just demonstrated that they can disrupt oil flow from the Middle East in retaliation, and not just in the Street of Hormuz. In addition, they have now shown that they can take down American aircraft, stealth or not, with precision. This means Iran is able and willing to strike back and escalate as it sees fit, both economically and militarily. If the U.S. don't relent, Iran WILL send the oil prices through the roof, and it will humiliate the U.S. on the world stage if they are stupid enough to go to war over it.

The Iranian messages are simple, clear, and consistent. Compare this to the confused cacophony that emerges from the clown troupe in Washington, and you can easily tell which side has been caught unawares by recent events.

This is a watershed moment for Trump – he will either assert himself, return to reason, and keep the peace; or he will stay aboard the sinking ship. No good options for him personally, of course; his choices are impeachment, assassination, or staying in office while presiding over the final act of the U.S. empire.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Let us never forget the "babies thrown from incubators" propaganda to help get it all started.

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

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website June 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Agent76

The US is committed to conflict not only most obviously against Iran, but also with Russia.

US, or rather a bunch of lunatics infesting Trump's Admin, might be committed, but it absolutely doesn't mean that the US has resources for that. In fact, US doesn't have resources to fight Iran, let alone Russia. By now most of it is nothing more than chest-thumping and posturing. Today Bolton's statement is a further proof of that.

denk , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT

Instead, Bush saw that situation, within the unique moment of US no longer constrained by a rival superpower, as an opportunity to exert US global dominance.

The much derided Chomsky

There were once two gangsters in town, the USA and USSR, there's relative peace cuz each was constrained by the rival's threat.
NOW that the USSR is gone, the remaining gangster
is running amok with total impunity.

Now I dunno if the USSR was a 'gangster' ,
as for uncle scam, .. needs no introduction I presume ?

anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT
@peterAUS More to this downing .

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region.– "

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Alarmist , says: June 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Wally It's all cashflow and OPM, on the hope of hitting the big-time when prices spike. A giant house of cards waiting to implode, and that is before one takes into account all the hugely negative externalities associated with fracking that give it any hope of profitability, which would vapourise if the costs of the externalities were charged to the operators.

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/will-fracking-industry-debts-set-off-financial-tremors/

https://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/CGEPReserveBaseLendingAndTheO

anon [770] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Fact:

According to preliminary data for 2018, oil demand surpassed 20 mmb/d for the first time since 2007 and will be just shy of the 2005 peak (20,524 mb/d versus 20,802 mb/d in 2005).

U.S. Oil Demand Recovers | CSIS | January 29, 2019
https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-oil-demand-recovers

Fact:


Source: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Cyrano , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm GMT
It's really tragic to see two brotherly ideologies Capitalism and Islam (both want to rule the world) go at each other throats in this manner. After all, they have fought shoulder to shoulder a holly jihad against socialism in such far flung places as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

I think that based on this latest conflict, people can see what a principled country US is. People used to think that US hates only socialist revolutions. Until Iran's Islamic revolution came along – and US was against it too. So, it's safe to say that US are against ANY revolutions – be they Socialist or Islamic. I guess we can call them contra-revolutionaries.

Simply Simon , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:38 pm GMT
At least 95% of the American people do not want war with Iran. For that matter the same percentage did not want war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or Korea. But the powers that be do not ask the American people if they want to go to war, they just do it based on the authority they assume is theirs. Meanwhile, our elected representatives who do have the authority to start or prevent wars turn a deaf ear to their constituents because the voices they hear in protest are weak or muted. Let's face it, the wars since WWII have affected only a relatively minor segment of our population. A hell of a lot more people die in traffic accidents than on the battlefield so what's to get excited about. Keeping a large standing army, navy and air force is good for the economy, the troops have to be provided the latest best of everything and as for the troops themselves for many it's not a bad way to make a living with a retirement and health care system better than many jobs in the civilian sector. So my message to the American people is if you really do not want war with Iran you had better speak up louder than you are now.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
CAN IRAN ENTER ITO NEGOTIATION WITH IRAN? IT CANT. BECAUSE ISRAEL WITH NO FOOT IN THE DOOR OF THE HELL IS WAGING THE WAR AND GETTING US PUNISHED .

UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002– [Richard] Perle, in the same 1998 article, told Forward that a coalition of pro-Israeli groups was 'at the forefront with the legislation with regard to Iran. One can only speculate what it might accomplish if it decided to focus its attention on Saddam Hussein.' Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has joined the call against Tehran, arguing in a November interview with the Times of London that the U.S. should shift its focus to Iran 'the day after' the Iraq war ends

[Hide MORE]
-- -- -
They want to foment revolution in Iran and use that to isolate and possibly attack Syria in [Lebanon's] Bekaa Valley, and force Syria out," says former Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward S. Walker, now president of the Middle East Institute. http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning
03/14/03
--

in 2003 Morris Amitay and fellow neocon Michael Ledeen founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, an advocacy group pushing for regime change in Iran . According to the website, it will be un-American,immoral and unproductive to engage with any segment of the regime .
During a may 2003 conference at the AEI on the future of Iran,Amitay sharply criticized the U.S State Department's efforts to engage the Islamic Republic ,claimed the criticism of Newt Gingrich did not go far enough . Amiaty was introduced by M Ledeen as the "Godfather" of AIPAC Amitay admitted that direct action against Iran would be difficult before 2004 election.

Nostalgia for the last shah's son, Reza Pahlavi ? has again risen," says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer who, like Ledeen and Perle, is ensconced at the AEI. "We must be prepared, however, to take the battle more directly to the mullahs," says Gerecht, adding that the United States must consider strikes at both Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and allies in Lebanon. "In fact, we have only two meaningful options: Confront clerical Iran and its proxies militarily or ring it with an oil embargo." http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning March 14,2003

"Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration have long targeted Iran. Richard Perle, former Defense Policy Board member, and David Frum, of the neo-com Weekly Standard, co-authored "An End to Evil," which calls for the overthrow of the "terrorist mullahs of Iran." Michael Ladeen of the influential American Enterprise Institute argues that "Tehran is a city just waiting for us." http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/26/the-oil-connection/

According to the 2016 documentary Zero Days by director Alex Gibney, Israel's incessant public threats to attack Iran coupled with intense secret demands for cyber warfare targeting Iran were the catalyst for massive new US black budget spending

NSA Director (1999-2005) and CIA Director (2006-2009) Michael Hayden claimed in Zero Days that the goal of any Israeli air attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would be to drag the United States into war.
"Our belief was that if they [Israel] went on their own, knowing the limitations No, they're a very good air force, alright? But it's small and the distances are great, and the targets dispersed and hardened, alright? If they would have attempted a raid on a military plane, we would have been assuming that they were assuming we would finish that which they started. In other words, there would be many of us in government thinking that the purpose of the raid wasn't to destroy the Iranian nuclear system, but the purpose of the raid was to put us [the United States] at war with Iran." https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2018/11/06/israel-and-the-trillion-dollar-2005-2018-us-intelligence-budget

KA , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
Emergence of ISIS is linked to US efforts to weaken Iran

-In "The Redirection", written in 2008(!) – years before the 2011 uprising, Seymour Hersh wrote of plans to use extremists in Syria.
Excerpts:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, "

Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm GMT
@Simply Simon In the old days, the orders for the US government were coming down from the Tri-Lateral Commission and the 6-7 major companies. Rockefeller took the TLC underground ground with himself. The oil companies continue asking the US government for protecting the ME/NA resources. Then Neocons replaced the TLC which their focus was twofold.
1. Destabilize the regions for protecting Israel
2. Control the resources militarily
3. Keep the Chinese out and cut their access to the resources
Guess what, Chinese have penetrated the regions constructively and quietly. America with its unjustified fucking wars is being hated even more than 1953.
Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@KA Very true! Unfortunately the presidents were misinformed or uninformed about the proxies created by the CIA. The first created to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan manned and financed by the Saudis, recruited by Mossad and intelligence was provided by the CIA. Sound really really good to the Americans since it was free of charge with no loss of life! Then during the Iraq war its neighbor Syria was getting destabilized so the CIA replicated Al-Qaeda and formed a new gang which called themselves ISIS. The function of ISIS was to overthrow Al-Bashar of Syria. The secondary mission for both groups was to bug Iran from its western and eastern front.
Manning both of these groups with Sunnis was the biggest mistake that KSA, Mossad and the CIA made. See the Sunnis are not fighters without sophisticated weapons from the West. On the other Shiites can fight with a sword and empty handed if they have to. They remind me of VC's in Vietnam. The Shiites decimated the ISIS and most of AlQaeda now the US is trying to get credit for that but they know better now. So my recommendation to the US is please don't aggravate the Shiites otherwise they will embarrass us just the VC's
Avery , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@Monty Ahwazi { All insurance companies will drop their coverage of the oil tankers immediately.}

During the Iran-Iraq war, US re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers and ran them under US flag and protection through the straight.
Same thing can be done again.

And if insurance companies drop coverage, US Treasury will provide the coverage: some US insurance company will be "convinced" by US Gov to provide the coverage and US Treasury will guarantee _any_ losses incurred by the insurance company or companies.
US can always add to the national debt ( .i.e. print more dollars).

So, no: declaration won't do.
Only destroying stuff works.

{You guys sitting here and making up these nonsensical policies}

Nobody is making policy here: we are not a government.
We are exchanging opinions.

btw: where are you sitting?
Are your personal opinions considered 'policy', because you are ..what?

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@anon That was buried deep in the article. (Thanks for posting link.) Next lines, the NYT is skeptical of US claims. Too bad this isn't first pararaphs!)

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the Air Force commander for the Central Command region in the Middle East, said the attack could have endangered "innocent civilians," even though officials at Central Command continued to assert that the drone was over international waters. He said that the closest that the drone got to the Iranian coast was 21 miles.

Late Thursday, the Defense Department released additional imagery in an email to support its case that the drone never entered Iranian airspace. But the department incorrectly called the flight path of the drone the location of the shooting down and offered little context for an image that appeared to be the drone exploding in midair.

It was the latest attempt by the Pentagon to try to prove that Iran has been the aggressor in a series of international incidents.

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Thank you. If the US were a real [HONEST] policeman, they would have stopped Kuwait from stealing Iraqi oil. But no, Bush was a dirty cop, on the take.
Robjil , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:09 am GMT
@dearieme Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. JFK was getting us out of Vietnam. In his time, there was not massive amounts of US troops in Vietnam, only advisors. JFK planned to get all the troops out after he was re-elected.

It was during Johnson's presidency that the Vietnam war became a huge war for the US. Johnson set up the Gulf of Tonkin false flag on August 2 1964. This started the huge draft of young men for Vietnam war that dragged on till the early 1970s.

Johnson also allowed Israel to do a false flag on the US on June 8 1967. Israel attacked the USS Liberty. 34 servicemen killed and 174 injured. Israel wanted to kill them all and blame it on Egypt, so US would nuke Egypt. Lovely nation is little Israel. The song " Love is all you need" by the Beatles was released on June 7 1967. Summer of Love, Hippies in San Francisco, all planned to get Americans into drugs and forget about what Israel is doing in the Middle East. It worked, nobody noticed what Israel did since we have a "free" 500 Zion BC press in the US in 1967 and we still do these days.

Pft , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:12 am GMT
Iran is pretty self sufficient with minimal foreign debt. Their Central Bank is under their control and works for the people. They should just hunker down and hope Trumps crew is out of a job after the elections next year

If the US strikes they can block the straits. However, the US would probably knock out the refineries so that will hurt

They shot down the drone because it was collecting intelligence on targets the US plans to strike. Thats defensive not provocative

If the US wants to go at Iran they will manufacture something. People are so dumbed down they can made to believe anything, as events 18 years ago and since have proven

Hopefully this is just distraction to cover up some nefarious plan to loot the working class some more. Or maybe getting the straits closed is part of the plan. Who knows?

renfro , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
this might be the real story

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/22/why-trump-didnt-bomb-iran-449575

THE TICK TOCKS WHY TRUMP DIDN'T BOMB IRAN NYT'S PETER BAKER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF:

"Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake": "He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson.
"While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran's provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president's best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.

"The 150-dead casualty estimate came not from a general but from a lawyer, according to the official. The estimate was developed by Pentagon lawyers drafting worst-case scenarios that, the official said, did not account for whether the strike was carried out during daytime, when more people might be present at the targets, or in the dark hours before sunrise, as the military planned.
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1

Iris , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:48 am GMT

Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home

.

Saddam was given the assurance by US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, that the USA supported his retaliatory action against Kuwait. Same usual trap and deliberate provocation; all the rest is obfuscation.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@AnonFromTN The loss of two American aircraft carriers appears to be the assumption you are making to guarantee an Iranian victory.

Such a loss is by no means assured.

The idea that American willpower will collapse in the event of the loss of two capital ships is your second assumption, and it's both a fanciful and dangerous assumption.

I'm not myself terribly impressed by American military power, but comparing naval combat to counterinsurgency operations is absurd.

Your economic assumptions appear to come from the permabear school. Actual economies and governments don't work that way. A major reduction in global supplies will result in compulsory conservation, rationing, price controls, etc. This was done in recent memory in the 1970s in both North America and Western Europe, when you were still behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps not aware.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:53 am GMT
@peterAUS Do you have any actual numbers?

Does anyone?

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@alexander Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home."

Efforts by Egypt to arrive an Arab initiated solution was ignored and dismissed by USA

Initial Saudi effort to find a face saving exit by Saddam was met with resistance and then a manufactured satellite image of Saddam massing his soldiers for invasion of Saudi was widely disseminated by US.

Saddam crimes was no less or more egregious than what Israel was enjoying with US dollars and with US support and with impunity ( It was still occupying Pastien and Parts of Syria and Lebanon )

It was Levy the Israeli FM who threatened that his country would attack Iraq if US did not.

War against Saddam was orchestrated by Jewish members of Thatcher and by Democrats of USA ) Solarz – NY Senator was one of the guys and the AIPAC whose president Mr. Dine confessed the crimes )

neprof , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
@Robjil

Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass.

Should be required reading by all Americans.

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:08 am GMT
@alexander UN has been abused by USA taking the advantage of the collapse of Soviet . (This is what Wolf0owitz told Wesley Clarke in 1992 in Feb : This was the time we can and we should take care of these countries Iran Iraq Syria Libya and Yemen while Russia is still weakened and unable to help its erstwhile vassals states) .

USA had no right to ask Saddam to leave . Subsequent behaviors of USA has proved it.
Israel also in addition has no right to exist .

If correction had to come from Iran Hezbollah and Syria- then so be it. That news would be best thing that would happen to humanity within last 200 yrs .

KA , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
@Robjil Wolfowitz has been trying to kill Saddam and dismember Iraq from 1979.

The rat got his hand the Cookie jar after Soviet collapsed.

( Ref- Sunshine Warrior NYT )

John Noughty , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:14 am GMT
@Jim Christian I hope you're right.
RobinG , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:16 am GMT
@alexander You're begging for a big "So What?"

There are UN resolutions about all kinds of things. Israel comes first to mind, of course. UN resolutions do not obligate military action.

anon [400] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:20 am GMT
@Iris but -- but -- but (sputters Alexander the otherwise sage commenter), The UN -- that's the U-nited Nations!! fer pete's ache, Agreed!! ( Agreed is Diplomatese for: "Please stop twisting my arm; Please stop bankrupting my country; Please stop threatening to tell my wife -- ).

in other words, the UN is a toy and a ploy for someone like G H W Bush salivating at the once in a lifetime opportunity to exert world dominance -- 'scuse me: "Create a New World Order" -- in the context of a power vacuum / dissolution of the Soviet Empire, previously the only counterbalance to US superpower status.

No doubt the UN was got on board. It acted like the paid-for- judge and show-trial in a case the prosecutor had already rigged.
imho, what is more significant, and what it takes years to unearth, is the decision making and back-room dealing that came BEFORE the UN was induced to stamp its imprimatur.

Tony Blair endorsed Bush the Lesser's war on Iraq. Does that grant it legitimacy, or in any way explain why US waged that war?

peterAUS , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:23 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Do you have any actual numbers?

I don't care about numbers.
50 (proper) sea mines backed up by 20 air/land-sea missiles do the job. Block the Hormuz.
I am sure the regime in Tehran has that number.

Does anyone?

Don't think so.
Mines in particular.
While missiles could be tricky to produce even smart sea mines are not.
A lot of explosive-check.
A couple of sensors (acoustic/magnetic)-check.
A couple of hardened micro controller boards-check.
That's it.

In this very game there are, really, only two elements that interest me:
Tactical nukes.
Selective draft.

What hehe really interests me is the escalation from "tactical" to "strategic".

AnonFromTN , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Let me make this clear: there won't be Iranian victory. Iran will pay a hefty price. There will be the defeat of the Empire, though, a major climb down. The worst (for the Empire) part would be that the whole world would see that the king has no clothes. Then the backlash against the Empire (hated by 6/7th of the Earth population) starts, and that would be extremely painful for everyone in the US, guilty and innocent alike (myself included).

Compulsory rationing and price controls were possible when the governments actually governed. When the whole governments and legislatures are full of corporations' marionettes, as is the case now in the US and EU, these measures are impossible. Profiteers will have their day. They will crush Western economies and therefore themselves, but never underestimate the blinding force of greed. The same greedy bastards are supplying the US military with airplanes that have trouble flying and with ships costing untold billions that break down in the Panama canal, of all places. The same greedy scum destroyed the US industry and moved all production to China, in effect spelling the doom of the only country that could have protected their loot from other thieves. That's the problem with greed: it makes people incredibly shortsighted.

Sergey Krieger , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT
@joeshittheragman You are parasites on the world neck. That's why your troops are all over the place.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@alexander Is it true . possibly but so what ?

So what? That nice lessons are being imparted slowly to the Israeli slave USA.

USA does what other countries are accused of before invading . USA throws out any qualms any morality any legality . It uses UN . Right now it is illegally supplying arms to Saudi to Israel and to the rebels in Syria. These are the reasons US have gone to wars against other countries for. Now some countries are standing up and saying – those days are gone , you can't attack any country anymore just because someone has been raped or someone has been distributing Viagra.

alexander , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@RobinG I think you are right.

And so did George Bush Senior.

As a matter of fact, the whole world began to ask, you are willing to launch your military to eject Saddam from Kuwait Bravo! ..Now what are willing to do about Israels illegal seizure of Palestinian territory in the West bank .It is more or less the exact same crime, Isn't it?

George Bush Senior was the last US President in American History to withhold all loans to Israel, until it ceased and desisted from illegal settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.

Many believe it was his willingness to hold Israel to the same standard as everyone else, which cost him his second term.

What do you think , Robin?

By-tor , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Iran shot down a US Navy RQ-4A intel drone that cost $250: A model that is marketed as being hard to shoot down since it has an 11 mile high altitude ceiling and a long operational range. That a coastal AA missile battery knocked it down with one shot answers several questions.

[Jun 23, 2019] A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union

Notable quotes:
"... It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:27

@johncj

So easy to say when you so blithely ignore the historical injustices, the inequality of opportunity and the theft - the first person to claim a parcel of land as their own exclusive property was committing an act of theft.

It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others.

The subsequent claims to title are enforced by the threat of violence through the emergence of a pervasive state.

A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union. Their's was an act of theft committed against society and the common good. Your definition of freedom is predicated on theft and is a denial of natural freedoms,

[Jun 23, 2019] Are Starvation Sanctions Worse Than Overt Warfare

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Starvation sanctions kill people.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have reportedly already died as a result of this administration's relentless assault on their economy; those human beings are no less dead than they would have been if the US had killed them by dropping cluster bombs on Caracas. Yet these deaths have received virtually no mainstream media coverage, and Americans, while they strongly oppose attacking Iran militarily , have had very little to say about Trump's attacks on the nation's economy. The economy which people use to feed their children, to care for their elderly and their sick.

I'm titling this essay "Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare", and I mean it. I am not saying that starvation sanctions are more destructive or deadly than overt military force in and of themselves; what I am saying is that the overall effect is worse, because there's no public accountability for them and because they deliberately target civilians.

If the US were to launch a barrage of Tomahawk missiles into an Iranian suburb with the goal of killing civilians, there'd be international outrage and the cohesion of the US-centralized power alliance would take a major hit. Virtually everyone would recognize this as an unforgivable war crime. Yet America will be able to kill the same number of civilians with the same deliberate intention of inflicting deadly force, and it would suffer essentially no consequences at all. There's no public or international pressure holding that form of violence at bay, because it's invisible and poorly understood.

It reminds me of the way financial abuse gets overlooked and under-appreciated in our society. Financial abuse can be more painful and imprisoning than physical or psychological abuse (and I speak from experience), especially if you have children, yet you don't generally see movies and TV shows getting made about it. In a society where people have been made to depend on money for survival, limiting or cutting off their access to it is the same as any other violent attack upon their personal sovereignty, and can easily be just as destructive. But as a society we haven't yet learned to see and understand this violence, so it doesn't attract interest and attention. That lack of interest and attention enables the empire to launch deadly campaigns targeting civilian populations unnoticed, without any public accountability. It's great that more people are starting to understand the cost of war, to the extent that we're even seeing US presidential candidates make opposing it central to their platforms, but this is happening at a time when overt warfare is becoming more obsolete and replaced with something subtler and more sinister. We must as a society evolve our understanding of what starvation sanctions are and what they do, and stop seeing them as in any way superior or preferable to overt warfare.

The fact that people generally oppose senseless military violence but are unable to see and comprehend a slow, boa constrictor-like act of slaughter via economic strangulation is why these siege warfare tactics have become the weapon of choice for the US-centralized empire. It is a more gradual way of murdering people than overt warfare, but when you control all the resources and have an underlying power structure which maintains itself amid the comings and goings of your officially elected government, you're in no hurry. The absence of any public accountability makes the need for patience a very worthwhile trade-off.

So you see this siege warfare strategy employed everywhere by the US-centralized empire:

The US-centralized power alliance is so powerful in its ability to hurt nations with financial influence that in 1990 when Yemen voted against a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing the attack against Iran, a senior US diplomat was caught on a hot mic telling the Yemeni ambassador, "That will be the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast." According to German author Thomas Pogge , "The US stopped $70 million in aid to Yemen; other Western countries, the IMF, and World Bank followed suit. Saudi Arabia expelled some 800,000 Yemeni workers, many of whom had lived there for years and were sending urgently needed money to their families."

That's real power. Not the ability to destroy a nation with bombs and missiles, but the ability to destroy it without firing a shot.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RM0uvgHKZe8

It's no wonder, then, that the drivers of this empire work so hard to continue growing and expanding it. The oligarchs and their allies in opaque government agencies no doubt envision a world where all noncompliant nations like Iran, Russia and China have been absorbed into the blob of empire and war becomes obsolete, not because anyone has become any less violent, but because their economic control will be so complete that they can obliterate entire populations just by cutting them off from the world economy whenever any of them become disobedient.

This is the only reason Iran is being targeted right now. That's why you'll never hear a factually and logically sound argument defending Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal; there is none. There was no problem with the JCPOA other than the fact that it barred America from inflicting economic warfare upon Iran, which it needed for the purpose of toppling the nation's government so that it can be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

And all the innocent human beings who die of starvation and disease? They don't matter. Imperial violence only matters if there are consequences for it. The price of shoring up the total hegemony of the empire will have been worth it .

[Jun 23, 2019] Argentina s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country by Peter S. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets. ..."
"... "It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people." ..."
"... The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain. ..."
"... But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent ..."
"... Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing. ..."
"... Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs. ..."
"... In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember. ..."
"... "We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'" ..."
"... "When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned." ..."
May 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

On the ragged streets of the shantytown across the road, where stinking outhouses sit alongside shacks fashioned from rusted sheets of tin, families have surrendered hopes that sewage lines will ever reach them.

They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes: Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that has dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.

Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets.

"It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people."

The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain.

Mr. Macri's supporters heralded his 2015 election as a miraculous outbreak of normalcy in a country with a well-earned reputation for histrionics. He would cease the reckless spending that had brought Argentina infamy for defaulting on its debts eight times. Sober-minded austerity would win the trust of international financiers, bringing investment that would yield jobs and fresh opportunities.

But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent.

Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing.

Far beyond this country of 44 million people, Mr. Macri's tenure is testing ideas that will shape economic policy in an age of recrimination over widening inequality. His presidency was supposed to offer an escape from the wreckage of profligate spending while laying down an alternative path for countries grappling with the worldwide rise of populism. Now, his presidency threatens to become a gateway back to populism. The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

Image
The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

As the October election approaches, Mr. Macri is contending with the growing prospect of a challenge from the president he succeeded, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who faces a series of criminal indictments for corruption . Her unbridled spending helped deliver the crisis that Mr. Macri inherited. Her return would resonate as a rebuke of his market-oriented reforms while potentially yanking Argentina back to its accustomed preserve: left-wing populism, in uncomfortable proximity to insolvency.

The Argentine peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year, prompting the central bank to lift interest rates to a commerce-suffocating level above 60 percent. Argentina was forced to secure a $57 billion rescue from the International Monetary Fund , a profound indignity given that the fund is widely despised here for the austerity it imposed in the late 1990s, turning an economic downturn into a depression.

For Mr. Macri, time does not appear to be in abundant supply. The spending cuts he delivered hit the populace immediately. The promised benefits of his reforms -- a stable currency, tamer inflation, fresh investment and jobs -- could take years to materialize, leaving Argentines angry and yearning for the past.

In much of South America, left-wing governments have taken power in recent decades as an angry corrective to dogmatic prescriptions from Washington, where the Treasury and the I.M.F. have focused on the confidence of global investors as the key to development.

Left-wing populism has aimed to redistribute the gains from the wealthy to everyone else. It has aided the poor, while generating its own woes -- corruption and depression in Brazil , runaway inflation and financial ruin in Argentina. In Venezuela, uninhibited spending has turned the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves into a land where children starve .

Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs.

In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember.

"We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'"

Cultivating wealth

... ... ...

In the beginning, there was Juan Domingo Perón, the charismatic Army general who was president from 1946 to 1955, and then again from 1973 to 1974. He employed an authoritarian hand and muscular state power to champion the poor. He and his wife, Eva Duarte -- widely known by her nickname, Evita -- would dominate political life long after they died, inspiring politicians across the ideological spectrum to claim their mantle.

Among the most ardent Peronists were Néstor Kirchner, the president from 2003 to 2007, and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office in 2007, remaining until Mr. Macri was elected in 2015.

Their version of Peronism -- what became known as Kirchnerism -- was decidedly left-wing, disdaining global trade as a malevolent force. They expanded cash grants to the poor and imposed taxes on farm exports in a bid to keep Argentine food prices low.

As the country's farmers tell it, Kirchnerism is just a fancy term for the confiscation of their wealth and the scattering of the spoils to the unproductive masses. They point to Ms. Kirchner's 35 percent tax on soybean exports.

"We had a saying," Mr. Tropini says. "'For every three trucks that went to the port, one was for Cristina Kirchner.'"

reduction in export taxes.

"You could breathe finally," Mr. Tropini, the farmer, says.

He was free of the Kirchners, yet stuck with nature. Floods in 2016 wiped out more than half of his crops. A drought last year wreaked even more havoc.

"This harvest, this year," he says, "is a gift from God."

But if the heavens are now cooperating, and if the people running Buenos Aires represent change, Mr. Tropini is critical of Mr. Macri's failure to overcome the economic crisis.

A weaker currency makes Argentine soybeans more competitive, but it also increases the cost of the diesel fuel Mr. Tropini needs to run his machinery. High interest rates make it impossible for him to buy another combine, which would allow him to expand his farm.

In September, faced with a plunge in government revenues, Mr. Macri reinstated some export taxes .

... ... ...

What went wrong?

... ... ...

In the first years of Mr. Macri's administration, the government lifted controls on the value of the peso while relaxing export taxes. The masters of international finance delivered a surge of investment. The economy expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2017, and then accelerated in the first months of last year.

But as investors grew wary of Argentina's deficits, they fled, sending the peso plunging and inflation soaring. As the rout continued last year, the central bank mounted a futile effort to support the currency, selling its stash of dollars to try to halt the peso's descent. As the reserves dwindled, investors absorbed the spectacle of a government failing to restore order. The exodus of money intensified, and another potential default loomed, leading a chastened Mr. Macri to accept a rescue from the dreaded IMF.

Administration officials described the unraveling as akin to a natural disaster: unforeseeable and unavoidable. The drought hurt agriculture. Money was flowing out of developing countries as the Federal Reserve continued to lift interest rates in the United States, making the American dollar a more attractive investment.

But the impact of the Fed's tightening had been widely anticipated. Economists fault the government for mishaps and complacency that left the country especially vulnerable.

.... ... ...

Among the most consequential errors was the government's decision to include Argentina's central bank in a December 2017 announcement that it was raising its inflation target. The markets took that as a signal that the government was surrendering its war on inflation while opting for a traditional gambit: printing money rather than cutting spending.

... ... ...

The government insists that better days are ahead. The spending cuts have dropped the budget deficit to a manageable 3 percent of annual economic output. Argentina is again integrated into the global economy.

"We haven't improved, but the foundations of the economy and society are much healthier," said Miguel Braun, secretary of economic policy at the Treasury Ministry. "Argentina is in a better place to generate a couple of decades of growth."

... ... ...

Their television flashes dire warnings, like "Danger of Hyper Inflation." Throughout the neighborhood, people decry the sense that they have been forsaken by the government.

Trucks used to come to castrate male dogs to control the packs of feral animals running loose. Not anymore. Health programs for children are less accessible than they were before, they said.

Daisy Quiroz, 71, a retired maid, lives in a house that regularly floods in the rainy season.

"When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned."

... ... ...

Daniel Politi contributed reporting from Buenos Aires. Peter S. Goodman is a London-based European economics correspondent. He was previously a national economic correspondent in New York. He has also worked at The Washington Post as a China correspondent, and was global editor in chief of the International Business Times. @ petersgoodman

[Jun 23, 2019] Iranian UN envoy condemns unlawful destabilizing measures by US

Jun 20, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's envoy to the United Nations has called on the international community to end "unlawful destabilizing measures" by the US, declaring that while Iran does not seek war, it "reserves the right to counter any hostile act."

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi has condemned continuing US provocations that culminated Thursday morning in the downing of an American surveillance drone by the Iranian air force over Hormozgan province.

The drone "had turned off its identification equipment and [was] engaged in a clear spying operation," Ravanchi confirmed in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, adding that the aircraft had ignored "repeated radio warnings" in order to enter Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.

[Jun 22, 2019] The USA MSM uses Bolton and Pompeo bellicosity as clickbait to generate revenue for their business at the expense of whats best for the nation

Notable quotes:
"... Russia, China and the Europeans all want Iran to remain in JCPOA and Putin is worried about Iran acting irrationally. ..."
"... Asians all worried about the security of oil flows to Asia. Japan especially dependent on Middle East oil flows, even if they've moved out of Iranian purchases. ..."
"... The IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz will get a medal or two, and a promotion. The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It cuts off all its exports and imports. Iran is fighting back by all means. It has no other choice. Iran now implements a "strategy of tension" that is designed to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. The tanker attacks, the mortars on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Houthi strikes an Saudi desalination plants and the shoot down of that drone are all part of that Iranian strategy. ..."
"... High Iranian officials, including its president, have multiple times announced: "If we can sell no sell oil than none of our neighbors in the gulf will be able to sell their oil." They mean that and they have the plans and means to achieve that. ..."
"... These strikes will continue, and will become stronger. I most cases Iran will have plausible deniability. That is easy to create when CentCom and the White House are know to lie left and right as they do. ..."
"... It is Trump, not Iran, who killed JCPOA. It is Trump, not Iran, who will be blamed for that war. ..."
"... Exactly! There's one striking characteristic of the "resistance" leaders, including Khamenei, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah's Nasrallah, and that is that they are reliable: they do what they say they are going to do. They have integrity, that quality so clearly absent from all US and Western European leaders, all beholden to their Ziodonors to assure reelection. ..."
"... Additionally, any standoff missile attack or "March of the B52s" will be met with immediate regional attacks on US (Saudi and Israeli) assets, military personnel and civilians that will destabilize the entire region and destroy the global economy. Not the best scenario for a reelection bid, is it? I'm with b. There is no knuckle dragger at Hormuz, only competent officers carrying out their orders. ..."
"... How blame is apportioned will matter little to Iran if it miscalculates one iota. Yes it cannot sit idle until it is strangled by economic sanctions. But neither can it escalate beyond the destruction of civil and military hardware alone. One dead American is all the neocons need. A counter strike would then be inevitable and the uncontrollable escalation they are counting on the likely result. ..."
"... Col. Lang has described here the catastrophic consequences for America's enemies when they have doubted its resolve. And the sure route to galvanizing that resolve is for Iran to escalate into targeting US forces. ..."
"... The only way this ends without a war which would be catastrophic for both sides is if Trump realizes the reality of the situation he is in and ditches the neocons right now. Iran has got its message across and must now desist to allow Trump breathing room to de-escalate. Let us pray that Suleimani and the Iranian leadership are men enough to understand that holding the moral high ground confers no advantage in warfare. ..."
"... Privately, phone calls to China and Russia begging for assurances of support ..."
"... This is delusional thinking. The Iranians realized a long time ago not to rely on other countries for assistance. Every Iranian knows not to trust Russians from history. China might be the only hope, not for support, but to convince that this war is as much about them. ..."
"... The Chinese should close Adelson's Macau casinos for health and safety violations. Zionist donors for Trump's election campaign are driving this. Adelson's boy Bolton needs removing before anything positive can happen, Tucker Carlson needs some help with his campaign to oust him. ..."
"... Could you explain how the concept that economic sanctions are a belligerent act of war is anti-American? This is a historical concept that you, as a teacher and student of military history, are well aware of. The Iranians are using the means that they have available to respond to these acts of war. ..."
"... They are not equipped to confront the US military directly, so they are using tactics to place pressure on the US in other areas, primarily by threatening the global economy by plausibly deniable acts against shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is a masterstroke right out of the pages of Sun Tze's Art of War. ..."
"... Trump has painted himself into a corner. He can offer sanctions relief if he wants to negotiate, or he can attack, and we can hope that the US military learned some of the lessons taught by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper in the Millennium Challenge 2002. ..."
"... The neocons are playing out provocations until Congress is forced to vote on War just before election. The provocations will continue -- Israel's Rational Institute & expert game theorists have done this so many times they're just going through the motions. Iranians have watched that game play out before and, perhaps, know how to handle provocations in a disruptive manner. ..."
"... Hook repeated, emphasized & repeated again that "finance is the basis of war," and US / Trump strategy is to "not to bankrupt Iran," but to "deny Iran access to financial ability to fund Hezbollah, Hamas, and other of the #1 state sponsor of terror's proxies." ..."
"... The congressmen questioning Hook nodded sagely. None of them so much as hinted at the fact that the USA is so deep in debt it can never pay its way out. ..."
"... --One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that with sanctions lifted, Iran would enter into the mainstream economy, trading with states throughout the world. This normalization of commerce would constrain Iran from taking actions that would jeopardize its trade relationships. Why does Trump & the zioncons not wish Iran's commercial normalization to take place? Is it because Israel cannot stand the competition? ..."
"... -- by what right USA violates UN Charter demands that internal affairs of a member state must not be interfered with. Congressmen crowned themselves with laurel as they proclaimed that "the people of Iran are not our enemy; it is the government; we act on behalf of the Iranian people, especially Iranian women." ..."
"... Trump thinks that he can f*** Iran and sit it out? Not gonna happen. ..."
"... He gets that he cannot be an LBJ or a Harry Truman with the Albatross of an unwinnable war hung around his neck. ..."
"... But, I am afraid the chosen true believers on his staff do not believe nor care that Iran has prepared a massive disproportionate non-nuclear response that will destroy the global economy. ..."
"... John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have other agendas than the President's re-election and what is in the USA's national interests. We are not out of the woods. ..."
"... The IRGC knuckle dragger at Hormuz wisely and prudently targeted the unmanned drone and not the manned P8 aircraft. ..."
"... No, this action was appropriate in the face of our policy of maximum pressure to starve out the Iranian people and force a regime change. ..."
"... I applaud Trump's decision not to engage in a shooting war. The way he got to that decision was messy, but the final decision was right. Those calling him weak for not engaging in a war of choice are craven fools. Chief among those is Bolton. ..."
"... Trump should throw his ass and his mustache out of the WH before the sun goes down. Trump brought this situation upon himself with his pulling out of the JCPOA and initiating his "war" of maximum pressure. It is he who can deflate this crisis, not Kamenei. ..."
"... This is all one big PsyOp imo. The US has no popular support for an attack on Iran, internally or externally. We are going to attack, but want to make it seem like they showed restraint and have been left with no choice. ..."
"... And this nonsense about Iran allowing the US to make some window dressing attack on innocuous targets to save face/ All I can say is Iranians are not Arabs. ..."
"... PS -- C Span ramped up an orgy of war hysteria over Trump's threat, then stand-down over Iran's shoot-down of an un-manned drone. The public was, as usual, confined to a narrow frame of reference and range of responses: "Trump was a coward," vs. "Trump was wise." Congressmen who were interviewed emphasized that "no American was killed." ..."
"... No one mentioned that Lyndon Johnson called back flights sent to rescue crewmen on the USS Liberty when Israel attacked the ship, strafed the wounded and those in life boats. ..."
"... Everyone remembers the shootdown of Iranian Air flight 655 on July 3, 1988 by the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, under the command of the late Captain Will Rogers, in which 290 people were killed. President Reagan said America will never apologize. President Clinton ultimately paid the Iranians $130 million. ..."
"... Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM. https://youtu.be/Rf2cS4g0pes ..."
"... It is no secret that the Neocons and the Israeli zionists (I am repeating myself here) do want a war between Iran and the United States. First, there were a few tanker attacks which were brushed off by Trump. Then this, which was more difficult to brush off. Is it possible that the drone actually went to Iranian airspace but GPS coordinates were spoofed (by insiders on the American side) so that Trump (and the administration) believed that it stayed in international airspace? ..."
"... Sorry. Here's the ink to Tucker on the Iran war brink. https://youtu.be/3PQW2tMMn2A ..."
"... Why did Donald Trump hire neocons Bolton & Pompeo as well as torturer Gina Haspel? Couldn't he find people who shared his views (at least what he said during the last campaign) that our ME regime change wars were a disaster that we shouldn't repeat? ..."
"... As Tucker noted in his segment yesterday Bolton & the neocons have been plotting a war with Iran for some time. They don't care if it sinks Trump's presidency. They have no loyalty to him only condescension. ..."
"... Yet as Tucker notes in his segment yesterday the neocons are "bureaucratic tapeworms" that some how manage to survive failure after failure with the same regime change prescriptions. Trump better wise up like right now or he can kiss his re-election goodbye. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

David Solomon , 21 June 2019 at 12:54 PM

Colonel Lang,

I am not now nor have I ever been a fan of Trump. However, if he does not start a war, he will end (in my mind, at least) as a vast improvement over his immediate predecessors.

Robert C said in reply to David Solomon... , 21 June 2019 at 08:56 PM
Wait a minute. Obama blew it with Libya. However,
-he reached a good deal with Iran
-he didn't bomb Syria when the crossed his "red line" and managed to make it look like the R controlled Senate made the decision .
-He didn't kiss Bibi's ring.
ted richard said in reply to David Solomon... , 21 June 2019 at 09:38 PM
look at a decent map of this area. the us naval base in Bahrain and air base Qatar are an Iranian missiles equivalent of firing from lower Manhattan to hit something in Hoboken.

The USA military assets within the Persian gulf have if war breaks out checked into the hotel California.

It is a logistical nightmare for the Pentagon to protect and resupply in the event of serious hostilities. Trump surely has been told by real us military professionals the giant hairball he takes on if he gets into a war with Iran and what it means for us servicemen station there and throughout the larger middle east.

it is unfortunate that the usa media uses fools like bolton and pompeo as clickbait to generate revenue fore their business at the expense of whats best for the nation but there it is... the msm has an agenda which is not at all in the service of the nation.

Harper , 21 June 2019 at 01:28 PM
Yes, a grown up has the right to change a decision. Now, ball is in Khomeini court. Abe asked him to release some Iranian-American prisoners. If Khomeini wants to lower threshold of conflict, he can do this gesture without losing any face. Humanitarian action.

Russia, China and the Europeans all want Iran to remain in JCPOA and Putin is worried about Iran acting irrationally.

See what kind of other pressure comes down on Iranians. Asians all worried about the security of oil flows to Asia. Japan especially dependent on Middle East oil flows, even if they've moved out of Iranian purchases. US more able to go it alone with extensive domestic and other sources.

blue peacock , 21 June 2019 at 01:36 PM
Col. Lang,

Khamenei should call Trump and setup a media spectacle of a summit in Switzerland. They can agree on the same deal as before but as long as the headline says "Iran agrees to not build nukes", Trump will be happy and Khamenei will be his new best pal.

The same playbook as KJU where nothing tangible is likely to happen except that KJU has stopped nuke & missile tests that create media hysteria among the Never Trumpers.

IMO, the ball hasn't left Trump's court. How long is he going to tolerate the neocons in his inner circle who are likely to keep coming up with another casus belli? Can he find some distance from being Bibi's lapdog? How long is he going to allow his conflicted son-in-law to meddle in the Middle East?

Trump must calculate the potential of where escalation leads and what a full on war with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon means for his re-election campaign. Bernie is banging the table hard against any military action in Iran. The probability that 50,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania & Wisconsin changes sides the next election would be rather high in the event of an unpredictable full-scale war.

Christian J Chuba , 21 June 2019 at 01:56 PM
I hope Khamenei takes any offer Trump makes for direct talks. Trump is heavily influenced by the last person he meets.

I get that Khamenei doesn't want to meet on the premise that the JCPOA is flawed and must be changed but if he can get an audience on the basis of airing mutual grievances in an unfiltered environment, it would be an opportunity. Currently, the only people Trump talks to are Neocon loons. They are innumerable but the FDD seems to be the center of gravity.

I must say that Clifford May does sport quite the impressive beard, who wouldn't think that he's an expert on anything he talks about http://www.vipfaq.com/nested/c/l/Clifford_May-1.jpg

robt willmann , 21 June 2019 at 02:04 PM
In an interview with NBC News and Chuck Todd, Trump reiterates his position about a response being proportionate--

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-says-he-did-not-given-final-approval-iran-strikes-n1020386

Widowson , 21 June 2019 at 02:41 PM
I was shocked-- but not surprised-- to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning quoting an unnamed source that speculated that the reason Trump cancelled the bombing of Iran was that he got "cold-feet." Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness.
b , 21 June 2019 at 02:47 PM
The IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz will get a medal or two, and a promotion. The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It cuts off all its exports and imports. Iran is fighting back by all means. It has no other choice. Iran now implements a "strategy of tension" that is designed to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. The tanker attacks, the mortars on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Houthi strikes an Saudi desalination plants and the shoot down of that drone are all part of that Iranian strategy.

High Iranian officials, including its president, have multiple times announced: "If we can sell no sell oil than none of our neighbors in the gulf will be able to sell their oil." They mean that and they have the plans and means to achieve that.

These strikes will continue, and will become stronger. I most cases Iran will have plausible deniability. That is easy to create when CentCom and the White House are know to lie left and right as they do.

Trump has two choices.

He can pull back on the sanctions and other U.S. violations of JCPOA, or he can start a full war against Iran that will drown his presidency, put the world economy into a depression ($300/bl oil) and kill many U.S. soldiers.

It is Trump, not Iran, who killed JCPOA. It is Trump, not Iran, who will be blamed for that war.

frankie p said in reply to b ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:05 PM

Exactly! There's one striking characteristic of the "resistance" leaders, including Khamenei, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah's Nasrallah, and that is that they are reliable: they do what they say they are going to do. They have integrity, that quality so clearly absent from all US and Western European leaders, all beholden to their Ziodonors to assure reelection.

The Iranians will NOT contact Trump to arrange a meeting. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump because the JCPOA is flawed. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump after a brief suspension in sanctions to ask for permanent sanctions relief. The Iranians WILL meet with Trump when he lifts most or all of the sanctions in good faith and rejoins the JCPOA. Is it just a coincidence that the two ships attacked last week were carrying petrochemicals, just days after Trump and the US placed sanctions on the largest Iranian petrochemical producer? What is it about "If we cannot ship oil/petrochemicals, nobody can." that people don't understand?

Additionally, any standoff missile attack or "March of the B52s" will be met with immediate regional attacks on US (Saudi and Israeli) assets, military personnel and civilians that will destabilize the entire region and destroy the global economy. Not the best scenario for a reelection bid, is it? I'm with b. There is no knuckle dragger at Hormuz, only competent officers carrying out their orders.

Frankie P

Barbara Ann said in reply to b ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:46 PM
b

How blame is apportioned will matter little to Iran if it miscalculates one iota. Yes it cannot sit idle until it is strangled by economic sanctions. But neither can it escalate beyond the destruction of civil and military hardware alone. One dead American is all the neocons need. A counter strike would then be inevitable and the uncontrollable escalation they are counting on the likely result.

Col. Lang has described here the catastrophic consequences for America's enemies when they have doubted its resolve. And the sure route to galvanizing that resolve is for Iran to escalate into targeting US forces.

The only way this ends without a war which would be catastrophic for both sides is if Trump realizes the reality of the situation he is in and ditches the neocons right now. Iran has got its message across and must now desist to allow Trump breathing room to de-escalate. Let us pray that Suleimani and the Iranian leadership are men enough to understand that holding the moral high ground confers no advantage in warfare.

Fred -> b ... , 22 June 2019 at 11:06 AM
b,

Only two choices? That doesn't sound very realistic in the terms of actual options. How about leaving the sanctions in place? What prevents that?

Eric Newhill , 21 June 2019 at 03:32 PM
Publicly, much chest thumping over how Iran has the cowardly Great Satan on the run like a beaten dog. Privately, phone calls to China and Russia begging for assurances of support and attempted offers of negotiations with Trump complete with wildly unrealistic demands.
eakens said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 06:57 PM
This is delusional thinking. The Iranians realized a long time ago not to rely on other countries for assistance. Every Iranian knows not to trust Russians from history. China might be the only hope, not for support, but to convince that this war is as much about them.
LondonBob said in reply to Jack... , 22 June 2019 at 04:19 AM
The Chinese should close Adelson's Macau casinos for health and safety violations. Zionist donors for Trump's election campaign are driving this. Adelson's boy Bolton needs removing before anything positive can happen, Tucker Carlson needs some help with his campaign to oust him.
turcopolier , 21 June 2019 at 05:44 PM
b

Your usual deeply bigoted anti-Americanism.

frankie p said in reply to turcopolier ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:23 PM
Could you explain how the concept that economic sanctions are a belligerent act of war is anti-American? This is a historical concept that you, as a teacher and student of military history, are well aware of. The Iranians are using the means that they have available to respond to these acts of war.

They are not equipped to confront the US military directly, so they are using tactics to place pressure on the US in other areas, primarily by threatening the global economy by plausibly deniable acts against shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is a masterstroke right out of the pages of Sun Tze's Art of War.

Trump has painted himself into a corner. He can offer sanctions relief if he wants to negotiate, or he can attack, and we can hope that the US military learned some of the lessons taught by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper in the Millennium Challenge 2002.

Artemesia said in reply to turcopolier ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:28 PM
At the risk of ---
I think b is on to something.

The neocons are playing out provocations until Congress is forced to vote on War just before election. The provocations will continue -- Israel's Rational Institute & expert game theorists have done this so many times they're just going through the motions. Iranians have watched that game play out before and, perhaps, know how to handle provocations in a disruptive manner.

Did you listen to Foreign Affairs subcommittee questioning State Department undersecretary Brian Hook? https://www.c-span.org/video/?461811-1/house-foreign-affairs-subcommittee-hearing-iran-policy

Hook repeated, emphasized & repeated again that "finance is the basis of war," and US / Trump strategy is to "not to bankrupt Iran," but to "deny Iran access to financial ability to fund Hezbollah, Hamas, and other of the #1 state sponsor of terror's proxies."

The congressmen questioning Hook nodded sagely. None of them so much as hinted at the fact that the USA is so deep in debt it can never pay its way out. Nor was any congressman sage enough, or moral enough, or consistent enough, to question:

-- International policy pundits & think tankers opine that the greatest guarantee of peace is economic stability. US is deliberately seeking to destabilize Iran economically. To what end?

--One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that with sanctions lifted, Iran would enter into the mainstream economy, trading with states throughout the world. This normalization of commerce would constrain Iran from taking actions that would jeopardize its trade relationships. Why does Trump & the zioncons not wish Iran's commercial normalization to take place? Is it because Israel cannot stand the competition?

-- by what right USA violates UN Charter demands that internal affairs of a member state must not be interfered with. Congressmen crowned themselves with laurel as they proclaimed that "the people of Iran are not our enemy; it is the government; we act on behalf of the Iranian people, especially Iranian women."

When I visited Iran in 2008, "Iranian women" spoke with us and asked if we could please provide several days' warning before bombing Iran so that they could shelter their children. Iranian women are some of the toughest you'll meet.

-- what casus belli legitimizes aggression against Iran? Does the USA no longer subscribe to Just War theory? Several years ago I heard Notre Dame's Mary Ellen O'Connell discuss Just War theory with respect to Iran -- https://elibrary.law.psu.edu/jlia/vol2/iss2/6/. US claims to uphold "universal values" ring hollow if such basic steps in framing policy are ignored.

b -> turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 12:10 AM
I deal in facts, not in 'deeply bigoted anti-Americanism'. Interesting that you do not want to recognize those facts. They are right before your eyes. Just I give it a day or two until the next 'incident' happens.

Trump thinks that he can f*** Iran and sit it out? Not gonna happen.

turcopolier -> b ... , 22 June 2019 at 09:39 AM
All

The question has been raised of my denigration of b. He has a long history on SST He is an excellent military analyst but the long and so far as I can remember unbroken record of interpreting EVERY situation as demonstrating the demonic nature of the US causes me to discount anything he writes on other than military subjects narrowly defined. IMO b's hostility to the US is a permanent burden that he carries.

Eric Newhill said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 10:54 AM
Sir,

Also, B's minions, who follow him around, have absorbed his anti-US attitude so completely it's like a religion to them.

Charlie Wilson -> turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:40 AM
b is a hater, colonel. And his English sucks too!

Charlie

Eugene Owens said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:56 AM
Agree regarding b's anti America stance. Yet b's prediction that the guy in charge at Hormuz will get a medal and promotion is correct IMO.

Ditto for his prediction that Iranian attacks will continue with some measure of deniability.

VietnamVet , 21 June 2019 at 07:13 PM
Colonel,

The NYT report that Donald Trump ordered the attack and then pulled back is in Jimmy Carter's "been there done that" territory. Although a New Yorker and he never had to sit in a gasoline line, Donald Trump, personally and legally, cannot be a one term President. He is a political savant.

He gets that he cannot be an LBJ or a Harry Truman with the Albatross of an unwinnable war hung around his neck.

My assumption is that someone in the chain of command after the surveillance drone was shot down triggered a preplanned strike package that was stopped once it got to the President for approval. Once again global media moguls strike back at the nationalist President with Fake News.

But, I am afraid the chosen true believers on his staff do not believe nor care that Iran has prepared a massive disproportionate non-nuclear response that will destroy the global economy.

John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have other agendas than the President's re-election and what is in the USA's national interests. We are not out of the woods.

ex-PFC Chuck , 21 June 2019 at 07:14 PM
Do we know for sure Trump is the one who initially ordered the strike? Or did someone down the line interpret the rules of engagement (do I presume correctly that some such would be in place at the present time?) to allow him or her to order it?
turcopolier -> ex-PFC Chuck... , 22 June 2019 at 09:35 AM
All

In a situation of this degree of geo-political gravity, nobody in the chain of command below the CinC would have had the authority or temerity to attempt to order this strike package.

Neither Pompeo nor Bolton is in the chain of command and attempts by them to order such attacks would have been rejected by the military. BTW if Trump aborted the strikes only 10 minutes out from the targets he was cutting it too close. Communications can always fail.

The Twisted Genius , 21 June 2019 at 07:31 PM
The IRGC knuckle dragger at Hormuz wisely and prudently targeted the unmanned drone and not the manned P8 aircraft. Since it was the Iranians who recovered the wreckage, it will be hard for the US to maintain the drone was well outside Iranian airspace.

No, this action was appropriate in the face of our policy of maximum pressure to starve out the Iranian people and force a regime change.

I applaud Trump's decision not to engage in a shooting war. The way he got to that decision was messy, but the final decision was right. Those calling him weak for not engaging in a war of choice are craven fools. Chief among those is Bolton.

Trump should throw his ass and his mustache out of the WH before the sun goes down. Trump brought this situation upon himself with his pulling out of the JCPOA and initiating his "war" of maximum pressure. It is he who can deflate this crisis, not Kamenei.

eakens said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 22 June 2019 at 12:02 PM
This is all one big PsyOp imo. The US has no popular support for an attack on Iran, internally or externally. We are going to attack, but want to make it seem like they showed restraint and have been left with no choice.

I don't foresee the Iranians talking to Trump unless and until the US walks back its sanctions, or Trump himself goes and sits down with the Ayatollah.

And this nonsense about Iran allowing the US to make some window dressing attack on innocuous targets to save face/ All I can say is Iranians are not Arabs.

Artemesia , 21 June 2019 at 07:32 PM
PS -- C Span ramped up an orgy of war hysteria over Trump's threat, then stand-down over Iran's shoot-down of an un-manned drone. The public was, as usual, confined to a narrow frame of reference and range of responses: "Trump was a coward," vs. "Trump was wise." Congressmen who were interviewed emphasized that "no American was killed."

No one mentioned that Lyndon Johnson called back flights sent to rescue crewmen on the USS Liberty when Israel attacked the ship, strafed the wounded and those in life boats.

SAC Brat said in reply to Harlan Easley ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:13 PM
This seems like Professional Wrestling theater where you have the wrestlers hamming it up for the drama and you wonder what the script is. We only get to see what the camera frames.
NarcoRepublican , 21 June 2019 at 09:17 PM
I am thankful that our military acknowledges that our President is the Commander-in-Chief. He commanded, they obeyed. As for all the pundits on all sides, their lack of perspective or even understanding of history leaves me terrified. There seems to be no understanding of how Iran is capable of retaliation. An example:

Everyone remembers the shootdown of Iranian Air flight 655 on July 3, 1988 by the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, under the command of the late Captain Will Rogers, in which 290 people were killed. President Reagan said America will never apologize. President Clinton ultimately paid the Iranians $130 million.

Few remember what happened next -- some 8 months later, in March, 1989, Capt. Roger's spouse Sharon, was in her van stopped at a traffic light in San Diego. A pipe bomb went off under the back of the van. It was small -- she was unhurt, fortunately, but definitely shaken up, and the van did catch fire. Despite an intensive investigation, the FBI has never solved this case.

Never let us become so blind and arrogant in our strength that we are unable to conceive retaliation by those weaker.

blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 01:47 AM
Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM. https://youtu.be/Rf2cS4g0pes
ancientarcher , 22 June 2019 at 02:07 AM
Has anyone considered the possibility that the drone was sent there to be shot down by the Iranians?

It is no secret that the Neocons and the Israeli zionists (I am repeating myself here) do want a war between Iran and the United States. First, there were a few tanker attacks which were brushed off by Trump. Then this, which was more difficult to brush off. Is it possible that the drone actually went to Iranian airspace but GPS coordinates were spoofed (by insiders on the American side) so that Trump (and the administration) believed that it stayed in international airspace?

The Americans do seem to really believe that the drone was in international airspace and no one can make a point that it is to Iran's benefit to target an American asset in international airspace, especially now when tensions are so high. Iran has the most to lose in the event of a war with the Americans (no points for guessing which country has the most to win - Israel). And it is a coincidence that the guy heading the Iran mission Centre, Michael D'Andrea, was previously the head of drone operations. Or is it a coincidence?

What would I do if I were a neocon who wants war between the US and Iran, a war that Trump doesn't. For the start of hostilities, it is essential that both sides, US and Iran, feel that they are in the right - which of course this situation is. I would create a context, an excuse/rationale for the start of actual hostilities to the US administration (and of course for the consumption of the American public). Then I will make the case to Trump that we should have a 'limited' retaliation. I know that the Iranians will strike back after the 'small scale' bombing. And the Americans have to retaliate to that also. What chances are there that any retaliation by the Americans will not end up in total war with Iran??

Trump doesn't want war and probably saw through the machinations to get him to agree to a 'small' bombing campaign as retaliation that would surely lead to a larger conflagration and total war with Iran that the neocons want so much. This particular provocation was unsuccessful in its aim. However, I think that provocations by the neocons will continue and at an ever increasing pitch - enabled by the neocons within the administration and the Israelis. Trump doesn't want war but his administration filled with neocons does and they will find a way maneuver Trump into it. Israel will fight Iran till the last standing American in the Middle East.

blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 02:15 AM
Sorry. Here's the ink to Tucker on the Iran war brink. https://youtu.be/3PQW2tMMn2A
blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 01:17 PM
Why did Donald Trump hire neocons Bolton & Pompeo as well as torturer Gina Haspel? Couldn't he find people who shared his views (at least what he said during the last campaign) that our ME regime change wars were a disaster that we shouldn't repeat?

As Tucker noted in his segment yesterday Bolton & the neocons have been plotting a war with Iran for some time. They don't care if it sinks Trump's presidency. They have no loyalty to him only condescension.

Hopefully Trump learns from this near miss of a catastrophe for his presidency. But he has seemed weak and indecisive on these matters all along. He never fought back for example with all the tools at his disposal against the attempted coup by law enforcement & the intelligence agencies.

All he did was constantly tweet witch hunt. He's once again delegated it to Barr after Sessions sat on it.

He allowed Pompeo & Bolton to bring on fellow neocon Elliott Abrams who previously screwed up in Nicaragua to attempt another regime change in Venezuela, which has been another botched example of how everything that the neocons touch turns to shit.

Yet as Tucker notes in his segment yesterday the neocons are "bureaucratic tapeworms" that some how manage to survive failure after failure with the same regime change prescriptions. Trump better wise up like right now or he can kiss his re-election goodbye.

[Jun 22, 2019] Putin about the economic war being waged against Russia after the Ukraine Coup in 2014.

Notable quotes:
"... "Let's go back to economic issues. Many people link these difficulties with the Western sanctions. By the way, the European Union again extended them today. Sometimes, there are appeals to make peace with everyone. If Russia complied with the West's demands and agreed to everything, would this benefit our economy in any way?" ..."
"... "Second, what would this give us and what would it not give us, and what would we lose? Look, according to expert analyses, Russia fell short by about $50 billion as a result of these restrictions during these years, starting in 2014. The European Union lost $240 billion, the US $17 billion (we have a small volume of trade with them) and Japan $27 billion. All this affects employment in these countries, including the EU: they are losing our market... ..."
"... "Now, the attack on Huawei: where does it come from and what is its objective? The objective is to hold back the development of China, the country that has become a global rival of another power, the United States. The same is happening with Russia, and will continue to happen , so if we want to occupy a worthy place under the sun, we must become stronger, including, and above all, in the economy." [My Emphasis] ..."
"... Dealing with Putin's bolded remark is a question not just for Russia, China and Iran; it's a question for the entire world and harkens back to the words of George Kennan I cited a few days ago about the USA needing a policy to continue its economic dominance of the planet he uttered in 1947, the policy that became The Anti-Communist Crusade covering for its actual Super Imperialism policy to retain that dominance. ..."
"... What's happening is a titanic struggle to make the Outlaw US Empire cease pursuing that policy. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 6:34:03 PM | 189

I'd like barflies to ponder the following thought/probability: Radar Saturated Environment--radiation not from just individual, discreet, identifiable points, but from such a vast multitude that no single point can be discerned.

To further my brainstorming de-escalation, I'd like to point out what Putin said in his Direct Line yesterday about the economic war being waged against Russia in accordance with the Ukraine Coup in 2014. Pavel Zarubin asks:

"Let's go back to economic issues. Many people link these difficulties with the Western sanctions. By the way, the European Union again extended them today. Sometimes, there are appeals to make peace with everyone. If Russia complied with the West's demands and agreed to everything, would this benefit our economy in any way?"

I thought this a capital question very similar to Iran's dilemma. Putin's response is quite long, so I won't cite it all. Rather, I'll limit it to his initial reply and conclusion as they both deal with the Big Picture:

"First, what does it mean 'to make peace'? We have not fought with anyone and have no desire to fight with anyone.

"Second, what would this give us and what would it not give us, and what would we lose? Look, according to expert analyses, Russia fell short by about $50 billion as a result of these restrictions during these years, starting in 2014. The European Union lost $240 billion, the US $17 billion (we have a small volume of trade with them) and Japan $27 billion. All this affects employment in these countries, including the EU: they are losing our market....

"Now to the question of whether some things would be different if we give in and abandon our fundamental national interests. We are not talking about reconciliation here. Perhaps there will be some external signals, but no drastic change. Look, the People's Republic of China has nothing to do with Crimea and Donbass, does it? We are accused of occupying Donbass, which is nonsense and a lie.

But China has nothing to do with it, and yet the tariffs for Chinese goods are rising, which is almost the same as sanctions.

"Now, the attack on Huawei: where does it come from and what is its objective? The objective is to hold back the development of China, the country that has become a global rival of another power, the United States. The same is happening with Russia, and will continue to happen , so if we want to occupy a worthy place under the sun, we must become stronger, including, and above all, in the economy." [My Emphasis]

This year's Direct Line was as usual filled with domestic issues some that lead to foreign policy issues. The overall scope and distinctness of the minutia are as vast as Russia. I've followed these over the years and note they reveal Russia's strengths and fragilities. I'm tempted to cite more but will leave it to the reader to pursue, but after 90 minutes you still won't be finished because the transcript isn't yet complete, which while frustrating is also amazing.

Dealing with Putin's bolded remark is a question not just for Russia, China and Iran; it's a question for the entire world and harkens back to the words of George Kennan I cited a few days ago about the USA needing a policy to continue its economic dominance of the planet he uttered in 1947, the policy that became The Anti-Communist Crusade covering for its actual Super Imperialism policy to retain that dominance.

What's happening is a titanic struggle to make the Outlaw US Empire cease pursuing that policy.

[Jun 22, 2019] US Empire faces a growing international coalition against its actions, which results from sentiments made at the rather many recent international conferences that have already occurred in June that will be topped by G-20 in 8 days.

Notable quotes:
"... That admission along with the stark mostly unreported economic realities of any armed conflict in the Gulf region is what restrains the war mongers. The Money Power and the Current Oligarchy won't allow war is what I see. And that makes this Friday morning pleasant despite the fog. ..."
"... The risks are just too great (for what the US public is prepared to accept). And we've just seen it happen again. They might be able to screw themselves up to go through with it, and accept the losses and stalemate that will come, but it will do no good at all for Trump's re-election chances. ..."
"... Netanyahu has reiterated his desire for war with Iran -- a war that the US will fight–and is meeting with his Arab allies to help bring it about. As Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line. ..."
"... Listen to this horse manure coming from Brain Hook, "special" representative for Iran: "According to him, Washington was doing everything possible to defuse tensions with Iran and return the containment system in the region. ..."
"... The Zionists are smack dab in the middle of the front line with a massive crosshairs imprinted on their entirety. Occupied Palestine sits at Ground Zero, and it seems that the Zionists are finally waking up to the ultimate betrayal they'll experience at the hands of The Christian Rapturists -- they are to be Genocided in the pursuit of attempting to make a myth come to life. ..."
"... Watch the brilliant George Galloway on the consequences of war with Iran. Bottom line: only hardline Likudniks and FDD Likud USA types would approve such a disastrous move. ..."
"... If America attacks and destroys Iran after doing the same to Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the Islamic religion should semi-officially adopt anti-Americanism until the Empire falls, and it would be totally deserved. If we all go in, let us get a good thrashing. ..."
"... It is true that Trump needs to fire acting President Bolton. Bolton who was appointed to the NSA by Sheldon Adelson, the Israeli/American oligarch, will not allow Trump to fire Bolton; otherwise, he loses millions of $$$$. The pressure is also from Adelson and his neocon ilk. ..."
"... Iran is a big country, and won't be defeated unless the people are ready to abandon the regime. They aren't as far as I can detect. The exiles, and the middle class in Iran, hate the regime. I've just had a lot of that poured into my ears, during my visit to Iran a month ago. The popular feeling though doesn't seem to have abandoned the regime. I think we can expect a nationalist resistance, if indeed Trump does attack Iran. ..."
"... China has been complying with US sanctions on Iran, for example this article notes that China stopped buying oil from Iran . US direct trade with Iran isn't so much as issue as the US stopping Europe and China from trading with Iran. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 12:01:59 PM | 86

The most important Item I've read so far this morning is this report on the Ufa, Russia Security Conference that was attended by both Iranian and Outlaw US Empire officials. The entire article requires reading, but this is the most relevant excerpt that has some links in the original I won't duplicate:

"Given current global events, the most significant attendees in Ufa are a senior US National Security Council member and the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Shamkhani.

As of now, the only official news comes from Ali Shamkhani's words concerning the possibility of mediation with the US and the possibility of Iran acquiring weapons systems to fend off US threats. Shamkhani stated:

"'We currently face demonstrative threats. Nevertheless, when it comes to air defense of our country, we consider using the foreign potential in addition to our domestic capacities Mediation is out of question in the current situation. The United States has unilaterally withdrawn from the JCPOA, it has flouted its obligations and it has introduced illegal sanctions against Iran. The United States should return to the starting point and correct its own mistakes. This process needs no mediation.'

"'This [gradually boosting of uranium enrichment and heavy water production beyond the levels outlined in the JCPOA] is a serious decision of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and we will continue doing it step by step until JCPOA violators move toward agreement and return to fulfilling their obligations. [If JCPOA participants do not comply with the deal, Iran will be reducing its commitments] step by step within legal mechanisms that the JCPOA envisions.'"

It was noted by b that the Outlaw US Empire faces a growing international coalition against its actions, which results from sentiments made at the rather many recent international conferences that have already occurred in June that will be topped by G-20 in 8 days.

That admission along with the stark mostly unreported economic realities of any armed conflict in the Gulf region is what restrains the war mongers. The Money Power and the Current Oligarchy won't allow war is what I see. And that makes this Friday morning pleasant despite the fog.

Laguerre , Jun 21, 2019 12:05:23 PM | 88

Posted by: Anon | Jun 21, 2019 8:04:55 AM | 29 (boring that it's yet another Anon, who can't be bothered to distinguish himself all from the other thousands of Anons)
the stage is now maximum restraint and effort at co-operation, which Iran will be expected to respect. That means one more act against US (or false flag by US) and strikes will occur. Not comparable to hostage crisis, here US is projecting being reasonable, even if you read that as being weak.
It's not me who reading the US as weak. It will be the attitude of the Iranians, who haven't forgotten the US failure in 1980 (April 24, 1980), as opposed to the US public for whom it is so many crises ago that they've forgotten. And the Iranians are right.

Trump hesitated, as every previous attempt to launch a strike on Iran has finished finally in a stand-down.

The risks are just too great (for what the US public is prepared to accept). And we've just seen it happen again. They might be able to screw themselves up to go through with it, and accept the losses and stalemate that will come, but it will do no good at all for Trump's re-election chances.

Mikael Kallavuo , Jun 21, 2019 12:19:06 PM | 91 jsb , Jun 21, 2019 12:20:15 PM | 92
Well it looks like Elijah Magnier has finally written the piece he was hinting at releasing yesterday. Here it is:
Iran is pushing US President Donald Trump to the edge of the abyss, raising the level of tensions to new heights in the Middle East. After the sabotage of four tankers at al-Fujairah and the attack on the Aramco pipeline a month ago, and last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – now categorized by the USA as a terrorist body) yesterday shot down a US Navy drone, sending two clear messages. The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign.

According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.

...

Moreover, Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.

Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

...

Iran's economy is under attack by Trump's embargo on Iranian oil exports. Trump refuses to lift the embargo and wants to negotiate first. Trump, unlike Israel and the hawks in his administration, is trying to avoid a shooting war. Netanyahu has reiterated his desire for war with Iran -- a war that the US will fight–and is meeting with his Arab allies to help bring it about. As Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line.

b , Jun 21, 2019 1:23:18 PM | 107
Trump just confirmed my hunch that there was no final decision to strike.
Meet the Press @MeetThePress - 16:50 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

EXCLUSIVE: In an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd, President Donald Trump says he hadn't given final approval to Iran strikes, no planes were in the air.

Also Elijah Magnier's piece is out:

Iran and Trump on the edge of the abyss

The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign. According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one or two clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
...
Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.
...
Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

The NYT reports that the CentCom claim that the drone was in international airspace is in doubt: Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was 'Not Proportionate'

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official.
..
The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down -- hours after Iran did -- and errors in the labeling of the drone's flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.

A lack of provable "hard evidence" about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary -- this one with a proven ability to strike back.

Laguerre , Jun 21, 2019 1:29:48 PM | 109
b, how can you believe any of Trump's versions? I can't see that one is more trustworthy than another
Uncle Jon , Jun 21, 2019 2:53:41 PM | 131
Listen to this horse manure coming from Brain Hook, "special" representative for Iran: "According to him, Washington was doing everything possible to defuse tensions with Iran and return the containment system in the region.

However, Hook blamed Tehran for rising tension in the region because of the refusal of any diplomatic initiatives.

"Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force. Iran needs to meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not military force," the envoy added."

Diplomacy needs to be met with diplomacy......Really???

Iran should impose sanctions on all of SA, UAE and US oil exports. How's that for diplomacy Mr. Hook? In case you missed it that is exactly what they are doing. Meeting your brand of diplomacy head on.

We are living in the realm of absurd. How is it that we have left the welfare of our kids, families and the future of our country in the hands of these incompetent morons?

And why is the rest of the world sitting with their popcorn watching this horror show?

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 2:58:26 PM | 132
h @124--

After reading the wiki item on P-8s having a normal crew of 7, I got to thinking about the 35 number either being a botched translation or how many bodies were noted via thermal imaging radar, something I doubt Iran was thought to possess. As I wrote, Iran can see everything to its West, which is a very BigDeal.

I digested Magnier's latest. The following is an extremely important point:

"Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line ."

Except that is an impossibility. The Zionists are smack dab in the middle of the front line with a massive crosshairs imprinted on their entirety. Occupied Palestine sits at Ground Zero, and it seems that the Zionists are finally waking up to the ultimate betrayal they'll experience at the hands of The Christian Rapturists -- they are to be Genocided in the pursuit of attempting to make a myth come to life.

Every writer, Magnier, b, Escobar, and most all barflies, etc, are saying the decision lies with Trump. As I've written before and again above, I disagree. The decision to go to war with Iran rests with the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire. And it's my belief that such a war will not bring them A Few Dollars More and instead make their Fistful of Dollars evaporate rapidly. thanks to their great outstanding, naked, risks. For perhaps the very first time, the Current Oligarchy is exposed to the risks involved in a war it initially though it could win. Last night, it seemed to awaken to the potential consequences and blinked. The Philadelphia refinery blast may be shear coincidence or not, but it also has likely helped since its right down the street from the Current Oligarchies penthouses.

Now, it's just about the time of day when the Houthis launch their attacks.

Blooming Barricade , Jun 21, 2019 4:14:14 PM | 155
Watch the brilliant George Galloway on the consequences of war with Iran. Bottom line: only hardline Likudniks and FDD Likud USA types would approve such a disastrous move.

If America attacks and destroys Iran after doing the same to Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the Islamic religion should semi-officially adopt anti-Americanism until the Empire falls, and it would be totally deserved. If we all go in, let us get a good thrashing.
_____

George Galloway has warned the US and its allies in the Gulf that if they were to start "World War III" with an attack on Iran they will live to regret it because, unlike Iraq in 2003, they are capable of fighting back.

The Scottish firebrand, who famously took US lawmakers to task over the Iraq war when he testified in front of the senate in 2005, has given his take on the recent ratcheting-up of tension in the Gulf region after Iran shot down a US drone, which, it says, had entered its airspace.

Washington maintains its UAV was shot down while patrolling over international waters in an "unprovoked attack." On Friday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to claim the US were 10 minutes away from bombing three Iranian sites, before calling off the strikes.

Galloway believes that many Iranians would see it as a great "pleasure to fight the United States and its allies in the region."

In a stark warning to US allies such as Qatar, the UAE and Saudia Arabia, Galloway insisted that any country that allows "its land to be used for the launching for an American attack on Iran will itself be immediately in flames."

The former Labour MP concludes his passionate message to the world by declaring: "No more war. No more war in the Gulf. No war on Iran."

https://youtu.be/ejvTPVvj_IE

El Cid , Jun 21, 2019 4:36:44 PM | 160
It is true that Trump needs to fire acting President Bolton. Bolton who was appointed to the NSA by Sheldon Adelson, the Israeli/American oligarch, will not allow Trump to fire Bolton; otherwise, he loses millions of $$$$. The pressure is also from Adelson and his neocon ilk.
Laguerre , Jun 21, 2019 4:40:29 PM | 163
I don't think my opinion has changed. There've been several cases where they've been about to attack Iran, but then have drawn back. Spring 2018 (Israel), 2012, even the event of 1980, where they tried but failed. Trump's aborted attack is just another case.

Iran is a big country, and won't be defeated unless the people are ready to abandon the regime. They aren't as far as I can detect. The exiles, and the middle class in Iran, hate the regime. I've just had a lot of that poured into my ears, during my visit to Iran a month ago. The popular feeling though doesn't seem to have abandoned the regime. I think we can expect a nationalist resistance, if indeed Trump does attack Iran.

c1ue , Jun 21, 2019 4:54:59 PM | 165
@Oscar Peterson #151

China has been complying with US sanctions on Iran, for example this article notes that China stopped buying oil from Iran . US direct trade with Iran isn't so much as issue as the US stopping Europe and China from trading with Iran.

[Jun 22, 2019] Too many of Obama efforts were in sync with Repubs

Obama did what Clinton wing of Dems wanted him to do. Dem party is the party of Wall Street oligarchy now.
Notable quotes:
"... "...Obama has been trying hard: On 20 July 2011, Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com headlined " Bipartisan Plan Summary Charts Confirm Key Deficit 'Cuts ' Come From Imminent Social Security Pillage," and this conservative website expressed shock at how amazingly Republican this plan was , which Obama was trying to ram through. The "bipartisan" Obama had reached farther into Republican territory than Republican politicians had even dared. .." ..."
"... Obama's 'Mandate' To Slash Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security," ..."
"... So he had a mandate to cut social security, but not one to pass single payer? Remember when we heard that he wouldn't allow single payer advocates in the room with the insurance and pharmaceutical companies that we later learned that he had already made a deal with before the democrats worked on the hideously flawed ACA? And remember how pissed off people were when they learned what we were getting? But when Bernie was saying that we deserved universal health care people asked him how he was going to pay for it. And people cheered when Herheinous said that " universal health care will never ever happen." ..."
"... Obama also killed the anti war movement when he lied about Gaddafi's troops raping women and invaded Libya and then Syria. During his tenure states lost close to 1,000 seats. Finally after Obomber waltzed out of the WH people were so pissed off at him that they voted for Trump or against Hillary. ..."
"... In the end, the Clintons ushered in anti-New Deal Neoliberalism -- economics based on the Right Wing principles of 'greed is good' and 'monopolies are good for America' because they are good for Empire's global hegemony. At the end of his term, President Clinton signed a bill that revoked the last of the New Deal regulations that once protected the People from predatory capitalism. No sooner did Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette leave the White House for good, than the capitalists swooped into the "free market" and began asset-stripping and wage-stripping the American people -- beginning with the working poor and Black homeowners. Personal debt took off on a parabolic climb and it continues today, clouding everyone's future. ..."
"... I knew Obama wanted to cut social security, but not as early as he did. ..."
"... "I made you guys rich" he said not too long ago to the bank CEOs. And now he's getting rewarded for doing that. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

aliasalias on Fri, 06/21/2019 - 3:58pm

Too many of Obama's efforts were in sync with Repubs'

@jbob @jbob @jbob @jbob wishes when they formed no opposition at all on matters like making sure GWB's tax cuts weren't allowed to sunset, in fact what Obama did was even worse, Bush's tax cuts had that sunset clause, not so with Obama he made them permanent .

This includes "Obama's Long Battle to Cut Social Security Benefits"

"Back in 2009, he came into office wanting to address the long-term financial issue of Social Security not by removing the annual earnings-cap of around $100,000 that pertained (and above which income was/is untaxed for Social Security, so that this change alone could solve the problem), but instead by reducing retirement benefits to seniors: cutting the benefits they receive.

This man, Obama, who went along with George W. Bush's taxpayer-bailouts for Wall Street rather than institute bailouts of Main Street (the public) and who thereby produced continuation of the economic crash for everyone other than the nation's wealthiest 1% or 5%, was also aiming to serve the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else when it comes to long-term changes of Social Security."
".....On 16 January 2009, four days before Obama became President, Michael D. Shear headlined in the Washington Post, "Obama Pledges Entitlement Reform, " and he reported about " a wide-ranging 70 minute interview with Washington Post reporters and editors," in which Obama endorsed efforts by congressional Republicans , and "the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats," to cut Social Security and Medicare. Progressives were already disturbed at what their friends in Congress were leaking to them about Obama's strong commitment to doing this, and so a few blog posts were issued to ring alarm bells publicly about it. Paul Rosenberg at openleft.com headlined on January 17th (three days before Obama's Inauguration), regarding "Obama's 'Mandate' To Slash Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security,"

Remember the "Cat food Commission"?

"...Obama has been trying hard: On 20 July 2011, Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com headlined " Bipartisan Plan Summary Charts Confirm Key Deficit 'Cuts ' Come From Imminent Social Security Pillage," and this conservative website expressed shock at how amazingly Republican this plan was , which Obama was trying to ram through. The "bipartisan" Obama had reached farther into Republican territory than Republican politicians had even dared. .."

The following day, July 21st, Paul Kane bannered in the Washington Post, "Debt Talks Bring Tensions Between Democrats, Obama to Surface," and he reported that even top Democrats in the Senate – Reid, Kerry, Cantwell, Mikulsky, Lautenberg, and Feinstein – were shocked that the Democratic President was leaving them entirely out of the loop in his budget negotiations, and was negotiating only with leading Republicans . "

https://washingtonsblog.com/2014/09/obamas-long-battle-cut-social-securi...

snoopydawg on Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:10pm
Remember right after the Great Recession

@aliasalias

Obama froze the federal wage for two years. Why did he think that was a good idea? For the same reason he lowballed the money for us little folks and refused to help the 9 million people who were losing their homes while the banks continued to commit fraud which he still didn't stop or prosecute.

From the article..

Obama's 'Mandate' To Slash Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security,"

So he had a mandate to cut social security, but not one to pass single payer? Remember when we heard that he wouldn't allow single payer advocates in the room with the insurance and pharmaceutical companies that we later learned that he had already made a deal with before the democrats worked on the hideously flawed ACA? And remember how pissed off people were when they learned what we were getting? But when Bernie was saying that we deserved universal health care people asked him how he was going to pay for it. And people cheered when Herheinous said that " universal health care will never ever happen."

Obama also killed the anti war movement when he lied about Gaddafi's troops raping women and invaded Libya and then Syria. During his tenure states lost close to 1,000 seats. Finally after Obomber waltzed out of the WH people were so pissed off at him that they voted for Trump or against Hillary.

Pluto's Republic on Fri, 06/21/2019 - 4:26pm
Just to cut to the chase at the outset:

...Bernie's dilemma is an easily-exploited structural distortion that occurs because the Left is forced to share a Political Party with the Centrists and Center-Right in order for their voice to be heard. That's not going to change until the Left changes it.

Democratic operatives and the Democratic party elite can easily push this attitude from the inside, in subtle ways. When Bernie brings up marching with MLK (because the Democratic Party is not about to tout his bio and lend credence to Bernie's story), the Dems simply roll their eyes and mumble, "Here we go again." Or, "That story never gets old... to Bernie."

The Democrats have a long history of bamboozling Blacks. Contemplate the breathtaking betrayal of Blacks by the Clinton administration. Black lives and families were destroyed by heinous, unjust laws and by Democratic policies that weaponized the criminal justice against them. This has shattered and traumatized Black families for generations.

In the end, the Clintons ushered in anti-New Deal Neoliberalism -- economics based on the Right Wing principles of 'greed is good' and 'monopolies are good for America' because they are good for Empire's global hegemony. At the end of his term, President Clinton signed a bill that revoked the last of the New Deal regulations that once protected the People from predatory capitalism. No sooner did Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette leave the White House for good, than the capitalists swooped into the "free market" and began asset-stripping and wage-stripping the American people -- beginning with the working poor and Black homeowners. Personal debt took off on a parabolic climb and it continues today, clouding everyone's future.

But returning to Democratic operatives for a moment, do you know why Black leaders completely defaulted to the Clinton Administration, and why they went on to plant the seed of Democratic Party bamboozlement in their followers? It was in this cauldron that the current DC shitshow was made:

In the early years, following Martin Luther King's death, progressive social programs were slowly put into place to convey onto Blacks some of the same Liberties that white population enjoyed in the US. Public institutions were rendered color blind, by law. Blacks who wanted a good education found it easier to gain admittance and to find government grants to help pay for it. For Blacks who wanted to start their own businesses, there were advisors who offered them support and small business loans. Buying a home suddenly became a real option in Black communities. New mortgage banks opened that helped millions of Black residents take ownership. Labor unions continued to lift many out of poverty, and lifted more into the Middle Class for the first time.

Behind the scenes, however, there was obstruction. The Reagan and Bush I administrations did not make it easy for Black leaders to access the funding that had been earmarked for these programs. The bureaucracy put up walls and slow-walked the processes, deadlines were frequently missed, documents were misplaced, and there was a general indifference to their requests. But the arrival of the Clinton administration changed all that. A group of Democrats opened a special 'window' where Black Leaders could finally get the money to run the programs -- with none the hassle. This was enormously helpful and strong bonds developed between the Democratic Party and Black community activists.

The Democratic Party assumed that they had corralled the Black Vote -- as if Blacks were vending machines. Put in the right platitudes and out would come the expected votes. But I wonder about that.... The rising generation Black journalists I've been reading since the 2016 election, paint a different picture of this political relationship. They are skeptical of the words that politicians use. To them, 'MLK' is just another public holiday. Invoking the name Martin Luther King does not put food on the table, or pay for college, or protect them from daily government abuses. I think they know exactly who Joe Biden is and they are aware that the Democratic Party feels entitled to their votes -- even when the Party isn't fighting for economic justice and basic human rights, like universal healthcare. Perhaps it is it's their turn to triangulate for awhile -- and see if the Neoliberal Party leadership is going to respect their needs.

snoopydawg on Fri, 06/21/2019 - 4:53pm
You saved me from writing about Obama again

@dkmich

Thanks. Especially after reading aliasalias' comment. I knew Obama wanted to cut social security, but not as early as he did.

"I made you guys rich" he said not too long ago to the bank CEOs. And now he's getting rewarded for doing that.

Biden too has made speeches about cutting it and they are making the rounds on Twitter, but too many people aren't hearing about it and think that he's just a lovable ole Joe who sometimes talks funny and sticks his foot in his mouth. He is not. He was a ruthless during his tenure in congress and not enough of those videos are getting out.

As too his not having a racist bone in his body just listen to his speech on busing. Sure sounded racist to me. Of all the people he could have talked about back when congress was sane why did he choose one of the biggest racists to bring up? Because even though he was racist he could work with him? Nah..

to me that Lewis the civil rights leader was now sated and fat and had been replaced by Lewis the toadying politician who would screw anyone including his own if it suited him. Whoopi the same. When people get fat and comfortable for too long, they forget who they are and don't care who they've become. As long as it involves more for them, whatever it is, is fine with them.

When Lewis was called out for endorsing Clinton over Bernie, Whoopi for criticizing AOC as not respectful of her betters, of course their critics were called racists. A lament that never seems to get too old to the folks using it. While the old folks, white racists, and black militants wallow in and continue to argue over the past, the kids are moving way beyond them. Interracial relationships and biracial people are leaving it all behind. Soon no one will know what race or ethnicity anyone is.

I really don't know how Bernie stands it. I couldn't do it, certainly not at age 77. How many years now has he dragged his old and sorry ass around the country trying to improve peoples lives? In return all he gets some dumb ass in the audience chastising him for having fought for her equality. Fuck her. Fuck them. Fuck them all. From the Clintons and the media to the whiny people with their shorts in a knot over this or that ONE thing he failed to make better that they can't cope with or overcome - ever.

Divide and conquer is exactly what it is all about. Those that have theirs vs those that don't and making sure it stays that way. I am so tired of them, their game, and the victims. At what point does a victim wise up and quit being a victim or willingly become a willing participant in the game?

This story really pisses me off. Can you tell?

[Jun 22, 2019] A new policy issued by the United States Department of Defense, in conjunction with online platforms like Twitter and Facebook, will automatically enlist you to New Departement of Defence rule: Internet Users Who Call For Attacking Other Countries Will Now Be Enlisted In The Military Automatically

Highly recommended!
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

interlocutor , Jun 21, 2019 6:13:43 PM | 186

The Babylon Bee: Report: Internet Users Who Call For Attacking Other Countries Will Now Be Enlisted In The Military Automatically

https://babylonbee.com/img/articles/article-4404-1.jpg

U.S. -- A new policy issued by the United States Department of Defense, in conjunction with online platforms like Twitter and Facebook, will automatically enlist you to fight in a foreign war if you post your support for attacking another country.

People who bravely post about how the U.S. needs to invade some country in the Middle East or Asia or outer space will get a pop-up notice indicating they've been enlisted in the military. A recruiter will then show up at their house and whisk them away to fight in the foreign war they wanted to happen so badly.

"Frankly, recruitment numbers are down, and we needed some way to find people who are really enthusiastic about fighting wars," said a DOD official. "Then it hit us like a drone strike: there are plenty of people who argue vehemently for foreign intervention. It doesn't matter what war we're trying to create: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China---these people are always reliable supporters of any invasion abroad. So why not get them there on the frontlines?"

"After all, we want people who are passionate about occupying foreign lands, not grunts who are just there for the paycheck," he added.

Strangely, as soon as the policy was implemented, 99% of saber-rattling suddenly ceased.

Note: The Babylon Bee is the world's best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.

The Babylon Bee was created ex nihilo on the eighth day of the creation week, exactly 6,000 years ago. We have been the premier news source through every major world event, from the Tower of Babel and the Exodus to the Reformation and the War of 1812. We focus on just the facts, leaving spin and bias to other news sites like CNN and Fox News.

If you would like to complain about something on our site, take it up with God.

Unlike other satire sites, everything we post is 100% verified by Snopes.com.

[Jun 22, 2019] Chuck Schumer 'The American People Deserve A President Who Can More Credibly Justify War With Iran'

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

In a pointed critique of President Trump's foreign policy leadership, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated to members of the press Thursday that "the American people deserve a president who can more credibly justify war with Iran."

"What the American people need is a president who can make a much more convincing case for going to war with Iran," said Schumer (D-NY), adding that the Trump administration's corruption and dishonesty have "proven time and time again" that it lacks the conviction necessary to act as an effective cheerleader for the conflict.

"Donald Trump is completely unfit to assume the mantle of telling the American people what they need to hear in order to convince them a war with Iran is a good idea.

One of the key duties of the president is to gain the trust of the people so that they feel comfortable going along with whatever he says. President Trump's failure to serve as a credible advocate for this war is yet another instance in which he has disappointed not only his colleagues in Washington, but also the entire nation."

Schumer later concluded his statement with a vow that he and his fellow Democrats will continue working toward a more palatable case in favor of bombing Iran.

[Jun 22, 2019] Bolton Calls For Forceful Iranian Response To Continuing US Aggression

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible. ..."
"... "The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

Demanding that the Middle Eastern nation retaliate immediately in self-defense against the existential threat posed by America's military operations, National Security Adviser John Bolton called for a forceful Iranian response Friday to continuing United States aggression.

"Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible.

"The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with.

They've been given every opportunity to back down, but their goal is total domination of the region, and Iran won't stand for that."

At press time, Bolton said that the only option left on the table was for Iran to launch a full-fledged military strike against the Great Satan.

[Jun 22, 2019] Donald Trump likes to think of himself as a statesman, an author, an A-level negotiator but at heart, he's one thing: an insult comic

Add to this that he is in the pocket of Israel lobby and that helps to explain most of his actions.
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

President Donald Trump likes to think of himself as a statesman, an author, an A-level negotiator, but at heart, he's one thing: an insult comic.

Every day in D.C. is a roast, the insults and belittling nicknames wielded like tiny comedy bullets. And if you haven't seen enough of the fusillade on Twitter, all you need to do is turn on late night TV. Television comedy has a strange, symbiotic relationship with the real political world, something between a feedback loop and a funhouse mirror....

... ... ...

[Jun 22, 2019] Trump on Iran threat now and then

Oct 22, 2012 | www.unz.com

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected--be careful Republicans!

11:43 AM 22 Oct 12 Twitter Web Client

[Jun 22, 2019] Tucker Carlson: John Bolton is a kind of bureaucratic tapeworm

Notable quotes:
"... "Try as you might, you can't expel him. He seems to live forever in the bowels of the federal agencies, periodically reemerging to cause pain and suffering -- but somehow never suffering himself." ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Someone whose confidence Bolton does not enjoy is Carlson, a rival for Trump's ear. Carlson, a true believer, took to the airwaves to savage the ambassador Friday night. "John Bolton is a kind of bureaucratic tapeworm," Carlson said.

"Try as you might, you can't expel him. He seems to live forever in the bowels of the federal agencies, periodically reemerging to cause pain and suffering -- but somehow never suffering himself."

[Jun 22, 2019] Russia Will Help Iran With Oil, Banking If Europe's SPV Payment Channel Not Launched

Notable quotes:
"... Europe is being clobbered by the USA on multiple fronts - at little cost to the USA: 1- Russian sanctions; 2- Oil - sanctioning Iran raises oil price and risks a blowout of prices; 3- Gas - sanctioning companies working on Russian gas and pipelines ..."
"... It's about the financial derivatives Iran, the derivatives.. The Europeans, even if they desired honesty, are shackled by their financial shenanigans.. One bad move on their part, and the Potemkin contraption collapses, wiping out the western 1%. They're trapped, and unlike before, war is a lose for them and why? ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

...Russia on Friday announced it was ready to help Iran export its crude and ease restrictions on its banking system if Europe fails to launch its dollar-evading SPV, Instex (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) with Tehran, according to Interfax and PressTV .

The three European signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), unveiled late in January the direct non-dollar payment mechanism meant to safeguard their trade ties with Tehran following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and in the face of the "toughest ever" sanctions imposed by the United States against the Islamic Republic. In its initial stage, INSTEX would facilitate trade of humanitarian goods such as medicine, food and medical devices, but it will later be expanded to cover other areas of trade, including Iran's oil sales.

However, it has not resulted in any trade deals so far. In late May, the US threatened Europe with " loss of access to the US financial system " if it rolled out the SWIFT-evading SPV, which appears to have crushed Europe's enthusiasm to pursue alternative financial transactions with Tehran, forcing it to conceded to Washington (again).

Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Moussavi said European governments have failed to meet their expectations in implementing INSTEX to protect the JCPOA, criticizing their "lack of will" to deal with America's pressure against Tehran.


marcel tjoeng , 4 hours ago link

What this means is, China will have access to a lot cheaper oil than western market prices, including to the hilt subsidized, with colossal hidden losses, US shale oil. Well done Trump. The Tariffs, Americuhns are the ones paying for those as well. Imbeciles.

TigerK , 8 hours ago link

We are seeing a return to "Gun Boat Diplomacy"... Even THAT will not work.. ultimately. Brinkmanship, of this order reveals a Disturbed mind.. the US criminal elite psyche.. Or as Jidu KrishnaMurti said so aptly..The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.

The USA continues to publicize its belief.. that it is the viral of democracy.. And leader of the Free World. Hollow words.. which it will be forced to eat.. before too long. That time of confrontation.. is Not Far OFF !! This desperation is that of a deranged mind.. that is going down the tube.. breaking down.. A society in free fall..

Ms No , 10 hours ago link

This is exactly how it will always work out when psychopaths are in charge because normal society doesnt manage them.They come from all backgrounds but some genetic varieties of people seem to have YUGE problems with it. I also believe inbreeding has a role.

ExPat2018 , 11 hours ago link

Necessity is the mother of invention. The USA is helping by making people inventors

Nassim , 12 hours ago link

Europe is being clobbered by the USA on multiple fronts - at little cost to the USA: 1- Russian sanctions; 2- Oil - sanctioning Iran raises oil price and risks a blowout of prices; 3- Gas - sanctioning companies working on Russian gas and pipelines

Mat Cauthon , 13 hours ago link

Of course China will follow. Russia's SPFS is already in planning to be alongside China's CIPS for the Silk Road 2.0.

costa ludus , 13 hours ago link

It's not the actual physical oil Russia is helping Iran with, numbnuts -- it is brokering and facilitating the sale of oil without having the Jewish shysters in London and NY involved - the same reason the Chinese set up their own oil bourse.

SoDamnMad , 12 hours ago link

Costa. People don't understand the system. The Brits bad mouthed Russia over the Novichok false flag incident last winter and jumped on the sanction crap. But they gladly accepted a load of LNG from a Rotterdam energy broker to keep their asses from freezing. It was Yamal LNG from RUSSIA. Brokers take the energy (including world-wide trades) and sell it off taking a small bit from each "barrel"as their profit.

stuvian , 14 hours ago link

To succeed in establishing an alternative to SWIFT there will need to be a critical mass of nations buying in

madashellron , 15 hours ago link

I'm sure the Iranians already know this. The EU is just an extension of US power. They were never serious about allowing the free flow of trade with the Iranians. One must get rid of the EU if a real Peace plan with Iran is to take place. But this will never happen under Trump.

madashellron , 15 hours ago link

Russia to the rescue again, and again and again and again...

Brazen Heist II , 16 hours ago link

European politicians are cucks bribed to the teeth by the evil empire to toe the Zionist line. Europe is all but an emasculated world power. Pathetic. Kick US forces out and take a ******* stand against all this ******** America is stirring on Europe's doorstep. Refugees, terrorism, bad relations with Russia....all thanks to the Anglo Zionists. Europeans keep taking it. The Marshall Plan guilt-trip is working well.

John Hansen , 11 hours ago link

Lets face a fact, the US government has been occupying Europe and Japan militarily since the end of WWII. They aren't so much allies as vassals.

Ms No , 10 hours ago link

True but the Zionist banker noghtmare spread to the US from the British empire, so Europe has been perpetually screwed, thus all the world wars that took place there, etc.

Flash007 , 9 hours ago link

Psychopaths and parasites are "smart" at ******* over others, (((da juice))) are masters at it.

ILikeMeat , 10 hours ago link

Europe is not a power, it is an artificial construction with no real leadership.No military to back its decisions and a bunch of feminists and homos that make up its culturally diverse parliaments. European women act like men and the men act like women. There is no fight left in Europe..

messystateofaffairs , 16 hours ago link

China and Russia need to preserve Iran for the BRI which is the lifeline for everyone who has had a belllyfull of JewSA ********. China and Russia will facilitate Iranian trade and Iranian nuclear ICBM peacemakers will soon follow.

Cassandra.Hermes , 16 hours ago link

Trump is loosing, he scares Europeans and Turks but don't let be fooled, Americans are not allowed near Iranian border of Turkey, why do you think is that restriction?

Wahooo , 13 hours ago link

Because gold and oil are two of Turkey's main exports.

Scipio Africanuz , 16 hours ago link

It's about the financial derivatives Iran, the derivatives.. The Europeans, even if they desired honesty, are shackled by their financial shenanigans.. One bad move on their part, and the Potemkin contraption collapses, wiping out the western 1%. They're trapped, and unlike before, war is a lose for them and why?

Because the kinetic advantage is no longer with them, it's now in the East. Nevertheless, their innocent youth can still be salvaged, provided they desire salvage. No more impunity without retribution, cheers...

Thordoom , 16 hours ago link

So India stop importing Iranian oil in order to buy the same oil from Russia for much more since thy where buying that same oil from Iran at great discount. India looks to Russian crude as Iranian imports crash

https://www.rt.com/business/462396-india-russia-oil-supplies/

SoDamnMad , 12 hours ago link

Trump told Modi he would drop tariffs on Indian IT work unless they towed the line. Modi folded.

alexcojones , 17 hours ago link

Good old Vlad, Mr. Putin being a statesman again.Wish we had some of those in "our" country, said this old US veteran

johand inmywallet , 17 hours ago link

No country will win WWIII, everyone will lose.

Brazen Heist II , 16 hours ago link

Some deluded folks still think they have a first strike advantage. LOL No really, we can win this if you "trust" me.

[Jun 22, 2019] Who Survives The Iran Counter-Offensive

Notable quotes:
"... Trump is right that he can afford to be patient and now re-frame this as him being the magnanimous God-Emperor but what he's really doing is talking capital markets off a cliff. ..."
"... Because that's where the U.S. is the most vulnerable and where Iran's greatest leverage lies. This incident should have sent oil prices far higher than they did if the threat of war was real. ..."
"... Why? Because the markets discounted the U.S.'s stories immediately. There have been so many incidents like this that should have started a war in the past three years which turn out to be bogus that the market reaction was muted, at best. ..."
"... As Pepe Escobar lays out convincingly in his latest article, Iran's threats against global oil shipping aren't aimed at disrupting the global economy per se. There's plenty of oil stored in Strategic Reserves around the world to keep things operating during any U.S. military operation to destroy Iran's navy (which wouldn't take very long) and open the strait to oil traffic. ..."
"... It is that a disruption in the price of oil will force the unwinding of trillions in interest rate swap derivatives already at risk because of the tenuous hold on reality Deutsche Bank has, since DB clears a super-majority of all such derivative contracts for the whole of Europe. ..."
"... Last week I asked whether Trump's "B-Team" overplayed their hand in the Gulf of Oman , staging a potential false flag over some oil tankers to stop peace breaking out and arrest the slide in oil prices. Today everyone wants to think Iran overplayed its hand by attacking this drone. But given the amount mendacity and the motivations of the people involved, I'd say that it was yet another attempt by the enemies of peace to push us to the brink of a world war in which nothing good comes of it. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Iran has had enough. I think it's fair to say that after 60+ years of U.S. aggression towards Iran that the decision to shoot down a U.S. drone represents an inflection point in world politics.

In the first few hours after the incident the fog of war was thick. But a day later much of it has cleared thanks to Iran's purposeful poke at U.S. leadership by coming clean with their intentions.

Iran chose to shoot down this drone versus hitting the manned P-8 aircraft and then chose not to lie about it in public, but rather come forward removing any deniability they could have had.

me title=

They did this after President Trump's comments yesterday during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where Trump described the attack as "a big mistake" and "not intentional."

But it was intentional.

And the reason for this was that despite Trump's assurances yesterday there is considerable debate as to where the drone actually was. According to a report from the NY Times (and buried deep in a very long article):

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike -- which could under international norms be viewed as an act of war.

The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down -- hours after Iran did -- and errors in the labeling of the drone's flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.

A lack of provable "hard evidence" about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary -- this one with a proven ability to strike back.

This means a couple of things. First, it is likely that Trump was not properly briefed on the issue by his National Security Council, who were pushing him to strike back hard and who are itching to get the U.S. into an armed conflict with Iran.

Framing the attack as a mistake Trump was handing Iran the opportunity to de-escalate things. To me, this signaled that Trump was told through back channels this was an operation designed by us to put Iran in a no-win situation -- either allow encroachment of their airspace or shoot down a drone that would land in international waters.

Moreover, doubts as to the drone's position, remember, with a plane carrying actual ordnance on its wing, put Trump in a real bind.

And he knew it at the presser. That's the way Trump tried to frame this the way he did. Because the implications here are that he is being boxed in on all sides by his administration and his allies -- the Saudis, Israelis and the UAE -- and frogmarched to a war he doesn't want.

He wants Iran to heel but he doesn't know how to go about it.

That Iran then chose the next day to openly declare that they were not confused or misled and knew exactly what they were doing puts Trump in an even worse position.

Because an unmanned drone, as he said in his futile tweetstorm, is not worth going to war over, especially one whose position in in dispute.

And everyone knows it. Europe wouldn't condemn Iran here. No one did. Only the U.S. And that silence is deafening as Pompeo, Bolton and Haspel again over-extend themselves.

Trump is right that he can afford to be patient and now re-frame this as him being the magnanimous God-Emperor but what he's really doing is talking capital markets off a cliff.

Because that's where the U.S. is the most vulnerable and where Iran's greatest leverage lies. This incident should have sent oil prices far higher than they did if the threat of war was real.

Why? Because the markets discounted the U.S.'s stories immediately. There have been so many incidents like this that should have started a war in the past three years which turn out to be bogus that the market reaction was muted, at best.

It also tells you just how quickly the global economy is slowing down if a major military incident between Iran and the U.S. near the Strait of Hormuz only pushed the price of Brent Crude up to fill the gap on the weekly chart and confirm the recent low.

... ... ...

As Pepe Escobar lays out convincingly in his latest article, Iran's threats against global oil shipping aren't aimed at disrupting the global economy per se. There's plenty of oil stored in Strategic Reserves around the world to keep things operating during any U.S. military operation to destroy Iran's navy (which wouldn't take very long) and open the strait to oil traffic.

It is that a disruption in the price of oil will force the unwinding of trillions in interest rate swap derivatives already at risk because of the tenuous hold on reality Deutsche Bank has, since DB clears a super-majority of all such derivative contracts for the whole of Europe.

No one wants to see $300 per barrel oil. That Goldman Sachs is posting potential targets of $1000 per barrel tells you where they are positioning themselves, as if they know something? Goldman? Have insider knowledge?

Please! It is to laugh.

What we are looking at here is the ultimate game of brinkmanship. Trump is saying his maximum pressure campaign will break Iran in the end and if they go one step further (which they won't directly) he will eliminate them.

Iran, on the other hand, is stating categorically that if Trump doesn't allow Iran to trade than no one will. And that threat is a real one, given their regional influence. Incalculable financial and political damage can be done by Iran and its proxies around the region through attacks on oil and gas infrastructure. Governments will fall, markets will collapse. And no one gets out without scars.

It's the kind of stand-off that needs to end with everyone walking away and regrouping but is unlikely to do so because of entrenched interests on both sides and the historical grudges of the men involved.

What's important is to know that the rules of the game have changed. Iran has taken all the punches to the nose it will take from Trump without retaliating. When you corner someone and give them no way out you invite the worst kind of counter-attack.

Last week I asked whether Trump's "B-Team" overplayed their hand in the Gulf of Oman , staging a potential false flag over some oil tankers to stop peace breaking out and arrest the slide in oil prices. Today everyone wants to think Iran overplayed its hand by attacking this drone. But given the amount mendacity and the motivations of the people involved, I'd say that it was yet another attempt by the enemies of peace to push us to the brink of a world war in which nothing good comes of it.

I give Trump a lot of credit here for not falling into the trap set for him. He now has to begin removing those responsible for this quagmire and I'm sure that will be on the docket when he meets with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping next week at the G-20.

It starts with John Bolton and it ends with Mike Pompeo.

And if he doesn't replace them in the next six to eight weeks then we know Trump isn't serious about keeping us out of war. He's just interested in doing so until he gets re-elected

[Jun 22, 2019] this report on the Ufa, Russia Security Conference by both Iranian and Outlaw US Empire officials. The entire article requires reading, but this is the most relevant excerpt that has some links in the original I won't duplicate:

Jun 22, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

"Given current global events, the most significant attendees in Ufa are a senior US National Security Council member and the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Shamkhani. As of now, the only official news comes from Ali Shamkhani's words concerning the possibility of mediation with the US and the possibility of Iran acquiring weapons systems to fend off US threats. Shamkhani stated:

"'We currently face demonstrative threats. Nevertheless, when it comes to air defense of our country, we consider using the foreign potential in addition to our domestic capacities Mediation is out of question in the current situation. The United States has unilaterally withdrawn from the JCPOA, it has flouted its obligations and it has introduced illegal sanctions against Iran. The United States should return to the starting point and correct its own mistakes. This process needs no mediation.'

"'This [gradually boosting of uranium enrichment and heavy water production beyond the levels outlined in the JCPOA] is a serious decision of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and we will continue doing it step by step until JCPOA violators move toward agreement and return to fulfilling their obligations. [If JCPOA participants do not comply with the deal, Iran will be reducing its commitments] step by step within legal mechanisms that the JCPOA envisions.'"

It was noted by b that the Outlaw US Empire faces a growing international coalition against its actions, which results from sentiments made at the rather many recent international conferences that have already occurred in June that will be topped by G-20 in 8 days. That admission along with the stark mostly unreported economic realities of any armed conflict in the Gulf region is what restrains the war mongers. The Money Power and the Current Oligarchy won't allow war is what I see. And that makes this Friday morning pleasant despite the fog.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2019 12:01:59 PM | 86

Posted by: Anon | Jun 21, 2019 8:04:55 AM | 29 (boring that it's yet another Anon, who can't be bothered to distinguish himself all from the other thousands of Anons)
the stage is now maximum restraint and effort at co-operation, which Iran will be expected to respect. That means one more act against US (or false flag by US) and strikes will occur. Not comparable to hostage crisis, here US is projecting being reasonable, even if you read that as being weak.
It's not me who reading the US as weak. It will be the attitude of the Iranians, who haven't forgotten the US failure in 1980 (April 24, 1980), as opposed to the US public for whom it is so many crises ago that they've forgotten. And the Iranians are right. Trump hesitated, as every previous attempt to launch a strike on Iran has finished finally in a stand-down. The risks are just too great (for what the US public is prepared to accept). And we've just seen it happen again. They might be able to screw themselves up to go through with it, and accept the losses and stalemate that will come, but it will do no good at all for Trump's re-election chances.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21, 2019 12:05:23 PM | 88

Posted by: Mikael Kallavuo | Jun 21, 2019 12:19:06 PM | 91 Well it looks like Elijah Magnier has finally written the piece he was hinting at releasing yesterday. Here it is:


Iran is pushing US President Donald Trump to the edge of the abyss, raising the level of tensions to new heights in the Middle East. After the sabotage of four tankers at al-Fujairah and the attack on the Aramco pipeline a month ago, and last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – now categorized by the USA as a terrorist body) yesterday shot down a US Navy drone, sending two clear messages. The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign.

According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.

...

Moreover, Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.

Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

...

Iran's economy is under attack by Trump's embargo on Iranian oil exports. Trump refuses to lift the embargo and wants to negotiate first. Trump, unlike Israel and the hawks in his administration, is trying to avoid a shooting war. Netanyahu has reiteratedhis desire for war with Iran -- a war that the US will fight–and is meeting with his Arab allies to help bring it about. As Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line.


Posted by: jsb | Jun 21, 2019 12:20:15 PM | 92

Trump just confirmed my hunch that there was no final decision to strike.
Meet the Press @MeetThePress - 16:50 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

EXCLUSIVE: In an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd, President Donald Trump says he hadn't given final approval to Iran strikes, no planes were in the air.

Also Elijah Magnier's piece is out:

Iran and Trump on the edge of the abyss

The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign. According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one or two clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
...
Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.
...
Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

The NYT reports that the CentCom claim that the drone was in international airspace is in doubt:
Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was 'Not Proportionate'

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official.
..
The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down -- hours after Iran did -- and errors in the labeling of the drone's flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.

A lack of provable "hard evidence" about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary -- this one with a proven ability to strike back.


Posted by: b | Jun 21, 2019 1:23:18 PM | 107 b, how can you believe any of Trump's versions? I can't see that one is more trustworthy than another

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21, 2019 1:29:48 PM | 109

Listen to this horse manure coming from Brain Hook, "special" representative for Iran:

"According to him, Washington was doing everything possible to defuse tensions with Iran and return the containment system in the region.

However, Hook blamed Tehran for rising tension in the region because of the refusal of any diplomatic initiatives.

"Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force. Iran needs to meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not military force," the envoy added."

Diplomacy needs to be met with diplomacy......Really???

Iran should impose sanctions on all of SA, UAE and US oil exports. How's that for diplomacy Mr. Hook? In case you missed it that is exactly what they are doing. Meeting your brand of diplomacy head on.

We are living in the realm of absurd. How is it that we have left the welfare of our kids, families and the future of our country in the hands of these incompetent morons?

And why is the rest of the world sitting with their popcorn watching this horror show?

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 21, 2019 2:53:41 PM | 131 h @124--

After reading the wiki item on P-8s having a normal crew of 7, I got to thinking about the 35 number either being a botched translation or how many bodies were noted via thermal imaging radar, something I doubt Iran was thought to possess. As I wrote, Iran can see everything to its West, which is a very BigDeal.

I digested Magnier's latest. The following is an extremely important point:

"Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line ."

Except that is an impossibility. The Zionists are smack dab in the middle of the front line with a massive crosshairs imprinted on their entirety. Occupied Palestine sits at Ground Zero, and it seems that the Zionists are finally waking up to the ultimate betrayal they'll experience at the hands of The Christian Rapturists--they are to be Genocided in the pursuit of attempting to make a myth come to life.

Every writer, Magnier, b, Escobar, and most all barflies, etc, are saying the decision lies with Trump. As I've written before and again above, I disagree. The decision to go to war with Iran rests with the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire. And it's my belief that such a war will not bring them A Few Dollars More and instead make their Fistful of Dollars evaporate rapidly. thanks to their great outstanding, naked, risks. For perhaps the very first time, the Current Oligarchy is exposed to the risks involved in a war it initially though it could win. Last night, it seemed to awaken to the potential consequences and blinked. The Philadelphia refinery blast may be shear coincidence or not, but it also has likely helped since its right down the street from the Current Oligarchies penthouses.

Now, it's just about the time of day when the Houthis launch their attacks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2019 2:58:26 PM | 132

Watch the brilliant George Galloway on the consequences of war with Iran. Bottom line: only hardline Likudniks and FDD Likud USA types would approve such a disastrous move.

If America attacks and destroys Iran after doing the same to Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the Islamic religion should semi-officially adopt anti-Americanism until the Empire falls, and it would be totally deserved. If we all go in, let us get a good thrashing.
_____

George Galloway has warned the US and its allies in the Gulf that if they were to start "World War III" with an attack on Iran they will live to regret it because, unlike Iraq in 2003, they are capable of fighting back.

The Scottish firebrand, who famously took US lawmakers to task over the Iraq war when he testified in front of the senate in 2005, has given his take on the recent ratcheting-up of tension in the Gulf region after Iran shot down a US drone, which, it says, had entered its airspace.

Washington maintains its UAV was shot down while patrolling over international waters in an "unprovoked attack." On Friday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to claim the US were 10 minutes away from bombing three Iranian sites, before calling off the strikes.

Galloway believes that many Iranians would see it as a great "pleasure to fight the United States and its allies in the region."

In a stark warning to US allies such as Qatar, the UAE and Saudia Arabia, Galloway insisted that any country that allows "its land to be used for the launching for an American attack on Iran will itself be immediately in flames."

The former Labour MP concludes his passionate message to the world by declaring: "No more war. No more war in the Gulf. No war on Iran."

https://youtu.be/ejvTPVvj_IE

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jun 21, 2019 4:14:14 PM | 155

It is true that Trump needs to fire acting President Bolton. Bolton who was appointed to the NSA by Sheldon Adelson, the Israeli/American oligarch, will not allow Trump to fire Bolton; otherwise, he loses millions of $$$$. The pressure is also from Adelson and his neocon ilk.

Posted by: El Cid | Jun 21, 2019 4:36:44 PM | 160

I don't think my opinion has changed. There've been several cases where they've been about to attack Iran, but then have drawn back. Spring 2018 (Israel), 2012, even the event of 1980, where they tried but failed. Trump's aborted attack is just another case.

Iran is a big country, and won't be defeated unless the people are ready to abandon the regime. They aren't as far as I can detect. The exiles, and the middle class in Iran, hate the regime. I've just had a lot of that poured into my ears, during my visit to Iran a month ago. The popular feeling though doesn't seem to have abandoned the regime. I think we can expect a nationalist resistance, if indeed Trump does attack Iran.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21, 2019 4:40:29 PM | 163

@Oscar Peterson #151
China has been complying with US sanctions on Iran, for example this article notes that China stopped buying oil from Iran .
US direct trade with Iran isn't so much as issue as the US stopping Europe and China from trading with Iran.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21, 2019 4:54:59 PM | 165

[Jun 22, 2019] Why a U.S.-Iran War Could End Up Being a Historic Disaster by Doug Bandow

Highly recommended!
The current conflict is about the US hegemony in the region, not anything else.
The analysis is really good. I especially like "The Trump administration is essentially a one-trick pony when it comes to foreign policy toward hostile states. The standard quo is to apply massive economic pressure and demand surrender"
That means that Doug Bandow proposals while good are completely unrealistic.
Notable quotes:
"... Sixteen years ago, the George W. Bush administration manipulated intelligence to scare the public into backing an aggressive war against Iraq. The smoking gun mushroom clouds that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned against didn’t exist, but the invasion long desired by neoconservatives and other hawks proceeded. Liberated Iraqis rejected U.S. plans to create an American puppet state on the Euphrates and the aftermath turned into a humanitarian and geopolitical catastrophe which continues to roil the Middle East. ..."
"... Now the Trump administration appears to be following the same well-worn path. The president has fixated on Iran, tearing up the nuclear accord with Tehran and declaring economic war on it—as well as anyone dealing with Iran. He is pushing America toward war even as he insists that he wants peace. How stupid does he believe we are? ..."
"... Washington did much to encourage a violent, extremist revolution in Tehran. The average Iranian could be forgiven for viewing America as a virulently hostile power determined to do his or her nation ill at almost every turn. ..."
"... The Shah was ousted in 1979. Following his departure the Reagan administration backed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran, triggering an eight-year war which killed at least half a million people. Washington reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect revenue subsequently lent to Baghdad, provided Iraq with intelligence for military operations, and supplied components for chemical weapons employed against Iranian forces. In 1988 the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in international airspace. ..."
"... Economic sanctions were first imposed on Iran in 1979 and regularly expanded thereafter. Washington forged a close military partnership with Iran’s even more repressive rival, Saudi Arabia. In the immediate aftermath of its 2003 victory over Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration rejected Iran’s offer to negotiate; neoconservatives casually suggested that “real men” would conquer Tehran as well. Even the Obama administration threatened to take military action against Iran. ..."
"... Contrary to the common assumption in Washington that average Iranians would love the United States for attempting to destroy their nation’s economy, the latest round of sanctions apparently triggered a notable rise in anti-American sentiment. Nationalism trumped anti-clericalism. ..."
"... Iran also has no desire for war, which it would lose. However, Washington’s aggressive economic and military policies create pressure on Tehran to respond. Especially since administration policy—sanctions designed to crash the economy, military moves preparing for war — almost certainly have left hardliners, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who opposed negotiations with Washington, ascendant in Tehran. ..."
"... Europeans also point to Bush administration lies about Iraq and the fabricated 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident used to justify America’s entry into the Vietnam War. Even more important, the administration ostentatiously fomented the current crisis by trashing the JCPOA, launching economic war against Iran, threatening Tehran’s economic partners, and insisting on Iran’s submission. A cynic might reasonably conclude that the president and his aides hoped to trigger a violent Iranian response. ..."
"... Indeed, a newspaper owned by the Saudi royal family recently called for U.S. strikes on Iran. One or the reasons Al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks was to trigger an American military response against a Muslim nation. A U.S.-Iran war would be the mother of all Mideast conflagrations. ..."
"... In parallel, Washington should propose negotiations to lower tensions in other issues. But there truly should be no preconditions, requiring the president to consign the Pompeo list to a White House fireplace. In return for Iranian willingness to drop confrontational behavior in the region, the U.S. should offer to reciprocate—for instance, indicate a willingness to cut arms sales to the Saudis and Emiratis, end support for the Yemen war, and withdraw American forces from Syria and Iraq. ..."
"... Most important, American policymakers should play the long-game. Rather than try to crash the Islamic Republic and hope for the best, Washington should encourage Iran to open up, creating more opportunity and influence for a younger generation that desires a freer society. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Sixteen years ago, the George W. Bush administration manipulated intelligence to scare the public into backing an aggressive war against Iraq. The smoking gun mushroom clouds that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned against didn’t exist, but the invasion long desired by neoconservatives and other hawks proceeded. Liberated Iraqis rejected U.S. plans to create an American puppet state on the Euphrates and the aftermath turned into a humanitarian and geopolitical catastrophe which continues to roil the Middle East.

Thousands of dead Americans, tens of thousands of wounded and maimed U.S. personnel, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and millions of Iraqis displaced. There was the sectarian conflict, destruction of the historic Christian community, the creation of Al Qaeda in Iraq—which morphed into the far deadlier Islamic State—and the enhanced influence of Iran. The prime question was how could so many supposedly smart people be so stupid?

Now the Trump administration appears to be following the same well-worn path. The president has fixated on Iran, tearing up the nuclear accord with Tehran and declaring economic war on it—as well as anyone dealing with Iran. He is pushing America toward war even as he insists that he wants peace. How stupid does he believe we are?

The Iranian regime is malign. Nevertheless, despite being under almost constant siege it has survived longer than the U.S.-crafted dictatorship which preceded the Islamic Republic. And the latter did not arise in a vacuum. Washington did much to encourage a violent, extremist revolution in Tehran. The average Iranian could be forgiven for viewing America as a virulently hostile power determined to do his or her nation ill at almost every turn.

In 1953 the United States backed a coup against democratically selected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. Washington then aided the Shah in consolidating power, including the creation of the secret police, known as SAVAK. He forcibly modernized Iran’s still conservative Islamic society, while his corrupt and repressive rule united secular and religious Iranians against him.

The Shah was ousted in 1979. Following his departure the Reagan administration backed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran, triggering an eight-year war which killed at least half a million people. Washington reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect revenue subsequently lent to Baghdad, provided Iraq with intelligence for military operations, and supplied components for chemical weapons employed against Iranian forces. In 1988 the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in international airspace.

Economic sanctions were first imposed on Iran in 1979 and regularly expanded thereafter. Washington forged a close military partnership with Iran’s even more repressive rival, Saudi Arabia. In the immediate aftermath of its 2003 victory over Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration rejected Iran’s offer to negotiate; neoconservatives casually suggested that “real men” would conquer Tehran as well. Even the Obama administration threatened to take military action against Iran.

As Henry Kissinger reportedly once said, even a paranoid can have enemies. Contrary to the common assumption in Washington that average Iranians would love the United States for attempting to destroy their nation’s economy, the latest round of sanctions apparently triggered a notable rise in anti-American sentiment. Nationalism trumped anti-clericalism.

The hostile relationship with Iran also has allowed Saudi Arabia, which routinely undercuts American interests and values, to gain a dangerous stranglehold over U.S. policy. To his credit President Barack Obama attempted to rebalance Washington’s Mideast policy. The result was the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It provided for an intrusive inspection regime designed to discourage any future Iranian nuclear weapons program—which U.S. intelligence indicated had been inactive since 2003.

However, candidate Donald Trump had an intense and perverse desire to overturn every Obama policy. His tight embrace of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ignored the advice of his security chiefs in denouncing the accord, and the Saudi royals, who Robert Gates once warned would fight Iran to the last American, also likely played an important role.

Last year the president withdrew from the accord and followed with a declaration of economic war. He then declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military organization, to be a terrorist group. (Washington routinely uses the “terrorist” designation for purely political purposes.) Finally, there are reports, officially denied by Washington, that U.S. forces, allied with Islamist radicals—the kind of extremists responsible for most terrorist attacks on Americans—have been waging a covert war against Iranian smuggling operations.

The president claimed that he wanted to negotiate: “We aren’t looking for regime change,” he said. “We are looking for no nuclear weapons.” But that is what the JCPOA addressed. His policy is actually pushing Tehran to expand its nuclear program. Moreover, last year Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech that the Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian, who spent more than a year in Iranian prison, called “silly” and “completely divorced from reality.”

In a talk to an obsequious Heritage Foundation audience, Pompeo set forth the terms of Tehran’s surrender: Iran would be expected to abandon any pretense of maintaining an independent foreign policy and yield its deterrent missile capabilities, leaving it subservient to Saudi Arabia, with the latter’s U.S.-supplied and -trained military. Tehran could not even cooperate with other governments, such as Syria, at their request. The only thing missing from Pompeo’s remarks was insistence that Iran accept an American governor-general in residence.

The proposal was a nonstarter and looked like the infamous 1914 Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia, which was intended to be rejected and thereby justify war. After all, National Security Advisor John Bolton expressed his policy preference in a 2015 New York Times op-ed titled: “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Whatever the president’s true intentions, Tehran can be forgiven for seeing Washington’s position as one of regime change, by war if necessary.

The administration apparently assumed that new, back-breaking sanctions would either force the regime to surrender at the conference table or collapse amid political and social conflict. Indeed, when asked if he really believed sanctions would change Tehran’s behavior, Pompeo answered that “what can change is, the people can change the government.” Both Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations have recently argued that the Islamic Republic is an exhausted regime, one that is perhaps on its way to extinction.

However, Rezaian says “there is nothing new” about Tehran’s difficult Iranian economic problems. “Assuming that this time around the Iranian people can compel their government to bend to America’s will seems—at least to anyone who has spent significant time in Iran in recent decades—fantastical,” he said. Gerecht enthusiasm for U.S. warmaking has led to mistakes in the past. He got Iraq wrong seventeen years ago when he wrote that “a war with Iraq might not shake up the Middle East much at all.

Today the administration is using a similar strategy against Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. The citizens of these countries have not risen against their oppressors to establish a new, democratic, pro-American regime. Numerous observers wrongly predicted that the Castro regime would die after the end of Soviet subsidies and North Korea’s inevitable fall in the midst of a devastating famine. Moreover, regime collapse isn’t likely to yield a liberal, democratic republic when the most radical, authoritarian elites remain best-armed.

... ... ...

More important, Washington does not want to go to war with Iran, which is larger than Iraq, has three times the population, and is a real country. The regime, while unpopular with many Iranians, is much better rooted than Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Tehran possesses unconventional weapons, missiles, and allies which could spread chaos throughout the region. American forces in Syria and Iraq would be vulnerable, while Baghdad’s stability could be put at risk. If Americans liked the Iraq debacle, then they would love the chaos likely to result from attempting to violently destroy the Iranian state. David Frum, one of the most avid neoconservative advocates of the Iraq invasion, warned that war with Iran would repeat Iraqi blunders on “a much bigger sale, without allies, without justification, and without any plan at all for what comes next.”

Iran also has no desire for war, which it would lose. However, Washington’s aggressive economic and military policies create pressure on Tehran to respond. Especially since administration policy—sanctions designed to crash the economy, military moves preparing for war — almost certainly have left hardliners, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who opposed negotiations with Washington, ascendant in Tehran.

Carefully calibrated military action, such as tanker attacks, might be intended to show “resolve” to gain credibility. Washington policymakers constantly justify military action as necessary to demonstrate that they are willing to take military action. Doing so is even more important for a weaker power. Moreover, observed the Eurasia Group, Iranian security agencies “have a decades-long history of conducting attacks and other operations aimed precisely at undermining the diplomatic objectives of a country’s elected representatives.” If Iran is responsible, observed Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group, then administration policy perversely “is rendering Iran more aggressive, not less,” thereby making the Mideast more, not less dangerous

Of course, Tehran has denied any role in the attacks and there is good reason to question unsupported Trump administration claims of Iranian guilt. The president’s indifferent relationship to the truth alone raises serious questions. Europeans also point to Bush administration lies about Iraq and the fabricated 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident used to justify America’s entry into the Vietnam War. Even more important, the administration ostentatiously fomented the current crisis by trashing the JCPOA, launching economic war against Iran, threatening Tehran’s economic partners, and insisting on Iran’s submission. A cynic might reasonably conclude that the president and his aides hoped to trigger a violent Iranian response.

Other malicious actors also could be responsible for tanker attacks. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, ISIS, and Al Qaeda all likely believe they would benefit from an American war on Tehran and might decide to speed the process along by fomenting an incident. Indeed, a newspaper owned by the Saudi royal family recently called for U.S. strikes on Iran. One or the reasons Al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks was to trigger an American military response against a Muslim nation. A U.S.-Iran war would be the mother of all Mideast conflagrations.

Rather than continue a military spiral upward, Washington should defuse Gulf tensions. The administration brought the Middle East to a boil. It can calm the waters. Washington should stand down its military, offering to host multilateral discussions with oil consuming nations, energy companies, and tanker operators over establishing shared naval security in sensitive waterways, including in the Middle East. Given America’s growing domestic energy production, the issue no longer should be considered Washington’s responsibility. Other wealthy industrialized states should do what is necessary for their economic security.

The administration also should make a serious proposal for talks. It won’t be easy. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared “negotiation has no benefit and carries harm.” He further argued that “negotiations are a tactic of this pressure,” which is the ultimate “strategic aim.” Even President Hassan Rouhani rejected contact without a change in U.S. policy. “Whenever they lift the unjust sanctions and fulfill their commitments and return to the negotiations table, which they left themselves, the door is not closed,” he said. In back channel discussions Iranians supposedly suggested that the U.S. reverse the latest sanctions, at least on oil sales, ending attempts to wreck Iran’s economy.

If the president seriously desires talks with Tehran, then he should demonstrate that he does not expect preemptive surrender. The administration should suspend its “maximum pressure” campaign and propose multilateral talks on tightening the nuclear agreement in return for additional American and allied concessions, such as further sanctions relief.

In parallel, Washington should propose negotiations to lower tensions in other issues. But there truly should be no preconditions, requiring the president to consign the Pompeo list to a White House fireplace. In return for Iranian willingness to drop confrontational behavior in the region, the U.S. should offer to reciprocate—for instance, indicate a willingness to cut arms sales to the Saudis and Emiratis, end support for the Yemen war, and withdraw American forces from Syria and Iraq. Tehran has far greater interest in neighborhood security than the United States, which Washington must respect if the latter seeks to effectively disarm Iran. The administration should invite the Europeans to join such an initiative, since they have an even greater reason to worry about Iranian missiles and more.

Most important, American policymakers should play the long-game. Rather than try to crash the Islamic Republic and hope for the best, Washington should encourage Iran to open up, creating more opportunity and influence for a younger generation that desires a freer society. That requires greater engagement, not isolation. Washington’s ultimate objective should be the liberal transformation of Iran, freeing an ancient civilization to regain its leading role in today’s world, which would have a huge impact on the region.

The Trump administration is essentially a one-trick pony when it comes to foreign policy toward hostile states. The standard quo is to apply massive economic pressure and demand surrender. This approach has failed in every case. Washington has caused enormous economic hardship, but no target regime has capitulated. In Iran, like North Korea, U.S. policy sharply raised tensions and the chances of conflict.

War would be a disaster. Instead, the administration must, explained James Fallows, “through bluff and patience, change the actions of a government whose motives he does not understand well, and over which his influence is limited.” Which requires the administration to adopt a new, more serious strategy toward Tehran, and quickly.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

[Jun 22, 2019] Why The Empire Is Failing The Horrid Hubris Of The Albright Doctrine by Doug Bandow

Highly recommended!
Bolton is just Albright of different sex. The same aggressive stupidity.
Notable quotes:
"... Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob... ..."
"... How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate. ..."
"... Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity. ..."
"... Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela. ..."
"... "If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." ..."
"... Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe. ..."
"... Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states. ..."
"... Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. ..."
"... The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more. ..."
"... At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia. ..."
"... Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders. ..."
"... When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." ..."
"... For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Doug Bandow via National Interest,

Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob...

How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily -- invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical "caliphate" the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela.

U.S. foreign policy suffers from systematic flaws in the thinking of the informal policy collective which former Obama aide Ben Rhodes dismissed as "The Blob." Perhaps no official better articulated The Blob's defective precepts than Madeleine Albright, United Nations ambassador and Secretary of State.

First is overweening hubris. In 1998 Secretary of State Albright declared that

"If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe.

U.S. officials rarely were prepared for events that occurred in the next week or month, let alone years later. Americans did no better than the French in Vietnam. Americans managed events in Africa no better than the British, French, and Portuguese colonial overlords. Washington made more than its share of bad, even awful decisions in dealing with other nations around the globe.

Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states.

The U.S. record since September 11 has been uniquely counterproductive. Rather than minimize hostility toward America, Washington adopted a policy -- highlighted by launching new wars, killing more civilians, and ravaging additional societies -- guaranteed to create enemies, exacerbate radicalism, and spread terrorism. Blowback is everywhere. Among the worst examples: Iraqi insurgents mutated into ISIS, which wreaked military havoc throughout the Middle East and turned to terrorism.

Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. When queried 1996 about her justification for sanctions against Iraq which had killed a half million babies -- notably, she did not dispute the accuracy of that estimate -- she responded that "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." Exactly who "we" were she did not say. Most likely she meant those Americans admitted to the foreign policy priesthood, empowered to make foreign policy and take the practical steps necessary to enforce it. (She later stated of her reply: "I never should have made it. It was stupid." It was, but it reflected her mindset.)

In any normal country, such a claim would be shocking -- a few people sitting in another capital deciding who lived and died. Foreign elites, a world away from the hardship that they imposed, deciding the value of those dying versus the purported interests being promoted. Those paying the price had no voice in the decision, no way to hold their persecutors accountable.

The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more.

This mindset is reinforced by contempt toward even those being aided by Washington. Although American diplomats had termed the Kosovo Liberation Army as "terrorist," the Clinton Administration decided to use the growing insurgency as an opportunity to expand Washington's influence. At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia.

However, initially the KLA, determined on independence, refused to sign Albright's agreement. She exploded. One of her officials anonymously complained: "Here is the greatest nation on earth pleading with some nothingballs to do something entirely in their own interest -- which is to say yes to an interim agreement -- and they stiff us." Someone described as "a close associate" observed: "She is so stung by what happened. She's angry at everyone -- the Serbs, the Albanians and NATO." For Albright, the determination of others to achieve their own goals, even at risk to their lives, was an insult to America and her.

Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders.

As Albright famously asked Colin Powell in 1992:

"What's the use of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" To her, American military personnel apparently were but gambit pawns in a global chess game, to be sacrificed for the interest and convenience of those playing. No wonder then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell's reaction stated in his autobiography was: "I thought I would have an aneurysm."

When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." Although sixty-five years had passed, she admitted that "my mindset is Munich," a unique circumstance and threat without even plausible parallel today.

Such a philosophy explains a 1997 comment by a cabinet member, likely Albright, to General Hugh Shelton, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event -- something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough -- and slow enough -- so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?" He responded sure, as soon as she qualified to fly the plane.

For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob.

Anyone of these comments could be dismissed as a careless aside. Taken together, however, they reflect an attitude dangerous for Americans and foreigners alike. Unfortunately, the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy suggest that this mindset is not limited to any one person. Any president serious about taking a new foreign-policy direction must do more than drain the swamp. He or she must sideline The Blob.

* * *

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Jun 22, 2019] How Madeleine Albright Got the War the U.S. Wanted by Gregory Elich

Notable quotes:
"... Twenty years have passed since the U.S.-orchestrated NATO attack on Yugoslavia. As the United States readied its forces for war in 1999, it organized a peace conference that was ostensibly intended to resolve differences between the Yugoslav government and secessionist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo on the future status of the province. A different scenario was being played out behind the scenes, however. U.S. officials wanted war and deliberately set up the process to fail, which they planned to use as a pretext for war. ..."
"... U.S. mediators habitually referred to the Yugoslav delegation as "the Serbs," even though they constituted a minority of the members. The Americans persisted in trying to cast events in Kosovo as a simplistic binary relationship of Serb versus Albanian, disregarding the presence of other ethnic groups in the province, and ignoring the fact that while some ethnic Albanians favored separation, others wished to remain in multiethnic Yugoslavia. ..."
"... It is probable that the U.S. was also operating electronic listening equipment and that U.S. mediators knew everything the delegations were saying in private. ..."
"... "Madeleine Albright told us all the time: 'If the Yugoslav delegation does not accept what we offer, you will be bombed.'" Šainović added, "We agreed in Rambouillet to any form of autonomy for Kosovo," but sovereignty remained the red line. [viii] ..."
"... As the conference progressed, U.S. negotiators were faced with an alarming problem, in that the Yugoslav delegation had accepted all of the Contact Group's fundamental political principles for an agreement, balking only at a NATO presence in Kosovo. On the other hand, the secessionist delegation rejected the Contact Group's political principles. Something had to be done to reverse this pattern. ..."
"... Quite intentionally, U.S. mediators included provisions in the final version of the text that no sovereign nation could be expected to accept. Neoliberal economic interests are always front and center when U.S. officials are involved, and they surely were not unaware of Kosovo's abundant reserves of mineral resources, ripe for exploitation. The first point in Article 1 of the Economic Issues section of the text states: ..."
"... Western investors were favored with a provision stating that authorities shall "ensure the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital to Kosovo, including from international sources." [xiii] One may wonder what these stipulations had to do with peace negotiations, but then the talks had far more to do with U.S. interests than anything to do with the needs of the people in the region. ..."
"... Yugoslavia was required "to provide, at no cost, the use of all facilities and services required" by NATO. [xvii]Within six months, Yugoslavia would have to withdraw all of its military forces from Kosovo, other than a small number of border guards. [xviii] ..."
"... The plan granted NATO "unrestricted use of the entire electromagnetic spectrum" to "communicate." Although the document indicated NATO would make "reasonable efforts to coordinate," there were no constraints on its power. [xix] Yugoslav officials, "upon simple request," would be required to grant NATO "all telecommunication services, including broadcast services free of cost." [xx]NATO could take over any radio and television facilities and transmission wavelengths it chose, knocking local stations off the air. ..."
"... The plan did not restrict NATO's presence to Kosovo. It granted NATO, with its "vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]." [xxi] NATO would be "granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tools, or charges." [xxii] ..."
"... Bombing Yugoslavia was meant to solidify the new role for NATO as an offensive military force, acting on behalf of U.S. imperial interests. Since that time, NATO has attacked Libya, and engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a variety of nations in Africa. Despite NATO's claim that it is "committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the record shows otherwise. ..."
"... Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People , and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period , published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org . Follow him on Twitter at @GregoryElich ..."
May 13, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Region: Europe , USA Theme: History , US NATO War Agenda

Twenty years have passed since the U.S.-orchestrated NATO attack on Yugoslavia. As the United States readied its forces for war in 1999, it organized a peace conference that was ostensibly intended to resolve differences between the Yugoslav government and secessionist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo on the future status of the province. A different scenario was being played out behind the scenes, however. U.S. officials wanted war and deliberately set up the process to fail, which they planned to use as a pretext for war.

The talks opened on February 6, 1999, in Rambouillet, France. Officially, the negotiations were led by a Contact Group comprised of U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Christopher Hill , European Union envoy Wolfgang Petritsch , and Russian diplomat Boris Mayorsky . All decisions were supposed to be jointly agreed upon by all three members of the Contact Group. In actual practice, the U.S. ran the show all the way and routinely bypassed Petritsch and Mayorsky on essential matters.

Ibrahim Rugova , an ethnic Albanian activist who advocated nonviolence, was expected to play a major role in the Albanian secessionist delegation. Joining him at Rambouillet was Fehmi Agani , a fellow member of Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright regularly sidelined Rugova, however, preferring to rely on delegation members from the hardline Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which had routinely murdered Serbs, Roma, and Albanians in Kosovo who worked for the government or opposed separatism. Only a few months before the conference, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled out his organization's vision of a future Kosovo as separate and ethnically pure:

"The independence of Kosovo is the only solution We cannot live together. That is excluded." [i]

Rugova had at one time engaged in fairly productive talks with Yugoslav officials, and his willingness to negotiate was no doubt precisely the reason Albright relegated him to a background role. Yugoslav Minister of Information Milan Komnenić accompanied the Yugoslav delegation to Rambouillet. He recalls,

"With Rugova and Fehmi Agani it was possible to talk; they were flexible. In Rambouillet, [KLA leader Hashim] Thaçi appears instead of Rugova. A beast." [ii]

There was no love between Thaçi and Rugova, whose party members were the targets of threats and assassination attempts at the hands of the KLA. Rugova himself would survive an assassination attempt six years later.

The composition of the Yugoslav delegation reflected its position that many ethnic groups resided in Kosovo, and any agreement arrived at should take into account the interests of all parties. All of Kosovo's major ethnic groups were represented in the delegation. Faik Jashari , one of the Albanian members in the Yugoslav delegation, was president of the Kosovo Democratic Initiative and an official in the Provisional Executive Council, which was Yugoslavia's government in Kosovo. Jashari observed that Albright was startled when she saw the composition of the Yugoslav delegation, apparently because it went against the U.S. propaganda narrative. [iii] Throughout the talks, Albright displayed a dismissive attitude towards the delegation's Albanian, Roma, Egyptian, Goran, Turkish, and Slavic Muslim members.

U.S. mediators habitually referred to the Yugoslav delegation as "the Serbs," even though they constituted a minority of the members. The Americans persisted in trying to cast events in Kosovo as a simplistic binary relationship of Serb versus Albanian, disregarding the presence of other ethnic groups in the province, and ignoring the fact that while some ethnic Albanians favored separation, others wished to remain in multiethnic Yugoslavia.

After arriving at Rambouillet, the secessionist Albanian delegation informed U.S. diplomats that it did not want to meet with the Yugoslav side. Aside from a brief ceremonial meeting, there was no direct contact between the two groups. The Yugoslav and Albanian delegations were placed on two different floors to eliminate nearly all contact. U.S. mediators Richard Holbrooke and Christopher Hill ran from one delegation to the other, conveying notes and verbal messages between the two sides but mostly trying to coerce the Yugoslav delegation. [iv]

Luan Koka, a Roma member of the Yugoslav delegation, noted that the U.S. was operating an electronic jamming device.

"We knew exactly when Madeleine Albright was coming. Connections on our mobile phones were breaking up and going crazy." [v]

It is probable that the U.S. was also operating electronic listening equipment and that U.S. mediators knew everything the delegations were saying in private.

Albright, Jashari said, would not listen to anyone.

"She had her task, and she saw only that task. You couldn't say anything to her. She didn't want to talk with us and didn't want to listen to our arguments." [vi]

One day it was Koka's birthday, and the Yugoslav delegation wanted to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere with U.S. mediators, inviting them to a cocktail party to mark the occasion.

"It was a slightly more pleasant atmosphere, and I was singing," Koka recalled. "I remember Madeleine Albright saying: 'I really like partisan songs. But if you don't accept this, the bombs will fall.'" [vii]

According to delegation member Nikola Šainović ,

"Madeleine Albright told us all the time: 'If the Yugoslav delegation does not accept what we offer, you will be bombed.'" Šainović added, "We agreed in Rambouillet to any form of autonomy for Kosovo," but sovereignty remained the red line. [viii]

From the beginning of the conference, U.S. mediator Christopher Hill "decided that what we really needed was an Albanian approval of a document, and a Serb refusal. If both refused, there could be no further action by NATO or any other organization for that matter." [ix] It was not peace that the U.S. team was seeking, but war.

As the conference progressed, U.S. negotiators were faced with an alarming problem, in that the Yugoslav delegation had accepted all of the Contact Group's fundamental political principles for an agreement, balking only at a NATO presence in Kosovo. On the other hand, the secessionist delegation rejected the Contact Group's political principles. Something had to be done to reverse this pattern.

On the second day of the conference, U.S. officials presented the Yugoslav delegation with the framework text of a provisional agreement for peace and self-rule in Kosovo, but it was missing some of the annexes. The Yugoslavs requested a copy of the complete document. As delegation head Ratko Marković pointed out,

"Any objections to the text of the agreement could be made only after an insight into the text as a whole had been obtained."

Nearly one week passed before the group received one of the missing annexes. That came on the day the conference had originally been set to end. The deadline was extended, and two days later a second missing annex was provided to the Yugoslav delegation.[x]

When the Yugoslavs next met with the Contact Group, they were assured that all elements of the text had now been given to them. Several more days passed and at 7:00 PM on February 22, the penultimate day of the conference, the Contact Group presented three new annexes, which the Yugoslavs had never seen before. According to Marković, "Russian Ambassador Boris Mayorsky informed our delegation that Annexes 2 and 7 had not been discussed or approved by the Contact Group and that they were not the texts drafted by the Contact Group but by certain Contact Group members, while Annex 5 was discussed, but no decision was made on it at the Contact Group meeting." The Yugoslav delegation refused to accept the new annexes, as their introduction had violated the process whereby all proposals had to be agreed upon by the three Contact Group members. [xi]

At 9:30 AM on February 23, the final day of the conference, U.S. officials presented the full text of the proposal, containing yet more provisions that were being communicated for the first time. The accompanying note identified the package as the definitive text while adding that Russia did not support two of the articles. The letter demanded the Yugoslav delegation's decision by 1:00 PM that same day.[xii] There was barely time enough to carefully read the text, let alone negotiate. In essence, it was an ultimatum.

Quite intentionally, U.S. mediators included provisions in the final version of the text that no sovereign nation could be expected to accept. Neoliberal economic interests are always front and center when U.S. officials are involved, and they surely were not unaware of Kosovo's abundant reserves of mineral resources, ripe for exploitation. The first point in Article 1 of the Economic Issues section of the text states:

"The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles."

Western investors were favored with a provision stating that authorities shall "ensure the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital to Kosovo, including from international sources." [xiii] One may wonder what these stipulations had to do with peace negotiations, but then the talks had far more to do with U.S. interests than anything to do with the needs of the people in the region.

Twitter and the Smearing of Corbyn and Assange: A Research Note on the "Integrity Initiative"

The document called for a Western-led Joint Commission including local representatives to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the plan. However, if commission members failed to reach consensus on a matter, the Western-appointed Chair would have the power to impose his decision unilaterally. [xiv] Local representatives would serve as little more than window-dressing for Western dictate, as they could adopt no measure that went against the Chair's wishes.

The Chair of the Implementation Mission was authorized to "recommend" the "removal and appointment of officials and the curtailment of operations of existing institutions in Kosovo." If the Chair's command was not obeyed "in the time requested, the Joint Commission may decide to take the recommended action," and since the Chair had the authority to impose his will on the Joint Commission, there was no check on his power. He could remove elected and appointed officials at will and replace them with handpicked lackeys. The Chair was also authorized to order the "curtailment of operations of existing institutions." [xv]Any organization that failed to bend to U.S. demands could be shut down.

Chapter 7 of the plan called for the parties to "invite NATO to constitute and lead a military force" in Kosovo. [xvi]The choice of words was interesting. In language reminiscent of gangsters, Yugoslavia was told to "invite" NATO to take over the province of Kosovo or suffer the consequences.

Yugoslavia was required "to provide, at no cost, the use of all facilities and services required" by NATO. [xvii]Within six months, Yugoslavia would have to withdraw all of its military forces from Kosovo, other than a small number of border guards. [xviii]

The plan granted NATO "unrestricted use of the entire electromagnetic spectrum" to "communicate." Although the document indicated NATO would make "reasonable efforts to coordinate," there were no constraints on its power. [xix] Yugoslav officials, "upon simple request," would be required to grant NATO "all telecommunication services, including broadcast services free of cost." [xx]NATO could take over any radio and television facilities and transmission wavelengths it chose, knocking local stations off the air.

The plan did not restrict NATO's presence to Kosovo. It granted NATO, with its "vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]." [xxi] NATO would be "granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tools, or charges." [xxii]

The agreement guaranteed that NATO would have "complete and unimpeded freedom of movement by ground, air, and water into and throughout Kosovo." Furthermore, NATO personnel could not be held "liable for any damages to public or private property." [xxiii] NATO as a whole would also be "immune from all legal process, whether civil, administrative, or criminal," regardless of its actions anywhere on the territory of Yugoslavia. [xxiv]Nor could NATO personnel be arrested, detained, or investigated. [xxv]

Acceptance of the plan would have brought NATO troops swarming throughout Yugoslavia and interfering in every institution.

There were several other objectionable elements in the plan, but one that stood out was the call for an "international" (meaning, Western-led) meeting to be held after three years "to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo."[xxvi] It was no mystery to the Yugoslav delegation what conclusion Western officials would arrive at in that meeting. The intent was clearly to redraw Yugoslavia's borders to further break apart the nation.

U.S. officials knew the Yugoslav delegation could not possibly accept such a plan.

"We deliberately set the bar higher than the Serbs could accept," Madeleine Albright confided to a group of journalists, "because they needed a little bombing." [xxvii]

At a meeting in Belgrade on March 5, the Yugoslav delegation issued a statement which declared:

"A great deceit was looming, orchestrated by the United States. They demanded that the agreement be signed, even though much of this agreement, that is, over 56 pages, had never been discussed, either within the Contact Group or during the negotiations." [xxviii]

Serbian President Milan Milutinović announced at a press conference that in Rambouillet the Yugoslav delegation had "proposed solutions meeting the demands of the Contact Group for broad autonomy within Serbia, advocating full equality of all national communities." But "agreement was not what they were after." Instead, Western officials engaged in "open aggression," and this was a game "about troops and troops alone." [xxix]

While U.S. officials were working assiduously to avoid a peaceful resolution, they needed the Albanians to agree to the plan so that they could accuse the Yugoslav delegation of being the stumbling block to peace. U.S. mainstream media could be counted on to unquestioningly repeat the government's line and overlook who the real architects of failure were. U.S. officials knew the media would act in their customary role as cheerleaders for war, which indeed, they did.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook revealed the nature of the message Western officials were conveying to the Albanian delegation when he said,

"We are certainly saying to the Kosovo Albanians that if you don't sign up to these texts, it's extremely difficult to see how NATO could then take action against Belgrade." [xxx]

Western officials were practically begging the secessionists to sign the plan. According to inside sources, the Americans assured the Albanian delegation that disarmament of the KLA would be merely symbolic and that it could keep the bulk of its weaponry so long as it was concealed. [xxxi]

Albright spent hours trying to convince Thaçi to change his mind, telling him:

"If you say yes and the Serbs say no, NATO will strike and go on striking until the Serb forces are out and NATO can go in. You will have security. And you will be able to govern yourselves." [xxxii]

That was a clear enough signal that the intent was to rip the province away from Yugoslavia and create an artificial state. Despite such assurances, Thaçi feared the wrath of fellow KLA members if he were to sign a document that did not explicitly call for separation. When U.S. negotiators asked Thaçi why he would not sign, he responded:

"If I agree to this, I will go home and they will kill me." [xxxiii]

This was not hyperbole. The KLA had threatened and murdered a great many Albanians who in its eyes fell short of full-throated support for its policy of violent secession and ethnic exclusion.

Even NATO Commander Wesley Clark , who flew in from Belgium, was unable to change Thaçi's mind. [xxxiv] U.S. officials were exasperated with the Albanian delegation, and its recalcitrance threatened to capsize plans for war.

"Rambouillet was supposed to be about putting the screws to Belgrade," a senior U.S. official said. "But it went off the rails because of the miscalculation we made about the Albanians." [xxxv]

On the last day at Rambouillet, it was agreed that the Albanian delegation would return to Kosovo for discussions with fellow KLA leaders on the need to sign the document. In the days that followed, Western officials paid repeated visits to Kosovo to encourage the Albanians to sign.

So-called "negotiations" reconvened in Paris on March 15. Upon its arrival, the Yugoslav delegation objected that it was "incomprehensible" that "no direct talks between the two delegations had been facilitated." In response to the Yugoslavs' proposal for modifications to the plan, the Contact Group informed them that no changes would be accepted. The document must be accepted as a whole. [xxxvi]

The Yugoslav position, delegation head Ratko Marković maintained, was that "first one needs to determine what is to be implemented, and only then to determine the methods of implementation." [xxxvii]The delegation asked the Americans what there was to talk about regarding implementation "when there was no agreement because the Albanians did not accept anything." U.S. officials responded that the Yugoslav delegation "cannot negotiate," adding that it would only be allowed to make grammatical changes to the text. [xxxviii]

From the U.S. perspective, the presence of the Yugoslav delegation in Paris was irrelevant other than to maintain the pretense that negotiations were taking place. Not permitted to negotiate, there was little the Yugoslavs could do but await the inevitable result, which soon came. The moment U.S. officials obtained the Albanian delegation's signatures to the plan on March 18, they aborted the Paris Conference. There was no reason to continue engaging with the Yugoslav delegation, as the U.S. had what it needed: a pretext for war.

On the day after the U.S. pulled the plug on the Paris talks, Milan Milutinović held a press conference in the Yugoslav embassy, condemning the Paris meeting as "a kind of show," which was meant "to deceive public opinion in the whole world." [xxxix]

While the United States and its NATO allies prepared for war, Yugoslavia was making last-ditch efforts to stave off attack, including reaching out to intermediaries. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos contacted Madeleine Albright and told her that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević had offered to engage in further negotiations. But Albright told him that the decision to bomb had already been made. "In fact," Pangalos reported, "she told me to 'desist, you're just being a nuisance.'" [xl] In a final act of desperation to save the people from bombing, Milutinović contacted Christopher Hill and made an extraordinary offer: Yugoslavia would join NATO if the United States would allow Yugoslavia to remain whole, including the province of Kosovo. Hill responded that this was not a topic for discussion and he would not talk about it. [xli]

Madeleine Albright got her war, which brought death, destruction, and misery to Yugoslavia. But NATO had a new role, and the United States further extended its hegemony over the Balkans.

In the years following the demise of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, NATO was intent on redefining its mission. The absence of the socialist bloc presented NATO not only with the need to construct a new rationale for existence but also with the opportunity to expand Western domination over other nations.

Bosnia offered the first opportunity for NATO to begin its transformation, as it took part in a war that presented no threat to member nations.

Bombing Yugoslavia was meant to solidify the new role for NATO as an offensive military force, acting on behalf of U.S. imperial interests. Since that time, NATO has attacked Libya, and engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a variety of nations in Africa. Despite NATO's claim that it is "committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the record shows otherwise.

*

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Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People , and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period , published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org . Follow him on Twitter at @GregoryElich

[Jun 22, 2019] The Myopia of Interventionists by Daniel Lariso

Feb 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich recalls Madeleine Albright's infamous statement about American indispensability, and notes how poorly it has held up over the last twenty-one years:

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping.

Albright's statement is even more damning for her and her fellow interventionists when we consider that the context of her remarks was a discussion of the supposed threat from Iraq. The full sentence went like this: "We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." Albright was making a general claim about our supposed superiority to other nations when it came to looking into the future, but she was also specifically warning against a "danger" from Iraq that she claimed threatened "all of us." She answered one of Matt Lauer's questions with this assertion:

I think that we know what we have to do, and that is help enforce the UN Security Council resolutions, which demand that Saddam Hussein abide by those resolutions, and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, and allow the inspectors to have unfettered and unconditional access.

Albright's rhetoric from 1998 is a grim reminder that policymakers from both parties accepted the existence of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" as a given and never seriously questioned a policy aimed at eliminating something that did not exist. American hawks couldn't see further in the future. They weren't even perceiving the present correctly, and tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Iraqis would suffer because they insisted that they saw something that wasn't there.

A little more than five years after she uttered these words, the same wild threat inflation that Albright was engaged in led to the invasion of Iraq, the greatest blunder and one of the worst crimes in the history of modern U.S. foreign policy . Not only did Albright and other later war supporters not see what was coming, but their deluded belief in being able to anticipate future threats caused them to buy into and promote a bogus case for a war that was completely unnecessary and should never have been fought.

[Jun 22, 2019] http://www.unz.com/tsaker/trump-claims-he-canceled-an-airstrike-against-iran-at-the-very-last-minute/

Jun 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

The first thing to say here is that we have no means to know what really happened. At the very least, there are two possible hypotheses which could explain what took place:

1) a US provocation: it is quite possible that somebody in the US chain of command decided that Iran should be put under pressure and that having US UAV fly right next to, or even just inside, the international border of Iran would be a great way to show Iran that the US is ready to attack. If that is the case, this was a semi-success (the Iranians had to switch on their radars and attack the UAV which is very good for US intelligence gathering) and a semi-failure (since the Iranians were clearly unimpressed by the US show of resolve).

2) an Iranian provocation: yup, that is a theoretical possibility which cannot reject prima facie : in this scenario it was indeed the Iranians who blew up the two tankers last week and they also deliberately shot down the US UAV over international waters. The goal? Simple: to show that the Iranians are willing and ready to escalate and that they are confident that they will prevail.

Now, in the real world, there are many more options, including even mixes of various options. What matters is now not this, as much as Trump's reaction:

Now, whether this was a US provocation or an Iranian one – Trump's reaction was the only correct one. Why? Because the risks involved in any US "more than symbolic strike" would be so great as to void any rationale for such a strike in the first place. Think of it: we can be very confident that the Iranian military installations along the Persian Gulf and the southern border of Iran are highly redundant and that no matter how successful any limited US missile strike would have been, the actual military capabilities of Iran would not have been affected. The only way for the US to effectively degrade Iranian capabilities would be to have a sustained, multi-day, attack on the entire southern periphery of Iran. In other words, a real war. Anything short of that would simply be meaningless. The consequences of such an attack, however, would be, in Putin's words "catastrophic" for the entire region.

If this was an Iranian provocation, then it was one designed to impress upon the Empire that Iran is also very much "locked, cocked and ready to rock". But if that is the case, there is zero change that any limited strike would achieve anything. In fact, any symbolic US attack would only signal to the Iranians that the US has cold feet and that all the US sabre-rattling is totally useless.

I have not said such a thing in many months, but in this case I can only admit that Trump did the right thing. No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

The basic theory of attack and defense clearly states that the attacking side can gain as a major advantage if it can leave the other side in the dark about its plans and if the costs of being ready for a surprise attack are lower than the costs of being on high alert (those interested in the role and importance of surprise attack in the theory of deterrence can read Richard Betts' excellent book "


peterAUS says: June 21, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT 100 Words

the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

Yep.
Men and material getting tired.
Tired men and material make mistakes.

Smart.

As I've said plenty of times before, the "beauty" of the setup is that TPTBs simply create a climate for a mistake resulting in loss of life of American personnel.
BANG.

Or, you put two combat forces next to each other and ramp up the tension.
Just a matter of time.

I am currently very slightly optimistic (48-52%) that the US will not attack Iran in the short term.
In the long term, however, I consider that an AngloZionist attack is a quasi certainty.

Yep.
Short term being 3 months (related to the first paragraph).

War for Blair Mountain , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT

Sean Hannity lives in the largest Mansion in Lloyd Neck I have driven past his Mansion to get a look as to just how big it is IT'S HUGE ..Lloyd Neck has the most expensive zip code in the US ..Hannity the Chicken-Hawk thinks he is even tougher Chicken-Hawk War Hawk now that he studies MMA Serra Brazilian Ji-jitsu on Jericho Turnpike ..Yesterday Sean Hannity"My philosophy is you hit me .I hit you back ten times harder" .of course, Sean will be hiding in his mega-Mansion in Lloyd Neck .as the US Cargo Planes land in Virginia with a 100 stainless steel coffins containing the bodies headless bodies of Native Born White American Working Class Young Men Donald and Melania step inside the cargo bay to view the stainless steel coffins ..

... ... ...

A123 , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:50 pm GMT

Military action needs to support the underlying political goals. And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region. Would killing 150+ Iranians help dislodge the violent regime? No. Thus, the proposed strike did not align with the political goal. Trump was right to cancel it.

Think of it as the Putin Playbook. Did Putin go for mass casualties when Turkey shot down one of its fighters in 2015? No. Both Putin and Trump show similar strength. Restraint against precipitous, ill conceived, and overly bloody actions.

_____

Trump realizes that the Iranian people are the victims of sociopath Kahmeni. There will be a response with minimal bloodshed. Instead it will focus on the regime. Deepening the divide between the Iranian people and their despotic leaders prepares the path for internal forces to replace those leaders.

Oil storage is a likely choice. The tanks are large and spilled oil is highly visible. It would demonstrate the inability of the regime to stop the U.S. Storage facilities are visible to the public, so the government would have trouble denying or misrepresenting the event. Port facilities would also be a good choice, although that would be harder to time for few to no casualties.

PEACE

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:57 pm GMT

very slightly optimistic (48-52%)

That's going overboard on precision though. And what's with the oil refinery in Pennsylvania going up into balls of flame. I hope this won't get dragooned into an "Iranian sleeper cell attack".

2stateshmustate , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:12 pm GMT
@A123

Another Israeli telling Americans they will be welcomed in Iran with flower covered streets. This guy doesn't give a shit about the US.

Fran Macadam , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT
The provocations have to be such that domestic acquiescence in elite war profit taking will not be disturbed. That requires a series of propaganda events ramping up for domestic consumption.
El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:46 pm GMT
https://news.antiwar.com/2019/06/21/trump-called-off-attack-on-iran-with-10-minutes-to-spare/

10 minutes from striking is worryingly close, and Trump's disclosures on the matter are troubling. Apparently it was only at this late hour that Trump came around to asking for specifics on how many Iranians his order would kill. The generals told him approximately 150.

This was the game-changer, and Trump was nominally ordering this attack over the shoot down of a single US surveillance drone, and he rightly noticed that killing 150 people was not very proportionate to that, fortunately, he called the attack off before the first missiles were fired.

Trump went on to issue a flurry of Tweets saying Iran would never be allowed to have nuclear weapons, which of course this entire almost-attack had not a thing to do with. He also bragged about how much damage the US sanctions have done to Iran and how weakened Iran already is.

Troublingly though, administration hawks were still able to get Trump to sign off on the attack earlier on Thursday, and his assurances on Twitter suggest that the loss of the single drone really didn't enter into it as a big issue for him. This raises ongoing concerns that having called off the Thursday attack, Trump might be sold on a lesser attack at any time, or at least something nominally different that gets carried out before he gets around to asking about the casualties.

HONK! HONK!

restless94110 , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT
@A123

Why would you end your mis-analysis where you justify war with the word PEACE? Spelling it out in all CAPS? You are seriously proposing that the US has the right to judge the government of another country and to deliberately destabilize that country in order to oerturn its governemtn?

Do you realize that economic sanctions are considered to be acts of war? In other words, you support acts of war and think that is PEACE? Are you insane?

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:51 pm GMT
@A123

Military action needs to support the underlying political goals. And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region.

Yeah. Makes total sense from an Israeli/Saudi perspective. When bullshit is all there is, Hollywood logic can be used to explain the world!

Trump realizes that the Iranian people are the victims of sociopath Kahmeni.

I hope you have been given a sheet with talking points, otherwise I pity you.

PEACE

Top Ironik.

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
The Deep State never rests. Dual treason sandwich via Reuters for Mr. Trump. It's really like living in a Nazi regime, with Heydrich walking the corridors, blackmailing and manipulating and "disposing of" problem factors.

Iran's top national security official has denied a Reuters report claiming that Tehran had received a low-key message via Oman from the US warning of an imminent attack on the Islamic Republic.

"The US didn't send any message," Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for the National Security Council, told Iranian television.

The comment dismissed a previous report by Reuters, which cited unnamed Iranian officials as saying that Donald Trump had warned Tehran of a military strike and also gave a time to respond. The message was reportedly delivered via Oman and followed the downing of a US spy UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) earlier in the week.

HEREDOT , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:06 pm GMT
A handful of psychopaths determine our destiny. What makes us different from animals?
Priss Factor , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:23 pm GMT
A political coitus interruptus. DR. STRANGELOVE lite.
kerdasi amaq , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:35 am GMT
Hmm, so they shot down a drone; would they be able to shoot down every American plane that entered their airspace? A good reason to call off the strike; if the Iranians had a missile lock on every American plane. Having all their planes shot down would be an even worse defeat for the United States than just calling off an attack. Putin checks Trump.
lavoisier , says: Website June 22, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

Sean Hannity is a PUSSY AND A FAGGOT!!!

Mostly just an idiot and a Zionist whore.

TheJester , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:10 am GMT
The Iranians might be deciding to stand firm against US sanctions and other provocations as de facto acts of war before the sanctions do materially impact the Iranian economy and its military capability.

Recall the chicanery through which the United States surreptitiously provoked Japan into attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor so that FDR, a committed Anglophile, could enter the European war through the back door to save his British friends.

1. Via economic sanctions, the United States and its European colonial allies systematically denied Japan the resources it needed to sustain its population and its industrial economy.

2. Japan decided that it would have to act to obtain those resources or, accept its eventual demise as a nation state.

3. FDR hinted to the Dutch that the newly-positioned naval resources at Pearl Harbor would attack and cut the Japanese lines-of-communication per chance Japan struck south to obtain oil, rubber, and other resources in Southeast Asia. This was intentionally leaked to the Japanese.

4. The United States monitored the locations and progress of the Japanese fleet en route to Pearl Harbor to protect its exposed flank per the above. Japanese naval resources were under a communications blackout. However, the Japanese merchant marine supporting those forces were not. The US monitored their locations as a proxy for the location of the Japanese fleet. The rest is history

The Iranians are in a similar position: either fight now at the peak of their military power or, fight for survival later at a significant economic and military disadvantage. Like the Japanese, the Iranians would be wise to do the former. This strategy optimizes their chances for national survival.

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@kerdasi amaq

The first thing in is missiles that target air defense batteries. I doubt the US is worried about Iran shooting down every plane. The drone probably was flying a steady even course and took no evasive maneuvers unlike an attacking aircraft. The success rate of surface to air missiles is not very high.

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:36 am GMT
@TheJester 1. Via economic sanctions, the United States and its European colonial allies systematically denied Japan the resources it needed to sustain its population and its industrial economy.

BS. The embargo was because Japan continued to occupy part of China. All they had to do was go back home. Did FDR do it to get us into the war? Maybe, but Hitler was under no obligation to declare war on the US since Japan did not declare war on the USSR when Hitler attacked the USSR.

Biff , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:03 am GMT

No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

Then

this might also be a strategic PSYOP destined to lull the Iranians into a false sense of security. If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Make up your mind.

BengaliCanadianDude , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:32 am GMT
@A123

Tell your masters in Haifa that they really are not churning out the good ones. We see right through you.

Talha , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:11 am GMT

Trump Claims He Canceled an Airstrike Against Iran at the Very Last Minute

I one hundred percent support letting The Orange One continue on with his awesome cowboy delusions as long as it keeps a war from starting.

My reaction: "Wow, sir! You have such self-control! Those Iranians don't know how close they were to you just kicking them back to the Stone Age! It's great that the better (wiser and more patient) side of you won out in the end – you are awesome!"

Peace.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
@A123

Iran – no aggressive use of force for over 200 years. Sorry, you're choosing the wrong people for your propaganda.

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:44 am GMT
TUCKER CARLSON IS A HERO: Tucker: US came within minutes of war with Iran

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-c0jMsspE7Y?feature=oembed

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT
@lavoisier https://politics.theonion.com/u-s-claims-drone-was-minding-own-business-on-its-way-t-1835695562

WASHINGTON -- Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere. "This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace," said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone's upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. "We're talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends -- an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent drone can't fly through Iranian air space on its way to church?" At press time, Department of Defense officials confirmed that their request for Iran to return the drone's body back to the U.S. for a proper burial had gone unanswered.

Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
@MarkinLA Read Frazier Hunt, The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur.

TheJester is right.

Yes, China was under Japanese occupation. The Chinese Communists were fighting the Japs. The USA was supporting the side that was not fighting the Japs but the Communists, being, the USA, fanatically anti-communist.

My guess is that the USA forced Japan into war because of the economic potential of China, i.e. they wanted to take Japan's place.

And the USA didn't side with Hitler but with the other side because they didn't know Indian independence would come immediately after the War. So they sided with the Brits because of the apparent economic potential of the British Empire. If India had gained independence just before the war the USA would have sided with Hitler, because then, without India, German Europe would have had a greater economic potential than the British Empire.

Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:18 am GMT
The Iranians claim that a manned spy plane was next to the drone (i.e. that it also was in their territory) but that they chose not to shoot it down since 35 soldiers were on board.

"Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too," he said, adding, "But we did not do [shoot down] it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US."

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000471

To me, a total cynic, it looks like the Americans attempted a repeat of the incident when they deliberately misled their sailors so that they sailed into Iranian territorial waters. I guess they messed up the GPS for them.

"Iran releases video of captured American sailor crying "

https://nypost.com/2016/02/10/iran-releases-video-of-captured-american-sailor-crying/

I too would cry if I realised that my superiors had set me up as a sacrificial lamb.

Let's not forget the attempt to sink the USS Liberty. That was a joint operation between the US Deep State and Israel to try and get the US to attack Egypt.

"'But Sir, It's an American Ship.' 'Never Mind, Hit Her!' When Israel Attacked USS Liberty"

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/but-sir-its-an-american-ship-never-mind-hit-her-1.5492908

Popeye , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:19 am GMT
@TheJester But why were sanctions imposed on Japan? Because Japan was acting in violation of international law? Well yes due to Japanese imperial aggression against China. In 1935-40 Japan was no angelic virgin. It committed unprovoked aggression against China, committed massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yes FDR likely wanted to have USA enter the Pacific war to enable war against Hitler but the crippling sanctions against Japan had a legitimate basis. To punish Japan for aggression in China
Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:21 am GMT
It looks like the Americans are having a false flag feast.

The positions in Iraq – whether directly or indirectly connected to the US interests in Iraq – for example Baghdad, Basra and al-Taji base to Northwest of Baghdad and Nineveh operations command headquarters in Northern Iraq have come under Katyusha missile attacks in recent day, the Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

The paper reiterated that the missile attacks have taken place as a result of recent regional tensions, and said that the US officials are trying to portray the attacks as messages by Iran after al-Fujaira and the Sea of Oman mishaps.

It noted that no group has claimed responsibility for the recent missile attacks on Iraqi cities.

Sources close to Hashd al-Sha'abi Commander Abu Mohandes al-Mahdi, meantime, categorically dismissed any accusations against the Iraqi popular and resistance forces, and said that the Americans themselves are most probably behind some of these attacks because some of the missiles are made in the US.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000382

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:58 am GMT
Has there been any mention of ahem the need for a Congressional declaration before the President can act as Commander-In-Chief?

Further evidence that the Constitution is dead.

Greg Bacon , says: Website June 22, 2019 at 8:19 am GMT
@HEREDOT Mr. Saker left out the inconvenient fact that while that drone was indeed flying over Iranian air space, a much larger target, the Poseidon P8 was flying nearby. The P8 is a converted Boeing 737, making for a much larger radar profile for that missile. The P8 has many ASW capabilities, and also can control drones.

It's usual crew numbers nine, but this one had 35 sacrificial lambs packed onboard, to be murdered by the (((Deep State))) to push Trump into the corner, with the (((MSM))) screaming that it was Iran's fault, no proof needed or lies fabricated–just like the illegal invasion of Iraq–to give Israel what it's demanding that its American colony do: Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

My guess is that the American thugs behind this latest FF attempt were hoping the Iranian surface-to-air missile would of shifted its initial target–the drone– and went for the much larger P8.

That Butcher Boy Bolton and his fellow homicidal maniacs failed means that more Americans are being lined up in their cross-hairs, ready to be sacrificed for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Wrong, Saker, the Iranians have been getting attacked by America and the Brits since we overthrew their democratically elected prez in 1953, because he had the audacity to think and say that the majority of Iran's oil revenues should be going to Iranians, not Wall Street .

Greg Bacon , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:23 am GMT
@BengaliCanadianDude Agreed. If Israel want to attack Iran, go ahead, but they won't, because they know they'd get their asses kicked unless Uncle Sucker was leading the way.

Or maybe Israel could send in its fearsome DIAPER BRIGADES to wreak havoc in Tehran?

The diaper reference is not a joke, it's fact that the IDF has issued combat nappies to their troops, who let loose their bladder anytime they engage REAL men with guns who shoot back. But let's give credit where its due, when it comes to shooting Palestinian kids with slingshots or medics, Israel is #1.

Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:25 am GMT
@peterAUS Iran has been living with the same threat since 1979. The result is a hugely popular military and IRGC which is one of the best career choices in the country. It's a way of life for the nation to be under siege by now and for Shia Muslims the idea of being ready to fight to the death always hovers due to the history of Islam with respect to the Sunni/Shia divide. This disagreement is extreme, to be a Muslim and understand it is to feel horror! ; and despair at the idea any reconciliation is even possible between the two sects and a shared history does not make for a shared point of view. Shias have always been outnumbered and it was us who were targeted for extreme violence in the end (or the begginning) when a dispute over leadership turned bitter. Successive Islamic powers have attempted to exterminate Shias and the latest incarnation of the Salafis begginning with Wahhabism (nurtured by the Rothschild controlled British SS at the end of the Ottoman Empire) and lately morphed into Takfirism which is Daesh and their ilk, have always sought out Shias first and foremost for attack.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is firstly an Islamic Republic in full revolutionary mode, (as opposed to 'fundamentalist') it is also in a close second the "Capital" of Shia Islam and what I have described is the history of Iran and the times the Persian state was not an Islamic one are no less a part of the historical memory of the nation. Even those times (which invariably ended in defeat for Persia) reinforce the idea that it is as an Islamic state Iran stands best chance of survival and the confidence that if they remain true to these principles they will prevail is backed by an unbroken history of successful defense as a righteous Islamic state. This may be beyond many of the younger generation and ignored by the wealthy older generation Iranians but it must be ingrained in the political and social cosnciousness of the political and religious and intellectual elite.

Iran is ready. They have always been ready in one sense. Saddan Hussein who attacked them when they were at their weakest and still lived to regret it could attest to that if he was still around to talk. That war in which the USA gave full and unconditional support to their protege Saddam who only became their enemy when he became a better man and leader later on in time, was a wake up call to Iranian leadership and the nation as one. They knew that they needed missiles and a very strong defensive posture and that is what they have. F^ck with them at your peril I say.

I doubt myself the USA will attack Iran, at least as long as they have ships and troops within 1000 miles of Iran. That includes towing their static aircraft carrier "Israel" out of range as well.

sally , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
@2stateshmustate agree, the comment that "the USA is taking the events to the UN is loaded with false something or other..

Iran initiated the UN hearing AFAIK and IRAN says it will present evidence that it was the USA's intention.. to do the deeds ..<=personally, my feeling is neither Russia nor China will veto .. anything about these deeds.. the only veto will come from Article II of the COUS , present leader [one Mr. Trumpy]. who is elected not by popular vote of the govern people in America but instead by the hidden behind the scene, state to state vote of the electoral college.. .. <== you mean all that to-do every four years to elect a president: democrats vs republicans beating each other up, newspapers collecting billions in contribution dollars to publish fake I hate you slogans, and he saids, you saids: dey all be fake news, propaganda erotic ? yep.. sure enough is. dem guys dat rites dem Konstitutions ain't no dummies deys knows vat ve good fore dem. Read Article II, sections 2 and 3.. you see..
Popular vote elects the Article I folks ( 525 in all: 425 members of the house of congressional districts (Art. 1, Section 2), and 100 Senators (amendment 17, proposed 1912, approved 1913federal reserve(act of congress), income tax (amendment 16) both also 1913 ),

=>but Article I (section 2 and amendment 17 ) folks have no power to act.. as powerless buffoons ..they are authorized only to approve a few things, try cases of Treason, and make the laws, fund the actions, wants and needs demanded by Article II persons. It takes 2/3 of each a divided Senate and 2/3 of a divided House [Art. I, sec 7[2,3] to over-power the Art II privilege of veto.. and

==get this=> Article II persons are charged to enforce the law( Art II, section 2 [3] he[the President} shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Where is Hillary? I see no words making such duty to enforce the law optional (so does the AG have an option that the President does not, .) ?

misguided Saker ?

Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:38 am GMT
@Fran Macadam . . . Timed to force Congress to vote on a declaration of war just before elections.
Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:42 am GMT
@HEREDOT Have you ever seen an obese deer?
Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:53 am GMT
I am in full agreement with the author about who was most likely behind the attacks on the ships and how the two separate attacks were done. Even down to accepting the possibility Iran was behind some or all of this as provocation for the reasons given. If so it would mean they are hurting badly and need to bring things to a head fast. This does not fit with my observations of Iranian leadership which has always demonstrated a very long term and patient, typically oriental approach to logjams in diplomacy and nothing has happened to suggest they are suddenly feeling extremely more pain than previously. In short it is possible but I doubt it.

To my mind the things which speak against the Iranians having attacked the tankers the second time at least are substantial: Both ships were Japanese owned. This attack as such was against Japanese interests WHILST the Japanese PM (Japanese death cult and mafia associations and all) was making a historical visit to Tehran! What sort of dung for brains clowns would invite someone for dinner and then send the kids out to set fire to their car whilst they dined? Of course Washington would do something like this (shooting missiles at Syria whilst enjoying a lovely piece of cake with their Chinese ally ffs ) but Iran? Give me a break.

Secondly if Iran was guilty, how come the USA is lying like a cheap rug from the get go? The video the US Navy quickly produced is PROOF they are lying. The black and white imagery does NOT hide the distinctly different paint jobs on the ship depicted and the actual one involved. Whatever that video is, it is NOT a video of either of the ships involved in the second incident. So if Iran was guilty why is the USA using fabricated evidence to assert it?

The claim that the Iranians tried unsuccesfully to shoot down a Reaper drone which was according to the USA monitoring the ship BEFORE IT WAS ATTACKED was what stuck in my craw from the start. What the hell was a REAPER Drone doing monitoring that particular ship at that particular time? Is this a common practice? Reaper drones are NOT recon drones they carry hellfire missiles and kill things! When you consider the reports by the crew, as relayed by the Japanese company owner about a flying object just before the explosion and the pictures of the damage which clearly show fairly small holes about half way between the gunwale and waterline the conclusion these were small missiles is hard to avoid. Indeed HELLFIRE missiles would fit the bill nicely.

As for attacking Iran I do not believe that the USA will dare start anything, especially now, so long as they have troops and ships within range of Iranian missiles. Iranian missiles power is immense and an unknown because they do not know where it all is, and they do know much of it is very, very well hardened against attack. IF they do start a war with Iran whilst they have assets in the region, invluding "Israel" then they have completely lost their minds and I'd say the war will end very fast and hard for them. Not even going nuclear will do it. They are deluded if they think so. Nukes are not magic, they are just big bombs and even the radiation component is not a big deal these days. (few realise it but modern nukes are quite 'clean') Iran is a vast country and well dug in over millenia. However unleashing a full nuclear war against a non nuclear state will end the USA forever as a world citizen in every way. There is no solution for the USA except to make peace or back off. They can plan and scheme all they like but Allah is the best of planners.

Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:00 am GMT
@Fran Macadam Well if that line of turkeys pecking at the crumbs of provocations unfolding which purport to involve Iran keep on gobbling on cue they are going to realise too late they just walked into the slaughter house. Iran will send home many thousands of their boys and girls in body bags and sink their ships but the real hurt will be the end of the US economy. They'll be missing even allegorical crumbs when they only have dirt to eat.
El Dato , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
@MarkinLA Japan continued to occupy part of China (and viciously so, clearly stamping on the foot of white-colonial interests with their homegrown late-comer colonialism) but i mainly started to challenge US power in the Pacific, and with strong determination.

Explainer:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FTupV8o3mW4?start=7391&feature=oembed

China nowadays has this role. This is why the US is interested in a "first strike" nuclear posture. This is gonna be fun.

Sean , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:15 am GMT
Iran's War for higher Oil prices

Israel does not have the ability to deceive the US, and why would it need to with Trump in power? American fracking technology has greatly limited Iranian ability to cause trouble. If it was the Iranians that did the limpet mine attack on international shipping then what would their objective have been? Clearly they don't want more any real war or even more sanctions. What they do want is create demand for their oil and sell it at a good price. The price of oil is already up from the mere tension over the limpet mine and shootdown and had there been US military action oil prices would have gone much higher. I see this whole affair as a sign that the Iranian regieme is getting desperate, because America's slow smothering strategy is working. Iran wants to breack out of its current situation and Trump is walking them into that.

Israel will do nothing, the partisan supporters of Israel in the US can be kept quiet on the immigration Issue by throwing them a bone (as Trump has been doing). Iran want to rase oil prices and create demand for its oil, that is all. Hitting Iran, but quite lightly, is the best option for Trump if he wants to win reelection. And so he will hit Iran at a time of his choosing, which will probabally be closer to the election. The armed forces of America or any other country are not for enforcing international law or notions of fair play, but rather for defending that country's interests. Iran and Trump's agendas converge on a clash well short of all out war in the very near future.

The Alarmist , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:16 am GMT
Occam's Razor suggests Trump got news that the drone was indeed inside Iranian airspace and decided for once to call BS.

Besides, in the great scheme of things, one lost drone doesn't make up for the USS Vincennes killing 290 people on Iran Air 655 by shooting it down in Iranian Airspace. When the Empire warned that civil aircraft were not safe in the airspace, it wasn't the Iranian forces they were warning about.

El Dato , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:17 am GMT
@El Dato Pearl Harbor explained:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FTupV8o3mW4?start=8008&feature=oembed

Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:19 am GMT
@Miggle Sorry, "My guess" covers all that follows. It's only my guess that the USA would have sided with Hitler if they'd known India would not be part of the British Empire.
Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@Colin Wright So, not insane, inzine.

Is there a difference?

Art , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT
Our hero Donald J Trump – a courageous man who saved 150 lives and avoided a war, will ride those lives into 2020.

There will be no war against Iran started by Trump.

Think Peace -- Art

EoinW , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@TheJester But it wasn't wise for the Japanese as they were completely defeated.

The key difference between Japan and Iran is that the Japanese Empire was an aggressor, endlessly invading its neighbours. Iran has not fought an offensive war in 40 years.

Also have to question you on the time element. Time is on the side of the Asian countries. It's countries, like Israel, who see this as peak time for military action. Iran has survived 40 years of sanctions and can certainly survive this time, especially with the support of Russia and China. Yet they still must react to military planes threatening their air space. Plus they have no control over oil tankers being targeted by third parties.

Amon , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
The more I see of this, the more convinced I am that the US as a society is clinically insane.

Its borders are under attack by what can only be described as an invasion is taking place with millions off illegal immigrants pour across the border to commit crime, steal jobs or mooch of the welfare programs.

Its cities are decaying with armies of homeless, shit and drugs flooding the streets in ever greater numbers while the working class people flee in great waves.

Masked and armed criminals roam the streets of major US cities, attack anyone they deem to be a wrong thinker when not busy rioting, stealing and chanting for the deaths of others.

Its economy is in a bi-polar mood. On one hand the GDP is as high as ever with tons of new jobs getting created, on the other hand the physical economy is shrinking as stores closes and houses go unsold due to half the nation being unable to buy anything but food and clothes.

In the face of all of these problems, the US Government has decided to put its full attention on overthrowing the government of Venezuela and starting a war with Iran because somehow, those two nations who posed no danger to the US have been declared high priority targets that requires the full spectrum attention and political intervention by the US.

joeshittheragman , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:13 am GMT
@HEREDOT We can killed much more efficiently.
RVBlake , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:30 am GMT
@A123 "There will be a response with minimal bloodshed." Yes, we are noted for the delicate, nearly bloodless nature of our military reactions, merely focusing on regimes with the full-throated applause of the grateful populaces. It would be a cake-walk, to quote our valiant SecDef Rumsfeld prior to our 2003 Iraqi minimally bloody response.

And speaking of armchair generalship, I wonder where Trump's multi-starred consultant got the figure "150" in answer to the question of civilian casualties. This is the kind of clear-sighted strategic vision that has a U. S. victory in Afghanistan just around the corner, to quote our junior Clausewitz's.

SteveM , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:34 am GMT

But it is also plausible (if by no means certain) that at least two groups could have opposed such a strike:

1) The planners at CENTCOM and/or the Pentagon.

Yes, it's reported that the Pentagon advised Trump not to retaliate militarily for the drone shoot down.

Given advanced missile technologies, surface warships of any stripe are sitting ducks. I'm guessing that Iran has a plethora of missile batteries up and down its coast. If Iran launched a barrage of missiles simultaneously (10? 20? 30?) at a single surface warship in the Persian Gulf, what would be the probability that the ship's self-defense systems could neutralize them all?

If a single multi-billion dollar warship were sunk, the credibility of U.S. naval "power projection" would evaporate. In that context, the Pentagon's reluctance may be because they'd rather not establish that their hyper-expensive blue-water surface Navy is an anachronism.

alexander , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:49 am GMT
There is a very simple solution to all this, and the sooner it happens the better.

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars (dating back to 2002), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

All the assets of these "deceivers" should be "seized" .to pay down the 22 trillion war debt their lies created.

If there is anything left over , it should be placed in an " Iran War Escrow Account ".

This would ensure that the burden of the war costs falls directly on "their" shoulders and NOT the US taxpayers.

This seems like a just and fair solution for everybody ., doesn't it ?

Justsaying , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:51 am GMT
@A123 If this is not proof of what some of these Washington criminals have on their agenda:

https://www.newsweek.com/mike-pompeo-says-iran-must-listen-us-if-they-want-their-people-eat-1208465

An authentic act of war before even before firing the first bullet. First, make the economy scream in the tradition of yet another thug masquerading as head of state (Nixon). Second, starve them into submission. Does the first Iraq war resulting in the death of an estimated half a million children denied essential medicines ring a bell? Venezuela is similarly being starved into surrender. Meanwhile Guaido is embezzling the humanitarian aid intended for his needy countrymen.

All said, the history of our country's lies and deception going back a long ways, more than speaks for itself.

anon [210] Disclaimer , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain Remember, the Holy Hook states that Working Class Native Born White Christian American Male Canon Fodder " owe it to the Jews ."
Zero , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT
@Justsaying Of course, starvation is a favorite tactic of OUR international Communist overlords. They've used it for decades and killed hundreds of millions of people using it. It's cheap and easy.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm GMT

Trump Claims He Canceled an Airstrike Against Iran at the Very Last Minute

That is just bullshit.

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
@lavoisier

Mostly just an idiot and a Zionist whore.

Yes, and there are plenty of them.

sarz , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
Saker, it would be good to see you spell out where you differ from Bernhard of Moon of Alabama's assumptions.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/white-house-pushes-trump-pulled-back-story-he-likely-never-approved-to-strike-iran.html

War for Blair Mountain , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:55 pm GMT
On direct orders from Donald Trump ..the US Military is illegally occupying the sovereign Nation of Syria .and Trump took a direct order from JEW ONLY ISRAEL to do this think about it

A case can be made that the US strategy is not to go to war with Iran .but rather, use the boogey man of Iran to justify a 100 year illegal US Military occupation of Syria on behalf of JEW ONLY ISRAEL .

The late Fat Cockroach Christopher Hitchens justified murdering thousands of Iraqis because it would be good for the Kurds Well, here is what I say:THE CRYPTO JEW KURDS WERE NEVER WORTH IT .Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq always meant an IDF presence in Northern Iraq

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:58 pm GMT
@2stateshmustate Yep, A123 is as full of shit as you can get
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:03 pm GMT
@restless94110

Why would you end your mis-analysis where you justify war with the word PEACE?

Spelling it out in all CAPS?

Because he's a really, really dumbass.

Do you realize that economic sanctions are considered to be acts of war?

He doesn't realize what planet he's on.

Are you insane?

He's just really low IQ.

Biff , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm GMT
@Anonymous

learn the difference between tactics and strategy.

Hey Bill Clinton, is that you?

Dictionary.com gives almost identical definitions for those terms, so tell us oh wise one – what's the difference?

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm GMT
@A123

And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region.

Oh, really! Tsk tsk.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm GMT
The best analysis of the 225 million dollar MQ-4C drone(more expensive than the F-35) shoot down in my opinion is that of Jim Stone:
"The drone shot down was an MQ-4C, which is basically a more advanced clone of the Global Hawk. A better score for Iran than a Global Hawk. ADDITIONALLY IMPORTANT: Iran was the one that recovered the debris, the U.S. navy did not, which means Iran was telling the truth about where it was flying to begin with. If they got it, it fell on their turf. It is really blown to smithereens, a direct hit. That's good for Iran because it proves their missile systems can do it, but it is bad because they don't have any big pieces. Additionally, there was an American P-8 spy plane accompanying the drone, Iran was able to differentiate between the two, and hit the drone. The P-8 was a much easier target. Iran obviously opted not to hit it because killing it's crew would have meant war."

What everyone needs to be aware of here is "stealth" technology is a total farce, and can be defeated with long wave radar, basically the same system used by England during WWII. The drone shot down was considered a Max Stealth aircraft, same as the F-35. The F-35 and F-22 are basically "hanger queens"(many hours of maintenance required for every hour of flying time), and with their stealth capabilities being defeatable, they are pretty much worthless. Trump did not pull the trigger on this because he figured out the whole thing could go real bad real quick.

I urge all to read Jim Stones take on this mess: http://82.221.129.208/.wh7.html

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
@alexander

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars (dating back to 2002), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars, their heirs and all who profited from (dating back to 1812), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

FIFY

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:16 pm GMT
@Justsaying You are correct. This is economic and siege warfare. Flying bullets, etc., add to the drama and consequences, but the war on Iran began many years ago. The vicious clowns are up to the same old tricks, but bullshitting only the willing gulls.
Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:18 pm GMT
@Zero

Of course, starvation is a favorite tactic of OUR international Communist overlords.

Yup. It's what empires do, and they don't even give a flip if their own people have to go without either.

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
@El Dato

It's really like living in a Nazi regime

No, it's not. Clearly the Nazis were on the defensive . Lying Abe Lincoln was, in fact, much worse than the Nazis ever thought of being; in a totally different category even.

DESERT FOX , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm GMT
Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not a terrorist nation and does not export terrorism, that title belongs the the unholy trinity of the zio/US and Israel and Britain, the creators and funders and suppliers of AL CIADA aka ISIS and all the various off shoots thereof.

This war on Iran is a zionist project of the zionists who control the governments of the zio/US and zio/Britain as has been the case in every war in Iraq and Libya and Syria and Yemen and Lebanon , Israel has been the agent provocateur in every one of these wars!

The zionists have a goal of a satanic zionist NWO and are hell bent to get there if they have to kill off all the goyim and muslims to accomplish it and they are well on their way!

Read the book Blood In The Water by Joan Mellen on the zio/US and Israeli attack on the USS Liberty for a look at how these two terrorist nations operate!

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm GMT
@HEREDOT

A handful of psychopaths determine our destiny. What makes us different from animals?

I don't think other animals have psychopaths of the same species ruling over them nor do they have hasbara clowns spouting sewage and doing worse 24/7, such as the alphanumeric zero, above.

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon

Mr. Saker left out the inconvenient fact that while that drone was indeed flying over Iranian air space, a much larger target, the Poseidon P8 was flying nearby. The P8 is a converted Boeing 737, making for a much larger radar profile for that missile. The P8 has many ASW capabilities, and also can control drones.

If this is true the stupid bastards in control of this country better take note. If the missile, that Iran says they developed, is cabable of distinguishing between a P8 and a drone the US may have a big problem.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm GMT
@SteveM Yup, Trump called this off because he knew America could pay dearly for an attack on Iran.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm GMT
@joeshittheragman Excellent answer.
Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm GMT
This is what our Air Force would look like if it was based on war fighting and not making all in the MIC extremely rich.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/03/f-35-replacement-f-45-mustang-ii-fighter-simple-lightweight/
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:39 pm GMT
@MarkinLA

The embargo was because Japan continued to occupy part of China.

True, but China has been occupied by both the British and US in the past .and not too distant past.

Fool's Paradise , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm GMT
More likely, Trump and his Neocons knew that Iran had proof that the spy drone was shot down over Iran's territory, that the truth would come out after the U.S. strike, earning the world's condemnation and making Trump et al look like warmongering fools. That's what they are, of course, but it gave Trump the chance to pose as a big humanitarian, stopping the strike because, since it was only a plane, with no Americans on board, he didn't want to "disproportionately" kill anybody. Yeah. Just wait until the Israeli puppets send another plane with Americans on board, it'll give Israel and our traitorous Neocons the war they've been lusting after for a decade or more.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm GMT
@Art LOL
Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm GMT
@MarkinLA

All they had to do was go back home.

Proof?

In fact it's my understanding that the Japanese were bending over backwards in an attempt to avoid war with the US but the Wall Street Commie catamite FDR and his henchmen foiled and insulted them at every turn. The story of how they were repeatedly humiliated would raise the hackles of the least sensitive among us.

The big picture is that the Wall Street and London Commies were aiming for world hegemony even at their own populations' expense, of course, and Japan and Germany had to be castrated even if populated and run by angels and innocent choir boys to ensure that they could be turned into industrial slave states. It's apparent that the scum of the Earth won't rest until they've accomplished their goals as we can clearly see here.

Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

Sean Hannity lives in the largest Mansion in Lloyd Neck I have driven past his Mansion to get a look as to just how big it is IT'S HUGE ..Lloyd Neck has the most expensive zip code in the US

A simple Google search reveals Hannity sold his Lloyd Neck home in 2014, and has lived in Oyster Bay for several years. Also, Lloyd Neck isn't even in Forbes' Top 50 Most Expensive Zip Codes; the list is headed by four communities in California and one in Florida.

I'm not saying Sean isn't a pussy and a faggot, but your facts are suspect.

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:58 pm GMT
@Popeye Dear Sir,

This is the 21st century. Why do you persist in parroting nearly century-old war propaganda?

Current Commenter

[Jun 21, 2019] If oil ships stop transiting for any reason the western economic and banking system implodes as the notional value of all those trillions in derivatives (oil at least) become real once the price rise

Notable quotes:
"... iran and oman share the straits as they enter the indian ocean. these waters are THEIR territorial waters and have been agreed upon for decades by the world. 12 miles give or take for each side. there are NO international waters here. ..."
"... It would appear the Iranians tracked our drone essentially from time time of departure until its demise. The folks on the web would have us believe the Iranians used a $2,500 homemade missile to bring down a $120,000,000 drone. Let that soak in. Am I the only one wondering what else we are unaware? ..."
"... Iran's Air Defense Force has some really quirky own designed and manufactured, mostly Chinese and Russian knock-offs) air defense complexes with serious sensors. ..."
"... Rumor has it--Iran has a number of Yakhonts. Those are very bad news for anything on the surface in Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

ted richard ,

iran and oman share the straits as they enter the indian ocean. these waters are THEIR territorial waters and have been agreed upon for decades by the world. 12 miles give or take for each side. there are NO international waters here.

if oil ships stop transiting for any reason the western economic and banking system implodes as the notional value of all those trillions in derivatives (oil at least) become real once the price rises. not a shot need be fired to collapse the western world living standards and there is nothing the pentagon can do about even IF it could which it CAN'T.

peace is the only sane option IF the west wants to remain upright and obstensibly solvent.

ignore fools like bolton and pompeo.

fredw , 21 June 2019 at 07:08 AM
The Trump administration has to come up with an explanation for this. Otherwise everyone will believe that that the red phone rang. "Mr. Putin on the line, sir." Another ripe conspiracy theory waiting in the wings is that Iran turned on some unexpected radar and showed just what the planes were flying into. Some logical, plausible, and not too embarassing alternative story is needed. Fast.
jon stanley , 21 June 2019 at 07:25 AM
Let us hope Trump's alleged caution holds. For the moment, anyway. However, let us also hope wiser heads prevail in Iran. It seems clear to me (which I do not mistake for assuming I am automatically correct) that there has been a PATTERN of increased, violent actions coming from Iran. i.e. increased shelling of US positions, or, near them, anyway, in Iraq. Along with the tanker attacks and drone attacks, two, I might add. These seem calculated, at the moment, at avoiding US loss of life. So, they are playing around with us, testing us. This reflects, to me, ONE kind of thinking in Iran. However, there are other sides there, I believe.

And in the meantime Trump is, essentially, bereft of support within DC. Unless it be in the military. One side of the elite community hates Trump, but for the moment, goes along with him. Trying to push and prod him forward to their ends. The NeoCons and Never Trumpers. The other side basically loathes Trump and opposes whatever position he is taking. Reflectively. Thoughtlessly. This leaves him essentially alone. IN DC. He should get out of the Capital more often. To his Base. Away from the talking heads. In the meantime Iran should give pause for thought. They may think the world will be on their side, if only to oppose Trump. But they won't get much support other than soft and meaningless words, if they keep poking the Bear. And they just might get eaten...hard as a meal as that would be to digest.

fotokemist , 21 June 2019 at 08:05 AM
My poorly informed speculation drawing upon my career as a chemist (i.e., no military training or experience, the navy rejected me when I tried to join the NROTC in 1963) I am inclined to disbelieve our claims that our drone was in international air space. One commentator on MoA claimed there is no international air space over the Gulf of Hormuz. The relevant treaties address only marine access.

It would appear the Iranians tracked our drone essentially from time time of departure until its demise. The folks on the web would have us believe the Iranians used a $2,500 homemade missile to bring down a $120,000,000 drone. Let that soak in. Am I the only one wondering what else we are unaware?

Regarding the aborted attack, my suspicion is that someone informed Trump of the possibility of an unsuspected Iranian asset bringing down an F-22, or horrors, an F-35. Not likely to help our export programs.

Combined with the possibility that Iran can present convincing evidence that the drone penetrated their air space, Trump would be in a poor position to defend himself against war crime charges should he order an attack. Might not play well in the upcoming election cycle.

As a businessman, he could have decided the rewards of an attack did not justify these risks.

Other thoughts?

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> fotokemist... , 21 June 2019 at 12:05 PM
Regarding the aborted attack, my suspicion is that someone informed Trump of the possibility of an unsuspected Iranian asset bringing down an F-22, or horrors, an F-35. Not likely to help our export programs.

Certainly one of major considerations. Unlike Iraq's "integrated" (a propaganda cliche--antiquated should have been the term), Iran's Air Defense Force has some really quirky own designed and manufactured, mostly Chinese and Russian knock-offs) air defense complexes with serious sensors.

It also has Russian S-300PMU2. In general, Iran is nothing like Iraq, Libya or Syria before Russia intervened.

I would put Iran's medium range (up to 100 kilometers range and up to 20 kilometers altitude) AD capabilities as robustly good.

And then, of course, tactical-operational ballistic missiles with an easy reach anywhere in ME (Qatar rings the bell, among many other) and, finally, who knows how many (very-very many) and what capability anti-shipping missiles.

Rumor has it--Iran has a number of Yakhonts. Those are very bad news for anything on the surface in Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

fotokemist , 21 June 2019 at 08:24 AM
Make that Strait of Hormuz.
Fourth and Long , 21 June 2019 at 08:46 AM
Probably a face saving gesture - can seem tough and reasonable simultaneously. It's shaping up as de-escalation on both sides for now, which I deduce from recent press releases on behalf of Iranian authorities saying that they refrained from shooting down a US P-8 plane carrying 35 people, which was accompanying the unmanned drone which they acknowledge shooting down. So they're mirroring each other IMO - it's not going to escalate.
CK , 21 June 2019 at 08:46 AM
I believe that Nixon did the same thing in 1969 when North Korea shot down an ec121. Threaten with a nuke and then stand down.
Ishmael Zechariah -> Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 10:54 AM
Eric Newhill,
IMO,it is the izzies who are pushing for the destruction of Iran, with their BS about Amalek, their god-given title to Palestine, and their attempts to re-mold the ME in their image. The presence of Nasrallah&Co. and their rocket forces-mostly supplied by Iran-is the primary issue. Most of the current ills of the ME can be traced to the izzies. Think Syria.
While there is no doubt that US can pound Iran into the stone age without really working a sweat, she probably would not have gotten off w/o a few bruises for her pains. In addition, more importantly in my view, the izzies might have also gotten a few surprises.
My friends were glad to end last night with no emergencies on their watch. We were all very, very worried.
Ishmael Zechariah
joanna said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 10:59 AM
yes, still playing guitar?

https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/Iran/Pages/default.aspx

And what would you personally consider as more urgent, the inner US bolshevik threat the ones that made the deal or the outer Iranian one?

eakens said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 11:49 AM
Flying a plane into their territory, getting shot down, and then not attacking and calling it an opportunity to deescalate. That's rich. The only thing these whole farcical attempt at diplomacy has proven from the day the deal was denounced as being a bad deal is that those at the top know little of Iran and Iranians. Nor do we want to know, since virtually every time I watch TV and they bring on an "expert" to talk about Iran, they are not only not Iranian but half the time Jewish.
Eric Newhill said in reply to eakens... , 21 June 2019 at 12:58 PM
eakens,
How do you know where the drone was when it was shot down? How do you know where the plane was?
robt willmann , 21 June 2019 at 09:28 AM
Trump has come out through the usual direct communication channel, saying the reason he called off a strike was that casualties were certain to occur and thus would not be proportionate to an unmanned drone--

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1142055375186907136

Bill Wade , 21 June 2019 at 09:28 AM
"On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!" Pres Trump tweet
Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 01:25 PM
Yes. Trump is more cool headed than a lot of people give him credit for being.

His actions have nothing to do with him being cool headed. He is very confused man as of today. But in this particular case we all may be thankful for none other than Tucker Carlson who, if to believe number of American sources, does advise Trump and that, in itself, is a really good news for everyone on the planet. In fact, if Trump wants second term, among many things he ought to do is to remove Bolton and appoint Tucker his NSA. Carlson surely is way more qualified for this job than Bolton. Come to think about it, Tucker could make a decent Secretary of the State too.

HawkOfMay , 21 June 2019 at 09:48 AM
I've always felt that President Trump is impulsive and that impulsiveness is one of the things that makes him unfit to be President. My question is not 'did he order airstrikes'. My question is 'did an adult in the room step in' or 'did he actually change his mind'. I suspect the answer to that question will break down along the typical partisan lines.

It does make clear that he has no overall plan or strategy in place. These actions demonstrate that our President is unpredictable. While unpredictability has its own value (perhaps especially in the political arena) I don't want to see miscalculations creep in when we are talking about getting involved in a new war in the ME.

Eugene Owens , 21 June 2019 at 10:03 AM
I thank Generals Dunford and Selva at the JCS for putting the brakes on Moron Bolton and SecState Pompous. Particularly General Selva who says protecting oil shipments thru the Strait is not our job; and who also pushed back hard against escalation in Venezuela in late April.

https://www.businessinsider.com/paul-selva-john-bolton-aides-meeting-venezuela-2019-5

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/06/18/dont-expect-the-us-to-secure-arabian-gulf-shipping-alone-top-general-says/

Eugene Owens , 21 June 2019 at 10:11 AM
fotokemist & Ted Richard -

The ships and aircraft of all nations, including warships, auxiliaries, and military aircraft, enjoy the right of unimpeded transit passage in the Strait and its approaches.

That is true elsewhere also. The international legal regime of transit passage exists not only at the Strait of Hormuz but also in the Strait of Gibraltar, the Dover Strait, the Bab-el-Mandeb, and the Strait of Malacca.

Fred , 21 June 2019 at 10:33 AM
Walrus,

Looks like impeachment for Russian collusion is off the table, Joe 'foot in mouth' Biden gets some cover and even Democrats in congress are talking about how the AUMF is outdated. Fixing the later, well that would take Pelosi allowing some legislation to come up for a vote.

Flavius , 21 June 2019 at 11:14 AM
Prudent move by the President. It is encouraging that he put in play the concept of proportionality. Although the scale of challenge represented by Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the Pueblo in 68 exceeded this event, Trump's reasoning in this situation demonstrated a level of akin sobriety that has all too frequently been lacking in the course of the last three presidencies. The lunatic fringes will no doubt find some way to undercut him, the left for their usual obscene political reasons and the neo-cons because they are neo-cons in service to their 'higher calling' but Trump by now has become accustomed to the craven antics of former; and hopefully this unfolding will so contrast his reasoning with the reasoning of his card carrying neo-con advisors that he will realize he needs to clean house for the next time.
jon stanley said in reply to Flavius... , 21 June 2019 at 03:54 PM
What "challenge" in Hungry? Ike made it clear, in 1944, never mind 1956, where our sphere of interest was. There was never any doubt in Ike's mind, anyway. And who had enough gravitas and knowledge to try and talk him out of his views? Czechoslovakia in 1968? Come on...we were a bit, cough, cough, distracted in 1968. That was never in question either. Pueblo? Come on..
blue peacock , 21 June 2019 at 01:15 PM
Jack posted an interesting tweet on another thread. It seems there may also be an alternate explanation on why Trump called off the attacks.

Apparently Iran was informed of the imminent attacks. They responded through Oman & Switzerland that they wouldn't play ball and any attack would escalate.

It is high time for Trump to eject the neocons from his administration.

Mark Logan , 21 June 2019 at 03:17 PM
There was a palpable lack of enthusiasm for a new war on FOX's programs last night.

IMO unless Trump comes to believe his re-election chances would be enhanced by a new war or the IRG conducts ops too violent to be ignored he is likely to keep it holstered.

[Jun 21, 2019] The shadow economy in the USSR how it all began

Jun 21, 2019 | weaponews.com

The question about the causes of the collapse and destruction of the Soviet Union – is not idle. It does not lose its relevance today, 22 years after occurred the death of the Soviet Union . Why? because some on the basis of this event concluded that, say, the capitalist model of the economy more competitive, more efficient and has no alternatives. American political scientist Francis Fukuyama after the collapse of the Soviet Union even hastened to declare that it was the "End of history": humanity has reached the highest and last stage of its development in the form of a universal, global capitalism. The relevance of studying the shadow economy, ssco opinion of this kind of political scientists, sociologists and economists, discussing the socialist economic model does not deserve attention.

Better to focus on improving the capitalist model of the economy, i. E. A model that targets all members of society to the enrichment, and a means of enrichment (profit) is the exploitation of one person by another. However, there are such "Natural" attributes of the capitalist model of social and income inequality, competition, cyclical crises, bankruptcies, unemployment and the like. All proposed improvements are aimed only at mitigating the inhuman consequences of capitalism that is reminiscent of utopian attempts to limit the appetite of a wolf devouring a sheep. We proceed from the fact that the key socio-economic characteristics of the socialist model are welfare for all members of society (goal), public ownership of the means of production (the main means), income generation solely for labor, planned nature of the economy, centralization of management, command positions of the state in the economy, the social consumption funds, the limited nature of commodity-money relations and so on. While this refers to the well-being not only in the form of products and services that are vital (biological) needs of the person.

This would also include public safety and defense, education, culture, conditions of work and rest. Of course, socialism – not only the economy and social relations. It also implies a certain type of political power, ideology, a high level of spiritually-moral development of society and another. High moral and spiritual requests should assume that there are higher goals in relation to socio-economic objectives.

But let's focus now is on the socio-economic aspect of the socialist model. So the erosion of the socialist model began long before the tragic events of december 1991, when it signed the infamous agreement on the division of the ussr in the bialowieza forest. It was already the final act of the political order. It is not only the date of death of the ussr, and date of full legalization of a new socio-economic model, which is called "Capitalism". However, implicitly capitalism germinated in the depths of soviet society for nearly three decades.

The soviet economy de facto has acquired the traits of a mixed. It combined socialist and capitalist structures. However, some foreign researchers and politicians said that de facto in the Soviet Union there was a complete restoration of capitalism in the 1960-ies – 1970-ies. The restoration of capitalism was linked to the emergence and development in the bowels of the ussr the so-called shadow or "Second" economy.

In particular, in the early 1960-ies member of the german communist party willy dickhut began publishing their articles, which stated that since coming to power in our country n. With. Khrushchev happened (not started, but it happened!) the restoration of capitalism in the ussr. The shadow economy functioned on the principles different from the socialist. Anyway, she was tied to corruption, embezzlement of state property, receipt of unearned income, in violation of the laws (or use of "Holes" in the legislation). Not to be confused with the shadow economy "Informal" economy, which is not contrary to the laws and principles of the socialist system, but complemented the economy "Official".

First of all, this self-employment – for example, the work of the farmer on the plot or the citizen in his summer cottage. And in the best of times (under stalin) widely developed the so-called fishing cooperation, which was occupied by production of consumer goods and services. In the Soviet Union state and party authorities chose to ignore the phenomenon of the shadow economy. No, of course, the police had uncovered and suppressed various operations in the sphere of the shadow economy. But the leaders of the ussr, commenting on this kind of history, fobbed off with phrases such as "Exception", "Some shortcomings", "Defects", "Bugs" and the like.

For example, in the early 1960-ies of the then first deputy of the ussr council of ministers anastas mikoyan has identified black market in the Soviet Union as "A handful of some dirty foam appearing on the surface of our society. "The shadow economy of the ussr: acincinnati some serious research shadow ("Second") economy in the ussr was conducted until the late 1980-ies. Abroad, such studies came first. First of all we should mention the work of american sociologist gregory grossman (university of california), which was called "Destructive independence. The historical role of genuine trends in soviet society".

She became widely known after was published in 1988 in the book "The light at the end of the tunnel" (university of berkeley, edited by stephen f. Cohen). However, the first article of grossman on this topic appeared in 1977 and was called "The second economy in the ussr (journal problems of communism, september-october 1977). You can also mention the book emigrated to the United States , the soviet lawyer konstantin simis "Corruption in the Soviet Union – the secret underground world of soviet capitalism", published in 1982. The author in the 1970-ies is closely in contact with some shady businessman, a lawyer which he performed at the trials.

However, quantitative assessments of shadow ("Second") economy k. Simes does not. Later appeared the work of american sociologists and economists of Russian origin Vladimir tremlia and michael alexeev. Since 1985, gregory grossman and Vladimir treml produce periodic collections of the "Second economy" of the ussr. Releases continued until 1993, only 51 were published a study involving 26 authors.

Many studies represented surveys of families of immigrants from the Soviet Union (a total of 1061 family). To studies have also used surveys of emigrants from other socialist countries, the official statistics of the ussr, publications in mass media and scientific journals of the Soviet Union . Despite the differences in some quantitative estimates of the individual authors, these differences were not fundamental. The differences arose due to the fact that some authors considered "Informal economy", the other – the shadow economy; however, their definitions of both economies could not match. Here are some results of these studies. 1.

In 1979 the illicit manufacture of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, as well as speculative resale of alcoholic beverages produced in the "First economy", provided the income, equal to 2. 2% of gnp (gross national product). 2. In the late 1970-ies in the ussr was flourishing black market gasoline. From 33 to 65% of purchases of gasoline in urban areas of the country, individual owners of cars had petrol sold by drivers of public enterprises and organizations (gasoline were sold at a price below the state). 3. In the soviet hairdresser 'left' incomes exceeded the amounts that customers have paid through cash.

This is just one example of what some state-owned enterprises de facto belonged to the "Second" economy. 4. In 1974 the share of employment in private and home gardens accounted for almost a third of the total working time in agriculture. And this was almost 10% of the total working time in the soviet economy. 5. In the 1970-ies, about a quarter of agricultural products produced on private plots, much of it was directed at kolkhoz markets. 6.

In the late 1970's, around 30% of all income of the urban population was obtained through various types of private activity – both legal and illegal. 7. By the end of 1970-ies the proportion of people employed in the "Second economy", reached 10-12% of the total workforce in the ussr. At the end of 1980-ies there appeared a number of works on the shadow and "Second" economy in the ussr. First and foremost is the publication of the soviet economist tatyana results and director of the research institute of the state planning commission valery rutgajzer. Here is the data from the t.

The results of the "Shadow economy of the ussr". The annual value of illegally produced goods and services in the early 1960-ies amounted to about 5 billion rubles, and in the end of 1980-ies was already reached 90 billion rubles. At current prices, the gnp of the ussr was (in billions of rubles): in 1960 – 195; in 1990, 701. Thus, the economy of the ussr for thirty years has increased 3. 6 times, and the shadow economy – 14 times.

If in 1960 the shadow economy relative to official gdp was 3. 4%, while by 1988 this figure rose to 20%. However, in 1990 it was equal to 12. 5%. This decline was due to changes in soviet legislation, which transferred to discharge a legal a range of economic activities, which were previously considered illegal. The number of employed in the shadow economy, estimated to be the results, in the beginning of 1960-ies was 6 million people, and in 1974 their number increased to 17-20 million people (6-7% of the population). In 1989, the such shadow was already 30 million people, or 12% of the population of the ussr. The threats and consequences of the development of the shadow economy in sssri american and soviet researchers pay attention to some features of the shadow economy and its impact on the overall situation in the Soviet Union .

[Jun 21, 2019] Is The U.S. Going To War With Iran

Youtube video...
May 28, 2019 | AJ+

Iran has been abiding by the nuclear agreement. So why does it feel like the Trump administration is edging the United States towards a war? #iran #iransanctions #trump


Jack Roth , 3 weeks ago

Israel is the biggest winner if USA goes to war with IRAN

Starman , 2 weeks ago

Ironic, politicians don't do any of the fighting but their soldiers do. The soliders don't know why are fighting and get killed, politicians do know why they are fighting but don't get killed. "War: A massacre of people who don't know each other for the profit of people who know each other but don't massacre each other" Paul Valery

Ali raza , 3 weeks ago

Saudi Arabia has made another 8 billion dollars weapon agreement with US. That means No WAR threat now till then next purchase agreement.

Tyler M , 5 hours ago (edited)

Its the old men who declare war but its are young men and woman that must face danger and death!!!god bless American armed forces!

Dunking Donut , 19 seconds ago

With America and Iran goes against each other, Iran will lose really bad because America is so big and stronger compare to a small country

Surrealist Idealist , 3 weeks ago

Bolton is such a traitorous, power-worshipping coward. He can only lie to himself about it by bullying others.

young yahye , 2 weeks ago

I feel bad for the brainwashed American citizens From school to military to sleeping ships that are entertained with consumption Very dumbed down society

Teta _98 , 1 day ago

Iran isn't easy USA they are not Iraq or Afghanistan .. USA will do very big mistake

Jai Nepal , 3 days ago div tabindex="0" role="article

"> This whole situation, is Americas last stand along with Saudi and their local cousins in Israel to maintain the Petro dollar system which , if Iran could trade its resources equitably would be finished...This is the system that pays for the thousands of US military bases surrounding China, Russia ,Iran etc...

that provides billions of dollars to maintain Israeli nuclear and military superiority in Palestine and Western Asia

..and maintains the Saudi monopoly and high crude prices, and so the Saudi dictator monarchist establishment...

Nobody is claiming Iran is perfect, yet lets see this for what it is..as with Trumps attacks , tariffs and sanctions leveled across global trade and industry...The desperate actions of a dying empire...

William Hanson , 3 hours ago

There is a reason is the Obama administration went back to negotiating. To keep them Iran busy while it was launching the Stuxnet Virus on the industrial control systems in Iran. Watch the documentary Zero Days. It is extremely eye opening.

VITA kyo , 1 day ago

BUSINESS IS WAR & WAR IS THE BEST BUSINESS .

JJ Sundra , 7 hours ago (edited) div tabindex="0" r

ole="article"> The World should stand together to stop this kind of bullying....! The Trump administration had already planned ... that it needs to invade IRAN to choke China, Korea, Japan & now India who gets their Oil from Iran. The unilateral tearing up of an International Agreement is evidenced that US will rather this World go to Hell and to give-up its No. 1 place in Commerce and Defence. This kind of arrogance & "superiorority" attitude is dangerous for one who claims the title "Sherif - of-the - World"..! USA via the Trump Administration is HELL BENT on invading IRAN. The tearing-up and dishonouring the wishes of the International Community in order to provoke IRAN to retaliate by also NOT complying with the provisions of the said Agreement is evidence that the USA had already decided to invade IRAN. They nearly did invade last year but probably decided that they can conspire to create more incidents to justify their attack. AN INVASION ON IRAN IS PRICELESS TO USA.... WHY..? 1) They get to plunder USD Tens/Hundreds of Trillions to enrich THEIR coffers/ economy. 2) IRAN has the 2nd largest oil reserves. Rebrand the Oil as "American Oil".. 3) Take control of the most important shipment ports in the world with regards to Oil Commodity.. 4) Get rid of Out-dsted Military wears and bill them to Saudi at a premium. 5) Introduce their latest Military Wears to the World and again Bill them to Saudi at a double premium ;and. - to get new orders from other countries. - to send a message to China of USA's military capabilities.. 6) To Warn China that it has a penchant to settle issues through the Military if negotiations do not work in favour of the USA.. 7) Choke East Asian countries who are a threat to USA's No. 1 position. 8 ) Take another step towards acknowledging ISREALS legitimate presence of the Middle East. 9) To help Isreal fulfill their prophesy to take control of the Middle East. Saudi will not know, what hits them when the time comes. 10) There is another 3 more serious points but I will leave it to you guys to challenge yourself to decipher it. 11) To put onto action his perspectives, opinion & views while he can, should he not be elected next Term. And if Trump is able to control the War, he will be popular enough to be elected next term. Or if the War gets out of hand, then the US Presidential Elections may be postpone. Therefore this invasion may be his best chance to continue on as President. THEREFORE, UNLESS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY STEPS IN AND STRONGLY OBJECT TO THIS BULLYING... ;;; AMERICA WILL INVADE IRAN.....! USA PROVE ME & THE WORLD WRONG....

[Jun 21, 2019] Forget Trump's 'deal of the century'. Israel was always on course to annexation by Jonathan Cook

Israel is just another 'settlers" country. It might be successful or it might fail like South Africa and Rhodesia. The survival of Israel as the settler country hinges on the USA unconditional support as yet another (stealth) USA state, and the continuation of the role of the USA as the world hegemon and the center of the global neoliberal empire. . The USA position as for Israel might eventually change with the collapse of neoliberalism.
One problem that creates negative attitude to Israel around the world (according to BBC data only the USA and a couple of African countries having the majority of population that views Israel positively) is, as one commenter observed, the situation in which "The Children of the Holocaust survivors, born into Israel, have now become the "Holocaust-ers of Palestine"
Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

When Israeli prime ministers are in trouble, facing difficult elections or a corruption scandal, the temptation has typically been for them to unleash a military operation to bolster their standing. In recent years, Gaza has served as a favourite punching bag.

Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting both difficulties at once: a second round of elections in September that he may struggle to win; and an attorney general who is widely expected to indict him on corruption charges shortly afterwards.

Netanyahu is in an unusually tight spot, even by the standards of an often chaotic and fractious Israeli political system. After a decade in power, his electoral magic may be deserting him. There are already rumblings of discontent among his allies on the far right.

Given his desperate straits, some observers fear that he may need to pull a new kind of rabbit out of the hat.

In the past two elections, Netanyahu rode to success after issuing dramatic last-minute statements. In 2015, he agitated against the fifth of Israel's citizens who are Palestinian asserting their democratic rights, warning that they were "coming out in droves to vote".

Back in April, he declared his intention to annex large chunks of the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law, during the next parliament.

Amos Harel, a veteran military analyst with Haaretz newspaper, observed last week that Netanyahu may decide words are no longer enough to win. Action is needed, possibly in the form of an announcement on the eve of September's ballot that as much as two-thirds of the West Bank is to be annexed.

Washington does not look like it will stand in his way.

Shortly before April's election, the Trump administration offered Netanyahu a campaign fillip by recognising Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967.

This month David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel and one of the chief architects of Donald Trump's long-delayed "deal of the century" peace plan, appeared to offer a similar, early election boost.

In interviews, he claimed Israel was "on the side of God" – unlike, or so it was implied, the Palestinians. He further argued that Israel had the "right to retain" much of the West Bank.

Both statements suggest that the Trump administration will not object to any Israeli moves towards annexation, especially if it ensures their favoured candidate returns to power.

Whatever Friedman suggests, it is not God who has intervened on Israel's behalf. The hands that have carefully cleared a path over many decades to the West Bank's annexation are all too human.

Israeli officials have been preparing for this moment for more than half a century, since the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were seized back in 1967.

That point is underscored by an innovative interactive map of the occupied territories. This valuable new resource is a joint project of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem and Forensic Architecture, a London-based team that uses new technology to visualise and map political violence and environmental destruction.

Titled Conquer and Divide , it reveals in detail how Israel has "torn apart Palestinian space, divided the Palestinian population into dozens of disconnected enclaves and unravelled its social, cultural and economic fabric".

The map proves beyond doubt that Israel's colonisation of the West Bank was never accidental, defensive or reluctant. It was coldly calculated and intricately planned, with one goal in mind – and the moment to realise that goal is fast approaching.

Annexation is not a right-wing project that has hijacked the benign intentions of Israel's founding generation. Annexation was on the cards from the occupation's very beginnings in 1967, when the so-called centre-left – now presented as a peace-loving alternative to Netanyahu – ran the government.

The map shows how Israeli military planners created a complex web of pretexts to seize Palestinian land: closed military zones today cover a third of the West Bank; firing ranges impact 38 Palestinian communities; nature reserves are located on 6 per cent of the territory; nearly a quarter has been declared Israeli "state" land; some 250 settlements have been established; dozens of permanent checkpoints severely limit movement; and hundreds of kilometres of walls and fences have been completed.

These interlocking land seizures seamlessly carved up the territory, establishing the walls of dozens of tightly contained prisons for Palestinians in their own homeland.

Two Nasa satellite images of the region separated by 30 years – from 1987 and 2017 – reveal how Israel's settlements and transport infrastructure have gradually scarred the West Bank's landscape, clearing away natural vegetation and replacing it with concrete.

The land grabs were not simply about acquisition of territory. They were a weapon, along with increasingly draconian movement restrictions, to force the native Palestinian population to submit, to recognise its defeat, to give up hope.

In the immediate wake of the West Bank's occupation, defence minister Moshe Dayan, Israel's hero of the hour and one of the architects of the settlement project, observed that Palestinians should be made "to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave – and we shall see where this process leads".

Although Israel has concentrated Palestinians in 165 disconnected areas across the West Bank, its actions effectively won the international community's seal of approval in 1995. The Oslo accords cemented Israel's absolute control over 62 per cent of the West Bank, containing the Palestinians' key agricultural land and water sources, which was classified as Area C.

Occupations are intended to be temporary – and the Oslo accords promised the same. Gradually, the Palestinians would be allowed to take back more of their territory to build a state. But Israel made sure both the occupation and the land thefts sanctioned by Oslo continued.

The new map reveals more than just the methods Israel used to commandeer the West Bank. Decades of land seizures highlight a trajectory, plotting a course that indicates the project is still not complete.

ORDER IT NOW

If Netanyahu partially annexes the West Bank – Area C – it will be simply another stage in Israel's tireless efforts to immiserate the Palestinian population and bully them into leaving. This is a war of attrition – what Israelis have long understood as "creeping annexation", carried out by stealth to avoid a backlash from the international community.

Ultimately, Israel wants the Palestinians gone entirely, squeezed out into neighbouring Arab states, such as Egypt and Jordan. That next chapter is likely to begin in earnest if Trump ever gets the chance to unveil his "deal of the century".

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.


Sally Snyder , says: June 20, 2019 at 11:54 am GMT

Here is an article that clearly explains the pro-Israel bias in America's mainstream media:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-pro-israel-skew-in-american.html

This study shows us that the pro-Israel narrative has become so firmly entrenched in the American mainstream media that it is almost impossible for news consumers to discern the truth about the situation in Israel and Palestine. This has greatly benefitted Washington which has made it abundantly clear that it sides with Israel in this fifty year-old conflict.

Bardon Kaldian , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:19 am GMT

If Netanyahu partially annexes the West Bank – Area C – it will be simply another stage in Israel's tireless efforts to immiserate the Palestinian population and bully them into leaving. This is a war of attrition – what Israelis have long understood as "creeping annexation", carried out by stealth to avoid a backlash from the international community.

Ultimately, Israel wants the Palestinians gone entirely, squeezed out into neighbouring Arab states, such as Egypt and Jordan. That next chapter is likely to begin in earnest if Trump ever gets the chance to unveil his "deal of the century".

This is probably true-and? I don't see Palestinians as a real people; they're just a bunch of Arabs & it is absolutely irrelevant whether they are in Syria, Egypt or Arabia. They themselves say they're not a "real" people:

https://youtu.be/FBPd28WYPFQ

On the other hand, real peoples like Uyghurs & Tibetans are swamped by the Chinese, which is a real tragedy & only, huh, Richard Gere complains.

So, what the big deal with "Palestinians"? Why would they have a "right to exist"on some shitty piece o land Jews seem to be obsessively addicted to in past 2 millennia?

And then, what with Amazonian Indians, Eskimos, Ostyaks, Okinawans, ..? What about expulsion of 13 million Germans in what are now parts of Poland, Czechia, Russia .?

Israelis should have expelled all of them in 1967. & there would be peace.

UncommonGround , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:20 am GMT
There is one point in the article that is not completely accurate. J. Cook writes: "Israeli officials have been preparing for this moment for more than half a century, since the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were seized back in 1967."

In fact, Ilan Pappe shows in his book "The biggest Prison on Earth" (2017) that plans to occupy the whole land were much older. The plans weren't made because Israel took Palestinian lands in 1967. Israel took lands in 1967 because of the plans to colonize it. Those plans were older.

So, Pappe says in a more general way in his book that " . since 1948 and even more since 1956, Israel's military and political elites was looking for the right historical moment to occupy the West Bank." (p. XIV). He also says more specifically: "The strategy was presented by the CoGS to the army on 1 May 1963 and was meant to prepare the army for controlling the West Bank as an occupied military area" (p. XIII).

All talk about "peace", about "coexistence", about a "two state solution" are (and were) made in bad faith. About Pappe's book: I don't want to reccomend it for a casual reading. It may be valuable historically because it deals with historical material from archives. But it's basically a book about the Israeli burocracy, about laws, rules which would make sure that Israel controls the conquested territory which it never thought of giving back. It's a dry book. He has other books that which are much more agreeable to read like his short book "Ten Myths About Israel".

[Jun 21, 2019] Guilty or Not, Iran's Fate Is in Trump's Hands

Jun 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one's version of the "truth" first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of "innocence until proven guilty" or the "right to a fair trial".

Pompeo's objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the "Iran obviously did it" narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn't do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain's testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of "let's gather the evidence and then see who did it", which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21 st century arms will sink civilian ship guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran's goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these "attacks" seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

[Jun 21, 2019] Washington's Mighty Warriors Draft Dodgers and Scoundrels

Jun 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Bolton was notoriously a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, like his current boss, not due to any scruples regarding what was occurring, but out of concern for his own sorry ass.

[Jun 20, 2019] Trump Says DOJ Investigating Whether Obama Tapped His Phone

Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Why won't Obama live in Chicago?

JD Rock , 2 hours ago link

too much diversity...

[Jun 20, 2019] US gives military assistance to 70% of world dictoris whether they re using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden.

Notable quotes:
"... If one does even a cursory check of what dictators around the world are up to recently, you'll find that the U.S. doesn't care in the slightest whether they are bad or good, whether they're using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

We now know that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. We now know that the crushing of Libya had nothing to do with "stopping a bad man."

If one does even a cursory check of what dictators around the world are up to recently, you'll find that the U.S. doesn't care in the slightest whether they are bad or good, whether they're using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden.

In fact, the U.S. gives military aid to 70 percent of the world's dictators . (One would hope that's only around the holidays though.)

[Jun 20, 2019] Washington s Dr. Strangeloves: Is plunging Russia into darkness really a good idea?

Notable quotes:
"... ...What else did you expect other than the MIC/Intelligence Agencies/Pentagon/embedded war mongers handling this stuff? ..."
"... Gen. Buck Turgidson is most certainly going rogue. ..."
"... That's really the bigger story here. It has become a mainstream idea that it is a GOOD thing that an elected President is a figurehead with no real power. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Not if_ But When , 11 minutes ago link

...What else did you expect other than the MIC/Intelligence Agencies/Pentagon/embedded war mongers handling this stuff?

SurfingUSA , 2 minutes ago link

Gen. Buck Turgidson is most certainly going rogue.

joego1 , 11 minutes ago link

It's all about the bankers bitches.

LetThemEatRand , 17 minutes ago link

...That's really the bigger story here. It has become a mainstream idea that it is a GOOD thing that an elected President is a figurehead with no real power.

Of course it's been true for a long time, but it's a fairly recent phenomenon that a large number of Americans like it. Russiagate is another example.

Huge portions of America were cheering for the unseating of an elected President by unelected police state apparatus because they don't like him.

[Jun 20, 2019] Putin Says US Establishment Stops Trump From Improving Ties With Russia And 'Invents Fake News'

Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.com

Russian president Vladimir Putin blamed the U.S. establishment for preventing an improvement in relations between Moscow and Washington.

During his annual televised question-and-answer session with members of the public, Putin was asked about the prospects for better ties if he met with President Donald Trump.

The Russian energy Ministry's department head Evgeny Grabchak, who faces U.S. sanctions, asked Putin on air if he would "want to meet with Trump."

Putin replied that dialogue with the U.S. was "always good" adding that Russia was "ready for this dialogue as long as our partners were too."

Putin went on: "But even if Trump wants to change anything, there are restrictions imposed by other organs of power. There is a part of the American establishment that continues to invent fake news. We have things to discuss with Trump in all areas, including the economy," Novaya Gazyeta reported.

[Jun 20, 2019] Frustrated Donald Trump 'Chewed Out' Staff for Failed Venezuela Coup, Thought His Officials 'Got Played' Report

Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.com

However, when virtually no one in the upper circles of power in Caracas ended up backing Guaidó, Trump thought that his national security adviser John Bolton and his director for Latin American policy, Mauricio Claver-Carone, "got played" by the opposition and key Maduro officials, The Post reported.

Two senior White House officials told The Post that the president "chewed out the staff" after the failure on April 30 to shift Maduro from power and that now Trump's administration has no fixed strategy to remove him.

Trump had "always thought of" Venezuela "as low-hanging fruit" on which he "could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory," the former official said. "Five or six months later . . . it's not coming together," the unnamed official added.

However, this was rejected by National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis who described the official's claims as, "patently false."

[Jun 20, 2019] The Trump regime wants another pointless war by Ryan Cooper

Highly recommended!
A very good analysis. Trump essentially morphed into Hillary or worse. Essentially the same type of warmonger and compulsive liar.
Notable quotes:
"... The American people appear largely uninterested in this idea. But unless some real mass pressure is mounted against it, there is a good chance Trump will launch the U.S. into another pointless, disastrous war. ..."
"... At time of writing, the Washington Post has counted 10,796 false or misleading claims from Trump himself since taking office. Abject up-is-down lying is basically the sine qua non of modern conservative politics. ..."
"... Pompeo insists " there is no doubt " that Iran carried out the attacks -- the exact same words that Vice President Dick Cheney said in 2002 about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and his intention to use them on the United States, neither of which were true. (This is no doubt why several U.S. allies reacted skeptically to Trump's claims.) ..."
"... What's more, the downside risk here is vastly larger than tax policy. A great big handout to the rich might be socially costly in many ways, but it won't cause tens of thousands of violent deaths in a matter of days. War with Iran could easily do that -- or worse . ..."
"... Who else might have done the attacks? Saudi Arabia springs to mind. ..."
"... At a minimum, anybody with half a brain would want to be extremely certain about what actually happened before taking any rash actions. It's clear that Bolton and company, by contrast, just want a pretext to ratchet up pressure on Iran even further. ..."
"... On the other hand, sinking Iran's navy, as Stephens suggests in his column, would likely be a lot more dangerous than he thinks. Americans have long been fed a lot of hysterical nationalist propaganda from neocons like him about the invincibility of the U.S. military, and the ease with which any possible threat could be defeated. But while U.S. forces are indeed powerful, there is a very real risk that Iran's navy -- which is full of fast-attack boats, mini-subs, and disguised civilian vessels specifically designed to take out large ships with swarm attacks -- could inflict significant damage. Just a few lucky hits could kill thousands of sailors and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage. This is before you even get to the primary lesson of the Iraq War which is that an initial military victory is completely useless and probably counterproductive without a plan for what comes next. ..."
"... Finally, attacking Iran would be illegal. It would violate U.S. treaties , and thus the Constitution. The only justification is the claim that the 2001 authorization to attack Al Qaeda covers an attack on Iran . This is utterly preposterous -- akin to arguing it covers attacking New Zealand to roll back their gun control efforts -- but may explain Pompeo's equally preposterous attempt to blame Iran for a Taliban attack in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Pompeo and Bolton are clearly hell-bent on war. But Trump himself seems somewhat hesitant , sensing (probably accurately) that starting another war of aggression would tank his popularity even further. It's high time for everyone from ordinary citizens up to Nancy Pelosi to demand this rush to war be stopped. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | theweek.com

The Trump regime is attempting to gin up a war with Iran. First Trump reneged on Obama's nuclear deal with the country for no reason, then he slapped them with more economic sanctions for no reason, and then, pushed by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he moved massive military forces onto Iran's doorstep to heighten tensions further. Now, after a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman -- none of which were American -- that the administration blames on Iran, Pompeo says the U.S. is "considering a full range of options," including war. (Iran has categorically denied any involvement.)

The American people appear largely uninterested in this idea. But unless some real mass pressure is mounted against it, there is a good chance Trump will launch the U.S. into another pointless, disastrous war.

The New York Times ' Bret Stephens, for all his #NeverTrump pretensions, provides a good window into the absolute witlessness of the pro-war argument . He takes largely at face value the Trump administration's accusations against Iran -- "Trump might be a liar, but the U.S. military isn't," he writes -- and blithely suggests Trump should announce an ultimatum demanding further attacks cease, then sink Iran's navy if they don't comply.

Let me take these in turn. For one thing, any statement of any kind coming out of a Republican's mouth should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Two years ago, the party passed a gigantic tax cut for the rich which they swore up and down would " pay for itself " with increased growth. To precisely no one's surprise, this did not happen . Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was just one flagrant example of many who got elected in 2016 while lying through their teeth about their party's efforts to destroy ObamaCare and its protections for preexisting conditions.

At time of writing, the Washington Post has counted 10,796 false or misleading claims from Trump himself since taking office. Abject up-is-down lying is basically the sine qua non of modern conservative politics.

Republican accusations of foreign aggression should be subjected to an even higher burden of proof. The Trump regime has provided no evidence of Iranian culpability aside from a video of a ship the Pentagon says is Iranians removing something they say is a mine from an oil tanker -- but a Japanese ship owner reported at least one attack came from a " flying object ," not a mine. Pompeo insists " there is no doubt " that Iran carried out the attacks -- the exact same words that Vice President Dick Cheney said in 2002 about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and his intention to use them on the United States, neither of which were true. (This is no doubt why several U.S. allies reacted skeptically to Trump's claims.)

What's more, the downside risk here is vastly larger than tax policy. A great big handout to the rich might be socially costly in many ways, but it won't cause tens of thousands of violent deaths in a matter of days. War with Iran could easily do that -- or worse .

And though this may be a shock to Troop Respecters like Bret Stephens, the military's record of scrupulous honesty is not exactly spotless. It has lied continually about the state of the Afghanistan occupation, just as it did in Vietnam . It lied about the effects of Agent Orange on U.S. troops and Vietnamese civilians. It lied about Pat Tillman being killed by friendly fire. Military recruiters even sometimes lie about enlistment benefits to meet their quotas.

Who else might have done the attacks? Saudi Arabia springs to mind. False flag attacks on its own oil tankers sound outlandish, but we're talking about a ruthless dictatorship run by a guy who had a Washington Post columnist murdered and chopped into pieces because he didn't like his takes. And the Saudis have already been conducting a years-long war in Yemen with catastrophic humanitarian outcomes in order to stop an Iran-allied group from coming to power. It's by no means certain, but hardly outside the realm of possibility.

At a minimum, anybody with half a brain would want to be extremely certain about what actually happened before taking any rash actions. It's clear that Bolton and company, by contrast, just want a pretext to ratchet up pressure on Iran even further.

But let's grant for the sake of argument that some Iranian forces actually did carry out some or all of these attacks. That raises the immediate question of why. One very plausible reason is that all of Trump's provocations have strengthened the hand of Iran's conservative hard-liners, who are basically the mirror image of Pompeo and Bolton. "It is sort of a toxic interaction between hard-liners on both sides because for domestic political reasons they each want greater tension," as Jeremy Shapiro of the European Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times . This faction might have concluded that the U.S. is run by deranged fanatics, and the best way to protect Iran is to demonstrate they could choke off oil shipping from the Persian Gulf if the U.S. attacks.

This in turn raises the question of the appropriate response if Iran is actually at fault here. It would be one thing if these attacks came out of a clear blue sky. But America is very obviously the aggressor here. Iran was following its side of the nuclear deal to the letter before Trump reneged, and continued to do so as of February . So far the European Union (which is still party to the deal) has been unwilling to sidestep U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to threaten to restart uranium enrichment . So Iran is a medium-sized country with a faltering economy, hemmed in on all sides by U.S. aggression. Backing off the threats and chest-thumping might easily strengthen the hand of Iranian moderates, and cause them to respond in kind.

On the other hand, sinking Iran's navy, as Stephens suggests in his column, would likely be a lot more dangerous than he thinks. Americans have long been fed a lot of hysterical nationalist propaganda from neocons like him about the invincibility of the U.S. military, and the ease with which any possible threat could be defeated. But while U.S. forces are indeed powerful, there is a very real risk that Iran's navy -- which is full of fast-attack boats, mini-subs, and disguised civilian vessels specifically designed to take out large ships with swarm attacks -- could inflict significant damage. Just a few lucky hits could kill thousands of sailors and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage. This is before you even get to the primary lesson of the Iraq War which is that an initial military victory is completely useless and probably counterproductive without a plan for what comes next.

Taken together, these factors strongly militate towards de-escalation and diplomacy even if Iran did carry out these attacks, which again, is not at all proven. The current standoff is almost entirely our fault, and Iranian forces are far from defenseless. America has a lot better things to do than indulge the deluded jingoist fantasies of a handful of armchair generals who want lots of other people to die in battle.

Finally, attacking Iran would be illegal. It would violate U.S. treaties , and thus the Constitution. The only justification is the claim that the 2001 authorization to attack Al Qaeda covers an attack on Iran . This is utterly preposterous -- akin to arguing it covers attacking New Zealand to roll back their gun control efforts -- but may explain Pompeo's equally preposterous attempt to blame Iran for a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.

Pompeo and Bolton are clearly hell-bent on war. But Trump himself seems somewhat hesitant , sensing (probably accurately) that starting another war of aggression would tank his popularity even further. It's high time for everyone from ordinary citizens up to Nancy Pelosi to demand this rush to war be stopped.

[Jun 20, 2019] Bias, Lies Videotape Doubts Dog Confirmed Syria Chemical Attacks

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bias, Lies & Videotape: Doubts Dog 'Confirmed' Syria Chemical Attacks Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might've been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question. By Scott Ritter June 20, 2019

(By Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock) Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , which was assigned in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the "barbaric act" of using "banned chemical weapons" to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes . The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties," but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

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The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad's forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place," due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a "high probability" that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization's response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP) , OPCW director general Fernando Arias acknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to "stand by the impartial and professional conclusions" of the group's original report. He played down the role of the memo's author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they "pointed at possible attribution" and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW's fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) , a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who'd arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren't the first to arrive on the scene; they'd heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria's declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria's obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, "all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control," the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon "identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated."

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM's work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon "opposition representatives" to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the "security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM," including liaising "for the purposes of making available persons for interviews."

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an "alleged attack with chlorine" on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, "was welcomed by the opposition." When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from "presenting definitive conclusions," according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, "including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact," and public domain material, "lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks" against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into "confirmed," "credibly substantiated," and "comprehensively confirmed." Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous "comprehensively confirmed" tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were "were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence."

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their "implementing partner" Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as "friends and partners" in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and "assistance" to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated -- by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not -- and indeed would not -- have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule -- one lie, all lies -- that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

JPH 8 hours ago

The OPCW reaction clearly considering the investigation into the leak instead of apologizing for not publishing this report is revealing its bias.

There has been a push from 'the West' to have the OPCW also attributing responsibility. Given the bias already on display this will further politicize the OPCW.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk...

As soon as such organizations become propaganda tools their credibility goes into the wind.

Given what we know of the Skripal hoax and the Tories attitude to the truth with their government funded 'Integrity Initiative' through the Institute of Statecraft' that exactly what the British Intelligence intended.

https://medium.com/@tomseck...

One may note the specific personal links through Orbis/Steele/Miller between the 'Integrity Initiative' and the fake 'Trump Dossier' and one ought to be alarmed by 'services' of a British intelligence out of control, but given the FBI/CIA involvement and exploitation of that fake 'Trump Dossier' it looks that the US has a quite similar problem.

john 11 hours ago
Our government lied to start a war! When has that always happened.

[Jun 20, 2019] Dominoes, Hegemonies, The Future Of Humanity

Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

People, however, are supposed to have brains and are expected to be cognizant of what's happening around them and able to assess its implications on their wellbeing. Unfortunately, this rarely is the case, which may add credence to the theory that by settling into early agrarian communities, humans became more caring and supportive of each other, thus undermining the successful natural selection process by retaining idiot genes!

It is not as though the concept of danger is a new phenomenon. Ever since humans got over the fear of carnivorous beasts and learnt how to kill them, they have concentrated on killing each other. Hegemonic tendencies have existed for thousands of years; as early as the Sumerians and Assyrians and continued through to the colonization monsters of the past few hundred years.

STATUS OF HEGEMONY

Hegemonies come in different sizes; small, medium and big; an amusing "pecking order" whose interaction can be observed on the daily news broadcasts. It also comes in different styles; softly spoken but treacherous, generous with economic assistance but containing hidden strings to hang you, belligerent with a viscous warmongering streak and lastly, schizophrenic; oscillating between all the previous styles. There are also the would-be-hegemons if given half a chance.

More recently, the hegemony arena has, though knock-out matches, been narrowed down to one grand hegemon and a couple of runners-up, and the heat is now rising as the final tournament approaches – Let us hope it will not be too bloody and Armageddon-ish.

Despite that, many nations continue to dream of becoming hegemons. But at the same time, they continue to concentrate on their 'white dots' and disregard the likelihood that they are already in the crosshairs of a bigger hegemon.

They seem oblivious to the hegemonic ploys that undermine their political and economic structures through unending sanctions, onerous trade or military treaties, contemptuous disregard for local and international laws, negative and false news reporting, regime change tactics, false flag incidences, scaremongering, and outright threats that are occasionally translated into destructive military action. Like the proverbial deer, they are frozen in the headlights of the oncoming speeding car and wait until it is too late to save themselves.

What happened in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, Lebanon, Somalia, Grenada, Venezuela, Argentine, Brazil, Cuba, Greece, Iran, North Korea and many other places are only the tip of the iceberg. What is likely to happen elsewhere is still being baked in the oven and will come out once done and ready. What is surprising is that, not only were the signs written on all the walls but, again, the victims failed to comprehend the messages and continued to stare at their 'white dots'!

Southeast Asia, South China Sea, Ex-Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South & Central America and Africa are all candidates for destabilization and possible splintering into smaller pieces – especially those that exhibit economic weakness or cracks in their demographic, ethnic, religious makeup and are rife with internal disharmony.

Even the European EU is now beginning to feel the brunt of the hegemon pressure of tariff and sanctions threats. Japan, Mexico, India and Canada too, have just got a taste of an ear pinching to remind them to dance to the grand hegemon's tune. Who is left? Not even Timbuktu!

What about the runner-up hegemons? What about the smaller hegemons? Well, all hegemons have the same strain of nasty genes. However, they are dormant and only begin to grow as their host's power increases. This, most likely, is a genetic relic from the early human hunters-gatherers' need for viciousness to survive. Maybe natural selection and/or wisdom will eventually weed out those nasty genes, but don't bet your farm or country on it.

IS ALL LOST?

Not necessarily, because all hegemons (big and small) also suffer from the same weaknesses and dis-harmonies that beset their victims, although they cunningly keep them secret. Powerful mass media and propaganda are used extensively to camouflage all the ills that would otherwise stumble their seemingly confident and steady footsteps. This means that they are as also vulnerable to the same ploys that they have repeatedly used on others.

Also, history confirms that all empires eventually collapse and disappear, regardless of how long they last. Some lasted over a thousand years, which may sound too long, but in the modern world of technology, digital communications, social media and financialized economies, the average lifespan of hegemons has been drastically cut short.

Empires and hegemons generally start with a strategic vision of expansion and moderate usurpation of other nations' resources; then, gluttony takes over at a rapidly increased pace.

But as the world and its resources are limited, they sooner or later bump into and clash with other hegemons; and are forced to change their tactics. As matters heat up, their tactics not only become shorter and shorter-term, but become ad hoc not fully thought through and, even haphazard – until they begin to shoot themselves in the foot.

This usually is an early sign of their demise (compare this to the Roman/Byzantine, Safavid Iran and Ottoman empires and their confusion with multi-front wars – in addition to their poor governance systems and economic mismanagement).

WHAT TO DO

In all events, we cannot wait out the hegemons to die out as the dinosaurs did; it would take far too long.

More realistically, we can address the modern hegemonic world threat via a two-pronged approach. The first is individual effort and the second is collective action.

Individual effort means to treat the sources of weakness and internal disharmony that make individual countries susceptible to hegemonic ploys. This requires the recreation of the governance systems to tackle all the maladies that drag nations down, including poor economic policies, corruption, inequality, ineffective representative systems, etc.

In short, seal the cracks that invite enemies to destabilize a country. It is not easy but is certainly better than being sucked dry off your freedom, resources and future.

As for collective action, this means getting together with other small and medium nations to form groups/alliances that can stand up to hegemons and resist, at least, their economic sanctions and threats. The Non-Aligned Movement was, and still is a good idea, but needs more teeth. Alternatively, new and more practical types of groupings could be envisaged and created – always conditional that no one nation, big or small, is allowed to become the group's hegemon.

Dominoes may be flimsy and unstable, but if laid in parallel rows and columns and closely bonded (zero-spaced), they become much more difficult to topple. So, don't be a lone domino dumbly staring at your 'white dots'!


Cloud9.5 , 50 minutes ago link

I don't see the cracks being filled. I certainly don't see them being filled by government. On the local level, our county has grown form a modest system that typically ran out of money before the year was out to a behemoth. Now the support staff outnumbers the teachers in our schools. The sheriff's office is massive. The child services center is huge. The salaries get better and better. The pensions get better. And, the taxes go up. The county is feeding off the retirees that have flooded in from the North. The fun starts when the Northern pension plans fail and the boomer die off kills the golden calf.

The the push will be to raise taxes to sustain a bloated bureacracy.

45North1 , 1 hour ago link

As Hegemonies expand, the costs to maintain the expansion eventually outweigh the financial rewards (look how much has been blown on Afghanistan). This is funded by neglecting the infrastructure and systems that made the Hegemonic entity powerful in the first place.

Hegemonies, as they reach peak expansion find that the costs of further expansion, let alone retaining their current Vassal entities exceeds their return on investment inflicting deficits. They rot from within as infrastructure decays and its citizens see no benefit. When a Hegemony needs to use as much tyranny to ensure that its vassal states and its own citizens are compliant...... its days are numbered.

Brazen Heist II , 3 hours ago link

What we need is an anti-imperialist movement.

Scipio Africanuz , 5 hours ago link

Until mankind relearns what made civilization possible (cooperation), then there's no hope. That's why Russia is advancing the Rule of Law (harmonious cooperation), and China, advancing OBOR (Economic liberation), in order to avoid the usual causes of conflict, economic deprivation.

They've both been there (empires), done it (hegemony), and got bruised badly too..

It'd be very difficult to practice hegemony now, in a densely interconnected world, but that doesn't mean nations won't possess some influence over others, influence being the key word, like a man's girlfriend possesses influence over him, or vice versa, but raw hegemony? Not likely..

Anyhow, what really ails humanity, is alienation from Divinity. Rich, famous, and powerful people have been known to terminally end their mortality despite having it all..

Our mission, is to restore that connection, so we can finally wake up, and ascend to explore, and multiply amongst the stars. But first things first, charity begins right here, on planet home, cheers...

francis scott falseflag , 5 hours ago link

t'd be very difficult to practice hegemony now

Yes indeed.

The coming 'paradigm shift', means the West and all its debt will metamorphize into Oceania, continue to fake its hegemony, and fool its population into thinking that they still are, what they once were.

Bollockinell , 6 hours ago link

Excellent article! Beautifully crafted and simple to understand. A refreshing view that, to my knowledge, has not been used before. Most importantly, an easy method for awakening the zombie classes.

Now we have the tool, let's begin using it. Black dots, dead ahead!

francis scott falseflag , 5 hours ago link

Trouble is that the alpha hegemon and the larger of the betas, all have a trove of nuclear weapons. I don't think the Sumerians and Assyrians had anything quite like that.

When today's promoters of hope and denial finally meet up with the invincible force of reality, sad very sad

[Jun 20, 2019] Bret Stephens, Warmonger

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Credit: MSNBC/YouTube Screenshot

The teaser for a recent Bret Stephens column in The New York Times accurately summarizes its contents: "If Iran won't change its behavior we should sink its navy."

We've done it before and, by golly, we can do it again. Stephens offers his readers this sanitized version of history to make his case: "On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter."

Stripped bare of context, that paragraph is factually correct. But stripping it of context, as Stephens does, transforms it into a form of untruth, not a blatant lie perhaps, but an exercise in sleight of hand. Indeed, the very purpose of his column is not to enlighten, but to deceive and manipulate.

Americans are susceptible to this sort of argument. We like to think that the Pearl Harbor attack came out of the blue, ignoring the years of escalating antagonism between the United States and Japan that preceded it. Our version of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis portrays it as an unprovoked act of aggression, conveniently forgetting U.S. efforts over the previous two years to overthrow or assassinate Fidel Castro. And we prefer to divorce decades of muddled U.S. policies in the Middle East from the heinous crime of 9/11, pretending that the former played no role in inspiring the latter.

Yet bad history leads to bad policy. Stephens implicitly suggests that the incident involving the Samuel B. Roberts was itself an unprovoked attack. In fact, the story is a bit more complicated and those complications deserve reflection today.

Here is just some of the context that Stephens chooses to leave out.

Item: In 1988, Iran was in the eighth year of a war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq; Saddam had initiated that conflict by invading Iran, an unprovoked and illegal act of aggression.

Item: Beginning in December 1983, the United States had thrown its support behind the Iraqi dictator, providing him with battlefield intelligence and various types of material support; starting in 1985, in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, the Reagan administration also began secretly providing arms to Iran.

Donald Trump Would Own a War With Iran Why Iran Could Launch a Limited Attack

Item: In 1984, Iraq had begun attacking ships involved in exporting Iranian oil; Iran responded in kind, attacking tankers belonging to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, countries that were bankrolling Saddam's war effort.

Item: On May 17, 1987, with the double-dealing of Iran-Contra having become public, an Iraqi fighter-bomber attacked the USS Stark, nearly sinking it and killing 37 American sailors; Secretary of State George Shultz blamed Iran for the incident, attributing it to a "basic Iranian threat to the free flow of oil and to the principle of freedom of navigation"; in fact, both Iran and Iraq were engaged in impeding the free flow of oil.

Item: That July, the U.S. Navy began escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf; the Pentagon also began preparing for offensive operations, concentrating additional combat assets in the region.

Item: On September 21, 1987, U.S. forces initiated a campaign of escalating attacks directed at Iranian mine-laying vessels and oil platforms; the United States had now effectively become a full-fledged ally of Saddam Hussein.

Item: Months later, the Samuel Roberts inadvertently wandered into a field of floating mines; the resulting U.S. fatalities were 37 fewer than those killed on the USS Stark but the incident provided the needed pretext for the United States to respond four days later on April 18, 1988 with Operation Praying Mantis, which decimated Iran's minuscule navy.

Item, a notable footnote that goes unmentioned in Stephens' column: Not long thereafter, on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes, a cruiser intruding into Iranian territorial waters, shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 civilians aboard; senior U.S. officials, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then lied about the circumstances leading to this incident; a U.S. Navy investigation charged Iran with "principal responsibility" for what it termed a "tragedy"; no apologies were forthcoming; Vice President George H.W. Bush said it best: "I will never apologize for the United States -- I don't care what the facts are."

Within weeks, the Iran-Iraq War ended in a UN-brokered ceasefire. The United States had enabled Saddam to survive. Two years later, America's erstwhile ally invaded and annexed Kuwait.

So, yes, in Operation Preying Mantis, U.S. forces did defeat the Iranian navy. Yet prevailing in this insignificant skirmish accomplished little apart from paving the way for further aggression by Saddam Hussein.

"Nobody wants a war with Iran," writes Stephens. Actually some people do want war, almost surely including President Trump's secretary of state and national security adviser. So, too, does Stephens himself. The deceptive history that he chooses to propagate can have no purpose except to promote armed conflict and to impede any understanding into America's role in planting the seeds of forever war.

Andrew Bacevich is 's writer-at-large.

stevek92 days ago • edited

Andrew is actually giving this story much more analysis than it deserves. Bret Stephens is a Zionist. What he writes is pure propaganda and has been for a long time. It's not worth 'analyzing', it's just more lies to convince Americans to destroy Israel's enemies.
chacmool2 days ago
For Bret Stephens, it is all about Israel. He doesn't mind the cost to the US of a war with Iran, if it benefits Israel.

[Jun 19, 2019] Trump has drained the swamp right into his administration

Notable quotes:
"... I suppose we deserve this but it doesn't do well for my blood pressure. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ken , Jun 19, 2019 3:57:37 PM | 23

..Trump HAS drained the swamp,,, right into his administration.

Look at what we in the US have to look forward to,,, tyrants on the left,,, tyrants on the right. I suppose we deserve this but it doesn't do well for my blood pressure.

[Jun 19, 2019] Washington's Dr. Strangeloves by Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... What is the significance of this story, apart from what it tells us about the graver dangers of the new US-Russian Cold War, which now includes, we are informed, a uniquely fraught "digital Cold War"? Not so long ago, mainstream liberal Democrats, and the Times itself, would have been outraged by revelations that defense and intelligence officials were making such existential policy behind the back of a president. No longer, it seems. There have been no liberal, Democratic, or for the most part any other, mainstream protests, but instead a lawyerly apologia justifying the intelligence-defense operation without the president's knowledge. ..."
"... As I have often emphasized, the long historical struggle for American-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) détente, or broad cooperation, has featured many acts of attempted sabotage on both sides, though most often by US intelligence and defense agencies. ..."
"... Now the sabotaging of détente appears be happening again. As the Times article makes clear, Washington's war party, or perhaps zealous Cold War party, referred to euphemistically by Sanger and Perlroth as "advocates of the more aggressive strategy," is on the move. ..."
"... Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world. No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.thenation.com

Occasionally, a revelatory, and profoundly alarming, article passes almost unnoticed, even when published on the front page of The New York Times . Such was the case with reporting by David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth , bearing the Strangelovian title "U.S. Buries Digital Land Mines to Menace Russia's Power Grid," which appeared in the print edition on June 16. The article contained two revelations.

First, according to Sanger and Perlroth, with my ellipses duly noted, "The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid. Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue " The operation "carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow." Though under way at least since 2012, "now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before." At this point, the Times reporters add an Orwellian touch. The head of the U.S. Cyber Command characterizes the assault on Russia's grid, which affect