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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
Blob attacks Trump: Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukraingate Adam Schiff Witch Hunt Nancy Pelosi impeachment gambit Was Eric Ciaramella a part of Obama/Brennan "Trump Task force" ? Alexander Vindman role in Ukrainegate House Democrats attempt to backstab Barr and derail his investigation into the origin of Russiagate
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

[Dec 14, 2019] Donald Trump and Israel When Does a 'Passionate Attachment' Threaten National Security

Dec 12, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
The White House In his Farewell Address , of 1796 America's first president George Washington famously warned his fellow citizens that " a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification."

In today's United States, there is no more "passionate attachment" than that which exists with Israel. The tie that binds is assiduously cultivated by the media and the politically ambitious, so much so that the Jewish state is frequently referred to hyperbolically as America's best friend and closest ally. But Israel, with its own regional interests driving its policies, is in reality neither a friend nor an ally.

Politicians mired in the past like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer can see no light between Israel and the United States. Pelosi has declared astonishingly that "I have said to people when they ask me if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid and I don't even call it aid our cooperation with Israel. That's fundamental to who we are." Biden has repeatedly denounced any reduction in the ridiculously high level of military assistance given to Israel to convince it to modify its behavior as "bizarre," while Schumer has identified himself as the Jewish state's "shomer" or guardian in the US Senate.

Many members of the Democratic Party base are no longer enchanted by Israel and one would like to know what politicians like Biden and Pelosi really think about the Jewish state, but it is unlikely that that will ever be revealed. It is nevertheless clear that the adhesion to Israel by Democrats has been far overshadowed by the constant pandering to the Jewish state that has been the hallmark of the current administration of Donald J. Trump. To be sure, the musical chairs line-up of neo-conservatives that has included John Bolton, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo has been unstinting in its praise of the malignant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is the president himself who has raised the level of adoration to heights previously not observed coming out of the White House.

Donald Trump has overturned long standing foreign policy positions to favor Israel even more than has been the case hitherto. He withdrew from the nuclear pact with Iran, has moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has recognized Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, has declared the illegal settlements on the West Bank "not illegal," has cut off funding to the Palestinians and the United Nations and is sending signals that he will approve further moves by the Jewish state to annex much of the remaining Palestinian territory. Along the way, his Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has been making excuses for Israeli shooting of unarmed demonstrators and the everyday brutality inflicted on the hapless Palestinians.

Worse might even be coming, as Secretary of State Pompeo and Netanyahu have recently been discussing a formal defense pact which would obligate the United States to intervene on the side of Israel if it were to go to war, even if the war were initiated by the Jewish state. As Israel is now reportedly considering the value of a possible pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran, the stakes could not be higher.

But as bad as all that is, nothing outdoes the speech delivered by Trump in Florida last Saturday in front of the Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit. IAC is a basically right-wing group funded largely by Las Vegas casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is also a close adviser to the president on the Middle East. Its annual gathering included 4,000 mostly well-heeled Israelis and American Jews who cheered and periodically chanted "four more years!" as the president was speaking.

Trump spoke for 45 minutes, most of which consisted of preening over how much he has done for Israel. But he also discussed Jews in America, saying that "We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have Jewish people that are great people -- they don't love Israel enough." He also said that his audience should be supporting him and not voting for Elizabeth Warren, whom he called "Pocahontas," saying "You're not going to vote for the wealth tax Let's take 100 percent of your wealth away."

There was considerable pushback almost immediately coming from Jewish groups and prominent individuals who saw Trump's words as classic borderline anti-Semitic tropes. Trump, who often speaks to Jewish audiences in the second person, saying "you" rather than "we," clearly sees the Jewish attachment to Israel as normal and acceptable, but there is an implicit second message about potential disloyalty to the United States. In August he said that American Jews who vote for Democrats show "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

And Trump also is not reluctant to link Jews with money, a generally taboo subject that he has raised before, most particularly when he was campaigning and he told an audience of Jewish Republicans that "you're not going to support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine." And, of course, the irony is that everyone who has not been asleep knows very well that the Israel Lobby in the US and Europe is indeed all about money. Money buys access to power.

For someone who has spent much of his life around Jews in the New York business world, Donald Trump is remarkably ignorant of their political culture. To be sure there is a group of oligarch billionaires that includes Adelson, Paul Singer, Ron Lauder and Bernard Marcus who are politically conservative and fund Trump as well as other Republicans. They do so not because Trump is good for the United States but because he is a gift to Israel and can easily be bought or persuaded.

But most Jews, while supporting the existence of Israel, do not exactly see things quite that way and many Jews of a liberal persuasion want to see a secure Israel that will deliver justice for the Palestinians. Plus, Trump's authoritarianism and denigratory, abrasive style offend many Jews, so the president will not be getting many Jewish votes no matter what he does. His approval rating is 29% among Jewish voters nationwide , according to a Gallup poll while only 17% of Jews voted Republican in 2017. And one would have thought even the narcissistic president might have noticed the large number of Jewish witnesses, "experts" and congressmen who seem to be "out to get him" in the impeachment hearings.

Beyond that, Trump's constant exaltation of the Israelis and of Jews in general as something like a gift to humanity should offend all other Americans. The president is elected to represent the interests of all Americans, not just a wealthy and powerful ethno-religious minority that is able and willing to give him a great deal of money to run his political campaigns. It is unthinkable that a national politician should mount his bully pulpit to praise interminably any specific ethnic group, and so it should be. It is offensive and completely unacceptable, particularly as in this case it is a favor bought that brings with it grave damage to genuine US interests and could easily lead to a major war in which Americans will die.

Nevertheless, the painful issue of who is loyal to what is genuine, particularly when a dedicated and powerful group affiliated with a foreign country is able to game the system to get what it wants. We are all supposed to be Americans first. In her comment on the Trump speech, conservative pundit Ann Coulter maintained that the president didn't go far enough in impugning the loyalty of some Jews to Israel, writing, "Could we start slowly by getting them to like America?" Philip Giraldi December 12, 2019 | Featured Story Donald Trump and Israel: When Does a 'Passionate Attachment' Threaten National Security? In his Farewell Address , of 1796 America's first president George Washington famously warned his fellow citizens that " a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification."

In today's United States, there is no more "passionate attachment" than that which exists with Israel. The tie that binds is assiduously cultivated by the media and the politically ambitious, so much so that the Jewish state is frequently referred to hyperbolically as America's best friend and closest ally. But Israel, with its own regional interests driving its policies, is in reality neither a friend nor an ally.

Politicians mired in the past like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer can see no light between Israel and the United States. Pelosi has declared astonishingly that "I have said to people when they ask me if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid and I don't even call it aid our cooperation with Israel. That's fundamental to who we are." Biden has repeatedly denounced any reduction in the ridiculously high level of military assistance given to Israel to convince it to modify its behavior as "bizarre," while Schumer has identified himself as the Jewish state's "shomer" or guardian in the US Senate.

Many members of the Democratic Party base are no longer enchanted by Israel and one would like to know what politicians like Biden and Pelosi really think about the Jewish state, but it is unlikely that that will ever be revealed. It is nevertheless clear that the adhesion to Israel by Democrats has been far overshadowed by the constant pandering to the Jewish state that has been the hallmark of the current administration of Donald J. Trump. To be sure, the musical chairs line-up of neo-conservatives that has included John Bolton, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo has been unstinting in its praise of the malignant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is the president himself who has raised the level of adoration to heights previously not observed coming out of the White House.

Donald Trump has overturned long standing foreign policy positions to favor Israel even more than has been the case hitherto. He withdrew from the nuclear pact with Iran, has moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has recognized Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, has declared the illegal settlements on the West Bank "not illegal," has cut off funding to the Palestinians and the United Nations and is sending signals that he will approve further moves by the Jewish state to annex much of the remaining Palestinian territory. Along the way, his Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has been making excuses for Israeli shooting of unarmed demonstrators and the everyday brutality inflicted on the hapless Palestinians.

Worse might even be coming, as Secretary of State Pompeo and Netanyahu have recently been discussing a formal defense pact which would obligate the United States to intervene on the side of Israel if it were to go to war, even if the war were initiated by the Jewish state. As Israel is now reportedly considering the value of a possible pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran, the stakes could not be higher.

But as bad as all that is, nothing outdoes the speech delivered by Trump in Florida last Saturday in front of the Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit. IAC is a basically right-wing group funded largely by Las Vegas casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is also a close adviser to the president on the Middle East. Its annual gathering included 4,000 mostly well-heeled Israelis and American Jews who cheered and periodically chanted "four more years!" as the president was speaking.

Trump spoke for 45 minutes, most of which consisted of preening over how much he has done for Israel. But he also discussed Jews in America, saying that "We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have Jewish people that are great people -- they don't love Israel enough." He also said that his audience should be supporting him and not voting for Elizabeth Warren, whom he called "Pocahontas," saying "You're not going to vote for the wealth tax Let's take 100 percent of your wealth away."

There was considerable pushback almost immediately coming from Jewish groups and prominent individuals who saw Trump's words as classic borderline anti-Semitic tropes. Trump, who often speaks to Jewish audiences in the second person, saying "you" rather than "we," clearly sees the Jewish attachment to Israel as normal and acceptable, but there is an implicit second message about potential disloyalty to the United States. In August he said that American Jews who vote for Democrats show "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

And Trump also is not reluctant to link Jews with money, a generally taboo subject that he has raised before, most particularly when he was campaigning and he told an audience of Jewish Republicans that "you're not going to support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine." And, of course, the irony is that everyone who has not been asleep knows very well that the Israel Lobby in the US and Europe is indeed all about money. Money buys access to power.

For someone who has spent much of his life around Jews in the New York business world, Donald Trump is remarkably ignorant of their political culture. To be sure there is a group of oligarch billionaires that includes Adelson, Paul Singer, Ron Lauder and Bernard Marcus who are politically conservative and fund Trump as well as other Republicans. They do so not because Trump is good for the United States but because he is a gift to Israel and can easily be bought or persuaded.

But most Jews, while supporting the existence of Israel, do not exactly see things quite that way and many Jews of a liberal persuasion want to see a secure Israel that will deliver justice for the Palestinians. Plus, Trump's authoritarianism and denigratory, abrasive style offend many Jews, so the president will not be getting many Jewish votes no matter what he does. His approval rating is 29% among Jewish voters nationwide , according to a Gallup poll while only 17% of Jews voted Republican in 2017. And one would have thought even the narcissistic president might have noticed the large number of Jewish witnesses, "experts" and congressmen who seem to be "out to get him" in the impeachment hearings.

Beyond that, Trump's constant exaltation of the Israelis and of Jews in general as something like a gift to humanity should offend all other Americans. The president is elected to represent the interests of all Americans, not just a wealthy and powerful ethno-religious minority that is able and willing to give him a great deal of money to run his political campaigns. It is unthinkable that a national politician should mount his bully pulpit to praise interminably any specific ethnic group, and so it should be. It is offensive and completely unacceptable, particularly as in this case it is a favor bought that brings with it grave damage to genuine US interests and could easily lead to a major war in which Americans will die.

Nevertheless, the painful issue of who is loyal to what is genuine, particularly when a dedicated and powerful group affiliated with a foreign country is able to game the system to get what it wants. We are all supposed to be Americans first. In her comment on the Trump speech, conservative pundit Ann Coulter maintained that the president didn't go far enough in impugning the loyalty of some Jews to Israel, writing, "Could we start slowly by getting them to like America?"

© 2010 - 2019 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org . The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. In his Farewell Address , of 1796 America's first president George Washington famously warned his fellow citizens that " a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification."

In today's United States, there is no more "passionate attachment" than that which exists with Israel. The tie that binds is assiduously cultivated by the media and the politically ambitious, so much so that the Jewish state is frequently referred to hyperbolically as America's best friend and closest ally. But Israel, with its own regional interests driving its policies, is in reality neither a friend nor an ally.

Politicians mired in the past like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer can see no light between Israel and the United States. Pelosi has declared astonishingly that "I have said to people when they ask me if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid and I don't even call it aid our cooperation with Israel. That's fundamental to who we are." Biden has repeatedly denounced any reduction in the ridiculously high level of military assistance given to Israel to convince it to modify its behavior as "bizarre," while Schumer has identified himself as the Jewish state's "shomer" or guardian in the US Senate.

Many members of the Democratic Party base are no longer enchanted by Israel and one would like to know what politicians like Biden and Pelosi really think about the Jewish state, but it is unlikely that that will ever be revealed. It is nevertheless clear that the adhesion to Israel by Democrats has been far overshadowed by the constant pandering to the Jewish state that has been the hallmark of the current administration of Donald J. Trump. To be sure, the musical chairs line-up of neo-conservatives that has included John Bolton, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo has been unstinting in its praise of the malignant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is the president himself who has raised the level of adoration to heights previously not observed coming out of the White House.

Donald Trump has overturned long standing foreign policy positions to favor Israel even more than has been the case hitherto. He withdrew from the nuclear pact with Iran, has moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has recognized Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, has declared the illegal settlements on the West Bank "not illegal," has cut off funding to the Palestinians and the United Nations and is sending signals that he will approve further moves by the Jewish state to annex much of the remaining Palestinian territory. Along the way, his Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has been making excuses for Israeli shooting of unarmed demonstrators and the everyday brutality inflicted on the hapless Palestinians.

Worse might even be coming, as Secretary of State Pompeo and Netanyahu have recently been discussing a formal defense pact which would obligate the United States to intervene on the side of Israel if it were to go to war, even if the war were initiated by the Jewish state. As Israel is now reportedly considering the value of a possible pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran, the stakes could not be higher.

But as bad as all that is, nothing outdoes the speech delivered by Trump in Florida last Saturday in front of the Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit. IAC is a basically right-wing group funded largely by Las Vegas casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is also a close adviser to the president on the Middle East. Its annual gathering included 4,000 mostly well-heeled Israelis and American Jews who cheered and periodically chanted "four more years!" as the president was speaking.

Trump spoke for 45 minutes, most of which consisted of preening over how much he has done for Israel. But he also discussed Jews in America, saying that "We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have Jewish people that are great people -- they don't love Israel enough." He also said that his audience should be supporting him and not voting for Elizabeth Warren, whom he called "Pocahontas," saying "You're not going to vote for the wealth tax Let's take 100 percent of your wealth away."

There was considerable pushback almost immediately coming from Jewish groups and prominent individuals who saw Trump's words as classic borderline anti-Semitic tropes. Trump, who often speaks to Jewish audiences in the second person, saying "you" rather than "we," clearly sees the Jewish attachment to Israel as normal and acceptable, but there is an implicit second message about potential disloyalty to the United States. In August he said that American Jews who vote for Democrats show "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

And Trump also is not reluctant to link Jews with money, a generally taboo subject that he has raised before, most particularly when he was campaigning and he told an audience of Jewish Republicans that "you're not going to support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine." And, of course, the irony is that everyone who has not been asleep knows very well that the Israel Lobby in the US and Europe is indeed all about money. Money buys access to power.

For someone who has spent much of his life around Jews in the New York business world, Donald Trump is remarkably ignorant of their political culture. To be sure there is a group of oligarch billionaires that includes Adelson, Paul Singer, Ron Lauder and Bernard Marcus who are politically conservative and fund Trump as well as other Republicans. They do so not because Trump is good for the United States but because he is a gift to Israel and can easily be bought or persuaded.

But most Jews, while supporting the existence of Israel, do not exactly see things quite that way and many Jews of a liberal persuasion want to see a secure Israel that will deliver justice for the Palestinians. Plus, Trump's authoritarianism and denigratory, abrasive style offend many Jews, so the president will not be getting many Jewish votes no matter what he does. His approval rating is 29% among Jewish voters nationwide , according to a Gallup poll while only 17% of Jews voted Republican in 2017. And one would have thought even the narcissistic president might have noticed the large number of Jewish witnesses, "experts" and congressmen who seem to be "out to get him" in the impeachment hearings.

Beyond that, Trump's constant exaltation of the Israelis and of Jews in general as something like a gift to humanity should offend all other Americans. The president is elected to represent the interests of all Americans, not just a wealthy and powerful ethno-religious minority that is able and willing to give him a great deal of money to run his political campaigns. It is unthinkable that a national politician should mount his bully pulpit to praise interminably any specific ethnic group, and so it should be. It is offensive and completely unacceptable, particularly as in this case it is a favor bought that brings with it grave damage to genuine US interests and could easily lead to a major war in which Americans will die.

Nevertheless, the painful issue of who is loyal to what is genuine, particularly when a dedicated and powerful group affiliated with a foreign country is able to game the system to get what it wants. We are all supposed to be Americans first. In her comment on the Trump speech, conservative pundit Ann Coulter maintained that the president didn't go far enough in impugning the loyalty of some Jews to Israel, writing, "Could we start slowly by getting them to like America?"

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

[Dec 14, 2019] Full Interview: Barr Criticizes Inspector General Report On The Russia Investigation

Highly recommended!
Clapper and Brennan will be shaking in their boots after watching Barr's interview: done in "bad faith" = SEDITION !!!! Deep State operatives...ie, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Stork, Lisa, McCabe, should be held accountable. Obama should probably be impeached.
The hard fact is, that the top of the FBI knew, in advance, that the "dossier" was just bs invented by Russian liars, for money, to be used as political lies for kilary's campaign. It Wasn't evidence and Comey knew far in advance of crossfire hurricane. I can't see less than 20 years in comey's future. That same includes barak, brennan and clapper, who were all informed, willing accomplices in this crime.
10:30 Whoever in FBI that intentionally misled the court using the Steele dossier knowing that the dossier was "total rubbish" as Barr states, needs to be inditing immediately. Why we are continuing to investigate instead of inditimg while continuing to investigate. Until these people are held accountable I don't think our country will begin to heal and media and others apologize to the country for the damage they have done.
7:49 - "Comey refused to sign back up for his security clearance, and therefore couldn't be questioned about classified matters." Well now, isn't that interesting. Haven't heard that one before.
Dec 14, 2019 | www.youtube.com

In an exclusive interview, Attorney General William Barr spoke to NBC News' Pete Williams about the findings on the Justice Department Inspector General's report on the Russia investigation and his criticisms of the FBI.


grabir01 , 3 days ago

It appears that none of AG Barr's answers were what Pete Williams wanted to hear.

Gary Ellis , 2 days ago

I sincerely hope that the Durham investigation brings people to justice for what they have done to our country.

greg j , 2 days ago

The man just admitted "this may be the biggest conspiracy in U.S Political History." Ouch!

Jeremy Elice , 3 days ago

Shame we didn't get to see Pete William's face during Barr's answer accusing "an irresponsible press of fanning the flames."

JOHN DRUMHELLER , 2 days ago

Here's the adult in the room. Look out children.

Hart , 1 day ago

This is like if Watergate was on steroids and then some. Everyone involved should be prosecuted including the person who bought the dossier

Russell McAfee , 1 day ago (edited)

The FBI never got the actual DNC server. Crowdstrike has it. The FBI got a 'forensic copy'

Richard McLeod , 1 day ago

The FBI has now been proven to be corrupt at its' highest levels.

King Eris , 1 day ago

I could listen to AG Barr talk for hours. He's so calm and professional.

Noble Victory , 1 day ago

Barr is so intelligent and just. He's smoothe like the way he plays the Bagpipes. Pretty amazing! 🇺🇸👍

Nolan Gleason , 3 days ago

Death to the swamp

ctafrance , 1 day ago

The press is hopelessly corrupt. If we didn't know it already, this interview proves it.

Roman King , 1 day ago (edited)

I'm So glade we have a competent attorney General pushing back on the massive disinformation narrative that comes from Giant News outlets of which are used to being unchallenged, unchecked by today's "journalistic standards"

Clarion Call , 2 days ago

I so respect and admire this man's brain and logical thinking. His vocabulary is great as well.

wkcw1 , 2 days ago

NBC realizing they need to take a bath on this whole thing. Probably a bit too late now.

barbandrob1 , 1 day ago

Barr just basically clarified and justified Fox news reporting over the last 2 years.. Thanks NBC

Faris Hamarneh , 3 days ago

I love Barr's nonchalant style. But this is real big and heads are going to roll

Craig Bigelow , 2 days ago

Obama spied on Trump. Obama should have known about the FISA warrant!

Luis Santiago , 1 day ago

so this guy really asked Bahr"why not open an investigation even with little evidence?" because is a violation of civil liberties to invade the privacy of law abiding citizens. You need compelling evidence for something so huge

macfan128 , 1 day ago

17:44 "Why should the Attorney General care that the FBI was spying on a presidential candidate?" LOLOLOLOL Our media is a jooooooooke.

David , 3 days ago

NBC did a straight up interview??? This is shocking. Who told them that they could start doing journalism again?

Bill the Cat , 2 days ago

Clapper and Brennan will be shaking in their boots after watching Barr's interview.

Alan Sullivan , 1 day ago

Horowitz should be instructed to edit or update his Report to discuss The Question of Bias and Evidence of Bias. He has clearly misguided Americans with his choice of words and has omitted important facts underpinning bias.

MegaTrucker65 , 1 day ago

I haven't looked into Ukraine YET.

Gamer John3:18 , 1 day ago

AG Barr is an outstanding role model, a man of integrity and wisdom, calm in a raging political storm. I have full confidence he will make those who fabricated evidence and hid exculpatory evidence finally face justice. AG Barr for President 2024!

Yo Mama , 2 days ago

Barr is a straight shooter and I love it. It sounds like we will get to the real truth eventually through Durhams investigation I just hope it doesnt take another year to get to the prosecutions.


Direbear Coat , 1 day ago

So, I watched the interview... The video is called, "Full Interview: Barr Criticizes Inspector General Report On The Russia Investigation." Not once did I hear him criticize the I.G.'s report. In fact, A.G. Barr clarified that the I.G.'s report was limited in scope because of the limitations put on the I.G. He said that the report was appropriate.

Wolverines Fight , 1 day ago

It's scary to see how powerful the corruption of the Democratic Party has grown. It represents a serious threat to all our personal freedom. The Democratic Party has to be stopped.

Benny .Burmeister Jørgensen , 3 days ago

Ok after watching this interview its quite clear that Barr and Durham is going after these criminals and people are going to jail. Maybe there is hope for US yet becuase this dane consider US atm a banana republic. Spying on political candidates? Forging documents? You FBI behaving like Stalins secret police. Lets see what happen.

Mike Dorsey , 1 day ago

God Bless Bill Barr. I'm glad there's still some adults in government that will speak their mind intelligently, rationally and unabashedly.

protochris , 1 day ago

This guy is brilliant; he's clearly exposing the FBI and the barking dogs on the alphabet networks.

Dan Kuo , 1 day ago

Amazing for the AG to go in deep into enemy territory at the heart of the opposition media to lay out a case for the criminal activities that undermined our country prior to and after the 2016 election. The deep state is trembling at the prospect of being held accountable after all the facts are laid out to the american people that these activities cannot be brushed aside or swept under the carpet if we are to continue as a country.

Jbyrd Texas , 2 days ago

The corrupt media is trying to act like they have not been involved in this treasonous scam since the beginning working directly with the treasonous cabal. The media has been lying and pushing fake news for 3 years calling Trump a Russia agent and called him treasonous. I knew the whole time that they were lying there was evidence from day one that this was all lies and if I can see that from the public then they can definitely see that from the inside they are purposefully lying.

Stephan Coutts , 1 day ago

I dare anyone on here to research Barr's History back to his involvement in the assignation of JFK, the cover up, defending Nixon, Epstein, and many other illegal and immoral activities. After reviewing the evidence, I walked away believing that Barr is trying to cover up his tracks so he does do jail time. No need to reply. Either take my dare or not. God Bless America and ALL her people, Stephan

Worlds Best Metal Detectorist , 2 days ago

The public are sick of waiting . I find myself skipping through a half hour news show in 5 minutes flat looking for arrests ,whereas before I was rivited to every minute of the half hour show but it goes on and on and at the there is Nothiing .The Democrats are the masters , it's obvious . If they break the law they get off scott free . If you are republican wave bye bye , you will be in jail for years . America is not the free and fair country it is all cracked up to be . It is corrupted by the democrats who have peoiple in high places that thwart real justice.

Right Thinking , 3 days ago

Mifsud approached George! Who was Mifsud working for (western asset) and why did he approach George? He’s the one who offered George dirt on Hill. Then invited him to meet the fake “niece”, of Putin, in England! What about this information? Someone set George up to make this happen outside the US, because of EO 12333. It had to happen outside the US so they could go to the fisa court!

dethtrk Jones , 3 days ago

I dont trust Christopher Wrey. He keeps slow-walking all the FBI documents and declassifications. He also fights judicial watch and judges that rule in their favor and continue not giving over what is ordered! This last judge was ready to hold him in contempt for refusing to cooperate with court ordered documents.

Brad Brown , 2 days ago

Why did the FBI continue to investigate Trump after January when the case collapsed? To try and find a way to impeach Trump. Remember the Washington Post headlined article right after the inauguration "The effort to impeach President Donald John Trump is already underway." The FBI "insurance" policy was essential!

[Dec 14, 2019] Spotlight on defense authorization bill: Saudi Arabia wins big with assist from Kushner

Dec 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

barrisj , December 13, 2019 at 3:35 pm

From al-Monitor's ME lobbying update note:

Spotlight on defense authorization bill: Saudi Arabia wins big with assist from Kushner

The White House secured a major reprieve for Saudi Arabia this week by convincing Congress to drop several provisions from its annual defense bill before the House passed it on Wednesday. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week. Gone are sanctions on key Saudi officials for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and restrictions on US support for Riyadh's campaign in Yemen. The New York Times reports that President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner – who reportedly maintains a direct WhatsApp line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – played a key role in the negotiations.

The United Arab Emirates also came out ahead as the final bill removes language taking aim at the $8 billion in emergency arms sales to Gulf countries that Trump authorized in May citing the threat of Iran. The UAE had lobbied against these provisions and also opposed calls for a report detailing the "military activities" of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other international actors in Libya. . The final bill no longer singles out specific countries but still requires "a detailed description of the military activities of external actors" in the country.

https://linkst.al-monitor.com/view/5d1841f924c17c7feec17e30b8vfs.u9/46c21583

We always stick by our friends, through thick and thin and murder, and war crimes, and terrorism, and well, all of it. After all, what are friends for?

[Dec 14, 2019] I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it by Kenneth Stern

Notable quotes:
"... Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and special adviser, wrote in the New York Times that the definition "makes clear [that] Anti-Zionism is antisemitism". ..."
Dec 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and special adviser, wrote in the New York Times that the definition "makes clear [that] Anti-Zionism is antisemitism". I'm a Zionist. But on a college campus, where the purpose is to explore ideas, anti-Zionists have a right to free expression.

I suspect that if Kushner or I had been born into a Palestinian family displaced in 1948, we might have a different view of Zionism, and that need not be because we vilify Jews or think they conspire to harm humanity. Further, there's a debate inside the Jewish community whether being Jewish requires one to be a Zionist. I don't know if this question can be resolved, but it should frighten all Jews that the government is essentially defining the answer for us.

The real purpose of the executive order isn't to tip the scales in a few title VI cases, but rather the chilling effect. ZOA and other groups will hunt political speech with which they disagree, and threaten to bring legal cases. I'm worried administrators will now have a strong motivation to suppress, or at least condemn, political speech for fear of litigation. I'm worried that faculty, who can just as easily teach about Jewish life in 19th-century Poland or about modern Israel, will probably choose the former as safer. I'm worried that pro-Israel Jewish students and groups, who rightly complain when an occasional pro-Israel speaker is heckled, will get the reputation for using instruments of state to suppress their political opponents.

Antisemitism is a real issue, but too often people, both on the political right and political left, give it a pass if a person has the "right" view on Israel. Historically, antisemitism thrives best when leaders stoke the human capacity to define an "us" and a "them", and where the integrity of democratic institutions and norms (such as free speech) are under assault.

... ... ...

Kenneth Stern is the director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, and the author of the forthcoming The Conflict Over the Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate

[Dec 14, 2019] Why Do They Hate Us? by Jacob G. Hornberger

Dec 10, 2019 | www.fff.org

The recent shootings of three U.S. soldiers in Florida at the hands of a Saudi citizen raises a standard question in the U.S. government's perpetual "war on terrorism": "Why do they hate us?"

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, the official mantra began being issued: The terrorists just hate us for our "freedom and values." No other explanation for motive was to be considered. If anyone suggested an alternative motive -- such as "They are retaliating for U.S. governmental killings over there" -- U.S. officials and interventionists would immediately go on the attack, heaping a mountain of calumny on that person, accusing him of treason, hating America, loving the terrorists, and justifying their attacks.

It happened to me and other libertarians who dared to challenge the official motive behind the 9/11 attacks. Shortly after the attacks, I spoke at a freedom conference in Arizona consisting of both libertarians and conservatives. When I pointed out that the attacks were the predictable consequence of a foreign policy that kills people over there, another of the speakers was filled with anger and rage over such an "unpatriotic" suggestion. Then, a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, FFF published an article by me entitled, " Is This the Wrong Time to Question Foreign Policy? " in which I pointed out the role that U.S. interventionism had played in the attacks. FFF was hit with the most nasty and angry attacks I have ever seen.

Eighteen years later, the evidence is virtually conclusive that the reason that the United States has been suffering a constant, never-ending threat of terrorism is because U.S. military and CIA forces have been killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan since at least the end of the Cold War, and even before.

After all, if the terrorists hate us for our "freedom and values," why haven't they been attacking the Swiss? They have pretty much the same freedom and values that Americans have. And they are much closer geographically to Middle East terrorists than the United States is. Why haven't the terrorists been attacking them?

The answer is simple: the Swiss government, unlike the U.S. government, hasn't been killing, maiming, and injuring people and hasn't been bombing and destroying countries in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

A long history of U.S. interventionism

U.S. interventions in the Middle East began, of course, long before the 9/11 attacks. There was the 1953 CIA coup that destroyed Iran's experiment with democracy with a coup that replaced the democratically elected prime minister of the country with a tyrannical pro-U.S. dictator. Not surprisingly, that produced the violent Iranian revolution almost 25 years later. The Iranian revolutionaries didn't hate America for its "freedom and values." They hated America for the U.S. government's installation, training, and support of the tyrannical regime against which they revolted.

In the 1980s, there was the sending of U.S. troops into Lebanon as interventionist "peacekeepers." The terrorists ended up blowing up a Marine barracks, killing 241 U.S. soldiers. The terrorists didn't hate America for its "freedom and values." They hated America for the federal government's interventionism into Lebanon. As soon as all U.S. troops were withdrawn from Lebanon, which was the right thing to do, there were obviously no more deaths of U.S. soldiers in that country.

It was after the Pentagon and the CIA lost their official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia), that they proceeded headlong into the Middle East and began killing multitudes of people. There was the Persian Gulf War, waged without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war, where thousands of Iraqis were killed or injured. That was followed by a decade of brutal sanctions against Iraq, which contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

Thus, when Ramzi Yousef, one of the terrorists who tried to bring down the World Trade Center with a bomb in 1993, appeared before a federal judge for sentencing, he angrily told the judge that it was U.S. officials who were the butchers, for killing multitudes of innocent children in Iraq.

As those Iraqi children were dying, there were retaliatory terrorist strikes on the USS Cole and the U.S. embassies in East Africa. Once again, however, U.S. officials continued to steadfastly maintain that was all about hatred for America's "freedom and values" and had nothing to do with the deadly and destructive U.S. interventionism in the Middle East.

Then came Osama bin Laden's declaration of war against the United States, in which he expressly cited U.S. interventionism in the Middle East as his motivating factor. That was followed by the 9/11 attacks, along with other terrorist attacks both here and abroad. Through it all, U.S. officials and interventionists have blindly maintained that the terrorists hate us for our "freedom and values," not because the U.S. government kills, maims, injures, and destroys people over there.

The recent Florida killings

And now we have the latest killing spree, this one at the hands of a Saudi citizen in Florida. According to a story in yesterday's Washington Post about the killing of three U.S. soldiers, the killer, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani was described as "strange" and "angry." "He looked like he was angry at the world," said one person who knew him. Another said that he looked at people in an "angry, challenging" way.

The article says that "the FBI has not yet determined a motive for the mass shooting."

Well, of course it hasn't. That's undoubtedly because the FBI hasn't yet found any statements in which the killer states that he hates America for its "freedom and values."

But the Post article does point out something quite interesting. The article states: "The gunman, who was shot dead by a sheriff's deputy responding to the shooting, is thought to have written a 'will' that was posted to the account a few hours before the rampage. In it, he blasts U.S. policies in Muslim countries."

Well, isn't that interesting! Unfortunately, the Post didn't provide a verbatim transcript of the killer's "will" in which he "blasts U.S. policies in the Muslim countries." The Post does point out though that "the writer says he does not dislike Americans per se -- 'I don't hate you because of your freedoms,' he begins -- but that he hates U.S. policies that he views as anti-Muslim and 'evil.'"

I n an article at antiwar.com entitled, " Pensacola: Blowback Terrorism ," Scott Horton provides a verbatim transcript of the killer's "will," in which the killer states in part:

I'm not against you for just being American, I don't hate you for your freedom, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding, and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity. I am against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil. What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countrie, I see invasion of many countries by it's troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV.

Now, if one goes back to Ramzi Yousef's sentencing hearing in 1995 -- some 24 years ago -- one will see that Yousef angrily said much the same thing to the federal judge who was getting ready to sentence him to jail for his 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Americans have a choice:

One, continue the U.S. government's decades-long killing spree in the Middle East, in which case America will continue to experience never-ending terrorist retaliation, the perpetual "war on terrorism, and the ongoing destruction of our liberty and privacy at the hands of our government, which is purportedly protecting us from the terrorist threats that it produces with its foreign interventionism.

Or, two, stop U.S. forces from killing any more people, bring them all home and discharge them, which would help get America back on the right track, one toward liberty, peace, prosperity, morality, normality, and harmony with the world.

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch . View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context . Send him email .

[Dec 14, 2019] In a 1969 interview, Zahir Shah said that he is "not a capitalist. But I also don't want socialism. I don't want socialism that would bring about the kind of situation [that exists] in Czechoslovakia. I don't want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place

Dec 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

angie11 -> ID3119269 , 10 Dec 2019 16:05

"I wish that people would realize that to interfere, in any way shape or form in wars that occur in Islamic States is pissing into the wind.

We simply cannot and do not understand the religious/tribal and feudal component of these societies.

It is better that we just let them go at each other. Sooner or later one despot will end up being top dog - so be it."

Hmm. Do you know the history of colonialism in MENA? I did not think so.

My guess is that your 'knowledge' of Afghanistan and its history is based on your obvious xenophobia aka Islamophobia and lofty Western superiority complex. Don't feel alone, that's what folks use to make themselves feel better and able to sleep at night. Check this out:

"Despite close relations to the Axis powers, Zahir Shah refused to take sides during World War II and Afghanistan remained one of the few countries in the world to remain neutral. In 1944 and 1945, Afghanistan experienced a series of revolts by various tribes.[13] After the end of the Second World War, Zahir Shah recognised the need for the modernisation of Afghanistan and recruited a number of foreign advisers to assist with the process.[14] During this period Afghanistan's first modern university was founded.[14] During his reign a number of potential advances and reforms were derailed as a result of factionalism and political infighting.[15] He also requested financial aid from both the United States and the Soviet Union, and Afghanistan was one of few countries in the world to receive aid from both the Cold War enemies.[16] In a 1969 interview, Zahir Shah said that he is "not a capitalist. But I also don't want socialism. I don't want socialism that would bring about the kind of situation [that exists] in Czechoslovakia. I don't want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place."[17]

Zahir Shah was able to govern on his own during 1963[9] and despite the factionalism and political infighting a new constitution was introduced during 1964 which made Afghanistan a modern democratic state by introducing free elections, a parliament, civil rights, women's rights and universal suffrage.[14]"

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

[Dec 14, 2019] Warmongeing is the national sport for the neoliberal elite in the USA

As Tony Kevin reported (watch-v=dJiS3nFzsWg) at one small fundraiser Bill Clinton made an interesting remark. He said that the USA should always have enemies. That's absolutely true, this this is a way to unite such a society as we have in the USA. probably the only way. And Russia simply fits the bill. Very convenient bogeyman.
Notable quotes:
"... The experience of the USSR in that country should have sent up all kinds of red flags to the invading US military but it apparently did not. Both USSR and America lost thousands of military lives -- but nothing has changed in the country. Life in Afghanistan is actually worse now than before the multiple invasions. The only think which has improved is the cultivation of poppies and the export of opium. ..."
Dec 14, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Twolfe , 10 Dec 2019 16:30

One aspect of this report in the NYT is very troubling but not a great surprise to those who pay attention to Asian affairs.

The reports that US military leaders had no idea of what to do in Afghanistan and constantly lied to the public should rouse citizens in America to take a different view of military leaders. That view must be to trust nothing coming from the Pentagon or from spokespersons for the military. Included must be any and all secretaries of defence, and all branches of the military.

It is totally unacceptable that 1-2 trillion dollars and several thousand lives were spent by America for some nebulous cause. This does not include many thousands of civilians.

During the Vietnam disaster, it became obvious that American military was lying to the public and taking many causalities in an unwinnable war. Nothing was learned about Asia or Asian culture because America entered Afghanistan without a real plan and no understanding of the country or it's history.

The experience of the USSR in that country should have sent up all kinds of red flags to the invading US military but it apparently did not. Both USSR and America lost thousands of military lives -- but nothing has changed in the country. Life in Afghanistan is actually worse now than before the multiple invasions. The only think which has improved is the cultivation of poppies and the export of opium.

[Dec 13, 2019] But Mr. Trump, Is Israel Lovable? by Sheldon Richman

Dec 12, 2019 | original.antiwar.com
Speaking before Sheldon Adelson's Israeli-American Council the other day, Trump took a shot at Jewish Americans who he says don't "love Israel enough."

"We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more," Trump said . "We have to get them to love Israel more because you have people that are Jewish people, that are great people – they don't love Israel enough. You know that."

Typical of Trump, this is scatter-brained. He begins by talking about "the people of our country," which sounds like everyone, but ends up focusing on Jews who "don't love Israel enough." In either case, Trump talks rubbish.

First off, observe that although Trump stands accused of fomenting anti-Semitism by such remarks, he actually turns the loyalty issue upside-down. He doesn't say that some Jewish Americans are too loyal to Israel (presumably at the expense of America), which is what a classic anti-Semite would say, but that they are not loyal enough. Recall that he previously labeled Jews who vote for Democrats "disloyal." Disloyal to whom? Disloyal to Israel! We know this because he's criticized the Democratic Party for "defending [Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who sympathize with the Palestinians] over the State of Israel." Trump's critics seem to overlook this twist because it doesn't fit their stock narrative.

But turning to the matter at hand, Trump now entitles us to ask: what's so lovable about Israel anyway? The modern state was founded through a campaign of ethnic cleansing – violent expulsion of Arabs, that is, non-Jews, from their long-held properties – and outright massacres and terrorism. For the next couple of decades it subjected those who avoided expulsion to martial law. Then in 1967 it conquered the remainder of Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, creating new refugees. Since then Israel has denied the inhabitants of those territories all rights while the Israeli occupiers built privileged Jewish-only settlements and otherwise usurped the land it acquired through aggressive force – contrary to morality and international law. The West Bank today resembles apartheid South Africa. But things are even worse in Gaza, a small, crowded piece of land under blockade that dissenting Israelis call a concentration camp and others euphemistically refer to as merely the world's largest open-air prison. Gaza consists largely of refugees from the 1947-48 ethnic cleansing and their families.

So, I ask again, what's lovable about Israel? Is it because Israel calls itself the nation-state of the Jewish people (whether or not they live or want to live there) and Jews were treated horribly by Christian Europe, culminating in the monstrous Nazi Judeocide? That doesn't make Israel lovable. It is accountable for its crimes against humanity in Palestine regardless of the atrocities Jews suffered elsewhere. Israel is not exempt from moral judgment.

As for Jewish Americans in particular not loving Israel enough, Trump has again stuffed his foot in his mouth, something so commonplace that most people don't notice it. Like other Americans, Jewish Americans are not obligated to love Israel. How could they be? They are not part of a supposed Jewish national people – they are Americans with a particular private religious faith (unless they are secular). If they wanted to become Israelis, they would have done so.

Israel, despite what it claims, cannot be the nation-state of all Jews everywhere (even atheists with Jewish mothers); it is the state only of its own Jewish citizens/nationals. The 25 percent of non-Jewish Israeli citizens unfortunately are out of luck, but then it shouldn't call itself a democracy. Jewish Americans have roots in many countries, yet no one would say they are obliged to love those places.

We may ask: what does today's state of Israel have to do with the Jewish creed, especially the universalism of the prophets? Little, really: Zionism was a secular movement that disparaged traditional and secularized Jews in Europe and America. Theodor Herzl et al. promised a new Jew in his own state, strong and hardy farmers and soldiers, unlike the frail bookish scholars and rootless "parasitic" financiers of the so-called "diaspora." (It wasn't a diaspora since the Judeans were not exiled by the Romans in 70 CE.) That's one reason Zionism was a minority movement for a long time.

No one is clear about what it means to be a Jewish state. True, you have to be a properly credentialed Jew to get the benefits the Israeli state offers, but that only means having a Jewish mother or being converted by an approved Orthdox rabbi. (Conservative and Reform converts need not apply.) Jews and non-Jews may not marry each other, but that is not a religious injunction for Israelis; rather it's a matter of secular (pseudo-)ethnic purity. It's feared that Israeli children of interfaith marriages are less likely than other children to identify as Jewish – but then what would happen to the "Jewish people's" state?

In fact, no Jewish national ethnicity exists to be kept pure, but many Israelis (who do constitute an Israeli ethnicity) don't accept that. Nevertheless, Jews worldwide are of virtually every ethnicity, culture, language group, and color, and despite what Israel's apologists say today, Hitler was wrong: there is no Jewish race (or gene or blood). Most Jews descend from the converts of many ethnicities -- Judaism was a wide-ranging proselytizing religion roughly from 200 BCE to 200 CE (and later) -- and most ancient Israelites, Judahites, Yehudis, and Judeans never left their homes, although many of their offspring converted to Christianity or Islam.

For the record, ancient kingdoms of Israel, Judah, Yehud, and Judea, according to the Old Testament, were no more lovable bastions of enlightenment than any other kingdom in the vicinity, what with their authoritarian monarchies, military conquests, genocides, Hebrew and gentile slave labor, animal and occasional human sacrifice, forced conversion of gentiles, suppression of religious pluralism among the Hebrews, and persecution and even capital punishment of sundry peaceful nonconformists, such as homosexuals and dissenters.

Moreover – and I wouldn't expect Trump to know this – there is a long and honorable tradition of Jewish anti-Zionism . It goes back to the days of Herzl, though his idea of a "return" to Canaan originated earlier with non-Jews for perhaps less-than-honorable reasons. On different grounds, Orthodox and Reform Jews vehemently opposed Herzl's movement. (See details on this and other matters discussed here in my book Coming to Palestine .) The Orthodox regarded the Zionists as charlatans because a "return" was not to occur until the Messiah appeared in order to redeem the sinful Jews; the Orthodox anti-Zionists did not regard any of the atheists running the Zionist movement as Messiahs – even if they had Jewish mothers.

The Reform shared that disdain for the Zionists and Zionism but on different grounds. First, they rejected the premise that the people around the world who profess Judaism constitute an exiled national people, race, or ethnicity. Judaism is just a religion, they said. Second, they objected to a country that would proclaim itself the nation-state of all the "Jewish people," including Jews who don't and won't live there. This, they said, would harm the Jewish citizens of other countries and the non-Jewish residents of Israel. Third, they knew that Palestine was not a "land without a people," and so they rejected the land theft and expulsion they knew would be required to make a Jewish state there. I would say the Reform were right. (The remnant of this movement resides at the American Council for Judaism .)

So, Mr. Trump, I can't see how Jewish Americans, who when surveyed rank justice high on their list social concerns, have an obligation to love Israel – or how this admonition from you, an enthusiast for Palestinian oppression, could possibly be taken seriously.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman , published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is Coming to Palestine .

[Dec 13, 2019] Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Thorton , 10 Dec 2019 15:03

Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does. The main points of what war does:

1. Transfers wealth from social services to the military industrial complex. Americans don't have education, infrastructure, or healthcare, but they do have a generation of soldiers with PTSD, national debt, worldwide hatred, and an ever increasing sense of exceptionalism.

2. Traps Americans in a cycle of fear and persecution. Americans don't need a bogeyman, but our corporate overlords do, its how they monetize the populace. Find some disparate population of brown people who want self autonomy, send in the CIA to fuck them up, and when they retaliate tell Americans that people who live in a 3rd world land locked country several thousands of miles away are a threat to their very existence and way of life because they don't like God and Walmart.


CourgetteDream , 10 Dec 2019 14:36

Sadly the US uses the MIC to keep a large chunk of its population under control, as well as providing a convenient coverup of the actual numbers of people who are unemployable or would be unemployed if it were'nt for the taxpayer funding humungous spending in the so-called defence sector, which needs a a constant supply of conflict to keep going. The frankly moronic 'thank you for your service' soundbite drives me insane but it shows how much the American public has been brainwashed.
jimbomatic -> Michael Knoth , 10 Dec 2019 14:36
For years my home state of Washington had a New Deal Democrat Senator named Henry Jackson, AKA the Senator from Boeing.
He did good things for the state & was hugely popular here. One reason being that because he brought the Federal pork back home.
IMO the things Gen. Butler wrote about in the 1920s are still the modus operandi of US foreign policy.
Rikyboy , 10 Dec 2019 14:11
If the Afghanistan war ends, the USA will go to war with someone else. You cannot spend so much on military & not be at war. America must have an enemy. And, don’t forget, they always have “God on our side!”
Mauryan , 10 Dec 2019 13:05
The neocons in power during 2001 were hell bent on taking out Saddam Hussein. When 9/11 happened, they were looking for avenues to blame Iraq so that they could launch the war on that nation. Since things could not be put together, and all evidence pointed to Afghanistan, they took a detour in their war plan with a half hearted approach.

In fact Afghanistan was never the problem - It was Pakistan that held Afghanistan on the string and managed all terror related activities. Everything related to 9/11 and beyond pointed directly at Pakistan. Whatever threat Bush and his cronies projected about Iraq was true in the case of Pakistan. The war was lost when they made Pakistan an ally on the war on terror. It is like allying with Al Capone to crack down on the mafia.

Pakistan bilked the gullible American war planners, protected its assets and deflected all the rage on to the barren lands of Afghanistan. They hid all key Al Qaeda operatives and handed off the ones that did not align with their strategic interests to the US, while getting reward for it. War in Iraq happened in a hurry because the Bush family had scores to settle in Iraq. Pressure was lifted on Afghanistan. This is when the war reached a dead end.

The Taliban knew time was on their hands and waited it out. Obama did understand the situation and tried to put Af-Pak together and tightened the grip on Pakistan. He got the troops out of Iraq. Pakistan is almost bankrupt now for its deep investment on terror infrastructure. The US has drained billions of dollars and lives in Afghanistan due to misdirected goals. I am surprised Bush and Cheney have not been sent to jail on lies to launch the Iraq war and botching the real war on terror.

[Dec 13, 2019] Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawal from Afghanistan and spoke to Trump in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11."

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Redswordfish , 10 Dec 2019 15:05

I read Bob Woodward's book, "FEAR: Trump in the White House" which has a section talking about a time when Trump wanted to withdraw a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan. Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawl and spoke to him in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11." Lindsey Graham was especially forceful about this. "If you withdraw those troops, then you're responsible for the next 9/11" he says [paraphrase].

This is the only section of the book where I actually found myself agreeing with Trump. How exactly does keeping troops in Afghanistan "prevent the next 9/11"? It seems like a bizarre non sequitur.

GalahadThreepwood , 10 Dec 2019 12:37
And this is a surprise because? There is a revolving door between Washington D.C. and defence contractors. When you have a multi trillion dollar industry making stuff that goes bang, the customers will want to use it. And the more the industry can encourage them to use it, the more money they make. Better still, when they have finished blowing a foreign country to hell, their friends in the civil engineering and construction companies can make more trillions rebuilding it all.

And if you then claim victory and withdraw enough of your troops, the incumbent Neanderthals can start slaughtering their own people all over again, giving the perfect excuse to go back in and blow it all to hell again.

With careful planning, you can maintain the cycle of profits for decades, if not centuries.

Next week - bears implicated in forest defecation scandal.

[Dec 13, 2019] Savages, indeed. Zero accountability and Britain still playing faithful lap dog.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

cephalus , 10 Dec 2019 12:11

The US lied about the Gulf of Tonkin in order to justify attacking North Vietnam, it then proceeded to lie about the conduct of the war and the terrible genocide it was committing. No lesson learned because in a heartbeat the US was lying about Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Nicaragua and El Salvador, committing a wide range of atrocities in each.

Add Somalia, Libya, proxy wars in Angola and Yemen, efforts to destabilize Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, illegal wars in the Lebanon and Syria, the annihilation of Afghanistan in retaliation for what was actually a Saudi terrorist act, the destruction of modern Iraq and her people using trumped up claims, to say nothing of Clinton's cheery disregard for the welfare of Balkan residents when the US rained (illegal) uranium bombs down on the hapless inhabitants.

And now the WP and Congress are worked up over spending a trillion dollars when plainly they could care less about the Afghan casualties and American war crimes. Heck this goes back to Theodore Roosevelt seizing Cuba claiming he was saving it from the ravages of Spain or even further back to government backed settler land grabs "saving their white women from the savages". Savages, indeed. Zero accountability and Britain still playing faithful lap dog.

Irascible45 , 10 Dec 2019 12:08
My take on this is that the American Department of Defense war machine remained in a state of perpetual excitement after their successes in WW11.. almost as if they had to continuously invent an enemy in order to maintain their war time budget.. (and therefore demonstrate their ongoing prowess etc etc) in a cycle of wars starting with Korea and bringing us up to date with Afghanistan.. so that's nearly 70 years worth of international hubris on display.


All on the excuse of spreading their version of democracy.. is money talks!!

UnrepentantPunk -> NadaZero , 10 Dec 2019 11:57

It wasn't a mistake. It was a deliberate decision from a bunch of warmongers

The last patriotic Republican, President Dwight D Eisenhower, warned US against the military-industrial complex in his farewell address .

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

DoctorWibble , 10 Dec 2019 11:55
That both the Afghan war and the invasion of Iraq could happen at all tells us that the UN Security Council is not fit for purpose. These wars also told us that British pretense at being the voice of reason or the steadying hand that prevents US foreign policy being subsumed by the visceral and synthesised reactions of a US public is no more than empty cant.

If the US is unable to prevent foreign and defence policy being captured by money interests and remains inclined to deliver revenge to its public on demand howsoever it might be misdirected then the US should not be on the UN Security Council at all. They are fast becoming the number one major rogue state. And the outlook suggests this is more likely to get worse than improve. Whatever happens to Trump One more (and likely smarter) Trumps are coming down the track. More Dick Cheneys too. More Bushes, more Rumsfelds, more Nixons, Boltons, Kissingers, Johnsons and a host of others we'd all much rather were one offs. The US is the biggest extant threat to world peace. It is too powerful and far too easily played by warmongers and terrorists of every stripe and every persuasion. And by those seeking to profit from war.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 Dec 2019 11:54
To call war profiteering and murder a geopolitical "mistake" is to EXCUSE criminal activity.

Anyone responding to this latest revelation of military dishonest as a "mistake" is actually part of the crime. They are aiding the abettors. Everyone in Congress knows what everyone in this comments section knows: our military and its global actions are, first and foremost, a financial fraud.

thedisciple516 -> sijacks , 10 Dec 2019 11:50
But not American oil companies which were basically shut out outside of a few minor service and procurement contracts. Looks like all the "Blood for Oil" poster were BS.

The Iraq War was only partly, however, about big profits for Anglo-American oil conglomerates - that would be a bonus (one which in the end has failed to materialise - not for want of trying though).

- Nafeez Ahmen Guardian 2014

thedisciple516 -> Boltedhorse01 , 10 Dec 2019 11:42
Yes, and it made no conclusion as to whether the war was legal or not.

" The inquiry did not reach a view on the legality of the war , saying this could only be assessed by a "properly constituted and internationally recognised court", but did make a damning assessment of how the decision was made."

- Guardian 2016

Cronus Titan , 10 Dec 2019 11:40
Just think - the USA spends more on its military then the combined amount of the next 10 nations in the list (incl. China/Russia/India). That is a major major spend commitment. A small percentage of that could be used for US citizens to fund their healthcare - but I suppose they prefer to spend it to threaten and bomb other nations to their will.

Just to think - a similar report was produced post Vietnam and in the 50's even Eisenhower was worried about the US military backed by private companies becoming a perpetual spending machine.

capatriot , 10 Dec 2019 11:39

But there's one big question the Post report raises but does not address: why? Why did so many people – from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials – feel the need to lie about how the war in Afghanistan was going?

Because "how the war is going" is not the operating question. Because it does not matter if the war is just or unjust, whether it's winnable or not winnable, nor whether it's supported in the "homeland" or not. No, the operating principle is that there is a war. By its existence, the war creates funding and jobs and profits for the people that matter, the people the author mentions, from the Security/Military complex corporations all the way to careerists in the Pentagon and State.

So, it is NOT a waste of $1 trillion dollars ... it is just as it was supposed to be. That is why the war president (W), the peace president (Obama), and the swamp drainer (Trump) have all supported it. The war is doing what it's supposed to do.

GraphiteCommando , 10 Dec 2019 11:36
In time, the US national debt will force them to rein in their military spending. By lowering taxes while continuing to spend like drunken sailors on military adventures the national debt is ballooning. US government debt is currently rated AA whereas Canada is AAA. US debt to GDP is significantly higher than Canada's. (and that's just Canada vs the US). Trump is trying to create a mafia style protection racket to force other countries to subsidize reckless US military spending. "Pay up or who knows what might happen?" It is high time US taxpayers ask why the US can't lower its' out of control military spending rather than pressuring others to match their profligate ways? Some US citizens say they pay low taxes but it seems they get nothing in return; no health care, no equal access to education, decaying public infrastructure, etc. The rest feel overtaxed when they realize they get nothing in return but don't question the elephant in the room. If other countries maintain responsible levels of military spending the US will dig itself deeper into debt until the debt markets force them to see sense.
DenryMachin , 10 Dec 2019 11:22
Military spending is a fine way to transfer wealth from the general population to the rich. War has always been a fabulous business opportunity, but what has never been so very clear is how, even for the winning side, it represents a major defeat as wealth is transferred from the common good into the hands of the rich.

In such matters always consider 'Who will prosper'.
Follow the money...

kropotkinsf , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Considering the United States has been involved in one war or another, directly or indirectly, for all but about 20 years of its existence, this latest revelation shouldn't shock anyone. We're a violent country with a violent history and never more so than now, with our built-on-conflict empire losing steam. We point fingers ("It's the Russians!" "It's the Chinese!" It's the Iranians!") to deceive ourselves and others, but we're the real threat to peace. Us. The United States.
CTanner52 , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Every time I see a person on the street nobly collecting 50ps or the odd fiver for a good cause like Cancer Research or some other charity, I wonder why they have to do this when the US has spent over a USD$1 trillion on the Afghan war and other militaries continue to soak up massive amounts of funding. How much more could we have achieved by now for the real good of humanity if these funds were focused on research and real human need?
damientrollope , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Te US military has been practicing genocide around the world since WW2, millions have been murdered and still are. But hey, they are the leaders of the free world, the corruption in the US government, corporations, and military has no bounds. Their own poorer members of this society are dying in their thousands for lack of medical care, innocent black people are murdered by police, yet the greed must go on nothing else matters. The only question now being, which country will they invade next, which government will they plot to overthrow. How many will be murdered in the process, not that it matters, greed cannot be measured in dead people.
BaronVonAmericano , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
For crying out loud, it was never a mistake.

World peace and the safety of the American public has never been a priority. Entirely the opposite. Standard procedure: foment fear to wage immoral, endless, profitable war.

This isn't conjecture or "conspiracy theory"; it's as obvious as the sun rising. Anyone casting this in any other way is either behind the curve or dangerously soft pedaling -- or lying to stave off actual accountability.

Please stop pretending that our "leaders" are mistaken. They aren't They're doing the jobs for which they were paid.

manoftheworld , 10 Dec 2019 11:00
It's worse even than a crime... it's insanity to keep excusing a failed 18 year strategy costing a trillion dollars, resulting in the death of more than 100,000, and the country ending up worse than when they started. The military, politicians and the media are all to blame. The military for being too frightened and too stupid to admit they were losing and had no idea how to correct it.. the politicians for being too frightened to call out their beloved but incompetent military, and for not "getting it" after more than a trillion dollars had already been spent; the press and media for being embedded (sometimes literally) with the military and acting as no more than unquestioning cheerleaders for a self-evidently failed strategy. It is a terrible indictment of the US on so many levels... where were the public anti-war protests or activists? Couldn't they see or didn't they care? Either way it's pathetic.

Almost every year US generals stood before the media and politicians, jutting jaws and feeble minds, to say that this year was going to be decisive against the Taliban. The fact is, after Al Qaeda was scattered in 2001, the US picked on the Taliban pointlessly. They stayed pretending they were engaged in countering the return of al Qaeda (that was never going to happen) but actually made a new enemy of the Taliban by picking the wrong side in what was a civil war. The US never understood what it was trying to do so it lied and lied out of fear of being found out. I find it sickening that this country -the US - pretends it is a force for good in the world when they are quite prepared to keep killing innocent people in order to mask the generals' cowardice about facing the truth of their own incompetence.

tenientesnafu , 10 Dec 2019 10:55
A terrible but interesting dichotomy. You have Governments and a broad part of the public fiercely opposed to public spending and any kind of redistribution. It is all about the individual.

Yet they sport and actually worship an institution where the individual counts for naught. In the military it always is about the collective. They throw huge swaths of money to the military. Which is the only place in the US where dreaded universal healthcare, pensions and free education exists. Not only that, even the army shops sell goods as subsidised prices, something unthinkable outside the barracks.

lalaeuro -> GeraldLobOn , 10 Dec 2019 10:53
Entirely intentional according the PNAC document Rebuilding America's Defences, Orwellian for we're going to make a lot of pointless weapons with huge mark-ups for profit by bombing the shit out of foreigners.
kapsiolaaaaa , 10 Dec 2019 10:37
I was listening to NPR about how Veterans turned against the Vietnam war. The people of south Vietnam would collect shells and explosives that did not detonate and gave to US troops for a small financial reward. In one such case - the shell exploded killing few kids and injuring a girl. That girl was refused treatment from US medics because she was one of them. That soldier involved later joined the anti war movement.
All the veterans were surprised with the image that soldiers coming back from war were spat at and disrespected by the anti war protesters - this could not have been further from truth.

Back in Vietnam you were taught how to destroy a village, poison drinking water sources etc. And understandably many GIs fought back.

There are similar stories out of Afghanistan - the naked prisoners with soldiers acting as if they are engaging in a sexual act and many such shameless incidents. These soldiers were acquitted which is another way of saying - An Afghan and his life and honor are below us. It has de-stabilized the region for many decades.

There is a bright side to Donny and his conmen - maybe there will be less intervention and more introspection - which can only be good for the World.

[Dec 13, 2019] The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

NickStanford , 10 Dec 2019 12:24

I think it should have been seen as a thirty year campaign and the same with Iraq and Libya. The northern Ireland campaign took 30 years and many people are as bitter as they ever were much of it secondhand from younger people who weren't even alive during the conflict. The idea of a quick war is a very big mistake I think and flawed short-term thinking.
Piet Pompies -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
Most decorated Marine officer ever? I thought that was Chesty Puller?
sammer -> tenientesnafu , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
That was very well put. Thank you for being so succinct.
easterman -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:23
The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.
MyViewsOnThis , 10 Dec 2019 12:22
The West and the USA in particular have always taken the stand that their ideology is the only right one. That they have a right to interfere in the interns, affairs of other countries but their own internal affairs are sacrosanct.

So - USA, with UK support decided that Saddam Hussein had to be removed. They moved in to do so - they killed Saddam but had no plan to return the country to a functioning nation. Instead they facilitated the unleashing of internal wars and have now left the citizens of that country in utter turmoil.

& then went and repeated the exercise n Libya.

Decades ago, Britain decided that Palestinians could be thrown out of their homes to make way for the creation of Israel and laid the foundation for the Middle-East turmoil that has caused untold misery and suffering. They followed that up with throwing out the Chagosians out of their homes and making them homeless. Invited Caribbean's to the 'Mother Country' to serve their erstwhile lords, ladies, masters and mistresses only to then drive to despair the children and grandchildren of the invitees who had contributed to the 'Mother Country' for decades.

easterman , 10 Dec 2019 12:21
Lest we forget Cheney salivating over the gas in the Caspian Basin http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/west_asia/37021.stm
Piet Pompies -> cephalus , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
Yep, biggest terrorist state in the world, ever.
KoreyD , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
We are 18 years into an illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. We are the invaders, the terrorists. The Taliban are fighting for their country, they may use brutal methods but so did the French, Dutch, Russian freedom fighters during the Nazi invasions. America's puppet regime in Afghanistan is reminiscent of the Quislings of WW2. And to use drones to kill Afghans and to say it is progress that there is more transparency is the height of hubris. All it does is show the corrosive effect of unfettered power in America and it's military. Why do we tolerate this inhuman action on another country's society? America is by far the greatest contributor to the rise in terrorism in the world and if not somehow stopped the greatest threat to world peace. It keeps on invading country after country with it's MSM propaganda machine claiming it is spreading Democracy throughout the globe. Thank you America !

[Dec 13, 2019] On Rogues and Rogue States by Fred Reed

Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

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I have just finished reading William Shirer's Berlin Diary . (This may not fascinate you, but I am coming to something.) I first encountered it in high school. It is of course Shirer's account as a correspondent in Germany of the rise of the Nazis. Most of it is well known to the educated. The Nazis, who had control over the domestic press, convinced the German population that the Poles were threatening Germany, as plausible as Guatemala threatening the United States. The Poles were said to be committing atrocities against Germans.

Then the Reich, with no justification whatever, having absolute air superiority, attacked Poland, bombing undefended cities and killing huge numbers of people. It was a German pattern several times repeated. Many reporters told of the smell of rotting bodies, of refugees dying of hunger and thirst. Today the Reich is endlessly remembered as a paragon of evil. It was.

How did Nazi Germany differ from the United States today? There is the same lying. Washington insisted that Iraq was about to get nuclear weapons, biological agents, that it had poisonous gas. None of this was true. The government, unimpeded by the media, persuaded over half of the American population that Iraq was responsible for Nine-Eleven. Now it says that Iran works to get nuclear weapons, and of course that the Russians are coming. The American press, informally but strictly controlled, carefully doesn't challenge any of this.

Having prepped the American public as the Nazis prepped theirs, Washington unleashed a savage attack against Iraq, deliberately destroying infrastructure, leaving the country without power or purified water. The slaughter was godawful. But, said America, the war was to rid the Iraqi people of an evil dictator, to bring them democracy, freedom, and human rights. (The oil was entirely incidental. The oil is always incidental.)

Fallujah, Iraq, after the American military brought it democracy, human rights, and freedom. Guernica, after the visit of the Kondor Legion. For the historically challenged, this was the Spanish city bombed during the Spánish Civil War by the Germans in support of the Falangists.

Washington never sleeps in its campaigns to improve the lives of people whose most fervent wish is that America stop improving their lives. To give the Afghans democracy, human rights, and American values, the US has for eighteen years been bombing, bombing, bombing a largely illiterate population in a nation where America has no business. It is a coward's war with warplanes butchering peasants who have no defenses. The pilots and drone operators who do this deserve contempt, as does the country that sends them. How many more years? For what purpose? And how were the German Nazis different?

The German Gestapo perpetrated sickening torture in hidden basements. America does the same, mainltaining torture prisons around the world. In these, men, and no doubt women, are hung by their wrists for days, naked in very cold rooms, kept awake and periodically beaten (exactly as described by survivors of Soviet torture. Nazis, whether American, Russian, or German, are Nazis.)

Photos of Iraqis at the American torture operation at Abu Ghraib showed prisoners, almost naked, lying in pools of blood. Tell me, please, how this differs from what was done by the Reich? (The bloodier photos are no longer online. Many that remain seem to have been edited.)

Abu Ghraib. A happy American girl soldier. Note rubber gloves. The US military used many female soldiers for this duty. They apparently were kinky, as they seemed to get a kick out of it. A female general ran the operation.

Gina Haspel, head of the CIA, is a sadist who tortured Moslem prisoners, reminiscent of Ilse Koch, the notorious Nazi torturess, who also worked in prisons. It is easy to find victims there, I suppose.

An Abu Ghraib pic apparently no longer online. I found it on an ancient memory stick. Are we having fun yet?

President Trump has just pardoned several American war criminals, saying he wanted to give US soldiers the "confidence to fight." This amounts to blanket permission to commit atrocities. A purpose of military training being to extirpate human decency and mercifulness, the obscene barbarism is not surprising. Atrocities are what soldiers do, and will do as long as the wars go on, being furiously denied by the government. (When I covered Force Recon, the Marine Corps Special Forces, the motto on the wall was "Crush Their Skulls and Eat Their Faces.")

Perhaps the best known example of implied approval was Nixon's pardon of Lt. Calley, who ordered the murder of Vietnamese villagers, for which he received three years of house arrest.

The Germans wanted empire, lebensraum, and resources, in particular oil. Americans want empire and oil, control of which allows control of the world They go about getting them by invasion and intimidation. Thus America wants to bring democracy and human rights to Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, and Nigeria, which have lots of oil, while it has occupation troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and elsewhere in the Mideast. What part of Syria is Trump occupying? Surprise, surprise! The part with the oil. Oil for the Americans, land for the Germans.

As Shirer points out, the German public was not enthusiastic about the war, at least not through 1940, as neither is the American public today. Neither public showed any concern about the hideousness its government inflicted around the world. What is the difference?

The parallels with the Reich are not complete. Washington does not essay genocide against Jews or blacks or any other internal population, being content with killing whoever its bombs fall upon. Trump cannot reasonably be likened to Hitler. He lacks the vision, the backbone, and apparently the viciousness. Hitler was a very smart, very evil man who knew exactly what he was doing, at least politically. This cannot be said of Trump. However, Hitler was, and Trump is, surrounded by freak-show curiosities of great bellicosity. Adolf had Goering, Goebbels, Himler, Rheinhardt Heydrich, Julius Streicher, Eichman. Trump has John Bolton, as amoral and pathologically aggressive as any in the Fuehrer's entourage, or under a log. Pompeo, a bloated toad of a man, bears an uncanny resemblance to Goering. Both he and Pence are Christian heretics, Evangelicals, who believe they are connected to God on broadband. O'Brien sounds like Bolton. All want war with Iran and perhaps with China and Russia. Sieg heil, and run like hell.

My Lai, after Lt. Calley of the SS Totenkopf Div excuse me, the Americal Division, I meant to say, brought human rights, freedom, and the American way.

Wikipedia: "Between 347 and 504 unarmed people were killed by U.S. Army soldiers Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated as were children as young as 12.")

For this Calley got three years house arrest, less than the sentence for a bag of methamphetamine, until pardoned by Nixon. Many Americans said, and many still say, that he should not have been punished at all, that we needed to take the gloves off, let the troops fight. Again, this is what Trump said.

The German Nazis worshiped Blood and Soil, the land of Germany and the Teutonic race, which they believed to be genetically superior to all others. Americans can't easily worship race. Instead they think themselves Exceptional, Indispensable, a Shining City on a Hill, the greatest civilization the world has known. Same narcissism and arrogance, slightly different foundation.

Nazi Germany was, like Nazi America, intensely militaristic. The US has hundreds of bases around the world (China has one overseas base, in Djibouti), spends appallingly on the military despite the lack of a credible military enemy. It currently buys new missile submarines (the Columbia class), aircraft carriers (the Ford class), intercontinental nuclear bombers (the B21), and fighter planes (the F-35).

Nazi Germany attacked Poland, Norway, Belgium, France, Russia, America, and England. America? Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, supports a brutal proxy war against Yemen (Yemen is a grave threat to America), threatens Venezuela, China, and Iran with attack, embargoes Cuba. These are recent. Going back a bit, we have Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, the intervention in Panama, on and on. Millions and millions killed.

The Third Reich was, and America is, the chief threat to peace on the planet, a truly rogue state.

Is this something to be proud of?

Other stuff

La FIL, Feria Internacional de Libros , International Book Fair, Guadalajara, an annual event. I post the photo with the joyous sense of mischief of an eleven-year-old poking a nest of wasps. It will infuriate the Dissident Right, or Alt Right, or Race Realists. Their leaders excepted, most of these are ill-tempered naifs who insist, and seem to hope desperately, that Latin Americans are illiterate. I occasionally have conservative friends down and they are astonished to find that Guadalajara, a large international city, has the sorts of bookstores had by large international cities. Duh. (If interested, here are a couple of dozen.)

Another and cherished conceit of the Dissident Right is that Latin Americans who can read must be white. Well, I guess. Why, you could easily mistake the crowd above for Norwegians. Their ancestors probably arrived with Leif Erikson.

Merry Christmas to all! Happy "Winter Holidays" to none.

Write Fred at jet.possum@gmail.com . Put the letters "pdq" anywhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion. All read, reply not guaranteed due to volume.

This meritorious and beneficial column will go into hibernation until after New Year, after which it will likely return.

[Dec 13, 2019] It's almost a century since Smedley Butler wrote his incisive pamphlet War is a Racket

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:18

It's almost a century since Smedley Butler wrote his incisive pamphlet War is a Racket.

If you've never read it, it takes about 15-20 minutes to do so. It will astound, anger and depress you that the only thing that's changed is the number or zeroes on the eye waterering profits. Oh, and the players. What is it exactly that makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia untouchable? (Answers on a postcard C/O Beelzebub.)

Smedley Butler knew of what he lectured about, being the most decorated officer in the history of the Marine Corps.

A brief insight into this insightful all American action man man Hollywood seems to have overlooked:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street.

"The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

"During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

There's been a century of endless war and profits since then with this century shaping up nicely for the racketeers, whose finest day might well have been September 11th, 2001.

Anyway, here's a link to a pdf file of War is a Racket if you're interested.

https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

[Dec 13, 2019] The Afghanistan war is more than a $1 trillion mistake. It's a travesty Ben Armbruster Opinion The Guardian

Dec 13, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

he American people have known that the war in Afghanistan was a lost cause for quite some time. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans' views of the war started to go south right around the end of 2011, until eventually a majority started seeing the writing on the wall about two years later.

That's why the Washington Post report this week on the so-called "Afghanistan Papers", detailing how US officials "deliberately mislead the public" on the war's progress, is almost sort of unremarkable. If the piece took away any shred of innocence left from this ghastly enterprise, it's that perhaps some of us thought our leaders, while failing miserably at building a nation thousands of miles away, were at least acting in good faith.

At the same time, the Post report is rage inducing, not just because of the sheer stupidity of American leaders continuing to fight a war they knew they could not win, but also how their unwillingness to take responsibility for a failed policy caused so much death, destruction and heartbreak, particularly among those American families who have admirably dedicated their lives to serving their country, and the countless number of Afghan civilians trapped in a cycle of endless war they have nothing to do with.

Of course, the "Afghanistan Papers" immediately recalled memories of the Pentagon variety leaked to the New York Times nearly a half century ago because they too were government documents outlining how numerous American administrations had lied to the public about Vietnam – another long, costly and unnecessary war with no military solution.

But there's one major difference: the war in Afghanistan doesn't have as direct an impact on the lives of everyday Americans as the Vietnam war did, when the military draft meant that everyone had to deal with the cold war proxy conflict in south-east Asia one way or another . Therefore, it's entirely possible, likely even, that this major and important report from the Post will drift into the wilderness just like the dozens of Trump-era stories that would have, for example , taken down any other US president in "normal times".

But there's one big question the Post report raises but does not address: why? Why did so many people – from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials – feel the need to lie about how the war in Afghanistan was going?

The easy answer is that there's a long tradition in Washington, particularly among the foreign policy establishment, that self-reflection, taking responsibility and admitting failure is a big no-no. Heck, you can get convicted of lying to Congress about illegal arms sales, and cover up brutal atrocities and still get a job at the state department . Did you torture anyone? No problem .

While DC's culture of no culpability certainly plays a role in this case, the more compelling answer lies somewhere near the fact that once the American war machine kicks into gear, no amount of facts undermining its very existence is going to get in the way.

Indeed, the United States has so far doled out nearly one trillion dollars for the war in Afghanistan (the true cost of the war will be trillions more ) and everyone's on the take: from defense industry executives, lobbyists and US political campaign coffers to Afghan government officials and poppy farmers to anyone and anything in between.

What's more is that this military-industrial-congressional complex is largely insulated from public accountability, so what's the incentive to change course? The Pentagon's entire budget operates in much the same way: unprecedented amounts in unnecessary appropriations resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Yet Congress continues to throw more and more money at the defense department every year without ever requiring it to account for how it spends the money. In fact, the war in Afghanistan is small potatoes by comparison.

The bottom line is that the Afghanistan Papers clearly show that a lot of people were killed, injured and subject to years, if not lifetimes, of psychological trauma and financial hardship because a bunch of men – yes, mostly men – in Washington didn't want to admit publicly what they knew privately all along. If we don't start holding these people to account – and it's not just about Afghanistan – the DC foreign policy establishment will continue to act with impunity, meaning that it's probably more likely than not that in 50 years there'll be another batch of "papers" revealing once again that we've failed to learn obvious lessons from the past.

Ben Armbruster is the managing editor of ResponsibleStatecraft.org , the news and analysis publishing platform of the Quincy Institute

[Dec 13, 2019] The Afghan war is 18 years old now. It's no longer a minor in the eyes of the law. It's old enough to think for itself, to vote, to move out of the house and get it's own place

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Chiropolos , 10 Dec 2019 15:56

This war is 18 years old. It's no longer a minor in the eyes of the law. It's old enough to think for itself, to vote, to move out of the house and get it's own place. Afghanistan will figure it out. Once we withdraw to allow Afghanistan to return to self-governance.

[Dec 13, 2019] Why did so many people -- from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials -- feel the need to lie about the wars the USA is engaged?

Notable quotes:
"... This is because it's easy cash cow for the old boys club by sending working class kids to be killed in a far off land. ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

yemrajesh , 10 Dec 2019 16:54

Why did so many people -- from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials -- feel the need to lie about how the war in Afghanistan was going?

This is because it's easy cash cow for the old boys club by sending working class kids to be killed in a far off land.

The pentagon with the full cooperation of MSM will sell it as we are defending our ways of life by fighting a country 10,000 kms away. This show the poor literacy, poor analytical thinking of US population constantly brain washed by MSM, holy men, clergy, other neo con organisations like National rifle club etc.

sorrymess , 10 Dec 2019 15:00

i been to Cambodia a few years ago.

I never knew USA dropped 2.7 millions tons of bombs and now so many left unexploded and its same in Vietnam, Cambodia as neutral,
but i met so many injured kids etc from the bombs,.

the total MADNESS OF USA IS NAZI SM AT ITS BEST,.NO SHAME OR COMPASSION FOR THE VICTIMS.

I cannot comprehend the money it cost USA,. AN ALSO PROFITS FOR SOME,.

Heisham , 10 Dec 2019 14:10
With the exceptions of two attacks on American soil-Pearl Harbor and 911- the American people and for the most part their legislative representatives in Congress- will always remain cluless what the United States Government does overseas.

This country runs on its own drum beats. The ordinary man on the street needs to take care of his economic needs. The Big Boys always take care of themselves. That includes the military establishment, that is always entitled to an absurd amounts of monies, fueled by an empire building machinery, pushed by the elites that control the fate of economic might, and political orchestra that feeds its ego and prestige.
Time and again, our American sociopaths in power have a strangle hold on us, regardless of the destruction and animosity they heap on distant peoples and lands the world over in the name of national security and the democratic spiel, as they like to tell us ....
Richard Nixon, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson- Vietnam and the South East Asian countries of Laos , Cambodia, are an example .
Years later, the establishment manufactures blatant cover-ups with lies upon lies to accuse on record, as general Powell eloquently presented at the United Nations: That Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and needs to be held accountable.And now, this report on Afghanistan with all this pathological violence.

Is it reasonable to conclude that our democracy and its pathological actors in government and big business will always purchase it by demagoguery and self vested interest, because the ordinary man whose vote should count will never have the ultimate say when it comes to war and destruction!

[Dec 13, 2019] The Inspector General's Report on 2016 FBI Spying Reveals a Scandal of Historic Magnitude: Not Only for the FBI but Also the U.S. Media by Glenn Greenwald

Notable quotes:
"... a single American ..."
Dec 12, 2019 | theintercept.com
Just as was true when the Mueller investigation closed without a single American being charged with criminally conspiring with Russia over the 2016 election, Wednesday's issuance of the long-waited report from the Department of Justice's Inspector General reveals that years of major claims and narratives from the U.S. media were utter frauds .

Before evaluating the media component of this scandal, the FBI's gross abuse of its power – its serial deceit – is so grave and manifest that it requires little effort to demonstrate it. In sum, the IG Report documents multiple instances in which the FBI – in order to convince a FISA court to allow it spy on former Trump campaign operative Carter Page during the 2016 election – manipulated documents, concealed crucial exonerating evidence, and touted what it knew were unreliable if not outright false claims.

If you don't consider FBI lying, concealment of evidence, and manipulation of documents in order to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign to be a major scandal, what is? But none of this is aberrational: the FBI still has its headquarters in a building named after J. Edgar Hoover – who constantly blackmailed elected officials with dossiers and tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into killing himself – because that's what these security state agencies are. They are out-of-control, virtually unlimited police state factions that lie, abuse their spying and law enforcement powers, and subvert democracy and civic and political freedoms as a matter of course.

In this case, no rational person should allow standard partisan bickering to distort or hide this severe FBI corruption. The IG Report leaves no doubt about it. It's brimming with proof of FBI subterfuge and deceit, all in service of persuading a FISA court of something that was not true: that U.S. citizen and former Trump campaign official Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government and therefore needed to have his communications surveilled.

[Dec 12, 2019] Trump Signs Order Interpreting Judaism as a Nationality and Race

the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of anti-Semitism the official guideline for Title VI is as following "Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." So this hatred against certain ethnic category. Much like Russophobia. Looks pretty reasonable to me. For example, claiming that Paul Singer is a criminal financial racketeer is not anti-Semitism, because Romney is not that different.
The Washington Free Beacon, funded by GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, was the original funder of Fusion GPS’ research project that attempted to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump — a project that would later be funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Paul Singer-Funded Washington Free Beacon Behind Initial Fusion GPS Trump Effort
Notable quotes:
"... The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion, to prompt a federal law penalizing colleges and universities deemed to be shirking their responsibility to foster an open climate for minority students. ..."
"... But the IHRA is hotly disputed. The State Department has adopted it but critics say it is too vague and all-encompassing, and can be a trap for honest critics of Israel's domestic and foreign policies. For example, it describes as anti-Semitic "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination" under some circumstances, and offers as an example of such behavior "claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor." ..."
Dec 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

With his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner hovering inches behind him, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that interprets Judaism as a nationality or race and religion so that the federal government can threaten to withhold funds from schools deemed to be fostering anti-semitism in school activities, programs, curricula and classrooms. What it really will do is put a chill on speech, as skittish administrations shut down protests, screen speakers, and monitor classrooms for unsanctioned criticisms against Israel.

"It is a game changer," said Trump legal advisor Alan Dershowitz who along with Kushner promoted the plan to Trump. "One of the most important events in the 2,000-year battle against anti-Semitism."

12/11/19, 11:42 A.M.: President Trump is expected to sign an executive order that will effectively put a chill on BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanction) campaigns or any other campus protests against Israel's treatment of Palestinians, illegal settlements, or U.S.-Israel foreign policy.

As The New York Times reported last night:

The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion, to prompt a federal law penalizing colleges and universities deemed to be shirking their responsibility to foster an open climate for minority students.

Currently, Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin. By declaring Judaism a nationality rather than religion, it puts it under the rubric of federal protection, unlocking all sorts of tools for the school to shut down speech. As of this writing, however, Jewish Insider claims to have a copy of the executive order and says, contra to the NYT, there is no mention of national origin in it.

Nevertheless, the order as being reported will allow the federal government to force schools to restrict protests and monitor speech and curriculum in the classroom. For example, if there is an active BDS organization on campus or ongoing protest against the lockdown of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, it might be deemed anti-Semitic and the Department of Education could threaten a withdrawal of financial assistance to the school. This goes, perhaps more importantly, to courses and professors that are accused of being "anti-Semitic." We can see where this is going. From the Jerusalem Post :

A senior administration official said on Tuesday that antisemitism on campuses is often hidden in an anti-Israel agenda. If campuses that receive money from the government adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism in cases of discrimination, students who will feel that they are being bullied on college campuses would be able to complain to their institution's administration, who will then need to decide if the incident is considered antisemitic.

Trump's order would make the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of anti-Semitism the official guideline for Title VI.

But the IHRA is hotly disputed. The State Department has adopted it but critics say it is too vague and all-encompassing, and can be a trap for honest critics of Israel's domestic and foreign policies. For example, it describes as anti-Semitic "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination" under some circumstances, and offers as an example of such behavior "claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor."

The White House's latest move, if fulfilled, is a huge victory for pro-Israel organizations here in the United States that, according to Forward magazine has been funneling tens of millions of dollars into combating constitutionally protected boycotts on school campuses and in American states.

Not only well-funded by groups like AIPAC, according to Forward, these pro-Israel campaigns use social media bird-dogging and rapid response strikes against student governments and planned demonstrations and other measures to cast the pro-Palestinian protests as anti-Semitic. In the states, they've convinced lawmakers and governments to pass laws that would require any companies and individuals working for the government to sign "contracts" or other affidavits declaring that they would never boycott Israeli companies or be denied work. These laws have been overturned by multiple courts as unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, afraid of the "anti-Semitic" taint, federal and state elected officials have not only continued to pass these laws, but have proposed criminal charges against offenders. The issue has riven the Democratic party, with pro-Palestinian and free speech proponents on one side, and pro-Israeli advocates (joining all but a few Republicans) on the other. The often raucous BDS debate has quieted down from earlier this year, when Rep. Ilhan Omar was forced to apologize for her own comments when criticizing the anti-boycott laws, but Trump is sure to re-invigorate things now.

Meanwhile, a slow-burn smear campaign has begun against 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, and who has also spoken out against what he calls are attacks against BDS and free speech. In this outrageous Federalist piece yesterday, Melissa Langsam Braunstein, "a former U.S. Department of State speechwriter," suggests Sanders is "associating with antisemites," ignoring "far-left" and "Islamist" anti-Semitism, and employing secret anti-Semites on his staff. Again, criticism of Israel's Palestinian policies and supporting people who support the boycotts seem to be the core definition of Bernie's burgeoning anti-Semitism here.

This is should be an alarming sign for anyone, but it may be worse for Bernie. He is up in the polls, which makes him a target. He is also an avowed socialist who has been openly against the anti-boycott movement on Capitol Hill. In addition, he could suffer the same slings and arrows that his compatriot Jeremy Corbyn is taking across the pond. The Labor Party leader and candidate for prime minister has been accused of being personally anti-Semitic for his criticism of Israel and his entire party criticized for fostering a "culture of anti-Semitism" and not taking serious various formal complaints against it. Read this whole Atlantic piece for the details, but the money passage for our purposes is here:

Disproportionate hatred of Israel is one strand of left-wing anti-Semitism. The other is the conspiracist turn, turbocharged by social media, which gains succor from attacks on "the elite," "the 1 percent," "the mainstream media," and "billionaires." Corbyn has made such attacks a key part of Labour's appeal, adopting the slogan "For the many, not the few." The trouble is that while all of these are superficially innocent phrases -- as well as useful ways of describing a world in which wealth and opportunities are unequally distributed -- it is clear that some supporters hear them as a dog whistle

This is Sanders' platform, too. Heck it is a critical part of Elizabeth Warren's and President Trump's appeal. If this kind of populism–and to be sure I am not talking about the Reddit "turbo charged" racist conspiracy driven memes that we all know are out there -- is to be deemed "a dog whistle," we may all be accused of anti-Semitism before the year is done.


Phil Jester 15 hours ago

It's wonderful when people hold onto their culture and heritage. The idea of "melting pot" wasn't some kind of blast furnace that stripped immigrants of their past, but rather a blending of the many different cultures that created something uniquely American.

To be an American doesn't mean abandoning caring about your homeland - but it does mean that you should prioritize the success and prosperity of your fellow Americans more than you do the success and prosperity of those in the land you left behind.

The implication of labeling Judaism a nationality (and the implicit tying that to Zionism) is that American Jews owe their first loyalty not to fellow Americans ... but to Judaism, and by the associative property, to Israeli Jews.

A very dangerous path for American Jews to trod, as history has shown repeatedly.

The ironic thing here is that Trump is managing to play to three different bases here
- to the most conservative Zionist Jews in America
- to Evangelical Christians who are happy to have a cudgel to use in their battle against those who don't embrace the idea of a Judeo-Christian America, and
- to White Nationalists who themselves don't consider Jews to be part of "White Culture" and will enjoy referring to a Federal declaration of Jewish otherness

Steve Naidamast Phil Jester 12 hours ago
As one writer succinctly put it, a lot of these endeavors are indicators that the influence and power of the Jewish elite is slowly and irreversibly diminishing.

The Orange Moron can do anything he wants in this vein but it will most likely only speed up what is already in motion...

pensword 12 hours ago
we may all be accused of anti-Semitism before the year is done

When an American vessel in neutral waters was deliberately attacked by Israel in 1967, all subsequent investigation of the attack was whitewashed and the survivors threatened with imprisonment. Nothing has been done to restore the dignity of the veterans.

When the late Paul Findley compiled copious evidence of Israel's stranglehold on institutions of government and education, using a fringe publishing house to present his findings, which enjoyed 9 weeks on the Washington Post 's bestseller list, nothing was done to forestall the Lobby's influence.

When the FBI held tens of Israeli nationals engaged in suspicious activity in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, subjecting them to polygraph tests which some failed, Richard Armitage and Alan Dershowitz applied
political pressure to free them and send them packing to Israel. Nothing more was done.

When professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer provided a thoroughly documented analysis of Israel's headlock on American foreign policy, proving that it was Israel who drew us into the current Middle Eastern quagmire, nothing was done to forestall the Lobby's influence.

And now Israel, applying its usual pressure in Washington, wants Americans to fight yet another war on its behalf, this time against Iran, who has done nothing to America since the 1970s.

If you discuss these plain-as-day, readily available facts, you're called an "anti-Semite" and a "Nazi." If you want to discuss them on YouTube, you risk being demonetized or deplatformed. If you raise the topics in the public square, you're certain to confront censure, if not unemployment.

And, however much one may naively regard some claims as "conspiratorial," these phenomena are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

You had better get used to it. Free speech isn't free and there's one group in America that's more interested in eliminating it than any other.

Of course, mentioning this is "anti-Semitic" as well.

cka2nd 11 hours ago
I was just telling a friend that the "Bernie is a self-hating Jew" meme was right around the corner, and Kelly has just confirmed it.
Zgler 10 hours ago
Trump is first and foremost pandering to his evangelical Christian supporters and a few rich Jewish donors here. He doesn't care that he feeds into anti-semitism by implying that Jewish Americans identify with Israel rather than the U.S. Most Jewish Americans won't vote for him (he has almost a 70% dis-approval rating with Jews in the U.S.). He's also toadying to Netanyahu, who he identifies with. Netanyahu is continually under investigation for corruption.
AlmostNormalTexan 10 hours ago
College students are free to protest the behavior of Russia without being labeled anti-Russian; they can protest the People's Republic of China without being accused of sinophobia.

Why does Israel need a special dispensation from this? If the argument is that any criticism of Israel for any reason is antisemitic, then you are essentially saying that Israel should be uniquely immune from criticism that every other country on earth is subject to.

Doug Wallis 10 hours ago
It started in Europe with creating a class of people protected from free speech, then the envelope widened to include immigrants and then muslims then leftists use it to prevent a discussion on immigration and then you get 10+ years of pedophile and female muslim rape gangs patrolling streets and having the entire crime known by police and covered up for fear of hate speech toward a group even though its specific groups that engage in honor killings, terrorist attacks, knifing s, grooming gangs, rape gangs, etc.
Name Doug Wallis 7 hours ago
You actually believe the Garbage you just posted?
Name 7 hours ago
If Judaism is a nationality, then what nationality do American Secular Jews belong to?

[Dec 12, 2019] The Skripals residing on US territory would definitely indicate that the US has been the senior partner in the "Skripal operation"

Notable quotes:
"... The FBI agents and lawyers intentionally lied to the court. Their violations were not mistakes. All 51 of them were in favor of further spying on members of the Trump campaign and on everyone they communicated with. ..."
"... The FBI has used the Steele dossier to gain further FISA application even after it had talked with Steele's 'primary source' (who probably was the later 'buzzed' Sergei Skripal ) and after it had learned that the allegations in the dossier were no more than unconfirmed rumors. ..."
Dec 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

The FBI agents and lawyers intentionally lied to the court. Their violations were not mistakes. All 51 of them were in favor of further spying on members of the Trump campaign and on everyone they communicated with.

The FBI has used the Steele dossier to gain further FISA application even after it had talked with Steele's 'primary source' (who probably was the later 'buzzed' Sergei Skripal ) and after it had learned that the allegations in the dossier were no more than unconfirmed rumors.

Michael Droy , Dec 11 2019 18:42 utc | 16
Great stuff as ever. How useful is it that Skripal is Unavailable but not Dead? For example does it affect redaction of material linked to him?
JR , Dec 11 2019 19:41 utc | 20
By now Steele's credibility is zero. Time to revisit Steele's involvement with the debunked "Russia bought the soccer World Champion games", the Litvinenko polonium poisening and the Skripal novichok poisening. The timing of the Skripal matter deserves some scrutiny in relation to Skripal possibly being Steele's source for the infamous Trump dossier. There might be a motive hidden there.
Jen , Dec 11 2019 22:27 utc | 42
I know on a recemt MoA Open Thread comments forum that there was a link to this recent John Helmer / Dances With Bears article mentioning that Sergei and Julia Skripal were being held at an airbase in Gloucestershire being used by the United States Air Force (USAF) at the time that Julia Skripal was interviewed by a Reuters representative in May last year. I consider that link and the news worth mentioning again in this comments thread as some commenters have already mentioned Sergei Skripal in connection with Christopher Steele's dossier.

As early as August 2018 , there had been speculation that the Skripals were being held at USAF Fairford airbase, based on audiovisual evidence in the background garden scene where the interview took place. Helmer's sources (they requested anonymity) spotted a chicken coop in the background which they say is a crow ladder trap. This is one indication that the garden scene was located near a runway. Background noises included the roar of jet engines.

If Helmer's information is correct, then we can now understand why the British government never gave Russian embassy staff access to the Skripals: London was in no position to do so, the Skripals were on US territory.

One implication of this new information is that the Skripals may no longer be in Britain and may now be living in North America somewhere with new identities. Should something happen to them (or have happened to them already), they will not be missed by their new neighbours. The Skripals will never be allowed to return to Russia and Sergei Skripal will never see or be allowed to communicate with his elderly mother again.

It really does look as if Sergei Skripal may have had something to do with that Orbis dossier after all, even if as a minor source or as a reference rather than the primary source of disinformation about Donald Trump's past activities in Moscow. What other work has Skripal done for his American masters?

Jen , Dec 11 2019 22:44 utc | 47
JR @ 20:

It looks as if Sergei Skripal may not be the primary source of the disinformation in Christopher Steele's dossier. Perhaps the person who is the primary source is not a Russian at all.

RJPJR , Dec 11 2019 23:56 utc | 50
JR | Dec 11 2019 19:41 utc | 20 brings up a revisiting of the Litvinenko polonium poisoning.

It is worth mentioning that a tiny but crucial and virtually never mentioned detail of the official inquiry (considered the last word on the matter) is that those conducting the official inquiry were never allowed access to the autopsy report -- which should have been (which would have been, in any honest effort at inquiry) the bedrock starting point. The report has right along been sequestered by Scotland Yard in the interests of... you guessed it: national security. Go figure...

bevin , Dec 12 2019 1:46 utc | 53
It strikes me that the best explanation of the attack on the Skripals is not that he was responsible for the Steele Dossier in any way, but that he could easily prove that it was a fantasy. And was planning to do so.

He knew better, though, than to say so in the UK which suggests that he was on his way home with his daughter when MI6 caught up with him and poisoned them both.

Steele, Pablo Miller and Skripal were old partners in crime.

I'm wondering whether the mistake Sergei made was not to leave the house -- probably worth lotsa rubles -- behind and just go. On the other hand he was almost certainly under constant surveillance.

@50 The Official Report to which you refer was also very careful to enter extensive caveats regarding its conclusions for which there was almost no real evidence.

Cynica , Dec 12 2019 1:48 utc | 54

@Jackrabbit #12, @karlof1 #15

It seems important to note that Mr. Lavrov refers to administrations in his comments, not presidents per se. As there are many staff in presidential administrations, it seems entirely possible that 1) the requests from the Russians never reached Obama or Trump personally, and 2) either or both presidents were therefore not even aware of the requests. In the case of Trump, that would be consistent with the fact that many members of his administration have been revealed to have operated contrary to his wishes.

@Jen #42

The Skripals residing on US territory would definitely indicate that the US has been the senior partner in the "Skripal operation". This seems to be part of a general pattern.

@Jackrabbit #48

For the Steele dossier to be intentional bullshit (meaning its creator(s) knew it was false when they created it) doesn't seem all that surprising. Intelligence agencies promote disinformation all the time. That in no way means that Trump is in on the game.

pretzelattack , Dec 12 2019 2:04 utc | 55
by this point i don't know if either Skripal is still alive. Why keep them alive if they could debunk the oh so precious propaganda?
karlof1 , Dec 12 2019 3:20 utc | 58
Cynica @54--

Both Putin and Lavrov have stated that they talked directly with Obama and Trump about the issues involved with their relations, so there's no excuses or obfuscation possible is this case.

[Dec 10, 2019] Former Ukrainian Prosecutor Exposes Yovanovich Perjury, George Kent's Motive To Impeach Trump by Sundance

Notable quotes:
"... Ms. Rion spoke with Ukrainian former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko who outlines how former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch perjured herself before Congress . ..."
"... What is outlined in this interview is a problem for all DC politicians across both parties. The obviously corrupt influence efforts by U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch as outlined by Lutsenko were not done independently. ..."
"... Senators from both parties participated in the influence process and part of those influence priorities was exploiting the financial opportunities within Ukraine while simultaneously protecting Joe Biden and his family. This is where Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham were working with Marie Yovanovitch. ..."
Dec 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Former Ukrainian Prosecutor Exposes Yovanovich Perjury, George Kent's Motive To Impeach Trump by Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 19:40 0 SHARES

Authored by Sundance via the Conservative Treehouse

In a fantastic display of true investigative journalism, One America News journalist Chanel Rion tracked down Ukrainian witnesses as part of an exclusive OAN investigative series. The evidence being discovered dismantles the baseless Adam Schiff impeachment hoax and highlights many corrupt motives for U.S. politicians.

Ms. Rion spoke with Ukrainian former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko who outlines how former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch perjured herself before Congress .

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

What is outlined in this interview is a problem for all DC politicians across both parties. The obviously corrupt influence efforts by U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch as outlined by Lutsenko were not done independently.

Senators from both parties participated in the influence process and part of those influence priorities was exploiting the financial opportunities within Ukraine while simultaneously protecting Joe Biden and his family. This is where Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham were working with Marie Yovanovitch.

Imagine what would happen if all of the background information was to reach the general public? Thus the motive for Lindsey Graham currently working to bury it.

You might remember George Kent and Bill Taylor testified together.

It was evident months ago that U.S. chargé d'affaires to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, was one of the current participants in the coup effort against President Trump. It was Taylor who engaged in carefully planned text messages with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland to set-up a narrative helpful to Adam Schiff's political coup effort.

Bill Taylor was formerly U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine ('06-'09) and later helped the Obama administration to design the laundry operation providing taxpayer financing to Ukraine in exchange for back-channel payments to U.S. politicians and their families.

In November Rudy Giuliani released a letter he sent to Senator Lindsey Graham outlining how Bill Taylor blocked VISA's for Ukrainian 'whistle-blowers' who are willing to testify to the corrupt financial scheme.

Unfortunately, as we are now witnessing, Senator Lindsey Graham, along with dozens of U.S. Senators currently serving, may very well have been recipients for money through the aforementioned laundry process. The VISA's are unlikely to get approval for congressional testimony, or Senate impeachment trial witness testimony.

U.S. senators write foreign aid policy, rules and regulations thereby creating the financing mechanisms to transmit U.S. funds. Those same senators then received a portion of the laundered funds back through their various "institutes" and business connections to the foreign government offices; in this example Ukraine. [ex. Burisma to Biden]

The U.S. State Dept. serves as a distribution network for the authorization of the money laundering by granting conflict waivers , approvals for financing (think Clinton Global Initiative), and permission slips for the payment of foreign money. The officials within the State Dept. take a cut of the overall payments through a system of "indulgence fees", junkets, gifts and expense payments to those with political oversight.

If anyone gets too close to revealing the process, writ large, they become a target of the entire apparatus. President Trump was considered an existential threat to this entire process. Hence our current political status with the ongoing coup.

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain meeting with corrupt Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in December 2016.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out , because, well, in reality all of the U.S. Senators (both parties) are participating in the process for receiving taxpayer money and contributions from foreign governments.

A "Codel" is a congressional delegation that takes trips to work out the payments terms/conditions of any changes in graft financing. This is why Senators spend $20 million on a campaign to earn a job paying $350k/year. The "institutes" is where the real foreign money comes in; billions paid by governments like China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Ukraine, etc. etc. There are trillions at stake.

[SIDEBAR: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds the power over these members (and the members of the Senate Intel Committee), because McConnell decides who sits on what committee. As soon as a Senator starts taking the bribes lobbying funds, McConnell then has full control over that Senator. This is how the system works.]

The McCain Institute is one of the obvious examples of the financing network. And that is the primary reason why Cindy McCain is such an outspoken critic of President Trump. In essence President Trump is standing between her and her next diamond necklace; a dangerous place to be.

So when we think about a Senate Impeachment Trial; and we consider which senators will vote to impeach President Trump, it's not just a matter of Democrats -vs- Republican. We need to look at the game of leverage, and the stand-off between those bribed Senators who would prefer President Trump did not interfere in their process.

McConnell has been advising President Trump which Senators are most likely to need their sensibilities eased. As an example President Trump met with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in November. Senator Murkowski rakes in millions from the multinational Oil and Gas industry; and she ain't about to allow horrible Trump to lessen her bank account any more than Cindy McCain will give up her frequent shopper discounts at Tiffanys.

Senator Lindsey Graham announcing today that he will not request or facilitate any impeachment testimony that touches on the DC laundry system for personal financial benefit (ie. Ukraine example), is specifically motivated by the need for all DC politicians to keep prying eyes away from the swamps' financial endeavors. WATCH:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HnMb1R1XsyM

This open-secret system of "Affluence and Influence" is how the intelligence apparatus gains such power. All of the DC participants are essentially beholden to the various U.S. intelligence services who are well aware of their endeavors.

There's a ton of exposure here (blackmail/leverage) which allows the unelected officials within the CIA, FBI and DOJ to hold power over the DC politicians. Hold this type of leverage long enough and the Intelligence Community then absorbs that power to enhance their self-belief of being more important than the system.

Perhaps this corrupt sense of grandiosity is what we are seeing play out in how the intelligence apparatus views President Donald J Trump as a risk to their importance.


bhakta , 48 minutes ago link

It is all about cash. Nothing else matters to these people in DC.

Helg Saracen , 42 minutes ago link

Everyone loves money. I like money. The only question is how to earn them. Neither I, nor you, nor many of us will cross a certain moral and ethical line (border), but there are people without morality, without ethical standards, without conscience. We all look the same outwardly, but we are all completely different inside.

Colonel Klinks Ghost , 59 minutes ago link

Jesus Christ I'm glad McStain is gone. So many other corrupt officials need a good brain cancer.

Helg Saracen , 47 minutes ago link

You are an evil person. It was a tragedy. Surgeons failed to save the unfortunate tumor from McCain. ;)

Helg Saracen , 1 hour ago link

Ukraine is Obama's **** , this is not Trump's ****. Trump's stupidity was only one - he got into this ****. I wrote, but I repeat - USA acted as the best friend in relation to Russia, having taken off a leech from Russia and hanging it on itself. Do you know such an estate of Rothschilds - called Israel and its role in the life of USA?

So, Ukraine was for the Russians the same Israel in terms of meaningless spending. Look at Vlad, in 2014 he looked like a fox who was eating a chicken, and on January 1, 2020 he will look like a fox who eating a whole brood of chickens. I think he has portraits of Obama and Trump in his bedroom.

Cat Daddy , 4 hours ago link

Yes, indeed. Lindsey will bury the story, he is on the take. Your tax dollars at work. By the way, the Fed picked up all of the Ukies gold for safekeeping at 33 Liberty St. NY, with Yats permission, of course.... https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-18/ukraine-admits-its-gold-gone

hanekhw , 4 hours ago link

A glimpse into how elected officials accumulate millions, retire wealthy, pampered and privileged....and I'm not talking pensions I'm talking corruption. Obama, Biden, Hillary, Kerry, Holder, Rice and ALL the senior Obama Administration officials knew of each other's corrupt sinecures.

Soloamber , 4 hours ago link

I am willing to give Graham the benefit of doubt because the alternative means some serious **** is coming .

The politicians have gotten comfortable that people will do nothing . BIG mistake .

Biden seems see oblivious to what he's done and perhaps this explains it . It's ******* routine .

Lets see their financial records from the day they were elected to the present .

SoDamnMad , 20 minutes ago link

You will find very little information. City of London offshore trusts cover their tracks.

Dumpster Elite , 4 hours ago link

The author actually seems to know what's going on behind the curtain, and not just blindly speculating.

docloxvio , 2 hours ago link

Well, it is based on a OAN story. Believe it or not, they actually sent a reporter to Ukraine to talk to people with knowledge of the matter and look what they came up with. Kind of makes you wonder why other well funded news organizations never thought to do something like that.

peippe , 2 hours ago link

it's been known for at least weeks that the embassy Kunt withheld travel visas for Ukraine State attorneys.

so this in endemic,

till Trump. I love this.

Soloamber , 4 hours ago link

How does Obama buy a $ 11+ million water front estate ?

Book sales ? Nah don't think so .

You know what it costs to operate a house and property that big each year plus all the other trappings ?

He ain't driving a 64 Cricket automatic .

Gore left politics with what $2 million and now has over $200 million .

Saving the planet pays big doesn't ?

If Lindsey Graham is part of this where does it end ?

The politicians and central bankers are bankrupting the country , dumping $trillions in debt on kids that can't vote

and now we find out they are taking massive bribes ?

Really not sure if Trump can fix the broken system by himself .

If this is true the Senate will vote him out .

Serrano , 4 hours ago link

Sen. Graham tells Maria Bartiromo he will end impeachment quickly: 1 min. 27 sec.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DZDDzoG-SI

Birdbob , 5 hours ago link

Shocker Lindsay Graham willing to betray public trust for Dollars? That is what we deserve.

Lord Raglan , 4 hours ago link

I don't know that we deserve this. We are all working people, with families to raise, taxes to pay and the Dems and Commies have been working against us 24/7. And most of them get paid to do so from government jobs that pay them 8 hours a day when many work 1 hour a day, all the while scheming against us.

If Trump wins a second term, he is gonna **** these people up good.

PrideOfMammon , 3 hours ago link

No he isnt. He IS these people.

teolawki , 5 hours ago link

Now that I've read the article, I'm both shocked and appalled at learning that Ukraine is a money laundering operation for the politically connected. (They provide many other 'perks' as well.)

I've warned about light in the loafers Lindsey as well as McConnell before and more than once. Sessions should also be denied a re-admission into the swamp. There are others.

[Dec 10, 2019] The key factor in USSR's demise was that it couldn't sustain the competition with the West and wasn't able to develop, "progress", "grow" at the rate the West was showing off. US and USSR levels were far closer back in 1950 than in 1980, and the discrepancy was only growing

Dec 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Clueless Joe , Dec 9 2019 16:28 utc | 100

John Brewster - 90
Did you by chance confuse Russia with Italy? Because Russia has close to 150M people, not 65M, significantly more than Germany. Granted, less than USSR back in 1939, but militarily more powerful compared to Germany - and possibly with more exploited resources.

vk - 79
I tend to agree with the view that the key factor in USSR's demise was that it couldn't sustain the competition with the Kapital and wasn't able to develop, "progress", "grow" at the rate the West was showing off. US and USSR levels were far closer back in 1950 than in 1980, and the discrepancy was only growing. Reagan fanboys might argue that he sped up the decaying process, but troubles and upheavals were going to happen, no matter what. Now, why this rate of progress was so different is another matter, and probably the most important one - both for 20th century history and for the fate of the West in this century.
It's also painfully obvious that the only path outside downright servitude for Europe is to distance itself from the USA and seek if not a direct alliance at least a clear partnership with Russia and a "detente" with clear rules on their borders and a common declaration of neutrality over Ukraine - as in: no side will try to annex the whole country, which either would be split up or ideally would have a heavy dose of decentralization and localism. But it is of vital importance for the actual survival of Europe that atlanticists and Russiaphobes be hunted down and expelled from any position of power or influence - be it from economy, media, politics.

[Dec 10, 2019] Those geriatric crazies like Pelosi, or Hillary, or completly corrupt, bought by lobbies politicos like Schumer or Schiff, and their stooges like "linguist" Ciaramella, "politruk", master of arts in Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian studies Vindman, or Soros-connected rabid neocon Fiona Hill do not know what seven minutes on launch means

They poisoned with the USA with Russophobia for decades to come, and that really increases the risk of nuclear confrontation, which would wipe out all this jerks, but also mass of innocent people.
Notable quotes:
"... The only way to prevent it, IMHO, is having a Western public shifting just 5 % of their "breads and circuses" paradigm to that issue. Just 5. Not holding my breath I am afraid. ..."
"... Which proves the main point of mine: access to information means shit in the real world of power play. Sheeple didn't care then; they care even less now (better distractions). ..."
Dec 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

peterAUS , says: December 10, 2019 at 8:07 pm GMT

O.K.

I was, actually, thinking about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pershing_II#Protests Or, just follow this trend of "who has a bigger dick" as it is.

Sooner or later you'll have this, IMHO: Reaction time 7 minutes . You know, decision-making time to say "launch" or not. The decision-maker in the White House, Downing Street and Elysees Palace either a geriatric or one of this new multiracial breed. Just think about those people

Add to that the level of overall expertise by the crews manning those systems, its maintenance etc. Add increased automation of some parts of the launch process with hardware/software as it's produced now (you know, quality control etc.).

It will take a miracle not to have that launch sooner or later. Not big, say .80 KT. What happens after that is anybody's guess. Mine, taking the second point from the fourth paragraph .a big bang.

The only way to prevent it, IMHO, is having a Western public shifting just 5 % of their "breads and circuses" paradigm to that issue. Just 5.
Not holding my breath I am afraid.

My 2 cents, anyway.

Anon [138] Disclaimer , says: December 10, 2019 at 9:30 pm GMT
@peterAUS The rational actor false supposition has it that the biologics can't be used because they don't recognize friend from foe.

Rational actors? Where? Anthrax via the US mail.

One rational actor point of view is that you have to be able to respond to anything. Anything. In a measured or escalating response. Of course biologics are being actively pursued to the hilt. Just like you point out about Marburg.

But, the view from above is that general panic in the population cannot be allowed, and so all biologics have to be down played. "of course we would never do anything like that, it would be insane to endanger all of humanity". Just like nukes. So professors pontificate misdirection, and pundits punt.

So don't expect real disclosure, or honest analysis. "We only want the fear that results in more appropriations. Not the fear that sinks programs." Don't generate new Church commissions. Hence the fine line. some fear yes, other fears, no.

peterAUS , says: December 10, 2019 at 10:23 pm GMT
@Anon

Rational actors? Where?

Well Washington D.C.
Hahahahaha sorry, couldn't resist.

So don't expect real disclosure, or honest analysis.

I don't.

But I also probably forgot more about nuclear war than most of readers here will ever know. And chemical, when you think about it; had a kit with atropine on me all the time in all exercises. We didn't practice much that "biologics" stuff, though. We knew why, then. Same reason for today. Call it a "stoic option" to own inevitable demise.

Now, there is a big difference between the age of those protests I mentioned and today. The Internet. The access to information people, then, simply didn't have.

Which proves the main point of mine: access to information means shit in the real world of power play. Sheeple didn't care then; they care even less now (better distractions).

Well, they will care, I am sure. For about ..say in the USA ..several hours, on average.

We here where I am typing from will care for "how to survive the aftermath" .. for two months.Tops.

[Dec 10, 2019] Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews: There are things more important than your tax rate by Paul Krugman

Highly recommended!
He is bad for Jewish programmers, nurses, etc. He is certainly good for Jewish financial oligarchs like Adelson and singer as well as Zionists like natuanuahoo.
Notable quotes:
"... I think it was an Israeli friend who first told me that Judaism, unlike other faiths, has rarely been a religion of oppression -- but that the reason was simply lack of opportunity, a diagnosis that recent Israeli governments seem determined to confirm. ..."
"... An aside: American Jews almost all support Israel, but many don't support the policies of its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. But that's presumably a distinction Trump doesn't understand, at home or abroad ..."
Dec 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

On Saturday Donald Trump gave a speech to the Israeli American Council in which he asserted that many in his audience were "not nice people at all," but that "you have to vote for me" because Democrats would raise their taxes.

Was he peddling an anti-Semitic stereotype, portraying Jews as money-grubbing types who care only about their wealth? Of course he was. You might possibly make excuses for his remarks if they were an isolated instance, but in fact Trump has done this sort of thing many times, for example asserting in 2015 that Jews weren't supporting him because he wasn't accepting their money and "you want to control your politicians."

Well, it's not news that Trump's bigotry isn't restricted to blacks and immigrants. What is interesting, however, is that this particular anti-Semitic cliché -- that Jews are greedy, and that their political behavior is especially driven by their financial interests -- is empirically dead wrong. In fact, American Jews are much more liberal than you might expect given their economic situation.

... ... ...

In other words, American Jews aren't the uniquely greedy, self-interested characters anti-Semites imagine them to be. But it would be foolish to make the opposite mistake and imagine that Jews are especially public-spirited; they're just people, with the same virtues and vices as everyone else. I think it was an Israeli friend who first told me that Judaism, unlike other faiths, has rarely been a religion of oppression -- but that the reason was simply lack of opportunity, a diagnosis that recent Israeli governments seem determined to confirm.

An aside: American Jews almost all support Israel, but many don't support the policies of its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. But that's presumably a distinction Trump doesn't understand, at home or abroad

MikeBoma

MikeBoma VA 8m ago

Excellent column to which I would add only that Trump is not pro-Israel. Rather, he is pro-Netanyahu because he identifies with individuals he identifies as apparent "strong men" and believes that making "deals" with Netanyahu and others of his ilk will be mutually and personally beneficial. Trump has no concern with national policy or the best interests of the U.S. It's all about his power and wealth and he is open to deals with others who share his principal concern with self-benefit above all else. Any action taken by Trump that may seem pro-Israel in reality is merely a means to a self-serving and perhaps corrupt end. Birds of a feather...
esthermiriam DC 43m ago
Surprised Paul didn't mention the main sponsor of the group that invited Trump to speak, the Israeli American Council, is Sheldon Adelson, whose politics are of the minority in the Jewish community but very close to Trump (and Bibi's). Which actually makes the speech rather even uglier, perhaps.
NorthernVirginia Falls Church, VA 43m ago
Difficult to appreciate why the US, or Krugman for that matter, would support a religion-based Apartheid country, much less associate with that country's chief lobbying arm. Say what you will about our founding fathers, but George Washington was absolutely prescient and correct in his farewell address when he advised against "a passionate attachment of one nation for another"; the "variety of evils" he warned of regularly manifest themselves.
Bonku Madison 50m ago
The question is not who is Trump bad for. The question is- who is he good for! He is not so great for his own die-hard supporters, or even his own long term interest. In fact, he sabotaged his own presidency and basically got himself into this impeachment affair. Almost everyone is suffering under this guy. Vast majority realized that as soon as he became the President. Many realized it little later. Hopefully the remaining tiny few will understand in near future.
Mark New York 1h ago
Dear Professor K, weaponizing religion is nothing new. What's most amazing is that people were cheering him while being marginalized as stereotypes. The God of Mamon won the evening. This is the only religion Trump adheres to. Apparently it's popular among other religions too.
RLJ Manhattan 1h ago
Trump is supported by the Chabad sect which is ultra-orthodox and ultra-right wing. And his go-between is Jared Kushner.
RLJ Manhattan 1h ago
Trump is supported by the Chabad sect which is ultra-orthodox and ultra-right wing. And his go-between is Jared Kushner.
Sue Brooklyn 1h ago
Please don't conflate my Judaism with support for Israel. Israel would not support me, a secular Jew. Brooklyn is my homeland. Next year in Flatbush.
JayK CT 1h ago
In my first 59 years, I'd never felt concern for my physical safety as a Jew in this country until this man became president. I knew exactly where this was all headed at the moment Sean Spicer took to the podium and lied to the country about the inauguration crowd size in his first official act for Trump. It made me sick to my stomach, and I couldn't believe that most people were laughing it off as no big deal. Any Jew who trust this administration is a fool, and although there a few more "precise" Yiddish words for these members of my tribe, I'll refrain from using them as I'm sure you can fill in the blanks just fine.
Ilya Los Angeles 1h ago
A good reference to this opinion column, which was written and probably edited by highly intelligent people- The Stupidity of Intelligence: What Happened to Common Sense? Every sentence could be easily argued and overturned based upon some simple facts.
Bruce Rozenblit Kansas City, MO 2h ago
Trump and his minions try to buy Jewish support by backing right wing Israelis in their goal of a greater Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. In fact, when asked if Trump is anti-Semitic, one his strongest supporters, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, gave the standard response, "Trump supports Israel". Supporting Israel is a political position. All the while, Trump has about as much use for Jews as Archie Bunker had for the Jews in his fictional law firm, Rabinowitz, Rabinowitz and Rabinowitz. Then they often mention that his son-in-law is Jewish, like he had a choice in the matter. Simultaneously, Trump derives strong support from white nationalists that would be perfectly happy to send all American Jews to Israel. Those two motivations are inexorably linked. Because of this linkage, I can't understand for one minute how American Jews can support Trump. Is the money that good? Do they think that their money can protect them? Others have made that mistake before.
Luchino Brooklyn, New York 2h ago
Among Trump's lies is that he is far more friendly to Israel than Obama was. Sadly, some Jews take this lie as fact and, because of this, overlook everything else Trump does or says, supporting him without wavering, no matter what.
john connell columbia md 2h ago
The difference is intelligence. My college psychology textbook said that Russian Jewish immigrants had the highest IQs of all identified ethnicities. Number two was all other Jews. Of course they voted for Hillary.
Greg Cincinnati 2h ago
The attachment the wealthy have for the Republican Party goes beyond just a lower tax rate. It is power and deference. The wealthy want an unquestioned dominance that not only protects and expands their wealth, but celebrates them not only for their wealth as symbol of personal success but of their moral superiority. Obama certainly did not threaten their wealth, and, in fact, pursued policies that protected them from the worst of the Great Recession. Yet, the masters of wealth whined endlessly about Obama not respecting them and that his language toward them was disrespectful and not sufficiently deferential. Trump's "policies" threaten long term economic health, and the wealth creation that keeps concentrating wealth at the top. His trade gyrations, his dismantling of the environmental regulatory regime to favor fossil fuels, and his reward and punishment of private corporations based on politics are doing the damage that no Democrat would ever inflict. Yet, nary a corporate executive will said a word, and far too many are happy to be props at events for Trump's endless glorification of himself. Because they, like Trump, believe themselves heroes and geniuses whose domination should never be questioned. So they and Trump wind up all being pretty comfortable with each other. The neo-liberal promise of free market economics producing rational economic actors free from political motives and protecting all of us from political abuse rings pretty hollow.
James F Traynor Punta Gorda, FL 2h ago
"I think it was an Israeli friend who first told me that Judaism, unlike other faiths, has rarely been a religion of oppression -- but that the reason was simply lack of opportunity, a diagnosis that recent Israeli governments seem determined to confirm." Considering my age, and extrapolating therefrom, I think Einstein beat your friend to it. Pondering the moral weight given to Jewish thought at the time, Einstein thought political power was behind it, Jews simply had not the opportunity. As not unusual, Einstein's theory has been supported by experiment.
Plato CT 2h ago
Prof. Krugman, I loved this statement " An aside: American Jews almost all support Israel, but many don't support the policies of its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. But that's presumably a distinction Trump doesn't understand, at home or abroad" Please make sure that your colleague Bret Stephens get this memo.
Alan Kaplan Morristown, NJ 2h ago
I loved Trump's conclusion that people who are not nice vote for him. This is almost certainly true, we need to all be nice and vote the clown out.
Mike kelly nyc 2h ago
The audience at the Israeli American Council cheered Trump enthusiastically through out his whole speech. They cheered when he said he learned his tricks from Sheldon Adelson. They cheered when he said that maybe he should stay for eight more years. They hardly thought he was anti-Semitic. He has done exactly what he promised his big donors starting with the embassy in Jerusalem. His shutting down of any opposition to the Netanyahu administration especially the BDS movement . He seems to know his audience very well and they were loving it.
C. Bernard Florida 2h ago
Trump is not just saying "look at the taxes you are saving", he's saying "look what I've done for Israel!" I don't understand why the media persists on calling him a white nationalist. His daughter and son in law are strict Jews, he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he's given them the Golan Heights and has listened to their advice on Iran (bad idea). He's not after Jewish votes necessarily, because there are only about 2 million Jews in the U.S . But being more "affluent on average" he's more likely after some big campaign contributions.
Guesser San Francisco 2h ago
Everyone in my Jewish family votes Democratic, although we have all done well financially. I remember growing up that my Dad would say that he personally would benefit financially from a Republican administration, but that it would not be good for the nation as a whole. I believe that it is not just self-interest and fear of anti-Semitism that has led Jews to favor the Democratic party, but also Jewish values, including wanting to make the world a better place.
Watah Oakland, CA 2h ago
Trump is our Nero for the 21st century. United States and the Republicans who support him will define the decline of our status in the world stage.
JUHallCLU San Francisco Bay Area, CA 3h ago
An argument can also be made that Netanyahu (extreme Right) has been excessively partisan to the degree that it has divided both Israel and diaspora Jews. Israel might be bettered by negotiating with all of its territorial stakeholders. Land is at issue. Palestinians will not vanish or evaporate. The West Bank must be addressed. The Trump rubber stamp of a Jarusalem Embassy does not solve much.
Alan J. Shaw Bayside, NY 2h ago
@Justice Support for Israel may mean many things, at its most basic it's a belief that Israel had and still has a right to exist among the nations of the world. If one believes that at its inception it was and continues to be nothing more than an "ethnoreligious state," that imay not be support , though Krugman distinguises between the former and criticism of the current Israeli administration. I suppose the commenter would also find theocratic states like Saudi Arabia or Iran "deeply problematic " One thing for sure is that most Jews will not suport the supposedly Zionist Trump when he says that Jews who vote Democratic are either uninformed or disloyal.
Skip Moreland Baldwinsville 2h ago
@Justice My own take is that american jews support having a home for jews, esp in the land they came from. But the government of Israel is conservative while most american jews are more liberal. There are many liberal jews in Israel. I support the idea of a homeland for the jews, just not how that has been accomplished. Real democracy is fragile and far too many countries are moving from democracy to more authoritarian governments.
Eben Spinoza 5h ago
I'm told that many Israelis who were enthusiastic about Trump got a wakeup call when he abandoned the Kurds. They now better understand that he regards everyone as disposable, and can't imagine that anyone could be motivated by something other than pure-self interest.
edwardc San Francisco Bay Area 4h ago
@Eben Sadly, Donald is not the first president to abandon the Kurds. In the words of Henry Kissinger, "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests." Yes, this could conceivably at some time in the future be relevant to Israel. Even if not under Donald.
Election Inspector Seattle 3h ago
@edwardc - Kissinger, "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests." Our current problem is that the "interests" being pursued are solely those of Donald Trump personally -- appeasing his secret Russian lenders; doing the bidding of "tough" guy dictators like Turkey's so he can feel tough himself and build hotels in their capitals; exercising his long held bigotry about people of color in this country. Our allies the Kurds, on the other hand, helped with an actual, important US national interest: beating ISIS and holding it back from growing again to where it can resume attacking us. But since that doesn't put money in Trump's pocket he abandons the cause.
Concerned Citizen Anywheresville 2h ago
@Eben : I have great empathy for the Kurdish people, but does "support for the Kurds" mean we must stay in Iraq and Afghanistan literally forever? we've already been there going on 17 years -- at the cost of trillions of dollars spent and thousands of American lives.
Jacquie Iowa 5h ago
"In last year's midterms, 52 percent of voters with incomes over $200,000 voted Republican, compared with only 38 percent of voters with incomes under $50,000. The rightward tilt is especially strong at the very top; although there are a few high-profile liberal billionaires, most of the extremely wealthy are also extremely right-wing." And that group will vote for Trump for re-election even if he is impeached unfortunately.
Gone Coastal NorCal 5h ago
Israel does not seem to understand the long term damage being done to its country. The U.S. has always been its number one defender, but there is a whole generation of Americans that think Israel is bad, that it is mistreating the Palestinians. Demographics are working against it. Israel can always look to Europe, but I don't know how that is going to work out in the long run.
dr scott Kailua Kona 4h ago
@Gone Coastal Trump is all about the sugar high you get from immediate gratification of the baser impulses. His influence will end soon enough, perhaps another five years but the potential destruction of the Repulican party and the reaction against Trumpism could last for decades. Its a big danger to Israel if Israel is just seen as the last gasp of European colonialism and a part of the Western white world : a European imposition on the middle east. Roosevelt tried to create institutions that would lead to peace though out the life times of the people who lived when he was president. Sadly Trump is making strides to destroy the institutions initiated by Roosevelt, leaving a world where small countries are more easily bullied by their larger neighbors.

[Dec 09, 2019] Why is it that whenever I find a US scholar talking about Eastern Europe, they have some kind of refugee from Communism pedigree?

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

john brewster , Dec 8 2019 18:34 utc | 18

This comment follows onto earlier comments about Ukrainian influence and media censorship.

I have always tried to keep politics out of science, in order to be able to focus clearly on the study of nature, instead of the opinions of people. Admittedly, some areas of science are completely political, such as climate change, ecology, and nuclear power. I also recognize that the so-called prestige press for science - journals such as Nature (UK) and Science (US) - are going to reflect the conventional, if not the corporate perspective.

Nevertheless, a book review in this week's (5 DEC 2019) issue of Nature really pissed me off. The book is about natural gas pipelines and their ability to overcome political differences:

The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe
by Thane Gustafson

Of course, such a topic is completely political and the author is a political scientist. Gustafson is Professor of Political Science at Georgetown University and Senior Director of Russian and Caspian Energy for HIS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, whose chairman and founder is Dr. Daniel Yergin, author of many best-selling books on the oil industry.

The offensive review is by Andrew Moracsik, whom I had never heard of. But, after a little googling, I discover that his wife is the appropriately named, Anne-Marie Slaughter. She of bomb Libya fame. (NOTE 1.) Andrew himself has quite the pedigree: educated at Stanford and Johns Hopkins (Nitze SAIS), professor at Harvard and Princeton. He is a prominent scholar of the EU and of Eastern Europe, and an editor at the journal Foreign Affairs.

Now to the review. Dr. Moracsik admits up front that:

(the book) offers a readable, intelligent, even-handed historical interpretation of this relationship.

In other words, he can't fault the book for inaccuracy. But his purpose is really to bring the non-stop villification of Russia to the pages of a scientific journal. Here are the unfounded, false, and weasel-worded assertions he makes:

Russia also provoked a series of interventions and conflicts in Georgia, Moldova, Syria, and Ukraine. The West responded by imposing sanctions...More recently, Russia has become involved in the disruption of elections in the West, and in cyberwarfare.

Andrew Moravcsik is professor of politics and international affairs, and director of the EU Program, at Princeton University in New Jersey.

-----

Why is it that whenever I find a US scholar talking about Eastern Europe, they have some kind of refugee from Communism pedigree? Well, the obvious answer is that that is the pedigree that gets you into the club of Russia hatred and gets you a free pass from criticism about bias. In an earlier comment at MoA, I mentioned how the fascist Ukrainian spy network of Reinhard Gehlen became the lens through which all CIA (and therefore US) foreign policy was seen.

In Moravcsik's case the pedigree runs through his father, Michael Julius Moracsik. Michael was a refugee from Hungary in 1948, who subsequently got a Ph.D in physics from Cornell. He eventually became a scientific fellow at NATO. (NOTE 2.)

Just to round out the players' pedigrees, the author, Dr. Gustafson has given papers at the Danyliw Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine, which describes itself as

"A unique forum for researchers from Canada, Ukraine and elsewhere open to all social science and humanities research topics touching on Ukraine."

(Ah, Canada, whose deputy prime minister is Chrystia Freeland, an unrepentant defender of her Banderite Ukrainian grandfather.) So, clearly Gustafson is a member of the club and hence, the acknowledgement of factual correctness by Moravscik.

-------

This book review in this journal has driven home to me how complete the propaganda bubble is in the Five Eyes countries. How does one have an impact in the face of such overwhelming institutionalized propaganda? We have certainly reached the point described by Hannah Arendt:

Equality of condition among their subjects is not sufficient for totalitarian rule because it leaves more or less intact certain nonpolitical communal bonds between subjects, such as family ties and common cultural interests. If totalitarianism takes its own claim seriously, it must come to the point where it has "to finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess," that is, with the autonomous existence of any activity whatsoever. The lovers of "chess for the sake of chess", aptly compared by their liquidator with the lovers of "art for art's sake", are not yet absolutely atomized elements in a mass society whose completely homogeneous uniformity is one of the primary conditions for totalitarianism. From the point of view of totalitarian rulers, a society devoted to chess for the sake of chess is only in degree different and less dangerous than a class of farmers for the sake of farming.

-p 322

So, I continue to read and post at MoA, but I have no expectation that it amounts to anything more than German's listening to the BBC in WW2 did. What I do expect is that, sooner or later, MoA will be blacklisted for simply relating true facts.


----


NOTE 1

Slaughter served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School from 1989–1994

On 23 January 2009, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced the appointment of Slaughter as the new Director of Policy Planning under the Obama administration.

In July 2005, Slaughter wrote in the American Journal of International Law about the responsibility to protect (R2P).

Slaughter wrote a strong endorsement of Western military intervention in Libya. In this op-ed, Slaughter challenged the skeptics who questioned the NATO use of force in Libya,

On 25 August 2011, she was roundly criticized by Matt Welch, who sorted through many of Slaughter's prior op-eds and concluded that she was a "situational constitutionalist".

Clifford May on 15 October 2014 wrote a piece in which he drew a straight line between Annan and Slaughter's R2P "norm", and the failure in Libya. May noted that President Obama had cited the R2P norm as his primary justification for using military force with Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who had threatened to attack the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

In an 11 November 2014 piece entitled What Happened to the Humanitarians Who Wanted to Save Libyans With Bombs and Drones?, Glenn Greenwald denounced her and her policies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne-Marie_Slaughter


NOTE 2:

Michael Julius Moravcsik - Hungarian, American physics professor.
Recipient Derek de Solla Price memorial medal;
Scientists and Engineers for Economic Development grant, 1974,
Senior fellow in Science, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1974.

Background

Moravcsik, Michael Julius was born on June 25, 1928 in Budapest, Hungary.
Arrived in United States, 1948, naturalized, 1954.

Education

Student, University Budapest, 1946 -- 1948.
AB cum laude, Harvard University, 1951.
Doctor of Philosophy, Cornell University, 1956.

https://prabook.com/web/michael_julius.moravcsik/797937


John Gilberts , Dec 8 2019 16:43 utc | 10

Banderite lobby (Ukrainian World Congress) seeks to sabotage upcoming Normandy Four summit:

https://mailchi.mp/ukrainianworldcongress/uwc-expresses-condolences-on-death-of-osce-monitor-741073

"Ahead of the Normandy Four meeting in Paris, I once again highlight the key priorities of the Ukrainian World Congress position in support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We ask that Ukrainian communities around the world maintain and call upon their national leaders to maintain a clear and unequivocal position, specifically that..."

james , Dec 8 2019 20:27 utc | 34
@29 john brewster... here - let me ''react''.. you gave a few really great examples.. i don't know that anyone here would dispute how insipid all these russophobic articles are, or worse, that they all follow a constant theme running out of the 5 eyes central offices..

it is entirely predictable at this point and you're absolutely correct - 110% propaganda... y

ou've given another good example here with the treatment of stephen cohen... what i find shocking is the lack of embarrassment towards all of this..

people in the west seem to be devoid of any type of response to it all, other then us commenting on moa about it.. i don't know how any of it is going to change..

it seems to me the desire to protest all this is really low here in the west..

i admire the french for the protests they have been engaged in the past few months, which get very little msm coverage.. i wish we could protest about all the propaganda we are subject to here in canada or the usa, but we haven't reached a critical point in it all yet it seems..

jayc , Dec 8 2019 23:27 utc | 51

james #27 - " the drivel chris brown - regular columist for cbc posts.. and typically his drivel is not open to comments.. here is his latest bs - In an obliterated landscape, war-weary Ukrainians hope peace summit ends fighting for an insight into completely lopsided reporting"

Is it my fading memory, or was the CBC once a relatively professional source of international reporting? This piece is notably bad - not just from the skewed account of 2014's events, or the insistence on describing Donbass as "separatist", or the map which includes Crimea as part of Ukraine. How is it that the Minsk Accords no longer seem to exist in the corporate media, or the upcoming meeting in Paris properly described as a continuation of that process (alleged failure to "live up" to said accords was used as a stick against Putin for several years, and now their possible realization is vaguely referred to as something bad). Why does a Chatham House spokesperson get to define Ukraine's supposed "red lines", which are in reality the political position of the badly defeated former government? Why is Zelensky's oft stated policy position presented here as Russian-induced capitulation? Brown interviews four women of whom he says "none would tell us their last name out of fear of repercussions from local authorities" except they allowed for their photos to be taken and published. All of these story points result from conscious decisions, not sloppy errors.

[Dec 09, 2019] The Interagency Isn t Supposed to Rule in Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... I first heard of the interagency in Baghdad in 2009. I was there as part of a Council on Foreign Relations delegation to Iraq. As a U.S. Army general briefed us on how the war was being fought, he spoke of the interagency as the source of the strategy he was executing. Naively, I asked why he wasn't operating according to orders from his military superiors or the secretary of defense. ..."
"... He explained that American war-fighting was being guided by a "whole of government" philosophy. Incredibly, he explained that the war couldn't be won without, among other agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor. Iraq needed economic expansion, modern farming, business statistics, new hospitals, a working court system and workplace regulations. The strategy framed by the interagency was nothing less than a yearslong engagement in nation building -- precisely what President George W. Bush had rejected in his 2000 campaign. ..."
"... When the war on terror opened, with all the secret activity it required, professional cadres in the diplomatic corps, the military and the nation's many intelligence agencies were able to transform interagency cooperative agreements that had existed since the Cold War into a de facto agency -- a largely informal and virtual bureaucracy -- with the assumed power, if need be, to determine and execute a foreign policy at odds with the intent of the president and Congress. ..."
"... Last month's testimony before the Intelligence Committee shed light on this club whose members are a permanent shadow government credentialed by family histories, elite schools and unique career experiences. This common pedigree informs their perspective of how America should relate to the world. The dogmatists of the interagency seem to share a common discomfort with a president who probably couldn't describe the doctrine of soft power, doesn't desire to be the center of attention at Davos, and wouldn't know that Francis Fukuyama once decided that history was over. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | www.wsj.com

Enthusiasm over entrepreneurship is now found in every corner of society -- even, apparently, within the federal bureaucracy. Witness after witness in last month's House impeachment inquiry hearings referred to "the interagency," an off-the-books informal government organization that we now know has enormous power to set and execute American foreign policy.

The first to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, State Department official George Kent, seemed to conceive of the interagency as the definitive source of foreign-policy consensus. That Mr. Trump's alleged decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine deviated from that consensus was, for Mr. Kent, prima facie evidence that it was misguided.

Next up, Ambassador William Taylor told the committee that it was the "unanimous opinion of every level of interagency discussion" that the aid should be resumed without delay. Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official, gave the game away by admitting how upset she was that Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, had established an "alternative" approach to helping Kyiv. "We have a robust interagency process that deals with Ukraine," she said.

What is the interagency, and why should its views guide the conduct of American diplomatic and national-security professionals? The Constitution grants the president the power to set defense and diplomatic policy. Where did this interagency come from?

I first heard of the interagency in Baghdad in 2009. I was there as part of a Council on Foreign Relations delegation to Iraq. As a U.S. Army general briefed us on how the war was being fought, he spoke of the interagency as the source of the strategy he was executing. Naively, I asked why he wasn't operating according to orders from his military superiors or the secretary of defense.

How Did Adam Schiff Get Devin Nunes's Phone Records? How did Adam Schiff get Devin Nunes's phone records? bb0282a3-e4cb-42ba-9988-2f3df57fd912@1.00x Created with sketchtool.

He explained that American war-fighting was being guided by a "whole of government" philosophy. Incredibly, he explained that the war couldn't be won without, among other agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor. Iraq needed economic expansion, modern farming, business statistics, new hospitals, a working court system and workplace regulations. The strategy framed by the interagency was nothing less than a yearslong engagement in nation building -- precisely what President George W. Bush had rejected in his 2000 campaign.

Interagency cooperative agreements have been around for decades. The Justice Department, for example, has opioid-interdiction programs that require it to work with the Department of Homeland Security. Today a dictionary of more than 12,500 official terms exists to guide bureaucrats in writing interagency contracts that repurpose federal funds appropriated to various executive departments. Often these interdepartmental initiatives devised by bureaucrats are unknown to Congress. It's hard to imagine that the legislative branch wouldn't object to these arrangements, if only it were aware of them.

When the war on terror opened, with all the secret activity it required, professional cadres in the diplomatic corps, the military and the nation's many intelligence agencies were able to transform interagency cooperative agreements that had existed since the Cold War into a de facto agency -- a largely informal and virtual bureaucracy -- with the assumed power, if need be, to determine and execute a foreign policy at odds with the intent of the president and Congress.

Last month's testimony before the Intelligence Committee shed light on this club whose members are a permanent shadow government credentialed by family histories, elite schools and unique career experiences. This common pedigree informs their perspective of how America should relate to the world. The dogmatists of the interagency seem to share a common discomfort with a president who probably couldn't describe the doctrine of soft power, doesn't desire to be the center of attention at Davos, and wouldn't know that Francis Fukuyama once decided that history was over.

The impeachment hearings will have served a useful purpose if all they do is demonstrate that a cabal of unelected officials are fashioning profound aspects of U.S. foreign policy on their own motion. No statutes anticipate that the president or Congress will delegate such authority to a secret working group formed largely at the initiation of entrepreneurial bureaucrats, notwithstanding that they may be area experts, experienced in diplomatic and military affairs, and motivated by what they see as the best interests of the country.

However the impeachment drama plays out, Congress has cause to enact comprehensive legislation akin to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which created more-efficient structures and transparent processes in the Defense Department. Americans deserve to know who really is responsible for making the nation's foreign policy. The interagency, if it is to exist, should have a chairman appointed by the president, and its decisions, much like the once-secret minutes of the Federal Reserve, should be published, with limited and necessary exceptions, for all to see.

Mr. Schramm is a university professor at Syracuse. His most recent book is "Burn the Business Plan."

[Dec 09, 2019] One of the best indicators of imperial violence is displaced persons

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Russ , Dec 9 2019 9:32 utc | 77

A User , Dec 9 2019 7:13 utc | 72

One of things which concerns me most about this site and most others inhabited by contrarian blokes of a certain age is the way that topics discussed are most often the same topics as those fed to the mugs via corporate media.

Sure the opinions are vastly different, but the subjects are not. So much energy and time wasted on pointless topics like the amerikan prez when we all know that it really doesn't matter who jags that gig nothing meaningful will alter for amerikans or the people outside amerika oppressed by empire.

Now the prez thing is a bit of a troll since so many amerikans have been intensely indoctrinated right through their lives to believe that all the prezdency guff is meaningful when it so obviously isn't. That in reality the odds of any amerikan suddenly having an epiphany about the pointlessness of DC kibuki from reading this, or something similar written by someone else, are negligible.

So we have to accept, to a degree, that Washington Housewives and Days of Our Lives DC will continue to feature at MoA.

But what happens when the corporate media chooses not to consider much larger, more pernicious forms of imperialism than is currently occurring in the ME because that imperialism is nascent, awful things are being done to humans western populations who have not been sufficiently propagandised against, so may not greet the tales of murder and mayhem generated by the actions of french foreign legionaires, english SAS or amerikan special forces with sufficient approval?

Easy, we just don't talk about it except when told to or where there is no choice because some action by the imperial thugs for hire has attracted too much attention. In that case the barest of details make it into the news and we will be told that whoever it was who had their families butchered belonged to an organisation which 'western intelligence' said was 'associated with ISIS'. No specificity, not details at all apart from the one unsubstantiated claim, which lets face it says any village of humans anywhere that contains a single resident which western intelligence believes is somehow associated with ISIS, is worthy of being genocided out of existence.

I reckon one of the best indicators of imperial violence is displaced persons. We saw in the ME that various forms of ethnic cleansing were practised to persuade people to move off their traditional lands in order to either exploit the natural resources in the area (see Saudi Amerika driving tribes from the newly discovered hydrocarbon prospects in North Yemen), or to create lebensraum for another group of humans currently held in favour by the empire (see the shifting of arabs and Turkamen from North Syria to give ready made villages to Kurds which only lasted for as long as the Kurds were needed by empire).

So many people were displaced in the ME during the first half of the teens that shock, horror some european countries felt obliged to allow a few of those whose lives had been destroyed into their communities.

That was then, yet we still all talk about the ME as though it is where the empire is committing its most egregious harm, but that is no longer the case.

If you check this Pew Center article you will see The total number of people living in sub-Saharan Africa who were forced to leave their homes due to conflict reached a new high of 18.4 million in 2017, up sharply from 14.1 million in 2016 -- the largest regional increase of forcibly displaced people in the world" .

If one checks the chart Pew has provided we can see that the numbers of decent humans in the ME who have been displaced from their land is alleged to currently be 21.5 million while the number of persons displaced in sub-Sahara Africa is about 3 million less at 18.4 million.

See so more action in the ME still. No, firstly the ME curve has flattened right out over the years since 2016 meaning that new displacements are relatively low unless of course it is your whanau that has been displaced in which case it wouldn't feel nearly as benign.
Secondly if you look at the fine-print on that chart you will see the 21.5 million line is labelled "Middle East-North Africa".

Libya is an African state which happens to have a proportion of arabic speaking people in its population, it also contains Berbers (e.g. Muammar Ghadaffi) and what the chart calls "sub-Saharan Africans when they want say negro but the unfortunate connotations associated with that term (99% the result of horrific whitefella behaviour) means that negro is no longer a la mode in whitefella land.

Not enough to rape, steal & steal from black Africans, now we also remove the means to identify them as a distinct group.

The Libya africa/ME issue matters a great deal because prior to the fukusi rape of Libya, that nation acted as a bulwark for all the supra-saharan nations, some Saharan eg Niger and that was just as likely a reason for amerika to destroy Libya setting loose the ethno-centrists of Misratah to kill black africans, standover Berbers & Turks to ensure that only Arab speaking semites can get control. This is the deal the empire struck. Not to enable italy to get some of that sweet sweet crude at the sort of bargain basement prices Italy hadn't enjoyed since Mussolini invaded Libya - that was purely a minor side benefit, now the good colonel was no more, fukus became the only game in town.
There was no longer any white knight determined to protect his/her neigbours from the outright theft, extortion, bribery, rape & murder which are the empire's stock in trade.

It began with aa team of US military nuclear experts in Niger .

It is foolish and counterproductive to ignore the horrors that a US-led fukus mission which runs across the entire African continent has created in the name of more billions to the already rich.
Do it if you want, but all you are really achieving is enabling the arseholes.

There is a scarcity of relevant links for the usual reasons. Not only are you more likely to put faith in info from sources you already know & trust, getting there will help you comprehend this crime far better than something easily digestible from a user, and most importantly the final paras were done long after the sun rose over the yardarm here.

@ A User 72

All very true. I would place the de jure war onslaughts within the overall context of globalization and in particular the imperialistic assault of corporate industrial agriculture upon Africa, the last great semi-frontier which wasn't fully assimilated by the first "Green Revolution" onslaught. A main goal as the global empire faces decline or collapse is to seize control of all land and drive the people OUT.

Globalization acts to destroy all local production and distribution. It destroys this outright or seizes control of it in order to force it into the global commodity framework. It seizes control of indigenous land and resources. It dumps subsidized Western goods. It destroys any functional politics and democracy. It imposes the control of multinational corporations over every part of life it can. It does this purely in the power interests of Western elites. Any benefits it lets trickle down to locals are purely calculated payouts to accomplices. Much of the global South has been crushed under the corporate boot this way, and Africa has already been subject to the IMF and World Bank’s debt indenture shock treatment (“structural adjustment”).

All this has been accompanied by the systematic ravaging of African ecosystems, culminating in the rising climate chaos driven by the patterns of energy consumption, waste, and ecological destruction practiced and imposed by Western industrialized productionism and consumerism. Climate change is caused by these actions. Since corporate state elites and their supporters have long known this and in spite of lots of lip service have refused to do anything to avert the worst of it, it’s long been true that climate change is an intentional campaign of aggression against the Earth and all vulnerable peoples. Thus climate change takes its place as the most extreme and far-reaching of the corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. According to this pattern of disaster capitalism the corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. All corporate sectors practice this, and corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all. Today Africa is its primary new target.

Corporate control of agriculture and food has always been at the core of the globalization onslaught. In accordance with its food weapon the US government systematically has waged economic, political, chemical, biological (both of the former in the form of poison-based agriculture and other pretexts for systemic and systematic environmental poisoning), and often literal shooting warfare. Throughout this history of war and sublimated war, corporate agriculture has been a constant weapon and battleground as well as its aggrandizement being a constant goal.

[Dec 09, 2019] Our Lying Military, Our Lying Government by Rod Dreher

Dec 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Everybody's talking about the FBI report today, but as far as I'm concerned, this long piece in the Washington Post is the real news. Here's how it begins:

The documents include transcripts of interviews with soldiers, diplomats, and others with direct experience in the war effort. Excerpts:

"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan -- we didn't know what we were doing," Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: "What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

"If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost," Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. "Who will say this was in vain?"

More:

"What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?" Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, "After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan."

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

Look at this:

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul -- and at the White House -- to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

"Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible," Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. "Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone."

One more:

As commanders in chief, Bush, Obama and Trump all promised the public the same thing. They would avoid falling into the trap of "nation-building" in Afghanistan.

On that score, the presidents failed miserably. The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan -- more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

The Lessons Learned interviews show the grandiose nation-building project was marred from the start.

Read it all.

If you can get through it all, good for you. I got so mad that I had to quit reading not long after the paragraph above. We have lost about 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, and sustained about 21,000 casualties of war. (Not to mention all the dead innocent Afghan civilians, and the dead and wounded troops of our NATO allies.) We have spent altogether almost $1 trillion on that country. The Afghan officials stole a fortune from us. We never knew what to do there. And every one of our leaders lied about it. Lied! All those brave American soldiers, dead or maimed for life, for a war that our leaders knew that we could not win, but in defense of which they lied.

It's the Pentagon Papers all over again. You know this, right.

Trump is negotiating now with the Taliban over the possibility of US withdrawal. The story says US officials fought the Post in court over these documents, and have said most recently that publishing them would undermine the administration's negotiating position. I don't care. Tell the truth, for once. Let's cut our losses and go before more Americans die in this lost cause. Poor Afghanistan is going to fall under the tyrannical rule of the mullahs. But if, after 18 years, a trillion dollars, and all those dead and wounded Americans, we couldn't establish a stable and decent Afghan regime, it's not going to happen.

If any of my children want to join the US military, I'm going to go to the mat to talk them out of it. I do not want them, or anybody's sons or daughters, sent overseas to die in hopeless countries in wars that we cannot win, and shouldn't have fought, but kept doing because of bipartisan Establishment foreign policy delusions. To be clear, we should have bombed the hell out of Afghanistan after 9/11. The Taliban government gave shelter to Al Qaeda, and brought retribution upon itself. But the Bush Administration's nation-building insanity was never going to work. Eight years of Obama did not fix this. Nor, so far, has three years of Trump, though maybe he will be the one to stop the bleeding. If he does withdraw, I hope he blasts the hell out of his two predecessors and the military leadership for what they've done here.

I've been writing lately in this space, and in the book I'm working on, about the parallels between late-imperial Russia and our own time and place. And I've been writing about what Hannah Arendt had to say about the origins of totalitarianism. Arendt says that one precursor of totalitarianism is a widespread loss of faith in a society's and a government's institutions. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, the US military is one of the few institutions that enjoys broad confidence. How can anybody possibly believe them after this? How can we believe our Commanders-in-Chief? According to the secret documents, the men in the field have been were their commanders for a long time that this Afghan thing was not working, and wasn't ever going to work. But they kept sending them back in.

Why? Pride? Too full of themselves to admit that it was a failure? As soldier John Kerry turned antiwar activist said back in the 1970s, about Vietnam, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" No more American dying in and for Afghanistan. Bring the troops home. They did not fail. Their superiors did.

How do you convince young people to join an institution whose leadership -- civilian as well as military -- is prepared to sacrifice them for a lost cause, and then lie, and lie, and lie about it? How do you convince mothers and fathers to send their sons and daughters with confidence to that military? How do you convince taxpayers to support throwing more money into the sh*thole that is the Pentagon's budget?

The questions that are going to come up sooner than most of us think, and, in some version, from both the Left and the Right: just what kind of order do we have in America anyway? Why do I owe it my loyalty? What does it mean to be a patriot when you cannot trust the nation's leaders and institutions?

These are the kinds of questions that, depending on how they are answered, can lead to the unraveling, and even the overthrow, of a regime. It has been said that the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan was a prime mover in the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet system. We are not the Soviet Union -- but I wouldn't be so quick to take comfort in that, if I were a political or military leader.

We learned nothing from Vietnam, did we? Not a damn thing. It is beyond infuriating. It is beyond demoralizing. And you know, the only thing more infuriating and more demoralizing than this will be if there are no consequences for it, or if people fall back into partisan positions. The report makes clear that this is a disaster that was launched by a Republican administration, continued under a Democratic administration, and has been overseen by another Republican administration.

One of the reasons Donald Trump is president today, and not some other Republican, is he was the one Republican primary candidate who denounced the wars. If he can't get us out of Afghanistan, what good is he?

UPDATE: I was just thinking about something a military friend told me almost 15 years ago, based on his direct personal knowledge of the situation: that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was lying to the nation about how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were going. And if Rumsfeld was lying, so was the administration. My friend was deeply discouraged. Rumsfeld left office in 2006 -- but the habit remained with our leadership.


Sid Finster 29 minutes ago • edited

The only thing that surprised me in the WaPo article was that it was published in the CIA's house organ.

EDIT: I should have added that the squandering of blood and treasure, fighting a pointless war that benefits nobody but the financiers, contractors, arms manufacturers and generals, all while the politicians and generals proclaim that victory is just at hand, we can't turn back now, - all this reminds me of nothing so much as a smaller scale WWI.

Tony55398 13 minutes ago
Trump wants us out of Afghanistan, but Iran is a different story. He's sending more troupes to Saudi Arabia to defend the Saudi's from Iran, how is that disentangling from the ME. I think the Saudi's Wahhabism, basically the same as ISIS practices, is the most dangerous religion in the word today and they are busy exporting it to the rest of the world. I really think Trump is a false prophet, a lying prophet, who serves first himself.
disqus_nocmkvBMwY 10 minutes ago
Didn't vote for Trump - but: He has attempted to stand up to the elite establishment intelligence-military-arms manufacturing complex and start cutting back the forever wars. Everyone attacks him for this--establishment Republicans, Democrats, State Department, Military, Intelligence, Media--everybody. The attacks are immediate and intense. He is almost always forced to pull back. He seems determined to keep trying, but, as is evident, they will do anything it takes to stop him.

[Dec 09, 2019] When it became clear the USSR wouldn't be able to keep up technologically with the USA, Gorbachev then decided (without knowing it) it would be preferrable for The USSR to disappear than to continue to exist as a non-superpower.

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Dec 9 2019 12:08 utc | 79

More on "Western imbecilization":

A (Grudging) Defense of the $120,000 Banana

These are the successors of Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Picasso, etc. etc.

--//--

This is Brazil's "God's Army":

'Soldiers of Jesus': Armed neo-Pentecostals torment Brazil's religious minorities

First Worlders commenting here seem to have the illusion Christianism is the good brother of the three Abrahamic religions. Although I understand the pro-Christian bias coming from the Europeans (since Christianism is an inextricable aspect of European identity), this opinion is a myth: we have already tasted this in the Bolivian coup, but it's also a Latin American phenomenon.

Christians are wolves under sheep skins.

--//--

@ Posted by: pogohere | Dec 9 2019 1:25 utc | 57

The USSR had a relatively backwards transportation system (specially railways), that still used disproportional quantities of petroil to function, but that wasn't an existential threat to the nation per se , it could be modernized.

Of all the theses I've read about the collapse of the USSR, the one that most convinced me was Angelo Segrillo's "Decline of the USSR" - which I think only exists in Portuguese right now. Segrillo covers all the arguments of the time used to explain the fall of the USSR and refutes them all empirically before he lays out that the main cause of the fall of the USSR was its structural inability to implement the Third Industrial Revolution ("toyotism").

When it became clear the USSR wouldn't be able to keep up technologically with the USA, Gorbachev then decided (without knowing it) it would be preferrable for the USSR to disappear than to continue to exist as a non-superpower.

In that sense, yes, the Soviet then relatively inneficient energy use was a symptom of the underlying cause - but it wasn't the cause.

--//--

@ Posted by: bevin | Dec 9 2019 3:03 utc | 62

The problem with Europe is its geography: it is a tiny, depleted peninsula. In the 17th Century, it was an advantage, since the lack of natural resources impelled it to aggressively exploit other continents, giving birth to capitalism.

But capitalism is a global system, not a regional system. When it reached maturity, Europe slowly, but inexorably, begun to lose its competitive advantages over purely capitalist formations - the greatest of them all being the USA. Then what was an advantage became a disadvantage.

This gordian knot was cut with WWI and WWII (both were only one war, in two parts) - a last desperate attempt by British capitalism to preserve its imperialist status.

But History is unasailable: it is the saga of class struggle, of the contradictions between the modes of production and the relations of production. The result couldn't be any different: Western Europe was on its knees after WWII. The British Empire had just sold all its assets to the Americans and German men were literally prostituting themselves to American soldiers for on cigarette (and German children, for one chocolate bar). The USA was the undisputed sovereign of the European Peninsula from 1945 on.

The last leverage the European Peninsula had, in that scenario, was the USSR itself: it could ask the USA for good treatment and some dignity in exchange of not doing socialist revolutions backed up by the Soviets. The result was the Marshall Plan and a permission to revive their previous industrial parks.

That situation resulted in the rise of Atlanticism, the ideology that the USA is the legitimate heir of Western Civilization. Andy Warhol was the successor to Michelangelo.

--//--

@ Posted by: john brewster | Dec 9 2019 4:35 utc | 65

The USSR stagnated during the period that spanned from the oil crisis of 1975 until its fall in 1991.

But it only had a recession in two years of its history: the year after the Perestroika and its last year of existence. Both were very mild recessions (by capitalist standards).

Even during the infamous "Brezhnev stagnation", growth was 1-3% per year - comparable to the developed capitalist nations since the 1990s.

But the problem is that its successor states are doing objectively worse: Russia will grown a little more than 1% this year; other ex-Soviet states are more or less in the same situation (with Ukraine doing outright worse). The mircle promised to the Russians didn't come: Putin's boom of the early 2000s was not comparable to the Soviet boom. Russia's status today are completely dependent on China (which, ironically, has the Soviet system of government) and the modernization from the old Soviet weapons and know-how it already had.

[Dec 09, 2019] A Determined Effort to Undermine Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate. ..."
"... Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured. ..."
"... It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is. ..."
"... Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency). ..."
"... Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing. ..."
"... I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!) ..."
"... "From 1922 onwards the strategic purpose of the Soviet Union was to defend the Soviet Union not global domination, whereas the purpose of the "West" has always been global domination. " ..."
"... "At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause." ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Retired Australian diplomat Tony Kevin, in conversation with former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, says the West is unnecessarily determined to undermine Russia. A t an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause.

When Kevin said he returned to Russia after more than 40 years in 2016 he realized he "had to take sides" in the U.S.-Russia standoff when all Nato countries boycotted the Moscow celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

"I had to take a moral position that it is not right for the West to be ganging up on Russia," Kevin says in his conversation with the former Australian foreign minister.

The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate.

Watch the hour-long in depth discussion which was filmed and produced by Consortium News' CN Live! Executive Producer Cathy Vogan.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dJiS3nFzsWg?feature=oembed


ElderD , December 9, 2019 at 15:03

Tony's (especially!) and Bob's sane and sensible view of this dangerous and destructive state of affairs deserve the widest possible distribution and attention.

George McGlynn , December 9, 2019 at 13:27

A quarter century has passed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and little has changed. Cold War patterns of thinking about Russia show no sign of weakening in America. The further we distance ourselves from the end of the Cold War, the closer we come to its revival. Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured.

peter mcloughlin , December 9, 2019 at 10:45

It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is.

AnneR , December 9, 2019 at 07:48

The latest efforts at attacking Russia via smear, allegation and Doublespeak have been, are via that US supported supposed oversight committee, WADA which has done what the US-UK wanted: banned Russia for four years from international sporting events including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and World Cup (Football – soccer to Americans).

Then there were allegations – of those "highly likely" (therefore one knows to be untrue and unadulterated propaganda to increase Russophobia) sort – about Russian hackers (always giving the impression that the "Kremlin" is behind itl) being the Labour Party's source of the Tory party's US-UK trade deal which would/will deliberately and finally destroy the NHS and replace it with (of course) US "health" insurance company profiteering.

(Always the Tory intention from the NHS's initiation in May of 1948; only its popularity among many Tory party supporters among the working and lower middle classes prevented them from a full-frontal killing off the NHS; the Snatcher's government began the undermining, via installing a top-heavy bureaucratization, siphoning off a sizable proportion of the funds that would otherwise have gone to medical care, demanding that hospitals not "lose" money – a concept completely beyond the remit of the NHS as originally conceived and constructed and like exactions.)

Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency).

Someone even suggested that President Putin needed to be diplomatic. Really? From what I've read the man is the most diplomatic and intelligent politician (not just political leader) along with Xi Jinping and the Iranian government that exist on the world stage. None of them are hubristic, solipsistic, eager beaver killers of peoples in other countries. Unlike their western "world" political counterparts.

Jeff Harrison , December 8, 2019 at 18:30

Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing.

St. Ronnie's whole thing back in the 80's was to outspend Russia militarily and it worked well. We're trying to do it again but Russia isn't playing the same game this time and now it is the US that has a mountain of debt and Russia that doesn't. SIPIRI tags US military spending at $650B and Russian military spending at $62B. But we know that the $650B number is bogus because it doesn't include our in-violation-of-the-NNPT nuclear program which is in the energy department or our veteran's expenses which are in HHS. I don't know what's missing from Russia's $62B but I'll bet they can sustain that a whole lot better than we can sustain our $650B and rising bill.

Antonio Costa , December 9, 2019 at 13:17

Good point regarding Russia's downsizing the Soviet Union. From Gorbachev to Putin there was NEVER a surrender, intended in any way. The intent has been multilateral partnerships. For Russia the US/West won nothing at all except the opportunity to live and work in peace. (By the way this policy has a long Russian history.)

They gave up the Warsaw Pact and America with our worthless "word" expanded NATO.

The US foreign policy has lost even the semblance of sanity. Our naked aggression is clear as never before, a mad man throwing a global fit armed with megaton nuclear projectiles on trigger first strike alert. What could go wrong?

nondimenticare , December 8, 2019 at 15:56

If, magically, Consortium News/CN Live! were a mass-distribution network/magazine (hence universally consulted), allowing the light in for the mass of the viewing and listening public, it could change the world – both an exalting and despairing thought.

Lily , December 8, 2019 at 09:52

It is a great joy to listen to this conversation!

I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!)

I wish people would have the courage to break away from the group pressure originated by a nation which has been started by killing more than 90% of the indigenous people in their country and since then has turned the worl into a very insecure place.

Chapeau, Tony Kevin! Thanks to Bob Carr and Consortiums News.

Lily , December 9, 2019 at 01:18

It seems that some facts are beginning to be realized in the military department.

www(dot)zerohedge(dot)com/geopolitical/pentagon-alarmed-russia-gaining-sympathy-among-us-troops

Bob Van Noy , December 8, 2019 at 09:22

Simply, wonderful

OlyaPola , December 8, 2019 at 07:43

Words are catalysts of connotations and connotations are functions of expectations/framing..

Some conflate cause with purpose thereby limiting perception of cause and purpose.

Some understand that causation is interactive and in any lateral system the genesis of causation is difficult to determine.

Some understand that evaluation is a function of purpose and that purpose can be evaluated through such portals into wonderlands such as "What is the "United States of America" and how is it facilitated?"

As thumb-nailed in the comments section of the article Capitalism's suicidal trajectory – OlyaPola
December 6, 2019 at 07:46

"From 1922 onwards the strategic purpose of the Soviet Union was to defend the Soviet Union not global domination, whereas the purpose of the "West" has always been global domination. "

From 1922 onwards various tactics have been attempted by the "West" to facilitate their purpose, including attempts at "Orange revolution" in many areas which catalysed many lateral trajectories including the process of transcendence of the "Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation in the period from 1991 to 2005.

Consequently Mr. Suslov's observation re war of "The United States of America" can be extended into present times and hence no "New cold war" exists.

""What is the "United States of America"

An initial step through the portal is that "The United States of America" is – a regime of social relations to facilitate its purpose – the social relations not being restricted to the "nation state" presently self designated "The United States of America" but including classes in other "nation states".

Consequently alternative purposes and social relations pose an existential threat to "The United States of America"; this being perceived of lesser significance in regard to "The Soviet Union" and greater in regard to the Russian Federation.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , December 8, 2019 at 07:30

"At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause."

The American establishment's problem with Russia is simply that Russia is the only country on earth capable of obliterating the United States. Not even China has yet reached that capacity.

"Carthago delenda est"

Skip Scott , December 9, 2019 at 06:13

There is "cause." Russia was our latest vassal under Yeltsin. Putin stopped the looting, and worked to benefit average Russian citizens. Just watch "The Magnitsky Act, behind the scenes" to know the "cause".

Bruno DP , December 8, 2019 at 02:34

The West is ganging up on Russia? Replace "West" by "United States of America", and I will agree.

Much of the West (i.e. Germany) has been dragged by force into damage control mode. The Magnitsky Act monster, the election interference hysteria, are just 2 crying examples met with shock and disbelief across the pond. The Fiona Hill testimony was a very telling moment for the inner workings of a self perpetuating logic.

Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.

But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined.

Martin Schuchert , December 8, 2019 at 17:33

I'm German, living in the US, and I agree with your comment. I especially love the last two sentences:

"Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.
But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined."

[Dec 08, 2019] The Delusions Of The Impeachment Witnesses Point To A Larger Problem

Notable quotes:
"... For one the Ukraine is not fighting "the Russians". The Kiev government is fighting against east-Ukrainians who disagree with the Nazi controlled regime which the U.S. installed after it instigated the unconstitutional Maidan coup. Russia supplies the east-Ukrainians and there were a few Russian volunteers fighting on their side but no Russian military units entered the Ukraine. ..."
"... But aside from that how can anyone truly believe that the Ukraine "fights the Russians so we don't have to fight them here"? Is Russia on the verge of invading the United States? Where? How? And most importantly: What for? How would that be in Russia's interest? ..."
"... And how is it in U.S. interest to give the Ukraine U.S. taxpayer money to buy U.S. weapons? The sole motive behind that idea was greed and corruption , not national interest: ..."
"... To claim that it hurt U.S. national interests is nonsense. ..."
"... It is really no wonder that U.S. foreign policy continuously produces chaos when its practitioners get taught by people like Karlan. In the Middle East as well as elsewhere Russian foreign policy runs circles around U.S. attempts to control the outcome. One reason it can do that is the serious lack of knowledge and realism in U.S. foreign policy thinking. It is itself the outcome of an educational crisis. U.S. 'political science' studies implement a mindset that is unable to objectively recognize the facts and fails to respond to them with realistic concepts. ..."
"... In the meantime Trump is eliminating food stamps for some 700,000 recipients and the Democrats are doing nothing about it. Their majority in the House could have used the time it spent on the impeachment circus to prevent that and other obscenities. ..."
"... The same bs argument about "not fighting the Russians here" was used a couple of weeks ago by another witness, Tim Morrison. This shows you that the hysteria is bipartisan... ..."
"... I don't believe that the so called "Professor's View" is normative for the educated class of Americans. It is the normative view of the Ivy League pseudoeducated individuals that have been placed in leadership positions in the US Goverment and Politics but they are not EDUCATED in any way. Karlan is almost certainly a Jew. She is without a doubt a whore who will do anything for her John as directed by her pimp. ..."
"... Being a brain dead feminist helps her with that role in life. I had an ex wife who fought me post divorce for 10 years trying to destroy me in any way she could. She finally stopped with the Breast Cancer she had for 7 of those years finally killed her. I see the same psychotic, sociopathic and off scall narcissitic behavior in every one of these women in politics and academics today. So don't think that something will get better without a terminal solution. ..."
"... Americans are entranced by the kayfabe (mock combat). Just as in wrestling it is designed to look 'real' but just keeps people engrossed in the action, unable to think of what they are NOT being told. ..."
"... Her delusions are a prerequisite for teaching at an academic level. ..."
"... The military industrial complex is in the people of usa's interest.. they think they benefit from the rayatheons, lockheed martins, boeings and etc - as they have relatives working at these places... the usa is one sick puppy, and Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor is just further proof of this... sorry if someone else said what i did, as i didn't read the comments yet.. ..."
"... The fact that the "papers of record" have become mouthpieces for the CIA/deep state has played a huge role in the brainwashing of academia and the rise of neoliberalism. The false narratives these "trusted sources" of information have been serving up create a very real Matrix, a false reality that is ingrained into those who rely upon them for their daily "news". Karlan is merely repeating what she accepts as truth, garnered from the NY Times and Wash Post, CNN, NPR, etc. ..."
"... The US is dysfunctional on purpose to keep the masses under control and dumbed down/brainwashed ..."
"... BTW, it is totally lost on the entirety of Western establishment that you cannot make Ukraine strong (wouldn't we all love to see strong Ukraine?) while wrecking its economy by encouraging policies like spending 5% of GDP on the military, switching to more expensive energy sources, cutting itself from traditional markets and supplies, replacing with rather worthless "cooperation" agreement with a trading block that is neither particularly interested in trading with Ukraine (Ukraine strongest exports are in surplus within EU) nor inclined to subsidize it (budgets are tights and plenty of recent EU members are in dire needs already) ..."
"... Unfortunately this is endemic in the western world. 'Democracy' seems to consist of dumbing down the population as much as possible, and telling them what they have to think so the self-anointed leaders of society can have their way (both those in front, and behind the scenes). I'm far from certain this is a recipe for success. ..."
"... Russians and Chinese in particular, and BRICS/SCO in general, are showing the way. The countries involved have very different political systems, but they understand that co-operation is much more beneficial than constant conflict. ..."
"... This is a typical example of the stupidity and often dementia of most of the highly educated. Especially those in academia, who exist in a funhouse hall of propagandist and ideological mirrors. But it's true of the educated in the general. I personally know plenty of highly educated people who make themselves more stupid and mentally ill by the day by uncritically reading the NYT and watching CNN. ..."
"... So it's no wonder that an elite Stanford law professor is in practice the exact same stupid, ignorant, deranged yahoo as you could easily find in a trailer park, just with better manners and diction. ..."
"... After all, Karlan's Russia comment would receive enthusiastic thumbs up from at least Biden, Obama, W. Clinton, H. Clinton, Rubio, Klobuchar, Pelosi, Warren, Graham, Buttigieg, Romney, the late McCain, Pompeo, Bolton, Mattis...the list goes on and on. ..."
"... It's even worse than that. The economy will never recover while oligarchs have a stranglehold on economic activity and government. And USA's capitalist dementia ensures that will never change. (The West as a whole is headed in the direction of unabashed oligarchic rule.) ..."
"... Many of the dumbest people I met were university students or graduates. They are thought to absorb information as given, reproduce once, forget. They are not trained to question anything, they follow a narrative. Some even denounced everything they ever learned and became a follower of some religion, which is just another narrative. ..."
"... I've seen Jonathan Turley on TV a number of times. He always seemed to be a person of integrity. One needs to add courage to the list after testifying against impeachment on the presented "evidence". I will be very surprised to see him on PBS or CBS ever again. Their news readers are nearly giddy with excitement about impeachment. They never consider what could happen if Trump is convicted but refuses to leave the White House. Then what? ..."
"... Karlan type of academics is scattered all over the US universities. They are the Academia´s gatekeepers, watching over & "spotting" of our future leaders. the majority of them are claptraps selling jingoism to our youth in order to fulfill the Judeo-Zionist agenda. ..."
"... You hit the nail on the head. Karlan's loyalty is to her tribe, not this nation. That's the crux of almost every major problem and injustice we're suffering from in this country, from private prisons to Wall Street looting to endless foreign wars to censorship. There is one group of people behind it with a very bad track record in terms of how they treat their host nations. I wonder when we will finally get our act together and become the 110th country to expel them. ..."
"... IF Trump is removed from office then the war on Lebanon and Iran would be accelerated. Israel will likely go for all the marbles and annex the last remaining Palestinian holdings. Some here believe this couldn't happen but we all live in bizarro world now. ..."
"... it was obvious (on the video) that Karlan really thought she was (wait for it! It's on the way) landing a very clever bon mot! ..."
"... It is a small thing, yet it speaks volumes about the spirit of this clearly clueless human being (and others of her ilk), and her handlers, who must have cleared this little gotcha for prime time. Been up on the podium too long, bleating to students who can't/don't bleat back! No common sense. ..."
"... As the great wise man, Frank Zappa proclaimed about the USA: "Politics/government is the entertainment division of the Military-Industrial Government." American politics makes much greater sense (and is a hell of a lot more entertaining) if you understand this truism. ..."
Dec 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

During yesterday's impeachment hearing at the House House Judiciary Committee one of the Democrats' witnesses made some rather crazy statements. Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor, first proved to have bought into neo-conservative delusions about the U.S. role in the world:

America is not just 'the last best hope,' as Mr. Jefferies said, but it's also the shining city on a hill. We can't be the shining city on a hill and promote democracy around the world if we're not promoting it here at home.

As people in Bolivia and elsewhere can attest the United States does not promote democracy. It promotes rightwing regimes and rogue capitalism. The U.S. is itself not a democracy but a functional oligarchy as a major Harvard study found:

Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

But worse than Karlan's pseudo-patriotic propaganda claptrap were her remarks on the Ukraine and Russia:

This is not just about our national interests to protect elections or make sure Ukraine stays strong and fights the Russians so we don't have to fight them here , but it's in our national interest to promote democracy worldwide.

That was not an joke. From the video it certainly seems that the woman believes that nonsense.

For one the Ukraine is not fighting "the Russians". The Kiev government is fighting against east-Ukrainians who disagree with the Nazi controlled regime which the U.S. installed after it instigated the unconstitutional Maidan coup. Russia supplies the east-Ukrainians and there were a few Russian volunteers fighting on their side but no Russian military units entered the Ukraine.

But aside from that how can anyone truly believe that the Ukraine "fights the Russians so we don't have to fight them here"? Is Russia on the verge of invading the United States? Where? How? And most importantly: What for? How would that be in Russia's interest?

One must be seriously disturbed to believe such nonsense. How can it be that Karlan is teaching at an academic level when she has such delusions?

And how is it in U.S. interest to give the Ukraine U.S. taxpayer money to buy U.S. weapons? The sole motive behind that idea was greed and corruption , not national interest:

[U.S. special envoy to Ukraine] Volker started his job at the State Department in 2017 in an unusual part-time arrangement that allowed him to continue consulting at BGR, a powerful lobbying firm that represents Ukraine and the U.S.-based defense firm Raytheon. During his tenure, Volker advocated for the United States to send Raytheon-manufactured antitank Javelin missiles to Ukraine -- a decision that made Raytheon millions of dollars.

The missiles are useless in the conflict . They are kept near the western border of Ukraine under U.S. control. The U.S. fears that Russia would hit back elsewhere should the Javelin reach the frontline in the east and get used against the east-Ukrainians. That Trump shortly held back on some of the money that would have allowed the Ukrainians to buy more of those missiles thus surely made no difference.

To claim that it hurt U.S. national interests is nonsense.

It is really no wonder that U.S. foreign policy continuously produces chaos when its practitioners get taught by people like Karlan. In the Middle East as well as elsewhere Russian foreign policy runs circles around U.S. attempts to control the outcome. One reason it can do that is the serious lack of knowledge and realism in U.S. foreign policy thinking. It is itself the outcome of an educational crisis. U.S. 'political science' studies implement a mindset that is unable to objectively recognize the facts and fails to respond to them with realistic concepts.

The Democrats are doing themselves no favor by producing delusional and partisan witnesses who repeat Reaganesque claptrap. They only prove that the whole affair is just an unserious show trial.

In the meantime Trump is eliminating food stamps for some 700,000 recipients and the Democrats are doing nothing about it. Their majority in the House could have used the time it spent on the impeachment circus to prevent that and other obscenities.

Do the Democrats really believe that their voters will not notice this?

Posted by b on December 5, 2019 at 15:40 UTC | Permalink


Mischi , Dec 5 2019 15:45 utc | 1

next page " never underestimate the stupidity of people. Even professors.
bevin , Dec 5 2019 15:56 utc | 2
This is the woman that Common Dreams describes as a leading legal scholar. And maybe she is, it would certainly help explain the current state of the US Judiciary and the legal system, which reflects internally the utter contempt for law and custom which characterises US behaviour in international affairs.
DG , Dec 5 2019 15:56 utc | 3
The same bs argument about "not fighting the Russians here" was used a couple of weeks ago by another witness, Tim Morrison. This shows you that the hysteria is bipartisan...
Duncan Idaho , Dec 5 2019 16:00 utc | 4
History is not a strong point for the Dims., as it conflicts with ideology. The Repugs just loot and plunder, with little regard for history.
oldhippie , Dec 5 2019 16:00 utc | 5
There is a large cohort of Americans who believe every word the professor spoke. Whatever you and I may think about it the professor's view of the world is normative for the educated class in America.
rednest , Dec 5 2019 16:02 utc | 6
Regarding those food stamps, it is actually just a small rule change lowering the unemployment rate to 6% (from 10%) above which a state can waive the existing work requirement for single, non-disabled recipients aged 18-49. States can still also waive it if they deem that job availability is low.
Likklemore , Dec 5 2019 16:13 utc | 7
Attributed to Mark Twain. Perhaps the learned professor karlan may affirm: "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

AND Ukraine wishing to join NATO: well, not so fast for Hungary. Hungary says it will block Ukraine from joining NATO over controversial language law

Budapest has signaled that it will not support Ukraine's bid to join NATO until Kiev reverses a law that places language restrictions on ethnic Hungarians and other minorities living in the country.

Legislation that limits the use of Hungarian, Russian, Romanian, and other minority languages in Ukraine must be repealed before Hungary backs Ukraine's NATO membership, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday.

"We ask for no extra rights to Hungarians in Transcarpathia, only those rights they had before," Szijjarto told Hungarian state media at a NATO summit in London. He alleged that 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in the region have been "seriously violated" by Ukraine.[.]

In February, Ukraine's parliament ratified amendments to the constitution which made NATO membership a key foreign policy objective. However, a number of hurdles still remain before its membership is likely to be seriously considered. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker predicted in 2016 that it would be 20-25 years before Ukraine would be able to join NATO and the EU.

Tick Tock , Dec 5 2019 16:18 utc | 8
I don't believe that the so called "Professor's View" is normative for the educated class of Americans. It is the normative view of the Ivy League pseudoeducated individuals that have been placed in leadership positions in the US Goverment and Politics but they are not EDUCATED in any way. Karlan is almost certainly a Jew. She is without a doubt a whore who will do anything for her John as directed by her pimp.

Being a brain dead feminist helps her with that role in life. I had an ex wife who fought me post divorce for 10 years trying to destroy me in any way she could. She finally stopped with the Breast Cancer she had for 7 of those years finally killed her. I see the same psychotic, sociopathic and off scall narcissitic behavior in every one of these women in politics and academics today. So don't think that something will get better without a terminal solution.

Jackrabbit , Dec 5 2019 16:18 utc | 9
Americans are entranced by the kayfabe (mock combat). Just as in wrestling it is designed to look 'real' but just keeps people engrossed in the action, unable to think of what they are NOT being told.

People must free themselves of partisan affiliations that are just levers used to manipulate them.

The establishment uses Democracy Works! propaganda to give you a false sense of power and security. But the people are an afterthought in US/Western politics. The politicians and their Parties work for the money. Much of that money comes from AIPAC, MIC, and other EMPIRE FIRST organizations that are leading us to WAR.

Lazy Americans must get off the couch and form protest Movements. Movements that the establishment works hard to prevent. This is what it takes: France Paralyzed By Largest General Strike In Decades .

It's messy and inconvenient but power only responds to power.

The stoopid cult-thinking must stop. This is where it leads: Buffalo Bishop Resigns Over Sex Abuse Cover-Up . Why do people cling to a corrupt Catholic Church? It's NOT just a few bad apples!! The pedophilia and cover-ups have been worldwide and reach into the highest levels of the Church.

This Buffalo Bishop, like dozens of other Bishops in the last decades, lied to cover for pedophiles and then used the power of his position to remain in his position. His wasn't for the children or any higher morality but for himself. He will get a nice, peaceful retirement - paid for by the deluded Catholic flock.

!!

vk , Dec 5 2019 16:19 utc | 10
In the meantime Trump is eliminating food stamps for some 700,000 recipients and the Democrats are doing nothing about it.

The reason for that if very simple: the Democrats agree with Trump on this.It's the same question many ask when studying Roman History for the first time: where were the legions when the Goths invaded? The answer is that the Goths were the legions, there was no invasion.

The same logic applies to the Right-Left political spectrum in modern Western Democracies. "Where are the lefties?" is the modern question the first worlders ask themselves since 2008.

--//--

As for the Pamela Karlan thing, it's an issue I've been commenting on here for some time now, so I won't repeat everything.

I'll just say again that imbecilization is a completely normal historical phenomenon in declining empires: the earlier example we have is the Christianization of the Roman Empire after Marcus Aurelius' death. The rise of Christianity was the messenger of the Crisis of the Third Century, the historic episode which ended the Roman Empire by giving birth to its demented form after the Diocletian Reforms.

Empires tend to have a very plastic conception of truth, that is, they believe they can fabricate reality for the simple reason they are geopolitically dominant.

It's easy to visualize this. The greatest philosopher of the end of the 18th Century and beginning of the 19th Century was a German, not a British. While Hegel wrote his proto-revolutionary works which would pave the way to Karl Marx, in UK we had the likes of Mackinder and Mahan dominating British philosophical thinking. And even then they weren't the dominant intellectual figures: the UK was the land of accountants and economists, not philosophers. The reason for this is that neither Hegel nor Marx had any ships to do gunboat diplomacy in Asia, as the British did.

Empires tend to think and rationalize the world in a much more plastic/practical way than the periphery. As the old saying goes: the stronger side doesn't need to think before it acts.

Bart Hansen , Dec 5 2019 16:21 utc | 11
"...make sure Ukraine stays strong and fights the Russians so we don't have to fight them here"

Is this 2019 or 2003?

Bill H , Dec 5 2019 16:32 utc | 12
"In the meantime Trump is eliminating food stamps for some 700,000 recipients and the Democrats are doing nothing about it."

Bill Clinton took millions off of welfare support and was applauded for it.

Likklemore , Dec 5 2019 16:37 utc | 13
Scroll down the page @ Steven Cheung {VID} on Twitter to watch this exchange where the RATS are told they are the ones who have abused power. Professor Jonathan Turley, a lawyer's go-to-Constitutional Expert:

"The Record does not establish corruption in this case - no bribery, no extortion, no obstruction of justice, no abuse of power."

Trump should include Prof. Turley on his legal team. The RATS have not thought this through to what will unfold in the Senate. A real court trial; No hearsay and no! no! no! "I was made aware" And the Bidens, Schiff, and Pelosi under cross-examination. And the Whistleblower!!!

Year 2025 it is.

Mischi , Dec 5 2019 16:39 utc | 14
I used to think that stupid was a characteristic of the American right. It took Donald Trump getting elected to see that stupid knows no political borders. Seriously. I thought that education and progressive thinking also led to a clarity of thought. Boy, was I wrong. The most pro-war people in the USA seem to be Democrats. Bizarro world.
Vonu , Dec 5 2019 16:40 utc | 15
Her delusions are a prerequisite for teaching at an academic level.
Chevrus , Dec 5 2019 16:47 utc | 16
To "...make sure Ukraine stays strong and fights the Russians so we don't have to fight them here"

This predates 2003 and stems from the red menace days when it was the communist legions would behave like a set of dominoes and eventually we (USA) would be fighting them in the streets of New York etc. Thus it was imperative that they defeat the commies in French Indo-China despite the fact that they could easily have simply bought the nation by supporting Uncle Ho who had been working for the OSS during WW2. But no, they had to win brownie points with the French by bankrolling their effort to retake the nation and when that didn't work a little "false flag" event employed to keep the ball rolling. I use quotations because while being false, the Tonkin Gulf event wasn't much of a flag.....

At any rate the fact that both Demublicans AND Republocrats are falling back on such antiquated rhetoric is bitterly laughable! It can also be seen as an indicator of just how dumbed down the USAn populace has become. As noted above article, how could anyone think that the RF would plan much less attempt an attack on the continental US?! A closer look at recent history has the US and it's poodles surrounding the RF with missile bases, sanctioning and embargoing the fhaak out it, and generally trying to destroy the nation as a whole with whatever clandestine methods are available. But hey, take a page from the book of Cheney: deny everything and make counter accusations.....

james , Dec 5 2019 16:52 utc | 17
thanks b... propaganda is the usa's education... see your breakdown of the nyt articles... most people don't get this...

The military industrial complex is in the people of usa's interest.. they think they benefit from the rayatheons, lockheed martins, boeings and etc - as they have relatives working at these places... the usa is one sick puppy, and Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor is just further proof of this... sorry if someone else said what i did, as i didn't read the comments yet..

james , Dec 5 2019 16:55 utc | 18
wikipedia on pamela karlan.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela_S._Karlan

"Throughout her career, Karlan has been an advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court.[10] She was mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter when he retired in 2009.[11]

Personal life

Karlan told Politico in 2009, "It's no secret at all that I'm counted among the LGBT crowd".[12] She has described herself as an example of a "snarky, bisexual, Jewish women".[13] Her partner is writer Viola Canales.[14]

she is not an American women apparently.. she is a Jewish women.. oh well, lol...

Perimetr , Dec 5 2019 16:56 utc | 19
The fact that the "papers of record" have become mouthpieces for the CIA/deep state has played a huge role in the brainwashing of academia and the rise of neoliberalism. The false narratives these "trusted sources" of information have been serving up create a very real Matrix, a false reality that is ingrained into those who rely upon them for their daily "news". Karlan is merely repeating what she accepts as truth, garnered from the NY Times and Wash Post, CNN, NPR, etc.

Believe me, even here in the red states, you won't find a hell of a lot of faculty members at large universities who are Trump supporters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ

Lorenz , Dec 5 2019 16:56 utc | 20

What I find absent in most discussions about impeachment of Trump is the 800 pound gorilla - what will happen to the US if against all odds, Trump gets impeached. Could the US survive that cataclysmic event or would it rip the empire apart? What contingency plans does everybody make for that unlikely, but not impossible singularity?
Dave , Dec 5 2019 17:00 utc | 21
"In the meantime Trump is eliminating food stamps for some 700,000 recipients and the Democrats are doing nothing about it. Their majority in the House could have used the time it spent on the impeachment circus to prevent that and other obscenities."

That's why it's called bread and circus. The loot and pillage party's two separate funding arms get their funding and privilege from the same sociopath/psychopaths who operate the mass murder for profit economy we now live in.

They will continue the slaughter until the enforcers within society finally understand they work for criminally insane cultists who will never have enough money, power, and prestige.

Piotr Berman , Dec 5 2019 17:02 utc | 22
I see that distrust to everything that is good and decent is extended to law professors. Stanford is a short (if sometimes slow) ride from Berkeley that has a more famous professor in its own law school (Wiki):[you know

John Choon Yoo (born July 10, 1967)[4] is a Korean-American attorney, law professor, former government official, and author. Yoo is currently the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.[1] Previously, he served as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the Department of Justice, during the George W. Bush administration.

He is best known for his opinions concerning the Geneva Conventions that attempted to legitimize the Bush administration's War on Terror. He also authored the so-called Torture Memos, which provided a legal rationale for so-called [you know what] =====

First, they torture logic... The ignorants who could not tell tollens from a toilet brush would not even know what to twist, hence the need for professors.

psychohistorian , Dec 5 2019 17:15 utc | 23
@ b who wrote

"The U.S. is itself not a democracy but a functional oligarchy as a major Harvard study found:"

My only quibble with another great post is the assertion that the US is functional. Functional would mean it had supportive infrastructure but instead we have homeless shitting in the street because they are driven out of the parks to do so and they must be bad people that don't deserve public toilets.

Functional would mean, as Jackrabbit linked to above, and a I i did a few hours ago in the Weekly Open Thread, that there wouldn't be 117 sexually abusive Catholic priests in the Buffalo NY area doing the same thing as Epstein was doing to his clients.

Functional would mean we would not have the blatant hypocrisy Chervus quoted from the posting above

"To "...make sure Ukraine stays strong and fights the Russians so we don't have to fight them here"

I agree with Chervus that this is same BS that got us the Iron Curtain with Russia after WWII because they wanted Godless communism instead of global private finance. And also, as I ranted recently in the Open Thread, this gave us the 1950's change to the US Motto to In God We Trust which gets back to the control of the obfuscatory/hypocrisy narrative telling us that the private finance cult are doing God's work and that "competition is good/sharing is bad"

The US is dysfunctional on purpose to keep the masses under control and dumbed down/brainwashed

Piotr Berman , Dec 5 2019 17:15 utc | 24
Ha! More connections to Stanford: "Ancient Logic: Forerunners of Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

BTW, it is totally lost on the entirety of Western establishment that you cannot make Ukraine strong (wouldn't we all love to see strong Ukraine?) while wrecking its economy by encouraging policies like spending 5% of GDP on the military, switching to more expensive energy sources, cutting itself from traditional markets and supplies, replacing with rather worthless "cooperation" agreement with a trading block that is neither particularly interested in trading with Ukraine (Ukraine strongest exports are in surplus within EU) nor inclined to subsidize it (budgets are tights and plenty of recent EU members are in dire needs already)

Ant. , Dec 5 2019 17:17 utc | 25
I think it's tragic that that creatures like Karlan are not simply seen as the blatant bigots and Nazi's that they are. You have to be wearing a large set of blinkers not to be able to see that.

Unfortunately this is endemic in the western world. 'Democracy' seems to consist of dumbing down the population as much as possible, and telling them what they have to think so the self-anointed leaders of society can have their way (both those in front, and behind the scenes). I'm far from certain this is a recipe for success.

The biggest tragedy is that Americans seem to think that the only way to succeed is to tear down any other country that isn't essentially a puppet government, necessarily defining them as 'enemies', and therefore someone/thing that must be hated and destroyed, by any means, fair or foul.

Russians and Chinese in particular, and BRICS/SCO in general, are showing the way. The countries involved have very different political systems, but they understand that co-operation is much more beneficial than constant conflict. Unless, of course, a quarter of your government tax income is dedicated to supporting an amazingly corrupt Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex.

steven t johnson , Dec 5 2019 17:27 utc | 26
Trump supporters approve of cutting food stamps. The majority of Democratic Party politicians approve of cutting food stamps. Both parties agree times are good and the future is rosy. The only thing they disagree on is foreign policy. The guy who couldn't even win the election (and merely fluked in on a technicality that undermines all progress since 1788,) refuses to play by the rules on foreign policy. And he is not justified by success, not in any terms, not in making peace, not in winning, not in anything. The only people who are upset about impeaching Trump are Trump lovers and cranks who think being president is like being elected God and no one but sinners can defy Him.

The Trump supporters were going to turn out for him anyway, barring an economic crisis even they couldn't ignore. Impeachment has no downside so long as it is from the right, and doesn't rile up the rich people. Except the rich donors are leaving the Democratic Party anyway. The strategy for a nicey-nice campaign that leaves enough Trump voters soothed enough to sit it out has one enormous defect: Trump was not elected by the people anyhow.

But the Democratic Party politicians are anti-Communist, which means pro-Fascist, so yes, they do see this as (im)moral principles to die for, though they hope to politically kill for it. Their problem is, Trump is also anti-Communist and pro-Fascist, which everyone knows, which means Trump was merely his office for campaigning. That may be hypocritical and a violation of campaign laws. But in the eyes even of the anti-Communist/pro-Fascist population missiles for Ukrainian fascists with strings or without strings is merely a tactical disagreement. Even worse, the president breaking laws is perceived as strong leadership, smashing the machine, getting rid of those awful politicians and their oppressive government.

Russ , Dec 5 2019 17:37 utc | 27
This is a typical example of the stupidity and often dementia of most of the highly educated. Especially those in academia, who exist in a funhouse hall of propagandist and ideological mirrors. But it's true of the educated in the general. I personally know plenty of highly educated people who make themselves more stupid and mentally ill by the day by uncritically reading the NYT and watching CNN.

I don't know why anyone would expect anything different. All system schooling at whatever level boils down to the same two goals:

  1. Instill the basic literacy necessary for a given cog position within the hierarchy.
  2. Instill obedience to authority, including indoctrination into its ideology.

From kindergarten to grad school these are the same; whether one's being trained to pump gas or to assume a high position in the corporate world/government/academia these are the same.

So it's no wonder that an elite Stanford law professor is in practice the exact same stupid, ignorant, deranged yahoo as you could easily find in a trailer park, just with better manners and diction.

That's the American system.

mrr52 , Dec 5 2019 17:42 utc | 28
"One must be seriously disturbed to believe such nonsense. How can it be that Karlan is teaching at an academic level when she has such delusions?"

I assume this question was meant rhetorically. After all, Karlan's Russia comment would receive enthusiastic thumbs up from at least Biden, Obama, W. Clinton, H. Clinton, Rubio, Klobuchar, Pelosi, Warren, Graham, Buttigieg, Romney, the late McCain, Pompeo, Bolton, Mattis...the list goes on and on.

For a related, institutionalized, revolting example packaging multiple instances of such delusional thought, see "russias-dead-end-diplomacy-syria" . Have a pail nearby to catch the spew.

Russ , Dec 5 2019 17:46 utc | 29
steven t johnson 26

"The guy who couldn't even win the election (and merely fluked in on a technicality that undermines all progress since 1788,)"

I don't think you ever answered when I asked you last time: Are you saying you think Hillary was so stupid she didn't know about the electoral college, and that it was electoral votes she had to fight for, not popular ones? Because if you're not saying that, then nothing is changed: Trump beat Hillary in the electoral fight they were both trying to win. It's pure nonsense to babble about "technicalities".

And if any significant Democrat faction was saying throughout 2016, and not just after the election, that the election should NOT be about electoral votes, please direct me to where and when they were saying that, because I don't recall ever hearing it. And I think the reason I never heard it was because the Dems were so smugly sure of electoral college victory. And if Hillary had won, we never would've heard a word from you or anyone else about the electoral college.

Jackrabbit , Dec 5 2019 17:47 utc | 30
Piotr Berman @24:
it is totally lost on the entirety of Western establishment that you cannot make Ukraine strong while wrecking its economy
It's even worse than that. The economy will never recover while oligarchs have a stranglehold on economic activity and government. And USA's capitalist dementia ensures that will never change. (The West as a whole is headed in the direction of unabashed oligarchic rule.)

Why would anyone invest in Ukraine? Sometimes I think Putin was happy for the Western coup to succeed and simply planned to keep the best parts.

!!

casey , Dec 5 2019 17:48 utc | 31
But do they really believe what they (the mid-level elites) say or is it all some kind of theater of the increasingly absurd? I am never clear on who among the narrative managers is sincere and who is simply acting sincere. Are people like this woman or the Bellingcat narrative managers or any of their numerous colleagues in their mid-level narrative management positions occupying their positions simply due to their acting abilities? They seem to be both delusional and ill-informed. When these people get together at their conferences and dinner parties, does the mask come off?
juannie , Dec 5 2019 17:49 utc | 32
Mischi #1
never underestimate the stupidity of people. Even professors.

Or as I think it was Einstein that reportedly said: (I paraphrase from memory)

To truly understand the infinite, just contemplate human stupidity.
vk , Dec 5 2019 18:02 utc | 33
Related news (on the subject of "American delusion"):

NATO Is Full of Freeloaders. But It's How We Defend the Free World. -- Europe without American protection is a continental disaster waiting to happen.

Well, mr. Stephens kind of tells the truth on the headline. But at least he could be more polite.

Jackrabbit , Dec 5 2019 18:03 utc | 34
casey @31: When these people get together ... does the mask come off?

I doubt it. They have convinced themselves that they are right and/or are following the wishes of people who are right-thinking. In USA, most people are brainwashed to assume that people with lots of money are right-thinking (as in: they must be doing something right!).

Upton Sinclair:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

!!

Really?? , Dec 5 2019 18:25 utc | 36
Wasn't the "so we won't be fighting them here" meme used also to justify the Iraq invasion and the War on Terror?
karlof1 , Dec 5 2019 18:31 utc | 38
Upton Sinclair self-published a book in 1922 about education in America entitled Goose Step . Predating the infamous era of the Nazi/Fascist Goose Stepping thugs then armies, I read a preview and found an inexpensive copy. The subject as might be assumed was about the use of school systems to indoctrinate young Americans at all educational levels and nationwide to conform to the views of the rather few wealthy people who sat on interlocking boards that controlled curriculum--sort of like the oligarchic control over media today.

And as we've seen with the study of political-economy, the ability to erase rather recent developments and personages and inserting false doctrines and their priests was done rather easily and with little noted protest. And so it's gone on down through the decades until today--just look at the War Criminals hired by Stanford and other universities for proof of its being an ongoing problem.

That ideological blinders are omnipresent is easily proven by the various defense planning documents referenced here over the last several years, all of which relate to the unilateral, might makes right mindset that's one of the Evil Outlaw US Empire's longstanding traits that predates the 20th Century. Too many will never learn humility and the reality accompanying it until it's enforced. But there's a wiser group residing within the Empire, some of us present at this bar ready to deal with the mess once humpty-dumpty falls from its perch upon which it's currently tottering.

Beibdnn , Dec 5 2019 18:40 utc | 42
I just looked up Pamala Karlan. Apparently there is a story that when she was a baby she was so ugly her parents had to put shutters on her pram. She claims to have a partner? There's no accounting for taste I suppose but even for a U.S. citizen there must be a red line. Somewhere? someone! As to her intellectual prowess, in my limited understanding, intellect depends on the platform it rests upon. Put a Jaguar engine into a Mobility scooter and see how well that performs. Plenty of power but no means of utilising it. Logical mechanisms such as law require as little emotion as possible. People like her just bring the demise of a great nation into action sooner rather than later. I suppose we should be grateful such fools consider Russia an adversary, it's makes predicting what comes next much more clear and succinct action can be instigated. Professor Pamela Karlan. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
james , Dec 5 2019 18:58 utc | 44
@29 russ...steven is making himself look like a fool regularly with that crap.. oh well..

@36 really? yes, indeed.. same faulty logic one would expect from a stanford law prof.. as @22 piotr rightly notes - john yoo, the freak who could make torture in abu graib okay is another one cut from the very same cloth..

i see one of Pamela Karlans comments got the ire of melania trump.. article here..

"The Constitution states that there can be no titles of nobility. So while the president can name his son Barron, he can't MAKE him a baron." Pamela S. Karlan

"A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it." -- Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 4, 2019

Karlan apologized for her remark as the hearing continued late Wednesday. "It was wrong of me to do that,'' she said, according to the Associated Press. "I do regret it."

nwwoods , Dec 5 2019 19:19 utc | 45
Universally accepted fact among the devoted is that "America is fighting Russia in the Ukraine", though there are exactly zero confirmed reports of Russian troops in the region in the past five years.
Joost , Dec 5 2019 19:22 utc | 46
Many of the dumbest people I met were university students or graduates. They are thought to absorb information as given, reproduce once, forget. They are not trained to question anything, they follow a narrative. Some even denounced everything they ever learned and became a follower of some religion, which is just another narrative.

I remember one student dorm in particular. Someone came in and decided it was too warm. Put the central heating thermostat on "arctic winter", opened all doors and windows while it was freezing outside. Then someone else came in and decided it was cold, closed all doors and windows, put the thermostat on "incinerate". Repeat 24/7. The few times I tried to explain how a thermostat works, I felt like being rubbed out of existence. Only one guy understood that you set a room thermostat at a comfortable level and it would regulate to desired temperature. He was an alcoholic, always stoned up to his eyeballs, not a student except for the 3 or 4 studies he briefly tried and failed, and had given up on life in general. He was also the only one there who questioned things.

!!

Yevgeny , Dec 5 2019 19:36 utc | 51
Why assume that democracy was not always a trick? Pax Romana anyone?

Also there are some pretty nasty comments on here about the confused professor that say a whole lot more about the hangups of the poster.

Trailer Trash , Dec 5 2019 19:39 utc | 52
I've seen Jonathan Turley on TV a number of times. He always seemed to be a person of integrity. One needs to add courage to the list after testifying against impeachment on the presented "evidence". I will be very surprised to see him on PBS or CBS ever again. Their news readers are nearly giddy with excitement about impeachment. They never consider what could happen if Trump is convicted but refuses to leave the White House. Then what?

--------- The food stamp program changes will kill people. As intended. One of the most affected groups will be people who are too sick or otherwise too impaired to work, and maybe unable to even leave their home, but still can't get social support. The system says there is no problem because desperate people can get a free meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the other 363 days a year, go find a dumpster to dive in.

Almost all Social Security Disability applicants are denied on the initial application. There are no interim payments or support of any kind. Many give up, as intended. The rest file appeals and wait years for a hearing before an "administrative law judge", who is not a "real" judge, but just some lawyer with fancy title.

ALJ decisions tend to be rather arbitrary, so a favorable decision depends on which ALJ hears a case. Sure there are more levels to appeal, and many more years of no social support, if an applicant can find a way to survive for years on zero income, all the while being sick with probably no medical care.

Social Security and disability lawyers have colluded to keep lawyers in business. Social Security requires the use of a standard contract that gives the lawyer a fixed percentage of the retroactive benefits. "Retroactive benefits" are the regular monthly benefits that accrue from the officially determined "date of disability". So if it takes three years to get benefits, the lawyer gets a nice chunk of change for a few hours work writing a brief and showing up for the hearing.

The lawyer who signed my contract did nothing to help my case, and he even hired someone else to write the brief and attend the hearing. One wonders if ALJs get some benefit from lawyers to encourage long wait times, since long wait times increase lawyer profits at zero cost.

The US system really is that cruel and barbaric. It would be kinder to take us out back and shoot us, but that's too obvious. Much better to let people die slowly in the shadows so the rest of society doesn't have to see us.

And I'm one of the fortunates who managed to hang on, despite bankruptcy, a civil suit, the disability benefits process (only took six years), and state attempts to revoke Medicaid, all at the same time. I know it sounds melodramatic, made up, or at least exaggerated. That's understandable, because it seems that way to me, too!

About 1000 people a week kill themselves in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Does anyone wonder why, or even notice? The reason for many of these deaths is the lack of social supports. In Uncle Sam Land, social apoptosis is a feature, not a bug.

chet380 , Dec 5 2019 20:07 utc | 54
Did anyone really expect the Dems to appoint unbiased legal scholars to advise them on the finer legal points of the Articles of Impeachment?
Kooshy , Dec 5 2019 20:10 utc | 55
This fucking shining city on the hill, is so f*ing shiny that it's flames is burning the world.
steven t johnson , Dec 5 2019 20:11 utc | 56
Russ@29 forgot the comments where I've reviewed exactly how everybody rejected the Electoral College, holding legitimacy came from winning the real election. Until Gore, every time the EC violated the expectation that it was a technical way of recording the popular vote, there was justified outrage. Bush's camp in 2000 had plans to contest an EC loss, until that shoe turned out to be on the other foot. If Trump had won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College, he would no more accept the results. Only liars take refuge in the simplistic legalisms. And only Trump ass-lickers are so contemptible as to pretend Trump was the stable genius who outplayed Clinton in the real game. Trump had no more idea how to win the EC without winning the popular vote than anyone else. Further, by the witless pretended principles of Russ' ilk, a presidential candidate who managed to win faithless electors who ignored even their own states' pluralities* would still be the legitimate president! Every single defender of Trump the one legitimate president is witless and worthless.

But very likely the real objection to the response is the insistence that Trump isn't magically guaranteed re-election because...well, the real reason is slavish devotion to a God named Trump. Even with the advantage of incumbency this time around, with even more support from the wealthy (the people who have really turned away from the Democratic Party to favor political gangsterism,) Trump is likely to lose the election again. If I were in Congress I would offer a compromise, where the Republicans were assured Trump would not be investigated any more, much less impeached, for abolition of the Electoral College. But I think Trump would say no, because he knows deep down he's a loser.

steven t johnson , Dec 5 2019 20:13 utc | 57
*US politicians rarely win majorities of the electorate. Politicians of all stripes have agreed that non-voting is always to be deemed as "Satisfied" with either choice instead of "Alienated, with no choice." Decent people suspect otherwise.
goldhoarder , Dec 5 2019 20:23 utc | 58
@38 Karloff1 You can still Read the late John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education online. He did a great job highlighting the history and purpose of copying the Prussian style of education to replace the one room school houses and instill the "martial spirit" in the American public. I have to hand it to the Oligarchs of old too. They were very effective in their implementation.

[malformed/wrong link deleted - b.]

nietzsche1510 , Dec 5 2019 20:31 utc | 60
Karlan type of academics is scattered all over the US universities. They are the Academia´s gatekeepers, watching over & "spotting" of our future leaders. the majority of them are claptraps selling jingoism to our youth in order to fulfill the Judeo-Zionist agenda.
Trailer Trash , Dec 5 2019 20:39 utc | 61
I knew that name sounded familiar...
John Taylor Gatto, former New York City and New York State teacher of the year, stated:

The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders; and John Holt concluded, School is a place where children learn to be stupid . . . Children come to school curious; within a few years most of that curiosity is dead, or at least silent.

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto.html

Jen , Dec 5 2019 21:15 utc | 66
I recall when I was a student at the University of Technology, Sydney, way back in the Mesozoic era (1980s), the economics dept there had a lecturer there with a Harvard University background so the staff made him head of the department. Just because he had a Harvard University PhD. He was hardly a great administrator and the subjects he taught (compared with other lecturers' subjects) were much less structured. Of course this meant the courses he taught were easier on students' time and energy, though if you made use of the opportunity a less structured course gave, you could turn in an end-of-term essay with impressive research equivalent to the level required of a post-grad.

The university also had an exchange program with the University of Oregon, and most of the Oregon students who came to UTS (usually in their second or third year) found the UTS coursework very heavy-going and difficult.

In those days, UTS was only supposed to be a second-tier university in Australia.

ac , Dec 5 2019 21:34 utc | 68
This hearing is a theatre performance (kabuki -- hey, I learned a new word, thanks) and PK's lines are an invocation of the official US myth (the shinning city on the hill, the exceptional, indispensible nation). No one in the room took that seriously or literally (especially PK herself) and IMHO these national myths are not really anything to freak out about - every nation has got its myth, and this is an arrogant one, but compared to a few others it's almost likeable.

Of course it is at odds with historical records and the reality, but all of them are, because, frankly, the truth, being descendants of genocidal, religious nutters and slavers, is apparently very motivational -- in the KSA...

The RU/UK lines are slightly more worrisome, but that's just a matching background for her story - the fluff. She doesn't have to belive it - it's just a performance, an elegant one but meaningless in the end.

A lot of the visitors comment about the deep state, most of the time mentioning three letter agencies. Here comes a piece about a four letters one, acting more or less in the plain sight: OIRA, E.O. 12866

A group of virtually anonymous, unaccountable people wields quite considerable power over both legislative and executive. A very interesting construction...

information_agent , Dec 5 2019 22:08 utc | 70
Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Dec 5 2019 21:03 utc | 65

You hit the nail on the head. Karlan's loyalty is to her tribe, not this nation. That's the crux of almost every major problem and injustice we're suffering from in this country, from private prisons to Wall Street looting to endless foreign wars to censorship. There is one group of people behind it with a very bad track record in terms of how they treat their host nations. I wonder when we will finally get our act together and become the 110th country to expel them.

And Goldhoarder, while you may not mind how your posts look, you've managed to damage this comment thread and until b deletes your poorly structured post, we all suffer for it.

psychohistorian , Dec 5 2019 22:31 utc | 71
@ Posted by: Lochearn | Dec 5 2019 21:51 utc | 72 who seems to disagree with my concept "dysfunctional on purpose" and wants to use decadence instead and wrote: " Surely there must be some functionality to be able to keep the masses dumbed down/brainwashed; it implies some sort of thought out strategy. How do we get the same narrative trotted out in media in exactly the same format from LA to Warsaw, from Lima to Bangalore if it's all so dysfunctional? "

I posit that strategy of "dysfunctional on purpose" is control of the narrative and language and it is purposefully used.

Consider the current seeming understanding of the terms, socialism and capitalism by many of your fellow barflies. Many of our fellow barflies would have one believe that China is socialist and the West is capitalist...exclusively. I and a few others keep trying to point out that both China and the West are, to varying degrees mixed economies, including aspects of both socialism and capitalism

Consider the implicit definition of government if you will. Is government, as compared to dictatorships, not explicitly socialistic? Are not the provision of water, sewage treatment and in many case electricity explicitly socialistic by definition? Is it not dumbing down and brainwashing that many don't understand reality but spout the words and concepts they are fed by those in control of the narrative and media pushing it?

And, not to make too fine a point of it, does all of the West not live under the dictatorship of global private finance at this time? So how much more would I get ignored if I beat that drum as part of my comments here?

Ian2 , Dec 5 2019 23:07 utc | 75
Lorenz | Dec 5 2019 16:56 utc | 20:

IF Trump is removed from office then the war on Lebanon and Iran would be accelerated. Israel will likely go for all the marbles and annex the last remaining Palestinian holdings. Some here believe this couldn't happen but we all live in bizarro world now.

Also, don't expect the Electoral College to oust Pence after the general election since he's more pro-war; even the electors from Democrat controlled states would support him. IMHO, the US would continue on; business as usual.

However, if the Democrats are crazy enough to follow through, the Republican dominated Senate would reject it. Basically a repeat of what happened to Clinton. In the end, nothing changed.

Really?? , Dec 5 2019 23:07 utc | 76
James #44

""It was wrong of me to do that,'' she said, according to the Associated Press. "I do regret it.""

Ya but . . .as Tucker Carlson spot-on reacted, that comment sure looked as though it had been rehearsed in front of the bathroom mirror. It was sooooo lame!!! I mean, it was obvious (on the video) that Karlan really thought she was (wait for it! It's on the way) landing a very clever bon mot!

It is a small thing, yet it speaks volumes about the spirit of this clearly clueless human being (and others of her ilk), and her handlers, who must have cleared this little gotcha for prime time. Been up on the podium too long, bleating to students who can't/don't bleat back! No common sense.

Never a connection with a child, I'll bet, or she could never have said such a thing. Painful to look at the pinched little face, decent hairdo missing in action, with the rant coming out of the tight little mouth. A pathetic individual.

Ditto Noah Feldman from the Felix Frankfurter Dept of the Harvard Law School: Pure bloviation with skin like a baby's bottom. Better coiffed, actually, than Karlan. Quels types!!!

Jen , Dec 5 2019 23:21 utc | 80
Jackrabbit @ 68:

My comment @ 67 was actually just to highlight the (most undeserved) reputations that places like Harvard and Stanford have among certain faculties in Australian universities. In those days Stanford, Harvard and MIT were the holiest of holy shrines to do business studies / economics degrees. Years later I read a book by someone who actually did do a Stanford MBA and the scales fell from my eyes then. The work was similar to what I'd done as an undergraduate (albeit collapsed in the space of 18 months; I had the luxury of doing part-time and then going full-time as a student).

I should have added that the Harvard PhD guy who taught me comparative economics was a lousy teacher as well as a lousy administrator. I visited his office once and it looked as if a tornado had just hit it. To be fair though, he really wasn't cut out to be a lecturer, he was much better at research and analysis.

Before he became a lecturer, he worked at the CIA as a researcher. He knew next to no German (he was of Polish background) so he was assigned to the section to read East German newspapers. A fellow he knew who could speak and read German but no Bulgarian was assigned to the ... Bulgarian section. That experience must account for my lecturer's sloppy personal style.

But now that you draw my attention to the link, yes you are right that the study was done at Princeton University.

oldhippie , Dec 6 2019 0:18 utc | 87
@81

Why do you assume a technical illiterate could read those instructions? I can't even begin to do anything with that. It is never simple enough for those who have not been initiated.

HTML works by magic. Your instructions do not convince me otherwise.

Better solution is to forgo links altogether if not competent. Or spell out the link and force the really interested to transcribe. Of course no one is going to go to effort of spelling out a link as long as that one above. Which would be a good thing.

Jen , Dec 6 2019 0:27 utc | 88
She's been gone some time now (she died in April 2018) but Karen Dawisha , a so-called expert on Russian and post-Soviet politics who obtained a higher degree at the London School of Economics, was another deluded academic twat who wrote the book "Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?"

The 1-star, 2-star and 3-star reviews on Amazon.com of the book refer to the tabloid quality of many of the claims in the book, poor sourcing, cherry-picking of facts and the author's inability to write at a level that would attract a readership outside the academic community.

The least we can say for her is that she is no longer in a position to, erm, "advise" the US and UK governments on issues and help formulate policy that would backfire on Washington and London anyway.

ak74 , Dec 6 2019 2:14 utc | 98
As the great wise man, Frank Zappa proclaimed about the USA: "Politics/government is the entertainment division of the Military-Industrial Government." American politics makes much greater sense (and is a hell of a lot more entertaining) if you understand this truism.

US Presidential Debates and impeachment hearings are a swell occasion for drinking games. Every time a political hack, media shill, or academic invokes some variant of American Exceptionalism, take a shot of your favorite alcoholic beverage. You will be drunk within half an hour--guaranteed!

Gal , Dec 6 2019 2:19 utc | 99
I'd say unbelievable but I know that is only wishful thinking on my part. What's scary is that these people populate the "educational" system which explains why we're as screwed as we are.

[Dec 08, 2019] Karlan, US neocons and "The Russians Are Coming!" scare

Notable quotes:
"... When Bush and his allies used this rhetoric, they were trying to spin a war of aggression as an act of self-defense. Now it is part of an even more ludicrous effort to make supplying weapons and other military assistance to Ukraine seem as if it is vitally important to the U.S. Simply put, this is propaganda, and it isn't even very good propaganda at that. ..."
"... Obviously, we aren't going to be fighting the Russians "here" no matter what happens in this conflict. These are the sorts of irrational claims that we get after decades of irresponsible threat inflation and mistakenly assuming that every conflict in the world is somehow our business. ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Here is a congealing conventional wisdom around sending military assistance to Ukraine that is as absurd as can be, and it cropped up again this morning:

"Fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" was extremely stupid when applied to terrorism. It is much more stupid when applied to Russia, and shows how impoverished the FP thinking of even bright, engaged Americans is. My goodness.

-- Justin Logan (@JustinTLogan) December 4, 2019

It is discouraging to see that one of the dumbest talking points from the Bush era has returned. "Fight them there" was always a silly justification for waging unnecessary wars in other countries, and now it is being repurposed to justify the questionable policy of throwing weapons at a conflict in Europe. When it was used in the context of Bush-era wars, it was an attempt to make what were clearly wars of choice seem as though they were unavoidable. When a government needs to defend a bad policy, it will usually claim that they have no choice but to do what they are doing.

When Bush and his allies used this rhetoric, they were trying to spin a war of aggression as an act of self-defense. Now it is part of an even more ludicrous effort to make supplying weapons and other military assistance to Ukraine seem as if it is vitally important to the U.S. Simply put, this is propaganda, and it isn't even very good propaganda at that.

I have written many times why I think it is a mistake to arm Ukraine. It just encourages escalation at worst and the prolongation of the conflict at best. Until recently, the arguments in favor of doing this have not been very compelling, but at least they weren't quite so mindless. Needless to say, Russia's conflict with Ukraine is a local one, and the U.S. doesn't have much at stake in that conflict. Ukrainians aren't fighting Russia and its proxies on our behalf or to prevent them from attacking someone else, but for the sake of their own country.

If Russia hawks insist on providing Ukraine with weapons and other assistance, they should at least be able to acknowledge that this is a peripheral interest of the United States. Exaggerating the importance of this policy to U.S. security just calls attention to how little it matters to U.S. security.

Obviously, we aren't going to be fighting the Russians "here" no matter what happens in this conflict. These are the sorts of irrational claims that we get after decades of irresponsible threat inflation and mistakenly assuming that every conflict in the world is somehow our business.

[Dec 08, 2019] The real threat of the Rome Statute to the USA is the universal obligation to prosecute or extradite war criminals and enemies of humanity.

Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Bailiff, Whack his Peepee , says: December 6, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT

There's one additional revolutionary factor:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/12/05/612858/international-criminal-court-investigation-US-war-crimes-Afghanistan?jwsource=cl

The threat to US official impunity panics the regime more than any number of Russian Sarmats or nuclear ramjets. The ICC is one very new judicial forum, and its halting efforts to get its institutional footing panicked the US into imposing illegal sanctions on accredited diplomats. The real threat of the Rome Statute is the universal obligation to prosecute or extradite war criminals and enemies of humanity.

An increasing number of the most influential US functionaries will be unable to travel freely. This is, in effect, pariah-state status more abject than North Korea's. This has been a mounting challenge for years – GW Bush fled Switzerland, scared off by a war crimes accusation from a single legislator.

And international criminal law is one jaw of a pincer. It complements the doctrine of state responsibility for internationally wrongful acts. State responsibility provides the civil equivalent of international criminal law, with the potential to impose restitution, reparation, satisfaction, and compensation with interest. Satisfaction articulates directly with international criminal law by providing for prosecution of designated criminals. The US faces insupportable liabilities for its internationally wrongful acts, and US functionaries know that any one of them could be sacrificed to get the regime off the hook.

Russian policy is to enforce this law at gunpoint. Iranian policy is to make its case in independent international courts. China is vocal about upholding rule of law, and as its deterrent improves, it will be increasingly active in applying it. The G-192 – 96% of the world's population – pitches in by withholding the "waterfall" of G-5 privileges. The UK recently got pushed off the ICJ bench for the first time ever for its lawless conduct. The US is next.

The US is an underdeveloped country ineffectually waving second-rate weapons. The world is leaving it behind.

[Dec 08, 2019] US Militarism Promotes More Turmoil Than Stability In The Middle East by Rami G. Khouri

Dec 06, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

For the past two centuries and, particularly the last three decades, direct foreign military intervention in the affairs of ostensibly sovereign and independent states has been perhaps the most consistent and destructive common denominator that shapes our region's worsening condition. Direct warfare by foreign powers almost always paves the way for decades, if not centuries, of continuing instability -- whether in the cases of Napoleon in 1798, the Soviet Union and the United States in Afghanistan in the decades after 1979, the U.S. in Iraq in 2003, or Russia, Iran, and seemingly half the world in Syria since 2015.

Direct foreign military attacks or other "security" activities inside Middle East lands inevitably create traumatic local power imbalances that portend chronic local ideological conflicts, and spark resentments and resistance to the foreign invader or to the invader's local ruling ally. Foreign invaders also create local authority vacuums that open the door for other states to intervene (see Iraq, Syria, and Libya), and also create the ideal spawning ground for radical, militant, resistance, or terrorist movements of all stripes. Israel repeatedly encountered this instinctive local resistance to its predatory militarism in Lebanon and Gaza, as did the U.S. and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and the U.S. and its allies in Iraq.

Almost nothing good emerges from direct foreign militarism in the Middle East, and even when the fighting stops surreptitious foreign support to local warring parties also perpetuates tensions and clashes, which only spur economic waste, corruption, collapse, and widespread poverty and suffering among the citizenry.

It is clear now that foreign militarism plays a destructive and sustained role in the two biggest problems that now tear apart much of the Arab region (and also touch on non-Arab Mideast states like Iran, Turkey and Israel). The first is mass pauperization that now sees over two-thirds of all Arab citizens living in poverty or vulnerability, in states that have reached or approach bankruptcy and allow citizens no meaningful political rights. This will get much worse because all prevailing economic trends that could counter it are flat or negative (trade, tourism, direct investment, remittances, job creation).

The second problematic big regional trend -- very much states' reactions to their citizens' helpless pauperization -- is the growing militarization and securitization of governance. This is evident in bloated military and security budgets that are controlled by a handful of unelected, unaccountable leaders, and expanded use of anti-terrorism laws since September 2011 to deter or imprison domestic political foes, or prevent any independent political expression by the public (see Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain). Foreign militarism since the 1940s has inevitably promoted local military rule within Arab states. The incompetence, autocracy, and corruption of Arab military rulers since the 1970s have driven economies into the ground, and sparked the nonstop street uprisings we witness today across the region.

The centuries of cumulative interventions by foreign powers inside Arab states reached a new peak in the past eight years in Syria, where dozens of foreign and regional actors that joined the fray inside the country charted new ground in the historical legacy that had mostly seen big power, usually Western and colonial, interventions in the region's affairs.

Of course Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Persian, and other imperial dominance in the region across time all played a role in defining the Middle East as a frontline battlefield in the recurring waves of global imperial dominance and cultural influence. Starting in the 19th Century, however, as imperial powers started to come to terms with their imminent historical demise, the British and the French mostly wrote the book on the ugly heritage of battling for strategic supremacy in our region. The 20th Century saw foreign powers fight at will in the Middle East, and also provide indirect political and "security" support to their favorite local partners, allies, surrogates, and stooges, who kept fighting it out inside Arab countries that proved to be only nominally sovereign and independent states.

The civil war in Syria that started in 2011 was the logical outcome of this legacy. It mirrors other states where authority and legitimacy collapsed in the eyes of their own people, and the sovereign control of their lands and resources succumbed to the many foreign actors that came in to save the dying beast or bite off pieces of its carcass. Syria offers one of the most important examples of this, given the wide variety of warring parties that joined its several overlapping local, regional, and global wars.

The fighters in Syria included dozens of Arab states and non-state armed groups, local militias and tribal forces, regional non-Arab powers like Iran, Turkey, Israel, and Hezbollah and their clients, wannabe regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, leading global powers like the U.S. and Russia, second-tier powers like the U.K. and France, and a few smaller countries around the world that joined directly or provided mercenaries mostly to win credits with bigger Arab or foreign powers.

The eight-year war in Syria is at once a consequence and a high-water mark of sustained foreign military interventions in the Arab region, and a harbinger of how such foreign and local militarism will operate there for years to come. We can already see in Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and scattered other corners of our troubled region several noteworthy legacies of today's foreign militarism in Syria and its antecedents since Napoleon.

Regional and foreign powers' rolling interventions in Syria have redefined how such powers engage across the region, where two opposing loose alliances, loosely allied with Saudi Arabia or Iran, now face off -- each comprises Arab states, regional Arab and non-Arab powers, global powers, and local non-state actors. The sheer number and variety of foreign forces that directly or indirectly fought in Syria portend badly for fragile states whose illusory sovereignty can collapse at any moment in the face of dozens of armed actors that pounce like wolves circling a dazed gazelle. The "international community" that actively joined and fueled the fighting also responded weakly to the alleged and real war crimes on both sides This suggests that the "international community" is something of a fiction, but also that, whatever it represents, it can live with the Middle East's continuing authoritarian, lawlessness, and violent political systems -- as long as the violence, refugees, terrorists, and turmoil remain in the Middle East.

Indeed, global and regional powers actively engage in cross-border militarism and neo-colonialism that we can see in several arenas: Washington's support for Israeli settlements expansion and annexations of occupied Arab lands, and its lingering presence in Syria and Iraq; Russian and American support for Turkish incursions into northern Syria; Saudi Arabian and Emirati moves to control parts of the south of Yemen for their own strategic aims; British and American direct involvement in the war on Yemen; and, French, Emirati, Russian, and Egyptian support for the rebel forces of Khalifa Haftar in Libya, to mention only the most obvious.

These are only the most current but ongoing consequences of over two centuries of non-stop foreign military and political interference that our region has experienced, with devastating long-term impacts. Internal and regional wars, in a climate of very high Arab military spending, continue to propel countries back into dilapidated or vulnerable conditions every few decades. The Arab examples of this only increase, including Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Jordan. Non-Arab Iran, Turkey, and Israel face their own challenges, as they simultaneously suffer the damages of external militarism and also engage in it themselves around the region.

It is time for all foreign and regional powers to start learning the hard lessons of these historical trends and instead seek non-violent diplomatic solutions to challenges they now mostly address with their guns blazing. A regional population of half a billion poor and powerless people held in check by hundreds of billions of dollars of military spending linked to foreign troops who enter our countries at will is probably a far greater real threat to their wellbeing than anything they can imagine today.

[Dec 08, 2019] Tim Morrison as yet another neocon hawk

So a republican staffer, a neocon without any diplomatic experience was the NSC senior director of European and Russian affairs, the successor of Fiona Hill.
Dec 08, 2019 | www.cbsnews.com
Washington -- A top National Security Council official who listened to President Trump's July call with the president of Ukraine told lawmakers he "promptly" told White House lawyers he was concerned details of the call would become public, but did not think "anything illegal was discussed" during the conversation.

Tim Morrison, the outgoing senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council and a deputy assistant to the president, is testifying before committees leading the impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill on Thursday. He has emerged as a central witness to the events at the center of the inquiry, particularly the administration's policy toward Ukraine.

CBS News learned the substance of his opening statement to the committees, which ran six pages and appears below. Morrison said the summary released by the White House of the call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accurately reflects his memory and understanding of the call, but he said he had three concerns in the event the summary became public.

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"[F]irst, how it would play out in Washington's polarized environment; second, how a leak would affect the bipartisan support our Ukrainian partners currently experience in Congress; and third, how it would affect the Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship," Morrison, who was in the Situation Room for the call, told lawmakers. "I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed."

However, he also corroborated a central allegation in the Democratic case against the president: that a U.S. ambassador told a high-ranking Ukrainian official that the release of military aid was contingent on an investigation into the Bidens.

Tim Morrison arrives for a deposition at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on October 31, 2019. SAUL LOEB / AF

Morrison said his predecessor, Fiona Hill, told him about "concerns about two Ukraine processes that were occurring": one led by traditional U.S. diplomatic entities, and one led by the U.S. Ambassador the E.U. Gordon Sondland and Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer. He said Hill told him about their efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that had employed Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden's son.

"At the time, I did not know what Burisma was or what the investigation entailed," Morrison said. "After the meeting with Dr. Hill, I googled Burisma and learned that it was a Ukrainian energy company and that Hunter Biden was on its board."

Morrison said he spoke frequently with Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the embassy in Kiev. Taylor testified before the committees last week and described his misgivings about efforts to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into the president's rivals. Morrison, in his statement, confirmed the substance of Taylor's account, but said he remembered two details differently.

Taylor testified that Morrison told him Sondland had demanded the Ukrainian president announce an investigation into Burisma, while Morrison said he remembered Sondland saying an announcement by the country's top prosecutor would suffice. Taylor also indicated Morrison met with the Ukrainian national security adviser in his hotel room, while Morrison said it was in the hotel's business center.

Morrison said he learned about a delay in military aid to Ukraine shortly after assuming his post, and was tasked with coordinating with various agencies to demonstrate why the aid was needed.

"I was confident that our national security principals -- the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the head of the National Security Council -- could convince President Trump to release the aid," he said.

Morrison testified he had "no reason to believe" the Ukrainians knew of a delay in military aid until August 28, and said he was unaware the aid may have been tied to the demand for an investigation into Burisma until he spoke to Sondland on September 1.

Morrison arrived on Capitol Hill before 8 a.m. Thursday for his deposition after Democrats issued a subpoena for his testimony. A spokesman for House Intelligence Committee chairman declined to comment on his opening statement. Morrison appeared on the same day the House approved a resolution greenlighting the rules for impeachment proceedings moving forward.

On Wednesday, officials said Morrison would be leaving his White House post. He said in his statement he has yet to submit his resignation "because I do not want anyone to think there is a connection between my testimony today and my impending departure."

"I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump Administration to accomplish," he said.

Read Morrison's full statement

Opening Statement of Timothy Morrison

Before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform

October 31, 2019

Chairman Schiff and Members of the Committees, I appear today under subpoena to answer your questions about my time as Senior Director for European Affairs at the White House and the National Security Council ("NSC"). I will give you the most complete information I can, consistent with my obligations to the President and the protection of classified information. I do not know who the whistleblower is, nor do I intend to speculate as to who it may be.

Before joining the NSC in 2018, I spent 17 years as a Republican staffer, serving in a variety of roles in both houses of Congress. My last position was Policy Director for the then-Majority Staff of the House Armed Services Committee.

I. The Role of the National Security Council

From July 9, 2018 to July 15, 2019, I served as a Special Assistant to the President for National Security and as the NSC Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense. In that role, I had limited exposure to Ukraine, focusing primarily on foreign military sales and arms control. On July 15, 2019, I became Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security. In this role, I serve as the lead interagency coordinator for national security issues involving Europe and Russia.

It is important to start with the role of the NSC. Since its creation by Congress in 1947, the NSC has appropriately evolved in shape and size to suit the needs of the President and the National Security Advisor it serves at the time. But its mission and core function has fundamentally remained the same: to coordinate across departments and agencies of the Executive Branch to ensure the President has the policy options he needs to accomplish his objectives and to see that his decisions are implemented. The NSC staff does not make policy. NSC staff are most effective when we are neutral arbiters, helping the relevant Executive Branch agencies develop options for the President and implement his direction.

In my current position, I understood our primary U.S. policy objective in Ukraine was to take advantage of the once-in-a-generation opportunity that resulted from the election of President Zelensky and the clear majority he had gained in the Ukrainian Rada to see real anti-corruption reform take root. The Administration's policy was that the best way for the United States to show its support for President Zelensky's reform efforts was to make sure the United States' longstanding bipartisan commitment to strengthen Ukraine's security remained unaltered, it is easy to forget here in Washington, but impossible in Kyiv, that Ukraine is still under armed assault by Russia, a nuclear-armed state. We also tend to forget that the United States had helped convince Ukraine to give up Soviet nuclear weapons in 1994. United States security sector assistance (from the Departments of Defense and State) is, therefore, essential to Ukraine. Also essential is a strong and positive relationship with Ukraine at the highest levels of our respective governments.

In my role as Senior Director for European Affairs, I reported directly to former Deputy National Security Advisor, Dr. Charles Kupperman, and former National Security Advisor, Ambassador John Bolton. I kept them fully informed on matters that I believed merited their awareness or when I felt I needed some direction. During the time relevant to this inquiry, I never briefed the President or Vice President on matters related to Ukrainian security. It was my job to coordinate with the U.S. Embassy Chief of Mission to Ukraine William Taylor, Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, and other interagency stakeholders in the Departments of Defense and State of Ukrainian matters.

My primary responsibility has been to ensure federal agencies had consistent messaging and policy guidance on national security issues involving European and Russian affairs. As Dr. Fiona Hill and I prepared for me to succeed her, one of the areas we discussed was Ukraine. In that discussion, she informed me of her concerns about two Ukraine processes that were occurring: the normal interagency process led by the NSC with the typical department and agency participation and a separate process that involved chiefly the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. Dr. Hill told me that Ambassador Sondland and President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were trying to get President Zelensky to reopen Ukrainian investigations into Burisma. At the time, I did not know what Burisma was or what the investigation entailed. After the meeting with Dr. Hill, I googled Burisma and learned that it was a Ukrainian energy company and that Hunter Biden was on its board. I also did not understand why Ambassador Sondland would be involved in Ukraine policy, often without the involvement of our duly-appointed Chief of Mission, Ambassador Bill Taylor.

My most frequent conversations were with Ambassador Taylor because he was the U.S. Chief of Mission in Ukraine and I was his chief conduit for information related to White House deliberations, including security sector assistance and potential head-of-state meetings. This is a normal part of the coordination process.

II. Review of Open Source Documents in Preparation for Testimony

In preparation for my appearance today, I reviewed the statement Ambassador Taylor provided this inquiry on October 22, 2019. I can confirm that the substance of his statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate. My recollections differ on two of the details, however. I have a slightly different recollection of my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland. On page 10 of Ambassador Taylor's statement, he recounts a conversation I relayed to him regarding Ambassador Sondland's conversation with Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Yermak. Ambassador Taylor wrote: "Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation." My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland's proposal to Mr. Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general -- not President Zelensky -- would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation. I also would like to clarify that I did not meet with the Ukrainian National Security Advisor in his hotel room, as Ambassador Taylor indicated on page 11 of his statement. Instead, an NSC aide and I met with Mr. Danyliuk in the hotel's business center.

I also reviewed the Memorandum of Conversation ("MemCont') of the July 25 phone call that was released by the White House. I listened to the call as it occurred from the Situation Room. To the best of my recollection, the MemCon accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call. I also recall that I did not see anyone from the NSC Legal Advisor's Office in the room during the call. After the call, I promptly asked the NSC Legal Advisor and his Deputy to review it. I had three concerns about a potential leak of the MemCon: first, how it would play out in Washington's polarized environment; second, how a leak would affect the bipartisan support our Ukrainian partners currently experience in Congress; and third, how it would affect the Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship. I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed.

III. White House Hold on Security Sector Assistance

I was not aware that the White House was holding up the security sector assistance passed by Congress until my superior, Dr. Charles Kupperman, told me soon after I succeeded Dr. Hill. I was aware that the President thought Ukraine had a corruption problem, as did many others familiar with Ukraine. I was also aware that the President believed that Europe did not contribute enough assistance to Ukraine. I was directed by Dr. Kupperman to coordinate with the interagency stakeholders to put together a policy process to demonstrate that the interagency supported security sector assistance to Ukraine. I was confident that our national security principals -- the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the head of the National Security Council -- could convince President Trump to release the aid because President Zelensky and the reform-oriented Rada were genuinely invested in their anti-corruption agenda.

Ambassador Taylor and I were concerned that the longer the money was withheld, the more questions the Zelensky administration would ask about the U.S. commitment to Ukraine. Our initial hope was that the money would be released before the hold became public because we did not want the newly constituted Ukrainian government to question U.S. support.

I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the review until August 28, 2019. Ambassador Taylor and I had no reason to believe that the release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland. Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland's strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by leaders in the Administration and Congress, who understood the strategic importance of Ukraine to our national security.

I am pleased our process gave the President the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance. My regret is that Ukraine ever learned of the review and that, with this impeachment inquiry, Ukraine has become subsumed in the U.S. political process.

IV. Conclusion

After 19 years of government service, I have decided to leave the NSC. I have not submitted a formal resignation at this time because I do not want anyone to think there is a connection between my testimony today and my impending departure. I plan to finalize my transition from the NSC after my testimony is complete.

During my time in public service, I have worked with some of the smartest and most self-sacrificing people in this country. Serving at the White House in this time of unprecedented global change has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump Administration to accomplish.

[Dec 08, 2019] WSJ Article Runs Through The Greatest Hits of a Dysfunctional Foreign Policy Debate

Notable quotes:
"... Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force. ..."
"... These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved. ..."
"... September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it. ..."
"... For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific." ..."
"... The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. ..."
"... This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com . ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The unrivaled and unchallenged exertion of American military power around the world, or what's known as "primacy," has been the basis for U.S. Grand Strategy over the past 70 years and has faced few intellectual and political challenges. The result has been stagnant ideas, poor logic, and an ineffective foreign policy. As global security challenges have evolved, our foreign policy debate has remained in favor of primacy, repeatedly relying on a select few, poorly conceived ideas and arguments. Primacy's greatest hits arguments are played on repeat throughout the policy and journalism worlds and its latest presentation is in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, written by its chief foreign policy correspondent, titled, "America Can't Escape the Middle East." The piece provides a case study in how stagnant these ideas have become, and how different actors throughout the system present them without serious thought or contemplation.

Hyping the threat of withdrawal

The WSJ piece trotted out one of the most well-worn cases for unending American military deployments in the region. "The 2003 invasion of Iraq proved to be a debacle," it rightly notes. However, there's always a "but":[B]ut subsequent attempts to pivot away from the region or ignore it altogether have contributed to humanitarian catastrophes, terrorist outrages and geopolitical setbacks, further eroding America's standing in the world."

Primacists often warn of the dire security threats that will result from leaving Middle East conflict zones. The reality is that the threats they cite are actually caused by the unnecessary use of force by the United States in the first place. For example, the U.S. sends military assets to deter Iran, only to have Iran increase attacks or provocations in response. The U.S. then beefs up its military presence to protect the forces that are already there. Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force.

These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved.

Terrorism safe havens

And how many times have we heard that we must defend some undefined geographical space to prevent extremists from plotting attacks? "In the past, jihadists used havens in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq to plot more ambitious and deadly attacks, including 9/11," the WSJ piece says. "Though Islamic State's self-styled 'caliphate' has been dismantled, the extremist movement still hasn't been eliminated -- and can bounce back."

The myth of the terrorism safe havens enabling transnational attacks on the United States has persisted despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and significant scholarly research that contradicts it. The myth persists because it provides a simple and comforting narrative that's easy to understand. September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it.

Terrorists don't need safe havens to operate, and only gain marginal increases in capabilities by having access to them. Organizations engage in terrorism because they have such weak capabilities in the first place. These movements are designed to operate underground with the constant threat of arrest and execution. The Weatherman Underground in the United States successfully carried out bombings while operating within the United States itself. The Earth Liberation Front did the same by organizing into cells where no cell knew anything about the other cells to prevent the identification of other members if members of one cell were arrested. Organizations that engage in terrorism can operate with or without safe havens.

Although safe havens don't add significantly to a terrorist groups' capabilities, governing your own territory is something completely different. ISIS is a commonly used, and misused, example for why wars should be fought to deny safe havens. A safe haven is a country or region in which a terrorist group is free from harassment or persecution. This is different from what ISIS created in 2014. What ISIS had when it swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014 was a proto-state. This gave them access to a tax base, oil revenues, and governing resources. Safe havens don't provide any of this, at least not at substantial levels. The Islamic State's construction of a proto-state in Syria and Iraq did give them operational capabilities they wouldn't have had otherwise, but this isn't the same as the possible safe havens that would be gained from a military withdrawal from Middle Eastern conflicts. The conditions of ISIS's rise in 2014 don't exist today and the fears of an ISIS resurgence like their initial rise are unfounded .

Credibility doesn't work how you think it works

For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific."

Most commentators have made this claim without recognition of their own contradictions that abandoning the Kurds in Syria would damage American credibility. They then list all the other times we've abandoned the Kurds. Each of these betrayals didn't stop them from working with the United States again, and this latest iteration will be the same. People don't work with the United States because they trust or respect us, they do it because we have a common interest and the United States has the capability to get things done. As we were abandoning the Kurds this time to be attacked by the Turks, Kurdish officials were continuing to share intelligence with U.S. officials to facilitate the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because both the United States and the Kurds wanted Baghdadi eliminated and only the United States had the capability to get it done.

Similarly, the idea that pulling out militarily in one region results in a direct chain of events where our adversaries move into countries or areas in a completely different region is quite a stretch of the imagination. Russia moved into Crimea because it's a strategic asset and it was taking advantage of what it saw as an opportunity: instability and chaos in Kiev. Even if we left troops in every conflict country we've ever been in, Russia would have correctly assessed that Ukraine just wasn't important enough to spark a U.S. invasion. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, did the United States invade Cuba? What alliance did the Soviets or Chinese abandon before the United States entered the Korean War? Assessments of credibility , especially in times of crisis (like that in Ukraine), are made based on what leaders think the other country's interests are and the capabilities they have to pursue those interests. There is no evidence to support -- in fact there is a lot of evidence that contradicts -- the idea that withdrawing militarily from one region or ending an alliance has any impact on assessments of a country's reliability or credibility.

Not all interests are created equal

Threat inflation isn't just common from those who promote a primacy-based foreign policy, it's necessary. Indeed, as the WSJ piece claimed, "There is no avoiding the fact that the Middle East still matters a great deal to U.S. interests."

The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. Vital interests are those that directly impact the survival of the United States. The only thing that can threaten the survival of the United States is another powerful state consolidating complete control of either Europe or East Asia. This would give them the capabilities and freedom to strike directly at the territorial United States. This is why the United States stayed in Europe after WWII, to prevent the consolidation of Europe by the Soviets. Addressing the rise of China -- which will require some combination of cooperation and competition -- is America's vital interest today and keeping troops in Afghanistan to prevent a terrorism safe haven barely registers as a peripheral interest. There are U.S. interests in the Middle East, but these interests are not important enough to sacrifice American soldiers for and can't easily be secured through military force anyway.

Consequences

Most of these myths and arguments can be summarized by the claim that any disengagement of any kind by the United States from the Middle East comes with consequences. This isn't entirely wrong, but it isn't really relevant either unless compared with the consequences of continuing engagement at current levels. We currently have 67,000 troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan and those troops are targets of adversaries, contribute to instability, empower hardliners in Iran, and provide continuing legitimacy to insurgent and terrorist organizations fighting against a foreign occupation. One article in The Atlantic argued that the problem with a progressive foreign policy is that restraint comes with costs, almost ironically ignoring the fact that the U.S.'s current foreign policy also comes with, arguably greater, costs. A military withdrawal, or even drawdown, from the Middle East does come with consequences, but it's only believable that these costs are higher than staying through the perpetuation of myths and misconceptions that inflate such risks and costs. No wonder then that these myths have become the greatest hits of a foreign policy that's stuck in the past.

This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com .

[Dec 08, 2019] What is our strength? by Andrey Bezrukov

Redacted Google translation...
This is the net result of Clinton policies and neocon dominance in the USA foreign policy. And it is not a pretty picture. It might difficult to win Russia back as an ally after those Russiagate nonsense. They feel really offended by it and might overreact as is evident from the test below.
I'll just say again that imbecilization is a completely normal historical phenomenon in declining empires, Empires also tend to have a very flexible conception of truth, that is, they believe they can fabricate reality for the simple reason they are geopolitically dominant.
The fact that the MSM have become mouthpieces for the CIA/deep state has played a huge role in the brainwashing of academia and the rise of neoliberalism. The false narratives these "trusted sources" of information have been serving up create a very real Matrix, a false reality that is ingrained into those who rely upon them for their daily "news".
May 04, 2018 | vz.ru

It feels like the world has gone crazy. They push someone's wallet in our pocket, and then shout "catch the thief!". We try to debunt this false flag, show surveillance footage, which clearly shows the setup. But the continue shout in chorus - " thief, thief, thief!". Acquaintances turn away, hide their eyes. Those "Western partners" iare numerous and they silence our weak attempts to protest. We were driven into a corner... They try to strangulate us with sanctions.

Unfortunately, this is our new reality. For the next decade. The question is "Why?" Because we are a force in international arena again. We're ruining their racketeering business. We are a vivid example that it is possible to escape the system of the global racket of which they feed, That there is an alternative.

So now there is a player who does not wan to pay the racketeers, And he is still alive. This means that others may not pay either. They hate such a situation, because other players may refuse to pay, and that also means that sooner or later they might be force to live within this own meanss. It has been a long time since they live within their means, and they completely lost the habit of doing so. So they want to "solve" the problem with us now ones and forever, while others are still afraid of them.

Plus they have a new gang leader. Like all newbies, he wants to be the toughest. And raises the stakes.

Let's face the truth. They won't let us go easily. It's pointless to explain. We will be hunted, subjected to the array of false flags, persecuted and sanctioned to death. And if they feel the slack – they will beta us to the death, much more thoroughly then they did in 1990th. The question of whether this can be avoided is no longer worth asking. Today we have one question – how to survive the next two decades?

We need finally exhale and turn on the brain... The key to victory, as Sun Tzu wrote – is in knowing the enemy and knowing yourself.

What is their strength?

First, there are many. And they have money. They can buy everything, including witnesses and judges. We'll be blamed for for anything; they will attack and we will be framed as the attacker.

Second, they scream loudly. In chorus. That control world mass communications. And their propaganda works. It is useless to argue otherwise. All our arguments are useless. They will fall of death ear and will be ignored. Nobody will question their validity -- they will be simply swipe under the carpet. No matter how ridiculous is their "version of events" is (Skripals, Russiagate, Ukrainegate) the label "the guilty party" is already put on us like a yellow patch on the Jews in Nazi Germany. Before any investigation or God forbid judicial process. And most people on the planet still take their word for it.

What is their weakness?

As opponents these guys, I mean their neoliberal elites are the second grade; they belong to the "grey zone", the zone of mediocrity. Too greedy, too arrogant, and too lazy. Sometime semi-senile. Their previous generation was much stronger. They respected us. And we them.

We do not respect this new neoliberal elite and they feel that. And we don't respect them because such mediocrities do not deserve our respect, and are not trustworthily partner. They generally can be classified as "Unable to adhere to any legal treaties" (Nedogovorosposobnie") . And that scares us, almost to death, because you need to deal with completely unpredictable, bizarre partner for whom treaties and agreements are not worth the paper they were printed on. But they will avoid open fight, unless the success guaranteed. We need to ensure that such situation never occur.

Their nervousness, their fidgeting, their second-rateness now is staring to be felt by other countries who would prefer to hedge their bet and join only a sure winner. They see that the outcome of the USA quest for Full Spectrum Dominance is not yet decided.

In addition, our opponents are now engaged in brutal showdown with each other. Western Europe recovered and became competitor of the USA. They also are openly laughing over their new chief. Half of the major Europium countries leadership probably hates him. For how long he can stay in power is completely unclear. But this is a new and unexpected development. .

And those in the second row, the stooges, are generally ready to escape from this virtual battlefield. It became too expensive to catch hot potatoes for Uncle Sam as the amount of loot for partners shrunk dramatically. And problems with neoliberalism at home mounted. Neoliberal chickens start coming to roost. They were promised money and a share of loot, not a beating in a real fight with a strong determined opponent.

What is our strength?

First of all we no longer have any illusions about the the USA or West in general, illusions that cost us so dearly in 1990th. They are predators who want to colonize, fleece and dismember our nation. An having no illusions means that they can't repeat economic rape they committed in 1990th. Now we know what awaits us if we give up. They'll devour us completely. Those gangsters will kick the lying opponent with feet until he is dead. They won't let us survive a second time.

We also have a grenade as the last resort. They know it, and they're terrified we'll pull the pin.

They don't understand how we can be defeated, so they try new ways to make us surrender without a fight. Looking for a weak spot.

What is our weakness?

Our first problem is that we are alone. We are a big and clumsy country with a lot of internal problems and convoluted history. Which refuse to became the USA vassal. We were a difficult neighbor in the past. Some people are afraid of us because or our past.

Our second and main problem is the lack of money for economic reconstruction. We don't have enough money for the restoration of the economy and the standard of living of our people after 1990th rape to the level we deserve as the major European country. Say the level the Germany managed to achieve, despite being defeated in WWII. And nobody is going to help us, at least on acceptable conditions. They will try to slow down our economic development by all mean possible. that's why they already imposed sanctions under bogus pretext. They will impose more to slow down the process. They will manipulate oil prices and engage us in "gas wars." If we can solve this problem and restore the economy and the standard of living of people after 1990 collapse other problems will be easier to take on.

Also a nice thing about having money is that you instantly have a lot of fiends ;-) At once.

Now some panoramic view on the situation like in oil painting.

First of all out willingness to fight back is a guarantee that they will not get into a real fight. We need to hold out for the next ten-twenty years or so. I think this is what we can expect for neoliberalism to last before the collapse.

But that doesn't solve all our problems. We need that they stop punching us with new sanctions. Better forever but, at least for the next twenty years. Until their racket finally falls apart.

So the second goal is to earn to earn money need to reconstruction of the economy and creating first class infrastructure. Which will allow us to grow. and we need to do this while there is time. That probably means that invest our money in growth and stop saving "for a rainy day" in US treasures and Western banks. Otherwise, this rainy day may come in a very unexpected fashion and way too soon: money will simply be confiscated as long as they can do it with impunity.

Andrey Bezrukov is the associate Professor of the chair of applied analysis of international problems, MGIMO

[Dec 08, 2019] Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Notable quotes:
"... Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider. ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: December 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm GMT

US political "elites" are generally appallingly incompetent in matters of war and are "educated" mostly through Hollywood and Clansiesque "literature". I am not even sure that they comprehend what Congressional Research Service prepares for them as compressed briefings. Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Very true, especially the part about "Hollywood and Clansiesque 'literature.'" I used to read Clancy's books and, while entertaining, in retrospect they appear ridiculous, even childish. But they probably capture the popular notion of American military invincibility better than any other.

Most of Hollywood's output is garbage anyway, and its grasp of real war and military matters appears to be that of a not so precocious third grader.

Arioch , says: December 5, 2019 at 8:58 pm GMT
@joe tentpeg

> USSR Katyn forrest massacre (Poland), Afghanistan.

Katyn, whoever did it, was much before Cold War and before even first relatively small nuclear blast.

And if you want to go that far – why not remember crisis over West Berlin, where tank armees were watching one another, but no one pulled trigger?

Afghanistan was attacking one's own ally. Same as Prague 1968 and Hungary 1956. If you want to compare – that is like USA invading Panama to remove their no longer reliable puppet Norriega. Did American attack on their own Panama risk USSR going ballistic? Hardly so. There was no Soviet invasion into Pakistan nor there was Chinese/American invasion into India.

And looking away from purely military events, there was no attempt to arrest the whole embassy stuff them, neither in Moscow nor in DC. No killing Soviet ambassadors in NATO states during official events.

Those dirty games had red lines, both sides maintained. Today? Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider.

> deploying conventional anti-ballistic missile defenses around their most important cities.

No, by then effective treaty both USSR and USA had only ONE region they were allowed to protect. Those were some nuclear launchpads in USA i guess, and one single city (Moscow) in USSR. No more.

> deterrence [did not] worked
> See the last phrase in bullet 2.

You suppose USSR killed itself trying to keep deterrence working. That does not show it did not work, already. That shows it worked so well (at least from Soviet perspective) that they gambled all they had on the futile effort of keeping that deterrence working into the future.

[Dec 07, 2019] Enough is enough. Viva Tulsi. Down with neocons. List of wars involving the United States

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , December 01, 2019 at 08:16 AM

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

List of wars involving the United States

[Only the listed war names and dates copied without all the references and details.]

  1. American Revolutionary War - (1775–1783)
  2. Cherokee–American wars - (1776–1795)
  3. Northwest Indian War - (1785–1793)
  4. Shays' Rebellion - (1786–1787)
  5. Whiskey Rebellion - (1791–1794)
  6. Quasi-War - (1798–1800)
  7. Fries Rebellion - (1799–1800)
  8. First Barbary War - (1801–1805)
  9. 1811 German Coast Uprising - (1811)
  10. Tecumseh's War - (1811)
  11. War of 1812 - (1812–1815)
  12. Creek War - (1813–1814)
  13. Second Barbary War - (1815)
  14. First Seminole War - (1817–1818)
  15. Texas–Indian Wars - (1820–1875)
  16. Arikara War - (1823)
  17. Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations of the United States - (1825–1828)
  18. Winnebago War - (1827)
  19. First Sumatran expedition - (1832)
  20. Black Hawk War - (1832)
  21. Texas Revolution - (1835–1836)
  22. Second Seminole War - (1835–1842)
  23. Second Sumatran expedition - (1838)
  24. Aroostook War - (1838)
  25. Ivory Coast expedition - (1842)
  26. Mexican–American War - (1846–1848)
  27. Cayuse War - (1847–1855)
  28. Apache Wars - (1851–1900)
  29. Bleeding Kansas - (1854–1861)
  30. Puget Sound War - (1855–1856)
  31. First Fiji expedition - (1855)
  32. Rogue River Wars - (1855–1856)
  33. Third Seminole War - (1855–1858)
  34. Yakima War - (1855–1858)
  35. Second Opium War - (1856–1859)
  36. Utah War - (1857–1858)
  37. Navajo Wars - (1858–1866)
  38. Second Fiji expedition - (1859)
  39. John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry - (1859)
  40. First and Second Cortina War - (1859–1861)
  41. Paiute War - (1860)
  42. American Civil War - (1861–1865)
  43. Yavapai War - (1861–1875)
  44. Dakota War of 1862 - (1862)
  45. Colorado War - (1863–1865)
  46. Shimonoseki War - (1863–1864)
  47. Snake War - (1864–1868)
  48. Powder River War - (1865)
  49. Red Cloud's War - (1866–1868)
  50. Formosa expedition - (1867)
  51. Comanche Campaign - (1867–1875)
  52. Korea expedition - (1871)
  53. Modoc War - (1872–1873)
  54. Red River War - (1874–1875)
  55. Las Cuevas War - (1875)
  56. Great Sioux War of 1876 - (1876–1877)
  57. Buffalo Hunters' War - (1876–1877)
  58. Nez Perce War - (1877)
  59. Bannock War - (1878)
  60. Cheyenne War - (1878–1879)
  61. Sheepeater Indian War - (1879)
  62. White River War - (1879–1880)
  63. Pine Ridge Campaign - (1890–1891)
  64. Garza Revolution - (1891–1893)
  65. Yaqui Wars - (1896–1918)
  66. Second Samoan Civil War - (1898–1899)
  67. Spanish–American War - (1898)
  68. Philippine–American War - (1899–1902)
  69. Moro Rebellion - (1899–1913)
  70. Boxer Rebellion - (1899–1901)
  71. Crazy Snake Rebellion - (1909)
  72. Border War - (1910–1919)
  73. Negro Rebellion - (1912)
  74. Occupation of Nicaragua - (1912–1933)
  75. Bluff War - (1914–1915)
  76. Occupation of Veracruz - (1914)
  77. Occupation of Haiti - (1915–1934)
  78. Occupation of the Dominican Republic - (1916–1924)
  79. World War I - (1914–1918)
  80. Russian Civil War - (1918–1920)
  81. Last Indian Uprising - (1923)
  82. World War II - (1939–1945)
  83. Korean War - (1950–1953)
  84. Laotian Civil War - (1953–1975)
  85. Lebanon Crisis - (1958)
  86. Bay of Pigs Invasion - (1961)
  87. Simba rebellion, Operation Dragon Rouge - (1964)
  88. Vietnam War - (1955–1964[a], 1965–1973[b], 1974–1975[c])
  89. Communist insurgency in Thailand - (1965–1983)
  90. Korean DMZ Conflict - (1966–1969)
  91. Dominican Civil War - (1965–1966)
  92. Insurgency in Bolivia - (1966–1967)
  93. Cambodian Civil War - (1967–1975)
  94. War in South Zaire - (1978)
  95. Gulf of Sidra encounter - (1981)
  96. Multinational Intervention in Lebanon - (1982–1984)
  97. Invasion of Grenada - (1983)
  98. Action in the Gulf of Sidra - (1986)
  99. Bombing of Libya - (1986)
  100. Tanker War - (1987–1988)
  101. Tobruk encounter - (1989)
  102. Invasion of Panama - (1989–1990)
  103. Gulf War - (1990–1991)
  104. Iraqi No-Fly Zone Enforcement Operations - (1991–2003)
  105. First U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War - (1992–1995)
  106. Bosnian War - (1992–1995)
  107. Intervention in Haiti - (1994–1995)
  108. Kosovo War - (1998–1999)
  109. Operation Infinite Reach - (1998)
  110. War in Afghanistan - (2001–present)
  111. 2003 invasion of Iraq - (2003)
  112. Iraq War - (2003–2011)
  113. War in North-West Pakistan - (2004–present)
  114. Second U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War - (2007–present)
  115. Operation Ocean Shield - (2009–2016)
  116. International intervention in Libya - (2011)
  117. Operation Observant Compass - (2011–2017)
  118. American-led intervention in Iraq - (2014–present)
  119. American-led intervention in Syria - (2014–present)
  120. Yemeni Civil War - (2015–present)
  121. American intervention in Libya - (2015–present)

{ finis }

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:25 AM
This list tells quite a story. It deserves a name such as "US History Written in Blood," but more ironically and yet sufficient would be "An Inconvenient List." In any case, mass murder for fun and profit has defined war throughout the entire history of humankind. That in the modern era of late that the US has pioneered rentier capitalism as a means of extracting profits from the industrial war machine is a matter of the natural evolution of state sanctioned murder, far better at returning profits to investors than the mere slaughter of stone age natives to steal their land.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:45 AM
Neoconservatives in this context are traditionalists rather than some aberration of modern political thought.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:50 AM
OTOH, pacifism is indeed an aberration of political thought, not necessarily an unwarranted aberration, yet one that should be subject to close inspection for its bona fides. My Cherokee ancestors inform me to always be suspect of the good intentions of white men claiming that they despise war.
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 03, 2019 at 05:14 AM
Rome martyred Christians bc up to Constantine they were all "draft dodgers".
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 03, 2019 at 05:20 AM
Pacifism for me is individual. I was a cold warrior (pacifist not!) from '72 to '85 when I went from supporting operating weapons to the "dark side" in weapons development, which a lot was also nuclear related.
JohnH -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 02, 2019 at 07:59 AM
One of the first things that happened after Trump announced his withdrawal [not!] from Syria is that Pelosi hopped on a plane to Jordan:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American lawmakers on a surprise visit to Jordan to discuss "the deepening crisis" in Syria amid a shaky U.S.-brokered cease-fire."
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/20/nancy-pelosi-goes-to-jordan-for-vital-discussions-about-syria-crisis.html

I mean, what's with that?

It's pretty obvious that Team Pelosi is more concerned with the affairs of the Empire, even though she has no constitutional responsibility. than for the welfare of the American people. The focus of the impeachment hearing on American policy in Ukraine is further evidence.

Meanwhile, I have gotten no answer to my basic question: what are the top 5 pieces of progressive legislation that Pelosi has passed--legislation that representations can brag about to their constituents when running in 2020? It's pretty obvious that their have been almost none.

Team Pelosi has gone rogue as has Trump.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to JohnH... , December 02, 2019 at 12:30 PM
Yet, I have been assured by others here at EV that our two party representative political system is not merely engaging in so much Kabuki theatre in order to appear relevant. Who knew?
kurt -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 02, 2019 at 05:02 PM
Outside of the fact that this fellow is a liar of monumental proportion - for instance, this post alone contains 3 different lies - it is fundamentally untrue that BOTH parties are just engaged in theater. One actually passes legislation to help people and to reduce the influence of $$$. The other - as former Republican party member Norm Orenstein has pointed out - is anti-democracy, pro-despotism and a insurgent danger with a propaganda arm.
ilsm -> kurt... , December 03, 2019 at 05:12 AM
Huh... all team Pelosi/Schumer of is rant against the US constitution, demean the congress, disdain the office of the President and make up things about the Donald.

See the continuing resolution good through 20 Dec because Pelosi who owns the House won't face the responsibility to try and run the US government's purse.

ilsm -> JohnH... , December 03, 2019 at 05:08 AM
Team Pelosi like the faux liberals are sponsored by the same owners of the swamp!

Never attribute to Trump derangement what can be explained by a criminal conspiracy.

JohnH -> EMichael... , December 05, 2019 at 05:13 PM
More selective outrage from EMichael, the partisan hack.

Sure, it's horrendous that Trump pardoned a war criminal. But let's not forget that Obama never even prosecuted torturers ... or closed Guantanamo as promised.

As usual for EMichael and his ilk, what's a horror when their party does something, it's perfectly acceptable when his party does it.

kurt -> EMichael... , December 06, 2019 at 11:18 AM
All these years of being a almost pacifist and now I am seeing the error in my ways. Sometimes - hopefully increasingly less often - good people must rise up and stomp out evil. The pardons were not just condoning war crimes - it was telling the nazi ahs in the ranks that they can do the same domestically. The right has an army within the US. Most of the officers are okay - but that said, they are tolerating nazis, white supremacists, oathkeepers and dominionists in their ranks. These exceptions are to let the other nazis know they can mass murder if the want.

[Dec 07, 2019] I wasn't sure how to characterize McMaster and Kelly. My sense was that they represented the foreign policy establishment consensus, ergo neocon by default.

Notable quotes:
"... It may be as simple as Trump does not really know what he's doing. He doesn't seem to understand the complexity and dynamics of foreign policy. The way he handled Israel is an example as well as some of the bombs he ordered dropped on Afghanistan and Syria. Was he behind that or was someone else? ..."
"... After Bolton came onboard, and then Eliot Abrams, the 24/7 Russia-gate suddenly stopped. That was also around the time USA was fomenting a Venezuelan coup. Was obvious that Russia-Gate was designed to control Trump. ..."
"... The US had power, and no-one else had any. That's all they needed to know, and set about creating new, wonderfully intoxicating realities. As Rove famously inverted the MO they'll act first, creating realities and the analysis and calculation can come later. In awe of their creations, they failed to notice that while history may have ended in Washington, elsewhere it moved on to surround them with a reality where they found themselves in zugzwang, with no understanding how they got there. Flailing (and wailing) like a Mastodon in a tar pit, they've managed only to attract an unhelpful crowd of onlookers, fascinated by the abomination. ..."
"... If that's so, his is the most extraordinary political performance I thought I'd ever see. Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing. I guess we'll see if he abandons buffoonery when his opponents finally sink into the tar. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

gsjackson , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 3:44 am GMT

@Z-man I wasn't sure how to characterize McMaster and Kelly. My sense was that they represented the foreign policy establishment consensus, ergo neocon by default.

I share your optimism about Trump -- because it's the only strand of hope out there, and his enemies are so impeccably loathsome -- but am fully prepared to be proved wrong.

TellTheTruth-2 , says: Website Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 3:50 am GMT
The neocon communist warmongers have Trump all tied up. Trumping Trump: A Gulliver Strategy (right click) https://medium.com/everyvote/trumping-trump-a-gulliver-strategy-3fc96e4d5d93
renfro , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT

"How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump's national security adviser. But this doesn't explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees."

It started before Bolton came on board.

Believe Trump when he says "Loyalty to me first". And that begins with his son in law Jared .his former personal attorney Jason Greenblatt .his former bankruptcy attorney David Friedman and his largest donor Sheldon Adelson .

Trump is too stupid to see that his Zios have no loyalty to him. Trump doesn't appoint anyone, doesn't even know anyone to appoint to national security or foreign policy. He never had any associations or confidents in his business life in NY except the above Jews .

Ask yourself how a 29 year old Jewish boy (now gone) with zero experience got brought onto the WH NSC. He was recommended by Gen. Flynn who did it as a favor to Zio Frank Gaffney of Iraq fame, and Jared because he was a friend of Jared and Gaffney was a friend Ezra's family. ..getting the picture?

All Trumps appointments look like a chain letter started by Kushner and his Zio connections.

freedom-cat , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 5:51 am GMT
It may be as simple as Trump does not really know what he's doing. He doesn't seem to understand the complexity and dynamics of foreign policy. The way he handled Israel is an example as well as some of the bombs he ordered dropped on Afghanistan and Syria. Was he behind that or was someone else?

He's a walking contradiction.

After Bolton came onboard, and then Eliot Abrams, the 24/7 Russia-gate suddenly stopped. That was also around the time USA was fomenting a Venezuelan coup. Was obvious that Russia-Gate was designed to control Trump.

There was a lull in the attacks on Trump between the time they stopped the 24/7 Russia-gate garbage and start of Impeachment inquiry.

He did something else to tick them all off, so now impeachment is on front burner.

Erebus , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 10:34 am GMT
@FB

the 'permanent foreign policy establishment'

AKA, the Imperial Staff.

In the days of Kissinger, Baker, et al the Imperial Staff were well coached in the Calculus of Power, knew the limits to Empire and thrived within them. Since the end of history, and the apparent end of limits, policy makers had no more need of realists and their confusing calculations and analyses.

The US had power, and no-one else had any. That's all they needed to know, and set about creating new, wonderfully intoxicating realities. As Rove famously inverted the MO they'll act first, creating realities and the analysis and calculation can come later. In awe of their creations, they failed to notice that while history may have ended in Washington, elsewhere it moved on to surround them with a reality where they found themselves in zugzwang, with no understanding how they got there. Flailing (and wailing) like a Mastodon in a tar pit, they've managed only to attract an unhelpful crowd of onlookers, fascinated by the abomination.

In the second term watch out Trump is not as dumb as they think

I too believe he isn't dumb, but the real question is whether he's playing the fool in furtherance of a plan, or whether it's just who he is and his successes are accidental.

The Deep State's (aka: PFPE's) ongoing behaviour indicates that Trump's using buffoonery to work a plan that's anathema to their created realities, and their increasing shrillness indicates it's working. At every turn, he's managed to make unavailable the resources their reality called for. From the M.E., to the Ukraine to N. Korea to Venezuela, things just aren't working the way they're supposed to. In fact, they're invariably working out in a way that exposes the Deep State's ineptitude and malevolence, and maximizes its embarrassment.

If that's so, his is the most extraordinary political performance I thought I'd ever see. Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing. I guess we'll see if he abandons buffoonery when his opponents finally sink into the tar.

Fascinating.

Pandour , says: Website Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
Decades old rhetorical question and answer-the indolent, indoctrinated and illiterate masses who only care about the Super Bowl and other sports,Disneyland and burgers. Twelve per cent of Americans have never heard of the Vice President Mike Pence - that is 30,870,000 American adults.
Johnny Walker Read , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm GMT
Who Is Making US Foreign Policy?

It is the same people who have been making it since the creation of central banks in America (all three of them).

Never in the history of America, probably never in the history of any country, had there been such open and direct control of governmental activities by the very rich. So long as a handful of men in Wall Street control the credit and industrial processes of the country, they will continue to control the press, the government, and, by deception, the people. They will not only compel the public to work for them in peace, but to fight for them in war. – John Turner, 1922

[Dec 07, 2019] We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.

Notable quotes:
"... As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , December 01, 2019 at 07:12 AM

We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/11/27/opinion/weve-turned-our-attention-latin-america-again-thats-bad-latin-america/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Stephen Kinzer - November 27

As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America.

The US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago are sometimes described as wars in which everyone lost. In an odd way, though, Latin America won those wars. For more than a decade, the US government focused so obsessively on the Middle East that it forgot about Latin America. Free of intervention from Washington, voters in several countries elected progressive or leftist leaders whom the United States would never have tolerated in an earlier era. That cycle is now ending. The United States is returning to its traditional role in Latin America, embracing retrograde regimes just as we did during the dark days of military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Bolivia, the landlocked heart of South America, the military deposed President Evo Morales on Nov. 10 after opponents charged that he had used fraud to secure his re-election three weeks earlier. Morales was Bolivia's first indigenous president and an outspoken socialist. He had nationalized the oil and gas industries. Some feared that he was preparing to limit foreign exploitation of his country's rich lithium deposits. His indigenous identity was a permanent affront to the white ruling class. The little-known politician who has installed herself as provisional president, Jeanine Añez, once tweeted: "I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rituals."

Morales may have -- manipulated election laws to give himself an extra presidential term. But in its first days, the new regime has shown little democratic impulse. Morales has been forced to flee the country. Senior members of his party have been attacked or arrested. If his masses of indigenous followers are pushed back into political isolation despite constituting the country's majority, many will feel disenfranchised and angry.

Their cousins in Honduras would know the feeling. Late one night in 2009, the elected Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, who like Morales had alienated both the United States and his own ruling elite, was pulled out of bed and put on a plane out of the country while still in his pajamas. In the decade since then, the new regime in Honduras has eagerly handed out mining and hydroelectric contracts to foreign corporations. It has abolished term limits for presidents -- the very sin for which we denounced President Morales in Bolivia. Mass protests have been harshly suppressed. Environmental activists are killed with impunity.

Last month in a New York court, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was convicted on charges of large-scale drug trafficking. A witness testified that the drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman had contributed $1 million to Hernandez's presidential campaign. Yet just a couple of days after the trial ended, the senior American diplomat in Honduras was photographed partying with President Hernandez. Hondurans who saw those pictures could hardly miss the message: the United States happily supports a Latin American government that holds power unconstitutionally, allows political killers to rampage freely, and is widely reported to be infiltrated by drug traffickers -- as long as it is friendly to the United States. How has Honduras showed that friendship? By keeping leftists out of power and agreeing to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The other Latin American country in which the United States is most assiduously wrecking prospects for democracy is Guatemala. Like neighboring Honduras, it has long been dominated by a clique of lavishly corrupt oligarchs. But over the last decade, a force has emerged that for the first time mounted a serious challenge to drug traffickers, larcenous politicians, organized-crime kingpins, and death squad leaders. In 2006, the government invited a squad of investigators and prosecutors assembled by the United Nations to come to Guatemala and build cases against powerful criminals. Since then the squad, known by the Spanish acronym CICIG, has secured more than 400 convictions and deeply shaken the political elite. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama recognized that this process might help stabilize Guatemala, and provided moral support and funding for CICIG.

This year, at the request of senior Guatemalan officials who seemed likely to be indicted for corruption, the State Department agreed to stop backing CICIG. That crippled the first serious effort in generations to confront the violent corruption that throttles civic life in Guatemala. What did President Trump ask in return? That Guatemala open an embassy in Jerusalem and agree to serve as a "safe haven" for Honduran and Salvadoran immigrants the United States doesn't want to accept -- a sick joke considering that Guatemala is plagued by violence and has one of the world's highest murder rates.

Bashing leftists in Latin America and embracing their quasi-fascist enemies is one of Washington's oldest habits. It feels good and pays electoral dividends in Florida. Bolivians, Hondurans, and Guatemalans might be forgiven for wishing that United States would once again plunge into all-consuming war somewhere far away. That might allow them to try shaping their societies as they see fit.

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 01, 2019 at 09:51 AM
Important and appreciated post.
Paine -> anne... , December 01, 2019 at 06:25 PM
Wait

The uncle LA policy
has nothing but continuity

Going back to 1979

Review moves made under Barry

joe , December 01, 2019 at 09:24 AM
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-25/boise-homeless-encampment-amicus-brief-supreme-court-appeal-cities

In addition to L.A., others in California submitting briefs include Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno, Riverside and Orange counties, as well as a slew of cities, including Sacramento, Fullerton, Torrance and Newport Beach. Several states including Idaho, Texas and Alaska have as well. Their reasons for doing so vary.

"We're saying that we agree with the central tenet of Boise that no one should be susceptible to punishment for sleeping on a sidewalk at night if there's no alternative shelter at that point," said Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer. "But the rationale sweeps too broadly ... It makes the opinion unclear and, therefore, the opinion raises more issues than are resolved. And so it leaves jurisdictions like us without the certainty that we need."
---
The ninth curt ruling specified that without enough shelters, public camping cannot be banned.

LA is spewing horse manure, claiming they want a humane solution, but they are filing to have the ruling overturned. LA wants to ban homeless camping and they make up a bunch of irrational horse manure because they had already invited the homeless to California with promises of shelter that does not exits. They re caught in a contradiction and end up talking out of the side of their mouth.

And no, more national debt to promise apartments for everyone just make inequality worse because we end up doing bad deals with the primary dealers. The evidence is in on that. Our ten year experiment of the '50 little hoovers' crowd has been proven fraudulent.

[Dec 07, 2019] Obama vs Bill Clinton

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 01, 2019 at 05:51 AM

Obama is Bill Clinton with fewer skeletons.

[Dec 07, 2019] The average demorat, aside from worshipping Ba'al and hating the constitution, is depraved, been such since crooked Hillary forgot that the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world.

Notable quotes:
"... Just war theory and military ethics crumble to dust on the battle field. We rarely fight because it is right, but rather because in some context it seemed necessary at the time. After 9/11 there was an imperative that the US military wage an extended war against any and every group of Muslims that defied US global hegemony in any way. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm -> JohnH... , November 29, 2019 at 09:05 AM

The average demorat, aside from worshipping Ba'al and hating the constitution, is depraved, been such since crooked Hillary forgot that the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , November 30, 2019 at 11:56 AM
"...the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world."

[Who says that they do not? Certainly, it is close enough to that for government work. Besides, in the end corporations and the interests of the donor class dictate the rules of engagement for both illiberal and unconservative politicians. How the dogs of politics fight over scraps thrown out for them should be of less interest to the wage class than who is throwing out the scraps to them.]

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , November 30, 2019 at 12:04 PM
Of course a former Air Force military hardware procurements officer likely knows no more about present day life among the wage class than a banker. That would be like thinking that a kid raised in poverty by the welfare state knew how to farm. Still, it is possible for either one to be haunted by guilt late in life.
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 06:26 AM
I stand correct the closet cultural Marxists running with wall st centered on the left coasts forgot to fix the electoral college.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , December 01, 2019 at 06:35 AM
You are bound with your adversaries in ways known only to God, not a religious testimonial but merely a proxy for the abstraction of omniscience. Some things can be seen as clear as day and remain a complete mystery, to me at least.
ilsm -> EMichael... , November 29, 2019 at 09:08 AM
" Ethical military decision-making does not make us weak; it makes us strong. "

How does Obama busting up Libya, drone assassinating US citizens and arming up al Qaeda to give them Syria fit?

Trump has committed lesser war crimes than hios predecessors, and that gets hiom in trouble with the establishment....

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , November 30, 2019 at 12:15 PM
At the very least Trump is guilty of being Trump. So, if you believe the charges against Trump are Trumped up, then what else would you expect?

Just war theory and military ethics crumble to dust on the battle field. We rarely fight because it is right, but rather because in some context it seemed necessary at the time. After 9/11 there was an imperative that the US military wage an extended war against any and every group of Muslims that defied US global hegemony in any way.

The US Constitution was written and then rewritten repeatedly in blood going all the way back to Apr 19, 1775. That is what it means to be an American, son, my Cherokee ancestors notwithstanding.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , November 30, 2019 at 12:16 PM
We are all brethren, fellow sons of a bloody mother...

[Dec 06, 2019] Who Is Making US Foreign Policy by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A more plausible explanation is that Trump thought that by appointing such anti-Russian hard-liners he could lay to rest the Russiagate allegations that had hung over him for three years and still did: that for some secret nefarious reason he was and remained a "Kremlin puppet." Despite the largely exculpatory Mueller report, Trump's political enemies, mostly Democrats but not only, have kept the allegations alive. ..."
"... The larger question is who should make American foreign policy: an elected president or Washington's permanent foreign policy establishment? (It is scarcely a "deep" or "secret" state, since its representatives appear on CNN and MSNBC almost daily.) Today, Democrats seem to think that it should be the foreign policy establishment, not President Trump. But having heard the cold-war views of much of that establishment, how will they feel when a Democrat occupies the White House? After all, eventually Trump will leave power, but Washington's foreign-policy "blob," as even an Obama aide termed it , will remain. ..."
"... Listen to the podcast here ..."
"... War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate ..."
"... The John Batchelor Show ..."
"... Trump's anti-Iranian fever is every bit as ludicrous as the DNC's anti-Russian fever. There is absolutely nothing to support the anti-Iranian policy argument or the anti JCPOA argument. The only thing that is missing from all of this is Iranian hookers, and that would certainly be an explosive headline! ..."
"... You know why Rhodes called it the blob, right? Why he made it sound so formless and squishy? Ask yourself, how does a failed novelist with zilch for foreign-affairs credentials get the big job of Obama's ventriloquist? That's a CIA billet. It so happens that Rhodes' brother has a big job of his own with CBS News, the most servile of the Mockingbird media propaganda mills. ..."
"... It's not a blob, it's a precisely-articulated hierarchy. And the top of it is CIA. So please for once somebody answer this blindingly obvious question, Who is making US foreign policy? CIA, that's who. For the CIA show trial run by Iran/Contra nomenklatura Bill Barr and his blackmailed flunky Durham, Trump's high crime and misdemeanor is conducting diplomacy without CIA supervision. They come out and say so, pointing to the National Security Act's mousetrap bureaucracy. ..."
"... CIA runs your country. They've got impunity, they do what they want. We've got 400,000 academics paid to overthink it. ..."
"... We cannot trust that the people that destroyed the country will repair it. It is run by a Cult of Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths. If they were limited to just the CIA, America would be in far better shape than its in. The CIA is not capable of thinking or intelligence, so we should stop paying them. ..."
"... Drumpf has been a tool of the Wall Street/Las Vegas Zionist billionaires for many, many years. so his selection of warmongering Zio neo-con advisors should be no surprise. ..."
"... Perhaps part of the reason that Trump often seems to be surrounded by people who don't support his policies or values is, as Paul Craig Roberts suggested in 2016, that Trump would have real problems simply because he was an outsider. An outsider to the Washington swamp, a swamp that Clinton had been swimming in for decades. In short he didn't know who to trust, who to keep "in the tent" & who to shut out. Thus, we have had this huge churn in Secretaries & on so on downwards. ..."
"... Sociopaths are the ones that do the worst because they lack any concern or "Empathy", like robots. So I read that the socio's are some of the brightest people who often are very successful in business etc. and can hide the fact that they would soon as kill as look at ya, but cool as ice, all they want is to get what the hell they want! They don't give a rats petoot who likes likes it or not, except as . ..."
"... Trump hasn't fired any of the neocons, but he proved that he CAN fire defense executives. He fired the Sec of Navy for disagreeing with some ridiculous personal thing that Trump wanted to do. Since Trump hasn't fired any neocons, we have to conclude that he's fully on board. ..."
"... There are so many security holes in the constitution of the USA including that it was ratified by those who invented it, not by a vote put to the people that would be made to suffer being governed by it. Basically the USA is useless as a defender of human rights (one of which is the right to self determination). The so called bill of rights (1st 10 amendments) are contractual promises, but like all clauses in contracts if there is no way to enforce them, then there is no use for the clause except maybe propaganda value. ..."
"... In a normally functioning world you simply can't simultaneously argue that in one case West can bomb a country to force self-determination as in Kosovo, and also denounce exactly the same thing in Crimea. On to Catalonia and more self-determination ..."
"... Trump, among his other occupations, used to engage with the professional wrestling circuit. In that well-staged entertainment there is always a bad guy – or a ' heel ' – who is used to stir up the crowds, the Evil Sheik or Rocky's hapless movie enemies. It makes it ' real '. The ' heel ' is sometimes allowed to win to better manage the audience. But the narrative never changes. Our rational judgments should focus on what happens, and on outcomes – not on talk, slogans, speeches, etc Based on that, Trump is a classical ' heel ' character. He might even be playing it consciously, or he has no choice. ..."
"... To answer the question who runs ' foreign policy ', let's ignore the stadium speeches, and simply look at what happens. In a world bereft of enough profitable consumer things to do, and enough justifiable careers for unemployable geo-political security 'experts' of all kinds, having enemies and maybe even a small war occasionally is not such an irrational thing to want. Plus there are the deep ethnic hatreds and traumas going back generations that were naively imported into the heart of the Western world. (Washington warned against that 200+ years ago.) ..."
"... or maybe trump was a lying neocon, war-loving, immigration-loving neoliberal all along, and you and the trumptards somehow continue to believe his campaign rhetoric? ..."
"... The fact is Trump is not an anti-neocon (Deep State) president he only talks that way. The fact that he surrounded himself with Deep State denizens gives lie to the thought that he is anti-Deep State no one can be that god damn stupid. ..."
"... "TRUMP SUPPORTERS WERE DUPED – Trump supporters are going to find out soon enough that they were duped by Donald Trump. Trump was given the script to run as the "Chaos Candidate" .He is just a pawn of the ruling elite .It is a tactic known as 'CONTROLLED OPPOSITION' ". Wasn't it FDR who said "Presidents are selected , they are not elected " ? ..."
"... Trump selected the Neocons he is surrounded with. And he's given away all kinds of property that he has absolutely no legal authority to give. He was seeking to please American Oligarchs the likes of Adelson. That's American politics. "Money is free speech." Of course, there is another connection with foreign policy beyond the truly total corruption of American domestic politics, and that's through America's brutal empire abroad. ..."
"... Obama or Trump, on the main matters of importance abroad – NATO, Russia, Israel/Palestine, China – there has been no difference, except Trump is more openly bellicose and given to saying really stupid things. ..."
Dec 06, 2019 | www.unz.com
President Trump campaigned and was elected on an anti-neocon platform: he promised to reduce direct US involvement in areas where, he believed, America had no vital strategic interest, including in Ukraine. He also promised a new détente ("cooperation") with Moscow.

And yet, as we have learned from their recent congressional testimony, key members of his own National Security Council did not share his views and indeed were opposed to them. Certainly, this was true of Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Both of them seemed prepared for a highly risky confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, though whether retroactively because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.

Similarly, Trump was slow in withdrawing Marie Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer appointed by President Obama as ambassador to Kiev, who had made clear, despite her official position in Kiev, that she did not share the new American president's thinking about Ukraine or Russia. In short, the president was surrounded in his own administration, even in the White House, by opponents of his foreign policy and presumably not only in regard to Ukraine.

How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump's national security adviser. But this doesn't explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees.

A more plausible explanation is that Trump thought that by appointing such anti-Russian hard-liners he could lay to rest the Russiagate allegations that had hung over him for three years and still did: that for some secret nefarious reason he was and remained a "Kremlin puppet." Despite the largely exculpatory Mueller report, Trump's political enemies, mostly Democrats but not only, have kept the allegations alive.

The larger question is who should make American foreign policy: an elected president or Washington's permanent foreign policy establishment? (It is scarcely a "deep" or "secret" state, since its representatives appear on CNN and MSNBC almost daily.) Today, Democrats seem to think that it should be the foreign policy establishment, not President Trump. But having heard the cold-war views of much of that establishment, how will they feel when a Democrat occupies the White House? After all, eventually Trump will leave power, but Washington's foreign-policy "blob," as even an Obama aide termed it , will remain.

Listen to the podcast here . Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his most recent book, War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate , is available in paperback and in an ebook edition. His weekly conversations with the host of The John Batchelor Show , now in their sixth year, are available at www.thenation.com .


Curmudgeon , says: December 5, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT

because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.

In an otherwise decent overview, this sticks out like a sore thumb. It would be helpful to stop using the word annexation. While correct in a technical sense – that Crimea was added to the Russian Federation – the word comes with all kinds of connotations, that imply illegality and or force. Given Crimea was given special status when gifted to Ukraine for administration by the USSR, one could just as easily apply "annexation" of Crimea to Ukraine. After Ukraine voted to "leave" the USSR, Crimea voted to join Ukraine. Obviously the "Ukrainian" vote did not include Crimea. Even after voting to join Ukraine, Crimea had special status within Ukraine, and was semi autonomous. If you can vote to join, you can vote to leave. Either you have the right to self determination, or you don't.

Rebel0007 , says: December 5, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT
This is what is so infuriating, Stephen! These silent coups of the executive branch have been taking place for my entire life! Both parties are guilty of refusing to appoint cabinet members that the elected presidents would have chosen for themselves, because both parties are more interested in making the president of the opposing party look bad, make him ineffective, and incapable of carrying out policies that he was elected to carry out. That is the very definition of treason!

Things are a disaster. The JCPOA is at the heart of the issue and Trump and his advisors stubborn refusal to capitulate on this issue very well may cause Trump to lose the 2020 election. Trump's anti-Iranian fever is every bit as ludicrous as the DNC's anti-Russian fever. There is absolutely nothing to support the anti-Iranian policy argument or the anti JCPOA argument. The only thing that is missing from all of this is Iranian hookers, and that would certainly be an explosive headline!

The anti-Iranian fever has created so much havoc not only with Iran, but with every country on earth other than Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Germany announced that it is seeking to unite with Russia, not only for Gazprom, but is now considering purchasing defense systems from Russia, and Germany is dictating EU policy, by and large. Germany has said that Europe must be able to defend itself independent of America and is requesting an EU military and Italy is on board with this idea, seeking to create jobs and weapons for its economy and defense.

The EU is fed up with the economic sanctions placed on countries that the U.S. has black-listed, particularly Russia and Iran, and China as well for Huwaei 5G.

Nobody in their right mind could ever claim this to be the free market capitalism that Larry Kudlow espouses!

National Institute for Study of the O... , says: December 5, 2019 at 11:00 pm GMT
You know why Rhodes called it the blob, right? Why he made it sound so formless and squishy? Ask yourself, how does a failed novelist with zilch for foreign-affairs credentials get the big job of Obama's ventriloquist? That's a CIA billet. It so happens that Rhodes' brother has a big job of his own with CBS News, the most servile of the Mockingbird media propaganda mills.

It's not a blob, it's a precisely-articulated hierarchy. And the top of it is CIA. So please for once somebody answer this blindingly obvious question, Who is making US foreign policy? CIA, that's who. For the CIA show trial run by Iran/Contra nomenklatura Bill Barr and his blackmailed flunky Durham, Trump's high crime and misdemeanor is conducting diplomacy without CIA supervision. They come out and say so, pointing to the National Security Act's mousetrap bureaucracy.

CIA runs your country. They've got impunity, they do what they want. We've got 400,000 academics paid to overthink it.

follyofwar , says: December 5, 2019 at 11:53 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Pat Buchanan also uses the word "annexation" all the time.
Rebel0007 , says: December 6, 2019 at 4:31 am GMT
National Institute for the study of the obvious,

The CIA has no authority what so ever as defined by the supreme law of the land, the constitution. That would make them guilty of a coup which would be an act of treason, so if what you claim is true, why have they not been prosecuted.

It is a political game between to competing kleptocratic cults. The DNC and RNC are whores and will do what ever their donors tell them to do. That is also treason. This country is just a total wasteland.

Everyone has pledged allegiance to fraud.

Too big to fail, like the Titanic and the Hindenberg.

We cannot trust that the people that destroyed the country will repair it. It is run by a Cult of Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths. If they were limited to just the CIA, America would be in far better shape than its in. The CIA is not capable of thinking or intelligence, so we should stop paying them.

Haxo Angmark , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 6:01 am GMT
Drumpf has been a tool of the Wall Street/Las Vegas Zionist billionaires for many, many years. so his selection of warmongering Zio neo-con advisors should be no surprise.
Monty Ahwazi , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:03 am GMT
What kind of stupid question is this? You mean you don't know or asking us for confirmation? If you really don't know then why are you writing an article about it? If you do know then why are you asking the UNZ readers?
animalogic , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:21 am GMT
Perhaps part of the reason that Trump often seems to be surrounded by people who don't support his policies or values is, as Paul Craig Roberts suggested in 2016, that Trump would have real problems simply because he was an outsider. An outsider to the Washington swamp, a swamp that Clinton had been swimming in for decades. In short he didn't know who to trust, who to keep "in the tent" & who to shut out. Thus, we have had this huge churn in Secretaries & on so on downwards.
EdNels , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
@Rebel0007

It is run by a Cult of Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths.

That's ok but it's a bit unfair to Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths After all most of the country is Hedonistic as hell, it sells commercials or wtf. Satanic is philosophical and way over the heads of these clowns, though if the be a Satan, then they are in the plan for sure, and right on the mark. As for psychopaths, those are criminals who are insane, but they can have remorse and be their own worst enemies, often they just go off and go psycho and bad things happen, but can be unplanned off the wall stuff, not diabolic.

Sociopaths are the ones that do the worst because they lack any concern or "Empathy", like robots. So I read that the socio's are some of the brightest people who often are very successful in business etc. and can hide the fact that they would soon as kill as look at ya, but cool as ice, all they want is to get what the hell they want! They don't give a rats petoot who likes likes it or not, except as .

So, once upon a time, a people got so hedonistic and they didn't watch the game and theier leaders were low quality (especially religeous/morals ) and long story short Satan unleashed the Socio's , Things seem to be heading disastrously, so will bit coin save the day? Green nudeal?

Jon Baptist , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:54 am GMT
The simple questions that beg to be asked are who are the accusers and what media agencies are providing the amplification to transmit these accusations?
https://forward.com/news/national/434664/impeachment-trump-democrats-jewish/
https://www.jta.org/2019/11/15/politics/the-tell-the-jewish-players-in-impeachment

There is also this link courtesy of Haass' CFR – https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/russia-trump-and-2016-us-election

While massive attention is directed towards Russia and the Ukraine, the majority of the public are shown the slight of hand and their attention is never brought near to the real perpetrators of subverting American and British foreign policy.

https://electronicintifada.net/content/watch-film-israel-lobby-didnt-want-you-see/25876
http://joshdlindsay.com/2019/04/the-israel-lobby-in-the-u-s-al-jazeera-documentary/
The Truth Archive
2K subscribers
The Israeli Lobby in the United States of America (2017) – Full Documentary HD

polistra , says: December 6, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
Doesn't matter if he's surrounded. A president CAN make foreign policy, and a president CAN fire people who disagree with his policy. Trump hasn't fired any of the neocons, but he proved that he CAN fire defense executives. He fired the Sec of Navy for disagreeing with some ridiculous personal thing that Trump wanted to do. Since Trump hasn't fired any neocons, we have to conclude that he's fully on board.
sally , says: December 6, 2019 at 8:51 am GMT
@Rebel0007

The CIA has no authority what so ever as defined by the supreme law of the land, the constitution. That would make them guilty of a coup which would be an act of treason, so if what you claim is true, why have they not been prosecuted.

--
first off the supreme law of the land maybe the Constitution and to oppose it may be Treason, but the Law that is supreme to the Law of the land is Human rights law.. it is far superior to, and it is the TLD of all laws of the land of all of the Nation States that mankind has allowed the greedy among its masses, to impose.

There are so many security holes in the constitution of the USA including that it was ratified by those who invented it, not by a vote put to the people that would be made to suffer being governed by it. Basically the USA is useless as a defender of human rights (one of which is the right to self determination). The so called bill of rights (1st 10 amendments) are contractual promises, but like all clauses in contracts if there is no way to enforce them, then there is no use for the clause except maybe propaganda value.

If you note the USA constitution has seven articles..

Article 1 is about 525 elected members of congress and their very limited powers to control
foreign activities. Each qualified to vote member of the governed (a citizen so to speak) is allowed to
vote for only 3 of the 525 persons. so basically there is no real national election anywhere .

Article II grants the electoral college the power to appoint two persons full control of the assets,
resources and manpower of America to conquer the entire world or to make peace in the entire world.
Either way: the governed are not allowed to vote for either; the EC vote determines the P or VP.

Article III allows the Article II person to appoint yes men to the judiciary

Where exist the power of the governed to deny USA governors the ability to the use the powers the constitution claims the governors are to have, against the governed? <==No where I can find? Theoretically, the governed are protected from abuse for as long as it takes to conduct due process?

One person, the Article II person, is basically the king when in comes to constitutional authority to establish, conduct, prosecute or defend USA involvement in foreign affairs.

No where does the constitution of the USA deny its President the use of American resources or USA military power, to make and use diplomat appointments, or to use the USA to use the wealth of America and the hegemonic powers of the USA to make a private or public profit in a foreign land. <= d/n matter if the profit is personal to the President or if it assigned by appointment (like the feudal powers granted by the feudal kings to the feudal lords) to corporate feudal lords or oligarch personal interest.

AFAICT, the president can USE the USA to conduct war, invade or otherwise infringe on, even destroy, the territory, or a private or public interest, within a foreign sovereign more or less at will. So if the President wants to command a private or secret Army like the CIA, he can as far as I can tell, obviously this president does, because he could with his pen alone shut it down.

Seems to me the "NO" from Wilson's four points

  1. no more secret diplomacy peace settlement must not lead the way to new wars
  2. no retribution, unjust claims, and huge fines <basically indemnities paid by the losers to the winners.
  3. no more war; includes controls on armaments and arming of nations.
  4. no more Trade Barriers so the nations of the world would become more interdependent.

have been made the essence of nation state operations world wide.

IMO, The CIA exists at the pleasure of the President.

Beckow , says: December 6, 2019 at 9:29 am GMT
@Curmudgeon all of that, plus the Kosovo precedent.

In a normally functioning world you simply can't simultaneously argue that in one case West can bomb a country to force self-determination as in Kosovo, and also denounce exactly the same thing in Crimea. On to Catalonia and more self-determination

Beckow , says: December 6, 2019 at 9:52 am GMT
Trump, among his other occupations, used to engage with the professional wrestling circuit. In that well-staged entertainment there is always a bad guy – or a ' heel ' – who is used to stir up the crowds, the Evil Sheik or Rocky's hapless movie enemies. It makes it ' real '. The 'heel ' is sometimes allowed to win to better manage the audience. But the narrative never changes. Our rational judgments should focus on what happens, and on outcomes – not on talk, slogans, speeches, etc Based on that, Trump is a classical ' heel ' character. He might even be playing it consciously, or he has no choice.

To answer the question who runs ' foreign policy ', let's ignore the stadium speeches, and simply look at what happens. In a world bereft of enough profitable consumer things to do, and enough justifiable careers for unemployable geo-political security 'experts' of all kinds, having enemies and maybe even a small war occasionally is not such an irrational thing to want. Plus there are the deep ethnic hatreds and traumas going back generations that were naively imported into the heart of the Western world. (Washington warned against that 200+ years ago.)

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2019 at 10:47 am GMT
https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/majority-germans-wants-less-reliance-us-more-engagement-russia/ri27985

Macron said that NATO is " brain dead " :

https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/11/07/emmanuel-macron-warns-europe-nato-is-becoming-brain-dead

The more the US sanctions so many countries around the world , the more the US generate an anti US reaction around the world .

gotmituns , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:09 am GMT
Who Is Making US Foreign Policy?
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
Could it be israel?
DrWatson , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:20 am GMT
Trump should have kept Steve Bannon as his advisor and should have fired instead his son-in-law. Perhaps "they" are blackmailing Trump with photos like here: https://www.pinterest.com/richarddesjarla/creepy/

That would explain why Trump is so ineffective at making a reality anything he campaigned for.

Marshall Lentini , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:28 am GMT
@melpol Betas in power -- an underappreciated dimension of this morass.
propagandist hacker , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 11:29 am GMT
or maybe trump was a lying neocon, war-loving, immigration-loving neoliberal all along, and you and the trumptards somehow continue to believe his campaign rhetoric?
Realist , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT

An anti-neocon president appears to have been surrounded by neocons in his own administration.

The fact is Trump is not an anti-neocon (Deep State) president he only talks that way. The fact that he surrounded himself with Deep State denizens gives lie to the thought that he is anti-Deep State no one can be that god damn stupid.

Realist , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm GMT
@sally

IMO, The CIA exists at the pleasure of the President.

The CIA sees it differently; and they are part of the Deep State.

Realist , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm GMT
@propagandist hacker

or maybe trump was a lying neocon, war-loving, immigration-loving neoliberal all along, and you and the trumptards somehow continue to believe his campaign rhetoric?

That is my contention.

Sean , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:11 pm GMT
MICHAEL CARPENTER Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia from 2015 to 2017.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2019-11-26/oligarchs-who-lost-ukraine-and-won-washington

Halfway around the world from Washington's halls of power, Ukraine sits along a civilizational and geopolitical fault line. To Ukraine's west are the liberal democracies of Europe, governed by rule of law and democratic principles. To its east are Russia and its client states in Eurasia, almost all of which are corrupt oligarchies. [ ] In this war on democratic movements and democratic principles, Russia's biggest prize and chief adversary has always been the United States. Until now, however, Russia has always had to contend with bipartisan resolve to counter

No mention of China, and this is the problem with the whole foreign policy establishment not just the neocons. Russia is more of an annoyance than anything, but they are still operating assumptions on what is the Geographical Pivot of History , so they want to talk about Russia. Like an Edwardian sea cadet we are supposed to care about Russia getting (back) a water port in Crimea. Mahan's definition of sea power included a strong commercial fleet. After tearing their own environment apart like a car in a wrecking yard and heating up the planet China has taken time out from deforestation and colonising Tibet, to send huge container vessels full of cheap goods through the melting Arctic round the top of Russia all the better to get to Europe and deindustrialise it.

Western elites have sold out to China, seen as the future, so we hear about Russia rather than the three million Uyghurs in concentration camps complete with constantly smoking crematoria, and harvesting of organs for rich foreigners.

Who poses a greater threat to the West: China or Russia?
By the time the West finds itself in open conflict with Beijing, we will have lost our relative advantage. Brendan Simms and K.C. Lin [ ] The concept of China being a threat is harder to comprehend. In what way? Yes, its hacking and intellectual property theft is a headache. But is it worse than what Russia is up to? And don't we need Chinese investment, so does it really matter if China builds our 5G mobile networks? In London, ministers agonise over these issues -- not knowing whether to pity China (we still send foreign aid there), beg for its money and contracts (with prime ministerial trade trips), or treat it as a potential antagonist.

Aid ! They sent robots to the far side of the Moon

Beijing has been the beneficiary of liberal revulsion at the Trump presidency: if the Donald is against the Chinese, who cannot be for them? As a result, Trump's efforts to address China's unfair trade practices have so far missed the mark with the domestic and international audience. As Trump declares war on free trade, China -- one of the most protectionist economies in the world -- is now celebrated at Davos as the avatar of free trade. Later this month, China's Vice-President is likely to be in attendance at Davos -- and there is even talk of him meeting with Trump. Similarly, the messiness of American politics has made China's one-party state an apparent poster boy of political stability and governability.

9/11 Inside job , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:14 pm GMT
911endofdays.blogspot.com : "Sackcloth&Ashes – The 16th Trump of Arcana " :

"TRUMP SUPPORTERS WERE DUPED – Trump supporters are going to find out soon enough that they were duped by Donald Trump. Trump was given the script to run as the "Chaos Candidate" .He is just a pawn of the ruling elite .It is a tactic known as 'CONTROLLED OPPOSITION' ".
Wasn't it FDR who said "Presidents are selected , they are not elected " ?

JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT

Trump selected the Neocons he is surrounded with. And he's given away all kinds of property that he has absolutely no legal authority to give. He was seeking to please American Oligarchs the likes of Adelson. That's American politics. "Money is free speech." Of course, there is another connection with foreign policy beyond the truly total corruption of American domestic politics, and that's through America's brutal empire abroad.

The military/intelligence imperial establishment definitely see Israel as a kind of American colony in the Mideast, and they make sure that it's well provided for. That's what the Neocon Wars have been about. Paving over large parts of Israel's noisy neighborhood. And that includes matters like keeping Syria off-balance with occupation in its northeast. And constantly threatening Iran.

Obama or Trump, on the main matters of importance abroad – NATO, Russia, Israel/Palestine, China – there has been no difference, except Trump is more openly bellicose and given to saying really stupid things.

By the way, the last President who tried seriously to make foreign policy as the elected head of government left half of his head splattered on thec streets of Dallas.

Sick of Orcs , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:36 pm GMT
@propagandist hacker Or he was fooled, tricked, bribed, coerced by The HoloNose.

Don't get me wrong, the Orange Sellout is to blame regardless.

9/11 Inside job , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT
@Jon Baptist We have all been brainwashed by the propaganda screened by the massmedia ,whether it be FOX , MSNBC , CBS ,etc.. SeptemberClues.info has a good article entitled "The central role of the news media on 9/11 " :

"The 9/11 psyop relied foremostly on that weakspot of ours .We all fell for the images we saw on TV at the time we can only wonder why so many never questioned the absurd TV coverage proposed by all the major networks The 9/11 TV imagery of the crucial morning events was just a computer-animated, pre-fabricated movie."

Was "The Harley Guy" a crisis actor ?

geokat62 , says: December 6, 2019 at 1:00 pm GMT
@National Institute for Study of the Obvious

So please for once somebody answer this blindingly obvious question, Who is making US foreign policy? CIA, that's who.

Close. You got 4 of the correct letters, AIPAC. You were just missing the P.

CIA runs your country.

No, Jewish Supremacist oligarchs run America.

Herald , says: December 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm GMT
@follyofwar Pat inhabits a strange Hollywood type world, where the US is always the good guy. He believes that, although the US may make foreign policy mistakes, its aims and ambitions are nevertheless noble and well intentioned.

In Pat's world it's still circa 1955, but even then, his take on US foreign policy would have been hopelessly unrealistic.

[Dec 06, 2019] Endless War Degrades the Military

Dec 06, 2019 | www.shutterstock.com

krill_makarov/Shutterstock

December 5, 2019

|

12:44 pm

Daniel Larison TAC contributor Gil Barndollar calls attention to the damage that endless war is doing to the military:

The president has been rightly excoriated for these pardons, which dishonor the U.S. military and may degrade good order and discipline. But amid this uproar, Americans should note the bigger lesson: Endless wars, especially endless counterinsurgency or counterterrorism wars, slowly chip away at both a military's ethics and its critical war-fighting skills.

These wars are particularly corrosive because they cannot be conclusively won, and for every enemy that is destroyed it seems as if two or three more appear to replace it. Futile, open-ended wars contribute to breakdowns in discipline. Barndollar continues:

However, keeping their honor clean becomes harder and harder the longer these wars drag on. Wars among the people, as all our endless wars now are, are inherently dirty. When even senior members of the foreign policy establishment concede that we are not seeking victory in Afghanistan, it becomes harder for soldiers to make hollow mission accomplishment a higher priority than self-preservation. Treating U.S. soldiers like victims, as Trump implicitly does, also becomes more common.

When a war cannot be won, the rational thing to do would be to stop fighting it, but instead of doing that our political and military leaders treat endless war as a new normal that must not be questioned. It is bad enough when a government sends its soldiers to fight and die for a cause that it pretends can still be won when that isn't possible, but to keep sending them over and over again into war zones to fight a war they admit is futile has to be discouraging and frustrating. This also has to widen the division between the military and the civilian population. While military personnel are called on to go on multiple tours in pointless conflicts, most people back home mouth empty platitudes about supporting the troops and do nothing to bring the wars to an end. The public's failure to hold our political and military leaders accountable for these failed and unnecessary wars is bound to have corrosive effects as well.

At the same time, these wars degrade the military's ability to fight other adversaries:

Even more serious for American national security is the fact that endless small wars degrade a military's ability to fight and win big wars -- wars that have real consequences for our security and way of life.

Our endless wars have been enormously costly. It is estimated that all of the wars of the last twenty years will end up costing at least $6.4 trillion, and beyond that they have consumed our government's attention and resources to the detriment of everything else. Our political and military leaders perpetuate these wars, and the public has allowed them to do this, because they are still laboring under the faulty assumption that the U.S. is being made more secure in the process. The reality is that endless wars are undermining our security, weakening the military, and creating more enemies. They should be ended responsibly, but they must end. about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

[Dec 06, 2019] Th ey think they are the people who set national policy and the president is this figurehead who is guided by all these people around him who agree on everything," he said. "The president doesn't need to use the State Department at all to conduct foreign policy

24 November 2019
Dec 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Punch foresaw The Borg

Punch

"Foreign Policy"

"This was a debate over policy. Trump's critics may not have liked the policy he was pushing. But as former Defense Intelligence Agency official Pat Lang noted on his blog last week, the statute in question applies only to "intelligence activities" but "does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters."

That's what this fight is about, said Lang . Speaker after speaker at the hearings asserted that Trump's views did not comport with official national policy. But the president sets that policy, Lang said, not the diplomats.

"They think they are the people who set national policy and the president is this figurehead who is guided by all these people around him who agree on everything," he said. "The president doesn't need to use the State Department at all to conduct foreign policy." ' Paul Mulshine

-------------

Actually, I was too minimal in speaking of "diplomats." Vindman is not a diplomat and there are many other actors in this drama of Borgist angst (foreign policy establishment ) who are not diplomats.

For one thing a large percentage of the Drones at the State Department are civil service employees rather than Foreign Service Officers, and although they do not play well together they agree on the ultimate authority of the Supremacy Clause (non-existent) in the US Constitution that gives the State Department dominion over all the Lord created. A career ambassador's wife once lectured me that the US Army should change the cap badge that officers wear because it looks too much like the Great Seal of the United States which in the State Department can only be displayed by Ambassadors. I told her that she should petition the Secretary of the Army in this matter.

Various departments of government, media, academia, thinktankeries, etc., all have heavy infestations of folks who went to graduate school together in poly sci in all its branches, or who wish to be thought worthy of such attendance. They specialize in group think, conformity, and conformism, even to the solemn dress they affect. The four in hand tie knot is pretty much mandatory for serious consideration for inclusion in the Borg. It indicates a certain preppy insouciance and faux disregard for details of dress.

Trump's casual disregard for all that enrages the Borg who thought they had "won it all" long ago and that they would have a Borgist neocon to deal with in Hillary.

Hell hath no fury like The Borg scorned. pl

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2019/11/the-trump-impeachment-hearing-whistle-blower-blew-up-a-non-story-mulshine.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punch_(magazine)

Posted at 12:28 PM in As The Borg Turns , Current Affairs , Media , Mulshine | Permalink

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J , 24 November 2019 at 12:56 PM

Hillary's Foundation has lost millions recently, which has Hillary pursing her lips like she's been using a lemon for her lipstick. I mean, worse than fish-lips, Hillary's pursing expression.

Too bad that we can't form some cement shoes for the Borg and toss them into the east river AKA the Atlantic, or send them back to hell from where they originated!

Hank H. , 24 November 2019 at 06:44 PM
OT:
This afternoon my wife and I turned on the TV to watch football. We were flipping through channels and came upon some local ABC affiliate (WMUR) which had on a documentary which mentioned the Medal of Honor and a Catholic chaplain in Vietnam. Needless to say we stayed on that channel. Long story short, it was one of the most powerful things we've ever watched. We were both in tears by the end (nb: I don't cry easily) and we were changed from having watched it. We immediately went online to purchase copies for family members. It was recently released.
The Field Afar: The Life of Fr. Vincent Capodanno

https://www.amazon.com/Field-Afar-Life-Vincent-Capodanno/dp/B081KPTT3R/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=A+field+afar&qid=1574638098&sr=8-1

JMH , 25 November 2019 at 04:22 AM
As the Borg like to say "We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own." They have done this with the four in hand tie knot which was previously worn by giants like George Kennon and Chip Bohlen. Yet now, the midgetry prevails.
Ghost Ship , 25 November 2019 at 11:34 AM
The four in hand tie knot is pretty much mandatory for serious consideration for inclusion in the Borg.
I'm surprised, given some of the more outlandish claims about the British Royal Family, that the Windsor knot isn't mandatory.
Jim Ticehurst , 25 November 2019 at 07:21 PM
Colonel...This is another Reason why I appreciate your levels of Experience and knowledge with SST..Thank you for doing that...I always come away with New Insight..and Understanding of Real Dynamics..what has Progressively Developed inside the State.Department.with its Influence On so Much POLICY...and .is as You say...The BORG..and Their Own Culture.your Article put that all into a Big Picture for Me..(Connecting the Data..) .It.as you aptly Described. is a Universal.Sect..and...At The National Level...They are Cyber Borgs..Shciff Shapers..and that Whole Colony has Been Exposed.,,, Bad Products and All....
J , 26 November 2019 at 08:08 PM
Colonel,

Fiona Hill appears to be part of the Borg, not really sure which part she's affiliated. Some have called her a 'sleeper agent', but a sleeper for whom? British Intelligence agent of influence? Or an Israeli agent of influence, or maybe a Daniel Pipes trained NEOCON agent of influence? Any way one spins it, Fiona Hill has been undermining POTUS Trump while she was part of his NSC and his advisory team. Why her intense hatred of Putin? Does he happen to know through his nation's intelligence exactly who she is and whom she may be working on behalf of? The Skripal incident showed just how much that the British Government and Crown hate Russia. But why the intense British hatred of Russia, why?

Questions, so many questions regarding Ms. Hill and who she really works for.


[Dec 06, 2019] So now when a President doesn't allow The Blob to dictate Ukraine policy it's an impeachable offense? Really?

Notable quotes:
"... Thanks again for making explicit what I have long known: To America, Ukraine is nothing but a weapon against Russia. The whole point of support for Ukraine is to make Russia bleed—doesn’t matter how many people die or suffer in the process or how much of Ukraine is destroyed. https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS/status/1202267180219478024 … ..."
"... So fomenting on a war on Russia's border is, it appears, self-evidently aids our national security. What's next? A war scare? Ramping up MH17? ..."
Dec 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"'Our Democracy Is at Stake.' Pelosi Orders Democrats to Draft Articles of Impeachment Against Trump" [ Time ]. With autoplay video. ""The President abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival." • So now when a President doesn't allow The Blob to dictate Ukraine policy it's an impeachable offense? Really? Yasha Levine quotes Democrat impeachment witness Karlan (see below) but the point is the same:

Yasha Levine ✔ @yashalevine

Thanks again for making explicit what I have long known: To America, Ukraine is nothing but a weapon against Russia. The whole point of support for Ukraine is to make Russia bleed—doesn’t matter how many people die or suffer in the process or how much of Ukraine is destroyed. https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS/status/1202267180219478024

So fomenting on a war on Russia's border is, it appears, self-evidently aids our national security. What's next? A war scare? Ramping up MH17?

"Read opening statements from witnesses at the House Judiciary hearing" [ Politico ]. "Democrats' impeachment witnesses at Wednesday's judiciary committee hearing plan to say in their prepared remarks that President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine were the worst examples of misconduct in presidential history." • So again, it's all about Ukraine. I feel like I've entered an alternate dimension. Aaron Maté comments:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/GkQDrYr4EZs

My very subjective impression: I've skimmed three, and read Turley. Karlan, in particular, is simply not a serious effort. Turley may be wrong -- a ton of tribal dunking on Twitter -- but at least he's making a serious effort. I'm gonna have to wait to see if somebody, say at Lawfare, does a serious effort on Turley. Everything I've read hitherto is and posturing and preaching to the choir. (Sad that Larry Tribe has so completely discredited himself, but that's where we are.)

While on Turley, see this from his testimony:

Hat tip to alert reader David in Santa Cruz for his early call on "inchoate":

Lambert, while Trump was unable to complete his attempt to extort the President of Ukraine, as someone who practiced the criminal law for 34 years, let me be the first to clue you in to the concept in the criminal law of the inchoate offense . This is criminal law, not contract law.

An inchoate offense includes an attempt, a conspiracy, and the solicitation of a crime. All focus on the state of mind of the perpetrator, and none require that the offense be completed -- only that a person or persons having the required criminal intent took material steps toward completing the crime. Such a person becomes a principal in the contemplated crime, and in the eyes of the law is just as guilty as if he or she had completed the attempted offense.

(The details of Trump's offense differ from what David in Santa Cruz said they would be.) "Inchoate" appears only in Turley's piece, indicating, to me, that his was the only serious effort.

[Dec 04, 2019] A Warning

Looks like a sequel to Wolff book
Dec 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

linda galella , November 19, 2019

"This may be our last chance to act to hold the man accountable..."

Well, that was "A Warning", for sure! The anonymous author of this tell all, Trump outter, goes on to proclaim "we must look deeper at the roots of the present disorder, which is why I have written this book."

Based on his/hers opening salvo, I proceeded with an open mind and hoped a first hand accounting of events would give me something more, something new, something unbiased...after reading every single word, I'm not sure what to think any more.

"A Warning", by Anonymous, is a well written political volume that speaks clearly, and authoritatively concerning the events that take place in the White House and with our president, Donald J. Trump. They have avoided all the histrionics that fill the tomes offered by most of the media members. There's plenty of passion and urgency behind what's being said it's just not crazed which for me, lends it an air of veracity. I'm settled for 60% of the discourse.

By chapter 5 my opinion of the author's recanting about the details of the POTUS's daily events has begun to become suspect and I'm starting to get that feeling that something is "off". I read on trying to keep my open mind, feelings at bay. It's not easy because the stories being told are starting to take on a schoolyard tenor such as: listing snippets of twitter tweets (only the "bad"parts), highlighting his inadequacies as a statesman/politician (DJT never claimed to be more than a businessman). It's not wrong to mention these things, it's the spirit in how it's done and the vacuum.

This is about the time that anonymous' logic becomes unfounded, for me; a Venn diagraming dilemma of if-then, WHAT?

Positing that POTUS has such a weakness for strong men that he would make egregious blunders of national security, as well as waffle on business and finance issues just doesn't make sense. Sorry. If for no other reason than his sheer business acumen, I'm rejecting this premise. Yes, he blunders on with lack of finesse in the deportment and statesman columns but...nope.

"A Warning" continues on pretty much in this manner, more and more juvenile until we end up firmly in the land of snark with chapter seven and "The Apologists" where the author in his anonymity proclaims how we can identify the various flavors of apologists, all they think and feel and all they need to do-to get , be and do better; presumptuous, IMHO. I'm sure snark wasn't the intended goal but it's how I arrived, for me.

All things considered, the writing and publishing are excellent. For the first half of the book, I was impressed with the author's ability to detail the story, taking the high road. The road got lonely along the way and anonymous veered to the access road, never joining yellow journalism highway to deliver "A Warning" 📚

Menkaure , November 21, 2019
Half-Hearted Epiphany

A lot of reviewers are saying "It's nothing we didn't already know," and at first, that was my conclusion as well: there's no bombshells here. But upon reflection, there actually is something that we didn't know. It answered a mystery that has perplexed me for the better part of 3 years, albeit I don't think the author knows it themselves. The million dollar question: how could anyone with any morality, dignity, patriotism, or merely a sense of self-preservation work in the Trump administration? 'A Warning' is not any kind of explosive insider expose on the workings of the current White House. It's far too vague and generalized, avoiding specifics on nearly every topic to the point of exasperation. What this book is, is an attempt by the author to justify their bad, and it must be said, weak choices. It's both a sub-conscious excuse and apology for what's clear the author has still not fully come to terms with themselves. Between the lines, you can almost see him/her trying to work it out, never quite grasping his/her own moral weakness in enabling a man they know to be dangerously incompetent. Everybody, anybody, who has ever worked for somebody else has faced this dilemma at some point in their career: when the boss is bad; you either stay for self-serving reasons (like your finances) or you make a stand before the boss damages the whole enterprise. The author is trying to make a stand, and failing at it. The alarming aspect in this instance, is the stakes are so much higher, the highest, in fact. This is a book written by somebody deep in denial, attempting to work it out but not quite willing, yet, to look themselves directly in the mirror. Chapter 7, "Apologists," is the most telling. The author is not just explaining the motivations of his/her co-participants, but is unwittingly addressing their self as well. Perhaps the most important question here, is WHO does Anonymous think they are "Warning?" at this point? For the Never-Trumpers this is all old news. For the Ever-Trumpers, they're never going to read anything unapproved by their Dear Leader. For those on the fence (if there are any) they're comatose and aren't capable of comprehension. This wasn't written for anybody but the author's own conscience, and even at that, it hedges, dances around itself, and avoids mirrors.

Amazon Customer , November 19, 2019
Discusses what is already known about Trump with little in the way of solutions.

The book tells readers what is already known and readily apparent about Donald Trump: his lack of empathy and curiousity, his volatility and impetuousness, his vengeful nature, the long-lasting damage he is doing to the country's institutions and norms.

The book does not delve into much, if any, new territory that has not been previously reported. Mentions of specific administration members and their individual actions are sparing and go little beyond general notions that many intitially thought Trump would turn his behavior around, are continually dumbfounded by him, try behind the scenes to keep the wheels of government on the road and fail due to his ADD, vanity, and pettiness, and that all know they are expendible to him.

The author devotes quite a bit of time discussing historical Greek democratic philosophy and examples to compare to the current situation. While interesting, it only serves to put Trump's personality and failings into yet another historical context which would surprise nobody who has paid any attention to this administration, government, politics, law, or history.

One of the largest problems with the author's arguments and solutions is that it ultimately lack individual courage. The author takes time to discuss the passengers aboard Flight 93 that fought back against the hijackers on 9/11. He/she even ends the book with the famous last words of one of the passengers who fought back: " Let's roll." While we do not know the identity of the author, his or her actions in publishing this book are not the same. The actions of passengers deciding to fight back against hijackers was not anonymous. They did not fail to show their faces. They met the danger head-on and with full knowledge of the consequences of failure. They did not try to leave it to others. The author gives the coda that the general public needs to wake up and do something, but then does not get in the aisle with the rest of the passengers to fight back. While the author's explanation of remaining anonymous is logical (that the message is more important than the messenger), the author ultimately falls prey to one of the flaws of everyone else who serves Trump: that he/she is not willing to speak truth directly to power regardless of the horrific consequences of not doing so. Former Senator Jeff Flake and Representative Justin Amash have made many of the same philosophical and logical points as the author regarding Trump's damaging actions publicly, to their own political demise. The reader cannot help but wonder if the author is still in the administration taking daily part in the passivity of those who know better but will not say it to Trump's face.

The book offers much in the way of problems but little in the way of solutions. The author suggests Americans be engaged in civics and politics at local and state levels. The author suggests that we find the political middle and return to civility. The author does not posit how the reader should, given such a dire warning, convince the many people to change course, who: 1) see what Trump really is and actually like it, 2) have been completely fooled about who Trump really is but will not respond to facts, logic, and/or self-interest, and 3) hold power to do something about Trump (i.e.: 53 Republican Senators) but remain passive due to a variety of personal, social, political, or economic factors.

Ultimately, the book puts forth an important analysis of Trump, the sycophants that surround him, and the damage he continues to do. But it doesn't come with the gravity of someone who is willing to risk his/her own skin in order to try to save the country that he/she seems to hold so dear. The message would mean more if the author was willing to risk all like the passengers of Flight 93.

joel wing , November 22, 2019
Disappointing Repeats major faults w/Trump without adding any new details

A Warning by Anonymous who claims to be a senior Trump administration official comes on the heal of previous tell all books such as Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury and Bob Woodward's Fear. Unfortunately, if one read those books or has paid attention to the news there is nothing really new in A Warning, which outlines the argument against the Trump presidency.

Anonymous' argument is that Trump is unfit for the presidency and most be voted out of office in the next election. The author's complaints are well known. The president knows nothing about how the government, the economy or foreign policy works which leads to endless problems as he makes pronouncements, Tweets, or asks his staff to do things that can't be done, and sometimes might even be illegal. He contemplated telling the National Guard that was deployed to the border with Mexico to shoot people trying to enter illegally as a deterrent. Trump isn't inquisitive, doesn't read, and is an avid consumer of conspiracy theories. Trump for example is so adverse to reading and has such a short attention span that his staff has been reduced to briefing him with just one graphic or one slide that represents one main issue, and to repeat that point over and over in the hopes that it will sink in with the chief executive. Many times that fails. Instead, Trump's main sources of information are cable news and a variety of conspiracy theories he hears or makes up himself. The president's language is divisive. Trump revels in smack talking, and one of his favorite times is to go to rallies where he can unleash a new line against his opponents. He enjoys being a rabble rouser and inciting his followers. The president came into office with a diverse cabinet of generals, politicians, and businessmen, but most of them have left. Not only that, but some of them were willing to stand up to the president and tell him things he didn't want to hear. The author considers himself part of this group. Now Trump is surrounded by people that only tell him what he wants to hear. All together that has led the White House into one crisis after another. Trump Tweets he wanted out of Syria without telling any of his staff beforehand. The White House had outlined a $2 trillion infrastructure bill with the Democrats, but then Trump got mad watching cable TV before a planned meeting and walked away from the deal. The author has one great characterization at an end of a chapter where he says the government is like one of Trump's companies. It's badly managed, a sociopath is at its head, there is infighting, lawsuits, debt, shady deals, and everything is focused upon the owner rather than the customers.

Anonymous does make one new argument you rarely hear, and that is Trump is not a conservative. He starts off with the fact that Trump has changed his party affiliation several times. He also has violated many of the hall marks of conservatism such as free trade, fiscal responsibility, and cutting the size of the federal government. Trump for example, has created a huge budget deficit with his tax cuts while continuing to increase public spending.

Again, the problem with the book isn't the message, it's just that his has all been said before. I was at least expecting some interesting stories to go along with this laundry list of faults, but was disappointed by the lack of them. In the end, if this is the first book you're thinking of reading about Trump you will get the main arguments against his presidency. If you've been following Trump and his faults, then there's little to see here.

E.M. Tennessen , November 21, 2019
Familiar info in a new package

"A Warning" confirms with additional anecdotes what we already know--useful if you don't want to go all over the web for "all the news" about the White House's inner workings and the President's behavior. It's well-written but would have been more compelling if the op-eds, snark and name-calling had been edited out. Clearly, not written (but possibly edited) by someone with a journalism background. The chapter on "character" was the most valuable as it serves as a reminder of what we are looking for in a leader of our country, or any leader, in fact--someone with integrity, honesty, service-minded, respectful of others, clear-thinking, etc. It's clear from what's written here that if the President is re-elected, it says more about our nation than it does about a 73-year-old man who clearly has attention deficit disorder, possibly a reading disability, and absolutely no experience with statecraft. (Nor does he care. I don't know what's worse.) I'm sure this book will become a part of our interesting historical record!

DalkasChris , November 22, 2019
Don't Bother

I purchased this book (against my better judgment) because I thought maybe the insights in this book would be enlightening. But I wish I hadn't spent the money. First, most of what was