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[Dec 27, 2018] There is a lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US into radioactive dust?

Notable quotes:
"... Maybe I am overestimating the intelligence of MIC profiteers, but my impression is that those thieves know that their loot is only useful as long as they are alive. There is a lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US into radioactive dust? The profiteers want huge Pentagon budget to steal from, but not the war where they lose along with everyone else. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , says: December 26, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT

@Harold Smith

Maybe I am overestimating the intelligence of MIC profiteers, but my impression is that those thieves know that their loot is only useful as long as they are alive. There is a lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US into radioactive dust? The profiteers want huge Pentagon budget to steal from, but not the war where they lose along with everyone else.

As to the wall, it is one of the silliest projects ever suggested. Maybe that's why it was so easy to sell it to the intellectually disadvantaged electorate. There are two things that can stop illegal immigration.

First, go for the employers, enact a law that fines them to the tune of $50,000 or more per every illegal they employ. Second, enact the law that anyone caught residing in the US illegally has no right to enter the US legally, to obtain asylum, permanent residency, or citizenship for life, and include a provision that marriage to a US citizen does not nullify this ban.

Then enforce both laws. After that illegals would run out of the country, and greedy employers won't hire any more. Naturally, the wall, even if built, won't change anything: as long as there are employers trying to save on salaries, immigration fees, and Social Security tax, and people willing to live and work illegally risking nothing, no wall would stem the flow.

Unfortunately, no side is even thinking about real measures, both are just posturing.

[Dec 27, 2018] In which prosperous US Zionist "career" field has John Yoo landed? He is now a distinguished professor at Berkley Law

Dec 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

geokat62 , says: December 26, 2018 at 10:44 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski

Am wondering in which prosperous U.S. Zionist "career" field has John Yoo landed?

He is a distinguished professor at Berkley Law, UC. Here's his bio:

Professor Yoo is the Emanuel Heller Professor of Law and director of the Korea Law Center, the California Constitution Center, and the Law School's Program in Public Law and Policy. His most recent books are Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War (Encounter 2017) (with Jeremy Rabkin) and Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare (Oxford University Press, 2014). Professor Yoo is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution

From 2001 to 2003, he served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers.

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/john-yoo/

Notice how they gloss over his diabolical activities as deputy AG for the Bush II Adminstration "where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers."

And, oh, yeah, he cobbled together legal statements that gave the Bush Admin carte blanche to engage in "enhanced interrogation techniques," more commonly known as "torture." He was about to be in big dodo for his crimes. but just like the 5 dancing Israelis were rescued by Chertoff, a guy named David Margolis managed to get Yoo off the hook:

The Office of Professional Responsibilty (OPR) report concluded that Yoo had "committed 'intentional professional misconduct' when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects," although the recommendation that he be referred to his state bar association for possible disciplinary proceedings was overruled by David Margolis, another senior Justice department lawyer.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yoo

Anyone familiar with David Margolis? Is he a MOT?

[Dec 22, 2018] How the Gulf War Gave Us the Antiwar Right The American Conservative

Dec 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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The recent veneration of George H.W. Bush has been wonderfully uplifting, especially as it recalled his cautious use of persuasion and honest argument.

Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan's former speechwriter, beautifully described Bush's funeral in the Wall Street Journal as reminding us of our dignity and "re-summoning our mystique." The event, Noonan said, harkened back to when America was respected and admired, generous and "expected to do good." President Bush, she noted, had presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union diplomatically and without humiliating Russia's leaders or its people. He also declined to occupy a Muslim country after defeating Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Bush was indeed a very decent man. In fact, he was a great statesman, as TAC 's editor Jim Antle has noted on these pages.

Yet almost none of the news reported on what was the darkest chapter of his legacy: the First Gulf War. I was a co-founder at the time of a small and vastly outgunned opposition group of conservatives and (mainly) libertarians, the Committee to Avert a Mid-East Holocaust . Today, with at least a million Arabs, Afghans, and Americans dead from the unending chaos the United States unleashed in the Muslim world, the name seems very appropriate.

Our group included truly great conservatives: Henry Regnery, almost the only publisher of conservative books, who helped keep liberty alive during the dark days of the 1940s and '50s, along with the always brave Pat Buchanan and Joseph Sobran. Regnery and Buchanan were the main contributors to our group. But we were a virtual who's who of the incipient libertarian movement: Ron Paul, the once and future Texas congressman who would eventually gain a wider following as a presidential candidate; Lew Rockwell, his former congressional staffer; the economist Murray Rothbard; Bill Niskanen, chairman of the Cato Institute; Sheldon Richman, longtime editor at FEE ; Justin Raimondo, who would go on to be a co-founder at Antiwar.com ; and Burt Blumert, who helped fund much of Rothbard and Raimondo's work.

Our chair and guide was Phil Nicolaides , former deputy director at Voice of America during the Reagan era. The executive committee included myself, Richman, Sobran, and chess champion Phil Collier. Fran Griffin, a strong Catholic and founding member of Young Americans for Freedom, did tremendous work for almost no pay handling our mail-outs and administration with her company Griffin Communications.

In those days, communication consisted of direct mail, while most of the media just accepted pro-war government handouts. If only we'd the internet! We did get some news coverage but of course we were no match for Kuwaiti money and evangelical supporters of Israel. Still, the Senate vote in favor of the war was only 52-47, despite the overwhelming propaganda in favor of it as described below.

The war led to a major break between libertarians and conservatives , especially as the giant Heritage Foundation became a champion of war from that moment on. Even today, Heritage has backed continued U.S. support for the Saudi bombing of Yemen.

Much about the Gulf War and especially its lies and subsequent brutality were not reported. Bush himself may not have known all that took place in the military campaign. After all, Dick Cheney, whom we know now to be a liar, was his secretary of defense. But the deeds need to be remembered and indeed researched.

Not Taking Out Saddam Was George H.W. Bush's Finest Hour The Year the Iraq War Truly Ended

Particularly odious was the calculated destruction of Iraq's sanitation, irrigation, and electrical grid, with the intent of causing mass civilian disease and starvation, as specified in a Defense Intelligence Agency report. It would have been interesting to find out who ordered this policy. Reconstruction supplies were then blockaded over the following nine years, including during the Clinton presidency. The consequent half million deaths of children were deemed acceptable by Clinton's former secretary of state Madeleine Albright in this famous 60 Minutes interview with Leslie Stahl. Osama bin Laden later listed civilian suffering in Iraq as one of the three reasons for his subsequent terrorist attack on America.

Public support for the war was in part ginned up by the infamous "incubator babies" lie and claims that aerial photographs showed 200,000 Iraqi soldiers waiting along the border to invade Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the reason given to Americans for sending troops was to protect the Saudis.

The Christian Science Monitor and LA Times reported later how it was untrue and that such photographs never existed. Photos of the border showed no troops congregated there. The Defense Department claimed the photos were secret and never released them even after the war.

Such misinformation is critical if you're trying to get America into a war. Remember the British propaganda that got us into the First World War? A repeated story was that German soldiers were eating Belgian babies. In the second Iraq war, it was lies that Saddam had aided bin Laden and was developing nuclear "weapons of mass destruction."

Kuwait's ruling family spent billions of dollars and paid for top public relations in Washington. I remember particularly the yearly CPAC meeting when the Kuwaitis paid for a dozen tables to be filled with students to cheer for war. Saddam was sending cash bequests to the families of Palestinian terrorists whom Israel had killed, so pro-Israel forces in Washington also supported the war, though they were less important to the lobbying effort than Kuwait.

Nevertheless, the United States initially hesitated to go to war. There was the meeting of the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, with Saddam Hussein during which she told him that inter-Arab quarrels were not the concern of the United States government . A top State Department official told Congress the same thing. The ambassador strangely disappeared from the news after the war started.

Then there was President Bush's rather casual attitude about Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Only after he met with British Prime Minister Thatcher and faced the vast pro-war publicity campaign did he change his mind. Thatcher was very alarmed because Kuwait's vast deposits in British banks were important for their solvency. She feared Iraq might continue threatening other Gulf states and their bank deposits. She insisted and begged America to save Kuwait. Bush than organized a United Nations Security Council vote to condemn Iraq and a coalition that included many Arab nations. He did it with full international legality (unlike his son's subsequent war) and above all he got our allies to pay for the war. There was massive support in America for the operation.

Bush's national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, later opposed the younger Bush's attack on and subsequent occupation of Iraq in 2003. He understood well the limits of power and the importance of having allies -- something the next President Bush cared little about.

Jon Basil Utley is publisher of .

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David Nash December 20, 2018 at 10:29 pm

Actually, George H. W. Bush only looks good next to the Current Occupant (of the Oval Office).

I, too, can remember his Presidency, and even his candidacy, when he authorized the use of those Willie Horton ads. (Which contributed both to the rise of the alt-right and the BLM movements.)

I recall his first candidacy,k when he was opposed to "voodoo economics" before he was all for it.

One need not lay out any secret cabal when he was in office as indicative of his character. It was on full display long before. And it had nothing to do with a "kinder, gentler America", only with the pursuit of power at any cost to integrity or honor.

EliteCommInc. , says: December 21, 2018 at 3:43 am
Look there are valid reasons to challenger the first gulf war. It was strictly a debate between Iraq and Kuwait. Historical issues and the matter of supplemental dollars for what Iraq believed was a defense against the Iranian revolution.

But unlike the last invasion the First Gulf effort was largely supported even by Gulf States. Stop dreaming up libertarian fantasies about Sen rand Paul. Libertarian anti-war effort. As for PM thatcher's fears – the Iraqi invasion did not budge the price of oil. This was a dispute between two neighbors and nothing more.

But it was the international effort that made the case. And it was not just Israel. It was limited to one goal,pushing Iraqi troops back into Iraq proper.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
The valid critiques on Pres. Bush, Sr. are those in the above comments about economics and "Willie Horton."

The case against iraq in the second effort was very clear.

Iraq had invaded no one

Had nothing to do with 9/11

No evidence the wmd in any viable state

No evidence that the weapons inspectors were not accomplishing their mission.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -

I didn't hear a peep from the likes of your clique about challenging the war in Afghanistan. That was an effort that would have demonstrated some serious unnecessary anti-war thinking. Some intellectual work in examining the issues and the consequence. The internet was alive and well during the Afghanistan advance --
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- –

There is a difference between being anti-war and being opposed to unnecessary military efforts. Libertarians trying to hide in the minutia of being anti-war as they savage their fellow citizens with their immigration no borders nonsense, selling marijuana -- a tax boon no where in sight in Colorado, Ca., or anywhere else, now want to unleash their carelessness on heroin, cocaine, and hashish.

Tony , says: December 21, 2018 at 6:37 am
This article is superb as it gives the reader a good insight into the lies that promoted that war as well as its horrific consequences.

"The Defense Department claimed the photos were secret and never released them even after the war."

"If Kuwait grew carrots, we wouldn't give a damn." as Lawrence Korb said at the time.

That is probably because they did not exist.

The burying alive of Iraq conscripts was also a matter of deep concern.

Ed , says: December 21, 2018 at 10:31 am
Bush talked about Dukakis's prison furloughs, and his campaign did produce and ad about them, but the famous Willie Horton ad was produced by an independent PAC. It was done on Bush's behalf, and Lee Atwater was all in favor of making Horton an issue, but so far as is known, Bush didn't authorize or approve the well-known ad himself.

_________

I wonder if it would have been possible for antiwar conservatives (and conservatives critical of trade and immigration policy) to mainstream their concerns. As it was, many tended to become trapped in paleocon land, arguing forever that they were further to the right than the others, and embracing some embarrassing ideas and historical icons.

You may recall John O'Sullivan's law – any organization that isn't explicitly expressly right-wing will become left-wing over time. But the corollary seems to be that critical or unorthodox movements on the right tend to get boxed into being "more conservative than thou" and losing access to the centrist mainstream.

Whatever the current orthodoxy is appropriates the conservative label, and dissenters either move to left or the far right.

Conservatives and liberals both have a great diversity of opinion, but it seems like politics today are so polarized and binary that it's impossible for those of divergent opinions to be on the same side or at more or less the same place on the political spectrum.

One side is always going to be accused of being sell-outs to the enemy or of being on the lunatic fringe.

Ryan W , says: December 21, 2018 at 12:10 pm
I'm inclined to make a distinction between the "jus ad bellum" and the "jus in bello" aspects of the Gulf War. I think I can say that I lean heavily anti-war in general, but I do think the Gulf War was justified. Even if it's true that America and others wouldn't have intervened in a case where the countries involved were small and unimportant, I don't think the answer would be to also refuse to intervene in the case at hand. There's a great value in upholding the principle that countries can't forcibly annex land from each other. Also, it's hard to believe that Saddam Hussein would have settled down and minded his own business. It's more likely that the lack of pushback from his Kuwait invasion would have encouraged further adventurism.

None of that is to defend the way the war was actually conducted. It's just to suggest that the preferable alternative would have been to wage the war more ethically rather than not to wage it at all.

Jim Bovard , says: December 21, 2018 at 5:11 pm
Excellent piece! Thanks for all you have done for peace for decades, Jon!
dbrize , says: December 21, 2018 at 6:24 pm
ElitCommInc appears to have a requisite necessity to interject "Sen rand Paul" into articles that don't even mention him. C'est la vie.

As regards Afghanistan, I confess to having not a clue what is meant by " some serious unnecessary anti-war thinking" but as I remember those days, while there was general support for getting Bin Laden there were voices in the libertarian/paleoconservative movement that argued for a special forces operation, a quit hit and not a full out occupation force.

Marijuana legalization has nothing to do with the article though I suppose those awful libertarians also "savage" their fellow citizens with the sale of adult beverages as well. C'est la vie.

Connecticut Farmer , says: December 21, 2018 at 6:56 pm
I reluctantly got on board with the first Gulf War and about all that can be said that's positive is that Bush Sr. at least endorsed a limited objective i.e. get Iraq out of Kuwait. Not so that brain-dead son of his who was taking his orders from his VP.

[Dec 22, 2018] The Great War Christmas Truce 'They Were Positively Human' The American Conservative

Dec 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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The Great War Christmas Truce: 'They Were Positively Human' For a brief moment in 1914, the guns went silent and the men risked court martial to play soccer, smoke and sing---with the other side. By Hunter DeRensis December 21, 2018

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Wikimedia Commons/public domain A 19th-century peace activist once asked, "Is it possible that any Christian, of whatever sect, who believes the New Testament to be anything better than a fable, can doubt for a moment that the time will come when all the kingdoms of the earth shall be at peace?"

Jesus Christ, as both a religious and historical figure, has been chronicled as the "Prince of Peace." He was the man (or son of God) who instructed his followers to turn the other cheek. This philosophy of love, forgiveness, and the rejection of violence is difficult to mesh with a modern age that has fought two world wars. Reaching even farther back, it's hard to reconcile Christ's message with the violence inflicted by Christians against both non-Christians and other members of the faith.

But one moment, found in the bloody, secularized 20th century, stands out: the Christmas Truce of 1914.

World War I had begun in August, engulfing most of Europe. On the western front, a German invasion of France by way of Belgium had stalled just 50 miles outside of Paris. Fighting quickly devolved into trench warfare, with German and British-French lines divided by a no-man's land of barbed wire, shell holes, and death. Soldiers lived and died in trenches of mud and dirt, infested with fleas and other vermin and often flooded with water that was knee deep. Winter added frost and bitter cold. The war that people on both sides said would be done by Christmas showed no sign of ending. By December, after barely five months of combat, casualties on all sides numbered over two million.

Yet that Christmas Eve, an unexpected sound could be heard above the din of gunfire: soldiers on the German side singing Stille Nacht , the original German-language Silent Night . Small fir trees, makeshift replacements for the grand Christmas trees back home, had been placed. The constant fighting might have had the effect of increasing religious reflection. During the opening months of the war in 1914, churches in Germany were fuller than they had ever been, even in working-class areas infamous for secular and anti-clerical politics.

After much hesitation, soldiers on the British side began to poke their heads out of the trenches. The Germans did not fire. The Brits responded by applauding and singing their own English version of the carol. The two sides then met together in no man's land. Frederick James Davies, a private in the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, described his experiences in a letter home to his mother: "They [the Germans] were only fifty yards away from us in the trenches. They came out and we went to meet them. We shook hands with them . They also gave us cigars but they didn't have much food. I think they are hard up for it. They were fed up with the war." They exchanged "cigs, jam and corn beef" and Davies added that he had "a good chat with the Germans on Xmas day."

Writer Henry Williamson, then a private in the London Rifle Brigade, wrote cheerfully home to his mother that he was smoking German tobacco he had exchanged with a live soldier. He recounted, "Yesterday the British & Germans met & shook hands in the Ground between the trenches, & exchanged souvenirs, & shook hands." He describes his military counterparts: "Many are gentle looking men in goatee beards & spectacles, and some are very big and arrogant looking." In other words, they looked positively human. Williamson even showed empathy for their similar motivations: "The Germans put 'For Fatherland & Freedom' on the cross. They obviously think their cause is a just one."

In his own account, Captain A.D. Chater of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders wrote : "This extraordinary truce has been quite impromptu. There was no previous arrangement and of course it had been decided that there was not to be any cessation of hostilities."

God, Marriage, and Gratitude in 'A Christmas Carol' The Dark Side of War Propaganda

This outbreak of peace was entirely spontaneous, started by privates on the front lines as their officers threatened them with court-martial. Soldiers laughed, talked, sang, exchanged gifts, and helped to bury their dead. A few games of soccer were even played.

They had been killing each other for months, indoctrinated for most of their lives to view the "other" as evil, inhuman. But here they were, ordinary men who missed their homes and families, who had only the vaguest idea of why they were there, why they were dying and killing. Karl Muhlegg of the 17th Bavarian Regiment wrote home, "Never was I as keenly aware of the insanity of war."

The truce continued until the end of Christmas. In some spots it continued for days. But slowly men returned to their sides and fighting resumed. Europe would not see another Christmas in peacetime until 1918, after 10,000,000 men had been killed. When the war ended, the French military academy Saint-Cyr listed all its graduates who had fallen. For one year, it contains just one brief but chilling entry: "The Class of 1914." In comparison, only 81 British soldiers died on Christmas Day 1914 in all of Europe.

What is striking is the difference between the propaganda put forward by the governments on the home front and the spontaneous actions that Christmas. Besides Pope Benedict XV, who urged a temporary ceasefire so war cannons would not be booming across Europe on the night the angels were meant to announce Christ's birth, what the soldiers did was opposed by governments on both sides.

There's a case to be made that the truce had nothing to do with Christianity. Periodic and unplanned truces occur in war regularly. Fighting ceases while the two sides take time to bury their dead. And trade and fraternization do occur. One might ask, does the common soldier need a higher reason to stop killing or be killed? But this rejoinder is far too simplistic. It's estimated that roughly 100,000 soldiers participated in the Christmas Truce of 1914 to some degree. This is far too large a number to be written off as a casual occurrence. This event was unplanned, uncoordinated, and not sanctioned by the officer core. Yet it happened. And it just happened to take place on the most celebrated day in the Christian calendar, the observance of the birth of Christ, the "Prince of Peace." If both sides were not united under Christendom, joined together in mutual belief, it is a definite that the truce would not have occurred.

In November 1914, three months into the war, Pope Benedict XV grieved, "Who would imagine, as we see them thus filled with hatred of one another, that they are all of one common stock, all of the same nature, all members of the same human society? Who would recognize brothers, whose Father is in Heaven?" Perhaps on Christmas, with morals engraved on their innermost hearts, the soldiers realized the truth of this statement.

As an event in the history of war, the Christmas Truce of 1914 is barely a footnote; it had no major effects on the fighting or outcome of World War I. But in the history of peace, the truce is a powerful story. This moment, this flash of love, bookended on both sides by destruction and hate, was a triumph of humanity. It's the closest thing we'll see to a miracle in this fallen world.

Frederick Niven, a minor Scottish poet, ended his poem "A Carol from Flanders" with a sentiment that should be prayed for year-round:

O ye who read this truthful rime

From Flanders, kneel and say:

God Speed the time when every day

Shall be as Christmas Day

Hunter DeRensis is a regular contributor to . Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis .

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Connecticut Farmer December 21, 2018 at 9:02 am

"Leaders" don't care about the ordinary soldier–and it doesn't matter which countries are fighting. "God Save The King (or Queen)" "Deutschland Ueber Alles" "Allons enfant de la Patrie" "Make The World Safe For Democracy". Blah, blah, blah.

Damn all "leaders"!!!!!!!!

Anon1970 , says: December 21, 2018 at 9:18 am
The story of the 1914 Christmas Truce was made into a movie "Joyeux Noel" in 2005.
General Manager , says: December 21, 2018 at 11:04 am
Could you imagine the singing of "Happy Holidays" igniting such an overwhelming burst of love? Do the owners of our mainstream media outlets pay announcers a bonus for everytime they squeeze "holiday" into their scripts? I am not taking a holiday and I find it offensive to discount the happiest day of my religious belief system discounted such. BTW – The officers had to force the troops back into the killing fields at gunpoint. Had the Christmas Peace of 1914 held – just imagine? The secularization of Christmas is not a joining phenomenon it is a divisive act. Those who launched this war on Christmas have had great victories here. It is being stalled overseas in both supposedly Christian and non-Christian countries. If we get into a really nasty war – just see how quickly these warmongers will give us back Christam (temporarily).
mike , says: December 21, 2018 at 12:54 pm
"War made the State and the State makes War."
These poor men had barely more influence on policy than livestock do in managing a cattle ranch.
It's ridiculous to say Christians fought Christians etc.
These wars were made by States which had amassed the power – through ideology and technology – to control multitudes of helpless, defenceless people.
History can be summed up as: Man v State; Law v Power; Civilisation v Barbarism.
In the twentieth century, we saw the triumph of State Power over Law, Civilisation and Humanity.
(The State surpassed disease as mankind's greatest affliction.)
kingdomofgodflag.info , says: December 21, 2018 at 4:08 pm
Thank you for this thoughtful challenge to Christian militarism.
Arrigu , says: December 21, 2018 at 7:28 pm
The German invasion didn't stall by itself before Paris. The French fought like lions at the First battle of the Marne (the British troops' contribution was numerically quite reduced at that time) and prevailed over the Germans. Sadly with not enough of a decision on the war that then went on Why is it always so difficult for American magazines (and newspapers) to mention the French ? It always gives the silent impression French were hapless bystanders to a war on their own soil.
Rick Steven D. , says: December 22, 2018 at 7:36 am
Beautiful, Hunter, thanks.

I didn't know about Joyeux Noel, but the Christmas Truce is (briefly) depicted in the great 1969 WWI film Oh! What a Lovely War:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fHObCL2luMw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Dec 21, 2018] Looks like an o ld, sick neocon Hillarty still tries to influence events, continuing her warmongring

The trouble with CIA democrats is not that they are stupid, but that that are evil.
Hillary proved to be really destructive witch during her Obama stunt as the Secretary of State. Destroyed Libya and Ukraine, which is no small feat.
Notable quotes:
"... The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided. ..."
"... She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League. ..."
Dec 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pavel , December 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

The Grauniad just quoted a tweet from a predictably OUTRAGED @HillaryClinton:

Actions have consequences, and whether we're in Syria or not, the people who want to harm us are there & at war. Isolationism is weakness. Empowering ISIS is dangerous. Playing into Russia & Iran's hands is foolish. This President is putting our national security at grave risk.

This from the woman who almost singlehandedly (i.e. along with David Cameron and Sarkovy) destroyed Libya and allowed -- if not encouraged -- the flow of US weapons to go into the hands of ISIS allies in the US-Saudi-Israeli obsession with toppling Assad regardless of the consequences. As Justin Raimondo wrote in Antiwar.com in 2015:

The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided.

This crazy policy was an extension of our regime change operation in Libya, a.k.a. "Hillary's War," where the US – "leading from behind" – and a coalition of our Western allies and the Gulf protectorates overthrew Muammar Qaddafi. There, too, we empowered radical Islamists with links to al-Qaeda affiliates – and then used them to ship weapons to their Syrian brothers, as another document uncovered by Judicial Watch shows.

After HRC's multiple foreign policy fiascos she is the last person who should be commenting on this matter.

a different chris, December 21, 2018 at 11:50 am

> the people who want to harm us are there & at war

Sounds like then they are too busy to harm us? She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League.

[Nov 30, 2018] Petras Where Have The Anti-War Anti-Bank Masses Gone by James Petras

Notable quotes:
"... With the advent of Obama, many peace leaders and followers joined the Obama political machine .Those who were not co-opted were quickly disillusioned on all counts. Obama continued the ongoing wars and added new ones -- Libya, Honduras, Syria. The US occupation in Iraq led to new extremist militia armies which preceded to defeat US trained vassal armies up to the gates of Baghdad. In short time Obama launched a flotilla of warships and warplanes to the South China Sea and dispatched added troops to Afghanistan. ..."
"... The anti-war movement which started in opposition to the Iraq war was marginalized by the two dominant parties. The result was the multiplication of new wars. By the second year of Obama's presidency the US was engaged in seven wars. ..."
"... The international conditions are ripening. Washington has alienated countries around the world ;it is challenged by allies and faces formidable rivals. The domestic economy is polarized and the elites are divided. ..."
Nov 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Petras via The Unz Review, US Mass Mobilizations: Wars and Financial Plunder Introduction

Over the past three decades, the US government has engaged in over a dozen wars, none of which have evoked popular celebrations either before, during or after. Nor did the government succeed in securing popular support in its efforts to confront the economic crises of 2008 – 2009.

This paper will begin by discussing the major wars of our time, namely the two US invasions of Iraq . We will proceed to analyze the nature of the popular response and the political consequences.

In the second section we will discuss the economic crises of 2008 -2009, the government bailout and popular response. We will conclude by focusing on the potential powerful changes inherent in mass popular movements.

The Iraq War and the US Public

In the run-up to the two US wars against Iraq, (1990 – 01 and 2003 – 2011) there was no mass war fever, nor did the public celebrate the outcome. On the contrary both wars were preceded by massive protests in the US and among EU allies. The first Iraqi invasion was opposed by the vast-majority of the US public despite a major mass media and regime propaganda campaign backed by President George H. W. Bush. Subsequently, President Clinton launched a bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998 with virtually no public support or approval.

March 20, 2003, President George W. Bush launched the second major war against Iraq despite massive protests in all major US cities. The war was officially concluded by President Obama in December 2011. President Obama's declaration of a successful conclusion failed to elicit popular agreement.

Several questions arise:

Why mass opposition at the start of the Iraq wars and why did they fail to continue?

Why did the public refuse to celebrate President Obama's ending of the war in 2011?

Why did mass protests of the Iraq wars fail to produce durable political vehicles to secure the peace?

The Anti-Iraq War Syndrome

The massive popular movements which actively opposed the Iraq wars had their roots in several historical sources. The success of the movements that ended the Viet Nam war, the ideas that mass activity could resist and win was solidly embedded in large segments of the progressive public. Moreover, they strongly held the idea that the mass media and Congress could not be trusted; this reinforced the idea that mass direct action was essential to reverse Presidential and Pentagon war policies.

The second factor encouraging US mass protest was the fact that the US was internationally isolated. Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush wars faced hostile regime and mass opposition in Europe, the Middle East and in the UN General Assembly. US activists felt that they were part of a global movement which could succeed.

Thirdly the advent of Democratic President Clinton did not reverse the mass anti-war movements.The terror bombing of Iraq in December 1998 was destructive and Clinton's war against Serbia kept the movements alive and active To the extent that Clinton avoided large scale long-term wars, he avoided provoking mass movements from re-emerging during the latter part of the 1990's.

The last big wave of mass anti-war protest occurred from 2003 to 2008. Mass anti-war protest to war exploded soon after the World Trade Center bombings of 9/11. White House exploited the events to proclaim a global 'war on terror', yet the mass popular movements interpreted the same events as a call to oppose new wars in the Middle East.

Anti-war leaders drew activists of the entire decade, envisioning a 'build-up' which could prevent the Bush regime from launching a series of wars without end. Moreover, the vast-majority of the public was not convinced by officials' claims that Iraq, weakened and encircled, was stocking 'weapons of mass destruction' to attack the US.

Large scale popular protests challenged the mass media, the so called respectable press and ignored the Israeli lobby and other Pentagon warlords demanding an invasion of Iraq. The vast-majority of American, did not believe they were threatened by Saddam Hussain they felt a greater threat from the White House's resort to severe repressive legislation like the Patriot Act. Washington's rapid military defeat of Iraqi forces and its occupation of the Iraqi state led to a decline in the size and scope of the anti-war movement but not to its potential mass base.

Two events led to the demise of the anti-war movements. The anti-war leaders turned from independent direct action to electoral politics and secondly, they embraced and channeled their followers to support Democratic presidential candidate Obama. In large part the movement leaders and activists believed that direct action had failed to prevent or end the previous two Iraq wars. Secondly, Obama made a direct demagogic appeal to the peace movement – he promised to end wars and pursue social justice at home.

With the advent of Obama, many peace leaders and followers joined the Obama political machine .Those who were not co-opted were quickly disillusioned on all counts. Obama continued the ongoing wars and added new ones -- Libya, Honduras, Syria. The US occupation in Iraq led to new extremist militia armies which preceded to defeat US trained vassal armies up to the gates of Baghdad. In short time Obama launched a flotilla of warships and warplanes to the South China Sea and dispatched added troops to Afghanistan.

The mass popular movements of the previous two decades were totally disillusioned, betrayed and disoriented. While most opposed Obama's 'new' and 'old wars' they struggled to find new outlets for their anti-war beliefs. Lacking alternative anti-war movements, they were vulnerable to the war propaganda of the media and the new demagogue of the right. Donald Trump attracted many who opposed the war monger Hilary Clinton.

The Bank Bailout: Mass Protest Denied

In 2008, at the end of his presidency, President George W. Bush signed off on a massive federal bailout of the biggest Wall Street banks who faced bankruptcy from their wild speculative profiteering.

In 2009 President Obama endorsed the bailout and urged rapid Congressional approval. Congress complied to a $700-billion- dollar handout ,which according to Forbes (July 14, 2015) rose to $7.77 trillion. Overnight hundreds of thousands of American demanded Congress rescind the vote. Under immense popular protest, Congress capitulated. However President Obama and the Democratic Party leadership insisted: the bill was slightly modified and approved. The 'popular will' was denied. The protests were neutralized and dissipated. The bailout of the banks proceeded, while several million households watched while their homes were foreclosed ,despite some local protests. Among the anti-bank movement, radical proposals flourished, ranging from calls to nationalize them, to demands to let the big banks go bankrupt and provide federal financing for co-operatives and community banks.

Clearly the vast-majority of the American people were aware and acted to resist corporate-collusion to plunder taxpayers.

Conclusion: What is to be Done?

Mass popular mobilizations are a reality in the United States. The problem is that they have not been sustained and the reasons are clear : they lacked political organization which would go beyond protests and reject lesser evil policies.

The anti-war movement which started in opposition to the Iraq war was marginalized by the two dominant parties. The result was the multiplication of new wars. By the second year of Obama's presidency the US was engaged in seven wars.

By the second year of Trump's Presidency the US was threatening nuclear wars against Russia, Iran and other 'enemies' of the empire. While public opinion was decidedly opposed, the 'opinion' barely rippled in the mid-term elections.

Where have the anti-war and anti-bank masses gone? I would argue they are still with us but they cannot turn their voices into action and organization if they remain in the Democratic Party . Before the movements can turn direct action into effective political and economic transformations, they need to build struggles at every level from the local to the national.

The international conditions are ripening. Washington has alienated countries around the world ;it is challenged by allies and faces formidable rivals. The domestic economy is polarized and the elites are divided.

Mobilizations, as in France today, are self-organized through the internet; the mass media are discredited. The time of liberal and rightwing demagogues is passing; the bombast of Trump arouses the same disgust as ended the Obama regime.

Optimal conditions for a new comprehensive movement that goes beyond piecemeal reforms is on the agenda. The question is whether it is now or in future years or decades?


steve golf , 1 minute ago link

Mass protest, which must ignore the mass media, depends on organizers. No organizers--no protest. Since organizers are mostly working for somebodies agenda, those agendas apparently don't want mass protest against war. They only want to push multi-genderism and minority resistance, these days.

gunzeon , 4 hours ago link

Gone to graveyards, every one

( chapeau teethv )

JohnG , 4 hours ago link

" Where have the anti-war and anti-bank masses gone? I would argue they are still with us but they cannot turn their voices into action and organization if they remain in the Democratic Party . Before the movements can turn direct action into effective political and economic transformations, they need to build struggles at every level from the local to the national. "

.gov gives not one damn what the people think and they willl do what pleases their masters. We are allowed to "vote" once in a while to maintain the illusion that they care.

They don't.

roddy6667 , 5 hours ago link

Very few Americans are anti-war. They are just fine with endless war and the killing of millions of people with brown skin for any reason the government gives. Even the so-called anti-war protesters of the Sixties are now pro war. Back then there was a draft, and they were at risk of dying in the war. Turns they were only against themselves dying, not somebody else's child. The volunteer army is staffed by the unfortunates of American society who have very few options except the military. Uneducated rural whites and inner city black youths are today's military. Poor white trash and ghetto blacks. Who cares if they die? That's the attitude of the Sixties anti-war crowd. Hypocrites.

A universal draft, male and female, would stop all the wars in a day.

TeethVillage88s , 4 hours ago link

"Where have all the Anti-Bank and Anti-War pee-pel gone... Gone to graveyards everyone

Where have all the citizens and grass roots activists gone... debt serfdom, and Wall Street everyone

Long time Pass--sing...

Where have all the Whistleblowers and real reporters gone... gone on black lists everyone

Long time a-go"

NoMoreWars , 4 hours ago link

True, I also believe many Americans turn their heads toward these endless/unneeded wars because the "enemies" mortar fire is not landing in our own backyard.

BuyDash , 5 hours ago link

Sorry, but you can't deflect this. 70% of white people were for the Iraq war in 2003, and 90% of white males were. O nly 19% of blacks according to one poll were for it.

Article:

People Who Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning Are The Best Americans

I guess that makes aboriginal, native Amer'ican negros the best Amer'icans then?

pachanguero , 4 hours ago link

Yea, same Poll said hitlery was a shoe in for head **** in charge....I'm calling ********.

TeethVillage88s , 4 hours ago link

But White people know if they pray, buy groceries, buy clothes for kids, keep their appearance up... then losing jobs & middle class is only an obstacle if you don't work harder... Fascism is about responsibility, looking and acting like the winner class. White people will enlist in military, police, fire department... will work harder... will work 2-4 jobs... will blame themselves for everything.

Papa Gino's closes dozens of its sites November 05, 2018

No warning or reason given for closures,Customers, employees and communities are outraged after Papa Gino's Pizza abruptly closed dozens of locations across New England overnight.

Fantasy Free Economics , 5 hours ago link

Now that congress serves only as a mechanism for creating and maintaining skimming operations and rigging all markets, it is imperative that citizens get no information. Since organized crime also owns the major media outlets, that is an easy task. With no information in the mainstream there is no anti war and no anti bank.

http://quillian.net/blog/fusion-of-government-crime-and-religion/

RubblesVodka , 5 hours ago link

Gone, like the people who wanted a real 9/11 investigation. Yahoos out there still think that if it was an inside job someone would have spoke out by now . Lol

rtb61 , 4 hours ago link

They are all their, they are just silenced in corporate main stream media whilst corporate main stream media absolutely 'SCREAMS' about identity politics, not an accident. Identity politics is the deep state and shadow government plan to silence the masses about fiscal and foreign policy.

For example, even though I am centre left, I was there in the beginning of the alt right, it was not white supremacy for the first few weeks it was Libertarian vs corporate Republican, then the deep state and shadow government stepped in and using corporate main stream media, re-branded alt-right as white supremacy, is was really fast.

Most people don't even know alt-right started out as very much Libertarian taking on the corporate state and that is what triggered that attack and a stream of fake right wingers (deep state agents) screaming they were the alt-right together with corporate main stream media, to ensure Libertarian where silenced.

Look at it now, how much do you here from Libertarians, practically nothing, every time they try, they are targeted as alt-right which they were as in the alternate to corporate Republicans much the same as the Corporate Democrats. From my perspective the real left and the Libertarians had much more in common, than the corporate Republicans and the corporate Democrats (both attacking the libertarians and the greens to silence them).

They are all there fighting, just totally silenced in corporate main stream media, you have to go to https://www.rt.com/ to find them.

ImGumbydmmt , 3 hours ago link

accurate

Kan , 6 hours ago link

Bankers control the CFR, the CFR controls the media and most gov positions and most of the deepstate 3 letter agencies.. Everything said is tracked by the NSA and everywhere you go is tracked by your phone and cars. Ever wonder how they take over a grass root movement so fast? Think about it.

ignorethisuser , 5 hours ago link
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

NickelthroweR , 6 hours ago link

The United States is now too big for popular protest. How can I, living in California, have common cause with someone living in New York? We live on opposite sides of this continent and have wildly different climates. Our heavy hitters are in Technology while New York has Banking and Wall St.

Our elected officials are unable to get crap done in the same manner we're unable to get a good protest underway. We can withdraw somewhat or go off grid where possible but that's about it.

uhland62 , 6 hours ago link

We had to concede that the evil forces are stronger than us.

If Vietnam and Iraq did not teach people a lesson to topple the weapons and war manufacturers, nothing will. Do your mother a favour - don't enlist.

BuyDash , 5 hours ago link

American negros didn't need to learn that lesson :


African American lack of support for the Iraq war:
According to several polls taken right before the war, only a minority of African-Americans supported the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq. Most notably, a poll by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies had found that only 19 percent of African-Americans supported it.

That is a striking statistic, especially considering that more than 70 percent of white Americans were in favor of the military invasion, according to some polls.

Also note that 90% of white males were for that illegal war of aggression.

Goldennutz , 6 hours ago link

No draft has a lot to do with no anti-war protests. Let some other saps go die for the Banksters thinking they are "serving" their country.

If the draft ever came back for men AND women there would be riots in the streets.

zinjanthropus , 5 hours ago link

Exactly, no conscription=no problem.

Escrava Isaura , 6 hours ago link

Where Have The Anti-War & Anti-Bank Masses Gone?

War (force) and banking (financials schemes) are the essence of the US economy.

It has always been this way. US middleclass, corporations, and the wealth created are linked to those.

2banana , 6 hours ago link

It's because environmentalist, feminist, OWS, union, LBGT, etc. are progressive/liberals first and always.

They will abandon their principles at the first chance to gain and hold power. Period.

Bill Cinton is a serial rapist yet is loved by the left.

Immigration and illegals destroy the American environment yet are loved by the left.

Muslims hate gays and women and are loved by the left.

Immigration and illegals destroy jobs. Union jobs. And are loved by the left.

Banks and wall street and bailed out for their frauds and corruption and the left loves everything obama did.

Obama droned striked anything that moved and invaded/destroyed countries by fiat and is an idol to the anti war left.

Etc.

james diamond squid , 5 hours ago link

the left is so obsessed with getting trump, they can do nothing else. they are so ******* stoopid, that they wont even try to develop someone to beat trump. they put 100% of their energy in hating trump. they are blinded by hatred.

Haboob , 6 hours ago link

People care by proxy only which is the problem. I CAN CARE RIGHT NOW but nothing happens!

Theres only one way to show the government you realllly care.

ThePhantom , 6 hours ago link

the end is nigh and there's nothing to be done about it.... 10 years and thats it.... beyond that and event horizon... black hole... no one knows. ai terminator coming soon... thats all i can see.

Haboob , 6 hours ago link

Killer robots?

China AI opens a portal to hell?

CERN opens the portal to hell/next dimension?

WW3?

Asteroid?

Nuclear extinction?

Yellowstone eruption?

Doom! Doom!

Grandad Grumps , 6 hours ago link

I believe they are living in Obama's shorts.

Haboob , 6 hours ago link

Lemme guess people are too sedated to care anymore.

ThePhantom , 6 hours ago link

everybody wants a bail out.... wtshtf

TuPhat , 6 hours ago link

Most thinking people are not wanting to be part of a movement that will be co-opted for someone else's political gain. I would rather prepare myself and family for the inevitable collapse of the economy and perhaps more that awaits us. That's enough to keep me busy. I can't change the whole world but I can prepare to help my family friends and neighbors.

ThePhantom , 6 hours ago link

jesus christ , the terminator is coming....

Karmageddon , 6 hours ago link

In answer to the the question posed by the headerof this article, they have either been exiled from 'respectable' media or are stuck yelling "Trump! Trump! Trump! Russia! Russia! Russia" like a poorly programmed NPC caught in an infinite loop.

The hidden hand behind the puppet show has done a hell of a job massaging the masses, and turning their minds into mush.

steverino999 , 6 hours ago link

I didn't even read this article, but one thing I do know - DEMS IMPEACH GUMP 2019!

Davidduke2000 , 6 hours ago link

would you jump off a bridge if they do not ?????????????????

Goldennutz , 6 hours ago link

Hopefully he will and with any luck land on the Hildebeast or Obummer as they pass by.

LetThemEatRand , 6 hours ago link

"Where have the anti-war and anti-bank masses gone? I would argue they are still with us but they cannot turn their voices into action and organization if they remain in the Democratic Party ."

Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

DownWithYogaPants , 6 hours ago link

Democrats are only anti bank as long as they don't get their cut. Buy them off with at relatively low bucks and they are all in for the banks.

Albertarocks , 6 hours ago link

Exactly! If there are any anti-war people out there they sure as hell are not with the Democratic Party. Those leftist lunatics are the most destructive political group on this planet. Their thinking is 'divide & conquer', incite racial tensions, spew hatred, promoting that killing babies before they are born, or even on the day they are born is awesome. One has to wonder if people that evil even have souls.

As for anti-bankers... is this author off his rocker? He's not fooling anyone by trying to present the theory that if there are any consciencous objectors out there they would be supporters of the Democratic party. That thought is outright laughable. Even worse, to try to create this new narrative by writing this type of article is absolutely despicable. Fortunately, not the least bit convincing. People know better.

Oldguy05 , 6 hours ago link

WUT? I'm still anti-BANK!!!!!

Oldguy05 , 6 hours ago link

End The ******* Fed!...and BIS and IMF!...and NATO and The UN!..and the WTO WHO and everything else with capitalized initials!

DownWithYogaPants , 6 hours ago link

Yah the Bleepish cabal has us under their Marxist ruling model. It's dismal.

BuyDash , 5 hours ago link

If you're not using cryptos, you're just neutral-bank .

NoDebt , 6 hours ago link

" Where have the anti-war and anti-bank masses gone? I would argue they are still with us but they cannot turn their voices into action and organization if they remain in the Democratic Party "

OK, so..... it's the Democrat Party, not the Democratic Party. Not like anyone gives a **** what words mean any more, but.... whatever. Use the right ******* words or..... ******* don't. Not like any of this **** matters any more at this level.

And not all of us are ******* Democrats. Neither party is really anti-war or anti-bank now, so the red/blue thing has little relevance to those subjects. We all argue about much more important issues now like transgender bathrooms and whether Kanye West is a racist for supporting Trump or not.

fauxhammer , 6 hours ago link

Well that was a stupid article.

Bricker , 6 hours ago link

politics has become a black hole collapsing on itself...

LetThemEatRand , 6 hours ago link

Politics has become a black hole collapsing on us. Black hole don't give a ****. Look at that black hole. It just ate a star and became bigger. It don't care.

DownWithYogaPants , 6 hours ago link

Sorry but I do not see Trump as "threatening nuclear war".

Surely some of the Deep Staters did. But it's hard to see Trump as in control. His presidency has been great for exposing how things really work. That's worth a lot. If only the idiots would pay attention. But they won't. They're too busy placing great importance on the trifling and little or none on the critically important.

Excuse me I have to run now and get the latest iPhone.

[Nov 21, 2018] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Trump: "Being Saudi Arabia's B*tch Is Not 'America First.'

Here Tulsi was probably wrong... While despicable this incident can't and should not change polices toward Saudi Arabia. In this sense Trump s right.
Nov 21, 2018 | www.thedailybeast.com

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took to Twitter on Wednesday to excoriate Donald Trump for his decision to apparently pardon Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, labeling the president the "bitch" of the authoritarian kingdom. "Hey @realDonaldTrump," Gabbard tweeted , "being Saudi Arabia's bitch is not "America First."

Gabbard's tweet comes just a day after Trump released a statement -- with "America First!" right at the top -- that heavily implied that he will not pursue any further action against top Saudi officials, who are widely believed to be responsible for the writer's murder, and cast doubt on the finding of the CIA, his own intelligence service.

Gabbard previously came under fire for her own forays into Middle Eastern affairs, including her secret 2016 trip to meet with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria at the height of its civil war and her suggestion that Assad, a brutal dictator who has overseen the deaths of more than 500,000 people in his country, should not be removed from office.

[Nov 20, 2018] A Finance Magnates analysis reports that one of the swindles alone has brought in over a billion dollars and employs 5,000 people. And a new scam, described below, may help what is predicted to be "the next major driver of the Israeli economy."

Nov 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

ChuckOrloski , says: November 17, 2018 at 1:13 pm GMT

Very important, with "Eyes Wide Open," Alison Weir, below!

https://israelpalestinenews.org/is-israel-turning-a-blind-eye-as-israeli-scammers-swindle-victims-in-france-us-elsewhere/

renfro , says: November 17, 2018 at 5:53 pm GMT
@ChuckOrloski Not surprising to anyone who understands that stealing ,especially from 'others' is a first choice career of Jews/Israelis.
I have always suspected that the 9 billion of stolen Iraq funds were stolen by the Jews who were embedded in the US occupation administration and sent to Israel. Israel was so broke in 2001 they asked the Us for economic aid then suddenly in 2004 by some miracle they were rolling in surplus money again.

Investigations reveal a pattern of Israeli officials stone-walling efforts to stop the perpetrators of massive financial swindles in various countries, from Europe to the US to the Philippines While some Israeli reporters work to expose the scams, a new one is already underway

By Alison Weir

[MORE]
French and Israeli media report that a group largely made up of Israelis scammed 3,000 French citizens out of approximately $20 million. Most of the stolen money is in Israel, but Israeli authorities are reportedly failing to cooperate with France in prosecuting the scammers and retrieving the money.
This is the latest of numerous examples of Israeli officials stone-walling international efforts against the perpetrators of massive financial swindles around the world, according to Israeli investigative journalists and others. These scams have brought estimated billions into the Israeli economy, propping up a regime widely condemned for human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing against indigenous Palestinians. Together, the stories paint a picture of a government that seems to be turning a blind eye to -- and even protecting -- scammers.

A Finance Magnates analysis reports that one of the swindles alone has brought in over a billion dollars and employs 5,000 people. And a new scam, described below, may help what is predicted to be "the next major driver of the Israeli economy."

A former IRS expert on international crime notes that "fraudulent industries are often major economic drivers, and that can translate into political clout."
Some Israeli journalists have been working to expose the situation in Israeli newspapers, publishing exposés like "As Israel turns blind eye to vast binary options fraud, French investigators step in" and "Are French Jewish criminals using Israel as a get-out-of-jail card?" (Short answer: yes.)

Victimizing French business owners & churches

The victims of the recent scam against French citizens included churches and the owners of small businesses -- delicatessens, car repair shops, hair salons, plumbers, etc. Some lost their life savings and describe being threatened and intimidated by the scammers.

[Nov 15, 2018] Armistice Day -- Crooked Timber

Notable quotes:
"... Life is too short for me to deal with any more trolls. Gareth, you're permanently banned from commenting on my posts ..."
Nov 15, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Armistice Day

by John Quiggin on November 11, 2018 It's 100 years since the Armistice that brought an end to fighting on the Western Front of the Great War. Ten million soldiers or more were dead, and even more gravely wounded, along with millions of civilians. Most of the empires that had begun the war were destroyed, and even the victors had suffered crippling losses. Far from being a "war to end war", the Great War was the starting point for many more, as well as bloody and destructive revolutions. These wars continue even today, in the Middle East, carved up in secret treaties between the victors.

For much of the century since then, it seemed that we had learned at least something from this tragedy, and the disasters that followed it. Commemoration of the war focused on the loss and sacrifice of those who served, and were accompanied by a desire that the peace they sought might finally be achieved.

But now that everyone who served in that war has passed away, along with most of those who remember its consequences, the tone has shifted to one of glorification and jingoism.

In part, this reflects the fact that, for rich countries, war no longer has any real impact on most people. As in the 19th century, we have small professional armies fighting in faraway countries and suffering relatively few casualties. Tens of thousands of people may die in these conflicts, but the victims of war impinge on our consciousness only when they seek shelter as refugees, to be turned away or locked up.

In the past, I've concluded message like this with the tag "Lest we Forget". Sadly, it seems as if everything important has already been forgotten.


novakant 11.11.18 at 11:11 am (no link)

There's an interesting review in this week's TLS (paywall) by Richard J. Evans of

Jörn Leonhard: Pandora's Box – A History of the First World War

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/review-pandoras-box-jorn-leonhard/

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674545113

novakant 11.11.18 at 11:12 am ( 2 )
NB: apparently the translation sucks
JohnT 11.11.18 at 12:38 pm ( 3 )
I think it varies per place, even within countries. In my English village this morning, about a quarter of the population gathered in front of the war memorial, closing the only road. They stood there, quietly. A couple of older people spent twenty minutes reading out the names of all the poor souls who had left the village for war and never returned. Then there was two minutes silence, the vicar called for personal peace for all those affected by war, and then demanded that all those who could work for peace do so. A grim soberness marked the whole thing
I had nearly not gone, expecting it to be too jingoistic, but it was nothing of the sort. I am sure across the many communities remembering the Armistice across the world, many will be doing the same.
Donald Coffin 11.11.18 at 2:33 pm ( 4 )
My way of responding to the day:

This is my way of responding to Armistice Day.
Bob Dylan, Masters of War"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCnYmrADSns
"You that fasten all the trigger
For the others to fire
And you sit back and watch
While the death toll gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud"

Phil Ochs, "I Declare the War Is Over
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOs9xYUjY4I
"One-legged veterans will greet the dawn
And they're whistling marches as they mow the lawn
And the gargoyles only sit and grieve
The gypsy fortune teller told me that we'd been deceived
You only are what you believe"

Big Ed McCurdy, "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc5hxqNdqKo
"Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war"

Reason 11.11.18 at 3:21 pm ( 5 )
Just a personal question on jq. I left Australia 30 years ago. I can remember no jingoism on armistice Day. On Australia Day and Anzac Day perhaps, but never on remembrance Day. Had that really changed?
steven t johnson 11.11.18 at 3:40 pm ( 6 )
Regarding Leonhard, it is always a cause for concern when a reviewer calls a historian "judicious."

The most important thing to remember about the Great War is that it wasn't caused by malign ideologies, or nefarious leveling schemes, or crazed utopian economic cranks. It was simply an inevitable breakdown of the normal operation of the capitalist world system. Remember that when the ever growing infestation of libertarians, respected by their peers, trot out their mythology.

WLGR 11.11.18 at 4:09 pm ( 7 )
Speaking of "lest we forget," how many people and how many commemorations have managed to forget that the armistice came about as a direct consequence of the socialist uprising in Germany, sparked in large part by a mass mutiny among German sailors in Kiel? Two days before the formal armistice declaration, workers led by the left wing of the SPD stormed the Reichstag, an ad hoc governing coalition led by the right wing of the SPD negotiated the abdication of the Kaiser, and both the left and right wings of the SPD simultaneously issued separate proclamations of a socialist German republic (by which they meant two very different things, of course, a divergence that was notoriously written out over the following few years in the blood of revolutionaries like Rosa Luxemburg).

In short, you can toss Armistice Day into the category as things like weekend, the 8 hour work day, the 40 hour work week, social safety nets, and so on: if you celebrate it, don't forget to thank revolutionary socialism for making it possible.

eg 11.11.18 at 4:40 pm ( 8 )
I'm with John on this one. I'll wear the poppy in recognition of the sacrifice, but will avoid the local cenotaph ceremony. I find the current temper of Remembrance Day services distasteful and the "our freedoms" trope abhorrent.
Gareth Wilson 11.11.18 at 6:45 pm ( 9 )
Life is too short for me to deal with any more trolls. Gareth, you're permanently banned from commenting on my posts
John Quiggin 11.11.18 at 7:32 pm ( 10 )
Reason @5 It's mostly Anzac Day, but the 100th anniversary has made Remembrance Day a bigger deal than usual. And we just had a breathless announcement that "veterans" (I still haven't got used to this Americanism) would be given boarding priority on Virgin airlines.

To be fair, our PM, who is generally hopeless on this and other issues, gave quite a good speech on the day, which ran under the headline "War is always a failure of our humanity"

michael blechman 11.11.18 at 8:29 pm ( 11 )
the loss of life and the lasting injuries that follow the fighting remain to show the futility of allowing war to arise as an answer to our conflicting ideas. humanity has failed as the dominant species. the fault lies in the hopes of too many to emulate the past society of material greed as a goal. reaching our limits of destroying the clean air and poisoning the seas with chemical and plastic waste as though the planet could absorb an endless spew will cause humanity's end. honoring the dead is the least we may do to salute those that went before us.
stephen 11.11.18 at 8:38 pm ( 12 )
steven t johnson@6: WWI was "simply an inevitable breakdown of the normal operation of the capitalist world system".

Remind me how many other "inevitable breakdowns of the normal operation" happened before, or after 1914.

Remind me how far the authorities in Serbia, Russia (or indeed Austria-Hungary or Germany) believed themselves to be operating in the interests of, or governed by, the capitalist world system.

Come to that, for the next catastrophe in 1939, do the same for the authorities in Russia, Poland and Germany.

And explain why there have been no such inevitable breakdowns since.

Best of luck, comrade.

steven t johnson 11.11.18 at 9:55 pm ( 13 )
John Quiggin@10 "To be fair, our PM, who is generally hopeless on this and other issues, gave quite a good speech on the day, which ran under the headline 'War is always a failure of our humanity'" It seems to me to be quite unfair to blame WWI on us and our depraved human nature. As Norman Angell notoriously demonstrated "us" do not get any benefit from war. Cui bono? Nationalists want to go back to a world where sovereign nations struggle for their place in the sun. Some, like Trump and Putin, want to go it alone. Others like the lords of the EU want a consortium. What all share is a system of capitalist competition which will, like all complex, crisis-ridden systems, eventually break down. Whining about human nature seems to me detestable.
steven t johnson 11.11.18 at 11:40 pm ( 14 )
stephen@12 agrees with majority here, and elsewhere, of course. Nonetheless the confidence the Spanish-American war, the Boer war, the Russian-Turkish war, the Sino-Japanese war, the Russian-Japanese war and either of the Balkan wars would of course not, ever, possibly, have spread like the third Balkan war, er, WWI would be touching were it not so disingenuous. Even if one insists only conflicts between the great powers, the possibility that the Crimean war, the war with Magenta and Solferino, the Schleswig-Holstein war, the Franco-Prussian war (proper,) could not possibly have spread out of control is equally disingenous. Remember 54-40 or fight, the Aroostook war? The monotonously repetitive crises like Fashoda and the first and second Moroccan crises and the brouhaha over the annexation of Bosnia clearly shows crisis is normal operation. stephen's insistence this is all irrelevant is convenience, not argument.

As to the absurd notion that a capitalist world system, in which states are the protectors of the property of the nation's ruling class, somehow means the chieftains are pursuing the general interests of world capitalism is delirious twaddle. It is the reformist who pretends globalism means trade and peace.

I am well aware that everyone agrees with stephen on this point, but it is still wrong.

Karl Kolchak 11.12.18 at 12:01 am ( 15 )
Tens of thousands of people may die in these conflicts

Try 2 million in Korea.
One million in Vietnam.
500,000 in Iraq.
And who knows how many in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Serbia, Somalia and all our various proxy wars in Yemen, Latin America and Africa plus all of the civilians massacred by our client-state dictators in Chile, Nicaragua, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Congo, Egypt, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala and others I'm likely forgetting.

America is the biggest purveyor of death, destruction and human misery on the globe, but it sounds like we've "forgotten" that as well.

Birdie 11.12.18 at 12:35 am ( 16 )
Plenty of horrible things have happened in various American and other war zones since the Western Front. Plenty of busted-up vets in every city. The problem can't be that we forgot .
Birdie 11.12.18 at 12:44 am ( 17 )
@steven t johnson

but isn't the capitalist system an emergent effect based on properties of human nature: individualism, acquisitiveness, aggression. Surely a change of human nature would lead to a change of economics at least; hopefully in a progressive direction but not necessarily so.

Raven Onthill 11.12.18 at 3:11 am ( 18 )
Wasn't World War I the result of Germany pursuing conquest ?

A while back, a native American on Twitter commented that her people had already experienced an apocalypse. This led to the following reflection on my part:

The history of modern Western Europe can be viewed as a series of apocalypses. War after war after war, only at peace after nearly destroying itself. And that is the history of the modern world.

ironoutofcavalry 11.12.18 at 3:20 am ( 19 )
@7

>In short, you can toss Armistice Day into the category as things like weekend, the 8 hour work day, the 40 hour work week, social safety nets, and so on: if you celebrate it, don't forget to thank revolutionary socialism for making it possible.

Do and the 100 million people revolutionary socialists would murder in the 80 or so years following armistice day, what do they owe the revolutionary socialists?

@13

>What all share is a system of capitalist competition which will, like all complex, crisis-ridden systems, eventually break down. Whining about human nature seems to me detestable.

Ah yes, we all remember how non-violent those non-capitalist systems were, with the gulags and mass killing and terror famines.

Royton De'Ath 11.12.18 at 7:59 am ( 20 )
In an Old Holborn 'baccy tin somewhere in the house is my grandad's WW1 medal. He served in the London Labour Battalions. Gassed.

He worked twice between his return and his too early death. Both jobs being very temporary. His family lived in poverty in the East End; the "Panel" was used at times: charity from the worthies. My dad was crippled with diseases of poverty. He was a communist (until the 50s).
He signed up with his mates in '39. His best mate Jimmy Biscoe killed in a bomber operation in the early 40s.

I got my dad's medals this year, twenty years after his death. He only told me a bit of his experiences when he was dying. He loved my mum, music and kindness.

My dear, gruff dad-in-law lost his left leg at Monte Cassino. Every few years he'd get a new "fitting", which was a great strain for him. He loved his family, his garden, rowing; we talked a little about his experiences one quiet afternoon at the RSA. He too died too early.

My Mum's favourite brother was a boy sailor. He went through the River Plate among other actions. He spent time in psychiatric hospital after the war for his 'war trauma'. He too died early.

The padre at my daughter's funeral had been a padre at Arnhem. A quiet, deeply compassionate man who took his own life some three years later.

My best friend at school, dead in his twenties, doing his "duty".

Not a hero among them: ordinary, flawed, loved and loving human beings.
And the people left behind ? Lives filled with quiet, unresolved sadness and loss; getting by with grit and quiet courage.

I used to go to Dawn Service. Then it got to be political Theatre. I get f .g angry with all the brouhaha, preening and cavorting. None of this helps or helped any of those people mentioned above.

Half a billion for the AWM? And cutting the funding of food banks? Moral bloody Bankruptcy writ large.

reason 11.12.18 at 2:04 pm ( 21 )
@19, @7, @13

You know I could possibly be sympathetic with all of you if it wasn't the case that utopian ideology didn't have more victims than all the nationalisms put together. A plague on all your houses.

steven t johnson 11.12.18 at 2:32 pm ( 22 )
Birdie@17 is telling us human nature generated capitalism a hundred thousand years ago? Or is telling us that human nature is only free in a capitalist system? I think neither.

Raven Onthill@18 seems to think it is incumbent on the lesser peoples to surrender without a fight, and accept the status quo as God-given. That Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman empires could be liquidated peacefully, like a common bankruptcy. That is not how it works in a capitalist system of sovereign states defending the property of their respective ruling classes, against other states. The rise of Germany and the US against the relative decline of the British empire meant the balance of forces must change. The new balance could only be found by war.

The relative decline of the US means the current balance of forces must change. That's why the US government has explicitly declared Russia and China to be revisionist powers. The US state will no more go quietly than the British empire, which would not reach a peaceful accommodation with Germany then any more than it can reach a real accommodation with "Europe" today.

ironoutofcavalry@19 spells out the shared premises of liberal democrats and fascists, the determination that famines and wars under capitalism are acts of God, while everything that happens under socialism is always deliberate. Even if you somehow pretend the depopulation of the Americas and the mass deaths of the Middle Passage somehow had nothing to do with capitalism, there were plenty of holocausts in later days. See Mike Davis' Late Victorian Holocausts. (Davis contention that famines relatively soon after the revolution are the same as the great Bengal famine or the Irish famine is social-democratic piety, the sort of thing that gives it a bad name.) Idiot theorists of "totalitarianism" are invited to comment upon the Triple War in South America.

WLGR 11.12.18 at 3:18 pm ( 23 )
ironoutofcavalry, the Black Book of Communism is a contemptible far-right propaganda rag whose death tally was denounced by several of its own co-authors due to the main author's obsession with reaching the nice round 100 million mark by any means necessary, with "victims of communism" including such figures as hypothetical deaths due to lack of population growth during famine periods, Soviet civilian deaths resulting from the economic dislocations of the Nazi invasion, and even Nazi soldiers killed on the battlefields of the Eastern Front. By standards much more rigorous and defensible than those used in the Black Book of Communism, the basic functioning of global capitalist material inequality kills tens of millions of people per decade -- which is before you even begin trying to tally the casualties of capitalist conflicts like the two world wars, let alone any of the other massively destructive imperial interventions around the world before and since, which people like stephen seem to have trained themselves not to regard as catastrophic in the same way as WWI/WWII as long as the victims are mostly poor brown people in the Third World. Hell, even at this very moment the US is providing direct political and military support for a campaign of intentional starvation by its Saudi proxy state against millions of people in northern Yemen, a "terror famine" at least as deliberate and premeditated as anything Stalin or Mao ever dreamed of.

If you must insist on spreading uninformed reactionary bromides, at least take it to a less serious discussion space where it belongs, and regardless, don't forget to thank a socialist if you enjoy not being sent to die in a muddy trench.

WLGR 11.12.18 at 3:49 pm ( 24 )
Stephen, here's a reasonable summary of how the dynamics of capitalist economic development led inexorably to WWI and WWII, and are leading to a future global conflict that may be much less distant than we'd like to imagine. Now before you click the link, note the following passage quoted in the linked article, by a political commentator writing in 1887 about the prospect of:

a world war, moreover of an extent the violence hitherto unimagined. Eight to ten million soldiers will be at each other's throats and in the process they will strip Europe barer than a swarm of locusts. The depredations of the Thirty Years' War compressed into three to four years and extended over the entire continent; famine, disease, the universal lapse into barbarism, both of the armies and the people, in the wake of acute misery irretrievable dislocation of our artificial system of' trade, industry and credit, ending in universal bankruptcy collapse of the old states and their conventional political wisdom to the point where crowns will roll into the gutters by the dozen, and no one will be around to pick them up; the absolute impossibility of foreseeing how it will all end and who will emerge as victor from the battle. That is the prospect for the moment when the development of mutual one-upmanship in armaments reaches us, climax and finally brings forth its inevitable fruits. This is the pass, my worthy princes and statesmen, to which you in your wisdom have brought our ancient Europe.

Now based on what you can guess of my political orientation strictly from what I've posted here, try to guess which 19th century European political figure might have written that passage. No, your first guess is wrong, he died in 1883, but close, now guess again. Yes, your second guess is correct .

Mark Brady 11.12.18 at 5:09 pm ( 25 )
Douglas Newton: The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain's Rush to War, 1914 (Verso Books, 2014).

https://www.versobooks.com/books/1835-the-darkest-days

AcademicLurker 11.12.18 at 6:20 pm ( 26 )
I've seen "X is bad" statements receive the "Oh yeah? Well Stalin was worse !" non sequitur in response for many values of X. But this thread is the first time I've seen it happen for X = WWI.
Stephen 11.12.18 at 7:25 pm ( 27 )
Too many points to comment on individually, but:

WLGR@7: if you think that revolutionary socialism made possible "weekend, the 8 hour work day, the 40 hour work week, social safety nets" how do you explain that all these things happened in states that did not have to endure the catastrophic misfortunes of revolutionary socialism?

steven t johnson@14
This is the first time that I have ever been told that everyone [on CT? in the wider universe?] agrees with me, but if that is so I do not see it as a reason for supposing I am wrong. Rational arguments dissenting from my opinions are of course always welcome.

stj's argument that, because conflicts pre-1914 did not result in world wars, therefore WWI was inevitable, has only to be made explicit to collapse.

I am particularly interested by stj's argument that the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, between two absolutist non-capitalist monarchies, was in some way the result of international capitalism. If he will reconsider that opinion, he might like to recalibrate his denunciation of other wars as capitalist. I would recommend the works of an intelligent Marxist, Perry Anderson, who explains why pre-Revolutionary Russia and Wilhelmine Germany had many capitalists, they were not actually capitalist states.

As for his denunciation of capitalism in which "states are the protectors of the property of the nation's ruling class": there is of course some truth there, but in which system is that not true? In capitalism, unlike some other systems – revolutionary socialism, to start with – whose property has been protected?

Birdie@17: "isn't the capitalist system an emergent effect based on properties of human nature: individualism, acquisitiveness, aggression?" Human nature indeed; try explaining to Ashurbanipal of Assyria, Alexander, Genghiz Khan why these properties did not apply to their very n0n-capitalist selves.

engels 11.12.18 at 11:25 pm ( 28 )
Well said.
WLGR 11.13.18 at 1:28 am ( 29 )
Stephen, are you under the impression that western Europe and the US never had a revolutionary socialist tradition? If so, I don't really know what to tell you other than to read even the most passing history of Western mass politics and labor struggles, the upshot of which is that yes of course it was Western ruling classes' fear of working-class revolutionary agitation that led to the implementation of every single one of those things, up to and including the German ruling class in early November 1918 deciding to hand over power to the moderate reformist wing of the SPD, whose first major policy decision as soon as they'd settled into their desks was to pursue an armistice with the Entente. I can understand maybe a few token Birchers or Randroids poking their heads out here and there, but has the anti-intellectual right-wing fever swamp of our current era really risen high enough that such mild observations are somehow surprising or controversial even in a forum like this one?
eg 11.13.18 at 3:14 am ( 30 )
@20

'I used to go to Dawn Service. Then it got to be political Theatre. I get f .g angry with all the brouhaha, preening and cavorting. None of this helps or helped any of those people mentioned above."

My feelings precisely.

bad Jim 11.13.18 at 9:01 am ( 31 )
After Trump's election, I chose to abstain for a while from the drenching but never quenching fire hose of information of the web, and for a while worked through the stacks of books I had long left unread.

One I avoided for quite a while, not remembering its provenance was "Human Smoke", by Nicholson Baker. It could not have been a gift; no one in the family still living is familiar with this author.

It's an assemblage of quotes from various authors from the beginning of the twentieth century up until the operation of the crematoria which furnishes the title, and its general tendency is pacifism, disarmament, the efforts made both before and after the Great War to prevent such catastrophes, and the inhumanity of the conduct of the war. From the outset, the policy of our side was to starve the other into submission through naval blockades, and to a considerable extent it was successful.

In the second round, our side was the first to start bombing civilians, and we got better at it the longer the war went on, though it's far from clear that this was a useful strategy.

Baker's book is not, could hardly be, a convincing argument for pacifism, given the drumbeat of fascist pronouncements, threats, denunciations, bragging and swaggering. The first world war was so pointless that it's hard to understand how it happened, why it couldn't have been avoided, why it couldn't have been stopped sooner. The second was different.

MFB 11.13.18 at 10:19 am ( 32 )
It is worth remembering that the First World War was called, by those who opposed it after the fact, the "War to End War". An organisation was set up to ensure that there would be no more wars, and an international agreement renouncing war was signed.

The organisation was being set up while the war was actually going on, if you count the Western blockade and invasion of Russia, and the Greek invasion of Turkey, as part of the war.

Nevertheless, within less than twenty years you had the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (arguably an after-effect of Italy's failure to get what it wanted out of the First World War) and soon after that, the Japanese invasion of southern China (inarguably, ditto).

It is possible for people to argue that since there has not been a similar war since 1945, "humanity" has "learned its lesson". In reality, however, the reason why there has been no similar war has been that the principal protagonists have nuclear weapons and no means of defense against them. If anybody comes up with a genuinely reliable defense against ballistic and cruise missiles, I'd give the world less than ten more years of peace.

Incidentally, I'd give the world less than ten more years of peace at the moment, but that's because of the preponderance of doltish psychopaths in governments. It's interesting, however, that a doltish psychopath like Macron is nevertheless capable of realising that France is vulnerable to the intermediate-range nuclear missiles which the U.S. is currently unleashing on the world, and therefore is trying to, er, have a conference about banning the use of naughty weapons and about promoting world peace.

Like 1919, ennit?

steven t johnson 11.13.18 at 3:10 pm ( 33 )
Stephen has won the gallery with the claim that repeated crises failing to result in systemic failure of the world diplomatic system (that is, causing world war,) on a an easily predictable schedule shows obviously it is entirely possible for us to go back to a world of sovereign nations like before the US hegemony and have endless crises with nary a collapse. It's like the capitalist economy that way. "We" are now so wise that we can avoid the follies of our predecessors, who are obviously stupid, which is proven by their being dead, dead, dead.

I am sure Stephen has also won hearts and minds with the claim Russian conquests
against Turkey meant the extension of the Russian empire rather than the creation of the states of Montenegro, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. But perhaps people think those new countries came complete with serfdom; extensive church lands and widespread monasticism; aristocratic estates and caste privileges; relative absence of cities, etc. That is, the new states were non-capitalist because absolutist monarchy isn't capitalist.

(I'm not familiar with Perry Anderson because leftist and foreign means it will not be easily available in the US outside elite libraries. But if Perry Anderson thinks absolutism and mercantilism were not part of the transition to capitalism, I believe he is gravely mistaken. Defining "capitalism" as the most refined bourgeois democracy in the imperial metropole is popular, because it is so usefully apologetic, yet it is still nonsense.)

Mark Brady@25 cites an interesting book on WWI. This https://www.amazon.com/Great-Class-War-1914-1918-ebook/dp/B06Y19K257/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542121517&sr=1-2&keywords=the+great+class+war is also of interest, especially as it is not scholastically "judicious," so often a synonym for safe. I think the Amazon blurb grossly exaggerates Pauwels' argument with regards to workers.

Last and least, reason@21 utters the preposterous claim "utopian ideologies" have killed more people than anything else. (The comment seems to include ironoutof cavalry, but I'm sure ironoutofcavalry, like Stephen and reason, are resolutely complacent about social evils, because, anti-utopian.) Personally I think business as usual, not utopian ideology, had everything to do with the great Bengal famine circa 1770 (not the WWII one.) Etc. etc. etc. in a litany that would sicken the soul, were it not fortified by the conviction it is utopian ideology that is the spirit of evil.

nastywoman 11.13.18 at 6:38 pm ( 34 )
"Sadly, it seems as if everything important has already been forgotten".

But Von Clownstick just remembered it was "them Germans" – and sadly not one comment here was about Macron reminding US that "everything important" is how to deal with "Nationalism"?

nastywoman 11.13.18 at 9:54 pm ( 35 )
– and about:
"But now that everyone who served in that war has passed away, along with most of those who remember its consequences, the tone has shifted to one of glorification and jingoism".

Didn't the French and the Germans mention that it is now 70 years that these "Archenemies" at peace? – and I think to this "Armistice Day" the first time even the Germans were invited? – but how true there was a "shifted tone" by the German Baron Von Clownstick –
(who somehow still pretends he is "American"?)

Peter T 11.14.18 at 1:14 am ( 36 )
re @25

Britain tried to negotiate an end to the naval arms race with Germany at least twice before 1914. Germany was not interested. After 1905 Russia was also keen to avoid conflict. The proponents of this policy lost credibility due to German sabre-rattling and insouciant reversals by Vienna.

nastywoman 11.14.18 at 3:41 am ( 37 )
– and for everybody who might have missed it – let me explain what was going on at this "Armistice Day".

Baron von Clownstick was very, VERY unhappy -(not only because he was afraid to ruin his hair) BUT also – BE-cause as he always says "we built the best Arms" – "the most beautiful weaponry" – and when he always told them Germans and them French and all these other Nato members to pay more for Nato he was hoping for more Sales of US Arms BUT then this Macron dude -(and now also Merkel) suddenly were talking about "Europeans protecting themselves" -(and NOT buying more US weapons) and that made Von Clownstick very, VERY sad – as his funny tweets about the US not wanting to protect Europe anymore – if Europe wasn't "pony up" came to let's call it – to "fruition" – or a classical "protect me from what I want" – and THAT's what happened on this –
"Armistice Day" –
(besides the danger for Von Clownsticks hair)

Fake Dave 11.14.18 at 6:06 am ( 38 )
Just wading in a bit to say that "Revolutionary Socialism" is one of those labels that obfuscates more than it reveals. Lenin, Debs, and Luxembourg were all contemporaries who believed in Socialism and revolution, but they didn't all believe in the same "Revolutionary Socialism." Just look at the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks for proof that even seemingly small distinctions in what it means to be "revolutionary" have huge implications.

People seem to have settled on using "Revolutionary" as a code word to mean "violent, dangerous, and radical," or "serious, committed, and effective," depending on their politics, while "Democratic" is treated as being the opposite (for good or ill), but it's a false dichotomy. Pacifists can be radical, democrats can be thuggish, and democracy can be revolutionary or counterrevolutionary, and "effectiveness" is subjective. Given that even with conventional definitions, it's not always easy to see which of the two camps a particular Socialist falls under (and many of them changed factions), it's probably best to clarify what type of revolution you're talking about up front.

MFB 11.14.18 at 7:10 am ( 39 )
er, Peter T, Britain wanted to end the naval arms race with Germany because it was ahead and in complete control of European seas. It was Britain which had introduced the Dreadnought battleship and the battlecruiser. It's rather like the American calls to restrict the number of nuclear weapons and discourage countries which don't have them from acquiring them.

I won't say that German sabre-rattling wasn't a factor in promoting European crisis. However, it's hard not to see the Russian military buildup in Europe between 1905 and 1914 as anything other than preparation for war (however inept it turned out to be in practice), and of course the Russians were heavily involved (diplomatically) in the Balkan wars. It certainly wasn't the Austrians who orchestrated the murder of their heir to the throne, and if Britain were to grow grumpy at Syria murdering Prince Charles I would hardly call that "insouciant".

Dipper 11.14.18 at 9:05 am ( 40 )
Wars are a strategy for male reproduction. Invade. Kill the competing men. Impregnate the women. Enslave and trade women as reproductive property. Repeat. It's what men have done for centuries.

Eg. Iceland . ""This supports the model, put forward by some historians, that the majority of females in the Icelandic founding population had Gaelic ancestry, whereas the majority of males had Scandinavian ancestry,"

Peter T 11.14.18 at 12:04 pm ( 41 )
MFB

Britain had roughly 70% of the world's merchant fleet, a world-wide empire tied together by maritime communications and was critically dependent on sea-borne trade. This was not new – it had been the situation since 1815. Germany set out to build a fleet specifically designed to challenge Britain's control of its home waters (heavy on battleships, short range). Britain responded by building the dreadnoughts, then by coming to an arrangement with France so as to free up forces from the Med, all the while seeking a naval truce. One can argue that Germany had every right to seek to diminish British naval dominance, but it was surely both a foolish and an aggressive policy, given that it posed a threat no British government could not respond to (the invasion of Belgium and German plans to annex the Belgian coast were similar, in that they would place the High Seas Fleet across Britain's major trade artery. In 1914 London was the greatest port in the world).

The Viennese insouciance I had in mind was in regard to the Bosnian annexation in 1909. The details are in Dominic Lieven's Towards the Flame, but it was a typical bit of Austro-Hungarian over-clever dickishness. It added a layer of distrust that was not helpful in 1914.

What worried Germany the most was Russian railway-building, which threatened to make their military planning more difficult. They saw 1914 as a narrow and shrinking window (much as many of the same people saw war in 1939 as a last military opportunity). Indeed, they had mooted war against Russia in 1906 and again in 1909.

It's overlooked that Europe had an established mechanism for resolving diplomatic crises – either an international congress or a meeting of the affected powers (as at Vienna 1813, Berlin 1878, London 1912..). The Powers had imposed settlements in the Balkans on several previous occasions, and could have done so this time. Britain and France proposed a congress; Berlin refused.

While they all look similar to us, Germany really was much more militarist and much more inclined to seek salvation from their dilemmas in war than the other powers. While all the elites were in a febrile state, Germany's were in something close to a collective nervous breakdown, isolated, truculent and fearful.

MisterMr 11.14.18 at 12:08 pm ( 42 )
@stephen 12

I am a big fan of Hobson's book "Imperialism, a study", written in 1902, that I believe explain tendencies, that evidently were present in 1902 and before, that later exploded and caused WW1 and WW2.

The book is free online:
http://files.libertyfund.org/files/127/0052_Bk.pdf
(courtesy of The online library of liberty ©Liberty Fund, no less).

The general theory of the book is that capitalist countries face underconsumption problems at home, due to the exceedigly low wage share (Hobson though is not a marxist so he doesn't believes that this is the normal situation in capitalism).
This underconsumption forces capitalist countries to expand in the colonies, and ultimately also to create an military/financial/industrial complex that becomes the valve through which excess savings (due to underconsumption due to excessively low wages) can be reinvested.

I'll leave out a discussion if Hobson's economic theories make sense (I think they do) or wether they are the same of marxist theories (I think they are the same expressed from another point of view and with a more moderate approach), but I want to point out the chapter about "the scientific defence of imperialism" (pp.162 onwards in the link), because it clearly speaks of the "scientific racism" theories that are nowadays associated with fascism and nazism.

Here a cite from p.163:

Admitting that the efficiency of a nation or a race requires a suspension of intestine warfare, at any rate l' =trance, the crude struggle on the larger plane must, they urge, be maintained. It serves, indeed, two related purposes. A constant struggle with other races or nations is demanded for the maintenance and progress of a race or nation ; abate the necessity of the struggle and the vigour of the race flags and perishes. Thus it is to the real interest of a vigorous race to be " kept up to a high pitch of external efficiency by contest, chiefly by way of war with inferior races, and with equal races by the struggle for trade routes and for the sources of raw material and of food supply." " This," adds Professor Karl Pearson," is the natural history view of mankind, and I do not think you can in its main features subvert it." Others, taking the wider cosmic standpoint, insist that the progress of humanity itself requires the main-tenance of a selective and destructive struggle between races which embody different power and capacities, different types of civilisation.

From this I think it's obvious how Italian fascism and German nazism were mostly an extremisation of theories that were already present before WW1 (and Japanese militarism and probably many other militarism that we prefer to forget today).
In fact Mussolini justified the entry of Italy into WW2 with the idea of a natural struggle between nations/races/cultures.

Now the main question is: was Hobson correct to say that these theories were just covers for economic interests, that in turn were caused by underconsumption?
Or to say the same thing from a more marxist standpoint, is it true that WW1 was caused by various capitalist countries were forced by the capitalist need for continuous growth/expansion to continually expand their colonial empires, and in the end they had to clash one with the other?

I think it is true.
This doesn't mean that all war in history were caused by capitalism, before capitalism ever existed. Hower this gives an answer to some of your questions, and specifically:

1) Why didn't the normal conditions of capitalist production give rise to a world war before?
Because various capitalist powers hadn't already conquered most of the world, so they didn't have to go directly at each other's throat before WW1.

2) Why didn't the normal conditions of capitalist production give rise to a world war after WW2?
Because
(2.a) after WW2 the capitalist system in developed countries had a much higer wage share due to government intervention and anyway excess savings were repurposed through Keynesian policies and inflation, thus much less underconsuption,
and
(2.b) because after WW2 for some decades there was only one main capitalist pole, that was the USA, that was the main proponent of this kind of keynesian policies, either because it was wiser, or because of the menace of socialism, or for whatever the reason.

Stephen 11.14.18 at 2:15 pm ( 43 )
WLGR@29: You ask whether I am "under the impression that western Europe and the US never had a revolutionary socialist tradition?" Well, definitely not, and I cannot see that I have written anything that could lead you to form an honest opinion that I am, or even might be. Nor can I see any basis for your belief that, disagreeing with you, I must be wholly ignorant of Western mass politics. I would advise you to have less faith in your own powers of telepathy.

To refresh your memory: I wrote that various good thing happened in states that did not have to endure the catastrophic misfortunes of revolutionary socialism. And I cannot see how you can dispute either that states which were historically ruled by revolutionary socialists suffered catastrophes; or that many European and other states, though never ruled by revolutionary socialists and so avoiding their catastrophes, acquired these good things. Pre-emptive disclaimer: I am not of course claiming that all catastrophes have been due to revolutionary socialism.

stj@33: with regard to Russo/Turkish history, I think you are rather confused. You seem to think I claimed that "Russian conquests against Turkey meant the extension of the Russian empire rather than the creation of the states of Montenegro, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria." I didn't: I merely pointed out that the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-8 was not in any intelligible sense a conflict between two capitalist states. But if you want to widen the discussion to cover Russian conquests against Turkey, I must point out that (1) several such conquests did in fact involve extension of the Russian empire: take a quick look at the history of Ukraine and Crimea (2) the creation of Montenegro was a result of Austrian and Venetian victories, not Russian (3) Russia never conquered any part of Serbia from the Turks, though Russian support for autonomously rebellious Serbs was significant (4) a complicating factor in the formation of Romania was the Russian invasion of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, followed by an attempt to incorporate them into the Russian empire: many Romanians preferred Ottoman rule (5) Bulgaria, you're right for once, that was a direct and uncomplicated result of Russian conquest followed by creation of a new state. Which I never said it wasn't.

I really do think it would be a good idea for you to read Perry Anderson's thoughtful and erudite works before dismissing them; they may be more accessible than you think. I don't know if your socialist principles would allow you to use the capitalist outfit Amazon yourself, but if so Anderson's Lineages of the Absolutist state is available at $29.95 plus postage. I would also recommend on a rather different topic Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, same price: second-hand copies of either are a little cheaper.

Enjoy the new perspectives.

EWI 11.14.18 at 2:50 pm ( 44 )
Raven @ 18

Wasn't World War I the result of Germany pursuing conquest?

World War 1 was equally the result of Britain 'pursuing conquest', i.e. its decades-long ambition to expand its empire into the Near and Far Easts. Josh Marshall is, I'm afraid, an unreconstructed Anglophile who also believes silly claims that the British went back to 'peace' (whatever that may be for a militarised empire) after WWI.

MFB @ 39

Correct. From contemporary accounts, we know that those members of the public who were paying attention at the time could see the various empires building up to war for years beforehand.

LFC 11.14.18 at 3:18 pm ( 45 )
Marxist explanations work better for some events than for others; I don't think they work particularly well for WW 1, though they aren't completely irrelevant.

I don't keep up with the historiography (e.g., the probably endless debate btw the Fischer school and its critics/opponents), but one can distinguish btw contingent and deeper causes. The latter were both 'ideational' (e.g., hypernationalism; views of war in general; 'cult of the offensive'; influence of Social Darwinist and racialist perspectives on intl relations; relative weakness of the peace mvts and their msg; dominant styles of diplomacy; etc.) and 'material' (e.g., problems faced by the multinational empires, esp. Austria-Hungary; rigidity of mobilization plans; economic and political pressures on ruling elites; etc.), though the distinction between ideational and material is somewhat artificial.

I'm not sure which among all the historical works is most worth reading (J.C.G. Rohl was mentioned by someone in a past thread on this topic, and there were a lot of books published around 2014 on the centenary of the war's start); but istm James Joll's work, among others, has held up pretty well. Political scientists/ IR people have also continued to publish on this. (The last journal article I'm aware of is Keir Lieber's in Intl Security several yrs ago [and the replies], though I'm sure there have been others since. And even though it's old, S. Van Evera's piece from the '80s, "Why Cooperation Failed in 1914," is still worth reading, for the copious footnotes to the then-extant historical work in English (and English translation), among other things.)

Layman 11.14.18 at 5:42 pm ( 46 )
MFB: "It was Britain which had introduced the Dreadnought battleship and the battlecruiser."

Hmm, wasn't the Dreadnought class a direct response to the Tirpitz Memorandum (1896) and the subsequent German Navy Bill of 1898, the purpose of which was to build a battleship fleet with which to confront the Royal Navy?

engels 11.14.18 at 10:11 pm ( 47 )
Revolutionary Socialism" is one of those labels that obfuscates more than it reveals

I think it's worthwhile to have a term for wanting to overthrow the system rather than reform it (I don't think 'revolution' has to mean 'violent').

John Quiggin 11.15.18 at 3:01 am ( 48 )
As regards the historical arguments about war guilt, there was a strong pro-war faction in nearly every European country, and even in Australia (on this last point, and the links to the British pro-war faction, see Douglas Newton's Hell Bent ). The pro-war faction prevailed nearly everywhere. Arguing about which pro-war faction was most responsible for bringing about the war they all wanted seems pointless to me.

Moreover, once the war started, no-one wanted in power anywhere to bring it to an end on any terms other than victory, annexations and reparations.

John Quiggin 11.15.18 at 3:05 am ( 49 )
Looking specifically at the British government, since it seems to have the most defenders, they first refused an offer of alliance from Turkey and then (when Turkey entered on the German side instead) made a secret deal with France to carve up the Ottoman empire. As mentioned in the OP, we are still dealing with the consequences today. That's not to excuse the pro-war factions that dominated the governments of Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy etc.

[Nov 10, 2018] US Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Killed 500,000 by Jason Ditz

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Over 60,000 US troops either killed or wounded in conflicts ..."
"... The study estimates between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed in the course of the three conflicts. ..."
"... Civilians make up over half of the roughly 500,000 killed, with both opposition fighters and US-backed foreign military forces each sustaining in excess of 100,000 deaths as well. ..."
"... This is admittedly a dramatic under-report of people killed in the wars, as it only attempts to calculate those killed directly in war violence, and not the massive number of others civilians who died from infrastructure damage or other indirect results of the wars. The list also excludes the US war in Syria, which itself stakes claims to another 500,000 killed since 2011. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

Over 60,000 US troops either killed or wounded in conflicts

Brown University has released a new study on the cost in lives of America's Post-9/11 Wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The study estimates between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed in the course of the three conflicts.

This includes combatant deaths and civilian deaths in fighting and war violence. Civilians make up over half of the roughly 500,000 killed, with both opposition fighters and US-backed foreign military forces each sustaining in excess of 100,000 deaths as well.

This is admittedly a dramatic under-report of people killed in the wars, as it only attempts to calculate those killed directly in war violence, and not the massive number of others civilians who died from infrastructure damage or other indirect results of the wars. The list also excludes the US war in Syria, which itself stakes claims to another 500,000 killed since 2011.

The report also notes that over 60,000 US troops were either killed or wounded in the course of the wars. This includes 6,951 US military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.

The Brown study also faults the US for having done very little in the last 17 years to provide transparency to the country about the scope of the conflicts, concluding that they are "inhibited by governments determined to paint a rosy picture of perfect execution and progress."

Those wishing to read the full Brown University study can find a PDF version here .

[Nov 06, 2018] Democrats Want To Take On The War In Afghanistan If They Win The House by Akbar Shahid Ahmed

Nov 06, 2018 | www.huffingtonpost.com

A long fight by lawmakers like Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is set to go mainstream, and an antiwar push on Yemen soon after the midterms could show how.

WASHINGTON ― As Democrats plan for a potential future in which they have control of the U.S. House, lawmakers, candidates and outside groups close to the party are quietly preparing a new push against the overlooked war in Afghanistan. The last time the party controlled the lower chamber of Congress, the U.S. had close to 50,000 troops in Afghanistan. Today that number is 15,000 -- but it's been eight years, and there's still no clarity about when the longest war in American history will actually come to an end. President Donald Trump 's stated policy is that the U.S. presence has no time limit. So Democrats are considering long-discussed proposals to torpedo the war's entire legal justification -- the sweeping post-9/11 congressional authorization that has been used to support U.S. military action well beyond Afghan borders -- and tie funding for the campaign to clearly outlined strategic goals and troop reductions. There's also talk of using new oversight powers to hold top officials, military commanders, defense contractors and foreign partners accountable for accusations of human rights violations, corruption and political posturing at the cost of human lives. And while party leaders are loath to commit to a particular course, they feel certain this is an issue their colleagues and their political base see as a priority. A dramatic but now largely forgotten vote in June 2017 underscored why this is a natural fight for Democrats. House Appropriations Committee lawmakers from both parties voted for the first time for a measure long pushed by war critic Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that would repeal the authorization. GOP leadership quashed the effort, but it clearly signaled that, after years of worrying about being seen as too dovish, Democrats have reached a moment when even the other party and its voters can seriously consider serious antiwar action. "We've come a long way from just one vote in opposition [when the authorization came up in 2001] to a widespread recognition among members of Congress that this was an overly-broad authorization that set the stage for perpetual war," Lee wrote in an email to HuffPost. She sees Democratic unity on the issue today: "There's a lot of common ground across the caucus around holding this debate and vote."

[Nov 05, 2018] A superb new book on the duty of resistance

Notable quotes:
"... A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
"... The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

by Chris Bertram on October 31, 2018 Candice Delmas, A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Political obligation has always been a somewhat unsatisfactory topic in political philosophy, as has, relatedly, civil disobedience. The "standard view" of civil disobedience, to be found in Rawls, presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur and conceives of civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens. To demonstrate their fidelity to law, civil disobedients are willing to accept the consequences of their actions and to take their punishment. When Rawls first wrote about civil disobedience, in 1964, parts of the US were openly and flagrantly engaged in the violent subordination of their black population, so it was quite a stretch for him to think of that society as "nearly just". But perhaps its injustice impinged less obviously on a white professor at an elite university in Massachusetts than it did on poor blacks in the deep South.

The problems with the standard account hardly stop there. Civil disobedience thus conceived is awfully narrow. In truth, the range of actions which amount to resistance to the state and to unjust societies is extremely broad, running from ordinary political opposition, through civil disobedience to disobedience that is rather uncivil, through sabotage, hacktivism, leaking, whistle-blowing, carrying out Samaritan assistance in defiance of laws that prohibit it, striking, occupation, violent resistance, violent revolution, and, ultimately, terrorism. For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory, one which tells us whether Black Lives Matter activists are justified or whether antifa can punch Richard Spencer. Moreover, we need a theory that tells us not only what we may do but also what we are obliged to do: when is standing by in the face of injustice simply not morally permissible.

Step forward Candice Delmas with her superb and challenging book The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press). Delmas points out the manifold shortcomings of the standard account and how it is often derived from taking the particular tactics of the civil rights movement and turning pragmatic choices into moral principles. Lots of acts of resistance against unjust societies, in order to be effective, far from being communicative, need to be covert. Non-violence may be an effective strategy, but sometimes those resisting state injustice have a right to defend themselves. [click to continue ]


Hidari 10.31.18 at 3:41 pm (no link)

Strangely enough, the link I was looking at immediately before I clicked on the OP, was this:

https://www.thecanary.co/opinion/2018/10/30/our-time-is-up-weve-got-nothing-left-but-rebellion/

It would be interesting to see a philosopher's view on whether or not civil disobedience was necessary, and to what extent, to prevent actions that will lead to the end of our species.

Ebenezer Scrooge 10.31.18 at 4:52 pm (no link)
Two points:
As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.
I have no idea who Candice Delmas is, but "Delmas" is a French name. The French have a very different attitude toward civil disobedience than we do.
Moz of Yarramulla 10.31.18 at 11:23 pm (no link)

civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens.

I think that's a pretty narrow view of civil disobedience even if you just count the actions of the protesters. Often NVDA is aimed at or merely accepts that a violent response is inevitable. The resistance at Parihaka, for example, was in no doubt that the response would be military and probably lethal. And Animal Liberation are often classified as terrorists by the US and UK governments while murderers against abortion are not.

Which is to say that the definition of "nonviolent" is itself an area of conflict, with some taking the Buddhist extremist position that any harm or even inconvenience to any living thing makes an action violent, and others saying that anything short of genocide can be nonviolent (and then there are the "intention is all" clowns). Likewise terrorism, most obviously of late the Afghani mujahideen when they transitioned from being revolutionaries to terrorists when the invader changed.

In Australia we have the actual government taking the view that any action taken by a worker or protester that inconveniences a company is a criminal act and the criminal must both compensate the company (including consequential damages) as well as facing jail time. tasmania and NSW and of course the anti-union laws . The penalties suggest they're considered crimes of violence, as does the rhetoric.

Moz of Yarramulla 11.01.18 at 12:13 am (no link)
Jeff@11

one should never legitimize any means toward social change that you would not object to seeing used by your mortal enemies.

Are you using an unusual definition of "mortal enemy" here? Viz, other than "enemy that wants to kill you"? Even US law has theoretical prohibitions on expressing that intention.

It's especially odd since we're right now in the middle of a great deal of bad-faith use of protest techniques by mortal enemies. "free speech" used to protect Nazi rallies, "academic freedom" to defend anti-science activists, "non-violent protest" used to describe violent attacks, "freedom of religion" used to excuse terrorism, the list goes on.

In Australia we have a 'proud boys' leader coming to Australia who has somehow managed to pass the character test imposed by our government. He's the leader of a gang that requires an arrest for violence as a condition of membership and regularly says his goal is to incite others to commit murder. It seems odd that our immigration minister has found those things to be not disqualifying while deporting someone for merely associating with a vaguely similar gang , but we live in weird times.

J-D 11.01.18 at 12:50 am ( 18 )
Ebenezer Scrooge

As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.

I do remember that*, but it's not clear to me why you think it's important to remember it in this context. If somebody who had fatally punched a Nazi speaker were prosecuted for murder, I doubt that 'he was a Nazi speaker' would be accepted as a defence on the basis of the Streicher precedent.

*Strictly speaking, I don't remember it as something that 'we' did: I wasn't born at the time, and it's not clear to me who you mean by 'we'. (Streicher himself probably would have said that it was the Jews, or possibly the Jews and the Bolsheviks, who were hanging him, but I don't suppose that would be your view.) However, I'm aware of the events you're referring to, which is the real point.

engels 11.01.18 at 12:51 am ( 19 )
Rawls presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory
Brandon Watson 11.01.18 at 12:02 pm (no link)
People need to stop spreading this misinterpretation about Rawls on civil disobedience, which I've seen several places in the past few years. Rawls focuses on the case of a nearly just society not because he thinks it's the only case in which you can engage in civil disobedience but because he thinks it's the only case in which there are difficulties with justifying it. He states this very clearly in A Theory of Justice : in cases where the society is not nearly just, there are no difficulties in justifying civil disobedience or even sometimes armed resistance. His natural duty account is not put forward as a general theory of civil disobedience but to argue that civil disobedience can admit of justification even in the case in which it is hardest to justify.

I'm not a fan of Rawls myself, but I don't know how he could possibly have been more clear on this, since he makes all these points explicitly.

LFC 11.02.18 at 12:45 am (no link)
J-D @18

The Nuremberg tribunal was set up and staffed by the U.S., Britain, USSR, and France; so whether Ebenezer's "we" was intended to refer to the four countries collectively or just to the U.S., it's clear who hanged Streicher et al., and the tone of your comment on this point is rather odd.

anon 11.02.18 at 4:23 pm (no link)
Resisting by protesting is OK.

However, here in the USA, actual legislation creating laws is done by our elected representatives.

So if you're an Amaerican and really want Social Change and aren't just posturing or 'virtue signaling' make sure you vote in the upcoming election.

I'm afraid too many will think that their individual vote won't 'matter' or the polls show it isn't needed or some other excuse to justify not voting. Please do not be that person.

Don Berinati 11.02.18 at 5:06 pm (no link)
Recently re-reading '1968' by Kurlansky and he repeatedly made this point about protests – that to be effective they had to get on television (major networks, not like our youtube, I think, so it would be seen by the masses in order to sway them) and to do that the acts had to be outlandish because they were competing for network time. This increasingly led to violent acts, which almost always worked in getting on the news, but flew in the face of King's and others peaceful methods.
So, maybe punching out a Nazi is the way to change people's minds or at least get them to think about stuff.

[Oct 19, 2018] Women's March On The Pentagon Puts The 'Pro' Back In 'Protest' PopularResistance.Org by Cindy Sheehan

Jun 03, 2018 | popularresistance.org
| Resist! Women's March On The Pentagon Puts The 'Pro' Back In 'Protest' 2018-06-03 2018-06-03 https://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2017/12/popres-shorter.png PopularResistance.Org https://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2018/06/womens-march-on-the-pentagon-graphic.jpg 200px 200px

After eight years of the Obama regime expanding the Bush regime's wars from around two to around seven (with very little opposition from the so-called antiwar movement ), the Women 's March on the Pentagon is rebuilding a movement from practically scratch.

We are struggling to not get trapped in the antiwar old ways which never have been truly successful. If the anti-Vietnam war movement, its tactics, and energy were so awesome, then why is the US currently mired so deeply in at least seven wars for Empire with 1000 bases in over 130 countries around the world and continued support for the apartheid, colonial, illegal state of Israel?

We are planning to march on the Pentagon. The Pentagon is not a typical target because many activists are afraid of offending the military despite recognizing that the US military is the largest terrorist organization in the world. We are also having a rally on the 21st of October and are committed to "Occupying" the Pentagon until Veteran's Day, November 11th.

We are also reimagining new ways to state what the Women 's March on the Pentagon is doing.

Yes, we are against the US Empire's perpetual and devastating wars but being "anti" war was never enough. Being "pro" peace is also deficient because peace is just not an absence of war -- it is also the presence of social justice and social safety nets.

WMOP is putting the PRO back in PROtest but before we are PRO-peace, we feel we need to be each of the following. The list that follows is not exhaustive, but it is a good start.

PRO-woman: Every single woman on this planet, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status or national origin, is entitled to the same quality of life as wealthy, white women in the USA -- including being free from military occupation (and all the horrors that brings, including rape and the murder of children) and other oppression.

PRO-equality: Every human is entitled to every good thing, including the right to PRO-test wrong things.

PRO-planet: The Pentagon's War Machine is responsible for a hugely disproportionate amount of pollution, waste, environmental degradation and use of fossil fuels. The Pentagon seriously needs to be reduced to a size where it can be drowned in a bucket before we can save human life from extinction on our only planet, our Mother Earth.

PRO-education: Education is a human right and the trillions of dollars spent on active wars and empire maintenance robs our communities and schools from money needed to give our children a high-quality and free education from Pre to University. In all levels, our children should feel safe to attend school without the horrors of mass-shootings and police state oppression.

PRO-gun control: As long as guns, ammunition, bombs and other weapons of murder are taken from the Pentagon and police forces first. Our mothers and grandmothers in occupied lands, inner cities, and other economically disadvantaged areas should not have to worry themselves sick when their young ones leave the home that they will be executed by a killer cop or drone-bombed by the USA. Our sisters in other countries should not have to bury their children, or flee their homes in fear for their lives, because of the US Empire.

PRO-health care: Women bear the burden of ill children and are likely the ones to miss work when a child is ill. Health care must be free and high-quality, but it must also serve families and communities with healthy food, water, air and opportunities for care for ill children (or elderly relatives) when the woman needs or wants to go to work. Health care must be comprehensive and include dental, mental, chiropractic and any other holistic treatment/prevention that is needed/wanted. Prescriptions must be free and no woman/family should have to choose between life-saving medication and/or food.

PRO-labor at a living wage and PRO-basic guaranteed income

PRO-housing/food: In a nation as wealthy as the US, not one person should exist without shelter or healthy and abundant food. Housing and food are human rights, not privileges. Most homeless people work hard, but cannot afford a place to live. 19% of the United States of American children (14 million) go to bed hungry every night in the land of plenty and plenty of waste. These statistics are shameful and abominable but can be changed after the commodification and privatization of everything for profit over people ends.

PRO-redistribution of resources: Ending the Pentagon, the billions of dollars of waste and more than a trillion dollar budget would go a long way to address the horrendous human rights' abuses and fundamental economic crises 2/3 of the people in the US face.

Once there is justice, environmental sustainability, economic equality and celebration of diversity, combined with the end of the US Military Empire, THEN, and only then, will we live in relative peace in our communities and families.

If one woman is living under military occupation, colonial rule, or otherwise oppressed, none of us are free!

Join the Women 's March on the Pentagon!

[Oct 05, 2018] The US Government s propaganda is structured to along the lines of a fantasy novel revolving around two mutually excusive ideas the country is surrounded by powerful enemies, and the country is the strongest and the most powerful nation which loved freedom

Notable quotes:
"... Like with a fantasy novel, the reader gets all the thrills of an epic battle while being certain that the evil empires will never triumph. An attractive form of propaganda, to be certain. ..."
Oct 05, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Timothy Hagios , Oct 5, 2018 8:52:41 AM | link

IMO the US Government's propaganda is structured to along the lines of a fantasy novel. The propaganda is designed to convince the public of two inherently contradictory ideas:

1) that the country is surrounded on vast sides by vast hostile empires that threaten everything we hold dear and

2) despite these dire threats, the country cannot really be harmed because of "our freedoms."

Like with a fantasy novel, the reader gets all the thrills of an epic battle while being certain that the evil empires will never triumph. An attractive form of propaganda, to be certain.

IMO the US Government's propaganda is structured to along the lines of a fantasy novel.
Posted by: Timothy Hagios | Oct 5, 2018 8:52:41 AM | 1

BM , Oct 5, 2018 9:22:06 AM | link

Just about sums it up

BM , Oct 5, 2018 9:45:27 AM | link

Whatever is alleged by the US, UK, Netherlands, France et al, if you point in the opposite direction it will probably do. They falsely accuse others of whatever they in fact do themselves.

Enrico Malatesta | Oct 5, 2018 10:28:08 AM | 7

@Timothy Hagios | Oct 5, 2018 8:52:41 AM | 1

Think I've read it - "Orange Storm Rising" by Clancy Bear

Jen , Oct 5, 2018 5:14:15 PM | link
Timothy Hagios @ 1:

An element of the Skripal poisoning saga in Britain (the Novichok) was lifted from the TV series "Strikeback" screening in the country in November 2017 and February 2018. I have seen something on the Internet (but can't find the link) that said the subplot with the abandoned perfume bottle that contained poison was also taken from a TV show.

Prepare to be unsurprised then when the people who write propaganda for The Powers That Should Not Be turn out to be the same people who write scripts for Hollywood films and TV shows. A lot of these people also write novels or teach creative writing courses.

We really do seem to be living in a society where mythology and fantasy are becoming more prominent than facts and analysis in decision-making.

[Sep 28, 2018] Kavanaugh, The Disgust Circuit, And The Limits Of Nuts Sluts

Sep 28, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Kavanaugh, The Disgust Circuit, And The Limits Of "Nuts & Sluts"

by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/28/2018 - 18:10 2 SHARES Authored by Tom Luongo,

The Ragin' Cajun, I believe, coined the phrase "Nuts and Sluts" to succinctly describe the tactic used by the elites I call The Davos Crowd to smear and destroy someone they've targeted.

Brett Kavanaugh is the latest victim of this technique. But, there have been dozens of victims I can list from Gary Hart in the 1980's to former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn to Donald Trump.

"Nuts and Sluts" is easy to understand. Simply accuse the person you want to destroy of being either crazy (the definition of which shifts with whatever is the political trigger issue of the day) or a sexual deviant.

This technique works because it triggers most people's Disgust Circuit, a term created by Mark Schaller as part of what he calls the Behavioral Immune System and popularized by Johnathan Haidt.

The disgust circuit is easy to understand.

It is the limit at which behavior in others triggers our gut-level outrage and we recoil with disgust.

The reason "Nuts and Sluts" works so well on conservative candidates and voters is because, on average, conservatives have a much stronger disgust circuit than liberals and/or libertarians.

This is why it always seems to be that anyone who threatens the global order or the political system always turns out to have some horrible sexual deviance in their closet.

It's why the only thing any of us remember about the infamous Trump Dossier is the image of Trump standing on a bed in a Moscow hotel room urinating on a hooker.

The technique is used to drive a wedge between Republican voters and lawmakers and make it easy for them to go along with whatever stupidity is brought forth by the press and the Democrats.

And don't think for a second that, more often than not, GOP leadership isn't in cahoots with the DNC on these take-downs. Because they are.

But, here's the problem. As liberals and cultural Marxists break down the societal order, as they win skirmish after skirmish in the Culture War, and desensitize us to normalize ever more deviant behavior, the circumstances of a "Nuts and Sluts" accusation have to rise accordingly.

It's behavioral heroin. And the more tolerance we build up to it the more likely people are to see right through the lie.

It's why Gary Hart simply had to be accused of having an affair in the 1980's to scuttle his presidential aspirations but today Trump has to piss on a hooker.

And it's why it was mild sexual harassment and a pubic hair on a Coke can for Clarence Thomas, but today, for Brett Kavanaugh, it has to be a gang-rape straight out of an 80's frat party in a Brett Eaton Ellis book -- whose books, by the way, are meant to be warnings not blueprints.

Trump has weathered both the Nuts side of the technique and the Sluts side. And as he has done so The Resistance has become more and more outraged that it's not working like it used to.

This is why they have to pay people to be outraged by Kavanaugh's nomination. They can't muster up a critical mass of outrage while Trump is winning on many fronts. Like it or not, the economy has improved. It's still not good, but it's better and sentiment is higher.

So they have to pay people to protest Kavanaugh. And when that didn't work, then the fear of his ascending to the Supreme Court and jeopardizing Roe v. Wade became acute, it doesn't surprise me to see them pull out Christine Blasie Ford's story to guide them through to the mid-term elections.

And that was a bridge too far for a lot of people.

The one who finally had enough of 'Nuts and Sluts' was, of all people, Lindsey Graham . Graham is one of the most vile and venal people in D.C. He is a war-mongering neoconservative-enabling praetorian of Imperial Washington's status quo.

But even he has a disgust circuit and Brett Kavanaugh's spirited defense of himself, shaming Diane Feinstein in the process, was enough for Graham to finally redeem himself for one brief moment.

When Lindsey Graham is the best defense we have against becoming a country ruled by men rather than laws, our society hangs by a thread.

It was important for Graham to do this. It was a wake-up call to the 'moderate' GOP senators wavering on Kavanaugh. Graham may be bucking for Senate Majority Leader or Attorney General, but whatever. For four minutes his disgust was palpable.

The two men finally did what the 'Right' in this country have been screaming for for years.

Fight back. Stop being reasonable. Stop playing it safe. Trump cannot do this by himself.

Fight for what this country was supposed to stand for.

Because as Graham said, this is all about regaining power and they don't care what damage they do to get it back.

The disgust circuit can kick in a number of different ways. And Thursday it kicked in to finally call out what was actually happening on Capitol Hill. This was The Swamp in all its glory.

And believe me millions were outraged by what they saw.

It will destroy what is left of the Democratic Party. I told you back in June that Kanye West and Donald Trump had won the Battle of the Bulge in the Culture War. Graham and Kavanuagh's honest and brutal outrage at the unfairness of this process was snuffing out of that counter-attack.

The mid-terms will be a Red Tide with the bodies washing up on the shore the leadership of the DNC and the carpet-baggers standing behind them with billions in money to buy fake opposition.

The truth is easy to support. Lies cost money. The more outrageous the lie the more expensive it gets to maintain it.

Because the majority of this country just became thoroughly disgusted with the Democrats. And they will have no one to blame but themselves.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9lx47yKaSzU

* * *

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[Sep 17, 2018] Dan Cohen has an excellent mini-doc (part one has been released so far) on war propaganda in Western media pushing regime change in Syria

Sep 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

George Lane , Sep 16, 2018 4:29:56 PM | link

Dan Cohen has an excellent mini-doc (part one has been released so far) on war propaganda in Western media pushing regime change in Syria: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2FUpbZXaN9w&feature=youtu.be

It will not be any new information for regular readers here of course but it is well edited and produced and good for sharing with friends who have not yet questioned too much the narrative on Syria.

[Sep 07, 2018] Danny Sjursen on Terror Wars and Becoming Antiwar - The Scott Horton Show

Notable quotes:
"... This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Zen Cash , The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; LibertyStickers.com ; TheBumperSticker.com ; and ExpandDesigns.com/Scott . ..."
Aug 22, 2018 | scotthorton.org

Danny Sjursen is interviewed on his service in the Terror Wars, how he became antiwar, and how he wants his service and the service of others to be honored.

Sjursen is a major in the U.S. army and former history instructor at West Point. He writes regularly for TomDispatch.com and he's the author of " Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge ." Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet .

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Zen Cash , The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; LibertyStickers.com ; TheBumperSticker.com ; and ExpandDesigns.com/Scott .
Check out Scott's Patreon page.

[Aug 28, 2018] South Africa is cursed with neo-liberal trickle-down baloney stifling radical economic change by Kevin Humphrey

Notable quotes:
"... There is consensus between commentators who have studied the effects of neo-liberalism that it has become all pervasive and is the key to ensuring that the rich remain rich, while the poor and the merely well to do continue on a perpetual hamster's wheel, going nowhere and never improving their lot in life while they serve their masters. ..."
"... Monbiot says of this largely anonymous scourge: "Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulations should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous, a reward for utility and a genera-tor of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve." ..."
"... Senior cadres co-opted Unfortunately, history shows that some key senior cadres of the ANC were all too keen to be coopted into the neo-liberal fold and any attempts to put forward radical measures that would bring something fresh to the table to address the massive inequalities of the past were and continue to be kept off the table and we are still endlessly fed the neo-liberal trickle-down baloney. ..."
medium.com

SA is cursed with neo-liberal trickle-down baloney stifling radical economic change Kevin Humphrey, The New Age, Johannesburg, 1 December 2016

South Africa's massive inequalities are abundantly obvious to even the most casual observer. When the ANC won the elections in 1994, it came armed with a left-wing pedigree second to none, having fought a protracted liberation war in alliance with progressive forces which drew in organised labour and civic groupings.

At the dawn of democracy the tight knit tripartite alliance also carried in its wake a patchwork of disparate groupings who, while clearly supportive of efforts to rid the country of apartheid, could best be described as liberal. It was these groupings that first began the clamour of opposition to all left-wing, radical or revolutionary ideas that has by now become the constant backdrop to all conversations about the state of our country, the economy, the education system, the health services, everything. Thus was the new South Africa introduced to its own version of a curse that had befallen all countries that gained independence from oppressors, neo-colonialism.

By the time South Africa was liberated, neo-colonialism, which as always sought to buy off the libera-tors with the political kingdom while keep-ing control of the economic kingdom, had perfected itself into what has become an era where neo-liberalism reigns supreme. But what exactly is neo-liberalism? George Monbiot says: "Neo-liberalism sees competi-tion as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that 'the market' delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning."

Never improving

There is consensus between commentators who have studied the effects of neo-liberalism that it has become all pervasive and is the key to ensuring that the rich remain rich, while the poor and the merely well to do continue on a perpetual hamster's wheel, going nowhere and never improving their lot in life while they serve their masters.

Monbiot says of this largely anonymous scourge: "Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulations should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous, a reward for utility and a genera-tor of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve."

Nelson Mandela

South Africa's sad slide into neo-liberalism was given impetus at Davos in 1992 where Nelson Mandela had this to say to the assembled super rich: "We visualise a mixed economy, in which the private sector would play a central and critical role to ensure the creation of wealth and jobs. Future economic policy will also have to address such questions as security of investments and the right to repatriate earnings, realistic exchange rates, the rate of inflation and the fiscus."

Further insight into this pivotal moment was provided by Anthony Sampson, Mandela's official biographer who wrote: "It was not until February 1992, when Mandela went to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that he finally turned against nationalisation. He was lionised by the world's bankers and industrialists at lunches and dinners."

This is not to cast any aspersions on Mandela, he had to make these decisions at the time to protect our democratic transition. But these utterances should have been accom-panied by a behind the scenes interrogation of all the ANC's thoughts on how to proceed in terms of the economy delivering socialist orientated solutions without falling into the minefield of neo-liberal traps that lay in wait for our emerging country.

Senior cadres co-opted Unfortunately, history shows that some key senior cadres of the ANC were all too keen to be coopted into the neo-liberal fold and any attempts to put forward radical measures that would bring something fresh to the table to address the massive inequalities of the past were and continue to be kept off the table and we are still endlessly fed the neo-liberal trickle-down baloney.

Now no one dares to express any type of radical approach to our economic woes unless it is some loony populist. Debate around these important issues is largely missing and the level of commentary on all important national questions is shockingly shallow.

Anti-labour, anti-socialist, anti-poor, anti-black The status quo as set by the largely white-owned media revolves around key neo-liberal slogans mas-querading as commentary that is anti-labour, anti-socialist and anti-poor, which sadly translates within our own context as anti-black and therefore repugnantly racist.

We live in a country where the black, over-whelmingly poor majority of our citizens have voted for a much revered liberation movement that is constantly under attack from within and without by people who do not have their best interests at heart and are brilliant at manipulating outcomes to suit themselves on a global scale.

Kevin Humphrey is associate executive editor of The New Age

[Aug 24, 2018] The Dark Side of War Propaganda

Notable quotes:
"... The Montana connection was unexpectedly brought to mind during the exhibition because of a passing curatorial note about Hollywood's involvement in the war effort: "Some in US Congress believed film propaganda to be a threat to democracy. In 1941, Senator Burton K. Wheeler wrote to Paramount News that 'the motion picture industry is carrying on a violent propaganda campaign intending to incite the American people [to war] '" ..."
"... Military actions are kept just small enough to stay within the limits of a volunteer force, so conscription need not be justified in the public eye. Social pressures and secular pieties now drive recycling and self-rationing in the service of climate change and veganism. In short, governments today don't perceive a need to mobilize broad public support before waging war. They just do it. ..."
"... runs through October 7 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. ..."
Aug 24, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

A certain amount of dehumanizing of the enemy is a natural part of any war effort, but Allied propaganda against the Germans in World War I is particularly striking in its crudity and ferocity, especially since one would have a hard time finding Americans today capable of explaining, even in the broadest of terms, exactly what our country was doing in that war. One of the more visually arresting World War I posters in the exhibition portrays a slumbering, rosy-cheeked, and classically-garbed female personification of America. "Wake Up, America!" the poster admonishes. "Civilization Calls Every Man, Woman, and Child!" No arguing with that.

Against such a backdrop some stories from that time come into focus. One involves Hermann Bausch, a Montana farmer who was dragged from his home and nearly lynched in 1918 when neighbors surrounded his house and demanded that he buy Liberty Bonds to prove his loyalty to the United States. He survived the day but only because he ended up in the state penitentiary for sedition.

The Montana connection was unexpectedly brought to mind during the exhibition because of a passing curatorial note about Hollywood's involvement in the war effort: "Some in US Congress believed film propaganda to be a threat to democracy. In 1941, Senator Burton K. Wheeler wrote to Paramount News that 'the motion picture industry is carrying on a violent propaganda campaign intending to incite the American people [to war] '"

Although not identified as such, Wheeler was a Montanan who first became famous as a U.S. attorney in Butte who refused to indict anyone under the national Sedition Act during World War I. He later became a four-term U.S. senator and steadfast opponent of American involvement in World War II until Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. But it's noteworthy that Montana produced strong antiwar leaders such as Wheeler and Jeanette Rankin (the only member of Congress to vote against entering both world wars) while also being a hotbed of patriotic war fervor. Such skepticism about foreign conflicts, mixed with patriotic support for the troops, is characteristic even today of much of Middle America.

At such an exhibition, one expects to see some links with contemporary America, in which the drums of war are always within earshot. But there are substantial differences. With limitless federal borrowing, the government no longer needs to hawk Liberty Bonds to finance foreign adventurism.

Military actions are kept just small enough to stay within the limits of a volunteer force, so conscription need not be justified in the public eye. Social pressures and secular pieties now drive recycling and self-rationing in the service of climate change and veganism. In short, governments today don't perceive a need to mobilize broad public support before waging war. They just do it.

Weapons of Mass Seduction runs through October 7 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Bradley Anderson writes from San Francisco, California.

[Aug 17, 2018] The Enigma of Orwellian Donald Trump How Does He Get Away with It So Easily by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

Notable quotes:
"... With the strong support of these four monolithic lobbies -- his electoral base -- politician Donald Trump can count on the indefectible support of between 35 percent and 40 percent of the American electorate. It is ironic that some of Trump's other policies, like reducing health care coverage and the raising of import taxes, will hurt the poor and the middle class, even though some of Trump's victims can be considered members of the above lobbies. ..."
"... Donald Trump does not seem to take politics and public affairs very seriously, at least when his own personal interests are involved. Therefore, when things go bad, he never volunteers to take personal responsibility, contrary to what a true leader would do, and he conveniently shifts the blame on somebody else. This is a sign of immaturity or cowardice. Paraphrasing President Harry Truman, "the buck never stops at his desk." ..."
"... Donald Trump essentially has the traits of a typical showman diva , behaving in politics just as he did when he was the host of a TV show. Indeed, if one considers politics and public affairs as no more than a reality show, this means that they are really entertainment, and politicians are first and foremost entertainers or comedians. ..."
"... checks and balance ..."
"... Please visit Dr. Tremblay's sites : ..."
"... http://rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com/ ..."
"... http://rodriguetremblay.blogspot.com/ ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

There are four groups of one-issue voters to whom President Donald Trump has delivered the goodies:

With the strong support of these four monolithic lobbies -- his electoral base -- politician Donald Trump can count on the indefectible support of between 35 percent and 40 percent of the American electorate. It is ironic that some of Trump's other policies, like reducing health care coverage and the raising of import taxes, will hurt the poor and the middle class, even though some of Trump's victims can be considered members of the above lobbies.

Moreover, some of Trump's supporters regularly rely on hypocrisy and on excuses to exonerate their favorite but flawed politician of choice. If any other politician from a different party were to say and do half of what Donald Trump does and says, they would be asking for his impeachment.

There are three other reasons why Trump's rants, his record-breaking lies , his untruths, his deceptions and his dictatorial-style attempts to control information , in the eyes of his fanatical supporters, at least, are like water on the back of a duck. ( -- For the record, according to the Washington Post , as of early August, President Trump has made some 4,229 false claims, which amount to 7.6 a day, since his inauguration.)

  1. The first reason can be found in Trump's view that politics and even government business are first and foremost another form of entertainment , i.e. a sort of TV reality show, which must be scripted and acted upon. Trump thinks that is OK to lie and to ask his assistants to lie . In this new immoral world, the Trump phenomenon could be seen a sign of post-democracy .
  2. The second one can be found in Trump's artful and cunning tactics to unbalance and manipulate the media to increase his visibility to the general public and to turn them into his own tools of propaganda. When Trump attacks the media, he is in fact coaxing them to give him free coverage to spread his insults , his fake accusations, his provocations, his constant threats , his denials or reversals, his convenient changes of subject or his political spins. Indeed, with his outrageous statements, his gratuitous accusations and his attacks ' ad hominem' , and by constantly bullying and insulting adversaries at home and foreign heads of states abroad, and by issuing threats in repetition, right and left, Trump has forced the media to talk and journalists to write about him constantly, on a daily basis, 24/7.

    That suits him perfectly well because he likes to be the center of attention. That is how he can change the political rhetoric when any negative issue gets too close to him. In the coming weeks and months, as the Special prosecutor Robert Mueller's report is likely to be released, Donald Trump is not above resorting to some sort of " Wag the Dog " political trickery, to change the topic and to possibly push the damaging report off the headlines.

    In such a circumstance, it is not impossible that launching an illegal war of choice, say against Iran (a pet project of Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton), could then look very convenient to a crafty politician like Donald Trump and to his warmonger advisors. Therefore, observers should be on the lookout to spot any development of the sort in the coming weeks.

    That one man and his entourage could whimsically consider launching a war of aggression is a throwback to ancient times and is a sure indication of the level of depravity to which current politics has fallen. This should be a justified and clear case for impeachment .

  3. Finally, some far-right media outlets, such as Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting, have taken it upon themselves to systematically present Trump's lies and misrepresentations as some 'alternative' truths and facts.

Indeed, ever since 1987, when the Reagan administration abolished the Fairness Doctrine for licensing public radio and TV waves, and since a Republican dominated Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed for the mass conglomeration of local broadcasting in the United States, extreme conservative news outlets, such as the Fox and Sinclair networks, have sprung up. They are well financed, and they have essentially become powerful political propaganda machines , erasing the line between facts and fiction, and regularly presenting fictitious alternative facts as the truth.

In so doing, they have pushed public debates in the United States away from facts, reason and logic, at least for those listeners and viewers for whom such outlets are the only source of information. It is not surprising that such far-right media have also made Donald Trump the champion of their cause, maliciously branding anything inconvenient as 'fake' news, as Trump has done in his own anti-media campaign and his sustained assault on the free press.

2- Show Politics and public affairs as a form of entertainment

Donald Trump does not seem to take politics and public affairs very seriously, at least when his own personal interests are involved. Therefore, when things go bad, he never volunteers to take personal responsibility, contrary to what a true leader would do, and he conveniently shifts the blame on somebody else. This is a sign of immaturity or cowardice. Paraphrasing President Harry Truman, "the buck never stops at his desk."

Donald Trump essentially has the traits of a typical showman diva , behaving in politics just as he did when he was the host of a TV show. Indeed, if one considers politics and public affairs as no more than a reality show, this means that they are really entertainment, and politicians are first and foremost entertainers or comedians.

3- Trump VS the media and the journalists

Donald Trump is the first U.S. president who rarely holds scheduled press conferences. Why would he, since he considers journalists to be his "enemies"! It doesn't seem to matter to him that freedom of the press is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution by the First Amendment. He prefers to rely on one-directional so-called 'tweets' to express unfiltered personal ideas and emotions (as if he were a private person), and to use them as his main public relations channel of communication.

The ABC News network has calculated that, as of last July, Trump has tweeted more than 3,500 times, slightly more than seven tweets a day. How could he have time left to do anything productive! Coincidently, Donald Trump's number of tweets is not far away from the number of outright lies and misleading claims that he has told and made since his inauguration. The Washington Post has counted no less than 3,251 lies or misleading claims of his, through the end of May of this year, -- an average of 6.5 such misstatements per day of his presidency. Fun fact: Trump seems to accelerate the pace of his lies. Last year, he told 5.5 lies per day, on average. Is it possible to have a more cynical view of politics!

The media in general, (and not only American ones), then serve more or less voluntarily as so many resonance boxes for his daily 'tweets', most of which are often devoid of any thought and logic.

Such a practice has the consequence of demeaning the public discourse in the pursuit of the common good and the general welfare of the people to the level of a frivolous private enterprise, where expertise, research and competence can easily be replaced by improvisation, whimsical arbitrariness and charlatanry. In such a climate, only the short run counts, at the expense of planning for the long run.

Conclusion

All this leads to this conclusion: Trump's approach is not the way to run an efficient government. Notwithstanding the U.S. Constitution and what it says about the need to have " checks and balance s" among different government branches, President Donald Trump has de facto pushed aside the U.S. Congress and the civil servants in important government Departments, even his own Cabinet , whose formal meetings under Trump have been little more than photo-up happenings, to grab the central political stage for himself. If such a development does not represent an ominous threat to American democracy, what does?

The centralization of power in the hands of one man is bound to have serious political consequences, both for the current administration and for future ones.

*

This article was originally published on the author's blog site: rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com . International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book " The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles ", and of "The New American Empire" .

Please visit Dr. Tremblay's sites :

See also

[Aug 12, 2018] Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars

Notable quotes:
"... Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of 10 books on international affairs, including ..."
"... Judith Miller was a pawn of Dick Cheney, so it is improper to indict all of the press for a war Bush was going to launch no matter what ..."
"... Well, you could say the same about the alleged Russian meddling in 2016 election. I haven't seen a single evidence, but most of the American public believes that narrative. I think TAC believes it too. ..."
"... How about those chemical attacks in Syria? Staged events. But the media keeps turning them time and again. I don't watch them and don't read them either, but they do have tremendous influence over the society. ..."
"... This is a pot calling a kettle black to deflect blame. If the US under Trump goes to war with Iran, China or Russia it's entirely his fault. He appointed Mike Pompeo. He appointed John Bolton. He appointed Nicky Haily. ..."
"... He wants to enlist Russia to fight the other two and possibly North Korea as well; enlist Russia to achieve the US's goals, not any Russian goal. This ambition is a pipe dream as Russia and the others correctly view the US as a much bigger threat than each other and will band together. If they turn on each other at all it'd only be after the US is defeated and subdued. ..."
"... The mainstream US media (CNN, FOX, Washington Post, NYT, WSJ, etc) is as intertwined with the government as the Chinese media is to theirs. Whatever narrative the powerful in government and their big business associates want to spin, the media will dutifully comply. The "press" is essentially a de facto government agency, and one cannot separate the government push for war from the medias. ..."
"... So, because the press were uncritical in pushing the lies and deceptions, the treason if you will, of the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq War, the press should be less critical of the lies and deceptions spread by the Trump administration. A bit like Fox News, perhaps. Uncritical of the Iraq War back when, uncritical of Trump today. ..."
"... There was more to the War on Iraq than Judith Miller. The entire national MSM abdicated its duty to ask questions of those in power. Instead, the NYT, the WaPo and others became dutiful stenographers of the Bush Administration, the Pentagon, and the intelligence agencies. ..."
"... For truly power is to sociopaths what cocaine is to addicts. ..."
"... Let the case of Yemen take the measure of these men and women. Trump is doing absolutely nothing to end Obama's War, and makes it worse at every turn. The press is doing everything it can to aid and abet him. Today's media might not start wars, the same media do absolutely nothing to end them. ..."
"... To Joe F: It's a bit hard in 900-word op-ed to cover more than a few examples. Others include the one-sided, pro-intervention coverage of the Balkan turmoil in the 1990s, the lobbying for intervention in Libya, and the distorted, pro-intervention coverage of the Syrian civil war. And your implication that I was justifying a Trump crackdown on the media is just bizarre. ..."
"... "The sometimes shrill hostility of the mainstream media towards Russia is pushing the United States toward an increasingly hardline policy that now borders on a second cold war. " ..."
"... Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars ..."
"... The Spanish / American war was a creation of the government in charge manipulating the press in order to justify the war the politicians so desperately wanted ..."
"... "Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars" Old news. Newspapers have been doing this despicable practice since Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press. ..."
"... Media lies and distortions (mainstream, right-wing, left-wing, less so on one or both wings some of the time) enabled (or continue to enable) all of the following American imperialist adventures and/or interventions, be they military, financial, political or otherwise: ..."
"... Vietnam, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Iraq again, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela and Nicaragua again. ..."
"... Hell, if much of the mainstream media -- including the liberal "humanitarian" interventionists at MSDNC- had their way, the US would have committed actual military acts of war against Russia and North Korea, as opposed to the economic and political ones we've engaged in. ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

Two cases stand out: the Spanish-American War and the Iraq War. Historians have long recognized that jingoistic "yellow journalism," epitomized by the newspaper chains owned by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, played a significant role in the former conflict. Months before the outbreak of the war, one of Hearst's reporters wished to return home from Cuba because there was no sign of a worsening crisis. Hearst instructed him to stay, adding , "you furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."

Hearst's boast was hyperbolic, but the Hearst and Pulitzer papers did repeatedly hype the Spanish "threat" and beat the drums for war against Madrid. They featured stories that not only focused on but exaggerated the uglier features of Madrid's treatment of its colonial subjects in Cuba. Those outlets also exploited the mysterious explosion that destroyed the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor. To this day, the identity of the culprit is uncertain, but the yellow press exhibited no doubts whatever. According to their accounts, it was an outrageous attack on America by the villainous Spanish regime.

The Iraq War's Age of Madness 15 Years in Iraq: A Shameful Anniversary

Such journalistic pressure was not the only factor that impelled William McKinley's administration to push for a declaration of war against Spain or for Congress to approve that declaration. A rising generation of American imperialists wanted to emulate the European great powers and build a colonial empire. That underlying motive became evident when the first U.S. attack following the declaration of war came not in Cuba, but in the Philippines, Spain's colony on the other side of the Pacific.

Nevertheless, it would be naïve to assume that the jingoist press did not play a significant role in causing the war against Spain. Indeed, the corrupt role of yellow journalism in creating public support for that conflict is not a particularly controversial proposition among historians.

The role of an irresponsible press in shaping a pro-war narrative was even more evident in the prelude to the 2003 U.S. military intervention in Iraq. New York Times reporter Judith Miller and other prominent mainstream journalists were especially culpable in publicizing erroneous information about Saddam Hussein's government regarding two emotionally charged issues. They uncritically circulated "evidence" from Iraqi defectors and George W. Bush's administration that Iraq was in league with al-Qaeda and may well have had a role in the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks. And they pushed the case that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was actively working on developing a nuclear arsenal.

Again, it would be too much to place all or even most of the blame for the disastrous Iraq war on gullible or ultra-hawkish journalists. The Bush administration seemed determined to oust Saddam, and it might have attempted to do so even without strong public support. But most of the media was staunchly pro-war, and that bias greatly skewed the narrative presented to the public. When highly respected journalistic institutions like The New York Times circulated story after story highlighting the alleged security threat that Saddam posed, and those stories were then featured in other publications and on TV, it was hardly surprising that much of the public believed the narrative. The tendency of mainstream media outlets to ignore or marginalize war critics amplified their pro-war bias.

As is so often the case with Trump's arguments, his accusation that the press can cause wars is an exaggeration, but one that contains an important kernel of truth. Irresponsible media coverage has undoubtedly strengthened public sentiment for ill-advised wars in the past, and it could do so again in the future. The sometimes shrill hostility of the mainstream media towards Russia is pushing the United States toward an increasingly hardline policy that now borders on a second cold war. The original Cold War nearly escalated to a hot one on several occasions. The press needs to be doubly cautious about pushing policies that would send America down a similar perilous path. Trump is wrong to brand the press as an enemy of the people, but it is still a powerful institution that has not always used its great influence responsibly regarding matters of war and peace.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of 10 books on international affairs, including The Captive Press: Foreign Policy Crises and the First Amendment .


Fran Macadam August 10, 2018 at 12:19 am

An elitist corporate media has ends that are not often in sync with the interests of the mass of Americans and thus is a tool for manufacturing faux public opinion. It is now legal to propagandize the American public, a recent development. With media ownership concentration unprecedented, and government in the pocket of giant corporate interests, public opinion becomes an exercise of monopoly lying.
Joe F , , August 10, 2018 at 12:43 am
The Spanish/American War and Judith Miller are the foundation for tour argument that the press starts wars? Good grief, how weak is this? There are no Americans alive who were around for the Spanish American War and Judith Miller was a pawn of Dick Cheney, so it is improper to indict all of the press for a war Bush was going to launch no matter what . How about the rest of the conflagrations of the 20th Century or perhaps that would diminish your paper thin premise. I really enjoy TAC, but enough with publishing these lazy and weak pieces. Lame to blame the press for what politicians of all stripes have wreaked upon us. Geez, this wasn't even a quarter effort to make a point. You can actually make a point that the press contributed to our War of Independence, but I guess that would glorify your boogeyman
Joe F , , August 10, 2018 at 12:49 am
Lame. Judith Miller and a war fought before any living American was born? What about all of the other unnecessary wars we have tangled in? Bush et al were going to war with or without one lane shill in Miller, but what about press role in stopping Viet Nam or Korea? Not to mention the role played in our War for Independence? Oh, that would shred your paper thin premise. TAC slacking in allowing such lazy and self serving analysis. TAC should exercise better editorial judgement as some (like this post) are so weak Facebook might delete. Step it up TAC, you are too good for this lazy bunk
Talltale , , August 10, 2018 at 2:30 am
FOX's Iran war will be served shortly with freedom fries.
Hrant , , August 10, 2018 at 5:18 am
Well, you could say the same about the alleged Russian meddling in 2016 election. I haven't seen a single evidence, but most of the American public believes that narrative. I think TAC believes it too.

How about those chemical attacks in Syria? Staged events. But the media keeps turning them time and again. I don't watch them and don't read them either, but they do have tremendous influence over the society.

The sad thing is that this or the next president will send troops to war here or there in the world and Americans will stay indifferent.

JK , , August 10, 2018 at 7:15 am
This is a pot calling a kettle black to deflect blame. If the US under Trump goes to war with Iran, China or Russia it's entirely his fault. He appointed Mike Pompeo. He appointed John Bolton. He appointed Nicky Haily.

Of the 3 potential adversaries listed above, there are 2 (Iran, China) where Trump is actively looking for a fight. He deliberately breached an accord with Iran that was keeping the peace. The only country on which there's a disagreement about whether to pick a fight with is Russia. But what is behind this disagreement? It's not that Trump is looking for a mutually-respectful peace with Russia. He wants to enlist Russia to fight the other two and possibly North Korea as well; enlist Russia to achieve the US's goals, not any Russian goal. This ambition is a pipe dream as Russia and the others correctly view the US as a much bigger threat than each other and will band together. If they turn on each other at all it'd only be after the US is defeated and subdued.

Christian Chuba , , August 10, 2018 at 7:58 am
I just watched Daniel Hoffman (ex-CIA operative) spout the most vile, one sided, pro-Saudi, anti-Iran propaganda, rationalizing their latest war crime in Yemen on the Shannon Bream show. This demonstrates what is wrong with the MSM today.

They take information uncritically from the CIA, Pentagon, and govt bureaucrats to get the narrative which favors conflict.

List:
1. The bombing of Syria (the only time they gave Trump positive press coverage).
2. The destruction of Libya (they fell for the R2P lie)
3. The genocidal starvation campaign against Yemen (most transparent cover up ever, the 70's press corp would see through it)
4. They assisting Iraq 2 but this time in Iran.

spite , , August 10, 2018 at 8:21 am
The mainstream US media (CNN, FOX, Washington Post, NYT, WSJ, etc) is as intertwined with the government as the Chinese media is to theirs. Whatever narrative the powerful in government and their big business associates want to spin, the media will dutifully comply. The "press" is essentially a de facto government agency, and one cannot separate the government push for war from the medias.

As was mentioned here, the lunacy that making internet memes is now considered an act of war is the doing of the mainstream media and they are certainly responsible if a real war breaks out.

polistra , , August 10, 2018 at 8:35 am
The closest parallel to modern times is WW1.

Around 1917 a remarkably unanimous push for war infused ALL media. Not just newspapers but technical journals and academic publications. Teachers and radio experimenters had to read pro-war and pro-Wilson propaganda in EVERY article. All curricula had to be anti-German, all circuits had to be anti-German.

Same today. All techy websites infuse BOMB RUSSIA into their info on software and hardware developments. Everything must work together to BOMB RUSSIA.

saurabh , , August 10, 2018 at 9:28 am
It is worth noting that America's imperialist adventures in the Philippines resulted in a second war soon after, with between 200,000 and a million (or more) civilian casualties.
Joe the Plutocrat , , August 10, 2018 at 9:47 am
talk about 'yellow journalism'. in the 2042 years of the republic, you offer 2 examples? and it is worth noting, the latter (Iraq 2003) was simply the media reporting the cherry-picked intelligence and/or WH-directed narrative(s). while it's agreed the media was something of a co-conspirator in 2003 (think the current "collusion" debate with Russia being the US and the Trump campaign being the US media -- the former had a 'mission' and it leveraged its relationship with the latter.). to paraphrase the late George Carlin, never believe ANYTHING the government or the media tells you. in a plutocracy, the government and the media share (some) common interests -- not all interests, but some. no sir, the media does not start wars in truth or hyperbole. media, at times, serves the marketing/business development needs of the MIC, and by proxy the government (usually the Executive Branch). when is TAC going to show some "tough love" and stop the co-dependent/enabler stuff?
mark_be , , August 10, 2018 at 9:48 am
So, because the press were uncritical in pushing the lies and deceptions, the treason if you will, of the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq War, the press should be less critical of the lies and deceptions spread by the Trump administration. A bit like Fox News, perhaps. Uncritical of the Iraq War back when, uncritical of Trump today.

Truth is, Trump plays the press like a fiddle. He creates outrage saying something stupid, they publish, he walks back or doubles down or pushes something completely unrelated, and before someone can figure what's going on, we're two days later and the next controversy arrives. And if the press do manage to back Trump into a corner, it's unfair because they're misrepresenting his constantly shifting positions.

What the American press should do is, instead of blowing things up (metaphorically, obvs), simply list every day the policies of the Trump administration in terse, dry manner, and completely ignore any tweet sent by Trump, his cabinet, his family members, and any of his supporters at any level. Deny Trump the attention he seeks, and before you know it he'll drop his pants in front of a group of veterans just to make front page again.

Still, enemies of the people. When that phrase came in full swing, the lucky ones were shot, the unlucky ones sent to labour camps in frozen wastes. Trump will never have the guts. Nor will he ever use his great influence in a responsible manner.

Sid Finster , , August 10, 2018 at 10:37 am
There was more to the War on Iraq than Judith Miller. The entire national MSM abdicated its duty to ask questions of those in power. Instead, the NYT, the WaPo and others became dutiful stenographers of the Bush Administration, the Pentagon, and the intelligence agencies.

Others correctly point out WWI and the Spanish American War. I could add Vietnam, when too few journalists questioned the dominant narrative until we were stuck in.

However, rather than call for censorship, the correct answer is to ask *why* the executive, the Pentagon, and the various alphabet agencies have this outsized influence, and what can be done to curtail it.

For truly power is to sociopaths what cocaine is to addicts.

@Mark_be: what you say is sensible, but only for an MSM that is not ratings and profits-driven.

Michael Kenny , , August 10, 2018 at 10:47 am
The latest serving of the "let Putin win in Ukraine" propaganda line. Mr Carpenter's objection to the media he criticizes is that they peddle a different propaganda line to the one he would like them to peddle.
mrscracker , , August 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Joe F " You can actually make a point that the press contributed to our War of Independence, but I guess that would glorify your boogeyman"
************
I think it did too, but I don't think that in any way glorified the press.
Garry Kelly , , August 10, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Gawd, but so many of the TAC's comment writers political agendas are stupidly transparent.

Of course the chattering class have opinions, and an agenda and spit out propaganda that can be distilled down to "hooray for my side."

Give it a break.

b. , , August 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm
Let the case of Yemen take the measure of these men and women. Trump is doing absolutely nothing to end Obama's War, and makes it worse at every turn. The press is doing everything it can to aid and abet him. Today's media might not start wars, the same media do absolutely nothing to end them.
b. , , August 10, 2018 at 12:19 pm
"I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!"

One can't really argue with any of this. Of course, this statement is silent on the warmongering of Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, as well as Congress past and present, but Trump is doing a great service to the American People, not least by serving as a bad example. Few if any other politicians would be willing and able to trigger another overdue national debate.

"Donald Trump has accused the media of causing wars"
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-fake-news-media-ivanka-trump-war-iraq-a8478296.html

The report referenced by the author has a hilariously revealing typo in its first sentence. Yes, recalling the US press coverage of the push for illegal aggressive war against Iraq, and decades of Iraq/Syria/Iran coverage, it would indeed appear that our intrepid for-profit press and the purveyors of rent-a-speech published opinion are "casing the joint" for future opportunities of profitable military intervention.

Ted Galen Carpenter , , August 10, 2018 at 12:20 pm
To Joe F: It's a bit hard in 900-word op-ed to cover more than a few examples. Others include the one-sided, pro-intervention coverage of the Balkan turmoil in the 1990s, the lobbying for intervention in Libya, and the distorted, pro-intervention coverage of the Syrian civil war. And your implication that I was justifying a Trump crackdown on the media is just bizarre.

Similarly bizarre is Mark's interpretation that I was suggesting that because of the media's past sins, they should go easy on Trump's abuses. No reasonable reading of the article could reach that conclusion.

John S , , August 10, 2018 at 12:50 pm
"The sometimes shrill hostility of the mainstream media towards Russia is pushing the United States toward an increasingly hardline policy that now borders on a second cold war. "

Many in the media, not all, give credence to the unanimous assessment of our intelligence agencies, the intelligence agencies of our allies, and the evidence provided by their own eyes and ears. Others in the media are pushing another line, and with no evidence whatsoever, as far as I can tell. Draw your own conclusions as to what they are up to.

Ken T , , August 10, 2018 at 12:59 pm
The headline reads: Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars . I would argue that the word "helps" is doing most of the work in that sentence. The real question is, who exactly are they "helping"? I think that in most, if not all, cases it starts with a political party or faction that is advocating for war, and those elements of the press who support them use their voice to help. So the same can be said about any political issue at all "Yes the press helps [fill in the blank with any issue]". Conservative press helps push conservative issues, liberal press helps push liberal issues. And yes, when war drums are being beaten, it becomes very easy for the warmongering voices to drown out the voices of reason. But that is not the fault of the press, it is the fault of a population that is all too willing to let itself be led into war fever. The press would not be willing to take that position if they were not so confident that it would be met with approval by their readers and advertisers.
TJ Martin , , August 10, 2018 at 1:24 pm
1) The Spanish / American war was a creation of the government in charge manipulating the press in order to justify the war the politicians so desperately wanted

2) If the author had taken the time to do the research or remember the facts as they were .. The NYTimes as well as the Washington Post etc -- et al all reported how Cheney had manipulated the Intelligence Agencies with threats unless they lied to both the public as well as GWB about Iraq having WMD .. which every intelligence agency knew they did not .

Given the time and space one could go on for an encyclopedias worth of pages pointing out the irrefutable fact as in F-A-C-T that in each and every case throughout US history it has been the politicians that have started the wars .. with more often than not the media ( as well as in many cases the military ) standing in opposition to the government and politicians which they the press more often than not paid a heavy price for until they were willing to comply with the destructive wished of the politicians

US Military History 101

Chris Winningham , , August 10, 2018 at 1:54 pm
The irony of Trump's comments about the press helping start wars is that he is intentionally facilitating that very thing every time Fox "News" parrots his childish, jingoistic rhetoric about Iran, North Korea, etc.
One Guy , , August 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm
Fox "News" is certainly trying to start wars, I'll give Mr. Carpenter that. And thank you for pointing out that there is only a kernel of truth in Trump's comments. Does one kernel justify an entire article? Why not write about his barrels of lies?

I suppose the article has value as a history lesson-100-year-old history. After all, if the USA hadn't entered WWI, we may not have had WWII. But the press didn't start WWI.

Scorched Earth , , August 10, 2018 at 3:25 pm
"Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars" Old news. Newspapers have been doing this despicable practice since Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press.
mrscracker , , August 10, 2018 at 3:52 pm
One Guy

"I suppose the article has value as a history lesson-100-year-old history. After all, if the USA hadn't entered WWI, we may not have had WWII. But the press didn't start WWI."
*************
The press operated in a similar way back then too. It didn't start WWI but it surely enabled it.

cka2nd , , August 10, 2018 at 3:54 pm
Media lies and distortions (mainstream, right-wing, left-wing, less so on one or both wings some of the time) enabled (or continue to enable) all of the following American imperialist adventures and/or interventions, be they military, financial, political or otherwise:

Vietnam, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Iraq again, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela and Nicaragua again.

I don't remember U.S. press coverage of Allende's Chile, but I imagine it was of a piece with today's coverage of Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Nicaragua, all the while ignoring the far greater corruption and brutality of America's regional allies/clients/lapdogs. Hell, if much of the mainstream media -- including the liberal "humanitarian" interventionists at MSDNC- had their way, the US would have committed actual military acts of war against Russia and North Korea, as opposed to the economic and political ones we've engaged in.

Elizabeth Burton , , August 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm
Let us not forget the enthusiastic reporting on the "Gulf of Tonkin attack." As for those sneering at this because only two examples are offered, consider reading that part where the author said he was going to offer -- wait for it -- TWO EXAMPLES.

As for that "kernel of truth," those in media sources not being paid to spew anti-Trump propaganda 24/7/365 have pointed out, to no avail, that he often says things that are true. Unfortunately, he (or whoever is writing his stuff on Twitter) presents the kernel buried in a pile of nonsense. Which gives the corporate media free rein to focus entirely on the nonsense to ensure the kernel of truth gets killed at birth.

And no, I do NOT support Mr. Trump nor did I vote for him. He's the poster child for the corporate oligarchy currently . running the US government, and the sooner he and all his ilk are removed the better. That includes corporate Democrats.

Donald , , August 10, 2018 at 4:25 pm
The substance of this piece is obviously correct, but you get the predictable caterwauling from silly commenters because you had to frame it as a defense of something Trump said. That just confused the issue for people who can't hold more than one thought in their heads at a time. Trump is a war criminal himself, so he should get no credit for saying something right once in a while. He only does so for his own self interest. But it is ironic to see so called liberals react by taking the opposite side just because Trump said something right.
Me , , August 10, 2018 at 6:10 pm
Trump is spot on. Pretty much every single war since WWI was egged on by the media. War sells news! Enemy of the people is right. I hate mainstream media.

CNN, MSDNC, Fox and all those 24hr news channels are the worst. They actively promote wars and chaos the world over. CNN is losing the ratings war. I'm sure they'd love another real war to ratchet up the ratings, that's why they're promoting war with Iran.

Rich Osness , , August 10, 2018 at 10:54 pm
Excellent article. I agree with the author except that I would blame the press a little more.

One instance I can think of when a large part of the press advocated against going to war was at the start of the Civil War. Lincoln shut down a few papers and I think even jailed some newspapermen.

In the end it is up to each of us as individuals to decide what to believe. Certainly a large swath of the media today is advocating an aggressive stance toward a number of countries based on what I believe is false information.

Regarding an earlier comment about believing our intelligence agencies: Should we have believe them when they say (including the Israeli Mossad)Iran has never had a nuclear weapons program or should we believe Netanyahu when he claims they say Iran can have nuclear weapons within months. (In truth, I haven't really talked to Netanyahu or the Mossad directly. I only know what I read in the papers.)

Ross S. Heckmann , , August 11, 2018 at 12:31 am
"Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars" -- this goes back at least to the American Revolution. "The vicious border warfare of the Revolution produced atrocities on both sides, but Americans placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Indians and their British backers. . . . Crawford's torture and execution joined a host of reports, real or imagined, that appeared in American newspapers, fueled American propaganda, and made killing Indians a patriotic duty. Indians saw what was happening. The Americans charged them with many acts of cruelty that they never committed and publicized them in 'their false Papers' as 'a pretence to hurt & murder us,' they told the British; 'if we had the means of publishing to the World the many Acts of Treachery & Cruelty committed by them on our Women & Children, it would appear that the title of Savages would with much greater justice be applied to them than to us.'. . . When Washington received news of the preliminary terms of peace, he sent three Oneidas in the spring of 1783 with a message to Brigadier General Allan Maclean, the British commander at Fort Niagara, asking him to prevent the Indians from committing acts of cruelty 'disagreeable to them and to inhabitants of the United States.' Maclean wrote back in anger asking Washington why, if he really wanted to prevent 'disagreeable consequences,' he had condoned attacks on Indians from Fort Pitt, and why did he allow newspapers to print lies that were a disgrace to any nation and served only to inflame tempers?" (Colin G. Calloway, "The Indian World of George Washington" (Oxford University Press, 2018) pp. 279, 281 (footnotes omitted).)
anon , , August 11, 2018 at 8:02 am
POTUS tweeted: "The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it's TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!"

Ted's follow-up article "Yes, Reporters Do Get Sick."

Peter S. Cook , , August 11, 2018 at 12:10 pm
"They uncritically circulated 'evidence' from Iraqi defectors and George W. Bush's administration "

That is your sole example of the past 100 years? That "the press helps start wars" by being uncritical of evidence provided by the government? This is an intellectually dishonest argument.

Of course the press needs to be held to account in providing accurate and vetted material. But your argument in no way reflects the definitive tone of the headline.

EliteCommInc. , , August 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm
Laughing. Because I think most people understood what the president meant by his coment. He was not talking about the policy initiative for war. Butas the article states, the press is overwhelmingly partners with ot agitators for conflict.

And they are second to government at every level to admit when they get it wrong. Of course the press agitates for conflict. There's no btter examples in modern times than those of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. I would contend that the east coast papers since 9/11 have been leaders in agitating for regime change and military intervention.

But the notion that the press is somehow new to advocating "american conflict" might wanty to consider the following acites:

https://blog.oup.com/2016/11/press-impact-american-revolution/

http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-9

I have not read Carrol Sue Humphrey's book on the subject, The American Revolution and the Press. But reviews and summaries make it clear that as agitators -- the press may have been ,ore influential then than they are today.

[Aug 11, 2018] Rand Paul Against the World

Notable quotes:
"... But this part of the story was the most revelatory: "'Rand Paul has persuaded the president that we are not for regime change in Iran,' this person said, because adopting that position would instigate another war in the Middle East." ..."
"... This is significant, not because Trump couldn't have arrived at the same position without Paul's counsel, but because it's easy to imagine him embracing regime change, what with virtually every major foreign policy advisor in his cabinet supporting something close to war with Iran. "Personnel is policy" is more than a cliché. ..."
"... "So let's understand that the people pushing for regime change in Iran are seeking to destabilize and harm the country " writes TAC ..."
"... Most importantly, on arguably the most crucial potential foreign policy decision the president can make -- one that could potentially start another disastrous U.S. Middle Eastern war -- it appears to be Rand Paul who is literally keeping the peace. ..."
Aug 11, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Not long ago, Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton was promising regime change in Iran by the end of this year . Uber-hawk Bolton has long wanted war with Tehran . Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn't much different , and has even advocated bombing Iran . Secretary of Defense James Mattis has previously recommend U.S. airstrikes against Iranian targets .

Today, Bolton says the U.S. does not to seek regime change in Iran. So does Pompeo . So does Mattis .

Why?

President Trump has been known to be hawkish on Iran. Politico observed Wednesday: "Trump has drawn praise from the right-wing establishment for hammering the mullahs in Tehran, junking the Iran nuclear deal and responding to the regime's saber rattling with aggressive rhetoric of his own ." There are also powerful factions in Congress and Washington with inroads to the president that have been itching for regime change for years. "The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran," says Senator Tom Cotton, once rumored to be Trump's pick to head the CIA.

Ron and Rand Paul Cut Through the Foreign Policy Noise A Madman on the National Security Council

So what, or who, is stopping the hawks?

Politico revealed Wednesday some interesting aspects of the relationship between Senator Rand Paul and the president, particularly on foreign policy: "While Trump tolerates his hawkish advisers, the [Trump] aide added, he shares a real bond with Paul: 'He actually at gut level has the same instincts as Rand Paul '."

On Iran, Politico notes, "Trump has stopped short of calling for regime change even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Bolton support it, aligning with Paul instead, according to a GOP foreign policy expert in frequent contact with the White House."

But this part of the story was the most revelatory: "'Rand Paul has persuaded the president that we are not for regime change in Iran,' this person said, because adopting that position would instigate another war in the Middle East."

This is significant, not because Trump couldn't have arrived at the same position without Paul's counsel, but because it's easy to imagine him embracing regime change, what with virtually every major foreign policy advisor in his cabinet supporting something close to war with Iran. "Personnel is policy" is more than a cliché.

Paul and Trump apparently like making fun of some White House staffers, as Politico also reported: "the Kentucky senator and the commander-in-chief have bonded over a shared delight in thumbing their noses at experts the president likes to deride as 'foreign policy eggheads,' including those who work in his own administration."

Eggheads indeed. For every foreign policy "expert" in Washington who now admits that regime change in Iraq was a mistake (and a whole slew of them won't even cop to that), you will find the same people making the case for regime change in other countries, including Iran , explaining how this time, somehow, America's toppling of a despot will turn out differently.

"So let's understand that the people pushing for regime change in Iran are seeking to destabilize and harm the country " writes TAC 's Daniel Larison. "Just as many of the same people did when they agitated for regime change in Iraq and again in Syria, they don't care about the devastation and chaos that the people in the country would have to endure if the policy 'works.'"

These are the same Washington foreign policy consensus standard bearers who would likely be shaping U.S. foreign policy unfettered if 2011 Libya "liberator" Hillary Clinton had become president -- or any other Republican not named Trump or Paul.

When it comes to who President Trump can turn to for a more sober and realist view of foreign policy, one who actually takes into account past U.S. mistakes abroad and tries to learn from them, at the moment it appears to be Paul against the Washington foreign policy world.

President Trump hired regime change advocates as advisors presumably because he wanted their advice, yet there's evidence to suggest that at least on Iran, certain hawks' wings might have been clipped .

Most importantly, on arguably the most crucial potential foreign policy decision the president can make -- one that could potentially start another disastrous U.S. Middle Eastern war -- it appears to be Rand Paul who is literally keeping the peace.

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.

Adam August 10, 2018 at 2:08 pm

Rand's father, Ron Paul is the greatest President America never had, and unlike Trump he told Americans what they needed to hear rather than what they wanted to hear.

The problem is that we don't consider Rand a neocon because we are comparing him to the warmongers and lunatics in the White House. Whereas comapred to his father, Rand is a neocon who time and time again has flip flopped on his morals and principals whereas his father never did.

And Rand is not the reason the US doesn't want war with Iran. Iran is the reason the US doesn't want war.

Iran simply has to flood A-stan with small arms, their respective ammo, and logistical equipment, and 15,000 US soldiers will 'Saigoned'

Combine the above with the distaste of European countries to NOT have refugees flood their borders and Turkey's increasing hatred for the US, and you have a perfect storm of potentially deadly but wholly justified anti-Americanism

[Aug 10, 2018] Dozens of Yemeni Children Killed in Saudi Coalition Airstrike by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Coalition attacks on Yemeni markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never call them out for what they do. ..."
Aug 09, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
There was another Saudi coalition airstrike on a crowded market in northern Yemen today. Dozens of civilians have been killed and dozens more injured. Many of the dead and injured were children whose school bus was hit in the attack:

Coalition attacks on Yemeni markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never call them out for what they do. The U.S. continues to arm and refuel coalition planes despite ample evidence that the coalition has been deliberately attacking civilian targets. At the very least, the coalition hits civilian targets with such regularity that they are ignoring whatever procedures they are supposed to be following to prevent that. The weapons that the U.S., Britain, and other arms suppliers provide them are being used to slaughter wedding-goers, hospital patients, and schoolchildren, and U.S. refueling of coalition planes allows them to carry out more of these attacks than they otherwise could. Today's attack ranks as one of the worst.

Saada has come under some of the most intense attacks from the coalition bombing campaign. The coalition illegally declared the entire area a military target three years ago, and ever since they have been blowing up homes , markets , schools , water treatment systems, and hospitals without any regard for the innocent civilians that are killed and injured.

The official U.S. line on support for the war is that even more civilians would be killed if the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition. Our government has never provided any evidence to support this, and the record shows that civilian casualties from Saudi coalition airstrikes have increased over the last year. The Saudis and their allies either don't listen to any of the advice they're receiving, or they know they won't pay any price for ignoring it. As long as the U.S. arms and refuels coalition planes while they slaughter Yemeni civilians in attacks like this one, our government is implicated in the war crimes enabled by our unstinting military assistance. Congress can and must halt that assistance immediately.

Update: CNN reports on the aftermath of the airstrike:

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a hospital it supports in Saada had received 29 dead bodies of "mainly children" under 15 years of age, and 40 injured, including 30 children.

"(The hospital) is very busy. They've been receiving wounded and dead since the morning and it is non-stop ," ICRC head of communications and spokesperson Mirella Hodeib told CNN.

Second Update: The Associated Press reports that the death toll stands at 43 with another 63 injured.

Third Update: The death toll has reportedly risen to 50 . 77 were injured.


an older america weeps August 9, 2018 at 11:30 am

School buses?

Good Lord above. School buses.

Of course I have no right to surprise or shock. They've already targeted hospitals, foreign doctors and nurses, first responders, wedding parties, and funerals.

School buses.

We used to make movies about killing people who do things like this. Now we help them do it.

Daniel O'Connor , says: August 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm
The repetitive frequency and intensity of these attacks on hospitals, schools, markets and other civilian gatherings, coupled with the indifference of the guilty national governments and their international enablers, signals that the world and human species is passing through a mass psychosis. This psychosis is playing itself out at all levels. Fascism, which is very current as a national psychology, is generally speaking, a coping strategy for dealing with nasty chaos. This coping strategy is designed around generating even more chaos, since that is a familiar and therefore more comfortable pattern of behavior; and that does provide a delusion of stability. A good example would be the sanctions just declared by the Trump Administration on Iranian commerce. In an intrinsically connected global market, these sanctions are so thorough that they qualify as a blockade, within a contingency plan for greater global conflict. But those who destroy hospitals, schools, school buses and public celebrations are not, otherwise, forward looking nice people. We are descending into a nasty fascist war psychosis. Just shake it. Live. Long and well.
b. , says: August 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm
"even more civilians would be killed if the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition"

If we did not hand them satellite images, did not service, repair and refuel their planes, and did not sell them the bombs, then they would . kill more civilians how? They could not even reach their targets, let alone drop explosives they do not have.

What Would Mohammad Do? Buy bombs from the Russians? Who have better quality control and fewer duds, hence more victims?

What Would Mohammad Do? Get the UAE to hire Blackwater to poison the wells across Yemen?

How exactly do the profiteers in our country, that get counted out blood money for every single Yemeni killed, propose that the Saudis and Emiratis would make this worse?

But, good to know that our "smart" and "precise" munitions can still hit a school bus. Made In America!

Great.

Hunter C , says: August 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm
The coverage in the media has been predictably cowardly and contemptible in the aftermath of this story. I read articles from CNN and MSNBC and they were variations on "school bus bombed", in the passive tense – with no mention of who did it or who is supporting them in the headline, ad if the bombings were natural disasters.

Fox, predictably, was even worse and led with "Biblical relics endangered by war", which speaks volumes about the presumed priorities of their viewership.

This, and not anything to do with red meat domestic politics, is the worst media malpractice of our time. "Stop directly helping the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks drop bombs on school children" should be the absolute easiest possible moral issue for our media to take a stand on and yet they treat it like it's radioactive.

Speaking as someone who considers themselves a liberal I am infuriated by the Democrats response. How can the party leadership not see that if they keep flogging the horse of Russian trolls and shrugging their shoulders over American given (not sold – *given*) bombs being dropped on schools and hospitals, no one is ever going to take the supposed Democratic anti-war platform seriously again. The Republicans can afford to be tarde by association with these atrocities. The Democrats can't.

I wonder how many Democrats are in the same boat as me right now: I may not like Trump or the Christian conservatives but fights over the Supreme Court or coal plants or a healthcare law look terribly petty compared to the apparent decision by Saudi Arabia to kill literally millions. For the first time in my life I'm seriously wishing there was a third-party candidate I could support and the congressional elections just so I could send a message on this.

Erik , says: August 9, 2018 at 10:13 pm
@Hunter C
Vote Libertarian Party. You won't agree with a lot of their domestic agenda, but they're not going to win, so it doesn't matter. The noninterventionist foreign policy is your message.

[Aug 08, 2018] America the Unexceptional by William S. Smith

Notable quotes:
"... National Review ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In the wake of President Trump's Helsinki press conference, National Review declared itself "Against Moral Equivalence." The magazine claimed that there could be no equating American meddling in foreign elections with Russian interference in our election because the goal of the U.S. is to "promote democracy and political liberty and human rights." Though while America's actions might be noble and have the sanction of heaven, National Review did concede that its efforts to promote democracy have often been "messy" -- an adjective that the people of Iraq might find understated.

Like many of Trump's critics, National Review 's embrace of American exceptionalism, of exempting the United States from the moral laws of the universe because of its commitment to democracy, is of a type the West has seen before. Swept up in their revolutionary enthusiasm, the French Jacobins made similar claims. In late 1791, a member of the Assembly, while agitating for war with Austria, declared that France "had become the foremost people of the universe, so their conduct must now correspond to their new destiny. As slaves they were bold and great; are they to be timid and feeble now that they are free?"

Robespierre himself was taken aback by the turn of a domestic revolution into a call for military adventurism. Of plans to invade Austria and to overthrow "enemies" of liberty in other nations, he famously remarked, "No one loves armed missionaries." (Robespierre's advice might have also benefited the American occupiers of Iraq.) The Jacobins' moral preening led France to declare war on Austria in 1792 and set in motion years of French military adventurism that devastated much of central Europe. Military imperialism abroad and guillotines at home became the legacy of self-declared French exceptionalism.

Hubristic nations that claim a unique place for themselves high atop the moral universe tend to be imperialistic. This is because claims of national exceptionalism, whether of the French or American variety, are antinomian, even nihilistic. The "exceptional" ones carve out for themselves an exemption from the moral law. And prideful claims of moral purity are the inevitable predicate to imposing one's will upon another. Once leaders assert that their national soul is of a special kind -- indispensable and not subject to the same rules -- the road to hell has been paved.

The Immorality of American Exceptionalism A Jacobin-in-Chief

While supporters of American exceptionalism are careful to claim the mantle of Western civilization, their philosophical orientation in fact amounts to a repudiation of the central principles of the West and the Constitution.

Arguably, the tradition of the Judeo-Christian West has been special because it has asserted that human nature is not particularly special. And the Constitution has been exceptional because it's warned Americans that we are not particularly exceptional.

For example, the legacy of Pauline Christianity, Irving Babbitt tells us, is "the haunting sense of sin and the stress it lays upon the struggle between the higher and lower self, between the law of the flesh and the law of the spirit." No person or nation is above this moral challenge. The uniquely American repudiation of exceptionalism shines brightly in The Federalist , where no angels can be found among men, and, because no one's behavior enjoys the sanction of heaven, extensive checks are placed upon people's ability to impose their wills upon others. The foreign policy that flowed out of the worldview of the Framers was that of George Washington, a strong recommendation against hubris and foreign meddling.

These historical and cultural warnings about human nature have since been swept away by acolytes of American exceptionalism. Our moral superiority, they claim, makes us Masters of the Universe, not careful and mindful custodians of our own fallen nature. We have been put on earth to judge other nations, not to be judged. Tossing the legacy of the Framers onto the ash heap of history, George W. Bush declared in his Second Inaugural Address that our exceptionalism creates an obligation to promote democracy "in every nation and culture." In this endeavor, Bush pronounced, the United States enjoys the sanction of heaven, as "history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the author of liberty." Bush's Second Inaugural was probably better in the original French.

Now, the puffed-up American establishment, many of whom supported the bloody Iraq war, drip with moral condescension as they brand Vladimir Putin an existential outlaw and the enemy of democracy, foreclosing the possibility of common ground with Russia on nuclear weapons, China, terrorism, and other issues that matter to the national security of the United States. That Washington has meddled in countless nations' affairs from Iraq to Russia -- and caused untold damage -- is of no account to the establishment. Rules do not apply to democracy promoters.

After the Iraq war, we should have reconsidered our hubristic American exceptionalism. One can take pride in the American tradition without laying claim to a uniquely beautiful national soul that is exempt from the laws of nature and of nature's God. The hysterical reaction to Trump's truthful admission that the United States too has made mistakes in its relationship with Russia is a sign that American exceptionalism is still in full flower among elites. Without the return of a certain humility, there will be more military adventures abroad and political strife at home.

William S. Smith is research fellow and managing director at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. 11 Responses to America the Unexceptional



Nelson August 7, 2018 at 11:32 pm

I agree with the sentiment but the facts show we've always been this way. Historically speaking our hubris didn't start with George W. Bush. We had quite the exceptionalist spirt with "Manifest Destiny" back in the 19th century. And indeed it took a bit of hubris to declare independence from Britain.
charles cosimano , , August 8, 2018 at 2:44 am
All great powers are exempt from any moral law, not merely because it does not exist, but because even if it did, who could enforce it?
paradoctor , , August 8, 2018 at 2:44 am
Exceptionalism is the sin of pride.
Wayne Lusvardi , , August 8, 2018 at 2:58 am
Dr. Smith wrote his PhD dissertation in political philosophy on a critique of romanticism in political thinking. However, in the above article he somehow believes America is unexceptional for having exempted itself from God's laws and natural law. But what if American policy makers acted out of political necessity and realism, not "hubris" or un-humility? I might agree with Smith about using "democracy building" as a pretense for military intervention. But does Smith take what US presidents and congressmen say at face value? What if US intervention in Iraq had to do with trying to balance power between Iraq and Iran, or stop Islamic expansionism from pushing into Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states? Moralism can be just as dangerous as democracy building in foreign affairs.
polistra , , August 8, 2018 at 3:21 am
We did renounce exceptionalism and imperialism after WW1. Wilson's pet agencies faded out and we focused internally. We remained non-interventionist until 1946 when the Wilsonians snatched power again.

We should figure out why and how the bureaucracy and media gave up Empire in the early '20s. Obviously the people were tired, just as they are now, but the people are irrelevant.

Something changed in the power structure. What was it? Can we help it to happen again?

Robert , , August 8, 2018 at 4:19 am
A very fine article, one of the best that TAC has published.
Andrew , , August 8, 2018 at 6:07 am
The writer in question of the referenced piece at National Review, Jimmy Quinn, is a 20something college intern, proving they aren't even interested in hiring newer young conservatives at NRO who don't just mindlessly repeat the neoconservative line on "American exceptionalism". They are long past their days as a serious magazine. If not by ideology, just by having a more interesting collection of writers, I'd say even the Weekly Standard is now a better magazine than National Review. It's become like the boring Pravda rulebook for Official Conservatism™ in America.
TomG , , August 8, 2018 at 8:29 am
Well done, Mr. Smith. Our hubris blinds this nation to the pain it inflicts in other lands. I reflect again and again on these words from the hymn (tune Finlandia):

This is my song, oh God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
This is my song, thou God of all the nations;
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

When nations rage, and fears erupt coercive,
The drumbeats sound, invoking pious cause.
My neighbors rise, their stalwart hearts they offer,
The gavels drop, suspending rights and laws.
While others wield their swords with blind devotion;
For peace I'll stand, my true and steadfast cause.

We would be one as now we join in singing,
Our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew.
To that high cause of greater understanding
Of who we are, and what in us is true.
We would be one in loving and forgiving,
with hopes and dreams as true and high as thine.

Roberto , , August 8, 2018 at 9:29 am
C'mon people, it's right to separate yourselves from the bombast and violent meddling we've done all over the world, but let's not get carried away with this ridiculous "we're just like any other bully" mentality.

The exceptionalism is in the elevation of individual human freedom as a foundational principle. We declared it, the French declared it, and it remains a beacon for many others, no matter how poorly we've observed it from time to time.

"Military imperialism abroad and guillotines at home became the legacy of self-declared French exceptionalism." No, that was the paroxysm of revolution, one that the U,S. fortunately avoided.
The real legacy was the sweeping away of monarchy across the continent, despite the irony of Napoleon making himself emperor.

For all our imperialism, did we treat western Europe the same as Stalin treated eastern Europe?
Is it just an accident of history that the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, former British colonies all, lead the world in the protection of individual human rights? You can draw a line, crooked though it may be, from those countries right back to the Magna Carta.

Yes, we had slavery, a legacy of our status as an agricultural colony, but the British, French, and Americans all abolished it because it couldn't square with our declared principles.

We may forget why we are exceptional but our immigration pressure shows that the the rest of the world hasn't.

JonF , , August 8, 2018 at 9:38 am
Re: The Jacobins' moral preening led France to declare war on Austria in 1792

It wasn't just the Jacobins: pretty much everyone wanted war. The royalists hoped that foreign intervention would restore Louis XVI as an absolute monarch. The moderates wanted to consolidate the gains of the Revolution and deflect public anger at its economic failings. The radicals, as noted, looked to evangelize Europe with the Rights of Man. And the foreign powers wanted to crush the Revolution lest its ideals take root in their own country -- and help themselves to this or that bit of France's empire.

john35 , , August 8, 2018 at 9:40 am
Thanks for reading "National Review" to bring us this hilarious declaration.

[Aug 07, 2018] Iranians Not Pining for American Intervention The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Akhilesh "Akhi" Pillalamarri is a fellow at Defense Priorities. An international relations analyst, editor, and writer, he studied international security at Georgetown University. Find him on Twitter ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Iranians: Not Pining for American Intervention Some seem to think they can't wait for us to overthrow their government. Nothing could be further from the truth. By Akhilesh Pillalamarri August 6, 2018

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Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock Defense hawks in Washington think the people of Iran are waiting with bated breath for the regime in Tehran to collapse and wouldn't mind a little American help along the way -- whether through direct military intervention, or "naturally" as the result of grassroots protests , "with Washington backing," of course.

There is no greater fallacy. While the people of Iran are undoubtedly frustrated with their government, they are not on the cusp of changing it, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to believe . In fact, any attempt by outside actors to change the regime would cause the people of Iran to unify around the clerics. We would end up deflating the reformist party and enabling the hardliners who have consistently warned their people that we can't be trusted.

This ongoing mind reading of the Iranian people is pure Washington hokum with no basis in reality.

After witnessing the debacles of our interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, who can blame the people of Iran for not wanting direct American military aid? As Damon Linker points out in The Week , our attitude towards unsavory regimes in other nations is all too often informed by "an incorrigible optimism about the benefits of change and consequent refusal to entertain the possibility that a bad situation might be made even worse by overturning it."

Trump Will Never Get a Better Deal With Iran Is Washington Playing Iran's Useful Idiot in Syria?

Almost nobody in Iran supports the main group pushing for Western-backed regime change, the National Council for the Resistance of Iran (NCRI). That organization is widely seen as a front for the despised Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), an Iranian Marxist group that fought against the late Shah, was virulently anti-American, and worked with Saddam Hussein to invade Iran during the Iran-Iraq War before rebranding itself as a democratic opposition group.

Despite this being common knowledge among unbiased observers, figures like National Security Advisor John Bolton continue to promote it as an alternative for Iran.

In actuality, despite the desire among a sizable segment of Iranians -- especially young people in Tehran and other large cities -- for a pro-Western government, there is no well-organized, secular, democratic alternative waiting to take charge. Any organization that bills itself as such is following in the deceitful footsteps of Ahmed Chalabi , the Iraqi leader-in-exile who sold himself in the United States as the Iraqi George Washington, but failed to garner any political support after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

History shows us that there is no quicker way for a leader or group to lose legitimacy than by seeking the aid of a foreign power. King Louis XVI of France managed to hold on to his throne for a few years after the storming of the Bastille, but was deposed after fleeing Paris and seeking the aid of France's enemies. Iranians, like Americans, value liberty in the sense of national self-determination: they would rather be under-served by their own leaders than by well-meaning foreigners or those perceived to be puppets.

After wasting almost two decades of blood and treasure trying to rebuild countries with weaker national identities than Iran -- like Iraq -- U.S. policymakers would have to be detached from reality to believe that anything good could come of intervention in Iranian affairs.

The people of Iran have a long historical memory: those who sold out their nation to foreign powers, even in opposition to tyranny, have garnered not thanks but the collective hatred of the Iranian people. From the actions of the satrap Bessus who killed the last Achaemenid Persian king Darius III to curry favor with Alexander the Great, to the slaying of the last pre-Islamic Persian ruler Yazdegerd III by a local ruler to appease the invading Arabs, Iranians have long looked askance at collaboration with foreigners. Numerous 19th-century Qajar rulers failed to implement their policies because they were thought to be too close to the goals of the imperial powers of Russia or Britain. And the last Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, never escaped the perception that his ascent to power in 1953 was enabled by British and American intelligence agencies, regardless of his own self-portrayal as a nationalist.

Most Iranians, no matter how much they oppose their current government and politics, would not support an invasion of their own country, let alone the peaceful ascendancy of groups believed to serve interests other than theirs: it is a matter of pride and honor.

It is true that Iran has been racked by protests throughout the past year, such as January's multi-city demonstrations and the closure of the Grand Bazaar in Tehran in June. But those were spontaneous actions resulting from blue-collar frustrations with the economy and are unlikely to lead to an outcome favorable to American interests.

If our pressure on Iran leads to regime change, the most likely alternative is probably a military junta led by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a shift away from the semi-civilian government that Iran now enjoys. The IRGC has been infringing on our geopolitical interests throughout the Middle East for decades and could take an even harder anti-American line than the current government. When confronted with invaders and foreign pressure, Iranians have always rallied around military strongmen, such as Nader Shah in the early 18th century, who threw out the invading Afghans, and Reza Shah in the early 20th century, who saved Iran from disintegration after World War I.

Washington should be careful what it wishes for. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that the people of Iran are waiting for our support and intervention. The truth is much darker.

Akhilesh "Akhi" Pillalamarri is a fellow at Defense Priorities. An international relations analyst, editor, and writer, he studied international security at Georgetown University. Find him on Twitter @akhipill .


Christian Chuba August 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm

The people of Iran instinctively love America because everyone in the world loves America.

This is true regardless of the fact that we have never done anything whatsoever to merit their love. We have never given them assistance when they had an earthquake, we won't let them get spare parts for passenger airlines causing air travel to be unsafe. We hinder civilian projects but since we are narcissists, we simply believe that everyone loves us because of our intrinsically great qualities.

Clyde Schechter , says: August 6, 2018 at 1:51 pm
Really, what if the shoe were on the other foot? Trump is very unpopular as our own President. But if a foreign power were to attempt to depose him and install a new government, there would be massive popular resistance to that here. Why the neocons think it would be different in any other country eludes me.

Nothing can unite even a fractiously divided nation more readily than foreign interference.

HenionJD , says: August 6, 2018 at 2:10 pm
>>But if a foreign power were to attempt to depose him and install a new government, there would be massive popular resistance to that here.((

A foreign power attempted to put him IN office and lots of folks are just fine with that.

b. , says: August 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm
US policy since Libya and Syria has been "regime destruction", with not even token commitments to pretend "nation building". The miscalculation continues: if the US manages to turn Iran into a "failed to comply" state without effective governance, there will be several factions with professional military capabilities – especially given the IRGC "deterrent" of connections and alliances throughout the Middle East – that can continue where our pathological US "maglinity" plans to stop.

There are no "wars of choice". The only choice the US gets is whether to start an unnecessary war, from then on our victims get a say, eventually. We are still trapped in Eisenhower's grandstanding "meddling" in Iranian elections, after all .

Sid Finster , says: August 6, 2018 at 3:27 pm
O please!

Everyone knows that Iranians are not begging for "liberation", just as everyone with the brains God gave my youngest cat knew damn well that American boots would not transform Iraq into a western democracy, that American bombs would ruin Libya and American bombs are used for genocide in Yemen.

The Trump Administration is looking for an excuse to attack. Just as the Bush Administration shed crocodile tears over the poor Iraqis, and Obama cynically exploited the fate of Libyans.

[Aug 06, 2018] The Birth of a Bomb and the Rebirth of a City

Aug 06, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

On August 6, 1945; The US dropped an atomic bomb (Little Boy) on Hiroshima destroying much of the city and instantly killing 80,000 of its citizens. 60,000 more would die later

On August 6, 1945; The Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb ever used in military combat on Hiroshima. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki August 9, 1945.

On August 6, 2018; On the 73rd anniversary of dropping of the first atomic bomb, the residents of Hiroshima will pause to remember the 80,000 residents and the destruction which changed the course of history. Church bells will ring at 8:15 AM, the moment the bomb was dropped from the Enola Gay.

Later on August 6, 2018 and in the evening, Toro Nagashi Lanterns will be floated down the Motoyasu river and past The Atomic Dome (Prefuctural Industrial Promotion Hall). First held in 1946, the Toro Nagashi (literally, "flowing lanterns") ceremony was first held in Tokyo. Participants Float glowing paper lanterns down a river to commemorate the souls of the dead.

Today, Hiroshima is a prosperous manufacturing city.

[Aug 03, 2018] The Little Known Black Hole in the Pentagon Budget by By Ross Marchand

Aug 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

In February, the Pentagon announced a $950 million no-bid contract to REAN Cloud, LLC for the migration of legacy systems to the cloud. As an Amazon Web Services consulting partner and reseller, REAN Cloud was likely favored due to Amazon's recent $600 million cloud project for the Central Intelligence Agency. Creating an unusually large contract with little oversight or competition led to ample criticism of the Pentagon, as lawmakers demanded an explanation from DoD. In response to the brouhaha, the Pentagon announced in early March that the maximum value of the contract would be reduced from $950 million to $65 million.

As it turned out, though, even the Pentagon wasn't exactly sure how to apply the murky requirements of OTA. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled in May that the REAN contract did not accord with federal law, in that REAN was granted an award without even really considering going through a competitive bidding process. "Vague and attenuated" statements from the Pentagon to potential bidders in the beginning of the process ensured that the process would not be an open one. After the cancellation of the REAN deal, the Pentagon finally seems open to competitive bidding for cloud migration.

Unfortunately, OTA is still alive and well across the DoD procurement process. In June, the Defense Information Systems Agency joined the growing list of agencies dabbling in OTA, noting that "many of the companies we're dealing with are small start-ups." But as the REAN Cloud case shows, many companies appear "small" but have far larger partners. According to statistics in the Federal News Radio report , "Only $7.4 billion of the nearly $21 billion went to nontraditional companies." The problem is created in part by the use of consortiums, which are comprised of multiple companies, which vary in size. The consortium can decide how money is allocated for an award, allowing larger businesses to benefit disproportionately out of sight of the DoD and taxpayers.

Congress has finally started to demand more accountability for OTAs. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress requires more data reporting and analysis by acquisition officials. But far more work remains.

Lawmakers should set stricter limits on when it's okay to eschew competitive bidding, and lower the threshold for requiring congressional notification (currently set at $500 million). Allowing tens of billions of dollars to be spent behind the backs of taxpayers without a bidding process cannot continue.

Ross Marchand is the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

[Aug 03, 2018] Trumpism and the Politics of Distrust

Aug 03, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We have lost some of our democratic habits -- indeed, in many ways we are losing our very cohesion as a society. But I frame the question very differently.

I know a bunch of Trump supporters. Some of them are intellectuals who write for places like TAC . But most are not. Neither are any of them raving bigots or knuckle-dragging neanderthals, and all of them read the news, though with vastly less obsessiveness than people who work in the business.

None of them "like" things like "unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure" or collusion with foreign governments. Some of them minimize some of these things at least some of the time -- and I myself have been known to derive a kind of pleasure from the absurdity of a figure like Mooch. But this isn't what the people who I know who voted Trump voted for , nor is it why they continue to be happy with their vote -- which, however unhappy they are with how the administration is conducting itself, most of them still are.

Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party's leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn't changed one iota since the election.


SDS August 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm

"They are, however, people who have lost trust in the individuals and institutions who are most alarmed about Trump: the political establishment, the press, etc. And so, on a relative basis, they'd rather continue to put their trust in Trump."

That last line does not follow .We have lost trust in all of the others; so would rather see what Trump does; not that we have any trust in him to do the right thing

THAT would be ridiculous; especially after the last six months.

Will Harrington , says: August 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm
Hmmm. Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can't help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing. As for the American people taking a turn to authoritarianism. This is possible, after all, our Federal government has spent most of the last century increasing their control over many of the aspects of our lives and stretching the limits of the Constitution beyond any recognition. We have been prepared to accept authoritarianism. Increasingly we have had an authoritarian presidency that surveils its own people and has usurped regulatory and warmaking authority from the Congress. The Federal government has created, out of whole cloth, a role for itself in public education. Do not blame the populace for being what the elite has spent a century shaping them to be.
I am convinced that the saber rattling and fear-mongering concerning Korea, Iran, and Russia are not happening because we have any reason to be particularly concerned about these countries or because they threaten our interests. No, this is the way a corrupt and ineffective regime distracts its citizens from its own failings. Lets be clear, this would be happening even if She-who-shall-not-be-named had one the Presidency.
JonF , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm
Whatever happened to "trust but verify"?
OK, a bunch of people did the political equivalent of a Hail Mary play in voting for Trump. But now that the ball has not only fallen short but gone way out of bounds and beaned some spectators in the stands shouldn't they be revoking that trust and casting around for someone else to represent them? Why stick with a sinking ship?
JessicaR , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2016/11/11/why-veterans-voted-donald-trump-swing-states/21603486/

There is strong evidence to suggest that one factor in Trump's victory was distrust of US foreign policy. The link above is to an article about exit polls showing Trump won the veteran's vote 2:1 over Hillary Clinton.

Not long ago, a study by two academicians found that Trump carried counties with high casualties in the Iraq war: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2989040

People don't regret their votes for Trump because if they had voted for Clinton, they or their loved ones would be coming home in body bags–or minus body parts.

As bad as Trump is, his foreign policy instincts are less hawkish than Clinton's–witness his decision to end the CIA funding of Syrian insurgents.

Trump's behavior is certainly "unpresidential" and chaotic. It is also less horrible than war by many orders of magnitude.

Kevin , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm
"The politically relevant, and profoundly disturbing, fact is precisely the opposite of the conventional wisdom: After six months of unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure, and credible evidence of a desire to collude with a hostile foreign government to subvert an American election, President Trump's approval rating is astonishingly high -- with something between one-third and two-fifths of the American people apparently liking what they see and hear from the White House"

But George W Bush at his nadir averaged 26% approval, and that's seven years in, during an epic economic collapse, a catastrophic war, and a host of other disasters. Trump is not THAT far away from that average.

There is simply a line beyond which a president can't decline unless he murders and eats a puppy in public, and I see no reason to presume that we can judge that Trump hit his bottom six months in, when the economy is decent and no non-self inflicted crisis looming.

I'd also add that while all your friends have different reasons to stay aboard the Trump train, all of them sound like high information, fairly ideological voters. This is probably not the profile of Trump voters set to vote for The Rock in 2020

c matt , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Well, when a building is rotten to the core, the only thing you can do is raze it to the ground to start rebuilding. Our government has long passed its sell-by date. Really, expecting a political solution to arise from a government controlled system such as ours does not border on insanity – it completely crosses that border in leaves it miles in the dust. Witness our insane Congress voting by a 98% margin to inflict sanctions based upon absolute crock. But then the US has never let reality get in the way of statesmenshowmanship. We get what we deserve, good and hard.
polistra , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm
You're OK until the last line. "And populism by its very nature cannot build institutions, cannot govern "

You're still using the Deepstate definition of populism. In fact populists want only one thing: We think the government of THIS country should serve the interests of the people of THIS country.

It's perfectly possible to govern by this rule. FDR did it magnificently.

Why did it work for FDR? Because he was determined to BREAK the monopolies and forces that acted contrary to the interests of the people, and because governments BELOW the Federal level were still strong. When he closed the banks for several months, cities and Chambers of Commerce jumped in immediately to develop scrip systems.

Thanks to an unbroken series of evil judges and presidents after WW2, local governments and institutions are dead or dying. Even if a competent and determined populist tried to close down banks or Amazon or the "health" insurance system, there would be no organized way to replace them.

Jones , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:59 pm
What exactly did these people think a Clinton administration would do? What nightmarish dystopia did they see coming around the bend? And what do you think -- were their perceptions of America's future under a Clinton administration accurate, or at least close to the mark? And if so, why?
Jones , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm
Also, I get that people have lost trust in mainstream institutions. What makes them think that Trump is trustworthy in comparison? Why do they have more trust in Trump than in the institutions? And does that seem reasonable?
Heyseed , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm
I didn't vote for Trump: His rhetorical style turns me cold; I don't like his position on many issues, or his general governing philosophy, to the extent he can be said to have one. But, BUT, I sure as Hell did not vote for Hilary Clinton(I voted for Johnson and Weld, who were obvious non-starters from the word Go. I might possibly have voted for Trump if it had looked like the election might be close in Illinois, but since the Chicago Machine had already stolen it for HRC, I could salve my conscience and vote for Johnson.

Clinton was the status quo candidate, and since I did not desire "more of the same", governmentally, Trump and his circus are preferable to Clinton and whatever cabal she would have assembled to run the country.

You claim that the elite "inevitably" run the machinery of government, but it's worth noting that once upon a time in America, most of the people in government were political appointees who could be sent packing(along with their bosses) by the voters. Nowadays, the 'elite' which runs government is dug in pretty much permanently, and the same people will be, in practice, running the government no matter who wins the next election, or the one after that

Hilary Clinton was forthrightly the candidate of the permanent, un-elected bureaucracy, and Trump, well, didn't seem to be. The choice was between Trump, whose actual position on the size of government was not clear, and Hilary Clinton who was actually promising to make government bigger, more centralized, more expensive and less responsive. I'm not sorry Trump won however distasteful he and his henchmen are to me.

Michael R Honohan , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm
I too had a friend who was a huge Ron Paul supporter who not only backed Trump, but became a major apologist for him ever since. The man ran two back to back campaigns in Georgia for US Senate, the Ron Paul mold. Now, no on his original team will give him the time of day. Those who tried to get some sense into him, have been closed off.

As a libertarian, I am no more afraid of the left or the right. In fact, listening to the right rant about the left yields a lot of ignorance, disinformation and paranoia: stock in trade for right wing propaganda. But I am disturbed when people spend years fighting for liberty suddenly joined Cult 45 that has no sense of liberty Ron Paul or his followers would recognize.

But Trump fit the bankrupt GOP. Lest we forget, those 49 GOP Senators who voted for "skinny repeal" (even the name is joke!) never gave a moment's consideration to the bill written by Rand Paul that covers the conservative attributes of free markets and self-determination. Lest we also forget that Rand is not only one of the few legit conservatives, but a doctor and the son of doctor or former Congressman. Those credentials alone would have been enough if GOP was actually interested being conservative. Apparently, Trumpism is what the GOP is about and 49 of them proved it.

ojc , says: August 1, 2017 at 4:43 pm
I think that you have identified a problem that transcends Trump and his opponents. Vitriolic partisanship is one thing. At various points in our history, we have had some nasty spells of polarization. The deeper problem that the institutions of public life are now losing their very legitimacy.

Legitimacy is something deeper than mere approval. It relies upon the unspoken acceptance of political and institutional norms.

We are clearly in the process of publicly reevaluating and even rejecting these norms. The birthers questioning Obama's background and "not my president" folks do not view their oppponents as legitimate, if mistaken. In the case of Trump and the radical left, they contest the legitimacy of the other side even participating in the process, a process by the way to which they owe no fealty.

Whine Merchant , says: August 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm
"We had to destroy the village to save it."

Where have we heard that line before??

Cash , says: August 1, 2017 at 5:58 pm
Nothing wrong with America that couldn't be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory, and two, by having top two vote getters in primary face each other in the general.

We'd have a moderate politics with elected officials clustering slightly right and left of the center.

cka2nd , says: August 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm
Speaking as a Commie Pinko Red, I still prefer Trump as President over Clinton, precisely because he is doing so much to undermine America's "leadership" in world affairs. He's still a murderous imperialist, maybe even just as much as she would have been, but there's just so much more damage that she could have done making bi-partisan deals with the GOP for the benefit of Wall Street and the insurance industry.

The movement against GOPcare – Trumpcare wasn't really a fair name for the wet dreams of Paul Ryan and Conservative, Inc. – probably couldn't have been so effective or flew under the radar of the establishment tools running the Democratic Party and its media mouthpieces if a Democrat was in the White House and the various beltway "movement" honchos had had their precious seat at the table where they could have rolled over for the Democratic president of the moment.

bt , says: August 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm
The biggest problem is what comes after Trump for the GOP?

He's kicked off a process for the GOP that will be very difficult to manage going forward. He showed that outright racism, sexism, continuous lying, even treasonous collusion with Russia to subvert our election is just fine with the Republican Party. How does the GOP sell family values to their 'base' after they all lined up with Donald j Trump, serial wife-cheater and money-launderer?

It will be hard for anyone to forget that any of this happened.

Consider this: 8 years of W Bush yielded the first black President – It really could not have happened if W hadn't burned the house down. What comes after Trump?

FiveString , says: August 1, 2017 at 7:52 pm
I'm a very middle-class worker in the IT sector where most of my coworkers have been sensible, but my weekend hobby of playing music has put me in contact (largely via Facebook) with many Trump supporters who do happen to be knuckle-dragging neanderthals. They generally don't read; their "news" comes from partisan demagogues on the radio or TV. If I give one the benefit of the doubt and share an article from, say, The American Conservative -- "The Madness of King Donald" was a favorite -- it's been all too common to receive a childish/hate-filled meme in response. Bigots are legion: I've unfriended the raving variety, and unfollowed the milder dog-whistlers. These deplorables have in fact been emboldened by the current POTUS.

But I get your point. I abhor the current duopoly, but it could be fixed if thinking citizens wanted to put in some effort. So, it's depressing in a different kind of way that so many thoughtful and well-read Americans are so cynical about state of US politics that they are fine with Trump wrecking it.

Barry , says: August 1, 2017 at 8:23 pm
"Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party's leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn't changed one iota since the election."

They are people who were full of it beforehand, and as the evidence rolls in, they just sink deeper into lies.

MarkW , says: August 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm
Linker's quote "a desire to collude" you reference later as "collusion". The first instance is an attempt to broaden the charge from collusion, the second instance is a (sloppy?) change in language.
Mdet , says: August 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm
@Will Harrington, "Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can't help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing."

I read that statement as "Once you are governing, once you are the one(s) in a position of power, then by definition you have become 'the elite' and are no longer 'a plebeian'". Populists, by definition, are the people who call for the tearing down of institutions that make up the status-quo, and elites, by definition, are the people who build and maintain status-quo institutions. At least in my eyes, "being a populist" and "governing institutions" are mutually exclusive.

Frank Lettucebee , says: August 2, 2017 at 12:46 am
Since the conservative party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower was invaded by the right wingers and became the party of Jefferson Davis and John Wilkes Booth, the goal has been to tarnish all concept of a functioning a democracy and a government is built to work for the people, of the people, and by the people. The right wing main tactic is lies and just get people riled up so that they don't realize and oblivious to the fact that America has slipped from capitalism to corporatism; from a capitalist democracy to a caste based plutocracy run for the sole benefit of the oligarchs who bought this country.

Don Trump is the embodiment and distillation of the right winger and their economic and social cultural policies. He is not an alternative or antidote to the Republicans or Democrats.

Cal , says: August 2, 2017 at 2:04 am
" Is he happy with Trump? No -- he's especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government is in chaos and that Trump is not bringing the change he hoped for. But he doesn't regret his vote, and he prefers the chaos of Trump to business-as-usual under either the Democrats or the Republicans. And if Trump winds up discrediting the Federal government generally, that's fine with him."

I didn't vote this election because I didn't like either candidate. I had been promoting 'America First' as a rallying cry for a candidate for years but Trump wasnt exactly the kind of leader I had in mind for it.
But I'm with the guy above -- if chaos will bust up the musical chair dual monarchies of the dems and repubs and the corrupt status quo government bring it on.

Pear Conference , says: August 2, 2017 at 6:23 am
I think the Democratic nominee in 2020 should be O.J. Simpson.

The reason is that I have lost trust in the media and the elites that are most alarmed about O.J. Simpson.

Kurt Gayle , says: August 2, 2017 at 8:37 am
A somewhat related question, Noah: If you had been a young man living in China on August 1, 1927, do you think you would have joined the People's Liberation Army?
connecticut farmer , says: August 2, 2017 at 9:50 am
Originally I wanted to sit out this past election but gave in to peer pressure. And I regret this. Trump? Clinton? Johnson? Stein? All were mediocre. Clinton/Trump were the two worst candidates that the "major" parties have ever produced in my lifetime. It was with fear and trepidation that I voted for Trump, notwithstanding that I fundamentally agreed with him on the issues of immigration and the need for a reduced American role in global affairs. In the end, I rationalized this (wasted) vote based upon the notion that not only had his opponent committed a felony (detouring government emails) but also because (as others have pointed out) she was the candidate of the status quo, the "permanent bureaucracy", Big Finance etc. etc. The fact that Trump actually won surprised me, but only moderately, because as terrible a candidate as he was, his opponent was even worse.

What has transpired since his election comes as no surprise. Had Clinton been elected conditions would have only been mirror imaged, such being the state of things in this once-great republic. I continue to maintain that the two-party system is archaic and has to go. Whether a multi-party system would be better, I don't know. Perhaps we have reached a point where the country is simply ungovernable. Perhaps more responsibility should be returned to state and local government (Jefferson would have approved). Again, I don't know.

What I do know is that the current system is dysfunctional.

And that, my friends, is why we have a real estate/TV personality as President.

wallysdaughter , says: August 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm
i am neither an establishment voter, or a member of the media/press. i am deeply worried where the man (trump) is taking this nation. the gop is complicit in this chaos as they see trump as a rubber stamp for their plutocratic agenda. i don't know what it will take to right the ship of state
EliteCommInc. , says: August 3, 2017 at 7:49 am
I don't regret my vote. And I ave had issues with my choice before and after the election. The sky is not even close to falling as predicted. And the democracy you claim is at threat may very well be, but it's from the current executive. And nothing thus far suggests that it will.

I m not going to dismiss the caterwauling liberals have been making since the campaign or the election as major distraction to governance.

And by the way there remain not a twiddle's evidence that the WH prior to the election colluded to undermine the US in any manner. It's time to cease throwing that out as sauce for the goose.

I think I agree with all four of your "freinds". I am very fond of the establishment, they have their place. What they provide in cohesion, stability and continuity is valuable to the state. But they appear to be want for any level of substance, depth thereof or moral consistency (if any at all). The double standards they hold themselves, their donors and connections on issues and accountability is unsustainable in a democracy as I think you understand it.

When I was laid out in the ER, I found myself wrestling with my own position on healthcare. The temptations are great to bend the guide as to my own conditions -- but I don't think I could so with a clear conscience. I am nor sot sure that what we haven't lost is a sense of conscience -- that sense that truth overrides immediate gain. I don't think the US can survive as the US if the leadership is bent on holding themselves to a standard not available to the country's citizens.

"Is he happy with Trump? No -- he's especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government . . ."

And the discredited notions that

1. the rich know how to run an economy effectively and

2. that a rise in the market is a sign of economic health.

Brendan Sexton , says: August 3, 2017 at 10:48 am
Pear Conference captures perfectly the 'thinking' i have heard from more than one Trump voter. This is 'reasoning'?
If there is one system in America that needs blowing up to start over it might be our education system. I am generally supportive of public ed, and i am impressed by some of the commitment and inventiveness i see among the proposers of various alternatives to public ed. So, some folks are trying, even sometimes succeeding, but we have managed to arrive at a point in our culture where we have elected a President whose election success depended more than anything else on a public who have lost the ability to think critically. (if they ever had it, of course)
Yes I know the other one got more votes, by a lot. And i know that this other candidate was oddly not at all an attractive alternative. I know all that, but still, a huge fraction of the voting population–a fraction large enough to make themselves now THE base the government is playing to–is a group who could not/would not see this con-job coming? There was every opportunity to use actual logic and facts to reach a voting decision, but these millions of voters chose instead to go with various variations on the theme of 'they all stink, so i'm using my vote to poke a stick in their eyes." Or, as Pear satirized, "I hate/mistrust the elites and they like almost anybody else other than my guy, so I'm gonna turn my country over to the most vulgar non-elite pig the system can come up with."
There is talk now about the damage he can do to American politics and sense of community, but I think he may be more symptom than cause. We don't value the things we thought were a standard part of the American process: truthfulness, kindness, authenticity, devotion to the common good. We value, it turns out, showmanship, machismo, crass shows of wealth and power, and ..I can't go on.
I'm not sure how we got here, but I know the institutions held in high regard on this site, such as church, and some factors we all put our faith in such as increasing levels of education, turn out not to matter so much as we had thought. It is going to take some hard work and more than a little time to recover from this sickness in the country's soul.
Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:43 am
"Trump supporters are just like people who are outraged by something and show it by rioting and burning down their own neighborhoods." – Greg in PDX

The antifas rioting and destroying in Portland also got very violent when some old folks held a peaceful rally for Trump there.

Oh, sorry. I forgot that when "progressives" disagree with someone, they consider that merely disagreeing with them constitutes "violence" against their "safe space" and they are compelled to go out and punch or shoot people.

Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:47 am
"Nothing wrong with America that couldn't be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory"

Right, and by making public disclosure of who you voted for mandatory as well!

Just don't be the first to stop clapping.

Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:50 am
Those calling for a soft coup to reinstate elite status quo leaders against the election results are the ones who are profoundly anti-democratic.
Grumpy Old Man , says: September 5, 2017 at 8:33 pm
No reason why populism couldn't govern. Huey Long was a damn effective governor of Louisiana. Send the whole Acela Corridor élite to Saddam's woodchipper and the country would noodle along just fine. I'm not for state violence, and yet the fantasy gives me a frisson. Forgive me, a sinner.

[Aug 02, 2018] Hegel The Uninvited Guest at the Conservative Party by James McElroy

Notable quotes:
"... Philosophy of Right ..."
"... History of the Idea of Progress ..."
"... Quest for Community ..."
"... The Soul of the World ..."
"... James McElroy is a New York City-based novelist and essayist, who also works in finance. ..."
Aug 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Is David Brooks openly flirting with the state-worship of this vexing 19th Century philosopher?Conservatism has gone from a rigid waltz between libertarians, social conservatives, and foreign policy hawks to a limb-flailing rave. Writers are reaching towards the bookshelf for thinkers that will refine and define first principles during this time of flux. While it's all been great fun, an esteemed but concerning guest has now entered the party. Increasingly, the right is dancing with G.W. Hegel.

David Brooks' recent column is a clear example of a Hegel flirtation. In it, Brooks defines conservatism as an internal critique of the Enlightenment. Explaining opposition to the idea that individuals randomly choose to start society, he writes: "There never was such a thing as an autonomous, free individual who could gather with others to create order. Rather, individuals emerge out of families, communities, faiths, neighborhoods and nations. The order comes first. Individual freedom is an artifact of that order."

Family and community are the basic building blocks of society and social contract theory has plenty of flaws. Yet note how Brooks lists the nation state as prior to individual freedom. It's dropped so casually that its radicalism is almost obscured. What type of freedom is dependent on the nation state? Hegelian.

Hegel argued that freedom was the origin of self-consciousness, and defined his work as tracing "the stages in the evolution of the idea of the will free in and for itself." In Philosophy of Right , he critiqued how Enlightenment liberals see freedom, arguing that liberal freedom could be divided into three stages.

Knock It Off With the 'Little Platoons' Already Alpo Leopold's Ecological Conservatism

First comes freedom defined negatively: "Nothing can determine where I'll eat dinner!" In the second stage of freedom, we want to choose specific states of mind or to concern ourselves with a particular. "I'm going to eat at Waffle House." But if we choose to eat at Waffle House, we've restricted that first stage of freedom. We can no longer say "nothing can determine where I'll eat dinner" because we've selected a particular place to eat. So the third stage of freedom is the ability to change one's mind, to keep options open, regardless of prior commitments. "I will eat at Waffle House, unless I decide to just drink mini-wines in the Applebee's parking lot." This reveals how our conception of freedom is dependent upon the options available to us.

Liberal freedom is thus our capacity to enter and exit choices, which are determined by factors other than ourselves. I did not choose for Waffle House to exist. I did not choose to get hungry at dinner time. We do not choose what we choose between. Therefore, the order of society creates freedom.

So Brooks is clearly doing the robot with Hegel. But so what? Maybe Hegel's ideas are both conservative and correct. Maybe conservatives ought to embrace Hegel openly. There have always been right-wing Hegelians. These are defensible positions. Yet we should remember that conservative bouncers have restricted Hegel from their canon before and for good reason.

Hegel has always been associated with state worship, and Marxism largely sprang from his thought. In History of the Idea of Progress , conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet wrote that, while many try to disguise Hegel as some sort of liberal, "There is simply no way of separating him from ideas and expressions which were in themselves acts of obeisance to the national state and which on the ineffacable record, led others to ever-higher levels of intensity in the glorification of the state."

Some may disagree with Nisbet's reading. Some may say that Marxists misread Hegel . Yet the link to state worship and Marxism must be contended with, and anyone who slips in Hegel without acknowledging it -- like Brooks -- is masking the potentially radical nature of his statement.

Strip the Brooks column of the usual sentimental odes to "beautiful communities" and his strange statement stands bare and a little menacing. There is a world of difference between saying that freedom is dependent upon the family and saying that it's dependent on the nation state. Brooks sounds an awful lot like former President Barack Obama: "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that."

Yet apparently, as Brooks tells us, big government is no longer a threat to the "sacred space." Community focused conservatives often use Nisbet's Quest for Community to criticize hyper-individualism, yet they should also remember Nisbet's criticism of Hegelian freedom: "Hegel clothes the absolute state, just as Rousseau had, in the garments of freedom; but there cannot be the slightest doubt of Hegel's dedicated belief in the absolutism, the sanctity, even the divinity of the national state's power."

Perhaps I'm reading too much into a throwaway line. After all, Aristotle offered ideas similar to those of Hegel and Brooks without the taint of state worship -- maybe that's where Brooks is drawing his inspiration from. Yet the connection between Brooks and Hegel is still inescapable because the former is basing his definition of conservatism from British philosopher Roger Scruton.

Scruton is one of two modern philosophers currently disseminating Hegelian ideas into mainstream punditry. He reads Hegel in a positive light, and in his book The Soul of the World , he writes: "Freedom is fully realized only in the world of persons, bound together by rights and duties that are mutually recognized." Yet Scruton does not say "in the world of nations," and elsewhere warns that Hegel is like a "beautiful oasis around a treacherous pool of nonsense." Brooks doesn't offer any such qualifications.

Alasdair MacIntyre is the other philosopher who has helped popularize Hegel in conservative circles, and in fact Brooks referenced him just a few days ago . Conservatives who discuss "liquid modernity" as read through MacIntyre describe something almost identical to Hegel's Absolute Negativity. And McIntyre's idea of waiting for Benedict is similar to waiting for the Absolute Spirit, which is similar to waiting for the revolution.

What would a more Hegelian conservatism look like? It's hard to tell. Perhaps we'd see books declaring an end to one form of consciousness. Perhaps Hegel's ideas on corporations would be directly referenced by those concerned with working-class alienation. Or perhaps we would see more fishy ideas about the nation state being a prerequisite for individual freedom.

This isn't about pointing at Brooks and pulling an " Invasion of the Body Snatchers ," or just beating up on him for the sake of it. He's merely the most obvious example of a conservative who's done a waltz with the German philosopher. And even then it's always difficult to tell. Hegel wrote on such a wide range of topics in such confusing prose, that, like a crazed ex, we might mistakenly spot him everywhere.

Hegel's work is important, and both Scruton and MacIntyre are geniuses. Yet we should always remember Russell Kirk's warnings that "Marx could draw upon Hegel's magazine; he could find nothing to suit him in Burke" and that Hegel was "a conservative only from chance and expediency." Hegel is already at the party; whether we want him to stay is another question entirely.

James McElroy is a New York City-based novelist and essayist, who also works in finance.

[Aug 01, 2018] The word McCarthyism came to mean making accusations of treason without sufficient evidence

Aug 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

To some, that fear was not a problem but a tool -- one could defeat political enemies simply by accusing them of being Russian sympathizers. There was no need for evidence, so desperate were Americans to believe; just an accusation that someone was in league with Russia was enough. Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy fired his first shot on February 9, 1950, proclaiming there were 205 card-carrying members of the Communist Party working for the Department of State. The evidence? Nothing but assertions .

Indeed, the very word " McCarthyism " came to mean making accusations of treason without sufficient evidence. Other definitions include a ggressively questioning a person's patriotism, using accusations of disloyalty to pressure a person to adhere to conformist politics or discredit an opponent, and subverting civil and political rights in the name of national security.

Pretending to be saving America while he tore at its foundations, McCarthy destroyed thousands of lives over the next four years simply by pointing a finger and saying "communist." Whenever anyone invoked his Fifth Amendment right to silence, McCarthy answered that this was "the most positive proof obtainable that the witness is communist." The power of accusation was used by others as well: the Lavender Scare , which concluded that the State Department was overrun with closeted homosexuals who were at risk of being blackmailed by Moscow for their perversions, was an offshoot of McCarthyism, and by 1951, 600 people had been fired based solely on evidence-free "morals" charges. State legislatures and school boards mimicked McCarthy. Books and movies were banned. Blacklists abounded.

The FBI embarked on campaigns of political repression (they would later claim Martin Luther King Jr. had communist ties), even as journalists and academics voluntarily narrowed their political thinking to exclude communism.

[Aug 01, 2018] Hegel The Uninvited Guest at the Conservative Party The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Philosophy of Right ..."
"... History of the Idea of Progress ..."
"... Quest for Community ..."
"... The Soul of the World ..."
"... James McElroy is a New York City-based novelist and essayist, who also works in finance. ..."
Aug 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Hegel: The Uninvited Guest at the Conservative Party Is David Brooks openly flirting with the state-worship of this vexing 19th Century philosopher? By James McElroy August 1, 2018

Columnist David Brooks and German Philosopher G.W. Hagel (public domain) Conservatism has gone from a rigid waltz between libertarians, social conservatives, and foreign policy hawks to a limb-flailing rave. Writers are reaching towards the bookshelf for thinkers that will refine and define first principles during this time of flux. While it's all been great fun, an esteemed but concerning guest has now entered the party. Increasingly, the right is dancing with G.W. Hegel.

David Brooks' recent column is a clear example of a Hegel flirtation. In it, Brooks defines conservatism as an internal critique of the Enlightenment. Explaining opposition to the idea that individuals randomly choose to start society, he writes: "There never was such a thing as an autonomous, free individual who could gather with others to create order. Rather, individuals emerge out of families, communities, faiths, neighborhoods and nations. The order comes first. Individual freedom is an artifact of that order."

Family and community are the basic building blocks of society and social contract theory has plenty of flaws. Yet note how Brooks lists the nation state as prior to individual freedom. It's dropped so casually that its radicalism is almost obscured. What type of freedom is dependent on the nation state? Hegelian.

Hegel argued that freedom was the origin of self-consciousness, and defined his work as tracing "the stages in the evolution of the idea of the will free in and for itself." In Philosophy of Right , he critiqued how Enlightenment liberals see freedom, arguing that liberal freedom could be divided into three stages.

First comes freedom defined negatively: "Nothing can determine where I'll eat dinner!" In the second stage of freedom, we want to choose specific states of mind or to concern ourselves with a particular. "I'm going to eat at Waffle House." But if we choose to eat at Waffle House, we've restricted that first stage of freedom. We can no longer say "nothing can determine where I'll eat dinner" because we've selected a particular place to eat. So the third stage of freedom is the ability to change one's mind, to keep options open, regardless of prior commitments. "I will eat at Waffle House, unless I decide to just drink mini-wines in the Applebee's parking lot." This reveals how our conception of freedom is dependent upon the options available to us.

Liberal freedom is thus our capacity to enter and exit choices, which are determined by factors other than ourselves. I did not choose for Waffle House to exist. I did not choose to get hungry at dinner time. We do not choose what we choose between. Therefore, the order of society creates freedom.

So Brooks is clearly doing the robot with Hegel. But so what? Maybe Hegel's ideas are both conservative and correct. Maybe conservatives ought to embrace Hegel openly. There have always been right-wing Hegelians. These are defensible positions. Yet we should remember that conservative bouncers have restricted Hegel from their canon before and for good reason.

Hegel has always been associated with state worship, and Marxism largely sprang from his thought. In History of the Idea of Progress , conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet wrote that, while many try to disguise Hegel as some sort of liberal, "There is simply no way of separating him from ideas and expressions which were in themselves acts of obeisance to the national state and which on the ineffacable record, led others to ever-higher levels of intensity in the glorification of the state."

Some may disagree with Nisbet's reading. Some may say that Marxists misread Hegel . Yet the link to state worship and Marxism must be contended with, and anyone who slips in Hegel without acknowledging it -- like Brooks -- is masking the potentially radical nature of his statement.

Strip the Brooks column of the usual sentimental odes to "beautiful communities" and his strange statement stands bare and a little menacing. There is a world of difference between saying that freedom is dependent upon the family and saying that it's dependent on the nation state. Brooks sounds an awful lot like former President Barack Obama: "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that."

Yet apparently, as Brooks tells us, big government is no longer a threat to the "sacred space." Community focused conservatives often use Nisbet's Quest for Community to criticize hyper-individualism, yet they should also remember Nisbet's criticism of Hegelian freedom: "Hegel clothes the absolute state, just as Rousseau had, in the garments of freedom; but there cannot be the slightest doubt of Hegel's dedicated belief in the absolutism, the sanctity, even the divinity of the national state's power."

Perhaps I'm reading too much into a throwaway line. After all, Aristotle offered ideas similar to those of Hegel and Brooks without the taint of state worship -- maybe that's where Brooks is drawing his inspiration from. Yet the connection between Brooks and Hegel is still inescapable because the former is basing his definition of conservatism from British philosopher Roger Scruton.

Scruton is one of two modern philosophers currently disseminating Hegelian ideas into mainstream punditry. He reads Hegel in a positive light, and in his book The Soul of the World , he writes: "Freedom is fully realized only in the world of persons, bound together by rights and duties that are mutually recognized." Yet Scruton does not say "in the world of nations," and elsewhere warns that Hegel is like a "beautiful oasis around a treacherous pool of nonsense." Brooks doesn't offer any such qualifications.

Alasdair MacIntyre is the other philosopher who has helped popularize Hegel in conservative circles, and in fact Brooks referenced him just a few days ago . Conservatives who discuss "liquid modernity" as read through MacIntyre describe something almost identical to Hegel's Absolute Negativity. And McIntyre's idea of waiting for Benedict is similar to waiting for the Absolute Spirit, which is similar to waiting for the revolution.

What would a more Hegelian conservatism look like? It's hard to tell. Perhaps we'd see books declaring an end to one form of consciousness. Perhaps Hegel's ideas on corporations would be directly referenced by those concerned with working-class alienation. Or perhaps we would see more fishy ideas about the nation state being a prerequisite for individual freedom.

This isn't about pointing at Brooks and pulling an " Invasion of the Body Snatchers ," or just beating up on him for the sake of it. He's merely the most obvious example of a conservative who's done a waltz with the German philosopher. And even then it's always difficult to tell. Hegel wrote on such a wide range of topics in such confusing prose, that, like a crazed ex, we might mistakenly spot him everywhere.

Hegel's work is important, and both Scruton and MacIntyre are geniuses. Yet we should always remember Russell Kirk's warnings that "Marx could draw upon Hegel's magazine; he could find nothing to suit him in Burke" and that Hegel was "a conservative only from chance and expediency." Hegel is already at the party; whether we want him to stay is another question entirely.

James McElroy is a New York City-based novelist and essayist, who also works in finance.

[Jul 31, 2018] Donald Trump is Not the 'Manchurian Candidate' The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Vanity Fair ..."
"... The Washington Post , ..."
"... With impeachment itself on the table, Mueller has done little more than issue the equivalent of parking tickets to foreigners he has no jurisdiction over. Intelligence summaries claim the Russians meddled, but don't show that Trump was involved. Indictments against Russians are cheered as evidence, when they are just Mueller's uncontested assertions. ..."
Jul 31, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

An answer was needed, so one was created: the Russians. As World War II ended with the U.S. the planet's predominant power, dark forces saw advantage in arousing new fears . The Soviet Union morphed from a decimated ally in the fight against fascism into a competitor locked in a titanic struggle with America. How did they get so powerful so quickly? Nothing could explain it except traitors. Cold War-era America? Or 2018 Trump America? Yes, on both counts.

To some, that fear was not a problem but a tool -- one could defeat political enemies simply by accusing them of being Russian sympathizers. There was no need for evidence, so desperate were Americans to believe; just an accusation that someone was in league with Russia was enough. Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy fired his first shot on February 9, 1950, proclaiming there were 205 card-carrying members of the Communist Party working for the Department of State. The evidence? Nothing but assertions .

Indeed, the very word " McCarthyism " came to mean making accusations of treason without sufficient evidence. Other definitions include a ggressively questioning a person's patriotism, using accusations of disloyalty to pressure a person to adhere to conformist politics or discredit an opponent, and subverting civil and political rights in the name of national security.

Pretending to be saving America while he tore at its foundations, McCarthy destroyed thousands of lives over the next four years simply by pointing a finger and saying "communist." Whenever anyone invoked his Fifth Amendment right to silence, McCarthy answered that this was "the most positive proof obtainable that the witness is communist." The power of accusation was used by others as well: the Lavender Scare , which concluded that the State Department was overrun with closeted homosexuals who were at risk of being blackmailed by Moscow for their perversions, was an offshoot of McCarthyism, and by 1951, 600 people had been fired based solely on evidence-free "morals" charges. State legislatures and school boards mimicked McCarthy. Books and movies were banned. Blacklists abounded. The FBI embarked on campaigns of political repression (they would later claim Martin Luther King Jr. had communist ties), even as journalists and academics voluntarily narrowed their political thinking to exclude communism.

John Brennan, Melting Down and Covering Up Real Takeaway: The FBI Influenced the Election of a President

Watching sincere people succumb to paranoia again, today, is not something to relish. But having trained themselves to intellectualize away Hillary Clinton's flaws, as they had with Obama, about half of America seemed truly gobsmacked when she lost to the antithesis of everything that she had represented to them. Every poll (that they read) said she would win. Every article (that they read) said it too, as did every person (that they knew). Lacking an explanation for the unexplainable, many advanced scenarios that would have failed high school civics, claiming that only the popular vote mattered, or that the archaic Emoluments Clause prevented Trump from taking office, or that Trump was insane and could be disposed of under the 25th Amendment .

After a few trial balloons during the primaries under which Bernie Sanders' visits to Russia and Jill Stein's attendance at a banquet in Moscow were used to imply disloyalty, the fearful cry that the Russians meddled in the election morphed into the claim that Trump had worked with the Russians and/or (fear is flexible) that the Russians had something on Trump. Everyone learned a new Russian word: kompromat .

Donald Trump became the Manchurian Candidate. That term was taken from a 1959 novel made into a classic Cold War movie that follows an American soldier brainwashed by communists as part of a Kremlin plot to gain influence in the Oval Office. A Google search shows that dozens of news sources -- including The New York Times , Vanity Fair , Salon , The Washington Post , and, why not, Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti -- have all claimed that Trump is a 2018 variant of the Manchurian Candidate, controlled by ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

The birth moment of Trump as a Russian asset is traceable to MI-6 intelligence officer-turned-Democratic opposition researcher-turned FBI mole Christopher Steele , whose "dossier" claimed the existence of the pee tape. Supposedly, somewhere deep in the Kremlin is a surveillance video made in 2013 of Trump in Moscow's Ritz-Carlton Hotel, watching prostitutes urinate on a bed that the Obamas had once slept in. As McCarthy did with homosexuality, naughty sex was thrown in to keep the rubes' attention.

No one, not even Steele's alleged informants, has actually seen the pee tape. It exists in a blurry land of certainty alongside the elevator tape , alleged video of Trump doing something in an elevator that's so salacious it's been called "Every Trump Reporter's White Whale." No one knows when the elevator video was made, but a dossier-length article in New York magazine posits that Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987.

Suddenly no real evidence is necessary, because it is always right in front of your face. McCarthy accused Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower of being communists or communist stooges over the "loss" of China in 1949. Trump holds a bizarre press conference in Helsinki and the only explanation must be that he is a traitor.

Nancy Pelosi ("President Trump's weakness in front of Putin was embarrassing, and proves that the Russians have something on the president, personally, financially, or politically") and Cory Booker ("Trump is acting like he's guilty of something") and Hillary Clinton ("now we know whose side he plays for") and John Brennan ("rises to and exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes and misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin") and Rachel Maddow ("We haven't ever had to reckon with the possibility that someone had ascended to the presidency of the United States to serve the interests of another country rather than our own") and others have said that Trump is controlled by Russia. As in 1954 when the press provided live TV coverage of McCarthy's dirty assertions against the Army, the modern media uses each new assertion as "proof" of an earlier one. Snowballs get bigger rolling downhill.

When assertion is accepted as evidence, it forces the other side to prove a negative to break free. So until Trump "proves" he is not a Russian stooge, his denials will be seen as attempts to wiggle out from under evidence that in fact doesn't exist. Who, pundits ask, can come up with a better explanation for Trump's actions than blackmail, as if that was a necessary step to clearing his name?

Joe McCarthy's victims faced similar challenges: once labeled a communist or a homosexual, the onus shifted to them to somehow prove they weren't. Their failure to prove their innocence became more evidence of their guilt. The Cold War version of this mindset was well illustrated in movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the classic Twilight Zone episode " The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street ." Anyone who questions this must themselves be at best a useful fool, if not an outright Russia collaborator. (Wrote one pundit : "They are accessories, before and after the fact, to the hijacking of a democratic election. So, yes, goddamn them all.") In the McCarthy era, the term was "fellow traveler": anyone, witting or unwitting, who helped the Russians. Mere skepticism, never mind actual dissent, is muddled with disloyalty.

Blackmail? Payoffs? Deals? It isn't just the months of Mueller's investigation that have passed without evidence. The IRS and Treasury have had Trump's tax documents and financials for decades, even if Rachel Maddow has not. If Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987, or even 2013, he has done it behind the backs of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and NSA. Yet at the same time, in what history would see as the most out-in-the-open intelligence operation ever, some claim he asked on TV for his handlers to deliver hacked emails. In The Manchurian Candidate , the whole thing was at least done in secret as you'd expect.

With impeachment itself on the table, Mueller has done little more than issue the equivalent of parking tickets to foreigners he has no jurisdiction over. Intelligence summaries claim the Russians meddled, but don't show that Trump was involved. Indictments against Russians are cheered as evidence, when they are just Mueller's uncontested assertions.

There is no evidence the president is acting on orders from Russia or is under their influence. None.

As with McCarthy, as in those famous witch trials at Salem, allegations shouldn't be accepted as truth, though in 2018 even pointing out that basic tenet is blasphemy. The burden of proof should be on the accusing party, yet the standing narrative in America is that the Russia story must be assumed plausible, if not true, until proven false. Joe McCarthy tore America apart for four years under just such standards, until finally public opinion, led by Edward R. Murrow , a journalist brave enough to demand answers McCarthy did not have, turned against him. There is no Edward R. Murrow in 2018.

When asking for proof is seen as disloyal, when demanding evidence after years of accusations is considered a Big Ask, when a clear answer somehow always needs additional time, there is more on the line in a democracy than the fate of one man.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell .

[Jul 29, 2018] The USA intentionally tried to destroy Russia after the dissolution of the USSR

Notable quotes:
"... This silly article is proof, as if more was needed that what passes for Russia scholarship in the US is little more than politicized group-think. ..."
"... Russia has risen from utter economic, political, and societal collapse (gold reserves, factories, military secrets, science labs stripped bare and shipped or brain-drained out of the country; millions of pre-mature deaths; plunging birth rates) to recover, within a mere 20 years, to the point where the population has stabilized and the nation can credibly hold its own again on the world stage. Infrastructure is being rebuilt and modernized, the military has been restructured and re-equipped, pensions and salaries have risen 3 or 4-fold. ..."
Jul 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

John Perry July 28, 2018 at 1:48 pm

"Vladimir Putin rode a counter-wave of anti-Western nationalism to power in Moscow."

Uh, no. Putin came to power at a time when Russia seemed to be falling apart, quite literally. There was war in Chechnya, open criminal activity on the streets, and clear social decay. Putin's popularity begins with his address to the nation after the bombing of the Moscow metro, promising that the government (which he did not then lead) would chase those responsible down and kill them, even if that meant chasing them into outhouses. The relationship between the bombing and Putin's rise is so well-known that the conspiracy theorists who have Jay Nordlinger's ear over at National Review claim that the bombing was a set up by Putin's pals in the FSB, precisely to bring Putin to power.

My wife is Russian, from the city of Kazan in the Tatar Republic (part of Russia; it's complicated), and when we were merely pen pals in 2003 she wrote me what it was like. It was bad, very bad. At one point her entire neighborhood was placed under curfew on account of open warfare between criminal gangs. And of course when we visit the cemetery today one sees the striking spike in tombstones whose date of death is at some point in the mid- to late 90's, when it all seemed to be going to pieces and the government didn't even pay its own employees for half a year.

Today, by contrast, Russians can walk the streets more or less without fear, count on a paycheck, read in the news how their country has sent yet another capsule of Western astronauts to the international space station (because Westerners haven't been able to do that for the better part of a decade, thanks to Bush and Obama), and even find jobs in a successful tech sector (Kaspersky, JetBrains, Yandex, the list goes on).

But, hey, if you want to fantasize that Putin's rise is thanks to anti-Western sentiment, you go ahead and do that.

John Perry , says: July 28, 2018 at 1:53 pm
One other comment, if I may. I share the concern most Westerners have about Russia's seizure of Crimea. But where is our concern about Turkey's 40-plus-year occupation of northern Cyprus, also sparked by internal political disorder on the island? Why is it alright for a NATO country to invade another nation and prop up its separatists, expel the inhabitants of a disfavored ethnic group -- in this case, the Greeks?
Rodrigo Alvarez , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:15 pm
Shame on TAC for publishing this garbage. For one, Putin more or less saved Russia as a sovereign state, it is easy to forget the sorry condition Russia was in at the turn of the century. Without him, Russia would've most likely been dismembered or simply colonized by the West and China. He has performed admirably in the face of massive odds. Russia will still exist in 100 years as the state of the Russian and other native people of its land – can the same be said of the United States? Russia is slowly climbing its way out of the pit of despair created by 80 years of Communism, the United States is crawling into the very same pit.
Cynthia McLean , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm
I am much more concerned that voter roll purges, suppression of the vote, Citizen's United Dark Money and folks like the Kochs and Addelson are undermining US democracy than the Russians. As for the aggression of military machines around the world, the US wins hands down.
Groucho , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm
Like Fran my inclination was to bail after the first paragraph but I pushed on.

In the first paragraph Mr Desch lays out his position which is well within the bounds of polite discussion that Russia is a corrupt oligarchy but don't worry because it's an economic and military basketcase.

Where to start?

1. Corrupt kleptocracy. The Russian oligarchy/ mafia was a biproduct of the privatization binge that followed the collapse of the USSR. This evolved under the disastrous Yeltsin aided and abetted by US elites. The case of William Browder is instructive. Putin has taken significant measures to reassert government control and has greatly improved the lot of the average Russian.

2. Political freedom. Putin did not inherit a developed liberal democracy. Russia needs to be judged in the context of its own historical timeline in this regard not compared to western democracies. Do you prefer Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov? In contrast compare the state and trajectory of US democratic institutions to, say the 1970s.

3. Human rights. Again the situation in Russia vis a vis human rights needs to be judged in terms of Russia's history not against Western nations with a long-standing tradition of human rights and political freedoms. That said, the illusion of political repression is largely overstated. For example Putin is routinely accused of murdering journalists but no real proof is ever offered. Instead, the statement is made again in this article as though it were self evident.

4. Foreign aggression. This is my favorite because it flies in the face of observable reality to the point of being ridiculous. Russia did not invade Ukraine. It provided support to ethnic Russians in Ukraine who rebelled after the illegal armed overthrow of the Russian leaning democratically elected president.That coup was directly supported by the United States. Far from ratcheting up tensions Russia has consistently pressed for the implementation of the Minsk accords. Putin is not interested in becoming responsible for the economic and political basket case which is Ukraine. The "largely bloodless" occupation of Crimea was actually a referendum in which the citizens of Crimea overwhelmingly supported annexation to Russia. Again This result makes sense in light of even a basic understanding of Russian history. Finally, in the case of Georgia Russia engaged after Georgia attacked what was essentially a Russian protectorate. This was the conclusion reached by an EU investigation.

Russia's so-called aggressive foreign-policy has been primarily in response to NATOs continuous push eastward and the perceived need to defend ethnic Russians from corrupt ultranationalist governments in former republics of the USSR. This is what Putin was talking about when he called the dissolution of the USSR one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century – the fact that, overnight 20 million Russians found themselves living in foreign countries. It wasn't about longing for a Russian empire.

As for the current state of Russias military capabilities, Mr Desch Would do well to read Pepe Escobar's recent article in the Asia Times. Russian accomplishments in Syria illustrated a level of technology and strategic effectiveness that rivals anything the US can do. Name one other nation – other than the US – that can design and build a world class 6th generation fighter jet or develop its own space program. Even Germany can't do that.

This silly article is proof, as if more was needed that what passes for Russia scholarship in the US is little more than politicized group-think.

laninya , says: July 28, 2018 at 7:45 pm
VG1959
"It is in the pursuit of empire that Putin, like Napoleon or Hitler before him, threatens the stability of Europe and by extension world peace."

Ah! ha!ha! Right.

Like Russia with a population of 150 million persons inhabiting a land mass that stretches across 9 or 10 time zones, from the Arctic pole to the Black Sea is chafing for "lebensraum" !?

No, Russia just wants to develop what it already owns. And, trying to do it on the strength of their own efforts (no overseas colonies filling the coffers), on a GDP as Winston, above, has pointed out which is smaller than that some US states. They're focussed, not on grabbing tiny, constipated territories like Estonia. Latvia, and Lithuania (full of Nazi sympathizers), but on bringing back to life those ancient trade routes which are their inheritance from the past (the Silk Road, primarily).

Why not just leave them alone and see what they can do? Those who have been relentlessly picking fault with Russia (and North Korea) might want to put down their megaphones and start taking notes.

What I mean is: pause for a moment to consider that:

1. Russia has risen from utter economic, political, and societal collapse (gold reserves, factories, military secrets, science labs stripped bare and shipped or brain-drained out of the country; millions of pre-mature deaths; plunging birth rates) to recover, within a mere 20 years, to the point where the population has stabilized and the nation can credibly hold its own again on the world stage. Infrastructure is being rebuilt and modernized, the military has been restructured and re-equipped, pensions and salaries have risen 3 or 4-fold.

2. North Korea, in 1953, had been so destroyed by war that no structures over a single story were left standing (and American generals were actually barfing into their helmets at the horror of what had been done to those people). The DPRK authorities, helpless to assist the population, could only advise to dig shelters underground to survive the winter. Yet, 70 years later, under international sanctions designed to starve those traumatized people into surrender, North Korea has restored its infrastructure, built modern cities, and developed a military apparatus able to credibly resist constant threats from abroad.

See: rather than picking nits to find things that are not yet perfectly hunky-dory with the governing structures/systems in those countries, I'm taking notes!!

Because, I'm convinced that if those people (those nations) were able to do what they've done with the time and resources they've had to work with, there is absolutely no reason and no excuse for our rich nations of "the West" to be caught in a nightmare of austerity budgeting, crumbling infrastructure, collapsing pensions, and spiralling debt.

Funny how the English speaking world SO resisst learning something that could actually do us a whole lot of good. I don't know who coined the terms "stiffnecked" and "bloodyminded", but it sure describes us!

connecticut farmer , says: July 29, 2018 at 12:43 pm
"From Moscow's perspective, the events in Kiev in late 2013 and 2014 looked suspiciously like a Western-backed coup."

Gee, ya think? Kinda reminds one of the 1996 Russian election. But, hey, don't broadcast this because, after all, too many people might start, er, noticing.

EliteCommInc. , says: July 29, 2018 at 1:11 pm

"They may be weakened, but their ability to make trouble is undiminished, given their aptitude for cyberattacks."

And if you have evidence that Russia so engaged, the FBI has a place for you.

[Jul 29, 2018] Cult of GDP is a damaging mental disease. With the size of the USA financial sector it is grossly distorted.

Jul 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Winston July 28, 2018 at 10:00 am

GDPs (2017):

California – $2.751 trillion
Texas – $1.707 trillion
Russia – $1.578 trillion

Likbez:

@Winston July 28, 2018 at 10:00 am

Cult of GDP is a damaging mental disease. With the size of the USA financial sector it is grossly distorted.

The inflated costs of pharmaceutical and medical-industrial complex add another large portion of air into the US GDP.

Surveillance Valley (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etc ) firms valuations are also inflated and their contribution to the USA economics is overestimated in GDP.

There is also such thing as purchase parity. To compare GDP between countries, you must use purchasing power parity. To compare GDP without calculating in purchasing parity is just naïve.

I suspect that in real purchasing power Russia is close to Germany (which means it it is the fifth largest economy)

The USA still has dominance is key technologies and cultural influence.

[Jul 29, 2018] Time to Talk to the Taliban by Daniel L. Davis

Too many US clans are profiting from the war...
Notable quotes:
"... While agree totally with what Col. Davis says here about ending America's involvement in the Afghanistan War. Way to many are profiting from this long-term misadventure. ..."
"... Eminently sensible advice, except that Trump can't take it without being greeted with a hysterical chorus of "we're losing Afghanistan ZOMG!" (as if we ever had it) and "Putin puppet!" ..."
"... "Of course most Americans are clueless about the cost of these wars and how it impacts money necessary to re-build our country infrastructures." ..."
"... Completely disagree. I don't know a single individual who supports the war in Afghanistan or misunderstands its costs. The American people just have no say in the matter. ..."
"... Finally, they realise what St Ronnie knew in the 1980s. He created the Taliban we know today via Operation Cyclone. Maybe Ollie North can lead the negotiations? He seems to have a good channel to the Iranians ..."
"... Putting together Sid_finster's and spite's comments paints an interesting picture. Aside from war profiteering (Fran Macadam) there is no real purpose served by our occupation except to be there. ..."
"... I'll go a step further and say that the invasion of Afghanistan was unnecessary too. We were not attacked by Afghanistan. We were not even attacked by the Taliban. We were attacked by al Quaida, by teams comprised mostly of Saudi Arabians. ..."
"... It cannot be repeated too often that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. Let the Taliban have it. ..."
"... What the Army could not do, and still cannot do, is transform a tribal society in isolated mountainous terrain into a liberal democracy. As LTC Davis observes: "The reason McChrystal failed to end the war -- and Miller will likewise fail -- is that these objectives can't be militarily accomplished." ..."
"... The conclusion of this simple argument is that the war in Afghanistan actually has almost nothing to do with that country and almost entirely to do with the political and economic demands arising from the US .nothing to do with Afghanistan other than the destruction of the place and its people. ..."
Jul 24, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
We have no choice. The 17-year war in Afghanistan has failed at every level, while the violence is only getting worse.

Reports have surfaced recently that the White House is instructing its senior diplomats to begin seeking "direct talks with the Taliban." It's a measure that would have been unthinkable at the start of the Afghanistan war yet today it's long overdue. Despite the criticism it's elicited, such talks offer the best chance of ending America's longest and most futile war.

While there is broad agreement that American leaders were justified in launching military operations in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks, it's painfully evident after 17 years that no one has any idea how to end the fighting on military terms.

Possibly the biggest impediment to ending the war has been the definition of the word "win." General Stanley McChrystal said in 2009 that winning in Afghanistan meant "reversing the perceived momentum" of the Taliban, "seek[ing] rapid growth of Afghan national security forces," and "tackl[ing] the issue of predatory corruption by some" Afghan officials.

Nine full years and zero successes later, however, Lieutenant General Austin S. Miller, latest in line to command U.S. troops in Afghanistan, defined as America's "core goal" at his confirmation hearing that "terrorists can never again use Afghanistan as a safe haven to threaten the United States."

The reason McChrystal failed to end the war -- and Miller will likewise fail -- is that these objectives can't be militarily accomplished. Predicating an end to the war on such is to guarantee perpetual failure. A major course correction is therefore in order.

Keeping 15,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan does not, in any way , prevent terror attacks against the United States from originating there -- and for this lack of success we will pay at least $45 billion this year alone. The real solution is therefore to withdraw our troops as quickly as can be safely accomplished rather than throw more of them into a fruitless conflict.

I personally observed in 2011 during my second combat deployment in Afghanistan that even with 140,000 U.S. and NATO boots on the ground, there were still vast swaths of the country that were ungoverned and off-limits to allied troops.

Meaning, at no point since October 2001 has American military power prevented Afghanistan from having ungoverned spaces. What has kept us safe, however -- and will continue to keep us safe -- has been our robust, globally focused intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that work in concert with the CIA, FBI, and local law enforcement to defend our borders from external attack.

Many pundits claim that if the U.S. military withdraws from Afghanistan then chaos will reign there -- and that is almost certainly true. But that's how we found Afghanistan, that's how it is today, and -- wholly irrespective of when or under what conditions the U.S. leaves -- that's how it will be long into the future until Afghans themselves come to an accommodation.

The question U.S. policymakers need to ask is which is more important to American interests: the maintenance of a perpetually costly war that fails to prevent any future attacks, or ending America's participation in that war?

Continuing to fight for a country that can't be won cements a policy that has drained the U.S. of vital resources, spilled the blood of American service members to no effect, and dissipated the Armed Forces' ability to defend against potentially existential threats later on -- while in the meantime not diminishing the threat of international terrorism. To strengthen our national security, we must end the enduring policy of failure by prudently and effectively ending our military mission.

While the fundamentals of a withdrawal plan are relatively straightforward, they would still be met by considerable opposition. One of the arguments against leaving was voiced by McChrystal nine years ago when he pleaded with the American public to "show resolve" because "uncertainty disheartens our allies [and] emboldens our foe." Yet the facts can't be denied any longer: for all eight years of the Obama administration and the first 500 days of Trump's tenure, we maintained that "resolve" and were rewarded with an unequivocal deterioration of the war.

Since McChrystal's admonition to maintain the status quo, the Taliban have exploded in strength to reportedly 77,000 , more territory is now in the hands of the insurgents than at any point since 2001 , the Afghan government remains one of the most corrupt regimes on the planet, and civilian casualties in the first half of 2018 are the highest ever recorded .

The only way this permanent failure ends is if President Trump shows the courage he has sometimes demonstrated to push back against the Washington establishment. That means ignoring the status quo that holds our security hostage, ending the war, and redeploying our troops. Without that resolve, we can count on continued failure in Afghanistan. With it, American security will be strengthened and readiness improved.

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow at Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after 21 years, including four combat deployments. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1 .


Fred Bowman July 24, 2018 at 1:29 pm

While agree totally with what Col. Davis says here about ending America's involvement in the Afghanistan War. Way to many are profiting from this long-term misadventure. The only way these wars of choice will ever end is when Congress has the balls to cut off funding. Of course most Americans are clueless about the cost of these wars and how it impacts money necessary to re-build our country infrastructures. Military madness indeed.
Sid_finster , says: July 24, 2018 at 2:06 pm
Eminently sensible advice, except that Trump can't take it without being greeted with a hysterical chorus of "we're losing Afghanistan ZOMG!" (as if we ever had it) and "Putin puppet!"

If Trump were going to leave, he should have done so soon after taking office. At least then he could blame his predecessors.

That country is Trump's baby now.

Fran Macadam , says: July 24, 2018 at 3:37 pm
The financial security of the National Security State and its suppliers now depends on no war ever ending or being won. The new definition of defeat is having any war end. As long as it continues, that war is being won.
Kent , says: July 24, 2018 at 4:31 pm
"Of course most Americans are clueless about the cost of these wars and how it impacts money necessary to re-build our country infrastructures."

Completely disagree. I don't know a single individual who supports the war in Afghanistan or misunderstands its costs. The American people just have no say in the matter.

spite , says: July 24, 2018 at 5:31 pm
There is only one reason why the USA is still in Afghanistan that makes sense (all the official reasons are an insult to ones intelligence), it borders on Iran and thus serves as a means to open a new front against Iran. The more the US pushes for war against Iran, the more this seems correct.
EliteCommInc. , says: July 24, 2018 at 5:43 pm
"Reports have surfaced recently that the White House is instructing its senior diplomats to begin seeking "direct talks with the Taliban."

I have to give my Jr High response here:

"Well, duh."
__________________

"While there is broad agreement that American leaders were justified in launching military operations in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks . . ."

Yeah . . . no.

1. They manipulated the game to make what was a crime an act of war to justify the an unnecessary, unethical, and strategically unwise invasion. I remain now where I was 14 years ago -- bad decision in every way.

2. It was even a poor decision based on reason for war. To utterly bend the will of the opponent to conform to the will of the US. it is possible to win. But to do so would require such massive force, brutality and will.

3. 9/11 was a simple criminal act, despite the damage. As a crime we should have sought extradition, and or small team FBI and special forces operations to a small footprint in either capturing, and or if need be killing Osama bin Laden and company.

Nothing that has occurred since 9/11 provides evidence that the invasion was either justified or effective. It will if the end game is to quit be one of three losses suffered by the US.

They are: War of 1812
Iraq
Afghanistan

" . . . it's painfully evident after 17 years that no one has any idea how to end the fighting on military terms."

Sure leave. Though talking so as to avert whole slaughter of those that aided the US is the decent thing to do.

Whine Merchant , says: July 24, 2018 at 5:48 pm
Finally, they realise what St Ronnie knew in the 1980s. He created the Taliban we know today via Operation Cyclone. Maybe Ollie North can lead the negotiations? He seems to have a good channel to the Iranians
Janek , says: July 24, 2018 at 6:05 pm
Solving USA problems in Afghanistan an at the same time pushing for war with Iran is by definition classic oxymoron. Afghanistan's problems can only be solved with cooperation and understanding with Iran. Conflict of the USA with Iran will extend indefinitely the suffering of the Afghanis and the eventual lose of the Afghanistan and Iran to the Russia. Always reigniting and keeping on the front burner the conflict with Iran by the USA is exactly what Russia and V. Putin want. I can't see any other politicians except D. Trump, B. Netanyahu and American 'conservatives' for the advancement of the Russia's goals in the Middle East and in the globalistan. These are the new XXI century 'useful (adjective)'.
Myron Hudson , says: July 24, 2018 at 6:22 pm
Putting together Sid_finster's and spite's comments paints an interesting picture. Aside from war profiteering (Fran Macadam) there is no real purpose served by our occupation except to be there.

I'll go a step further and say that the invasion of Afghanistan was unnecessary too. We were not attacked by Afghanistan. We were not even attacked by the Taliban. We were attacked by al Quaida, by teams comprised mostly of Saudi Arabians. This should have been a dirty knife fight in all the back alleys of the world, but we responded to the sucker punch as our attackers intended; getting into a brawl with somebody else in the same bar; eventually, with more than one somebody else.

It cannot be repeated too often that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. Let the Taliban have it.

TG , says: July 25, 2018 at 8:28 am
Indeed, but as others have commented, the entire point of the Afghanistan war is that it is pointless. It can suck up enormous amounts of money, and generate incredible profits for politically connected defense contractors – and because Afghanistan is in fact pointless, it doesn't matter if all of that money is wasted or stolen, how could you tell? The vested interest in these winless pointless foreign wars means that they will continue until the American economy finally collapses – and anyone who opposes these wars is a fascist, a Russian stooge, "literally Hitler." Because money.
EarlyBird , says: July 25, 2018 at 4:22 pm
Thank you for this. I am very surprised to learn that Trump is pursuing this, given his pugilistic nature. I hope he does in fact, get us the hell out of there. He may be, like Nixon, the one who is politically able to make this smart move. Can you imagine the Republican outrage if Obama had tried a diplomatic exit from this sand trap?

We can still be proud of what we attempted to do there. A few years post-9/11, an Afghan colleague of mine who had come to the US as a boy said, "9/11 is the best thing to ever happen to Afghanistan." He meant that rather than carpet bombing Afghanistan "back to the Stone Age," as the left predicted the US would do, we poured billions of dollars in aide to build schools, hospitals, sewage and water plants, roads, etc.

EliteCommInc. , says: July 25, 2018 at 8:29 pm
"He meant that rather than carpet bombing Afghanistan "back to the Stone Age," as the left predicted the US would do, we poured billions of dollars in aide to build schools, hospitals, sewage and water plants, roads, etc."

And we could have done a lot more if we had not invaded. The Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11.

furbo , says: July 26, 2018 at 4:47 pm
The achievable operational level Military objectives in the Afghan war were accomplished in the first year; The Taliban were out of power and hiding in Pakistan and the Afghans had a somewhat benevolent government that wanted to guarantee security an property and a measure of individual liberty.

What the Army could not do, and still cannot do, is transform a tribal society in isolated mountainous terrain into a liberal democracy. As LTC Davis observes: "The reason McChrystal failed to end the war -- and Miller will likewise fail -- is that these objectives can't be militarily accomplished."

This has been particularly true with the intense guerrilla actions enabled by the Pakistanis who have a vested interest in an unstable Afghanistan.

I believe the noble goals 'might' have been doable – but it would have required a level of effort, and more importantly a 'cultural confidence' on par with the Roman Empire of the 2nd Century to pull it off. That is no longer us.

masmanz , says: July 27, 2018 at 1:29 am
"9/11 is the best thing to ever happen to Afghanistan"? I bet none of his family members died or suffered. Probably they are all living in the US. Are we supposed to feel proud that instead of carpet bombing and killing millions our war killed only a hundred thousand?
Wizard , says: July 27, 2018 at 9:53 am
Sadly, Kent, I do know people who still claim that our continued presence in Afghanistan is a good thing. Some of these are otherwise fairly bright people, so I really can't comprehend why they continue to buy into this idiocy.
James Keye , says: July 27, 2018 at 12:12 pm
Afghanistan must be Afghanistan and the US must be the US; this is such a simple tautology. If the US leaves, Afghanistan will become what ever it can for its own reasons and options. If the US stays, it will be for the US' reasons, not for the Afghans.

The conclusion of this simple argument is that the war in Afghanistan actually has almost nothing to do with that country and almost entirely to do with the political and economic demands arising from the US .nothing to do with Afghanistan other than the destruction of the place and its people.

[Jul 26, 2018] What Everyone Seemed to Ignore in Helsinki by Jon Basil Utley

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Utley is the publisher of ..."
Jul 25, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Washington establishment came to their own conclusions about Russia and NATO -- but this is what they missed.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump during the recent summit in Helsinki. (Office of the Russian Presisdent/Kremin.ru) Sifting through the cacophony of commentary from the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki, here are four key points missed, ignored or glossed over by the Washington establishment and mainstream news coverage -- and they require a good airing.

They are:

It's clear now that Europeans will increase their contributions to NATO. But Big Media totally ignored the trillion dollar gorilla in room: Why does anyone have to spend so much on NATO in the first place?

Are we planning a ground attack on Russia because we really think the former Soviet Empire will invade Poland or the Baltic nations? Are we planning for a land war in Europe to intervene in the Ukraine? What for is the money? The Trump administration and Big Media, for all their noise, mainly argue that more spending is good. There is no debate about the reasons why. Meanwhile Russia is cutting its military spending.

Trump Needs to Put Up or Shut Up on Russian Arms Race Let's See Who's Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians

Washington is so dominated by our military-industrial-congressional complex that spending money is a major intent. Remember when Washington first insisted that putting up an anti-missile system in Poland and Romania was supposed to protect Europe from an Iranian attack? Of course, it was really directed against Russia. Washington was so eager to spend the money that it didn't even ask the Europeans to pay the cost even though it was supposedly for their defense. As of 2016 Washington had spent $800 million on the site in Romania. Now it appears that Poland and Romania will pay billions to the Raytheon Corporation for the shield to comply with their commitment to increase military spending to 2 percent of gross national product.

There was no focus on the real, growing threat of nuclear war, intentional or accidental. No one, including journalists at the joint press conference, spoke about the collapsing missile treaties (the only one who reportedly seemed keen to discuss it was ejected beforehand). Scott Ritter details these alarming risks here on TAC .

The U.S. is now funding new cruise missiles with nukes which allow for a surprise attack on Russia with only a few minutes of warning, unlike the ICBMs which launch gives a half an hour or more. This was the reason Russia opposed the anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, because they could have little warning if cruise missiles were fired from the new bases. Americans may think that we don't start wars, but the Russians don't. The old shill argument that democracies don't start wars is belied by American attacks on Serbia, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.

For all the Democratic and Big Media attacks on Trump for supposedly caving in to Putin, he gave Putin nothing. His administration is still maintaining an increasingly stringent economic attack on Russian trade and banking, announcing (just days after his meeting) $200 million of new aid to Ukraine's military and threatening Europeans with sanctions if they go ahead with a new Baltic pipeline to import Russian natural gas. Consequently, some analysts believe that Putin has given up on wanting better relations with the U.S. and instead is just trying to weaken and discredit America's overwhelming power in the world. In a similar vein Rand Paul writes how we never think about other nations' interests. TAC argues we should "Forget Trump: The Military-Industrial Complex is Still Running the Show With Russia, " showing how Washington wants to keep Russia as an enemy because it's good for business.

Furthermore, releasing the accusations and indictments via a press already out for Trump's blood is explained away by pointing out that the special prosecutor has separate authority to that of the president. But the timing, a day before the Helsinki meeting, obviously shows intent to cause disarray and to prevent meaningful dialogue with Russia. It's interesting to note that TAC has been criticizing the "Deep State" since at least 2015.

The casualness with which much of Washington regards conflict and starting wars is only comparable to the thoughtlessness of Europeans when they started World War I. Like now, that war followed nearly a century of relative peace and prosperity. Both sides thought a war would be "easy" and over quickly and were engulfed in it because of minor incidents instigated by their small nation allies. It was started with a single assassination in Serbia. The situation is similar now. America is hostage to the actions of a host of tiny countries possibly starting a war. Think of our NATO obligations and promises to Taiwan and Israel.

America has become inured to the risks of escalation and Congress has ceded its war powers to the president. The authority of war power was one of the most important tenets of our Constitution, designed to prevent our rulers from irresponsibly launching conflicts like the European kings. Witness now how casually Trump talks about starting a war with Iran, with no thought of possible consequences, including blowing up oil facilities in the Persian Gulf, oil and gas vital for the world economy.

For most Americans, war means sitting in front of their TVs watching the bombs fall on small nations unable to resist or respond to our power. "We" kill thousands of "them" in easy battles and then worry if a single American soldier is harmed. We don't viscerally understand the full threat of modern weapons because they've never been used against us. This is not unlike World War I, for which the countries engaged were wholly unprepared for a protracted siege war against the lethality of new modern artillery and chemical weapons. All had assumed the war would be over in weeks. I wrote about these issues after visiting the battlefields of the Crimean war. (See " Lessons in Empire")

And so we continue careening towards more conflicts which can always lead to unintended consequences, ever closer to nuclear war. Meanwhile efforts for a dialogue with Russia are thwarted by our internal politics and dysfunction in Washington.

Mr. Utley is the publisher of The American Conservative 15 Responses to What Everyone Seemed to Ignore in Helsinki



Fran Macadam July 25, 2018 at 1:56 am

"And so we continue careening towards more conflicts which can always lead to unintended consequences, ever closer to nuclear war. Meanwhile efforts for a dialogue with Russia are thwarted by our internal politics and dysfunction in Washington."

Careful with such cavalier use of the truth. Someone is sure to point out Vlad said just the same, which means according to D.C. war profiteer sponsored consensus we should do exactly the opposite.

S , , July 25, 2018 at 2:01 am
Lovely article. One aspect of going to war for conquest over and over, is that it leads to moral deterioration. Defensive wars aren't that bad. I am not sure why we haven't seen any articles on TAC about this aspect -- is it that it's not a popular idea?
John S , , July 25, 2018 at 8:57 am
What an awful piece. Here's why:

"1) It's clear now that Europeans will increase their contributions to NATO."

No, they are not. Defense budgets are increasing -- very different, and it was happening already before Trump's tweets came along.

"2) There was no focus on the real, growing threat of nuclear war, intentional or accidental."

How do you know, since Trump hasn't told anyone what was discussed in Helsinki?

"3) For all the Democratic and Big Media attacks on Trump for supposedly caving in to Putin, he gave Putin nothing."

Trump abased himself before Putin. That's not nothing. And who knows what else he gave Putin behind closed doors. One must assume a lot since Trump is not out bragging about particulars.

"4) The release of intelligence agency findings about Russians' intervention in the last election just a day before the conference precisely shows the strength of the "Deep State" in dominating American foreign policy."

Trump personally approved the release of that intelligence.

TAC sure carries a lot of water for Trumpistan.

Johann , , July 25, 2018 at 9:10 am
The myth that NATO has kept Europe at peace since WWII (except for the Balkan war) is still alive and well. But really, it was the fear of nuclear weapons that kept the peace.
Christian Chuba , , July 25, 2018 at 9:21 am
It is the risk of war vs. the hidden agenda of trying to break Russia a second time.

The people who want to break Russia a second time really do believe that Russia is weak and unwilling to risk war under any circumstances. So they want to expand NATO, get into another arms race and wait for Russia to go bankrupt again. Rinse repeat China.

If we expand NATO, pull out of INF and even START, we can build missile bases near Russia's borders, reduce or eliminate their exports, we can drive their economy into overdrive. But this requires an information war to make it look like they are the aggressors while we are the ones implementing this strategy.

By 'we' I mean our entrenched Foreign Policy Establishment that blathers about the 'rules based world order' while we bomb any country we want whenever we want. Queue up another story on how they encroached on NATO airspace while flying to their enclave in Kaliningrad, look at a map, it's impossible not to so so.

Tying it back, they do not believe that there is any risk of war. They are wrong.

sean mcauliffe , , July 25, 2018 at 9:28 am
4 is not true.

https://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/russia-indictment-timing-trump-approved-not-mueller-attack.html

Kurt Gayle , , July 25, 2018 at 9:46 am
Jon Basil Utley makes an important point:

"The release of intelligence agency findings about Russians' intervention in the last election just a day before the conference precisely shows the strength of the 'Deep State' in dominating American foreign policy Releasing the accusations and indictments via a press already out for Trump's blood a day before the Helsinki meeting, obviously shows intent to cause disarray and to prevent meaningful dialogue with Russia."

To be sure, the 6-4-3 (Mueller to Rosenstein to Mainstream Media) double play appeared at first to be a real beauty. However, the video replay showed that the pitcher had not yet pitched the ball to the batter and that the shortstop Mueller, the second baseman Rosenstein, and the MSM first baseman had carried out their double play with a ball that Mueller had pulled out of his hip pocket. ("Hip pocket" is a polite euphemism for the proximate area of the Mueller anatomy from whence the ball was actually pulled.)

hetro , , July 25, 2018 at 11:00 am
@John S.

*"abased himself" is the popular demon meme of the moment -- how did he do that?

*you say we don't know what he said to Putin then assume you know he gave Putin something he should not have.

This is irrational assumption apparently born from a deep prejudice of some sort.

Michael Kenny , , July 25, 2018 at 11:49 am
The real question is what did Putin give Trump? Nothing, as far as can be seen. Efforts for a dialogue with Russia are thwarted by Putin's continued occupation of Ukrainian territory, with its implicit denial of the principle of the sovereign nation-state, which has been the building block of the European political order since the French Revolution. For Americans, given the history of the American continent, European nationalism and the nation-state are wholly incomprehensible concepts but they're very real to us in Europe. Those Americans who promote a poorly-understood European nationalism in the hope of destroying the EU are promoting the very war they so piously claim to oppose.
balconesfault , , July 25, 2018 at 12:30 pm
It's clear now that Europeans will increase their contributions to NATO. But Big Media totally ignored the trillion dollar gorilla in room: Why does anyone have to spend so much on NATO in the first place?

Why would you top post a commentor who so clearly doesn't understand the details of what he's discussing?

I mean -- such fundamental misunderstanding of the issues might qualify him to be the Republican nominee for President (and thanks to the Electoral College, the President) but it is beneath your editorial standards.

CLW , , July 25, 2018 at 1:41 pm
Enough of this "Deep State" nonsense: stop lambasting U.S. Federal law enforcement and intelligence professionals for calling out Trump's willful ignorance/intentional lies about Russia's malicious actions. Russian belligerence against the U.S. is a predictable and manageable problem, but only by a President (e.g., Reagan, Bush 41) who grasps the complexity of the issue and who can balance targeted confrontation and selective cooperation with Russia. Trump is inherently incapable of striking that balance, as Putin clearly understands, therefore U.S.-Russian relations will remain (usefully for Putin) confrontational for the near term.
One Guy , , July 25, 2018 at 2:57 pm
Why is it up to the media to address the elephant in the room? Shouldn't the media simply report what happened? Why doesn't Trump address the elephant in the room?
Freestater , , July 25, 2018 at 4:02 pm
Our grandparents and parents fought the Commies.
GOP throws that away in search of lower taxes and less regulation.
GOP elites belong to the international elite, namely the highest bidder.
Shame.
b. , , July 25, 2018 at 4:02 pm
"The release of intelligence agency findings about Russians' intervention in the last election just a day before the conference precisely shows the strength of the 'Deep State' in dominating American foreign policy"

Others have already pointed out that the facts might not back up that the timing was some elaborate plot, but even if this was a Derp State conspiracy on full display, it would probably be proof of the opposite -- this would have not been an indication of influence, control, domination, but a sign of weakness.

Like all conspiracy theories, "Deep State" implies competence, coordination, capability. Our problem appears to be that we have too many bureaucracies infighting with each other, and filled with too many shallow minds. Indeed, one could argue that 9/11 happened precisely because of this.

That said, the first half of the article makes a compelling case of the foreign policy aspect of the manufactured "Russia!" hysteria, and the existential threat originating with the nuclear sector of the war profiteering presidential-congressional-military-industrial complex -- "We end the world for money!" -- and the Great Gambler faction of the nelibcon biparty -- "We can win nuclear war!".

The other half of the national, collectivized insanity that is "Russia!" is the domestic fraud: the biggest threat to the integrity of our elections and the functions of our institutions of government is not Russia, but ourselves.

The semi-organized biparty mob -- the "Derp State" -- that is pushing the "Russia!" narrative as the Grant Unified Theory of US American Home-Made Failure is systematically destroying whatever is left of The People's confidence in our processes and institutions -- confidence in our ruling class had to have died before anybody considered voting for Trump -- and soon, we will find ourselves in a nation in which nobody can profess any trust in any elected representative without being accused of being a traitor or useful idiot.

Putin, for one, could never accomplish that. American Excess: Hamstring your political opponent? Worth It. Destroy democracy to protect it from The People? Priceless.

Ken Zaretzke , , July 25, 2018 at 4:34 pm
I wasn't aware that the U.s. Is finding new niclear-armed cruise missiles that would give Russia only minutes to respond to an attack, as opposed to a half hour with ICBMs. Russia only has to recalibrate its fully automated Doomsday Machine to target Warsaw, Berlin, and Cracow along with U.S. cities, and to shorten the time of response.

We have to ask whether the exponentially greater likelihood of nuclear holocaust by accident, which is what the U.S. would be bringing about by nuclear-arming cruise missiles, proves that the Deep State's lust for power is irrational bordering on madness.

[Jul 24, 2018] Trump Seeks Confrontation for Its Own Sake by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Rouhani is identifying the current administration policy of trying to strangle Iran's oil exports as a hostile act, a "declaration of war" by the U.S. against the Iranian people. Trump's hostility to Iran is such that he treats a verbal rebuke to a destructive policy he initiated as the same as a threat of attack, and he twists Rouhani's defensive statement into a call for war. ..."
"... Trump's outburst is not the response of someone interested in finding a diplomatic solution to tensions between our countries ..."
"... It is obviously the response of a belligerent bully who overreacts to the slightest opposition and seeks confrontation for its own sake. Trump's Iran obsession is extremely dangerous for both the U.S. and Iran, and it is poisoning relations with Iran for many years to come. ..."
Jul 24, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Golnar Motevalli gives the full context for the Rouhani statement that caused Trump to make his unhinged threat earlier this week:

Verbatim excerpts of what Rouhani said on Sunday. The entire statement was almost 2 hrs long. He didn't say he wants to "launch war", he said opposite but warned of what war would look like. He said US policy to choke Iran's economy is a US declaration of war against Iranians: pic.twitter.com/XcirZTWi4d

-- Golnar Motevalli (@golnarM) July 24, 2018

As I said Sunday night, it's clear that the statement from Rouhani wasn't a threat against the U.S. It was a warning not to take aggressive action against Iran. Furthermore, Rouhani is identifying the current administration policy of trying to strangle Iran's oil exports as a hostile act, a "declaration of war" by the U.S. against the Iranian people. Trump's hostility to Iran is such that he treats a verbal rebuke to a destructive policy he initiated as the same as a threat of attack, and he twists Rouhani's defensive statement into a call for war.

It shouldn't have to be said at this point, but Trump's outburst is not the response of someone interested in finding a diplomatic solution to tensions between our countries .

It is obviously the response of a belligerent bully who overreacts to the slightest opposition and seeks confrontation for its own sake. Trump's Iran obsession is extremely dangerous for both the U.S. and Iran, and it is poisoning relations with Iran for many years to come.

[Jul 21, 2018] Funny how Brennan a former communist sympathizer who voted for Gus Hall in 1976 is crying treason.

Jul 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mar July 20, 2018 at 12:01 pm

China is enjoying this as the Dems distract us without real evidence about Russia collusion we are being blindsided by them. Funny how Brennan a former communist sympathizer who voted for Gus Hall in 1976 is crying treason. Wow.
Winston , says: July 20, 2018 at 11:55 am
Brennan, who voted for the US Communist Party candidate in the 1976 election, is screaming the treason hyperbole because the CIA is most likely the origin of the Russia Collusion farce:

"According to one account, GCHQ's then head, Robert Hannigan, passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan. The matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at "director level". After an initially slow start, Brennan used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation."

BTW, Hannigan resigned for the usual "family reasons" the Monday after Trump was sworn in.

It now appears that there were three dossier versions, all coming via different unofficial channels, outside the intel community channels which was therefore unvetted. Many suspect they were all from the same source coming in from different angles to create a false impression of legitimacy.

What we are going to find out when Trump declassifies everything after the mid-term election, regardless of whether or not the Dems take the House and try to impeach him, is that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act put in place after the revelations of COINTELPRO wasn't adequate protection against the serious misuse of power.

The reason Trump won't declassify now is obvious – if you think screams of interference/obstruction are loud now, just watch after he does that, something which would harm the Reps in the mid-terms because any revelations buried within would take time to dig out and would suppressed as much as possible by the incredibly biased media.

The DOJ/FBI stalling in providing the documents demanded by Congress is an obvious stalling tactic in the hope that the Dems take the house in the mid-terms. If Clinton had won as everyone expected, we'd have never heard about any of this which is why they thought they could get away with it.

[Jul 21, 2018] The John Brennans of the world and the lib-Dem-media-neocon mob of which he is a member now routinely traffic in hyperventilating accusations of treason, have forfeited any claim to credibility or respect.

Jul 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Gerard July 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

We're at a point now where it's really difficult to have an intelligent conversation, a serious discussion, a rational debate about this stuff.

The reason being that the John Brennans of the world and the lib-Dem-media-neocon mob of which he is a member, which now routinely traffic in hyperventilating accusations of treason, have forfeited any claim to credibility or respect.

Having concocted the conspiracy-fantasy of Trump being a puppet of Putin and having contrived a farcical criminal investigation of imaginary "collusion," that same mob staged the latest ludicrous meltdown -- over Trump's bumbling, stumbling press conference in Helsinki with the Evil Monster Putin.

The only appropriate response now to people like John Brennan and his cabal of fools is sarcasm, mockery, and contempt. They are beyond the reach of reason or evidence or facts. Indeed, they have zero interest in evidence or facts. They simply emote and spew.

The main question in my mind is this: are the John Brennans of the world really stupid enough to believe their vicious nonsense or are they so hopelessly dishonest and lacking in conscience that they propagate poisonous falsehoods for the simple reason they know it advances their political agenda of delegitimizing Trump's presidency.

I'm guessing more the second than the first.

And if in the process, they whip up an atmosphere of venomous hysteria and damage U.S.-Russia relations to the point where scholars like Stephen Cohen and John Mearsheimer call the environment as dangerous as that which existed at the time of the U.S.-Soviet Cuban missile crisis and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves their Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight (as recently happened) well, you gotta break some eggs to make an omelette, right?

Honest to God, the dimension and character of this vast circus of corruption and lies is breathtaking. It's downright freaking biblical.

[Jul 21, 2018] "Fun experiment: of those old enough, how many today who believe the "Trump is a Russian asset" story, in 2003 believed the Iraq has WMD story? 'Cause the source who lied to you in 2003, the intel community, is your same source today."

Jul 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

BobS July 20, 2018 at 3:43 pm

"Fun experiment: of those old enough, how many today who believe the "Trump is a Russian asset" story, in 2003 believed the Iraq has WMD story? 'Cause the source who lied to you in 2003, the intel community, is your same source today."

Growing up as I did in the Nixon/Vietnam era, I developed a skepticism of the 'official' story, something that served me well through Iran contra, incubator babies being tossed to the floor, and WMD's (a skepticism reinforced at the time by Scott Ritter, among others). As I recall, the WMD story was less a failure of intelligence as much as an administration insisting on so-called 'stovepiped' intelligence to sell their war to an American public through a mostly compliant MSM.
Regardless, my conclusion that Trump is a "Russian asset" is a result of my belief that Trump- who has yet to disclose the financial information that would disprove that belief- is reliant on Russian money, some or all of it organized crime related, to sustain his 'empire', and that there is significant overlap between the Russian mob and the Russian government.
His actions as president haven't done anything to dispel me of my belief that he is a 'Russian asset', including his traitorous behavior this past week.

[Jul 20, 2018] Su-30 Coming to Iran Elite Russian Fighters in Iranian Hands Set be a Game Changer for the Middle East

Jul 20, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Garry Compton 21 days ago ,

So Iran has no offensive air force or any Nukes but the Israelis with their air superiority and nukes are making Iran - enemy #1. How very - American - of them.

Marko Garry Compton 21 days ago ,

" The Anglo-Zion Art of War "

1) Sweet-talk the enemy into disarming.

2) Attack the enemy.

JPH Marko 21 days ago ,

Omitted steps:
3) Sodomize with a bayonet and murder the leader
4) Have a good laugh while stating "We came, We saw, he died!".

[Jul 20, 2018] The reception of the Trump- Putin meeting is breathtaking. I have in my 61 years never witnessed such a hate and slander in the MSM

This is a war propaganda. Plain and simple. Looks like MIC like cancel is destroying this country like it destroyed the USSR.
Notable quotes:
"... They have completely forgotten the cost of the Civil War. We in Europe have not forgotten the cost of war and are not going there again. Ever. ..."
"... From badmouthing Russia to appointing Russophobes to high office, to imposing sanctions, to illegally seizing Russian diplomatic property, to committing war crimes in Syria, to a provocative military buildup in Europe, to arming the illegitimate Ukrainian "government," etc., presidential poseur Orange Clown has spent 99% of his "presidency" so far antagonizing Russia; apparently trying to provoke some kind of Russian military response. ..."
"... If it was anyone else other than Vladimir Putin calling the shots in Russia, WW3 probably would've happened already. Yet PCR claims Orange Clown wants peace with Russia? ..."
"... Two factions in the Money Party are at war with each other. Neither one is willing to level with the public as to its true aims and motives -- they are fighting viciously but under the bed sheets, which is why the spectacle looks so unhinged and silly. ..."
Jul 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

Den Lille Abe , July 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm GMT

The reception of the Trump- Putin meeting is breathtaking. I have in my 61 years never witnessed such a hate and slander in the MSM. I have after this begun to actually dismiss that Americans are sensible people! They have completely forgotten the cost of the Civil War. We in Europe have not forgotten the cost of war and are not going there again. Ever.

The US has become a lunatic asylum with nuclear weapons, never mind Kim Jong Un, look a squirrel! But the US is a threat to humanity, included it's protegé Israel, the new Apartheid state.

Harold Smith , July 20, 2018 at 1:43 pm GMT
"Is President Trump A Traitor Because He Wants Peace with Russia?"

Wait; what?

From badmouthing Russia to appointing Russophobes to high office, to imposing sanctions, to illegally seizing Russian diplomatic property, to committing war crimes in Syria, to a provocative military buildup in Europe, to arming the illegitimate Ukrainian "government," etc., presidential poseur Orange Clown has spent 99% of his "presidency" so far antagonizing Russia; apparently trying to provoke some kind of Russian military response.

If it was anyone else other than Vladimir Putin calling the shots in Russia, WW3 probably would've happened already. Yet PCR claims Orange Clown wants peace with Russia?

Note to PCR: It is Vladimir Putin who wants peace, not presidential poseur Orange Clown. If Orange Clown has had some kind of spiritual epiphany/change of heart, he's going to have to show good faith by taking some kind of unambiguous action; posturing won't suffice.

Mike P , July 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

There is a lot of truth in what you say, but it does not account for the fight we are currently witnessing. Two factions in the Money Party are at war with each other. Neither one is willing to level with the public as to its true aims and motives -- they are fighting viciously but under the bed sheets, which is why the spectacle looks so unhinged and silly.

AnonFromTN , July 20, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT
It appears that he is trying to save the US from financial collapse. Hence, he is a traitor to MIC, particularly to the obscenely greedy Pentagon contractors. The US presidents and Congress always pandered to MIC first and foremost. He broke (or at least tried to break) the pattern.
AnonFromTN , July 20, 2018 at 4:30 pm GMT
@Dillon Sweeny

You mean, s/he/it is a self-parody? The US MSM, State Department, Congress, and Administration all became self-parodies lately. It would have been funny if it weren't so sad.

[Jul 20, 2018] John Brennan, Melting Down and Covering Up by Peter Van Buren

Notable quotes:
"... It isn't a pretty face, but one scarred from a dark past, repackaged now by the frenzy of "resistance." Accusing Donald Trump recklessly, implying he knows more than he lets on, promising redemption: John Brennan is the face of American politics in 2018. ..."
"... But before all that, Brennan lived in a hole about as far down into the deep state as one can dwell while still having eyes that work in the sunlight. He was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was Obama's counterterrorism advisor, helping the president decide who to kill every week, including American citizens. He spent 25 years at the CIA, and helped shape the violent policies of the post-9/11 Bush era. He was a fan of torture and extrajudicial killing to the point that a 2012 profile of him was entitled, "The Seven Deadly Sins of John Brennan." Another writer called Brennan "the most lethal bureaucrat of all time, or at least since Henry Kissinger." Today, however, a New York Times ..."
"... On Twitter this week, Brennan cartoonishly declaimed, "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin." ..."
"... Brennan is a man of his times, all bluster and noise, knowing that so long as he says what a significant part of the country apparently believes -- that the president of the United States is under the control of the Kremlin -- he will never be challenged. ..."
"... New York Magazine ..."
"... Only after Clinton lost did it become necessary to create a crisis that might yet be inflated (it wasn't just the Russians, as originally thought, it was Trump working with them) to justify impeachment. Absent that need, Brennan would have disappeared alongside other former CIA directors into academia or the lucrative consulting industry. Instead he's a public figure with a big mouth because he has to be. That mouth has to cover his ass. ..."
"... Brennan is part of the whole-of-government effort to overturn the election. ..."
"... Yet despite all the hard evidence of treason that only Brennan and his supine journalists seem to see, everyone appears resigned to have a colluding Russian agent running the United States. You'd think it would be urgent to close this case. Instead, Brennan admonishes us to wait out an investigative process that's been underway now through two administrations. ..."
"... Is Brennan signaling that there is one step darker to consider? A Reuters commentary observes that "Trump is haunted by the fear that a cabal of national-security officers is conspiring in secret to overthrow him . Trump has made real enemies in the realm of American national security. He has struck blows against their empire. One way or another, the empire will strike back." ..."
"... Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of ..."
"... . Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell. ..."
Jul 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

He accuses Trump of treason. But what's his bluster really about?

It isn't a pretty face, but one scarred from a dark past, repackaged now by the frenzy of "resistance." Accusing Donald Trump recklessly, implying he knows more than he lets on, promising redemption: John Brennan is the face of American politics in 2018.

But before all that, Brennan lived in a hole about as far down into the deep state as one can dwell while still having eyes that work in the sunlight. He was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was Obama's counterterrorism advisor, helping the president decide who to kill every week, including American citizens. He spent 25 years at the CIA, and helped shape the violent policies of the post-9/11 Bush era. He was a fan of torture and extrajudicial killing to the point that a 2012 profile of him was entitled, "The Seven Deadly Sins of John Brennan." Another writer called Brennan "the most lethal bureaucrat of all time, or at least since Henry Kissinger." Today, however, a New York Times puff piece sweeps all that away as a "troubling inheritance."

On Twitter this week, Brennan cartoonishly declaimed, "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin."

Because it is 2018, Brennan was never asked to explain exactly how a press conference exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors the Constitution sets for impeachment, nor was he asked to lay a few cards on the table showing what Putin has on Trump. No, Brennan is a man of his times, all bluster and noise, knowing that so long as he says what a significant part of the country apparently believes -- that the president of the United States is under the control of the Kremlin -- he will never be challenged.

Brennan slithers alongside those like Nancy Pelosi and Cory Booker who said Trump is controlled by Russia, columnists in the New York Times who called him a traitor, an article (which is fast becoming the Zapruder film of Russiagate) in New York Magazine echoing former counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke in speculating that Trump met Putin as his handler, and another former intelligence officer warning that "we're on the cusp of losing the constitutional republic forever."

Brennan's bleating has the interesting side effect of directing attention away from who was watching the front door as the Russians walked in to cause what one MSNBC analyst described as a mix of Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht. During the 2016 election, Brennan was head of the CIA. His evil twin, James Clapper, who also coughs up Trump attacks for nickels these days, was director of national intelligence. James Comey headed the FBI, following Robert Mueller into the job. Yet the noise from that crowd has become so loud as to drown out any questions about where they were when they had the duty to stop the Russians in the first place.

The excuse that "everybody believed Hillary would win" is in itself an example of collusion: things that now rise to treason, if not acts of war, didn't matter then because Clinton's victory would sweep them all under the rug. Only after Clinton lost did it become necessary to create a crisis that might yet be inflated (it wasn't just the Russians, as originally thought, it was Trump working with them) to justify impeachment. Absent that need, Brennan would have disappeared alongside other former CIA directors into academia or the lucrative consulting industry. Instead he's a public figure with a big mouth because he has to be. That mouth has to cover his ass.

Brennan is part of the whole-of-government effort to overturn the election. Remember how recounts were called for amid (fake) allegations of vote tampering? Constitutional scholars proposed various Hail Mary Electoral College scenarios to unseat Trump. Lawsuits claimed the Emoluments Clause made it illegal for Trump to even assume office. The media set itself the goal of impeaching the president. On cue, leaks poured out implying the Trump campaign worked with the Russian government. It is now a rare day when the top stories are not apocalyptic, rocketed from Raw Story to the Huffington Post to the New York Times . Brennan, meanwhile, fans the media's flames with a knowing wink that says "You wait and see. Soon it's Mueller time."

Yet despite all the hard evidence of treason that only Brennan and his supine journalists seem to see, everyone appears resigned to have a colluding Russian agent running the United States. You'd think it would be urgent to close this case. Instead, Brennan admonishes us to wait out an investigative process that's been underway now through two administrations.

The IRS, meanwhile, has watched Trump for decades (they've seen the tax docs), as have Democratic and Republican opposition researchers, the New Jersey Gaming Commission, and various New York City real estate bodies. Multiple KGB/FSB agents have defected and not said a word. The whole Soviet Union has collapsed since the day that some claim Trump first became a Russian asset. Why haven't the FBI, CIA, and NSA cottoned to anything in the intervening years? Why are we waiting on Mueller Year Two?

If Trump is under Russian influence, he is the most dangerous man in American history. So why isn't Washington on fire? Why hasn't Mueller indicted someone for treason? If this is Pearl Harbor, why is the investigation moving at the pace of a mortgage application? Why is everyone allowing a Russian asset placed in charge of the American nuclear arsenal to stay in power even one more minute?

You'd think Brennan would be saying it is time to postpone chasing the indictments of Russian military officers that will never see the inside of a courtroom, stop wasting months on decades-old financial crimes unconnected to the Trump campaign, and quit delaying the real stuff over a clumsy series of perjury cases. "Patriots: Where are you???" Brennan asked in a recent tweet. Where indeed?

Is Brennan signaling that there is one step darker to consider? A Reuters commentary observes that "Trump is haunted by the fear that a cabal of national-security officers is conspiring in secret to overthrow him . Trump has made real enemies in the realm of American national security. He has struck blows against their empire. One way or another, the empire will strike back." James Clapper is confirming reports that Trump was shown evidence of Putin's election attacks and did nothing. Congressman Steve Cohen asked, "Where are our military folks? The Commander-in-Chief is in the hands of our enemy!"

Treason, traitor, coup, the empire striking back -- those are just words, Third World stuff, clickbait, right? So the more pedestrian answer must then be correct. The lessons of Whitewater and Benghazi learned, maybe the point is not to build an atmosphere of crisis leading to something undemocratic, but just to have a perpetual investigation, tickled to life as needed politically.

Because, maybe, deep down, Brennan (Clapper, Hayden, Comey, and Mueller) really do know that this is all like flying saucers and cell phone cameras. At some point, the whole alien conspiracy meme fell apart because somehow when everyone had a camera with them 24/7/365, there were no more sightings and we had to admit that our fears had gotten the best of us. The threat was inside us all along. It is now, too.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan . Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell.

[Jul 20, 2018] Trump Stays Defiant Amid a Foreign Policy Establishment Gone Mad The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
Jul 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump Stays Defiant Amid a Foreign Policy Establishment Gone Mad By Patrick J. Buchanan July 20, 2018, 12:01 AM

lev radin / Shutterstock.com "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Under the Constitution, these are the offenses for which presidents can be impeached.

And to hear our elites, Donald Trump is guilty of them all.

Trump's refusal to challenge Vladimir Putin's claim at Helsinki that his GRU boys did not hack Hillary Clinton's campaign has been called treason, a refusal to do his sworn duty to protect and defend the United States, by a former director of the CIA.

Famed journalists and former high officials of the U.S. government have called Russia's hacking of the DNC "an act of war" comparable to Pearl Harbor.

The New York Times ran a story on the many now charging Trump with treason. Others suggest Putin is blackmailing Trump, or has him on his payroll, or compromised Trump a long time ago.

Wailed Congressman Steve Cohen: "Where is our military folks? The Commander in Chief is in the hands of our enemy!"

Apparently, some on the left believe we need a military coup to save our democracy.

Not since Robert Welch of the John Birch Society called Dwight Eisenhower a "conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy" have such charges been hurled at a president. But while the Birchers were a bit outside the mainstream, today it is the establishment itself bawling "Treason!"

What explains the hysteria?

The worst-case scenario would be that the establishment actually believes the nonsense it is spouting. But that is hard to credit. Like the boy who cried "Wolf!" they have cried "Fascist!" too many times to be taken seriously.

A month ago, the never-Trumpers were comparing the separation of immigrant kids from detained adults, who brought them to the U.S. illegally, to FDR's concentration camps for Japanese Americans.

Other commentators equated the separations to what the Nazis did at Auschwitz.

If the establishment truly believed this nonsense, it would be an unacceptable security risk to let them near the levers of power ever again.

Using Occam's razor, the real explanation for this behavior is the simplest one: America's elites have been driven over the edge by Trump's successes and their failures to block him.

Trump is deregulating the economy, cutting taxes, appointing record numbers of federal judges, reshaping the Supreme Court, and using tariffs to cut trade deficits and the bully pulpit to castigate freeloading allies.

Worst of all, Trump clearly intends to carry out his campaign pledge to improve relations with Russia and get along with Vladimir Putin.

"Over our dead bodies!" the Beltway elite seems to be shouting.

Hence the rhetorical WMDs hurled at Trump: liar, dictator, authoritarian, Putin's poodle, fascist, demagogue, traitor, Nazi.

Such language approaches incitement to violence. One wonders whether the haters are considering the impact of the words they so casually use. Some of us yet recall how Dallas was charged with complicity in the death of JFK for slurs far less toxic than this.

The post-Helsinki hysteria reveals not merely the mindset of the president's enemies, but the depth of their determination to destroy him.

They intend to break Trump and bring him down, to see him impeached, removed, indicted, and prosecuted, and the agenda on which he ran and was nominated and elected dumped onto the ash heap of history.

Thursday, Trump indicated that he knows exactly what is afoot, and threw down the gauntlet of defiance: "The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war," he tweeted. "They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I'll probably have a good relationship with Putin."

Spot on. Trump is saying: I am going to call off this Cold War II before it breaks out into the hot war that nine U.S. presidents avoided, despite Soviet provocations far graver than Putin's pilfering of DNC emails showing how Debbie Wasserman Schultz stuck it to Bernie Sanders.

Then the White House suggested Vlad may be coming to dinner this fall.

Trump is edging toward the defining battle of his presidency: a reshaping of U.S. foreign policy to avoid clashes and conflicts with Russia and the shedding of Cold War commitments no longer rooted in the national interests of this country.

Yet should he attempt to carry out his agenda -- to get out of Syria, pull troops from Germany, and take a second look at NATO's Article 5 commitment to go to war for 29 nations, some of which, like Montenegro, most Americans have never heard of -- he is headed for the most brutal battle of his presidency.

This Helsinki hysteria is but a taste.

By cheering Brexit, dissing the EU, suggesting NATO is obsolete, departing Syria, trying to get on with Putin, Trump is threatening the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment with what it fears most: irrelevance.

For if there is no war on, no war imminent, and no war wanted, what does a War Party do?

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

[Jul 18, 2018] Let's See Who's Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians The American Conservative

Jul 18, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It was a remarkable moment in a remarkable press conference. President Donald Trump had just finished a controversial summit meeting in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and the two were talking to the media . Jeff Mason, a political affairs reporter with Reuters, stood up and asked Putin a question pulled straight out of the day's headlines: "Will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a U.S. grand jury?"

The "12 Russian officials" Mason spoke of were military intelligence officers accused of carrying out a series of cyberattacks against various American-based computer networks (including those belonging to the Democratic National Committee), the theft of emails and other data, and the release of a significant portion of this information to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The names and organizational affiliations of these 12 officers were contained in a detailed 29-page indictment prepared by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and subsequently made public by Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein on July 13 -- a mere three days prior to the Helsinki summit.

Vladimir Putin responded, "We have an existing agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, an existing treaty, that dates back to 1999, the mutual assistance on criminal cases. This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently."

Putin then discussed the relationship between this agreement -- the 1999 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty -- and the Mueller indictment. "This treaty has specific legal procedures," Putin noted, that "we can offer the appropriate commission headed by special attorney Mueller. He can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal and official request to us so that we would interrogate, we would hold the questioning of these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes and our enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States."

Trump Calls Off Cold War II Ron and Rand Paul Call Out Foreign Policy Hysteria

In the uproar that followed the Trump-Putin press conference , the exchange between Mason and Putin was largely forgotten amidst invective over Trump's seeming public capitulation on the issue of election interference. "Today's press conference in Helsinki," Senator John McCain observed afterwards in a typical comment, "was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."

It took an interview with Putin after the summit concluded , conducted by Fox News's Chris Wallace, to bring the specific issue of the 12 indicted Russians back to the forefront and give it context. From Putin's perspective, this indictment and the way it was handled by the United States was a political act. "It's the internal political games of the United States. Don't make the relationship between Russia and the United States -- don't hold it hostage of this internal political struggle. And it's quite clear to me that this is used in the internal political struggle, and it's nothing to be proud of for American democracy, to use such dirty methods in the political rivalry."

Regarding the indicted 12, Putin reiterated the points he had made earlier to Jeff Mason. "We -- with the United States -- we have a treaty for assistance in criminal cases, an existing treaty that exists from 1999. It's still in force, and it works sufficiently. Why wouldn't Special Counsel Mueller send us an official request within the framework of this agreement? Our investigators will be acting in accordance with this treaty. They will question each individual that the American partners are suspecting of something. Why not a single request was filed? Nobody sent us a single formal letter, a formal request."

There is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which makes all the calls for Trump to demand the extradition of the 12 Russians little more than a continuation of the "internal political games" Putin alluded to in his interview. There is, however, the treaty that Putin referenced at both the press conference and during the Wallace interview.

Signed in Moscow on June 17, 1999, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty calls for the "prevention, suppression and investigation of crimes" by both parties "in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty where the conduct that is the subject of the request constitutes a crime under the laws of both Parties."

It should be noted that the indicted 12 have not violated any Russian laws. But the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty doesn't close the door on cooperation in this matter. Rather, the treaty notes that "The Requested Party may, in its discretion, also provide legal assistance where the conduct that is the subject of the request would not constitute a crime under the laws of the Requested Party."

It specifically precludes the process of cooperating from inferring a right "on the part of any other persons to obtain evidence, to have evidence excluded, or to impede the execution of a request." In short, if the United States were to avail itself of the treaty's terms, Russia would not be able to use its cooperation as a vehicle to disrupt any legal proceedings underway in the U.S.

The legal assistance that the treaty facilitates is not inconsequential. Through it, the requesting party can, among other things, obtain testimony and statements from designated persons; receive documents, records, and other items; and arrange the transfer of persons in custody for testimony on the territory of the requesting party.

If the indictment of the 12 Russians wasn't the "dirty method" used in a domestic American "political rivalry" that Putin described, one would imagine that Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein would have availed himself of the opportunity to gather additional evidence regarding the alleged crimes. He would also have, at the very least, made a request to have these officers appear in court in the United States to face the charges put forward in the indictment. The treaty specifically identifies the attorney general of the United States "or persons designated by the Attorney General" as the "Central Authority" for treaty implementation. Given the fact that Jeff Sessions has recused himself from all matters pertaining to the investigation by the Department of Justice into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the person empowered to act is Rosenstein.

There are several grounds under the treaty for denying requested legal assistance, including anything that might prejudice "the security or other essential interests of the Requested Party." However, it also requires that the reasons for the any denial of requested assistance be put in writing. Moreover, prior to denying a request, the Requested Party "shall consult with the Central Authority of the Requesting Party to consider whether legal assistance can be given subject to such conditions as it deems necessary. If the Requesting Party accepts legal assistance subject to these conditions, it shall comply with the conditions."

By twice raising the treaty in the context of the 12 Russians, Putin has clearly signaled that Russia would be prepared to proceed along these lines.

If the indictment issued by the Department of Justice is to be taken seriously, then it is incumbent upon Rosenstein to call Putin's bluff, and submit a detailed request for legal assistance per the mandate and procedures specified in the treaty -- in short, compel Russia to either put up or shut up.

Any failure to do so would only confirm Putin's assertion that the indictment was a political game to undermine the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War .


Rob July 17, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Very cogent analysis. Putin, who's incredibly well briefed, knew exactly what he was offering, and thought that by doing so, would force the DoJ/Mueller to either take him up on his offer or otherwise display the overt politicism of the indictments. But the American anti-Trump mindhive is so completely addled, they of course miss the point entirely. The absence of reason among the anti-Trump/anti-Russia collective is truly something to behold – it's scary.
Janek , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:29 pm
The request V. Putin proposed and Scot Ritter writes about, if send to Russia, would be equivalent to 'go and whistle' and would be treated the same way the Russians treat the requests from Poland to return the remains of the Polish plane that crashed in controversial and strange circumstances near Smolensk on April 10, 2010. They, the Russians, did not return the remains of the plane up until today and the place where the plane crashed they bulldozed the ground and paved with very thick layer of concrete.

Such request would only give the Russians propaganda tools to delay and dilute any responsibility from the Russian side and at the end they would blame the USA for the whole mess with no end to their investigation, because they would investigate until the US investigators would drop dead. Anybody who seriously thinks about V.

Putin offer to investigate anything with Russia should first have his head examined by a very good, objective, and politically neutral head specialist.

b. , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:50 pm
"If the indictment issued by the Department of Justice is to be taken seriously, then it is incumbent upon Rosenstein to call Putin's bluff, and submit a detailed request for legal assistance per the mandate and procedures specified in the treaty -- in short, compel Russia to either put up or shut up.

Any failure to do so would only confirm Putin's assertion that the indictment was a political game to undermine the presidency of Donald J. Trump."

That was one long-winded way of recognizing that Putin just told the US biparty establishment behind the manufactured "Russia!" hysteria to put up or shut up.

EliteCommInc. , says: July 18, 2018 at 2:57 am
I don't think that Pres Putin has anything to lose here.

"ARTICLE 4 DENIAL OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE

The Central Authority of the Requested Party may deny legal assistance if:

(1) the request relates to a crime under military law that is not a crime under general criminal law;

(2) the execution of the request would prejudice the security or other essential interests of the Requested Party; or "whether accurate or not the treaty permits a denial of request, if said requests threaten Russian security."

Almost by definition, an investigation interrogation by the US of the personnel in question because said questioning might very well stray into other areas , unrelated to the hacking charge. Now Pres. Putin has played two cards: a treaty is in place that deals with criminal matters between the two states and surely must have known that and should have already made the formal requests in conjunction with the treaty or he didn't know either way, the rush to embarrass the president may very well backfire. As almost everything about this investigation has.

Realist , says: July 18, 2018 at 3:16 am
"The DOJ should call his bluff."

Right! That's not going to happen .the DOJ has no proof .their indictment was a ploy to queer any deal with Russia. Anybody that believes anything the 'intelligence' agencies say, without proof, is an idiot.

[Jul 18, 2018] Ron and Rand Paul Call Out Foreign Policy Hysteria by Jack Hunter

Notable quotes:
"... New York Magazine ..."
"... Manchurian Candidate ..."
"... Cutting through the crap on foreign policy is something of a Paul family tradition. ..."
"... When Ron Paul suggested on a Republican presidential primary debate stage in 2008 that U.S. foreign policy created " blowback " that led to 9/11, fellow GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani accused Paul of blaming America and defending the attackers. Paul didn't relent: "Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years." ..."
"... The American Conservative ..."
"... There are neocons in both parties who still want Ukraine and Georgia to be in NATO. That's very, very provocative. It has stimulated and encouraged nationalism in Russia. George Kennan predicted this in 1998 when we still had Yeltsin and Russia was coming in our direction. He said, "If you push NATO up against Russia's borders, nationalism will arise and their militarist tendencies will increase, and you may get someone like a Putin," basically. ..."
"... "It's a big mistake for us, not to say that we're morally equivalent or that anything Russia does is justified," Paul told Tapper. "But if we don't understand that everything we do has a reaction, we're not going to be very good at understanding and trying to have peace in our world." ..."
"... "Most Americans are understandably shocked by what they view as an unprecedented attack on our political system," the New York Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Rand Paul said Sunday, "People need to think through these things before they get so eager to rattle their sabers about wanting to have a confrontation with Russia." ..."
"... Jack Hunter is the former political editor of ..."
"... co-authored the 2011 book ..."
"... with Senator Rand Paul. ..."
Jul 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Ron and Rand Paul Call Out Foreign Policy Hysteria And like his father, the senator found himself on the wrong end of the media mob this week.

When Mitt Romney called Russia America's " number one geopolitical foe " during the 2012 election campaign, Barack Obama mocked him: "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back." Vice President Joe Biden dismissed Romney as a "Cold War holdover." Hillary Clinton said Romney was "looking backward." John Kerry said "Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV ."

Romney's Russia warning came at a time when Republicans were eager to exploit President Obama's hot mic comments to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev where he promised " more flexibility " on missile defense issues after the election. Romney, to the delight of Republican hawks and neoconservatives , was eager to portray Obama as capitulating , weak , and dangerous . For his part, Obama, who once vowed to " reset " U.S.-Russia relations, painted Romney as outdated for disparaging diplomacy.

But that was then. This week the Cold War seemed to be back in full force for many former Obama supporters, as President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of 12 Russian agents being indicted for allegedly meddling in the 2016 election.

Democrats have joined forces with Republican hawks and neoconservatives to declare Trump " weak " for engaging Russia. One MSNBC pundit said Trump's NATO criticisms were the president " doing Vladimir Putin's bidding ." New York Magazine 's Jonathan Chait went full Alex Jones when he suggested that Trump may have been a Putin agent since 1987 -- a Manchurian Candidate -esque spin reminiscent of the original Red Scare . #TraitorTrump even trended on Twitter.

In the midst of this hysteria, Senator Rand Paul was asked by CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday whether he thought Trump should demand that Putin acknowledge Russia's meddling.

"They're not going to admit it in the same way we're not going to admit that we were involved in the Ukrainian elections or the Russian election," Paul replied . "So all countries that can spy do. All countries that want to interfere in elections and have the ability to, they try." Paul insisted that U.S. and Russian meddling are not "morally equivalent," but said we must still take into account that both nations do this.

That's when "Rand Paul" began trending on Twitter.

"Rand Paul is on TV delivering line after line of Kremlin narrative, and it is absolutely stunning to watch," read one tweet with nearly 5,000 likes. Another tweet, just as popular, said , "Between McConnell hiding election interference and Rand Paul defending it, looks like Russia's already annexed Kentucky." A Raw Story headline on Paul's CNN interview read, " Stunned Jake Tapper explains why NATO exists to a Russia-defending Rand Paul ."

But was Paul really "defending" Russia? Was he even defending Russian meddling in U.S. elections? Or was he merely trying to pierce through the hysteria and portray American-Russian relations in a more accurate and comprehensive context -- something partisans left and right won't do and the mainstream media is too lazy to attempt?

Cutting through the crap on foreign policy is something of a Paul family tradition.

When Ron Paul suggested on a Republican presidential primary debate stage in 2008 that U.S. foreign policy created " blowback " that led to 9/11, fellow GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani accused Paul of blaming America and defending the attackers. Paul didn't relent: "Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years."

No one in the GOP wanted to hear what Ron Paul had to say because it challenged and largely rebutted Republicans' entire political identity at the time. Paul was roundly denounced. FrontPageMag's David Horowitz called him a " disgrace ." RedState banned all Paul supporters. The American Conservative 's Jim Antle would recall in 2012: "The optics were poor: a little-known congressman was standing against the GOP frontrunner on an issue where 90 percent of the party likely disagreed with him . Support for the war was not only nearly unanimous within the GOP, but bipartisan."

Rand Paul now poses a similar challenge to Russia-obsessed Democrats. Contra Jake Tapper sagely explaining "why NATO exists" to a supposedly ignoramus Paul, as the liberal Raw Story headline framed it, here's what the senator actually said:

There are neocons in both parties who still want Ukraine and Georgia to be in NATO. That's very, very provocative. It has stimulated and encouraged nationalism in Russia. George Kennan predicted this in 1998 when we still had Yeltsin and Russia was coming in our direction. He said, "If you push NATO up against Russia's borders, nationalism will arise and their militarist tendencies will increase, and you may get someone like a Putin," basically.

Do you think Jake Tapper Googled "George Kennan"? That's about as likely as Giuliani Googling "blowback."

"It's a big mistake for us, not to say that we're morally equivalent or that anything Russia does is justified," Paul told Tapper. "But if we don't understand that everything we do has a reaction, we're not going to be very good at understanding and trying to have peace in our world."

As for Russian spying -- was Paul just blindly defending that, too? Or did he make an important point in noting both sides do it?

"Most Americans are understandably shocked by what they view as an unprecedented attack on our political system," the New York Times reported in February. "But intelligence veterans, and scholars who have studied covert operations, have a different, and quite revealing, view."

The Times continued: "'If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all,' said Steven L. Hall, who retired in 2015 after 30 years at the C.I.A., where he was the chief of Russian operations. The United States 'absolutely' has carried out such election influence operations historically, he said, 'and I hope we keep doing it.'"

The U.S. will no doubt keep meddling in foreign elections. Russia will do the same, just as it did during the Obama administration and years prior . The cries against diplomacy and for war will ebb, flow, flip, and flop, depending on who sits in the White House and how it makes the screaming partisans feel. Many Democrats who view Trump's diplomacy with Russia as dangerous would have embraced it (and did) under Obama. Many Republicans who hail Trump's diplomatic efforts wouldn't have done so were he a Democrat. President Hillary Clinton could be having the same meeting with Putin and most Democrats would be fine with it, Russian meddling or no meddling.

So many headlines attempted to portray Paul as the partisan hack on Sunday when the opposite is actually true. It's the left, including much of the media, that's now turned hawkish towards Russia for largely partisan reasons, while Paul was making the same realist foreign policy arguments regarding NATO and U.S.-Russia relations long before the Trump presidency.

Responding to Romney's anti-Russia, anti-Obama comments in 2012, Thomas de Waal, a Russia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the New York Times , "There's a whole school of thought that Russia is one you need to work with to solve other problems in the world, rather than being the problem." Rand Paul said Sunday, "People need to think through these things before they get so eager to rattle their sabers about wanting to have a confrontation with Russia."

But think they won't and sabers they'll rattle, as yesterday's villains become today's heroes and vice versa.

Just ask Mitt Romney .

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.


Come On July 17, 2018 at 1:51 am

There's the elephant in the room, of course. Nobody seems to want to touch it yet, but everybody knows that Israeli meddling in US elections puts Russian meddling in the shade. Still, it's fascinating watching the reporting and waiting to see who will break the silence.

In the meantime, wake me up when there's something called "the Russia-American Political Action Committee" in DC. Wake me up when US politicians vie to win its favor, as they vie to win the favor of AIPAC, and win the huge financial contributions that result from getting its support. Wake me up when Russian oligarchs contribute even a fraction of what Israel donors like Sheldon Adelson already contribute to US political campaigns – and wake me up when they get results like an American president moving the US embassy to Jerusalem or an America president sending American troops to stand between Israel and its enemies Russia may have moved a few thousand votes here or there, but Israel gets American politicians to send America's children to die in Middle East wars. At the moment, Russia can only dream of meddling with that degree of success.

Yep – American elections have been corrupted by foreign countries for a long time. Russia's only problem is that it hasn't learned who to pay off, and how much. Next time Mr. Netanyahu visits Mr. Putin (and he visits him fairly often), he can give him a few pointers. And then Mr. Putin will be invited to give speeches to joint sessions of Congress. Just like Mr. Netanyahu. And freshmen US congressmen will be frog-marched to Russia for instructions, just like they're already frog-marched to Israel.

cynthia , says: July 17, 2018 at 7:50 am
President Trump took a slice out of the Military Industrial Complex yesterday. John McCain and war mongers went crazy. The SWAMP IS ANGRY!
connecticut farmer , says: July 17, 2018 at 8:26 am
Russia has been engaging in international espionage dating back at least to Peter the Great. As such, they play the game as well as, or possibly better, than anyone. They, like we, will do what is necessary-even to the point of injecting themselves in the internal affairs of another country–if they deem it in their interest to do so or, as the cliche has it, "in the interest of state". Not very nice but–that's the way the game is played.

Thank you, Rand Paul and Mr. Hunter, for injecting some much needed sanity into this debate.

Youknowho , says: July 17, 2018 at 8:49 am
I said it before, and I will repeat it here:

There is no need to demonize the Russians. Their country has national interests and goals. If they are patriots, the Russians will seek to advance those interests and goals.

We also have interests and goals, and if we are patriots, we seek to advance them (though we disagree on what our real interests are and what our goals should be).

When our interests concide with that of Russia we collaborate. When they clash, we seek to undermine each other.

The Russians seem to have been doing it, as their interests now clash with ours. Nothing to be worked out about. That's how the game is played.

Which does not mean that we should defend ourselves strenuously from such undermining. And the President is precisely tasked with defending this country and advance its interests. This he seems to be unable to do.

Do not hate the Russians. Do not demonize them. But be aware of what they are doing, because we are NOT in a Kumbayah moment with them.

Andy Johnson , says: July 17, 2018 at 8:56 am
Well done, Mr. Hunter. It's a shame that the Pauls' position on foreign policy is not shared by ostensibly "libertarian" commentators who value DC cocktail parties above all principles.
Johann , says: July 17, 2018 at 10:27 am
The left's hatred of Russia goes even deeper than US partisan politics. They hate them because they gave up their world-wide communism ideology. And they hate them because they are not fully on board with the LGBQTXYZ movement.
David Smith , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:08 am
The real problem with Russia is that it exists, and it is too big for us to control. The real problem with Putin is that he is the first strong leader Russia has had since the fall of the Soviet Union, and he is messing up our plans for world hegemony.

As one who grew up during the Cold War (the real one) and lived through the whole thing (the Iron Curtain, the Warsaw Pact, the crushing of Hungary, communists behind every door and under every bed), I find it very hard to take all the current hysteria about Russia very seriously.

connecticut farmer , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:19 am
@Youknowwho

Sane, reasonable comments. Totally agree with your sentiments. Unfortunately, since we live in a 3-ring media circus, so few people will listen or pay heed. In a world possibly even more dangerous than any time since the Cold War, the act of demonizing one of the two greatest nuclear powers on earth is surely madness.

General Manager , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:26 am
CNN etc. headlines are not even thinly veiled editorials against Trump. Not related to just publishing the news. But telling readers how to think. Mainstream media has an M&M type coating. Remove the outer shell and you find the good old boys and girls as ever-lurking and ever vigilant Neocon Nation pushing their one and only agenda on the American people. They are insatiable as long as they do not do the fighting and dying. Stay tough Trump and realize short of complete capitulation you cannot satisfy these people.
Ryszard Ewiak , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:37 am
Donald Trump took a step towards peace. Of course, not everyone likes this. As can be seen, Donald Trump has many enemies, even among Republicans. They want war. These are people dangerous to America and the world.

What is better: peace with Russia, or a global nuclear war?

The Book of Revelation warns: "And another horse, fiery red, came out, and the one who rode it was granted permission to take peace from the earth, so that people would butcher one another, and he was given a huge sword." (6:4) "The great sword" – what does it mean?

Jesus gave many important details: "Terrors [φοβητρα] both [τε] and [και] unusual phenomena [σημεια – unusual occurrences, transcending the common course of nature] from [απ] sky [ουρανου] powerful [μεγαλα] will be [εσται]." (Luke 21:11)

Some ancient manuscripts contain the words "and frosts" [και χειμωνες] (we call this today "nuclear winter"), and in Mark 13:8 "and disorders" [και ταραχαι] (in the sense of confusion and chaos). There will be also significant tremors, food shortages and epidemics along the length and breadth of the regions as a result of using this weapon.

This weapon will also cause climate change, catastrophic drought and global famine. (cf. Revelation 6:5, 6)

So here we have a complete picture of the consequences of the global nuclear war. Is there any sense in speeding up this war?

Angolo , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:38 am
Trump's "treason"? What a laugh.

He called out the perfidy and incompetence of American intelligence and foreign policy officials during the Obama era, as he should have. He wants a productive relationship with a declining nuclear and regional power, as he should have. Is Putin a nice man? No. But neither is he a pusillanimous Leftist eurotwit.

I'm glad to see adults in the room, at long last. The Sixties are over, baby. Good riddance.

Countme-a-Demon , says: July 17, 2018 at 11:44 am
"Of course the Paul's are right as they always are."

Always?

"A number of the newsletters criticized civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., calling him a pedophile and "lying socialist satyr".[2][15] These articles told readers that Paul had voted against making Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a federal public holiday, saying "Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day."[2][16][17] During the 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns, Paul and his supporters said that the passages denouncing King were not a reflection of Paul's own views because he considers King a "hero".[18][19][20″

That last sentence is a hoot. Talk about "hysteria", but, go ahead, repeat Paul's lies that he knew nothing about his own newsletter.

Johann:

"The left's hatred of Russia goes even deeper than US partisan politics. They hate them because they gave up their world-wide communism ideology. And they hate them because they are not fully on board with the LGBQTXYZ movement."

Do fake news much?

https://medium.com/@FreisinnigeZtg/did-the-kremlin-support-ron-paul-in-2008-f6b6ca4b58f9

Like the NRA, The American Conservative needs to open "The Russian Conservative" chapters in Putin's conservative Russia to protect Putin's murderous government.

It could be that the "Left", whatever that is in addlepated minds, merely desires a little real politik in our relations with relations with Putin's Russia.

It's hard to tell the difference between ex-KGB Putin and ex-republicans like Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

The latter two make "full of crap" seem mild praise.

Clifford , says: July 17, 2018 at 12:08 pm
You lost me at "Ron Paul." Sorry.
Reader , says: July 17, 2018 at 12:17 pm
Off the top of my head, a few egregious examples in which the US government has "meddled" in other countries during the last 100 years:

Mexico (Woodrow Wilson had thousands of US troops occupying Mexico until calling them back to "meddle" in Europe's War to End All Wars, setting the stage for an even worse war 20 years later.)

Russia (Woodrow Wilson used the US military to "meddle" in the Russian revolution after the War to End All Wars.)

Korea (undeclared war)

Vietnam (undeclared war)

Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, and much of the rest of Central and South America.

Iran (helped overthrow its government in the 1950s and install the Shah of Iran, setting the stage for the Iranian revolution.)

Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt.

Yemen (huge humanitarian disaster as I write this. US government fully supporting head-chopping Saudi Arabians in their campaign to starve, sicken and blow to bits hundreds of thousands of people. Support includes US planes in-flight fueling of Saudi fighter/bomber jets.)

And let us not forget the enormous "meddling" in numerous US government elections and policy debates by . . . Israel.

Good Reason , says: July 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm
I vote with Angolo's comment:

"He called out the perfidy and incompetence of American intelligence and foreign policy officials during the Obama era, as he should have. He wants a productive relationship with a declining nuclear and regional power, as he should have. Is Putin a nice man? No. But neither is he a pusillanimous Leftist eurotwit."

It's important to understand what the US intelligence community is calling "interference in our election." There has been no accusation that the Russians hacked into our electronic voting and changed results. Rather, they did what we have done in other countries–the Russians ran an influence campaign. They bought ads and created bots to spread the word. This is so utterly tame . . . there is nothing out of the ordinary US playbook here.

Hacking the DNC server and revealing underhanded DNC doings? Hey, that's on the DNC for being both venal and incompetent.

anonymous , says: July 17, 2018 at 2:21 pm
Anybody in 1962 shouting wild paranoid conspiracy theories about

THERE ARE RUSSIAN SPIES EVERYWHERE, THEY'RE TRYING TO TAKE OVER AMERICA

These people in 1962 would be (correctly) dismissed as Right Wing conspiracy kooks, now it's just standard Lib Dems, RINOs, Neo Conservatives and fake news lying press.

We commissioned this Farstar comics with this theme – I mean like who in 2018 is really scared that Russians like Anna Kournikova are going to take over America –

Who's in bed with the Russians?

I wish that was me!

https://goo.gl/images/3HbsbS

b. , says: July 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm
Unfortunately, Rand Paul is acting, but not on principle or in good faith. If he really wanted to stand against manufactured hysteria, he would not accept the US "intelligence" agency claims and refer to their record – e.g. on Iraq and before regarding stability of the Soviet Union – he would question the staggering difficulties of attribution and forensics for networked, digital attacks (the main reason why any claims about who hacked whom have to be read with skepticism), he would point to the corruption of our foreign politics by Saudi and Israeli interests and money within the Trump-Kushner clan, and both parties, and he would compare the alleged – and allegedly ineffectual – attempts to influence an already ridiculous election to the very real, pervasive and corrupting impact of GOP voter disenfranchisement and bipartisan gerrymandering in service of incumbents and their networks.

Rand Paul is the man who was going to stand against the Haspel appointment. He is a phoney, but he serves as a weather vane for niche politicians on how the winds are turning.

You can find the same token opposition here:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/07/11/russia-nato-editorials-debates/36799277/

Nothing about New START, no word about how George Bush made a promise that might have been in bad faith, how Gorbachev was foolish enough to accept it, and how Bill Clinton broke it across the board, and piled on by targeting Serbia in the Balkan conflict. Kennan did not refer to the Ukraine on his missive.

If Rand Paul is our last best hope, we are in deep trouble.

Kurt Gayle , says: July 17, 2018 at 2:41 pm
Jack Hunter " Senator Rand Paul was asked by CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday whether he thought Trump should demand that Putin acknowledge Russia's meddling."

(0:01) TAPPER: 48 hours ago the US government, the Trump administration, said the top Russian military intelligence officers orchestrated a massive hack to affect the US election. How much do you want President Trump to try to hold Putin accountable for that?

PAUL: I think really we mistake our response if we think it's about accountability from the Russians. They're another country. They're going to spy on us. They do spy on us. They're going to interfere in our elections. We also do the same. Dov Levin at Carnegie Mellon studied this over about a 50-year period in the last century and found 81 times that the US interfered in other countries' elections. So we all do it. What we need to do is to make sure that our electoral process is protected. And I think because this has gotten partisan and it's all about partisan politics we have forgotten that really the most important thing is the integrity of our election. And there are things we can do and things that I've advocated: Making sure it's decentralized all the way down to the precinct level; making sure we don't store all the data in one place, even for a state, and that there's a back-up way so that someone in a precinct can say, 'Two thousand people signed in, this was the vote tally I sent to headquarters.' There's a lot of ways that we can back-up our election. Advertising, things like that, it's tricky. Can we restrict the Russians? We might be able to in some ways, but I think at the bottom line we wanted the Russians to admit it. They're not going to admit it in the same way we're not going to admit that we were involved in the Ukrainian elections or the Russian elections. So all countries that can spy do. All countries that want to interfere in elections and have the ability to, they try."

TAPPER: It sounds as though you are saying that the United States has done the equivalent of what the Russians did in the 2016 election, and it might sound to some viewers that you're offering that statement as an excuse for what the Russians did.

PAUL: No, what I would say is it's not morally equivalent, but I think in their mind it is. And I think it's important to know in your adversary's mind the way that they perceive things. I do think that they react to our interference in both their elections. One of the reasons they really didn't like Hillary Clinton is they found her responsible for some of the activity by the US in their elections under the Obama administration. So I'm not saying it's justified

TAPPER: But surely, Senator Paul, the United States has never done what the Russians did.

PAUL: I'm not saying they're equivalent, or morally equivalent, but I am saying that this is the way that the Russians respond. So if you want to know how we have better diplomacy, or better reactions, we have to know their response. But it's not just interference in elections that I think has caused this nationalism in Russia. Also, I think part of the reason is is we promised them when James Baker, at the end when Germany reunified, we promised them that we wouldn't go one inch eastward of Germany with NATO, and we've crept up on the borders, and we still have neocons in both parties who want Ukraine and Georgia to be in NATO.

That's very, very provocative and it has stimulated and encouraged nationalism in Russia. George Kennan predicted this. In 1998 when we still had Yeltsin and Russia was coming in our direction, he said, if you push NATO up against Russia's borders, nationalism will arise and their militarist tendencies will increase, and you may get someone like a Putin, basically.

George Kennan predicted the rise of Putin in 1998. And so we have to understand that for every action we have, there is a reaction. And it's a big mistake for us -- not to say that we're morally equivalent or that anything that Russia does is justified – but if we don't realize that everything we do has a reaction, we're not going to be very good at understanding and trying to have peace in the world (3:38)

Coupon Cutter , says: July 17, 2018 at 3:32 pm
It's pretty weird to read articles about "meddling" in US elections and not see the word "Israel" anywhere.

How much pro-Russia money was spent on "meddling" in 2016? How much pro-Israel money was spent "meddling" in 2016?

[Jul 09, 2018] The CIA s return to the bad old days, when it engaged in a global program of assassinating political leaders

Notable quotes:
"... IS THE LEASH NOW OFF THE 'OTHER CIA?' https://southfront.org/is-the-leash-now-off-the-other-cia/ ..."
"... Under Donald Trump, who is on record favoring CIA kidnapping and torture programs, the CIA has been given a green light to carry out "targeted assassinations." ..."
Jul 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

redmudhooch , July 3, 2018 at 12:58 pm GMT

IS THE LEASH NOW OFF THE 'OTHER CIA?' https://southfront.org/is-the-leash-now-off-the-other-cia/

Under Donald Trump, who is on record favoring CIA kidnapping and torture programs, the CIA has been given a green light to carry out "targeted assassinations."

Although most of these targeted kills have been carried out by drone attacks in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, where civilian deaths from "collateral damage" are estimated to be well over three hundred, recent events point to the CIA's return to the "bad old days," when it engaged in a global program of assassinating political leaders.

... ... ...

[Jul 05, 2018] Stuxnet opened a can of worms

Jul 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

...Stuxnet, which was thought to be a joint American-Israeli assault on Iran's nuclear program. And there are reports of U.S. attempts to similarly hamper North Korean missile development. Some consider such direct attacks on other governments to be akin to acts of war. Would Washington join Moscow in a pledge to become a good cyber citizen?

[Jul 05, 2018] Putin-Phobia, the Only Bipartisan Game in Town by Doug Bandow

Jul 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Few issues generate a bipartisan response in Washington. President Donald Trump's upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin is one.

Democrats who once pressed for détente with the Soviet Union act as if Trump will be giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Neoconservatives and other Republican hawks are equally horrified, having pressed for something close to war with Moscow since the latter's annexation of Crimea in 2014. Both sides act as if the Soviet Union has been reborn and Cold War has restarted.

Russia's critics present a long bill of requirements to be met before they would relax sanctions or otherwise improve relations. Putin could save time by agreeing to be an American vassal.

Topping everyone's list is Russian interference in the 2016 election, which was outrageous. Protecting the integrity of our democratic system is a vital interest, even if the American people sometimes treat candidates with contempt. Before joining the administration National Security Adviser John Bolton even called Russian meddling "a casus belli , a true act of war."

Washington Melts Down Over Prospect of Trump-Putin Meeting America the Hyperpowerful

Yet Washington has promiscuously meddled in other nations' elections. Carnegie Mellon's Dov H. Levin figured that between 1946 and 2000 the U.S. government interfered with 81 foreign contests, including the 1996 Russian poll. Retired U.S. intelligence officers freely admit that Washington has routinely sought to influence other nations' elections.

Yes, of course, Americans are the good guys and favor politicians and parties that the other peoples would vote for if only they better understood their own interests -- as we naturally do. Unfortunately, foreign governments don't see Uncle Sam as a Vestal Virgin acting on behalf of mankind. Indeed, Washington typically promotes outcomes more advantageous to, well, Washington. Perhaps Trump and Putin could make a bilateral commitment to stay out of other nations' elections.

Another reason to shun Russia, argued Senator Rob Portman, is because "Russia still occupies Crimea and continues to fuel a violent conflict in eastern Ukraine." Moscow annexed Crimea after a U.S.-backed street putsch ousted the elected but highly corrupt Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The territory historically was Russian, turned over to Ukraine most likely as part of a political bargain in the power struggle following Joseph Stalin's death. A majority of Crimeans probably wanted to return to Russia. However, the annexation was lawless.

Rather like America's dismemberment of Serbia, detaching Kosovo after mighty NATO entered the final civil war growing out of the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Naturally, the U.S. again had right on its side -- it always does! -- which obviously negated any obligations created by international law. Ever-virtuous Washington even ignored the post-victory ethnic cleansing by Albanian Kosovars

Still, this makes Washington's complaints about Russia seem just a bit hypocritical: do as we say, not as we do. In August 2008 John McCain expressed outrage over Russia's war with Georgia, exclaiming: "In the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations." Apparently he forgot that five years before the U.S. invaded Iraq, with McCain's passionate support. Here, too, the two presidents could agree to mutual forbearance.

Worse is the conflict in the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, between the Ukrainian army and separatists backed by Russia. Casualty estimates vary widely, but are in the thousands. Moscow successfully weakened Kiev and prevented its accession to NATO. However, that offers neither legal nor moral justification for underwriting armed revolt.

Alas, the U.S. again comes to Russia with unclean hands. Washington is supporting the brutal war by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates against Yemen. Area specialists agree that the conflict started as just another violent episode in a country which has suffered civil strife and war for decades. The Houthis, a tribal/ethnic/religious militia, joined with their long-time enemy, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, to oust his successor, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi attacked to reinstall a pliable regime and win economic control. The U.S. joined the aggressors . At least Russia could claim national security was at stake, since it feared Ukraine might join NATO.

The "coalition" attack turned the Yemeni conflict into a sectarian fight, forced the Houthis to seek Iranian aid, and allowed Tehran to bleed its Gulf rivals at little cost. Human rights groups agree that the vast majority of civilian deaths and bulk of destruction have been caused by Saudi and Emirati bombing, with Washington's direct assistance. The humanitarian crisis includes a massive cholera epidemic. The security consequences include empowering al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Perhaps the U.S. and Russian governments could commit to jointly forgo supporting war for frivolous causes.

Human carnage and physical destruction are widespread in Syria. It will take years to rebuild homes and communities; the hundreds of thousands of dead can never be replaced. Yet Moscow has gone all out to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. The Heritage Foundation's Luke Coffey and Alexis Mrachek demand that Moscow end its support for Assad "and demonstrate a genuine willingness to work with the international community to bring a political end to the Syrian civil war." The American Enterprise Institute's Leon Aron urged "a true Russian withdrawal from Syria, specifically ceding control of the Hmeymim airbase and dismantling recent expansions to the Tartus naval facility."

But the U.S. is in no position to complain. Washington's intervention has been disastrous, first discouraging a negotiated settlement, then promoting largely non-existent moderate insurgents, backing radicals, including the al-Qaeda affiliate (remember 9/11!?) against Assad, simultaneously allying with Kurds and Turks, and taking over the fight against the Islamic State even though virtually everyone in the Mideast had reason to oppose the group.

At least Russia, invited by the recognized government, had a reason to be there. Moscow's alliance with Syria dates back to the Cold War and poses no threat to America, which is allied with Israel, the Gulf States, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt. Washington also possesses military facilities in Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. For most Middle Eastern countries Moscow is primarily a bargaining chip to extort more benefits from America. Trump could propose that both countries withdraw from Syria.

Coffey and Mracek also express outrage that Moscow "has weaponized its natural gas exports to Europe, turning off the tap when countries dare go against its wishes." Russia's customers should not fear coercion via cut-off. Of course, the U.S. never uses its economic power for political ends. Other than to routinely impose economic sanctions on a variety of nations on its naughty list. And to penalize not only American firms, but businesses from every other nation .

Indeed, the Trump administration is insisting that every company in every country stop doing business with Iran. The U.S. government will bar violators from the U.S. market or impose ruinous fines on them. The Trump administration plans to sanction even its European allies, those most vulnerable to Russian energy politics. Which suggests a modus vivendi that America's friends likely would applaud: both Washington and Moscow could promise not to take advantage of other nations' economic vulnerabilities for political ends.

Cyberwar is a variant of economic conflict. Heritage's Mracek cited "the calamitous cyberattack, NotPetya," as "part of Russia's effort to destabilize Ukraine even further than in the past." Yes, a criminal act. Of course, much the same could be said of Stuxnet, which was thought to be a joint American-Israeli assault on Iran's nuclear program. And there are reports of U.S. attempts to similarly hamper North Korean missile development. Some consider such direct attacks on other governments to be akin to acts of war. Would Washington join Moscow in a pledge to become a good cyber citizen?

Virtually everyone challenges Russia on human rights. Moscow falls far short, with Putin's control of the media, manipulation of the electoral process, and violence against those perceived as regime enemies. In this regard, at least, America is far better.

But many U.S. allies similarly fail this test. For instance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has created an authoritarian state retaining merely the forms of democracy. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has constructed a tyranny more brutal than that of Hosni Mubarak. Saudi Arabia's monarchy allows neither religious nor political freedom, and has grown more repressive under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It is not just Trump who remains largely silent about such assaults on people's basic liberties. So do many of the president's critics, who express horror that he would deal with such a man as Putin.

Moscow will not be an easy partner for the U.S. Explaining that "nobody wanted to listen to us" before he took over, in March Putin declared: "You hear us now!" Compromise is inevitable, but requires respect for both nations' interests. A starting point could be returning the two nations' embassies to full strength and addressing arms control, such as the faltering Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and soon-expiring Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. A larger understanding based on NATO ending alliance expansion in return for Russia withdrawing from the conflict in the Donbas would be worth pursuing.

Neither the U.S. nor the Russian Federation can afford to allow their relations to deteriorate into another Cold War. Russia is too important on too many issues, including acting as a counterweight to China, the most serious geopolitical challenge to the U.S. Hopefully the upcoming summit will begin the difficult process of rebuilding a working relationship between Washington and Moscow.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Jun 25, 2018] Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Fighting Alongside US Rebels in Syria's South?

Jun 25, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

DARAA, Syria – At first glance, all appears calm in this southern Syrian city where protests first broke out seven years ago. Residents mill around shops in preparation for the evening Iftar meal when they break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

But the tension is nonetheless palpable in this now government-controlled city. A few weeks ago, Russian-brokered reconciliation talks in southern Syria fell apart when Western-backed militants rejected a negotiated peace.

Whether there will now be a full-on battle for the south or not, visits last week to Syria's three southern governorates, Daraa, Quneitra, and Suweida, reveal a startling possibility: al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise -- the Nusra Front -- appears to be deeply entrenched alongside these U.S.-backed militants in key, strategic towns and villages scattered throughout the south.

U.S. media and think tanks obfuscate this fact by referring to all opposition fighters as "rebels" or "moderates." Take a look at their maps and you only see three colors: red for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies, green for opposition forces, black for ISIS.

No More Utopian Dreams on Syria War Without a Rationale

So then, where is the Nusra Front, long considered by Western pundits to be one of the most potent fighting forces against the SAA? Have they simply -- and conveniently -- been erased from the Syrian battle map?

Discussions with Syrian military experts, analysts, and opposition fighters during my trip revealed that Nusra is alive and kicking in the southern battlefields. The map below specifically identifies areas in the south controlled by Nusra, but there are many more locations that do not appear where Nusra is present and shares power with other militants.

Despite its U.S. and UN designation as a terrorist organization, Nusra has been openly fighting alongside the "Southern Front," a group of 54 opposition militias funded and commanded by a U.S.-led war room based in Amman, Jordan called the Military Operations Center (MOC).

Specifics about the MOC aren't easy to come by, but sources inside Syria -- both opposition fighters and Syrian military brass (past and present) -- suggest the command center consists of the U.S., UK, France, Jordan, Israel, and some Persian Gulf states.

They say the MOC supplies funds, weapons, salaries, intel, and training to the 54 militias, many of which consist of a mere 200 or so fighters that are further broken down into smaller groups, some only a few dozen strong.

SAA General Ahmad al-Issa, a commander for the frontline in Daraa, says the MOC is a U.S.-led operation that controls the movements of Southern Front "terrorists" and is highly influenced by Israel's strategic goals in the south of Syria -- one of which is to seize control of its bordering areas to create a "buffer" inside Syrian territories.

How does he know this? Issa says his information comes from a cross-section of sources, including reconciled/captured militants and intel from the MOC itself. The general cites MOC's own rulebook for militants as an example of its Israel-centricity: "One, never threaten or approach any Israeli border in any way. Two, protect the borders with (Israeli-occupied) Golan so no one can enter Israel."

To illustrate the MOC's control over southern militants, Issa cites further regulations: "three, never take any military action before clearing with MOC first. Four, if the MOC asks groups to attack or stop, they must do so."

What happens if these rules are not upheld? "They will get their salaries cut," says Issa.

The armed opposition groups supported by the MOC are mostly affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), itself an ill-defined, highly fungible group of militants who have changed names and affiliations with frequency during the Syrian conflict.

Over the course of the war, the FSA has fought alongside the Nusra Front and ISIS -- some have even joined them. Today, despite efforts to whitewash the FSA and Southern Front as "non-sectarian" and non-extremist , factions like the Yarmouk Army, Mu'tazz Billah Brigade, Salah al-Din Division, Fajr al-Islam Brigade, Fallujah al-Houran Brigade, the Bunyan al-Marsous grouping, Saifollah al-Masloul Brigade, and others are currently occupying keys areas in Daraa in cooperation with the Nusra Front.

None of this is news to American policymakers. Even before the MOC was established in February 2014, Nusra militants were fronting vital military maneuvers for the FSA. As one Daraa opposition activist explains: "The FSA and al-Nusra join together for operations but they have an agreement to let the FSA lead for public reasons, because they don't want to frighten Jordan or the West . Operations that were really carried out by al-Nusra are publicly presented by the FSA as their own."

Efforts to conceal the depth of cooperation between Nusra and the FSA go right to the top. Says one FSA commander in Daraa: "In many battles, al-Nusra takes part, but we don't tell the (MOC) operations room about it."

It's highly doubtful that the U.S. military remains unaware of this. The Americans operate on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis with regard to FSA-Nusra cooperation. In a 2015 interview with this reporter , CENTCOM spokesman Lieutenant Commander Kyle Raines was quizzed about why Pentagon-vetted fighters' weapons were showing up in Nusra hands. Raines responded: " We don't 'command and control' these forces -- we only 'train and enable' them. Who they say they're allying with, that's their business."

In practice, the U.S. doesn't appear to mind the Nusra affiliation -- regardless of the fact that the group is a terror organization -- as long as the job gets done.

U.S. arms have been seen in Nusra's possession for many years now, including highly valued TOW missiles , which were game-changing weapons in the Syrian military theater. When American weapons end up in al-Qaeda hands during the first or second year of a conflict, one assumes simple errors in judgment. When the problem persists after seven years, however, it starts to look like there's a policy in place to look the other way.

It's also not difficult to grasp why U.S. maps patently ignore evidence of Nusra embedded among U.S.-supported militias. The group, after all, is exempt from ceasefires, viewed as a fair target for military strikes at all times.

In December 2015, UN Security Council Resolution 2254 called for "Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da'esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council" (emphasis added). Furthermore, the resolution makes clear that ceasefires "will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities."

This essentially means that the Syrian army and its allies can tear apart any areas in the south of Syria where Nusra fighters -- and "entities associated" with it -- are based. In effect, international law provides a free hand for a Syrian military assault against U.S.-backed militias co-located with Nusra, and undermines the ability of their foreign sponsors to take retaliatory measures.

That's why the Nusra Front doesn't show up on U.S. maps.

In an interview last week, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad blamed the sudden breakdown of southern reconciliation efforts on "Israeli and American interference," which he says "put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution."

Today, the Israeli border area with Syria is dotted with Nusra and ISIS encampments, which Israel clearly prefers over the Syrian army and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies. The Wall Street Journal even reported last year that Israel was secretly providing funding for salaries, food, fuel, and munitions to militants across its border.

In early June, two former Islamist FSA members (one of them also a former Nusra fighter) in Beit Jinn -- a strategic area bordering Syria, Lebanon, and Israel -- told me that Israel had been paying their militia's salaries for a year before a reconciliation deal was struck with the Syrian government. "Every month Israel would send us $200,000 to keep fighting," one revealed. "Our leaders were following the outside countries. We were supported by MOC, they kept supporting us till the last minute," he said.

Earlier that day, in the village of Hadar in the Syrian Golan, members of the Druze community described a bloody Nusra attack last November that killed 17: "All the people here saw how Israel helped Nusra terrorists that day. They covered them with live fire from the hilltops to help Nusra take over Hadar. And at the end of the fights, Israel takes in the injured Nusra fighters and provides them with medical services," says Marwan Tawil, a local English teacher.

"The ceasefire line (Syrian-Israeli border) is 65 kilometers between here to Jordan, and only this area is under the control of the SAA," explains Hadar's mayor. "Sixty kilometers is with Nusra and Israel and only the other five are under the SAA."

Israel is so heavily vested in keeping Syria and its allies away from its borders, it has actively bolstered al-Qaeda and other extremists in Syria's southern theater. As Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon famously explained in 2016, "In Syria, if the choice is between Iran and the Islamic State, I choose the Islamic State." To justify their interventions in the battle ahead, the U.S. and Israel claim that Iranian and Hezbollah forces are present in the south, yet on the ground in Daraa and Quneitra, there is no visible sight of either.

Multiple sources confirm this in Daraa, and insist that that there are only a handful of Hezbollah advisors -- not fighters -- in the entire governorate.

So why the spin? "This is a public diplomacy effort to make the West look like they've forced Iran and Hezbollah out of the south," explains General Issa.

The U.S., Israel, and their allies cannot win this southern fight. They can only prolong the insecurity for a while before the SAA decides to launch a military campaign against the 54-plus-militias-Nusra occupying the south of Syria. The end result is likely to be a negotiated settlement peppered with a few "soft battles" to eject the more hardline militants.

As one SAA soldier on the scene in Daraa tells me: "Fifty-four factions in a small area shows weakness more than it shows strength." And their cooperation with the Nusra Front just makes the targets on their backs even larger.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics based in Beirut.

[Jun 24, 2018] American Empire Demands a Caesar by Bruce Fein

Notable quotes:
"... Process ..."
Jun 25, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Trump is hardly our first emperor. The warfare state has been trampling the Constitution for a long time. Credit: Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock The United States has adorned its president with extravagance that makes Roman emperors appear frugal by comparison. And such visible signs of the deification of our president are complemented by legal doctrines that echo Richard Nixon's once discredited claim to David Frost: "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal."

These extra-constitutional developments reflect the transformation of the United States from a republic, whose glory was liberty and whose rule of law was king, to an empire, whose glory is global dominion and whose president is law. The Constitution's architects would be shocked to learn that contemporary presidents play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to any person on the planet deemed a threat to national security on the basis of secret, untested evidence known only to the White House.

An empire demands a Caesar and blind obedience from its citizens. World leadership through the global projection of military force cannot be exercised with checks and balances and a separation of powers that arrests speed and invites debate. Napoleon lectured: "Nothing in war is more important than unity of command . Better one bad general than two good ones." And Lord Tennyson, saluting the British Empire, versified in The Charge of the Light Brigade :

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"

Was there a man dismayed?

Not though the soldier knew

Someone had blundered.

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

As justice requires the appearance of justice, a Caesar requires the appearance of a Caesar. Thus is the president protected by platoons of Secret Service agents. The White House, by closing previously open avenues through the heart of the capital and shielding the president from citizen detractors, has become a castle. The White House staff has expanded and aggrandized power at the expense of Cabinet officials confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Debate, encouraged by the separation of powers, is superfluous where support for empire is underwritten by the multi-trillion-dollar military-industrial-counterterrorism complex, as it is in the United States. The Republican and Democratic parties are unified behind at least seven ongoing unconstitutional presidential wars and climbing trillion-dollar national security budgets.

Our warfare state has given birth to subsidiary surveillance, crony capitalism, and a welfare state. Congress and the judicial branch have become largely sound and fury, signifying nothing. The Constitution's separation of powers is atrophying.

The life of the law is not justice but genuflections to power. It manufactures doctrines that honor the power principle that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. When the configuration of power changes, the law adapts accordingly. The adaptations may not be instantaneous, but they are inexorable. This is not surprising. Judges are not born like Athena from the head of Zeus. They are selected through a political process that vets them for compatibility with the views of their political benefactors. Benjamin Cardozo observed in The Nature of the Judicial Process : "The great tides and currents which engulf the rest of men do not turn aside in their course and pass the judges by."

The United States has become the largest and most actively garrisoned empire in history, built up by World War II and the 1991 disintegration of the Soviet Union. Our empire has, among other things, approximately 800 military bases in more than 70 countries, over 240,000 active duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories , de facto or de jure commitments to defend 70 countries, and presidential wars as belligerents or co-belligerents in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The president has by necessity become a Caesar irrespective of whether the occupant of the White House possesses recessive or dominant genes. The law has adapted accordingly, destroying the Constitution like a wrecking ball.

At present, the president with impunity initiates war in violation of the Declare War Clause; kills American citizens in violation of the Due Process Clause; engages in indiscriminate surveillance his own citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment; substitutes executive agreements for treaties to circumvent the requirements of Senate ratifications by two-thirds majorities in violation of the Treaty Clause; substitutes executive orders for legislation in violation of Article I, section 1; issues presidential signing statements indistinguishable from line-item vetoes in violation of the Presentment Clause; wields vast standard-less delegations of legislative authority in violation of the Constitution's separation of powers; brandishes a state secrets privilege to block judicial redress for unconstitutional executive action in violation of due process; refuses submission to congressional oversight in violation of the congressional power of inquiry; and declines to defend defensible duly enacted laws in violation of the Take Care Clause.

The Constitution will be reborn only if the American people reject their Empire in favor of a republic where individual liberty is the summum bonum. The odds of that happening are not good.

Bruce Fein was associate deputy attorney general and general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission under President Reagan and counsel to the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran. He is a partner in the law firm of Fein & DelValle PLLC.

[Jun 22, 2018] Close All the Military Bases by Michael J. Ard

Jun 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Anthropologist David Vine spent several years visiting and investigating U.S military bases abroad. To put it mildly, he disapproves of what he found. In his sweeping critique, Base Nation , Vine concludes that Washington's extensive network of foreign bases -- he claims there are about 800 of them -- causes friction with erstwhile American allies, costs way too much money, underwrites dictatorships, pollutes the environment, and morally compromises the country. Far from providing an important strategic deterrent, the bases actually undermine our security. To remedy this immense travesty, Vine calls for Washington to bring the troops back home.

If nothing else, Base Nation is a timely book. The issue of our expensive foreign commitments has taken center stage in this presidential election. Vine probably finds it ironic that most of the criticism is coming from Donald Trump.

Our extensive foreign-base network is probably an issue that we can't ignore for long. Today, there seems more urgency to look at these long-term base commitments and examine what we are really getting out of them. So, for raising the issue, I say, "Thank you for your service, Mr. Vine."

But it is a shame that Base Nation , which could have made a strong contribution to this debate, ends up making a heavy-handed and somewhat unreliable case against and the U.S. military and U.S. foreign policy in general. His sweeping indictments detract from the importance of his initial focus, our overextended base network.

There are some positives. Vine stands on firm ground when he details how inefficient the base system often is. In fact, this is an issue that the federal government has been addressing, albeit slowly and haltingly. Budget realities are solving the problem; many bases are being shuttered and their functions consolidated into others. Vine thinks that overseas bases cost us at least $71 billion a year; maybe closer to $100-200 billion. In one of the more persuasive sections of the book, he explains how he made these calculations, which follow to some extent an important 2013 study from the RAND Corporation. That it is difficult coming up with any precise figures on overseas base spending suggests that we probably need to take a harder look at how taxpayer money is being used.

Likewise, Vine raises valid criticisms about how many bases were constructed by either displacing native populations, as the British did for our benefit at the Indian Ocean atoll Diego Garcia, or by marginalizing the locals, as we allegedly have done at Okinawa in Japan. He highlights the environmental damage done by U.S. military ordnance, although I think it unfair that he ignores the more scrupulous attendance to the environment that we find in today's armed forces. And Vine is right that having many young and bored men based far from home probably doesn't elevate the morals of the local, host population.

But Vine simply fails to persuade in other parts of his critique. His fundamental distrust of the military leads him to accept unquestioningly every dubious charge against it. He also tends to be less than discriminating in some of his sourcing and characterization of events. These problems undermine the overall credibility of his reporting.

Part of the problem with Base Nation is definitional. Vine's definition of a base -- "any place, facility or installation used regularly for military purposes, of any kind" -- is far too broad. Even temporary assignments with host governments get defined as "bases." This leads him to estimate that there are at minimum 686 bases, with 800 being "a good estimate." Why the need to inflate the numbers?

Vine's foreign-base maps, though compelling to look at, appear a bit suspect in light of his expanded definition. What's that big star in Greenland? That's Thule Air Station, a Danish base, where we have about 100 personnel. And the other one in Ascension Island? That's a small satellite-monitoring station, run by the British. What's that dot in Cairo? Oh, it's a medical-research facility. These are hardly the footprints of overweening imperialism.

Likewise, he identifies many bases in Africa. To debunk the official position that we have one permanent base there -- in Djibouti, rented from the French -- plus a few drone sites, Vine relies on dodgy research from Nick Turse, a noted anti-military critic who thinks that the Pentagon runs a hidden African empire.

Along similar lines, Vine believes the U.S. maintains an extensive, secret base system in Latin America. We have one permanent base in the region, Cuba's Guantanamo Bay (GTMO). Once all the al-Qaeda prisoners are gone, GTMO's main function will return to fleet training and disaster response for the Caribbean. In addition, we have one arrangement in Soto Cano Air Field in Honduras, which hosts a squadron of helicopters engaged in counternarcotic operations. How does this base destabilize Central America, as Vine suggests? You got me.

Soto Cano is featured in one of the more tendentious chapters, which reveals Vine's method. In discussing the base, he strongly suggests the U.S. military there conspired with the Honduran Army during the "coup" against President Manuel Zelaya in 2009. He quotes a local activist insisting the U.S. was behind the coup, and then leaves it at that. In fact, the U.S. government firmly opposed removing the anti-American Zelaya, slapped sanctions on Honduras, and negotiated for months to have Zelaya brought back into Honduras. Suggesting the U.S. military backed the coup is, well, baseless.

Many of Vine's scattershot charges are of a similar nature. He accuses the U.S. Navy of being in bed with the mob in Naples because, allegedly, it rents housing from landlords who may have mob connections. He blames the military for the red-light districts around foreign bases, like in South Korea, as if it directly created them. In another context, he claims, based on one professor's opinion, that the U.S. Naval Academy fosters a rampant rape culture, and so on.

Toward the end of the book, Vine challenges those who believe the bases are providing valuable deterrence to "prove it." I'm not sure I can prove it to his satisfaction, but regarding Korean-peninsula security, some experts point to our strong presence there as deterring both sides from overreacting. And regarding Iraq, it seems evident that leaving without any U.S. military presence destabilized the country. Many of our operations with foreign militaries in Africa, Latin America, and southeast Asia have a strong humanitarian focus. It is disconcerting that he dedicates no space to these important, stabilizing missions that are often enabled by our forward base deployment.

But Vine never demonstrates his main point: that the bases themselves are destabilizing. The countries with our largest base presence -- Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Japan -- are all prosperous, peaceful democracies. As for the local protests at our foreign military bases that occasionally happen, these seem no more problematic than what occurs, certainly more often, at our many embassies abroad. Should we withdraw our diplomatic missions too?

As for bases destabilizing the developing world, Vine overplays the U.S.-imperialism angle and fails to appreciate how much control even a weaker government has over its own sovereignty. Little Honduras could kick us out of Soto Cano tomorrow; we have an agreement that could end at any time. Ecuador refused to renew our lease at Manta Air Base in 2008; we left without much fuss. The Philippines in 1992 changed its constitution to prohibit foreign bases, forcing us to leave Subic Bay. Now Manila, feeling threatened by China over the South China Sea island disputes, is inviting us back. The Filipinos mustn't feel our presence too destabilizing.

Given Vine's criticism of our large base footprint, you would think he'd approve of the Pentagon's recent plans on lowering its profile with its "lily pad" strategy -- bilaterally negotiated, pre-staged locations that might enable a future deployment. Surely this approach would alleviate the problems of the large, permanent bases Vine so painstakingly sights? But, somewhat illogically, he objects to this "light footprint" approach as a new sign of encroaching imperialism, not of gradual U.S. realignment and withdrawal.

Even if he doesn't make a strong case in Base Nation , in the long run, Vine probably will get his wish. It is hard to imagine that an extensive military base network in Europe and East Asia, the outcome of our victory in World War II and justified by Cold War strategy, will still make sense a few decades down the road. Changes are already in the wind. A new strategy for U.S. foreign policy and military power projection will doubtless be shaped largely by budget exigencies and shifts in our allies' regional security priorities.

Michael J. Ard, a former naval officer and U.S. government analyst, works in the security field and lectures on international security at Rice University.


Fran Macadam July 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

Our critic seems to have some serious cognitive dissonance going on in his avoidance of recognizing the imperial project that undergirds circling the world with U.S. military power projection.
Rossbach , says: July 15, 2016 at 9:57 am
Fran Macadam is right. The bases and the problems they create are incidental to the policy that engendered. Our nation went from a policy of intermittent imperialism after 1898 to one of permanent imperialism after 1941.

Unless we ditch the empire and return to our correct status as an independent republic, we will suffer the fate of all previous empires.

An Agrarian , says: July 15, 2016 at 10:29 am
If we grant that our global commitments are burdensome, why not take the argument in a reasonable direction. As we remember from the days of BRAC, closing bases is like pulling eye teeth, so let's focus on narrowing this argument down to what may be feasible: End NATO, remove our unwelcome forces from the Middle East, and shutter the bases where we're not wanted (e.g. AFRICOM, Okinawa) and where leases are due to expire. We need to walk our projection back from the borders of China & Russia. Even a minimal plan of this sort would require a decade to accomplish. Ultimately we need a master, strategic foreign policy vision that walks back our global projection this debate goes nowhere without that. Unfortunately neither GOP or Democrat parties offer this vision. No need to wring our hands over a "Close All the Bases" debate until we're back to Constitutional governance and foreign policy, and are rid of the military-industrial complex. And the odds of that are ?
LouisM , says: July 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm
Our Founding Fathers never wanted or would have allowed foreign military bases. Thomas Jefferson was adamantly opposed to building a navy but John Adams built a navy and Jefferson used it to stop muslim barbarians from enslaving the crews of US merchant ships.

I cannot fathom why the US needs basis throughout the world. Id much rather have a strong Philipines, Japan and Taiwan for us to partner with than vassal states that spend nothing for their own defense and put the entire burden the their alliance on the US. How many shades is that from colonialism or parasitism? Not that far in my book.

Europe is a fine example of parasitism. Today Europe expects its protector to be the US, it has shifted all its resources to social programs and as a result it cannot even defend its borders from unarmed migrants much less from a hostile aggressor.

So what is the strategy to contain Russia and China by being in Central Asia, to contain Europe by constraining it with NATO, to constrain Asia via China, Japan, Philipines, Vietnam, etc.

Im not a fan. The US is spending so much money maintaining these military alliances and using US money and jobs to bribe compliance that our nation is going bankrupt and our infrastructure is 3rd world. If these truly are competitor nations the wiser approach would be to have a strong 1st world infrastructure, a strong economy, strong education and employment and expansion into Mexico, Central America and South America. Nowhere else in the world is a nation capable of dominating an entire continent from aggressor competing nations. Nowhere else in the world is a nation capable of dominating an entire portion of the globe. Instead of growing North, Central and South America we are constraining the rest of the globe. Not only is this fiscally irresponsible but one can only shake a bottle of champagne for so long and expect the bottle to constrain the carbonation. Eventually the cork will pop and the declining debtor power will be brought down to size with years of animous for holding others back.

JWJ , says: July 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm
" causes friction with erstwhile American allies, costs way too much money, underwrites dictatorships, pollutes the environment, and morally compromises the country."

Nowhere in this article is there mention of what I would hope to be the primary purpose of a forward base.
Does it truly help the US military defend the US (and I would include projections of power that deter bad actors)?
If yes, then sod off to the wanker David Vine

Commenter Man , says: July 15, 2016 at 11:13 pm
This is a jobs and profits program all around. So there will be plenty of opposition to reducing the bases.
Fran Macadam , says: July 16, 2016 at 8:14 am
Our elites run roughshod over other peoples, and the American people can't constrain them either. At least we know who the "real" Americans are. L'etat, it is them.
bacon , says: July 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm
It shouldn't be a surprise that others piggyback on our defense spending. Why would they not? From our point of view, who pays, says, and since we insist on saying wherever we can, we've got to pay.

I have frequently wondered how costs of this sort of thing are calculated. Do the taxes military families pay get deducted from the cost? Given at least some of them would be unemployed in today's economy, do benefits they would have get deducted? Does the money they spend in local economies in the US when not deployed get factored in some way? What about the taxes the corporations which provide goods and services to the military pay, and that their employees pay? It would seem almost impossible to arrive at an accurate cost figure.

Guest , says: July 18, 2016 at 12:39 am
"Does it truly help the US military defend the US (and I would include projections of power that deter bad actors)?
If yes, then sod off to the wanker David Vine"

Using that logic, you wouldn't mind Russia or China setting up a military base in Mexico or Cuba to deter the US (a proven 'bad actor') right??

[Jun 22, 2018] Mexico Readies for Revolt Against Neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Michael J. Ard is a former deputy national intelligence officer for the Western Hemisphere and the author of ..."
"... ." He teaches international relations at Rice University's Master of Global Affairs program. ..."
Jun 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Like a Dos Equis ad, Mexico is "keeping it interesante ." On July 1, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the veteran left-wing politician known as AMLO, will likely win Mexico's presidential election , to the horror of policy analysts, U.S. government officials, and the Mexican business community. As head of the upstart National Regeneration Movement (MORENA, the Spanish acronym, also means "dark skin"), AMLO pledges to make Mexico self-sufficient on food, halt foreign investment in the oil industry, and grant amnesty to drug traffickers. AMLO hates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- although he's promised to stay in it for now -- and "the Wall" even more.

Washington's days of having a predictable and compliant partner in Mexico may be over.

This election is likely to radically transform Mexican politics. MORENA is surging in the polls and may give AMLO a strong legislative bloc. Nationalist-minded legislators from other parties could also defect to his agenda. That would cause a major Mexican political realignment, under which for the next six years it could be governed by a self-described "revolutionary nationalist" ruling coalition. It makes sense: Mexico's neoliberal era had to end sooner or later. AMLO's longtime critique of an unfair economy and a complacent and unresponsive political system has finally resonated.

What accounts for this sudden turnaround? Several factors have aligned in AMLO's favor. Start with AMLO's opponents, who, in a time of change, represent continuity, splitting the neoliberal vote in Mexico's "winner-take-all" system. The conservative National Action Party (PAN), his strongest competitor, diluted its solid brand by running in coalition with two leftist parties. The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) selected a well-qualified former finance minister who is out of his depth as a campaigner. That's left the once-powerful PRI mailing this campaign in, and AMLO siphoning up its traditional voters.

A Destitute Mexico: Is That What We Want? Why We Want Immigrants Who Add Value

Insecurity and corruption, according to polls , are the top issues for Mexican voters, and on these AMLO scores well. Especially on managing corruption and crime, Mexico's political elite have appeared notoriously inept. The former head of the state oil company PEMEX, a close ally of President Enrique Peña Nieto, has been credibly accused of taking up to $10 million in bribes to approve contracts from the corrupt Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. Several governors have been indicted for racketeering and graft; one even went on the lam and was arrested in Guatemala. Recently, Mexico's 12-year campaign to corral drug trafficking organizations fell apart, and violence skyrocketed. Twenty-eight thousand Mexicans were murdered last year, and political candidates are being physically attacked. Meanwhile, drug trafficking gangs ("cartels") are placing parts of the country off limits.

Then there's President Trump, who has treated Mexico as a problem and not as a partner by insisting that it fund his humiliating border wall. When asked in 2015 by Wall Street Journal editors if he thought the U.S. should promote stability and economic growth in Mexico, he replied, "I don't care about Mexico honestly. I really don't care about Mexico." Trump has bolstered AMLO's long-held view that Mexico has relied on the United States for too long. On the campaign trail, AMLO has vowed to put Trump "in his place."

Still, these more immediate causes don't entirely explain AMLO's impending success. At a deeper level, AMLO seems to be Mexico's answer to Samuel Huntington's key "who are we?" question on national identity. AMLO's MORENA explicitly seeks to revive the abandoned ideals of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920): anti-imperialism, defense of national resources, equality, and the protection of peasant rights. Tellingly, AMLO cites as his heroes two successful presidents who propelled Mexico forward: Benito Juarez, the black-clad Zapotec Indian who defeated the French-backed 19th-century "empire," and Lazaro Cardenas, the former revolutionary general who nationalized the oil industry and built the modern Mexican state.

Despite his populism, AMLO hasn't always been an outsider. He started his political career during the 1980s, when the PRI was still was Mexico's governing party. But he soon saw the changes happening in his rural native state of Tabasco, when the oil boom pushed out the farming and fishing industry. AMLO dissented from the PRI's decision to liberalize the economy and joined the opposition in 1988.

Led by Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was president from 1988 to 1994, the country embarked on a strict neoliberal development path and internationalist agenda, reversing its program of statist economics and authoritarian governance. Its ruling politicians sold state industries, embraced market reforms, let the peso float, and joined the North American Free Trade Agreement. Over the last several years, Mexico City has even permitted greater American involvement in its war against drug traffickers. Under Peña Nieto, Mexico finally allowed its oil industry to permit foreign investment.

In truth, these reforms worked well enough: Mexico democratized and developed into a solidly middle-income country with steady economic growth. Net immigration into the United States has come to a halt. Security issues were messy, but unlikely to destabilize the country.

These reforms represented a big win for Washington. If American intervention was needed for the occasional peso crisis or drug trafficker menace, we were happy to oblige. Mexico made a difficult partner at times, but on the policy side, it was where Washington wanted it to be.

But the cost of these changes may have been Mexico's identity, its sense of self. Returning to Huntington, his "The Clash of Civilizations?" article described Mexico as a state "torn" between its economic future and political and cultural past. After a top advisor to President Salinas described the sweeping changes the government was making, Huntington remarked, "It seems to me that basically you want to change Mexico from a Latin American country into a North American country." Salinas looked at him with surprise and exclaimed: "Exactly! That's precisely what we are trying to do, but of course we could never say so publicly."

AMLO and his followers have brooded about these radical changes for years. To this day, he refers to the arch-neoliberal Salinas simply as El Innombrable -- he that cannot be named. Neoliberalism launched AMLO not just on a political career but on a personal crusade to bring the country back to its former ideals.

When AMLO won the Mexico City mayorship in 2000, he built up a national political base and became a burr in the saddle of President Vicente Fox, who had embraced the liberal reforms of the formerly ruling PRI. AMLO criticized Fox relentlessly, and in retaliation, Fox attempted to have him legally prohibited from running for president in 2006.

This clumsy effort failed, giving AMLO a boost. But he narrowly lost the contest to the PAN's Felipe Calderon, whose campaign linked AMLO with Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez. Embittered in defeat, AMLO immediately claimed the voting was rigged against him. AMLO and his raucous followers held protests for months and even formed a parallel government. He may have lost in 2006, but he solidified his position as the leader of Mexico's alternative left.

AMLO's anti-system stance has given weight to the claim that he'd be another Chavez. The comparison seems invidious, as the late comandante of Venezuela, an avowed Marxist and coup plotter, crushed democratic institutions, set up a socialist economy, and in general drove what had been a prosperous South American country into the ground. AMLO, an authentic democrat, appears less megalomaniacal and more rules-focused, more the romantic reactionary than the revolutionary radical.

Still, many of the same forces that propelled Chavez are driving AMLO now. Like Chavez, AMLO is coming to power after a period of neoliberal reform and perceived intractable corruption. Like Chavez, AMLO enjoys an almost mystical bond with his nation's poorer classes. And very much like Chavez, AMLO is instinctively, but probably not irreversibly, anti-American in outlook.

How these characteristics will play out with AMLO in power is hard to predict. The two main parties won't be behind him, but many of their followers might. All of those alienated by neoliberalism, the perceived kowtowing to Washington, the surrender of economic resources to foreign companies and the free market, will flock to his banner. It is remarkable how some former members of the right-of-center National Action Party and the PRI have backed his campaign.

Some of AMLO's policy proposals seem less the stuff of hard leftism than nostalgic nationalism. He focuses heavily on national development for industry and agriculture aimed at self-reliance and reducing imports. He proposes holding referendums on the enacted legislation, a move to broaden democracy, which would require constitutional reform. He seeks to raise the minimum wage, but refreshingly pledges "no new taxes."

AMLO loves to wax nostalgic about Mexico's strong state traditions and will almost certainly attempt to restore the waning power of the Mexican presidency as an anti-corruption pulpit. In the tradition of newly inaugurated Mexican presidents, he'll probably look to prosecute a node of corruption in Mexican society: a prominent businessman or politician, rather than a labor union like his predecessors.

Much of the progress the United States has made with Mexico on security cooperation will probably be jeopardized. It's hard to believe that AMLO will endorse the close relations that the DEA, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community have forged with their Mexican counterparts in the war on drugs. The extradition of the notorious drug kingpin Joaquin el Chapo Guzman to the U.S. in 2017 will probably be the high watermark in the relationship. It is doubtful that AMLO will permit more high-profile extraditions. President Trump's disdain for a close relationship that has taken us decades to build may come back to haunt us.

But a poor relationship between Washington and Mexico City doesn't have to be inevitable. Despite the rhetoric, the flamboyant American billionaire has much in common with the austere Mexican populist. Both countries have too many common interests to go down separate paths. The question is: does AMLO have to build the bomb to get Trump to care about Mexico?

Michael J. Ard is a former deputy national intelligence officer for the Western Hemisphere and the author of "An Eternal Struggle: The Role of the National Action Party in Mexico's Democratic Transition ." He teaches international relations at Rice University's Master of Global Affairs program.


Youknowho June 21, 2018 at 7:30 am

Another diplomatic triumph of Trump

And just because they are similar do not expect that they might agree. Expect them to antagonize each other to play to their bases.

Carlos , says: June 21, 2018 at 10:52 am
That's just the thing, AMLO isn't "an authentic democrat." He founded MORENA so he could keep his presidential aspirations going; he's indistinguishable from the party. After losing in 2006, he notoriously said "to hell with institutions." His followers won't admit this, but his platform is as diluted as the rest: he's taken in suspects of corruption and has allied himself with both a very "conservative" party (the small, evangelical PES) and Mexico's hard leftists.
Hibernian , says: June 21, 2018 at 9:20 pm
"Washington's days of having a predictable and compliant partner in Mexico may be over."

What about Mexico's days of having a predictable and compliant partner in Washington?

[Jun 21, 2018] US interventions vs Russia interventions

Notable quotes:
"... The attributions of attacks to countries are very shaky. Throw in a couple of Cyrillic letters and voilà, you have associated a certain IP address or a certain piece of code with Russia. Somehow these simpleton arguments are uncritically accepted as proofs by computer security professionals the world over, who, of all people, really should know better. It's as if all the supposedly smart cryptographers and programmers are completely oblivious to the concept of manipulation. ..."
Jun 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mark2 , Jun 21, 2018 2:44:25 PM | 2

Could someone remind me the amount of country's America have invaded since the last world war 30 - 40 , I here'd. Compared to Russia 5-8 ? Russia is in Syria by invitation to deal with rebels/terrorist's .America is now threatening both. Despite being there to attempt a regime change. Just who do they think they are ? The sooner they are stopped the better and the easier.
karlof1 , Jun 21, 2018 3:13:44 PM | 3
Mark2 @2--

Russia intervened nowhere; the USSR intervened in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In 1993, Yeltsin's cabal intervened in Russia to preserve Bush's and Clinton's New World Order. USSR was invited into Afghanistan; Outlaw US Empire wasn't. An incomplete list from William Blum's Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II . A graphic map based on Blum's book.

ben , Jun 21, 2018 5:31:23 PM | 14
Mark2@ 2: Here ya' go Mark:)

https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2018 5:32:52 PM | 15
Yesterday, Putin met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Unfortunately, the Kremlin's recap of the meeting's currently incomplete, but what is recorded is instructive:

"Of course, we look at the Russian Federation as a founder of the United Nations and as a permanent member of the Security Council, but I would say that at the present moment we look at the Russian Federation as an indispensable element of the creation of a new multipolar world.

"To be entirely frank, these are not easy times for multilateralism and not easy times for the UN. And I think that after the Cold War and after a short period of unipolar world we are still struggling to find a way to have a structured, multipolar world with multilateral governmental institutions that can work. And this is something that worries me a lot and is something in which, I believe, the Russian Federation has a unique role to play."

Considering many think Guterres just an agent for the Outlaw US Empire, maybe his cited words will cause a reassessment. I'd like to know what followed. Apparently there was some discussion about Korea and the economic initiatives being openly discussed since RoK President Moon will arrive in Russia tomorrow.

Lavrov met with Guterres today, and his opening remarks shine a bit more light on what was discussed:

"As emphasised by President Putin, we have invariably supported, support, and will continue to support the UN, this unique universal organisation. We think highly of your intention, Mr Secretary-General, to raise the profile of the United Nations in world affairs, particularly in settling regional conflicts. As you noted yourself at the meeting in the Kremlin yesterday, this is largely dependent on the general state of the international system as a whole and the UN member states' readiness to act collectively, jointly, rather than unilaterally, and to pursue the goals enshrined in the UN Charter rather than self-centred,[sic] immediate aims.

"We note that you have consistently advocated the pooling of efforts by major players to deal with world problems. This is the logic of the UN Charter, specifically its clauses on the creation and powers of the UN Security Council. I hope that based on the values we share we will be able to successfully continue cooperation in the interests of solving international problems."

Lots of emphasis on the absolute necessity of making the UN Charter whole again and not allowing any one nation to make a mockery of it by pursuing its "self-centered, immediate aims."

Mark2 , Jun 21, 2018 5:54:25 PM | 18
Ben @ 14
Thanks Ben. Yep that's what l thought reality would look like, that's my sanity safe for a while longer. Remember we are not alone!
Zanon @ 12
That is a perfect example of 'fake news' we can spot it here ! Or are we here now msm!
pantaraxia , Jun 21, 2018 6:06:38 PM | 20
@2 Mark2 'Could someone remind me the amount of country's America have invaded since the last world war '

Perhaps as relevant a question is how many countries are presently enjoying the beneficence of U.S. military operations?

According to Seymour Hersh in a recent interview on Democracy Now: " The United States is conducting war in 76 countries now."

Seymour Hersh on Torture at Abu Ghraib & Secret U.S. Assassination Programs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRvLZ6y4PxM

This confirms a recent statement by Sen. Bernie Sanders: "meanwhile we are "fighting terrorism" in some 76 countries...'

The Jimmy Dore Show - Bernie's Amazing Foreign Policy Smackdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmcMzCIEV8Y

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2018 6:19:58 PM | 21
I'd Like this made into a poster ! From Southfront's reporting about a RICO lawsuit filed against Clinton and Co. Quite the charge sheet, although it lacks several crimes.
Mark2 , Jun 21, 2018 6:36:55 PM | 22
Pantaraxia @ 20
Wow that doubles what I was already shocked about ! And then of course there's the comercal operations destablising country's using greed as a weapon. Plus the banks, I'm sure South Africa would have been a real success if they'd kept the banking curuption out. Time for immoral capitalism to fall.
Also don't you just hate victim blaming.There that's me done. Grrr
S , Jun 21, 2018 9:49:05 PM | 32
@b: I know you're just one man and can't do everything, but it would be wonderful if you could cover the history of hacking accusations against Russia. No one lays out a sequence of events better than you.

Just yesterday, another accusation has been leveled against Russia by the head of Germany's BfV intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen: German intelligence sees Russia behind hack of energy firms - media report (Reuters). It's a serious accusation, and one would expect a serious proof. However, no proof has been given except that "it fits the Russian modus operandi". Also, the fact that the alleged attack has been named "Berserk Bear" by some unknown Western analyst. Apparently, that's enough proof by today's standards.

There is a critical lack of independent thinking and skepticism in the international computer security circles nowadays. The attributions of attacks to countries are very shaky. Throw in a couple of Cyrillic letters and voilà, you have associated a certain IP address or a certain piece of code with Russia. Somehow these simpleton arguments are uncritically accepted as proofs by computer security professionals the world over, who, of all people, really should know better. It's as if all the supposedly smart cryptographers and programmers are completely oblivious to the concept of manipulation.

[Jun 18, 2018] The most important conclusion of the report: there is no longer a way to claim America's internal intelligence agency, the FBI, did not play a role in the 2016 election

Notable quotes:
"... "The good news is the Deep State seems less competent than we originally feared" -Well, obviously; or Hillary would be President NOW ..."
"... The Deep State may not have been very competent ( Gee,whudda surprise!)) but– it's still in place. And that fact alone should make all of us uneasy. ..."
"... I'm satisfied that we have the final word on Clinton's guilt and the special treatment she and her staff were given by criminal investigators who believed she was going to win the election. ..."
"... I think a good book to explain what we are seeing is The Fiefdom Syndrome by Robert Herbold. That highlights how various managers set up their own sub organizations in a groups. It focuses on the corporate model yet it can equally apply to any other human organization. ..."
"... Comey took Lynch completely off the hook. She had not recused herself from the case. Prosecution or not was her decision, not Comey's. And even if she had recused herself, the decision would have gone to Yates. Lynch had no good options. If she had said there were no grounds for prosecution, she would have been crucified for partisanship. If she had decided that Clinton should be prosecuted, all hell would have broken loose. Well, there is no way she would have ever made the decision to prosecute, but point is, Comey took her completely off the hook. No wonder Lynch made no big deal about his "insubordination". ..."
"... there were NO pro-Trump factions inside the Bureau. ..."
"... What anti-Clinton faction? Every one of the five agents identified as sending politically biased communications was anti-Trump. As best I can determine every decision by biased decision makers that Horowitz is baffled by, or reports himself "unpersuaded" by the explanations advanced, was anti-Trump. Even when Strzok writes a text message that Horowitz admits is a smoking gun (~"We'll stop Trump") Horowitz says it's no biggie because other decision-makers were involved, "unbiased" ones like, explicitly, Bill Priestap, he of the procedures-violating spy launch against Trump BEFORE any investigation was opened! ..."
"... The real take away is that the Deep State is a reality, far more entrenched than anyone of us knows. Whether it is particularly competent or not ( compared to what? Government in general? ) is irrelevant. No one of any stature in any part of the government bureaucracy will be held accountable ever. They never are. As soon as the media circus moves on, it will be back to business as usual in DC. ..."
"... Speaking of idiocracy, some personal emails between FBI agents were made public this week with the release of the IG report. They give a glimpse into the infantilisation of our ruling "class". It is clear that fatherlessness and the replacement of education with indoctrination have produced a generation of child-men and child-women who view the State as parent, provider, deity (even as lover – supplier of ideologically acceptable bed-mates). ..."
"... jp: "Hard to see how the FBI's mistakes didn't benefit one candidate over the other." That's the standard line from the Clinton campaign. They believe everything begins and ends with Comey causing her to lose. Of course, they never mention why the FBI was investigating her, personally, and key members of her State Dept. staff, not her campaign by the way. ..."
"... The FBI may have hurt her campaign, but only because they were doing their job, albiet badly. She hurt her campaign infinitely by breaking the law and compromising national security, which required a criminal probe into her lawbreaking. ..."
"... Dave: "Peter and Lisa were 2 cops talking about a criminal." Well, that's one more reason not to trust federal law enforcement. I can cite the criminal statutes Hillary Clinton was being personally investigated for. Can anyone cite any criminal statute that Donald Trump was being personally investigated for at the same time? Was he even being personally investigated? A counterintelligence investigation is not a criminal investigation. ..."
Jun 18, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

cka2nd

June 14, 2018 at 11:54 pm
"a chaotic cluster of competing pro- and anti- Clinton/Trump factions inside the Bureau"

Which is what the FBI looked like at the time and over the last two years, the anti-Clinton faction seeming to be centered in New York, and the anti-Trump faction in, what, D.C.?

Erik , says: June 15, 2018 at 3:12 am
This report merely provides more talking points for politicians. And, talk they will. IG Michael Horowitz had a specific mandate. It was to investigate "violations of criminal and civil law." It was not to investigate breaches of protocol and bureaucratic regulations.

This report makes no allegations of criminal activity. As such, it can only be read as exonerating those under investigation, of same. The ultimate remedy for "breaches of protocol and bureaucratic regulations" is termination of employment. And, Comey has already been fired. The rest is irrelevant and/or superfluous.

Joe the Plutocrat , says: June 15, 2018 at 7:51 am
Agreed. the report sheds light on some truly incompetent (and unprofessional, inappropriate behavior). Disagree – the 'deep state' is behind this. perhaps the most depressing aspect of this circus is the realization there was incompetence and malfeasance in the Obama administration. there was incompetence and malfeasance in the Clinton campaign.

There was incompetence and malfeasance in the DoJ, there was incompetence and malfeasance in the Trump campaign, and there is a whole lot of incompetence and malfeasance in the current administration. see where this is going? "malfeasance" recognized and leveraged by "foreign actors" (some other 'deep state' as it were) demonstrates competence in terms of their job(s).

I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode in which "Puddy" and "Elaine" meet with a priest to discuss their relationship and its impact on their eternal lives – with Puddy being Christian and Elaine not. the priest says, "oh that's easy, you're both going to hell "

midtown , says: June 15, 2018 at 8:37 am
The overt bias exhibited by FBI agents was shocking.
SDS , says: June 15, 2018 at 8:39 am
"It will be too easy, however, to miss the most important conclusion of the report: there is no longer a way to claim America's internal intelligence agency, the FBI, did not play a role in the 2016 election."

SO we are expected to believe the FBI, et. al; never played a role before? Spare me

"The good news is the Deep State seems less competent than we originally feared" -Well, obviously; or Hillary would be President NOW

connecticut farmer , says: June 15, 2018 at 8:53 am
Way funny, this! And all the time we've been looking for enemies abroad-in this case the Rooshians-the real enemy was right in our own backyard. The Deep State may not have been very competent ( Gee,whudda surprise!)) but– it's still in place. And that fact alone should make all of us uneasy.
Will Harrington , says: June 15, 2018 at 9:29 am
If you are going to have a deep state, and in a large nation, it does seem necessary, then it should be a meritocracy. Clearly the system of recruiting high level officials from certain Ivy League schools does not result in a meritocracy.
MM , says: June 15, 2018 at 10:24 am

Erik: "It was not to investigate breaches of protocol and bureaucratic regulations." Well, he did, and thank goodness. I'm satisfied that we have the final word on Clinton's guilt and the special treatment she and her staff were given by criminal investigators who believed she was going to win the election.

If that's not political bias, then we need another word for it. Political consideration in the outcome of a criminal probe.

Think about that if it had been a GOP candidate, what would the progressives be saying about the same behavior?

Centralist , says: June 15, 2018 at 11:06 am
I think a good book to explain what we are seeing is The Fiefdom Syndrome by Robert Herbold. That highlights how various managers set up their own sub organizations in a groups. It focuses on the corporate model yet it can equally apply to any other human organization.
Scott , says: June 15, 2018 at 1:05 pm
What I find amusing is the emphasis on texts between Strzok and Page. They sure were sloppy in using govt cell phones for their texting. However, at the end of the day, their texts were the equivalent of pillow talk. What's the remedy? Everybody wear a wire to bed to trap people in the act of gossiping? Does anybody think that these casual conversations go on all the time. There is no group of people more cynical that law enforcement people.

At the end of the day, people did their jobs and prevented their opinions from the proper execution of their jobs.

Johann , says: June 15, 2018 at 1:43 pm
Comey took Lynch completely off the hook. She had not recused herself from the case. Prosecution or not was her decision, not Comey's. And even if she had recused herself, the decision would have gone to Yates. Lynch had no good options. If she had said there were no grounds for prosecution, she would have been crucified for partisanship. If she had decided that Clinton should be prosecuted, all hell would have broken loose. Well, there is no way she would have ever made the decision to prosecute, but point is, Comey took her completely off the hook. No wonder Lynch made no big deal about his "insubordination".
connecticut farmer , says: June 15, 2018 at 1:45 pm
H. Clinton squirreled away over 30 thousand emails into a private server. I am reliably informed that if any other federal employee pulled a move like that they would have been fired, with loss of pension and possible jail time in as much as this is grand jury fodder. Not ol' Hillary though.

People do tend to notice these things.

Fred , says: June 15, 2018 at 2:18 pm
"There is only to argue which side they favored and whether they meddled via clumsiness, as a coordinated action, or as a chaotic cluster of competing pro- and anti- Clinton/Trump factions inside the Bureau. "

More fake news – there were NO pro-Trump factions inside the Bureau.

eheter , says: June 15, 2018 at 8:54 pm
Michael Kenny
June 15, 2018 at 11:29 am
The important point is that Trump has no need to worry about any of this if he really is as innocent as he claims. In fact, infiltrated informers, wiretaps etc. are a godsend to Trump if he's innocent because they prove that innocence. Thus, Trump's making such a fuss about these things is a tacit admission of guilt.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –

Yes, of course. Because if someone spied on you looking for a crime of which you were innocent, you'd be totally ok with it and would keep quiet. Only someone who's guilty of a crime would speak up being spied upon.

smh

Gandydancer , says: June 16, 2018 at 12:34 am
"There is only to argue whether they meddled via clumsiness, as a coordinated action, or as a chaotic cluster of competing pro- and anti- Clinton/Trump factions inside the Bureau."

What anti-Clinton faction? Every one of the five agents identified as sending politically biased communications was anti-Trump. As best I can determine every decision by biased decision makers that Horowitz is baffled by, or reports himself "unpersuaded" by the explanations advanced, was anti-Trump. Even when Strzok writes a text message that Horowitz admits is a smoking gun (~"We'll stop Trump") Horowitz says it's no biggie because other decision-makers were involved, "unbiased" ones like, explicitly, Bill Priestap, he of the procedures-violating spy launch against Trump BEFORE any investigation was opened!

To believe Horowitz' conclusions about lack of bias in decision making you have to be as willfully reluctant to connect the dots as he is. And I'm not, nor should you be.

Gerald Arcuri , says: June 16, 2018 at 2:41 pm
The real take away is that the Deep State is a reality, far more entrenched than anyone of us knows. Whether it is particularly competent or not ( compared to what? Government in general? ) is irrelevant. No one of any stature in any part of the government bureaucracy will be held accountable ever. They never are. As soon as the media circus moves on, it will be back to business as usual in DC.
Patricus , says: June 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm
Those Russians are so clever. They trained agents for a lifetime to master accents of rural Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin then duped the bible thumping gun lovers into rejecting her highness Hillary. The immense Russian powers are extraordinary when one considers the Russian economy is smaller than Texas.

But seriously, we had eight years of a Democratic president and people had enough and chose a Republican even though he was outspent. That is the consistent pattern. After Trump another Democrat will move into the White House.

mike , says: June 17, 2018 at 8:45 am
Speaking of idiocracy, some personal emails between FBI agents were made public this week with the release of the IG report. They give a glimpse into the infantilisation of our ruling "class". It is clear that fatherlessness and the replacement of education with indoctrination have produced a generation of child-men and child-women who view the State as parent, provider, deity (even as lover – supplier of ideologically acceptable bed-mates).

A cosmic ignorance radiates from these email exchanges. These agents appear to have been dropped here from another planet. They not only seem to have been disconnected from or to have forgotten the Civilisation that gave birth to the society in which they live, but they seem never to have had any knowledge or awareness of it in the first place.

(Reading between the lines, deducing their "principles" from their mentality, one could confidently conclude that these adolescents truly believe that State is God and Marx is His prophet.)

Winston , says: June 17, 2018 at 11:04 am
"seems less competent than we originally feared"

They're going to get away with it with no adequately serious repercussions meaning they're competent enough, aren't they? That also means they won't be properly deterred and will simply do it better next time.

MM , says: June 17, 2018 at 12:23 pm
jp: "Hard to see how the FBI's mistakes didn't benefit one candidate over the other." That's the standard line from the Clinton campaign. They believe everything begins and ends with Comey causing her to lose. Of course, they never mention why the FBI was investigating her, personally, and key members of her State Dept. staff, not her campaign by the way.

The FBI may have hurt her campaign, but only because they were doing their job, albiet badly. She hurt her campaign infinitely by breaking the law and compromising national security, which required a criminal probe into her lawbreaking.

If you're going to fault the FBI, you can't then not fault Secretary Clinton. The two go hand-in-hand, and she comes first in the chain of event.

Case closed. Though she didn't get her just desserts in court, at least she received political justice. 🙂

MM , says: June 17, 2018 at 3:48 pm
Dave: "Peter and Lisa were 2 cops talking about a criminal." Well, that's one more reason not to trust federal law enforcement. I can cite the criminal statutes Hillary Clinton was being personally investigated for. Can anyone cite any criminal statute that Donald Trump was being personally investigated for at the same time? Was he even being personally investigated? A counterintelligence investigation is not a criminal investigation.

Anybody?

[Jun 17, 2018] Is Anti-War Fever Building in the US by Gaius Publius

Notable quotes:
"... It wasn't just bad intelligence, it was consistently purposeful bad intelligence. The consequences have been dire for the world, and our country as well. The Russians in that period never represented a serious military threat even to the continent of Europe, far less the US. ..."
"... You are correct. The forever wars are just one of the ways to bleed the Middle Class dry. The media propaganda and rule by the 10% can't let the suckers know what is really going on. There are always enough men to man the colonial wars but they are unwinnable unless the whole nation is involved. ..."
"... Then behind the scenes Obama did very little to back up his speeches with actions as he went with the flow. ..."
"... Obama had two groups to satisfy, the populace and the elite. The populace got empty words, the elite got what they wanted. ..."
"... The MSM is waging a propaganda campaign at every level completely obscuring the truth. And the politicians play the fear card at every level. I don't believe any of us is in "happy compliance" at the airport. I for one, grind my teeth and cuss out the crooked corporations (including that bastard "skull" Chertoff who personally benefited from the x-ray screening machines) that reap a bundle of money from the so called screening and invasive body searches. Travel has become something to dread. ..."
"... The officer corps might be an opponent but I think that America has been badly served by them due to how officers are selected & trained and who makes it to the top. The only time they balk is when some idiot in Washington pushes them to fight the Russians or the Chinese. And most people don't really care in any case so long as the US wins. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. ..."
"... It's harder and harder to sell these military actions to the public. What are we in Korea and Japan for? To contain China? If you ask most people, they'll probably tell you that China won, or at very least our bosses are in league with their bosses. ..."
"... The Borg moves without regard to public sentiment, so we have to replace politicians with those who'll bring it to heel. That's a death sentence, but I feel like enough people have the guts to try and make it happen. ..."
"... *sigh* someone please trot out that Goering quote again: To the extent that public opinion matters, public opinion is easy to arrange. ..."
"... I don't mean to suggest that there isn't a solid electoral reason to have nice vague policies, not least because a campaign against foreign wars would be an excellent way for the left to make common cause with some parts of the right, such as the paleoconservatives and isolationists. ..."
"... It did for Russia. There is now an ongoing civil war on its border in Ukraine. NATO went to war with Serbia in the later 1990's. The breakup of the Atlantic Alliance will splinter Europe. Humans being humans. The strong will try to steal from the weak. ..."
"... The old adage that our country rallies around a war president is no longer operative IMHO. In a nation tired of perpetual war, the commander-in-chief would get at best a short-term surge in public approval by opening up a new battle zone, before slipping precipitously in the polls. Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy? ..."
"... Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy? ..."
"... Those are their constituents: beltway bandits, private contractors, public/private partnerships, insurance companies, arms companies, private equity firms, military contractors, and whatever other combinations you want to come up with. ..."
"... I remember when Tim Kaine gleefully suggested that we needed an "intelligence surge" to protect the country. I almost gagged. It was a not so subtle message of "prepare for the handouts to the private military contractor industry". ..."
"... How does positioning 2,000 – 4,000 US troops in Syria fit into your "Trump is a peace-maker" narrative? How about the comment Wednesday that the US will attack Syrian forces if they attack Sunni jihadis (er "moderate rebels") in SW Syria? ..."
"... How about us aiding and abetting a famine in Yemen that could kills tens of thousands? ..."
"... I think you are attributing a sentiment to juliania that her comment does not actually contain. She doesn't say Trump is a peace-maker, she says he was far in front of Bernie in using "anti-war rhetoric as a strategy." The example of Nixon doing the same thing indicates that juliania is well aware that strategic rhetoric and actual decisions are not the same thing. ..."
"... I know a fair number of Trump voters, and my read is similar to juliania's: Trump's anti-war rhetoric was a big draw for a lot of people, and helped many be able to hold their nose and vote for him. Understanding this and commenting on it does not make one a Trump supporter, obviously, or indicate that one puts any credence in his dovish rhetoric. ..."
"... You might be correct and my apologies to juliania if I misread her post. I have heard so much of the "Trump is fighting [the deep state, Wall Street, the neocons]" on other blogs that I am a bit hypersensitive and go off on a rant when I see or perceive that argument. From my perspective, Trump is doing everything in his power to entrench Wall Street, the neocons, etc. ..."
"... The war in Yemen is to secure the Saudi monarchy and our interest in their vast reserves of oil and gas. ..."
"... Are militarism* and democracy compatible? I'm not so sure they are. ..."
"... A lot depends on how you define "democracy", "will of the people" etc.. What the role of "finance" in a context of "capitalism" and "democracy" should be, e.g., citizens united(note orwellian language) may be considered a " reason why they would not be compatible" and even antithetical. ..."
"... America itself is the most destabilizing force on the planet. i would love to see what America leaving the world to its' own devices would look like. Like Weimar/Nazi Germany, nothing good comes from these kind of "American Values." ..."
"... The military is A-ok with Trump and this is what seems to matter. The roar of hysteria from the media over Trump first 2-3 months in office died down considerably when he showed a willingness to engage in a show of force by striking Syria (remember when he was so concerned about the welfare of children?) ..."
"... Only a *faction" of the security establishment is anti-Trump because he is skeptical of *neoliberal* globalism. ..."
"... Meanwhile, the Prez who can't seem to enact *anything* to make lives better for the people who put him in office, is magically able to enact the agenda of the 1%. This repeat of the 1% 's manipulations is one I can do without. ..."
"... Regarding the question posed by this post I think there is very little evidence of an anti-war "fever" and even if there were, and if it were projected into the streets and/or ballot box, I am pessimistic that it could have any effect on the U.S. government of today. I don't think the U.S. government cares what the American people think or feel about anything -- except of course as those cares and feelings affect the mechanisms of control through the propaganda pushed through our media, the levels of surveillance and suppression, and the increased viciousness of our "laws" and their enforcement. ..."
"... I believe the U.S. government is run by several powerful and competing interests. So I think I'll ask a different question -- though in the same vein as that posed by the title of this post. Are those interests who compete with the interests of the MIC and Spook Industrial Complex (SIC) beginning to see the futility and stupidity of our endless wars? ..."
"... "Peaceniks are Kremlin stooges!" It's depressing when you can predict the media's response six months in advance. ..."
Jun 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Is anti-war fever building in the U.S.? One would not think so given all the signs -- apparent public apathy toward multiple military involvements, happy compliance with "security" at the increasingly painful airport, lack of protests and so on.

Yet there are two signs I'd like to put forward as indicating a growing willingness to forgo foreign "entanglements" (undeclared wars), springing either from a weariness with them, a nascent abhorrence of them, or a desire to focus U.S. dollars on U.S. domestic solutions, like the hugely popular Medicare for All . (Click to see just how popular Medicare for All, called "Medicare Buy-In" at the link, is across party lines.)

The first sign is Bernie Sanders, the most popular politician in America and by far its most popular senator, making statements like these in the speech linked and discussed in the video at the top of this piece. For example, at 9:00 in the clip, Sanders says (emphasis his):

SANDERS: In other words, what we have seen in time and time again, disasters occur when administrations, Democrat and Republican, mislead Congress and the American people. And when Congress fails to do its constitutional job in terms of asking the questions of whether or not we should be in a war. And I think we need to ask that very hard question today.

And here is the point that I hope the American people are asking themselves. Is the war on terror, a perpetual, never-ending war, necessary to keep us safe?

I personally believe we have become far too comfortable with the United States engaging in military interventions all over the world. We have now been in Afghanistan for 17 years. We have been in Iraq for 15 years. We are occupying a portion of Syria, and this administration has indicated that it may broaden that mission even more.

We are waging a secretive drone war in at least five countries. Our forces, right now, as we speak, are supporting a Saudi-led war in Yemen which has killed thousands of civilians and has created the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet today.

Talk like this is anathema in our militarized state, comments usually relegated to the fringes of public discourse. For Sanders to say this (and similarly anathemic remarks elsewhere in the speech) certainly denotes a shift, especially since Sanders during the campaign was not considered strong on foreign policy, especially progressive (non-orthodox) foreign policy.

As Jimmy Dore said in reply to the last sentence quoted above, "It's not Syria? Can you [say] "stop the butcher" is the worst? No. Turns out what we're doing is the 'worst humanitarian crisis in the world today,' committing siege warfare in Yemen, which is a war crime. And we're doing it, with Saudi Arabia."

Sanders also says we're "fighting terror" in 76 countries. Let that sink in, as Sanders wishes it to -- we're engaged in military conflict in 76 countries, almost a third of the nations in the world. I'm not sure many in the lay public appreciate the importance, or the likely consequences, of that surprising fact. (For one example of those consequences, consider that foreign wars often come home .)

Elsewhere in the video Dore asks, "Do you see Chuck Shumer saying our wars have had 'dire consequences'?" Sanders, it seems to me, is launching a toe-to-toe battle with what right-wingers have lately been calling the American "deep state" and I've been calling the security establishment.

The second sign comes from Donald Trump during the campaign. This isn't just Sanders going out on a limb -- taking a flier, as it were -- on a deeply unpopular position. Consider how often Donald Trump, the campaign version, made similar statements:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/H4ThZcq1oJQ

He also famously said this about NATO and its mission:

What I'm saying is NATO is obsolete. NATO is -- is obsolete and it's extremely expensive for the United States, disproportionately so. And we should readjust NATO.

If the U.S. security establishment is working to get rid of Trump, to take him out by whatever means necessary, campaign statements like that would be one of many reasons.

If Americans Could Vote Against the Forever War, Would They Do It?

I recently noted how different the outcomes are when the public indicates policy preferences with their votes versus polling data. DC politicians of both parties ignore polling with impunity. Votes, on the other hand, especially in party primaries, can force change -- witness the Trump nomination and the Sanders (stolen) near-nomination.

In some ways, small but not insignificant, the 2016 election was a test of the anti-war waters, with Trump asking questions about the need and mission of NATO, for example, that haven't been asked in over a generation, and Clinton, the proud choice of the neocon left and right, in strong disagreement .

It's too much or too early to say that Trump's public pullback from U.S. hegemony helped his election, though that's entirely possible. But it's certainly true that his anti-Forever War sentiments did not hurt him in any noticeable way.

I'll go further: If Sanders runs in 2020 and adds anti-war messaging to his program, we'll certainly see the title question tested.


Rob P , June 16, 2018 at 12:56 am

If the U.S. security establishment is working to get rid of Trump, to take him out by whatever means necessary, campaign statements like that would be one of many reasons.

Bernie had better watch his back then. Make sure no one associated with him has any contact with any Russians or Iranians or whatever.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2018 at 8:42 am

The "security establishment/Blob" no coubt has already filled its supply chain with anti-Bernie Bernays-caliber ordnance, ready to deploy. I don't doubt that there are plenty of James Earl Rays out there, happy to be the ones who will "rid the Blob of this troublesome politician." Just remember that Bernie has a summer house, and his wife was president of a failed college, and he's a GD Socialist, for Jeebus' sake!

Any stick to beat a dog

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 12:14 pm

There's far less than six degrees of separation between any one person and someone who is Russian or Chinese or Iranian or whatever. Even two degrees of separation is enough for a headline these days.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:56 am

Districts with military casualties correlate to Trump votes. I'd would be nice to see Sanders do a Town Hall on the empire, in six months or so when this speech has time to sink in, in one such district.

hemeantwell , June 16, 2018 at 9:11 am

Yes. Sanders is going to have to pull off a communicative high wire act bridging relatively acceptable criticism of "unnecessary and expensive foreign entanglements" to hinting at the idea that the US citizens have to understand the expansive pressures that flow from capitalism and the MIC. I've appreciated the regular links here to American Conservative and Unz articles. They are valuable reminders that some on the Right aren't in complete denial, at least about the MIC.

One scenario would see a revival of the terms of discussion that briefly saw daylight in at least the late 1940s, when state planners openly linked a "defensive" military posture with a need for markets. It would at least get the cards out on the table and assist in clarifying how world politics isn't just a matter of great and secondary powers inevitably pushing each other around. The idea of Realpolitik is a fundamental and fatal ground of reification.

johnnygl , June 16, 2018 at 10:48 am

Presidential ambitions aside, it would be a good idea to pressure trump's crew that are plotting to attack Iran. Plus, any chance to push back against the awful Dem leadership is also a positive. We need to see more grassroots pushback against that leadership. Sanders is the best around at generating that grassroots pushback.

Pookah Harvey , June 16, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Bernie makes many salient points on the Military Industrial Complex in a floor speech concerning the Defense Dept. budget bill. I especially like the part where he is trying to add an amendment that would limit the compensation of CEOs of defense contractors to no more than the Secretary of Defense ($205,000). This speech will not make him any friends among the military corporate contractors. (26 min.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psWHpTJ26lk

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Exactly. NATO is a suicide pact. It's absurd.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm

We are in the world's most favorable geopolitical position. We have the Atlantic to the east, the Pacific to the West, Canada to the North, and Mexico to the South. We have enough nukes to blow up the world many times over. I don't know why we don't don't treat the entire imperial enterprise as a sunk cost and get out, starting with the Middle East (and by get out, I mean cut off all funding, too).

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Strangely, I think we're in a "Trump Peace". Yes, there are still brushfire wars raging, but this just happened:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44507090

The Taliban announced the three-day halt to hostilities earlier this month, days after a unilateral ceasefire lasting until Wednesday was ordered by the government.

It is the Taliban's first ceasefire since the government they ran was toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion.

I don't know if it's Trump or it's just coincidence. But peace has broken out in Korea for hte first time in decades, and now peace has broken out in Afghanistan for the first time in decades.

I'm just happy it's happening.

Richard , June 16, 2018 at 2:59 am

You should take a look at The Threat by Andrew Cockburn. Fairly exhaustive detail about how Russian military might was inflated, in the 70s and 80s, in virtually every possible way. From badly coordinated civil defense, to the complete inreadiness of its airforce, to the caste system pervading the army that had reduced morale to almost nothing, the overall picture is pretty stunning, compared to the magnitude of the threat that was presented to the US public.

It wasn't just bad intelligence, it was consistently purposeful bad intelligence. The consequences have been dire for the world, and our country as well. The Russians in that period never represented a serious military threat even to the continent of Europe, far less the US. Nor do they now, spending less than a tenth on their military than the US. The 80 billion dollar incease in the US military budget this year was more than the entire Russian military budget. Meanwhile,our own bases encompass the globe, and we wage war and threaten genocide wherever we choose.

The facts are abundantly clear, that our own military represents by far the greatest threat to human life on this planet.

I want to tell you, that you and I and everyone in this damned country, we are not just the most lied to people in the world. We're arguably the most lied to people in history, at least if you consider the number and frequency of lies. It's a wonder we get anything right at all! I encourage you to read more, and read more widely, and to start at a position of distrust, with any foreign policy reporting that isn't based on first hand knowledge.

I am heartened by the position Bernie is taking, even as I disagree with him on the Russia hysteria and wonder at some of his qualifications like "blunder" to describe out and out imperialism. We need to start somewhere, and why not start with "let the people and the people's representatives decide when we use our military"?

Ashburn , June 16, 2018 at 9:52 am

I know many progressives on the left have questioned Bernie's foreign policy positions and for not going far enough in opposing our imperial wars. Personally, I think Bernie knows exactly how stupid, immoral, illegal, and costly our wars are, especially as it "crowds out spending" on his favored domestic policies. Bernie is also smart enough to know how he would be attacked by our right-wing corporate media and the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex if he were too outspoken. So, he tempers his statements, not just because his domestic agenda is most important to him, but also because he knows attacking our militarized foreign policy will not play well with the working class base he needs to appeal to. Unlike Obama who played up his anti-Iraq War vote, only to expand our wars across the Middle East and Africa (after collecting his Nobel Peace Prize), Bernie is holding his cards closer to the vest.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm

> play well with the working class base he needs to appeal to

I think the working class in the flyover states is ready to hear that the endless war needs to end. It's tricky message to convey, because "Are you saying my child died in vain?" But Trump saying Iraq was a strategic blunder went over very well, and military casualties correlate with Trump votes . I think Sanders (or his as-yet-unknown successor) must deliver that message, but it's going to be tricky, if only because it will smash an enormous number of rice bowls in the national security and political classes (which overlap). Maybe we could move all the uniform-worshippers to an island, give them a few billion dollars, and let them play war games among themselves. Cheap at twice the price.

UPDATE I would bet "addiction" would work as a trope in the flyover states; "the war machine is a needle in America's arm" is the concept. Especially because veterans are prone to opioid addiction . Again, the rhetoric would be tricky to avoid blaming victims or "hating the troops," but I think there's good messaging to be found here. (People do horrid things when trapped in addictive systems. That's why they seek cure )

The Heretic , June 16, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Sanders needs to protect the people who are part of the 95% who work for the military industrial complex. He does this not by raising welfare (which Americans find humiliating), not by only giving extensive retraining benefits, (which in an opportunity starved country like America, will only lead to work stints at an Amazon Warehouse) but by repurposing the capitol and retraining the working people to issues that must be addressed for the future, such as energy sustainability or infrastructure that can resist increasingly severe climate chaos. Furthermore, he must announce and do both simultaneously, probably via an MMT program and raising Taxes on rhe elite 2% and via transaction taxes on all capitol outflow from the USA.

Stopping the war machine, but putting people out of work, will never be acceptable to those who work for the war machine or the friends and family of those people.

VietnamVet , June 16, 2018 at 5:52 pm

You are correct. The forever wars are just one of the ways to bleed the Middle Class dry. The media propaganda and rule by the 10% can't let the suckers know what is really going on. There are always enough men to man the colonial wars but they are unwinnable unless the whole nation is involved.

The Bolshevik Revolution and the Bonus Army were within living memory of WWII leaders. The new global aristocracy has lost all history and doesn't perceive the inevitable consequences of inequality. My personal opinion was that for Marshall and Truman one of the reasons for the use of atomic weapons on Japan was that they did not want millions of combat tested soldiers traveling across the USA by train with the ultimate destination a number of deadly invasions of the Japanese Islands. Each worse than Okinawa. They were afraid of what the soldiers would do. This is also the reason why these Vets got a generous GI Bill.

ArcadiaMommy , June 16, 2018 at 6:52 pm

You reminded me of Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq. She protesteted at the GWB TX compound if you recall and remains an activist to this day. I can't speak for her but it seems to me like she understands that her son should not have died to further this ugly, pointless war.

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com

I can't begin to understand the pain of losing a child, spouse, parent, etc., but I can wrap my head around it enough that I don't want anyone to experience it. And I have no doubt that facing the true causes of the war would make the pain worse. But every time I hear this nonsense about how some poor kid "didn't die in vain" in VietRaq, I want to scream "yes they did! Now what are we going to do to stop it from happening again???".

The tropes of "supporting the troops", yellow ribbons, "they are protecting us", etc. just keeps the propaganda ballon inflated. Here is how I support the troops: I'm against war.

The Heretic , June 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

This reminds me of Forest Gump where some well meaning hippies call Forest Gump a baby killer. The peace activists must refrain from blaming and shaming soldiers as a group; specfic criminals (such as those who committed crimes at my lai) should investigated, shamed and punished, the whistleblowers should be greatly honoured, and soldiers ad a group should be respected and not blamed for going to war, as indeed many do not know the truth for why the war was fought. On the other hand, politicians, lobby groups, and venal media and intelligence agencies should be exorciated for the lies that they believe or spread, as indeed it should be their business to try to discern the truth.

Hence it was very admirable when members of the Mossad leaked out facts that Iran was not pursuing development of the Nuclear bomb, even while Netanyahoo was pursuing a media blitz to justify greater economic and ultimately military aggression against Iran

ArcadiaMommy , June 16, 2018 at 8:06 pm

Who is "blaming and shaming" anyone? I'm saying that I agree with this mother who lost her child that we should be extremely skeptical about the motivation for war of any kind. And the lack of skepticism (expressed or not) impedes any real movement away from war without end.
The Sheehans are real people who lost a son and brother. Forest Gump is just some character from a dumb movie. Good grief.

a different chris , June 17, 2018 at 9:19 am

Think Heretic was fleshing out your thoughts, not disagreeing?

ChrisPacific , June 17, 2018 at 11:22 pm

I think that you can respect the sacrifice and commitment of people who sign up to fight for their country while still criticizing the uses that leaders have chosen to put them to. In fact I think that makes the message stronger: the willingness of our friends, family, children etc. to sign up to fight and die for America places a duty and obligation on our leaders to ensure they are deployed wisely and for the betterment of America and the world. Those leaders – the ones we elected – have failed in that trust, and continue to fail. Our military friends and family haven't let us down – we've let them down, by not holding our government accountable. It's time we changed that!

John Wright , June 17, 2018 at 10:54 am

You wrote:

> Unlike Obama who played up his anti-Iraq War vote.

Obama was not in the US Senate at the time to vote.

From https://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/obamas-war-stance-revisited/

"The rally featured a pointed anti-war speech from Obama, then a fairly anonymous state lawmaker, who deemed the impending Iraq engagement 'a dumb war.'"

The political entertainer Obama gave a number of speeches advocating transparency in government, advocating for financial reform and even mentioned "we tortured some folks" decrying torture.

Then behind the scenes Obama did very little to back up his speeches with actions as he went with the flow.

Obama's Illinois anti-war speech served him well, as he could milk this "anti-war" stance for years while running military actions as President.

Obama had two groups to satisfy, the populace and the elite. The populace got empty words, the elite got what they wanted.

Bernie Sanders actually DID vote against the Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq

Montanamaven , June 17, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Obama was not in the Senate until 2005. He could not vote against the Iraq war. He gave a speech in Chicago prior to the war.

Lambert Strether , June 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Sadly, there is no contemporaneous transcript* or recording . I remember the 2008 controversy vividly, because the Obama campaign released a campaign ad that purported to be Obama delivering the Chicago 2002 speech, but it quickly emerged that he had re-recorded it for the campaign (see the link).

This site purports to have a 2002 transcript, but the Wayback machines says the material was first posted in 2007 . So.

Adding, I can't even find a contemporaneous link to Obama's "dumb war" formulation , though with Google's crapification, who knows.

oh , June 16, 2018 at 10:40 am

I think we're more than being lied to. The MSM is waging a propaganda campaign at every level completely obscuring the truth. And the politicians play the fear card at every level. I don't believe any of us is in "happy compliance" at the airport. I for one, grind my teeth and cuss out the crooked corporations (including that bastard "skull" Chertoff who personally benefited from the x-ray screening machines) that reap a bundle of money from the so called screening and invasive body searches. Travel has become something to dread.

marku52 , June 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm

You can tell a lot about a country's intent by the design of the army they assemble. Here is a deep technical description about the new army the Russians are putting together. Hint: it is not designed to attack.

"The decision to create a tank army (armoured corps in Western terminology) is an indication that Russia really does fear attack from the west and is preparing to defend itself against it. In short, Russia has finally come to the conclusion that NATO's aggression means it has to prepare for a big war."

Interesting technical take on the whole thing. Worth a read.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/04/russia-prepares-for-a-big-war-the-significance-of-a-tank-army.html#more

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm

That is a very good link, both parts one and two.

Oregoncharles , June 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

The preventive for tank warfare isn't more tanks, it's effective anti-tank weapons, preferably at the foot soldier level.

Those exist; even Hezbollah has them. The disadvantage is that they're relatively cheap, compared to tanks, and much more defensive.

Plenue , June 17, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Well, Russia could probably triumph over the austerity-racked countries of the EU, with the possible exception of France. But it wouldn't be able to hold much for long if it had to occupy anything. And it would take a mauling in the process, a mauling that would be prohibitively expensive to repair. The modern Russian military simply isn't organized in a fashion that is conducive to large scale conquest. It has exactly one fully integrated, combined arms unit suitable for full-scale armored warfrare, the 1st Guards Tank Army, which was reactivated in 2014.

The nightmare visions of armor pouring through the Fulda Gap were basically always delusional. In 2018 they're downright laughable.

Kk , June 16, 2018 at 2:21 am

If the economic crisis of 2007 was the modern Depression then we are about due for a really big war.

The Rev Kev , June 16, 2018 at 3:48 am

I don't think that the US can stop at this point. As an example, the one time the people were asked if they wanted to bomb Syria the answer was a definite 'no' so the next time they never even bothered asking them. There is far too much money, power and prestige at stake too consider stopping.

The officer corps might be an opponent but I think that America has been badly served by them due to how officers are selected & trained and who makes it to the top. The only time they balk is when some idiot in Washington pushes them to fight the Russians or the Chinese. And most people don't really care in any case so long as the US wins. Out of sight, out of mind as they say.

America is more likely to get single-payer health than for the US armed forces to pull back as any suggestion of the later brings charges of being 'unpatriotic'. At least with single-payer health you only get charged with being a 'socialist'. Know a good place to start? The US Special Operations Command has about 70,000 people in it and they want more. The US would be better served by cutting this force in half and giving their jobs back to regular formations.

These are the people that want constant deployments in more and more countries hence cutting them back would be a good idea. I expect things to go along until one day the US armed forces will be sent into a war where they will take casualties not seen since the bad days on 'Nam. Then there will be the devil to pay and him out to lunch.

Pespi , June 16, 2018 at 4:18 am

It's harder and harder to sell these military actions to the public. What are we in Korea and Japan for? To contain China? If you ask most people, they'll probably tell you that China won, or at very least our bosses are in league with their bosses.

The Borg moves without regard to public sentiment, so we have to replace politicians with those who'll bring it to heel. That's a death sentence, but I feel like enough people have the guts to try and make it happen.

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 3:38 pm

*sigh* someone please trot out that Goering quote again: To the extent that public opinion matters, public opinion is easy to arrange.

PlutoniumKun , June 16, 2018 at 5:37 am

One issue I have right now with 'anti-War' is that to be 'anti' is one thing, but to make serious arguments you have to be able to present arguments about what you are actually 'for'. For example, if the US were to suddenly withdraw from the eastern Pacific, the effect could be highly destabilising and could actually increase the chance of war. These are questions that need to be answered.

Just to take one example of I think a positive idea – there is research here which argues that the 'optimum' nuclear deterrent is less than 100 warheads. This is of course a difficult argument to put into political play, but its important I think to put the militarists on the back foot in order to make arguments for withdrawal from empire and peace mainstream.

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 9:18 am

So who is calling for a sudden withdrawal?

Nice strawperson there.

The Rev Kev , June 16, 2018 at 9:35 am

It would be OK so long as it was not premature.

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 9:27 am

I would bet that most people think that being anti-war encompasses the following:

-being for peace
-being for stability
-being for more social spending instead of military spending
-being for fewer civilians being killed
-being for fewer military deaths

Is that enough to meet your ridiculous threshold for 'serious arguments?'

tegnost , June 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

you're being cavalier. PK makes a great point, and your vague and oyerly broad "fors" remind me of many arguments regarding the 2016 election. The democrat side (Brock and CTR et al) couldn't say what they were for outside of abstract bernaysian generalities. If you want to convince people (and I have this difficulty, as do I'm sure most of the readers here, trying to get dems off of the russia russia russia putins bitch train)

You really need to focus on slow walking through complicated and dangerous waters, and just shut up sometimes when certain people are just not going to listen, but if you can get that one cogent, not hysterical argument into the minds of the people you want to convince, then you have a chance to stem the tide. Read some of the fantastic commentary regarding brexit from our european commenters as an example of what works in discourse, and how to puts facts on the ground in a way people can relate to.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:04 pm

> You really need to focus on slow walking through complicated and dangerous waters . Read some of the fantastic commentary regarding brexit from our european commenters as an example of what works in discourse, and how to puts facts on the ground in a way people can relate to.

That's a cogent argument. I don't mean to imply in my comments that "getting out" will be easy. ("You must do it, Catullus, you must do it. You must do it whether it can be done or not.")

We might begin by renaming the "Department of Defense" to the "Department of War," just to be truthful, and then ask ourselves what kind of wars we want to fight. And I think most people would be very willing to cross anything that looked like Iraq off the list, followed (it is to be hoped) with a willingness to rethink self-licking ice cream cones as our industrial policy. In a way, the project would have the same feel as my hobbyhorse, gutting the administrative layers of the universities as not central to mission.

PlutoniumKun , June 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Thanks tegnost. I don't mean to suggest that there isn't a solid electoral reason to have nice vague policies, not least because a campaign against foreign wars would be an excellent way for the left to make common cause with some parts of the right, such as the paleoconservatives and isolationists.

The problem as I see it with policies 'against' something is that you end up a little like Five Star in Italy – having gotten into power on opposing everything bad about Italy, they are now facing a 'now what' moment, and are seemingly clueless about what to do. As usual, the right makes the running.

marku52 , June 16, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Yes, exactly, It is not enough to be against something. As HRC found out

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Well, there is this.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/grassroots-anti-war-movement-gaining-traction

Maybe some on this site need to jump in and tell those people to get those white papers out ASAP.

diptherio , June 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

The war-mongers will always find "serious arguments" for why we musn't end the American empire. Their arguments will be nuanced and filled with details that would take the average citizen months, if not years, to verify and analyze. When the best minds in the American empire can fail to forsee the fall of the Soviet Union or the response to their coup on Chavez, why should we put credence in their "serious" analyses?

Meanwhile, the case against war is a simple and easily verifiable. "My son is dead." "My friend came home a broken person." etc. Telling poor Americans that their family members need to keep dying because allowing them to come home would, maybe, make war more likely in a country they've only seen on a map is an argument not likely to find much traction. It is also, in my mind, ethically vapid -- an argument that presses for a guaranteed evil as a means of avoiding a possible evil.

Trying to forsee the outcome of major (or even minor) changes to a system as complex as the American empire is a sucker's game. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely a sucker themselves. In situations of such complexity, the only way forward is the ontological one. All teleology is sheer fantasy. We should act, therefore, not on the basis of what we think will happen as a result of our actions, but rather on the basis of what the just thing to do is. You can't base your actions on ends (as in "the ends justify the means") because the situation is so complex that there is no way to credibly predict the ends that any action might lead to.

IMHO, the ethical policy is to bring 'em home. All of 'em. Let them protect our country, as they've sworn to do. Let us put them to work rebuilding our infrastructure, assisting those who need it, and making the country better than it is, rather than filling it up with more walking wounded from our endless imperial adventuring.

Ape , June 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Did the Soviet withdrawal destabilize eastern Europe? I think this is pseudo-strategizing.

VietnamVet , June 16, 2018 at 8:28 pm

It did for Russia. There is now an ongoing civil war on its border in Ukraine. NATO went to war with Serbia in the later 1990's. The breakup of the Atlantic Alliance will splinter Europe. Humans being humans. The strong will try to steal from the weak.

The question is how to restore the West's middle class. Without a middle class; revolts, religious and ethnic wars will inevitable break out all over. The unrest right now is due to democracy not being compatible with globalization.

Edward , June 16, 2018 at 7:53 am

It was not just Bush who told lies to justify an invasion of Iraq. Members of Congress and the press did as well. Sen. Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee then, would only allow pro-war people to testify to his committee. At the time a lobbyist told me that the leadership of the Democratic party had decided to promote this war. They felt this would remove this issue from the next election, which would then focus on economic issues that would play to their strength.

Carolinian , June 16, 2018 at 9:40 am

Thanks for this. Another reason to break up the MIC is all the money that would be freed up for health care, infrastructure and the country's many other needs. Perhaps Sanders now realizes that the balance in USG priorities needs to be restored and he is making an economic, and not just humanitarian argument.

As for Trump, it's just possible he meant what he said about NATO and all the rest. If one believes his real priorities are his family and business it's hard to see what he gets out of perpetual war. That's more Obama and Hillary's bag.

Which doesn't make the above true. But we should at least entertain the possibility that it could be true.

Newton Finn , June 16, 2018 at 11:48 am

As one who could never bring himself to vote for Trump (or for Clinton, for that matter), let me make a counter-intuitive prediction. If Trump allows the MIC to goad him into starting a new war with Iran, he will lose if he decides to run again.

If, on the other hand, he starts no new war against Iran or any other country that does not threaten us militarily, then he will be re-elected should he decide to go for another term.

The old adage that our country rallies around a war president is no longer operative IMHO. In a nation tired of perpetual war, the commander-in-chief would get at best a short-term surge in public approval by opening up a new battle zone, before slipping precipitously in the polls. Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy?

tegnost , June 16, 2018 at 11:52 am

Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy?

They do it for the money, pretty much everyone in congress is a millionaire, including the ones who were not millionaires when they got elected hmmmmmm .

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Those are their constituents: beltway bandits, private contractors, public/private partnerships, insurance companies, arms companies, private equity firms, military contractors, and whatever other combinations you want to come up with.

I remember when Tim Kaine gleefully suggested that we needed an "intelligence surge" to protect the country. I almost gagged. It was a not so subtle message of "prepare for the handouts to the private military contractor industry".

https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/06/politics/clinton-intelligence-surge-nsa-data/index.html

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:09 pm

> Another reason to break up the MIC is all the money that would be freed up for health care, infrastructure and the country's many other needs

Since Federal taxes don't fund Federal spending, the connection between gutting the MIC and more money for health care is not direct.

However, if you think in terms of real resources , the effect is as you say. (The same reasoning applies to finance, where enormous salaries sucked in the best talent that might otherwise have been put to non-parasitical purposes.)

John k , June 16, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Mt is not yet sellable to the public, will take years. Best story is that foreign wars strip resources from local spending and jobs, which is also what most pols seem to think. Bills should be presented as less for mil and mor for infra. Starve mic

juliania , June 16, 2018 at 11:13 am

You don't have to go back to the last campaign to see anti-war rhetoric as a strategy. Trump is already, in his meeting with Kim, starting the ball rolling. (Moon of Alabama.com has a good recent post on the subject). Sorry Bernie, you are late to the party, too late. Reminds me a bit of 1968. Nixon got in promising to end that war (which he didn't.) But it is good to see anti-war stuff going mainstream at last. May it bear fruit this time around!

And yes, Gaius Publius, anti-war statements Trump made during his first campaign DID make a huge difference. They won him the presidency, in my opinion.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 11:49 am

How does positioning 2,000 – 4,000 US troops in Syria fit into your "Trump is a peace-maker" narrative? How about the comment Wednesday that the US will attack Syrian forces if they attack Sunni jihadis (er "moderate rebels") in SW Syria?

How about us aiding and abetting a famine in Yemen that could kills tens of thousands?

Is setting us on a potential course for war with Iran further evidence of your "dovish" Trump?

diptherio , June 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm

I think you are attributing a sentiment to juliania that her comment does not actually contain. She doesn't say Trump is a peace-maker, she says he was far in front of Bernie in using "anti-war rhetoric as a strategy." The example of Nixon doing the same thing indicates that juliania is well aware that strategic rhetoric and actual decisions are not the same thing.

I know a fair number of Trump voters, and my read is similar to juliania's: Trump's anti-war rhetoric was a big draw for a lot of people, and helped many be able to hold their nose and vote for him. Understanding this and commenting on it does not make one a Trump supporter, obviously, or indicate that one puts any credence in his dovish rhetoric.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 1:14 pm

You might be correct and my apologies to juliania if I misread her post. I have heard so much of the "Trump is fighting [the deep state, Wall Street, the neocons]" on other blogs that I am a bit hypersensitive and go off on a rant when I see or perceive that argument. From my perspective, Trump is doing everything in his power to entrench Wall Street, the neocons, etc.

I was also receptive to the idea that Trump might be less hawkish than HRC (although I did not vote for him) but have now been thoroughly disabused of that notion.

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Provide a link to the recent statement.

I believe you, just always looking for more ammunition to demolish "we're fighting ISIS" arguments.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

SW Syria does not have Kurds active, so these are Sunni jihadi-lites. They are however not HTS, which we re-branded from Al-Nusra and had been classified as an Al Qaeda affiliate at one time. Of course we are framing it as a de-escalation zone; others call it a jihadi base.

https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/US-says-will-take-firm-measures-against-Syria-violations-near-Israel-border-560057

Susan the other , June 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm

The war in Yemen is to secure the Saudi monarchy and our interest in their vast reserves of oil and gas. The war in Syria is to secure our preferred pipeline feeding the EU. Our entrenched position surrounding Iran is no accident – we are an existential threat to Iran and intend to remain that way. If China discovered a giant oil field under its western desert we'd be there too. One rationale for all this control freakery is that we think we can maintain our "capitalist" economy, our silly pretenses about a free market, etc. But Karma is the real truth-teller here: Free markets do not work. So it follows logically that privatization also does not work. And to continue, at some point, forced capitalism fails. Markets fail. Profit seeking could be the thing that brings it all down. It's a strangely comforting thought because it leaves us with a clear vision of what not to do anymore. Unfortunately, people are not angels. If we attempt to invoke the ghost of John Foster Dulles and not engage in little wars but just sell arms to every tin pot dictator it will be worse chaos than it is now. And worse still, chaos in a time of environmental devastation. The only good option is the Mr. Scrooge option. Instead of arms and WMD and fascist control for the sake of preventing uprisings, we should skip the fascist control part and directly mainline the resources to make civilization thrive. Since that's definitely not capitalism, we'll have to think up a new ism.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm

> sell arms to every tin pot dictator

Yes, let's devote enormous real resources to fabricating bespoke military aircraft that catch fire on the runway. Meanwhile, we don't have any machine shops anymore .

Summer , June 16, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Yes, there is more anti-war sentiment. And will they or won't they (Congress) continue to legislate away their ability to authorize war/use of force?

I say they continue to absolve themselves of the responsibility. Bounding their own hads behind their backs, smirking at the concept of peace.

And it puts people more in taxation without representation territory.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 16, 2018 at 12:19 pm

I have the feeling that Sanders here is reacting to all the ex-CIA (but not 100% ex) candidates taking over the D Party.

Will the road to the White House in 2020 be journeyed through another vehicle?

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:17 pm

> I have the feeling that Sanders here is reacting to all the ex-CIA (but not 100% ex) candidates taking over the D Party.

That is an excellent point. (I don't think it's just CIA, though; it's CIA and military personnel generally.* That's why I voted against ranked Jared Golden low, because Golden (like Seth Moulton in MA) fits that template, which is vile.

UPDATE * "Professional authoritarians," we might call them. That would fit all this neatly into Thomas Frank's framework.

flora , June 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

People ask if capitalism and democracy are compatible, and I think they are, at least I don't see any inherent reason why they would not be compatible.

Another question: Are militarism* and democracy compatible? I'm not so sure they are.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militarism

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Ancient Athens was on some level democratic, and the populist party typically favored war and expansion. E.g.Pericles and the peloponesian war come to mind. By contrast, the aristocratic parties were generally less in favor of military adventurism.

However, a constitutional republic is not compatible with empire.

Therein lies the problem.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm

The link between populism and war featured prominently in "Electing to fight. Why emerging democracies go to war" This is a fairly obscure book (one review in Amazon), but – by a wide margin – the best book I have ever read about politics or political science. The last 100 pages are cliff notes versions of the politics underlying the start of many wars; the first 150 pages are a really dense read.

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Thanks.

Alejandro , June 16, 2018 at 8:19 pm

A lot depends on how you define "democracy", "will of the people" etc.. What the role of "finance" in a context of "capitalism" and "democracy" should be, e.g., citizens united(note orwellian language) may be considered a " reason why they would not be compatible" and even antithetical. Noting that "militarism" depends on public funding, where should the power to influence this funding be? Neo-cons, dominated by militarists, and neo-liberals, dominated by de-regulated banksters, may not be the same but certainly seem like symbionts in the context of 326MM people.

Bernard , June 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm

America itself is the most destabilizing force on the planet. i would love to see what America leaving the world to its' own devices would look like. Like Weimar/Nazi Germany, nothing good comes from these kind of "American Values."

the Ugly American is what American Values signify, and mostly always have. America is the most destabilizing force i ever read of or heard of. Americans have just taken the Nazi theme of One People, One Land and One Leader on a Global scope. and it ain't good. Either do as America tells you, or we will bring American Democracy to your country.

Maybe there's hope, as Caitlyn Johnstone implies in her last essay, i sure doubt it, though, as long as America/the Empire continues to destabilize not just the Pacific but everywhere else in the world. Why does anything think the South/Central Americans come to America. The American Empire has screwed up the Western Hemisphere so badly, these "refugees hope to escape from the American made Plantations the Western Hemisphere has been carved into. These immigrants are just part of the blowback from the American Way.

also makes me wonder if the Europeans don't understand why there are refugees coming through Greece and via boats, primarily to Italy. dont they see it's America's Wars in MENA that are causing this "invasion." gosh, what a black and white cause and effect. Germany needs workers due to the low birth rate. so, open the doors to the chaos America has made in the Middle East, and voila, cheap labor and departure from an America made hell in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Algeria, the whole "New American Century" Project the Neocons have us in and paying for.

Doesn't the average European see how American and Apartheid Israeli support for forces like the Taliban, Al Queda, Wahabbism, and the ongoing media censored Yemeni/Palestinian Holocaust, wars of profit, i.e. created the refugess that are streaming into Europe. Maybe the Europeans are also stymied by the Rich who keep the wars going and the Media who profit off the death of the "deplorables" who no longer "matter."

i know in America most Americans are ignorant due to total control of the Media and the "narrative" that controls what can be said. Americans have no shame when it comes to getting what they want, politically. no enough blowback. no sense of connection between here and there or anywhere outside the Media Narrative.

as a bumper sticker from long ago said, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." The Empire will not give up until it can't go on.

Ape , June 16, 2018 at 4:12 pm

No most people with influence don't see how the system that gives them influence also is sending waves of refugees.

Bruce Walker , June 17, 2018 at 7:36 am

Every American should have to read your post twice a day, until maybe they get it. The best post I have read in ages, Thumbs Up Bernard.

grayslady , June 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for calling attention to this. I noticed the same thing immediately, and I gave the remainder of the article less credence because of it. A true leftie knows the difference between Improved Medicare for All and a Medicare buy-in program.

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 2:50 pm

To me, making the argument that one must be 'for' something is simply a way to dismiss whatever the 'anti' side represents, whether or not PK meant to be dismissive.

And it reminds me of the efforts to impede and dismiss the anti-war or occupy-type movement outright – "what, you people don't have any policies (and nothing for us to analyze to death and criticize??) !!!! How dare you speak up about something!!! Go away until you go to Harvard and produce a few papers. Until then, your silly notions mean nothing to us!!" and the underlying elitism of the concept.

So, that is what I am reminded of, again, whether or not PK meant it that way.

tegnost , June 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm

you spoke up with a thought provoking comment, you want to make the next occupy movement succeed. Make a good argument is all.

Oregoncharles , June 16, 2018 at 3:28 pm

(Before reading the comments) "If Americans Could Vote Against the Forever War, Would They Do It?"

Sadly, I think the answer is no, mainly because Americans do not vote based on foreign policy unless it "comes home," eg in the form of body bags – a lot of them. The "wasted money" argument, which brings it home, might be the most effective; that's a pitfall of MMT. Of course, as a practical matter there's a POLITICAL choice between guns and butter, whether or not the economics is valid.

In those remarks, Sanders is filling in the gaping hole in his resume. It may be an indication that he plans to run in 2020.

Finally: I question whether the 2016 nomination was actually "stolen." Certainly there was a good deal of cheating by the party, but I'm not convinced it was decisive (there's no way to be sure). The actual votes ran about 47% for Sanders, and that's including Oregon and California. I think that reflects the actual nature of the Democratic Party.

The reason is that its membership has been falling, if not plummeting, at the same time that its policies have become more and more right-wing. Affiliation, which is a poll result, is down near 30%; I suspect registrations have fallen, too, but I haven't seen numbers. Given the variations in state law, registrations aren't very indicative. All that means that the remaining party members are a remnant that has been selected for conservatism. The primary vote reflects that. (This doesn't change the argument that the Dems knowingly chose their weaker candidate; it just means that the voters did, too.)

precariat , June 16, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Observations : Trump, scandals, security state

The military is A-ok with Trump and this is what seems to matter. The roar of hysteria from the media over Trump first 2-3 months in office died down considerably when he showed a willingness to engage in a show of force by striking Syria (remember when he was so concerned about the welfare of children?)

Only a *faction" of the security establishment is anti-Trump because he is skeptical of *neoliberal* globalism. However this faction is doing a great job of re-enacting the framework used to deny/disrupt/disable during the Clinton administration: scandals and selective corruption investigations. This serves a purpose: to martyr the Prez with the constituents who *should* be holding the Prez accountable on lack of follow through and betrayal of promises made on the camapign trail.

Trump voters can't make him hold himaccountable; they are too busy feeling he has been victimized -- and many Trump voters are victims, so the identification is real.

Meanwhile, the Prez who can't seem to enact *anything* to make lives better for the people who put him in office, is magically able to enact the agenda of the 1%. This repeat of the 1% 's manipulations is one I can do without.

precariat , June 16, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Sorry for the typos, jumping cursor! It occurs to me that what I have described is a recipe for info-ops or how to hijack a 'democracy.'

Jeremy Grimm , June 16, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Regarding the question posed by this post I think there is very little evidence of an anti-war "fever" and even if there were, and if it were projected into the streets and/or ballot box, I am pessimistic that it could have any effect on the U.S. government of today. I don't think the U.S. government cares what the American people think or feel about anything -- except of course as those cares and feelings affect the mechanisms of control through the propaganda pushed through our media, the levels of surveillance and suppression, and the increased viciousness of our "laws" and their enforcement.

I believe the U.S. government is run by several powerful and competing interests. So I think I'll ask a different question -- though in the same vein as that posed by the title of this post. Are those interests who compete with the interests of the MIC and Spook Industrial Complex (SIC) beginning to see the futility and stupidity of our endless wars? Are those interests growing anxious at enriching their share of the pie by shoving aside the budget gluttons feasting on war? Are any of those interests whose long-term, and often short-term interests are damaged by endless wars and their ongoing deconstruction of American Empire finally growing weary of how those wars undermine the American Empire? War may be a racket but the burning of bridges and collapse of Empire isn't a racket I would hope even the most clueless of our masters will continue to tolerate. Have the MIC and SIC assumed power?

WorkerPleb , June 16, 2018 at 9:09 pm

"Peaceniks are Kremlin stooges!" It's depressing when you can predict the media's response six months in advance.

Massinissa , June 17, 2018 at 3:18 am

The media already said that 40 years ago about the Hippies. Some things don't really change.

[Jun 13, 2018] The Nationalism Versus Globalism Battles Yet to Come

Notable quotes:
"... By the way, the US provides 22% of NATO funding, a formula which is based on population. Thus, if the European members increased their contributions to NATO, the US contribution would also rise! ..."
"... Donald Trump will remain exasperated because he is fighting the good fight but not really understanding who his adversary's are. ..."
"... Foreign countries aren't taking advantage of the USA. American industrialists are taking advantage of the USA. Why does Apple make its iPhones in China? Why does Ford build so many of its SUVs in Mexico? Not because of the decisions those countries have made. It's because of the decisions American industrial leaders have made. ..."
"... The USA has a trade surplus with Canada. Trump lied about that. ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Credit: Andrew Cline/Shutterstock

At the G-7 summit in Canada, President Donald Trump described America as "the piggy bank that everybody is robbing."

After he left Quebec, his director of Trade and Industrial Policy, Peter Navarro, added a few parting words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: "There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door. And that's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did. And that comes right from Air Force One."

In Singapore, Trump tweeted more about that piggy bank: "Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades [while] the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade?"

To understand what drives Trump, and explains his exasperation and anger, these remarks are a good place to begin.

Our elites see America as an "indispensable nation," the premiere world power whose ordained duty it is to defend democracy, stand up to dictators and aggressors, and uphold a liberal world order.

They see U.S. wealth and power as splendid tools that fate has given them to shape the future of the planet.

Trump sees America as a nation being milked by allies who free-ride on our defense efforts as they engage in trade practices that enrich their own peoples at America's expense.

Where our elites live to play masters of the universe, Trump sees a world laughing behind America's back, while allies exploit our magnanimity and idealism for their own national ends.

The numbers are impossible to refute and hard to explain.

Last year, the EU had a $151 billion trade surplus with the U.S. China ran a $376 billion trade surplus with the U.S., the largest in history. The world sold us $796 billion more in goods than we sold to the world.

A nation that spends more than it takes in from taxes, and consumes more of the world's goods than it produces itself for export, year in and year out, is a nation on the way down.

We are emulating our British cousins of the 19th century.

Trump understands that this situation is not sustainable. His strength is that the people are still with him on putting America first.

Yet he faces some serious obstacles.

What is his strategy for turning a $796 billion trade deficit into a surplus? Is he prepared to impose the tariffs and import restrictions that would be required to turn America from the greatest trade-deficit nation in history to a trade-surplus nation, as we were up until the mid-1970s?

Americans are indeed carrying the lion's share of the load of the defense of the West, and of fighting the terrorists and radical Islamists of the Middle East, and of protecting South Korea and Japan.

But if our NATO and Asian allies refuse to make the increases in defense he demands, is Trump really willing to cancel our treaty commitments, walk away from our war guarantees, and let these nations face Russia and China on their own? Could he cut that umbilical cord?

Ike's secretary of state John Foster Dulles spoke of conducting an "agonizing reappraisal" of U.S. commitments to defend NATO allies if they did not contribute more money and troops.

Dulles died in 1959, and that reappraisal, threatened 60 years ago, never happened. Indeed, when the Cold War ended, our NATO allies cut defense spending again. Yet we are still subsidizing NATO in Europe and have taken on even more allies since the Soviet Empire fell.

If Europe refuses to invest the money in defense that Trump demands, or accept the tariffs America needs to reduce and erase its trade deficits, what does he do? Is he prepared to shut U.S. bases and pull U.S. troops out of the Baltic republics, Poland, and Germany, and let the Europeans face Vladimir Putin and Russia themselves?

This is not an academic question. For the crunch that was inevitable when Trump was elected seems at hand.

Trump promised to negotiate with Putin and improve relations with Russia. He promised to force our NATO allies to undertake more of their own defense. He pledged to get out and stay out of Mideast wars and begin to slash the trade deficits that we have run with the world.

That's what America voted for.

Now, after 500 days, he faces formidable opposition to these defining goals of his campaign, even within his own party.

Putin remains a pariah on Capitol Hill. Our allies are rejecting the tariffs Trump has imposed and threatening retaliation. Free-trade Republicans reject tariffs that might raise the cost of the items U.S. companies make abroad and then ships back to the United States.

The decisive battles between Trumpian nationalism and globalism remain ahead of us. Trump's critical tests have yet to come.

And our exasperated president senses this.

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


Bradley June 12, 2018 at 6:10 am

America spends 3 times as much on defense as its allies because it is addicted to military spending. The solution is not to pressure other countries to acquire the same addiction. The solution is for America cut its own military spending.

This is just another example of America trying to "export" its domestic issues. Quit blaming foreigners and deal with your issues.

Joe the Plutocrat , says: June 12, 2018 at 6:58 am
"A nation that spends more than it takes in from taxes, and consumes more of the world's goods than it produces itself for export, year in and year out, is a nation on the way down. We are emulating our British cousins of the 19th century." never imagined I'd say this, but you are absolutely correct. of course you neglect to acknowledge, Trump himself is an "elite" and a "globalist". the fact his "game" is real estate, as opposed to governance is more of a semantic distinction than ideological. debt-fueled consumerism drives real estate just as it drives globalism. this is nothing new. add to this the pathological narcissism and the ability to leverage moral bankruptcy as he has the tax codes and bankruptcy laws, and voila, just another globalist in populist clothing. as I have maintained all along, he is not so much anti-establishment as he is an establishment of one – he simply thrives in a different type of swamp and favors a smaller oligarchy/plutocracy. and of course, there is the big news out of Singapore/Korea, but again, much of the 'spin' or upside cited in a denuclearized Korean peninsula involves the opportunity for North Korea to join the globalists at the globalists' table. one can only wonder if there will be Ivanka's handbags will be made in Panmunjom, and if Kim Jong Un will stay at the Trump hotel in DC? either way, you are correct he is the candidate the American people, and the globalists "elected".
JonF , says: June 12, 2018 at 8:35 am
One problem with Trump's rant: the US enjoys a small trade surplus with Canada.

Would someone please get this president some hard facts and drill him on them for however long it takes top get them fixed in his mind before he goes off half-cocked with any more nonsense?

Michael Kenny , says: June 12, 2018 at 10:36 am
As always, Mr Buchanan sets out his personal agenda and then claims that Trump promised to implement it if elected. The more Trump backs away from globalised free trade (if that's what he's really doing), the more that suits the EU. The "core value" of the EU is a large internal market protected by a high tariff wall. Globalization was rammed down an unwilling EU's throat by the US in the Reagan years and only the British elite ever really believed in it. As for NATO, nobody now believes that the US will honor its commitments, no matter how much Europe pays, so logically, the European members are concentrating their additional expenditure on an independent European defense system, which, needless to say, the US is trying to obstruct.

By the way, the US provides 22% of NATO funding, a formula which is based on population. Thus, if the European members increased their contributions to NATO, the US contribution would also rise!

Kent , says: June 12, 2018 at 11:17 am
Donald Trump will remain exasperated because he is fighting the good fight but not really understanding who his adversary's are.

Foreign countries aren't taking advantage of the USA. American industrialists are taking advantage of the USA. Why does Apple make its iPhones in China? Why does Ford build so many of its SUVs in Mexico? Not because of the decisions those countries have made. It's because of the decisions American industrial leaders have made.

Secondly, there is absolutely no threat to NATO from Russia or Putin. Europe could slash its already meager defense budget with only beneficial consequences. The same with Japan and S. Korea. None of these countries need US military help. There are no real military threats to these countries. US military spending has never been about defending other countries. It is about enriching the shareholders of American military contractors.

So here is the real world: The United States has established a "liberal rules-based global order" that allows wealthy American and European commercial interests to benefit mightily from trade, and property and resource control in foreign countries. And this order is maintained by US military power. That is why the US is "the one indispensable nation". We are the nation that is allowed to break the order, to be the bully, in order for the rules-based order to even exist. That's why we are beating up on countries that try to live outside of this order like Iran, NK, Venezuela, Russia and everyone else who don't fall in line.

So Donald Trump is fighting against the power elite of the United States, he just doesn't understand that. He is fighting against the most powerful people in the world, people who are well represented by both political parties. He can win this fight if he lets the average American on to this reality. And then leads them properly to a better, more balanced world. But I suspect that he would be assassinated if he tried.

bacon , says: June 12, 2018 at 11:26 am
In re NATO and other oversea DOD spending, the old saying "who pays, says" has a corollary. Who wants to say has to pay. The US, since WWII, has wanted, insisted, on being in charge of everything we touch. This costs a lot, not to mention it often doesn't work the way we want. It would be easy enough to stop spending all this money. The Pentagon and the military-industrial complex would have a conniption and those whose defense bills we've been paying would complain to high heaven, but Trump seems intent on trashing all those alliances anyway and also on spending more money on defense than even the Pentagon thinks they need.
GregR , says: June 12, 2018 at 11:31 am
Trade deficits don't work the way you think they work. In todays economy the traditional measures of deficits don't actually tell us much about what is going on.

Do you know what China does with that $350b trade surplus? A huge percentage of it is rolled back immediately into US Treasury bonds because we are the only issuer of credit in sufficient amounts and of suitable stability for them to buy. All of that deficit spending Trump and the Republicans in congress passed last year is being financed by the very trade imbalance that Trump is trying to eliminate.

But trade imbalances really don't tell us much about the flow of money. Most of the imbalance is created by US companies that have built factories in China to sell goods back to the US, then repatriate money back to the US in the form of dividends or stock buy backs (which are not counted in the trade balance at all).

At best trade balances tell us very little meaningful about what is really going on, but can be wildly deceptive. At worst they are an easy tool, for demogogs who have zero understanding of what is going on, to inflame other uninformed people to justify trade wars.

One Guy , says: June 12, 2018 at 1:27 pm
Interesting the things that Buchanan ignores (on purpose?). The USA has a trade surplus with Canada. Trump lied about that. There's nothing wrong with the USA spending less money to defend other countries. Trump doesn't have to insult our allies to do that.
Jim Houghton , says: June 12, 2018 at 1:49 pm
"Trump understands that this situation is not sustainable."

You give him more credit than he deserves. What he does understand is that while we're being the world's piggy bank, the American taxpayer is being the Military-Industrial Complex's piggy-bank and that's just fine with him. As it is with most members of Congress.

John S , says: June 12, 2018 at 1:56 pm
" our NATO allies cut defense spending again. Yet we are still subsidizing NATO in Europe "

Mr. Buchanan, like Trump, does not understand how NATO is funded. All NATO members have been paying their dues. In fact, many pay a greater proportion relative to GDP per capita than the U.S. does. Defense budgets are a different matter entirely.

Sam Bufalini , says: June 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm
Remind me again, who just raised the U.S. deficit by more than a $1 trillion over the next 10 years?
S , says: June 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm
This entire article seems to reduce complex issues into simple arithmetic. Economics and job creation is about much more than balance of payments both the author and the US president don't seem to realise this. Very shallow article.
Sean , says: June 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm
America has a trade surplus with Canada, but seems determined to rub it in.

Some background. As the glaciers retreated south at the end of the ice age, they scraped away Canada's topsoil and deposited it in America. Rural Canada has little arable areas; it's beef and dairy by necessity. Costs are high and there are ten Americans to every Canadian hence the subsidy. America subsidizes it's agriculture $55 billion annually.

Mia , says: June 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm
Great, if we're upset about having to protect our allies in the Pacific, let's change the Japanese constitution to allow them to have a real military again to defend themselves and give the South Koreans nukes to balance out the power situation between them and the Norks/ Chinese. (Why is it so little is ever said about China being a nuclear power?) This whole fantasy of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is so naive it's laughable. If nukes exist, there will never be any permanent guarantee of anything, and other countries will just keep getting the bomb without our permission, like Pakistan and China. The genie is out of the bottle, so time to be brutally realistic about what we face and what can be done. We can whine all we want to about how it's not our responsibility, but then we expect other countries to be hobbled and still somehow face enemy powers.
LouisM , says: June 12, 2018 at 9:24 pm
Lets take a look at the growing list of nations shifting to the right (nationalism and populism) -The Czech, Slovak and Slovenia Republics Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, the US.

Nations shifting this year to the right (nationalism and populism) -Austria, Bavaria and Italy

Nations leaning to the right and leaning toward joining the VISEGRAD -Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Greece

AS YOU CAN SEE THE PILLARS OF MARXIST / SOCIALIST / COMMUNIST OPEN BORDERS EUROPE/EU ARE BEING TAKEN DOWN. THE FIGHT WILL BE WITH FRANCE, GERMANY, BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS, BRITAIN, SWEDEN AND THE UNELECTED EU SUPERSTATE. RIGHT NOW THE FIGHT IS WITH THE POOR SOUTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS BUT EVENTUALLY IT WILL REACH A TIPPING POINT WHERE IT BECOMES AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT BUT ITS ONLY AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT FOR THE LEFT AS THE EU REACHES THE TIPPING POINT AND THE POWER SHIFTS TO THE RIGHT.

[Jun 10, 2018] Bernard Lewis The Bush Administration's Court Intellectual by Gilbert T. Sewall

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... American Scholar ..."
Jun 08, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

He was brilliant, but his vanity turned him into a reckless alarmist and a pro-Israeli partisan.

I encountered the late Bernard Lewis (1916-2018) during the 1990s culture wars, when historians and educators met full-frontal multiculturalism, a thematic force beginning to reshape U.S. and world history curricula in schools and colleges.

The two of us shared early, firsthand experience with Islamist disinformation campaigns on and off campus. Using sympathetic academics, curriculum officers, and educational publishers as tools, Muslim activists were seeking to rewrite Islamic history in textbooks and state and national standards.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, created in 1994, was complaining of anti-Muslim "bigotry," "racial profiling," "institutional racism," and "fear-mongering," while trying to popularize the word "Islamophobia," and stoking the spirit of ethnic injustice and prejudice in Washington politics.

Lewis and I were of different generations, he a charming academic magnifico long associated with Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. He had just retired from teaching and was widely regarded as the nation's most influential scholar of Islam. "Islam has Allah," he said sardonically at the time. "We've got multiculturalism."

Washington's Pax Americana Cartel Christopher Columbus: At the Center of the Culture War

Long before I met him, Lewis had alerted those who were listening to rising friction between the Islamic world and the West. This was, in his mind, the outcome of Islam's centuries-long decline and failure to embrace modernity. In thinking this way, Lewis had earned the fury of the professor and Palestinian activist Edward Said at Columbia University, who wrote Orientalism in 1978.

Said's influential book cast previous Western studies of the Near and Middle East as Eurocentric, romantic, prejudiced, and racist. For Said, orientalism was an intellectual means to justify Western conquest and empire. Bernard Lewis's outlook epitomized this approach and interpretation. Said's line of thought profoundly influenced his undergraduate student Barack Obama, and would have an immense impact on Obama's Mideast strategies and geopolitics as president.

For some years, Lewis had warned of the ancient feuds between the West and Islam: in 1990 he'd forecast a coming "clash of civilizations" in Atlantic magazine, a phrase subsequently popularized by Harvard professor Samuel E. Huntington.

Throughout his long career, Lewis warned that Western guilt over its conquests and past was not collateral. "In the Muslim world there are no such inhibitions," Lewis once observed. "They are very conscious of their identity. They know who they are and what they are and what they want, a quality which we seem to have lost to a very large extent. This is a source of strength in the one, of weakness in the other."

Other examples of Lewis's controversial, persuasive observations include:

During the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Lewis suddenly gained immense political influence, love-bombed by White House neocons Richard Cheney, Richard Perle, and other policymakers to a degree that preyed on the old man's vanity and love of the spotlight.

Anti-war feeling in official Washington then was unpopular. Among Republicans and Democrats alike, to assert that Israel and oil were parts of the equation appeared uncouth. Insisted the neocons and White House: the aim of the war was to bring democratic government and regional order to the Mideast. Rescued from despotism, Iraqis would cheer invasion, Lewis and his allies claimed, as Afghanis welcomed relief from Taliban fundamentalists.

In 2004 the Wall Street Journal devised what it called a Lewis Doctrine, which it defined as "seeding democracy in failed Mideast states to defang terrorism." The Journal clarified that the Lewis Doctrine "in effect, had become U.S. policy" in 2001. The article also revealed that Lewis had long been politically involved with Israel and a confidant of successive Israeli prime ministers, including Ariel Sharon.

"Though never debated in Congress or sanctified by presidential decree, Mr. Lewis's diagnosis of the Muslim world's malaise, and his call for a U.S. military invasion to seed democracy in the Mideast, have helped define the boldest shift in U.S. foreign policy in 50 years. The occupation of Iraq is putting the doctrine to the test," the Journal proclaimed.

And so it has gone. After 15 years of many hard-to-follow shifts in policy and force, with vast human and materiel costs, some analysts look upon U.S. policy in Iraq and the Mideast as a geopolitical disaster, still in shambles and not soon to improve.

In other eyes Lewis stands guilty of devising a sophistic rationale to advance Israel's security at the expense of U.S. national interests. In 2006, Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer accused Lewis of consciously providing intellectual varnish to an Israel-centered policy group inside the George W. Bush administration that was taking charge of Mideast policies. The same year, Lewis's reckless alarmism on Iranian nukes on behalf of Israeli interests drew wide ridicule and contempt.

A committed Zionist, Lewis conceived of Israel as an essential part of Western civilization and an island of freedom in the Mideast. Though, acutely aware of Islam's nature and history, he must have had doubts about the capacity to impose democracy through force. Later, he stated unconvincingly that he had opposed the invasion of Iraq, but the facts of the matter point in another direction.

Lewis thus leaves a mixed legacy. It is a shame that he shelved his learned critiques and compromised his scholarly stature late in life to pursue situational geopolitics. With his role as a government advisor before the Iraq war, academic Arabists widely took to calling Lewis "the Great Satan," whereas Edward Said's favored position in academic circles is almost uncontested.

Yet few dispute that Lewis was profoundly knowledgeable of his subject. His view that Islamic fundamentalism fails all liberal tests of toleration, cross-cultural cooperation, gender equality, gay rights, and freedom of conscience still holds. Most Islamic authorities consider separation of church and state either absurd or evil. They seek to punish free inquiry, blasphemy, and apostasy. Moreover, it is their obligation to do so under holy law. Wearing multicultural blinders, contemporary European and American progressives pretend none of this is so. As has been demonstrated since 2015, Europe provides opportunities for territorial expansion, as do open-borders politics in the U.S. and Canada.

In 1990, long before his Washington adventures, Lewis wrote in the American Scholar , "We live in a time when great efforts are being made to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they would wish it to have been."

On and off campus, Islamists today use Western progressive politics and ecumenical dreams to further their holy struggle.

Lewis would point out that this force is completely understandable; in fact, it is a sacred duty. What would disturb him more is that in the name of diversity, Western intellectuals and journalists, government and corporate officials, and even military generals have eagerly cooperated.

Gilbert T. Sewall is co-author of After Hiroshima: The United States Since 1945 and editor of The Eighties: A Reader .


Ray Steinberg June 8, 2018 at 12:56 am

Why the long spiel when this article could have conveyed its thesis in the single line:

"Among Republicans and Democrats alike, to assert that Israel and oil were parts of the equation appeared uncouth "

Fayez Abedaziz , says: June 8, 2018 at 2:10 am
This article is exactly what this so-called intellectual Lewis is:
opinion.
All that's said by this Lewis guy is his opinion and his goal was hatred of Islam, therefore, he wanted it to then have people follow along with hatred for arabs and Palestinians.
This was, of course, because then, people would keep supporting Israel!
How 'bout that?
Who are we kidding?
When talking about the history of this nation or that religion, Lewis offers mostly his opinion and takes whatever event out of context to try to prove all this anti-Islam
rubbish. There are nations that have a majority of people of the Moslem religion, that have different systems of government and so, we have free voting, and had for decades, in Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon and so on.
Pakistan and Turkey had female Prime Ministers decade ago how 'bout that! And so did Indonesia, the nation most populated by Moslems, in the word, and so did Senegal, in Africa.
These nations are thousands of miles apart, with different languages and cultures.
What is not pointed out, but I will, since I know, is that whenever there was turmoil in an election in a mostly Moslem populated nation, why it was the meddling by the U.S. covertly and with bribes and trouble making.
Like when the CIA did that in Iran in 1953 after a fellow, Mosaddegh was freely elected and he was stopped and the dictator Shah was put in.
The U.S. constantly either installed or supported anti-democratic leaders in the Middle East and Asia.
By the way, that's how you put the subject of Edward Said- that he was a professor and a Palestinian activist? That's it?
How come you didn't tell us readers that he is a Christian?
Lewis knows no more about the makings, origins or history of religions that do many dozens of thousands of professors in the U.S. alone.
But, he has been is given a lot of media, and still is, because he is liked by the neo-cons. Also, I know more than Lewis did.
dig what I'm saying
undertakings , says: June 8, 2018 at 6:12 am
"In 2004 the Wall Street Journal devised what it called a Lewis Doctrine, which it defined as "seeding democracy in failed Mideast states to defang terrorism." The Journal clarified that the Lewis Doctrine "in effect, had become U.S. policy" in 2001. The article also revealed that Lewis had long been politically involved with Israel and a confidant of successive Israeli prime ministers, including Ariel Sharon."

In laymen's terms, Lewis was an Israeli operative working the academic beat. His American citizenship meant about as much to him as his earlier British citizenship had, a matter of convenience, nothing more. Stripped of the spurious Ivy League gloss, his "scholarship" was tendentious; it served to advance a political agenda and was consistently tainted by his entanglements with politicians and political institutions. Circa 2018 it reads as badly dated, often wrong, and generally wrong-headed.

I see he died a few weeks ago. Good riddance. "Intellectual father of the Iraq War" isn't the epitaph of a decent human being.

Saint Kyrillos , says: June 8, 2018 at 8:00 am
The consensus I'm aware of is that Obama's foreign policy was just a continuation of the foreign policy pursued by Bush during his second term. How does Obama continuing the foreign policy positions of Bush, who was influenced by Lewis, indicate that Obama's views on the middle east were influenced by Said? It should similarly be noted that while academics are practically universal in siding with Said over Lewis, they did not universally support him against other orientalists. While I'm likely butchering his claims, I seem to recall that Robert Irwin criticized Said's Orientalism for focusing too much on Bernard Lewis, ignoring the work of German orientalists who would complicate Said's claims about the West's portrayal of the middle east.
George Hoffman , says: June 8, 2018 at 9:23 am
I admire his spirited defense of the Western canon in literature and culture based upon Judeo-Christian values. But he lost me when he joined forces with the campaign to blacklist Professors John Meanshimer and Steven Walt with their book The Israel Lobby. The book originally was an article that was expanded into their book. But because of the blacklist against them, they coildn't ge their critique published in America and had to go to The London Review of Books. And of course the article was smeared as anti-Semitic because it was critical of the Israeli lobby (namely AIPAC) and its influence over our foreign policy.
mrscracker , says: June 8, 2018 at 9:53 am
"He was brilliant, but his vanity turned him into a reckless alarmist and a pro-Israeli partisan."
*****************
I'm missing how vanity & supporting Israel are connected?
polistra , says: June 8, 2018 at 10:51 am
Islamic "fundamentalism" was rare and insignificant until we funded it, armed it, and trained it. Our purpose was not to defang Islam but to superfang it, so we could have a new enemy to justify ever-increasing budgets and power for Deepstate.

Now that we've switched back to Russia as the official enemy, our focus on Islam is fading.

Frank Healy , says: June 8, 2018 at 11:46 am
Saying that Lewis fell prey to vanity is easier than saying he, like the rest of the neocons, was a hypocritical ethnic chauvinist.

In other words:

"Ethnic chauvinism is a sin and a great evil, or evidence of dangerous mental illness, except for the Zionists who you need to support uncritically and unconditionally."

Myron Hudson , says: June 8, 2018 at 1:04 pm
One thing to remember about zionists is that many of the christian ones are expecting to trigger the second coming once certain things come to pass and this includes geography in that region. I grew up with that. Anyway, to them it's not reckless, it's speeding the prophecy along to its rightful end.
ed , says: June 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm
Lewis' so-called analysis and historiography was politicized and deeply flawed, so much so that he showed himself to be a bigot against Arabs and Armenians – he was a scholar of Turkish history, who had been, wined, dined, bought and sold, and corrupted by the Turkish and Israeli governments to serves as their genocide denialist- and of Islam, and anything else Middle Eastern, that did not serve Israel's interests. He offered himself to the neocons as a willing academic and did much damage by 'legitimizing' their bogus 'war on terror'.
He should not be allowed to rest in peace or escape accountability in the judgment of history.
EliteCommInc. , says: June 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm
i guess is the question . . . to decipher the depth and scope that islam poses to the US.

There are just not that many non-Muslims shooting people over cartoons, and insults in the name of god. I have some very fine relational dynamics with muslims, but on occasion, i can't help but wonder which one is going take me out because i don't use the term honorable when I say mohammed's name.

The Nt doesn't even advocate throwing stones at people who steal my coat, I am supposed to offer up the other.

Janwaar Bibi , says: June 8, 2018 at 7:10 pm
Islamic "fundamentalism" was rare and insignificant until we funded it, armed it, and trained it.

Islamic fundamentalism blighted and extinguished the lives of millions of Armenians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others in the first half of the 20th century, long before dumb Westerners funded it or armed it. The fact that people in the West are clueless about this history does not mean it did not happen.

BillWAF , says: June 9, 2018 at 2:21 am
Obama had an English class with Said as an undergrad at Columbia. So did Leon Wieseltier years earlier, as did many other Columbia students. Interestingly enough, Wiesaltier remained an aggressive zionist. The claim that Said had any effect upon Obama's foreign policy ideas; policies; or actions is profoundly silly.

To support your claim that "Said's line of thought profoundly influenced his undergraduate student Barack Obama, and would have an immense impact on Obama's Mideast strategies and geopolitics as president," you need a great deal more evidence. Currently, you have none.

Donald , says: June 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Cheer up Janwaar -- most of us are clueless about fascist Hindus and Buddhists as well.
Philly guy , says: June 9, 2018 at 3:04 pm
Islamic fundamentalism was created and funded by Israel and the US to compete with the then Marxist PLO and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.You thought Marxist terrorism was problematic,look at Islamic terrorism.

[Jun 05, 2018] Is Democracy to Blame for Our Present Crisis by Alexander William Salter

Notable quotes:
"... Just because a country is democratic doesn't mean it is self-governing, as America is quickly discovering. ..."
"... John Adams warned that democracy "soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." ..."
"... James Madison was equally concerned with the pernicious consequences of large-scale democracy, arguing that democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." ..."
"... Even George Washington had his doubts about whether democracy was consistent with wise government. Democracies are slow to correct their errors, and those who try to guide the public down a wise course frequently become the object of popular hatred ..."
"... What we've got now is the tyranny of the ..."
"... minority . It is not "the people" who govern the nation. Instead, the state is run by permanent civil servants, largely unaccountable to any popular control, and professional politicians who are usually hand-picked by party insiders (Hillary over Bernie, anyone?). This has made it such that the actual 2016 election was more akin to ratifying a foregone conclusion than a substantive choice over the direction of future policy. ..."
"... If you're a student of politics, you've probably heard of the iron law of oligarchy . The phrase was coined by Robert Michels, an early 20th-century social scientist, in his landmark study of political parties. The iron law of oligarchy is simple: minorities rule majorities, because the former are organized and the latter are not. This is true even within democratic institutions. As power was concentrated in the federal government, the complexity of the tasks confronting civil servants and legislators greatly increased. This required a durable, hierarchical set of institutions for coordinating the behavior of political insiders. Durability enabled political insiders to coordinate their plans across time, which was particularly useful in avoiding the pesky constraints posed by regular elections. Hierarchy enabled political insiders to coordinate plans across space, making a permanently larger government both more feasible and more attractive for elites. The result, in retrospect, was predictable: a massive executive branch bureaucracy that's now largely autonomous, and a permissive Congress that's more than happy to serve as an institutionalized rubber stamp. ..."
"... One of the cruel ironies of the political status quo is that democracy is unquestioningly associated with self-governance, yet in practice, the more democratic a polity grows, the less self-governing it remains. ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Just because a country is democratic doesn't mean it is self-governing, as America is quickly discovering.

Something has gone wrong with America's political institutions. While the United States is, on the whole, competently governed, there are massive problems lurking just beneath the surface. This became obvious during the 2016 presidential election. Each party's nominee was odious to a large segment of the public; the only difference seemed to be whether it was an odious insurgent or an odious careerist. Almost two years on, things show little signs of improving.

What's to blame? One promising, though unpopular, answer is: democracy itself. When individuals act collectively in large groups and are not held responsible for the consequences of their behavior, decisions are unlikely to be reasonable or prudent. This design flaw in popular government was recognized by several Founding Fathers. John Adams warned that democracy "soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

James Madison was equally concerned with the pernicious consequences of large-scale democracy, arguing that democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

Even George Washington had his doubts about whether democracy was consistent with wise government. Democracies are slow to correct their errors, and those who try to guide the public down a wise course frequently become the object of popular hatred : "It is one of the evils of democratical governments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act right; but then evil of this nature seldom fail to work their own cure," Washington wrote. "It is to be lamented, nevertheless, that the remedies are so slow, and that those, who may wish to apply them seasonably are not attended to before they suffer in person, in interest and in reputation."

Is Democracy in a Death Spiral? Is Democracy to Blame for the Loneliness Epidemic?

Given these opinions, it is unsurprising that the U.S. Constitution contains so many other mechanisms for ensuring responsible government. Separation of powers and checks and balances are necessary to protect the people from themselves. To the extent our political institutions are deteriorating, the Founders' first instinct would be to look for constitutional changes, whether formal or informal, that have expanded the scope of democracy and entrusted to the electorate greater power than they can safely wield, and reverse them.

This theory is simple, elegant, and appealing. But it's missing a crucial detail.

American government is largely insulated from the tyranny of the majority. But at least since the New Deal, we've gone too far in the opposite direction. What we've got now is the tyranny of the minority . It is not "the people" who govern the nation. Instead, the state is run by permanent civil servants, largely unaccountable to any popular control, and professional politicians who are usually hand-picked by party insiders (Hillary over Bernie, anyone?). This has made it such that the actual 2016 election was more akin to ratifying a foregone conclusion than a substantive choice over the direction of future policy.

But now we confront a puzzle: the rise of the permanent government did coincide with increased democratization. The administrative-managerial state, and its enablers in Congress, followed from creative reinterpretations of the Constitution that allowed voters to make decisions that the Ninth and Tenth amendments -- far and away the most ignored portion of the Bill of Rights -- should have forestalled. As it turns out, not only are both of these observations correct, they are causally related . Increasing the scope of popular government results in the loss of popular control.

If you're a student of politics, you've probably heard of the iron law of oligarchy . The phrase was coined by Robert Michels, an early 20th-century social scientist, in his landmark study of political parties. The iron law of oligarchy is simple: minorities rule majorities, because the former are organized and the latter are not. This is true even within democratic institutions. As power was concentrated in the federal government, the complexity of the tasks confronting civil servants and legislators greatly increased. This required a durable, hierarchical set of institutions for coordinating the behavior of political insiders. Durability enabled political insiders to coordinate their plans across time, which was particularly useful in avoiding the pesky constraints posed by regular elections. Hierarchy enabled political insiders to coordinate plans across space, making a permanently larger government both more feasible and more attractive for elites. The result, in retrospect, was predictable: a massive executive branch bureaucracy that's now largely autonomous, and a permissive Congress that's more than happy to serve as an institutionalized rubber stamp.

The larger the electorate, and the more questions the electorate is asked to decide, the more important it is for the people who actually govern to take advantage of economies of scale in government. If the federal government were kept small and simple, there would be little need for a behemoth public sector. Developing durable and hierarchical procedures for organizing political projects would be unfeasible for citizen-statesmen. But those same procedures become essential for technocratic experts and career politicians.

One of the cruel ironies of the political status quo is that democracy is unquestioningly associated with self-governance, yet in practice, the more democratic a polity grows, the less self-governing it remains. This is why an upsurge of populism won't cure what ails the body politic. It will either provoke the permanent and unaccountable government into tightening its grip, or those who actually hold the power will fan the flames of popular discontent, channeling that energy towards their continued growth and entrenchment. We have enough knowledge to make the diagnosis, but not to prescribe the treatment. Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing what political health looks like. G.K. Chesterton said it best in his insight about the relationship between democracy and self-governance:

The democratic contention is that government is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum, discovering the North Pole (that insidious habit), looping the loop, being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly . In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves

The first step towards renewed self-governance must be to reject the false dichotomy between populism and oligarchy. A sober assessment shows that they are one in the same.

Alexander William Salter is an assistant professor in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. He is also the Comparative Economics Research Fellow at TTU's Free Market Institute. See more at his website: www.awsalter.com .



Steve Miller June 4, 2018 at 11:49 pm

This was going fine until the author decided to blame civil servants for our nation's problems. How about an electoral system that denies majority rule? A Congress that routinely votes against things the vast majority want? A system that vastly overpriveleges corporations and hands them billions while inequality grows to the point where the UN warns that our country resembles a third world kleptocracy? Nope, sez this guy. It's just because there are too many bureaucrats.
tz , , June 5, 2018 at 12:37 am
He avoids the 17th amendment which was one of the barriers to the mob, and the 19th that removed the power of individual states to set the terms of suffrage.
Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Katy Stanton could simply have moved to Wyoming.
It might be useful to only have property taxpayers vote.
And the problem is the left. When voters rejected Gay Marriage (57% in California!) or benefits for illegals, unelected and unaccountable judges reversed the popular will.
S , , June 5, 2018 at 3:38 am
I find your use of the word populism interesting. Inasmuch the word is generally used when the decisions of the populace is different from that which the technocrats or oligarchs would have made for them. The author being part of the technocratic elite thinks that he and his ilk know best. This entire article is just a lot of arguments in support of this false and self serving idea.
Realist , , June 5, 2018 at 5:11 am
When a populous isn't controlled by the electorate democracy is dead.
Rotunda , , June 5, 2018 at 5:47 am
The libertarian political philosopher Jason Brennan made small waves with his book "Against Democracy", published last year.
Voltaire's Ghost , , June 5, 2018 at 6:03 am
Making the federal government "small" will not solve the problems the author describes or really alludes to. The power vacum left by a receding federal government will just be occupied by an unaccountable corporate sector. The recent dismantling of Toys R Us by a spawn of Bain Capital is the most recent manifestation of the twisted and pathological thought process that calls itself "free market capitalism." A small federal government did not end child labor, fight the Depression, win WW II or pioneer space exploration. Conservatives love the mythology of a government "beast" that must be decapitated so that "Liberty" may reign. There are far more dangerous forces at work in American society that inhibit liberty and tax our personal treasuries than the federal government.
TJ Martin , , June 5, 2018 at 9:23 am
1) The US is not and never has been a ' democracy ' It is a Democratic Republic ' which is not the same as a ' democracy ' ( one person -- one vote period ) of which there is only one in the entire world . Switzerland

2) A large part of what has brought us to this point is the worn out well past its sell by Electoral College which not only no longer serves its intended purpose .

3) But the major reason why we're here to put it bluntly is the ' Collective Stupidity of America ' we've volitionally become : addled by celebrity , addicted to entertainment and consumed by conspiracy theory rather than researching the facts

cj , , June 5, 2018 at 9:41 am
The US has a democracy? Were'nt two of the last 3 presidents placed into office via a minority of the vote?

We have instead what Sheldon Wolin called a 'managed democracy'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guided_democracy

It's time to end the pretension that we live in a democracy. It maybe useful to claim so when the US is trying to open markets or control resources in 3rd world countries. It's at that time that we're 'spreading democracy'. Instead it's like spreading manure.

Jon , , June 5, 2018 at 9:43 am
The managerial state arose to quell the threat of class warfare. Ironically those who sought to organize the proletariat under a vision of class-based empowerment clamored for the same. The response over time was fighting fire with fire as the cliche goes becoming what the opposition has sought but only in a modified form.

If we were able to devise a way for distributive justice apart from building a bloated bureaucracy then perhaps this emergence of oligarchy could have been averted. What alternative(s) exist for an equitable distribution of wealth and income to ameliorate poverty? Openly competitive (so-called) markets? And the charity of faith-based communities? I think not.

Youknowho , , June 5, 2018 at 10:39 am
Democracy, like all systems requires maintenace. Bernard Shaw said that the flaw of pragmatism is that any system that is not completely idiotic will work PROVIDED THAT SOMEONE PUT EFFORT IN MAKING IT WORK.

We have come to think that Democracy is in automatic pilot, and does not require effort of our part See how many do not bother to vote or to inform themselves.

Democracy is a fine, shiny package with two caveats in it "Batteries not included" And "Some assembly required" FAilure to heed those leads to disaster.

TG , , June 5, 2018 at 12:21 pm
I see where you are coming from, but I must disagree. We don't have a democracy in any real way, so how can it have failed?

Despite massive propaganda of commission and omission, the majority of the American people don't want to waste trillions of dollars on endless pointless oversees wars. The public be damned: Trump was quickly beaten into submission and we are back to the status quo. The public doesn't want to give trillions of dollars to Wall Street while starving Main Street of capital. The public doesn't want an abusively high rate of immigration whose sole purpose is to flood the market for labor, driving wages down and profits up. And so on.

Oswald Spengler was right. " in actuality the freedom of public opinion involves the preparation of public opinion, which costs money; and the freedom of the press brings with it the question of possession of the press, which again is a matter of money; and with the franchise comes electioneering, in which he who pays the piper calls the tune."

JJ , , June 5, 2018 at 12:47 pm
"If the federal government were kept small and simple, there would be little need for a behemoth public sector. Developing durable and hierarchical procedures for organizing political projects would be unfeasible for citizen-statesmen. But those same procedures become essential for technocratic experts and career politicians."

True, but this implies retarding government power as is will lead to an ultimate solution. It will not. The sober truth is that a massive centralized national government has been inevitable since the onset of the second world war or even beforehand with American intervention in the colonoal Phillippines and the Great War. Becoming an empire requires extensive power grabbing and becoming and maintaining a position as a world power requires constant flexing of that power. Maintaining such a large population, military, and foreign corps requires the massive public-works projects you speak of in order to keep the population content and foreign powers in check. Failure to do so leads to chaos and tragic disaster that would lead to such a nation a collapse in all existing institutions due to overcumbersome responsibilities. These cannot be left to the provinces/states due to the massive amounts of resources required to maintain such imperial ambitions along with the cold reality of state infighting and possible seperatist leanings.

If one wishes to end the power of the federal government as is, the goal is not to merely seek reform. The goal is to dismantle the empire; destroy the military might, isolate certain diplomatic relations, reduce rates of overseas trade and reduce the economy as a whole, and then finally disband and/or drastically reduce public security institutions such as the FBI, CIA, and their affiliates. As you well know, elites and the greater public alike consider these anathema.

However, if you wish to rush to this goal, keep in mind that dismantling the American empire will not necessarily lead to the end of oppression and world peace even in the short term. A power vacuum will open that the other world powers such as the Russian Federation and the PRC will rush to fill up. As long as the world remains so interconnected and imperialist ambitions are maintained by old and new world powers, even the smallest and most directly democratic states will not be able to become self-governing for long.

Chris in Appalachia , , June 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm
Well, when, statistically speaking, half of the population has an IQ of less than 100 (probably more than half now that USA has been invaded by the Third World) then a great number of people are uninformed and easily manipulated voters. That is one of the great fallacies of democracy.
Robert Charron , , June 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm
In an era when the word "democracy" is regarded as one of our deities to worship, this article is a breath of fresh air. Notice how we accuse the Russians of trying to undermine our hallowed "democracy." We really don't know what we mean when we use the term democracy, but it is a shibboleth that has a good, comforting sound. And this idea that we could extend our "democracy" by increasing the number of voters shows that we don't understand much at all. Brilliant insights.
Stephen J. , , June 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm
I believe we are prisoners of so-called "democracy"
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
July 13, 2017
The Prisoners of "Democracy"

Screwing the masses was the forte of the political establishment. It did not really matter which political party was in power, or what name it went under, they all had one ruling instinct, tax, tax, and more taxes. These rapacious politicians had an endless appetite for taxes, and also an appetite for giving themselves huge raises, pension plans, expenses, and all kinds of entitlements. In fact one of them famously said, "He was entitled to his entitlements." Public office was a path to more, and more largesse all paid for by the compulsory taxes of the masses that were the prisoners of "democracy."
[read more at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-prisoners-of-democracy.html

[Jun 05, 2018] Mourning in America The Day RFK Was Shot in Los Angeles The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Charles F, McElwee III is a writer based in northeastern Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter at @CFMcElwee . ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

America had dramatically changed since John F. Kennedy seduced voters with the promises of the New Frontier. A young family, the campaign jingles, the embrace of television, and the prospect of America's first Catholic president injected a sense of patriotic adrenaline into the 1960 campaign. There were "high hopes" for Jack and a sense of cultural validation for Catholics who remembered Al Smith's failed presidential bid in 1928. In 1960, the Everly Brothers and Bobby Darin crooned through the radio, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird proved a national sensation, and Americans flocked to movies like Spartacus in magnificent downtown theaters.

But the frivolity and innocence, however illusory, were shattered on November 22, 1963. Kennedy's assassination violently shifted America's cultural fault lines. One afternoon accelerated the nation's sociological maladies, intensified its political divisions, and evaporated its black-and-white contentment. Americans proceeded on a Technicolor path of disruption, one that had transformed the nation by the time of Bobby's announcement on March 16, 1968. It was that year when The Doors and Cream blasted from transistor radios, John Updike's Couples landed on the cover of Time , and 2001: A Space Odyssey played in new suburban cinemas. The country had experienced a dervish frenzy, and Bobby was fully aware of his nation's turbulent course.

The country was rocked by young students protesting a worsening war in Vietnam. Racial tension exploded and riots destroyed urban neighborhoods. America's political evolution forever altered its electoral geography. Bobby was embarking on a remarkable campaign that challenged the incumbent president, a man he despised for many years. But the source of this strife stemmed from the White House years of Bobby's brother. "While he defined his vision more concretely and compellingly than Jack had -- from ending a disastrous war and addressing the crisis in the cities to removing a sadly out-of-touch president -- he failed to point out that the war, the festering ghettos, and Lyndon Johnson were all part of Jack Kennedy's legacy," wrote Larry Tye in his biography of Bobby.

For the 1968 primary, Kennedy metamorphosed into a liberal figure with an economic populist message. Kennedy's belated entry turned into an audacious crusade, with the candidate addressing racial injustice, income inequality, and the failure of Vietnam. He balanced this message with themes touching upon free enterprise and law and order. Kennedy hoped to appeal to minorities and working-class whites. He quickly became a messianic figure, and the press embellished his New Democrat image. By late March, Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection during a televised address. Through his departure, Johnson worked to maintain control of the party machine by supporting Hubert Humphrey, his devoted Vice President. But in the following weeks, Kennedy built momentum as he challenged McCarthy in states like Indiana and Nebraska. His performance in both states, where anti-Catholic sentiments lingered, testified to Kennedy's favorable electoral position.

In April 4, Kennedy learned that the Rev. King had been assassinated. He relayed the civil rights leader's death in a black neighborhood in Indianapolis. His words helped spare Indianapolis from the riots that erupted in cities across the country, ultimately leading to nearly 40 people killed and over 2,000 injured. MLK's assassination served as an unsettling reminder to Kennedy's family, friends, campaign aides, and traveling press. During Kennedy's first campaign stop in Kansas, the press corps stopped at a restaurant where the legendary columnist Jimmy Breslin asked, "Do you think this guy has the stuff to go all the way?"

"Yes, of course he has the stuff to go all the way," replied Newsweek's John J. Lindsay. "But he's not going to go all the way. The reason is that somebody is going to shoot him. I know it and you know it. Just as sure as we're sitting here somebody is going to shoot him. He's out there now waiting for him. And, please God, I don't think we'll have a country after it."

Despite what happened in 1963, the Secret Service had yet to provide protection of presidential and vice presidential candidates and nominees during the 1964 election or the 1968 primary. But all the signs were there that Kennedy needed protection. The frenzied crowds increased in size, taking a physical toll on the candidate. In one instance, "he was pulled so hard that he tumbled into the car door, splitting his lip and breaking a front tooth that required capping," writes Nye. "He ended up on a regimen of vitamins and antibiotics to fight fatigue and infection For most politicians, the challenge was to attract crowds; for Bobby, it was to survive them." In California, just 82 days after his announcement, Kennedy met the fate that so many feared.

♦♦♦

Bobby Kennedy was a complicated figure from a family that continues to engage America's imagination. In his autobiography, the novelist Philip Roth, who recently passed away, reflected on Kennedy's assassination:

He was by no means a political figure constructed on anything other than the human scale, and so, the night of his assassination and for days afterward, one felt witness to the violent cutting down not of a monumental force for justice and social change like King or the powerful embodiment of a people's massive misfortunes or a titan of religious potency but rather of a rival -- of a vital, imperfect, high-strung, egotistical, rivalrous, talented brother, who could be just as nasty as he was decent. The murder of a boyish politician of forty-two, a man so nakedly ambitious and virile, was a crime against ordinary human hope as well as against the claims of robust, independent appetite and, coming after the murders of President Kennedy at forty-six and Martin Luther King at thirty-nine, evoked the simplest, most familiar forms of despair.

For those schoolchildren and their parents in June 1968, Kennedy's campaign offered a sense of nostalgia. They remembered the exuberance of his brother's campaign, the optimism of his administration, and the possibilities of the 1960s. For the nation's large ethnic Catholic voting bloc, another Kennedy reminded them of that feeling of validation in the 1960 election. Of course, it had been a tumultuous decade for these voters. They lived in cities that had precipitously declined since JFK's campaign visits in 1960. Railroad stations ended passenger service, theaters closed, factories shuttered, and new highways offered an exodus to suburbia. As Catholics, they prayed for the conversion of Russia, adapted to Vatican II reforms, and adjusted to new parishes in the developing outskirts. Young draftees were shipped off to a catastrophic war, which only intensified their feelings of disillusionment. Their disenchantment raised questions about their sustained support for Democrats. Kennedy may have proved formidable for Nixon in the general election, but the Catholic vote was increasingly up for grabs.

Pat Buchanan understood this electoral opportunity for Republicans. In a 1971 memo, Buchanan argued that Catholics were the largest bloc of available Democratic voters for the GOP: "The fellows who join the K.of C. (Knights of Columbus), who make mass and communion every morning, who go on retreats, who join the Holy Name society, who fight against abortion in their legislatures, who send their kids to Catholic schools, who work on assembly lines and live in Polish, Irish, Italian and Catholic communities or who have headed to the suburbs -- these are the majority of Catholics; they are where our voters are."

In subsequent presidential elections, Catholic voters flocked to Democrats and Republicans. Their electoral preferences were driven by the issues of the moment and often by location. The geographical divide of our politics has only intensified. The 2016 presidential election encapsulated this trend. Voters in Appalachia and the Rust Belt overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump that year. Many of these voters previously supported Obama in both 2008 and 2012. In 1968, these voters likely appreciated Kennedy's campaign message. But the tragedy of the nation is now a loss of optimism -- the belief that tomorrow will be a better day. Americans are overwhelmed by ideological tension and socio-economic angst. The prosperity enjoyed by large metropolitan regions has not spilled over into the heartland. There is no nostalgia for 1968 because countless Americans understand that the nation has failed to address income inequality, job displacement, urban decline, and mass poverty. It was so long ago, but America did lose its innocence on November 22, 1963. Bobby Kennedy's death in 1968 served as a reminder that it would never return.

Charles F, McElwee III is a writer based in northeastern Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter at @CFMcElwee .

[Jun 05, 2018] The Political Assassin Who Brought Down RFK

Notable quotes:
"... Northern Observer, someday Israel will go the way of Rhodesia if it's lucky. Many believe Israel orchestrated JFK's death; he insisted on inspecting Dimona for nuclear weapon development. ..."
"... If you look at actual evidence in the case you would understand that Sirhan did not and could not have killed Sen. Kennedy. Just look at autopsy report and it says he was killed by bullets fired and virtual point blank range from below and the back of the head. In addition, sound analysis proves that there were 13 shots fired but the alleged murder weapon only held 8 shots. So let's stop this charade. ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

More troublingly, Robert Kennedy's death occurred within five years of his elder brother's, and under similar circumstances. It is important to recall how unprecedented their deaths were to the generation who witnessed them. If time has removed the shock of the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers, it should not obscure just how anomalous they are. Bad luck may be part of the mythos of the Kennedy family, but lightning does not strike the same place twice, and political assassinations are exceedingly rare in American history. Both Kennedy brothers hurled themselves into the most tumultuous and divisive issues of their time -- Israeli nationalism and anti-communism -- and both appeared to have paid a heavy price.


Miguel June 4, 2018 at 12:01 am

In the first place, I don't think that failure of Robert Kennedy had anything to do with a substantial limitation of the liberal world view, but with another concept, or argument:

The end cannot justify the means because it is the mean, which is a process, which conditionates the end, in itself only an outcome.

Robert Kennedy supported violence made by the Zionist movement, turned into a State, and if you ask me, it was that violence which -no pun intended- backfired against him.

Now, about the out balance between loyalty and allegiance homeland/nation, I think it should be looked at from Sirhan perspective. Yes, he had escaped from what, in his perspective, was zionist persecution, just to end in a country where that persecution was supported actively by some high profile politicians. I am not going to say that murder is right, but some how it had to feel for him as if that anti palestinian israely persecution had reappeared very near to his home.

From that point of view, he wasn't a refuge anymore; the country where he was living had become an acomplice of that persecution.

Maybe, if Robert Kennedy had considered a less bellicist way to support Israel, like sending military support without delivering neither the means nor the command decissions to the government of Israel, but keeping it in the hand of the U.S., who knows.

Pear Conference , says: June 4, 2018 at 8:25 am
This article doesn't quite try to justify Oswald's or Sirhan's actions. But it places them firmly in a political context rather than a criminal one.

It also suggests that JFK and RFK both went too far – that they "hurled themselves into the most tumultuous and divisive issues of their time" and thus bear a degree of responsibility for their own fates.

If we want to debate the merits of arming Israel, or undermining Cuba, then let's have that debate. But this is altogether the wrong way to frame it. I, for one, don't ever want the Overton window on such issues to be shifted by the acts, or even the potential acts, of an assassin.

TTT , says: June 4, 2018 at 9:05 am
Israel twice begged Jordan not to join the war that it was already fighting with Egypt and Syria – a war of aggression and genocide, where Nasser boasted of the impending total destruction of Israel, Egyptian state media spoke of a road from Tel Aviv to Cairo paved in Jewish skulls, and Israel's rabbinate consecrated national parks in case they had to be used for Jewish mass graves.

Sirhan Sirhan's entire identity was wrapped up in the frustrated need for Jewish servitude and inferiority, the bitterness that a second Holocaust had failed. He was exactly like the Klan cops in Philadelphia, Mississippi, murdering Freedom Riders who tried to deprive them of their most cherished resource: assured superiority over their traditional designated victim group.

JLF , says: June 4, 2018 at 10:16 am
Hinted at but ignored is another aspect by which 1968 presaged 2018. In 1968 Bobby Kennedy waited until after Gene McCarthy had challenged LBJ and LBJ had withdrawn from the race before entering. For many (most?) McCarthy backers, Kennedy was an opportunistic, privileged spoiler. In the same way, many of Bernie Sanders' supporters looked upon Hillary Clinton as the privileged spoiler of a Democratic Party establishment that had tried and failed to move the party to the right. The McGovern was followed by Carter, who was followed by Mondale, who was followed by Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, and Hillary. For Democrats, then, it's been fifty years of struggling to find a center, a struggle Republicans pretty much found in Ronald Reagan.
Donald , says: June 4, 2018 at 2:23 pm
The only way one can defend Israel's apartheid policies is by demonizing all of their victims. For examples, see TTT and Northern Observer.
mrscracker , says: June 4, 2018 at 2:27 pm
John Wilkes Booth was wrapped up in bitterness, defeat & a warped loyalty to his homeland, too. It's interesting I guess to examine assassins' motives, but to what point?
Sean , says: June 4, 2018 at 2:33 pm
Northern Observer, someday Israel will go the way of Rhodesia if it's lucky. Many believe Israel orchestrated JFK's death; he insisted on inspecting Dimona for nuclear weapon development.
Going My Way , says: June 4, 2018 at 3:09 pm
Let the many who criticize TAC for not printing pro Israeli essays read this one. Also, read the numerous blogs supporting this thrust. The "small nation" phrase was a tip-off to the author's loyalties. I think this article is more worthy of the New York Times. Let us not forget June 8, 1967, is another anniversary, when the sophisticated and unmarked aircraft and PT boats using napalm of the author's "small nation" attacked the USS Liberty in international water, with complete disregard to the ship's American markings and large US flag. http://www.gtr5.com/ This event received scant coverage on P19 of the aforementioned NYT. "Small nation"; indeed!
TTT , says: June 4, 2018 at 4:01 pm
The only way one can defend Israel's apartheid policies is by demonizing all of their victims.

Sirhan Sirhan is Jordanian – a nation that was invented specifically to be an apartheid state with no Jews at all, forever closed to Jewish inhabitation or immigration. That is his view of normalcy. I'm sorry it's also yours.

Steve Naidamast , says: June 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm
This is pure bunk. The idea that Sirhan Sirhan was the assassin of RFK has been categorically disproven by the analysis of the fatal bullets, which none of came from Sirhan's gun. And RFKs friends and close advisors all knew that he had no love for Israel. Whatever he said in support of Israel was for the media purposes only.
General Manager , says: June 4, 2018 at 4:27 pm
Having worked in Jordan and watched Israelis do business and as tourists (Jewish shrines) there, I saw and heard no antisemitism. From my perspective, there seemed to be a positive relationship. Elat and Aqaba are like sister cities. In fact, there seemed to be high-level cooperation. Keep looking you will find bigotry to justify your positions.
Someone in the crowd , says: June 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm
I completely agree with Steve Naidamast. This article is indeed "pure bunk" because Sirhan Sirhan is a side story. That's why this article, with such an angle, should simply never have been published.
Banger , says: June 4, 2018 at 8:29 pm
If you look at actual evidence in the case you would understand that Sirhan did not and could not have killed Sen. Kennedy. Just look at autopsy report and it says he was killed by bullets fired and virtual point blank range from below and the back of the head. In addition, sound analysis proves that there were 13 shots fired but the alleged murder weapon only held 8 shots. So let's stop this charade.
John Jeffery , says: June 4, 2018 at 9:49 pm
A laughably naive article which toes the CIA and Zionist line.
Donald , says: June 4, 2018 at 9:52 pm
TTT -- yo weren't just talking about Sirhan. I wasn't talking about him at all. I have no sympathy for people who practice terrorism, whether it is done by Palestinians, Jordanians, or the IDF.

[May 29, 2018] On Memorial Day, Getting Beyond 'Thank You For Your Service' The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Thucydides tells us that war changes the meaning of words . Social media demonstrated this maxim several years ago when " mil-splaining " military-related holidays was all the rage. ..."
"... Increasingly civilians see " soldiers as symbols that allow them to feel good about themselves, and the country" -- but many also see OxyContin that way. ..."
"... A strategy is needed that's rooted in serious analysis of American interests and strengths and a realistic assessment of the world. For nearly a generation, we have failed to align ends, ways, and means . Like " The Weary Titan ," America finds itself unable (or unwilling) to adapt to a changing world. ..."
"... What do we have to show for our expenditures? A divided country, financially exhausted while waging war across the globe against an elusive enemy -- who is, frankly, not a threat remotely approaching the resources we have aligned against him. Beyond the material costs, there's the social. Our military has become a syncretic religion, enjoying the support but not due consideration of the nation. This situation is genuinely tragic . ..."
"... The reason US acts like an empire is because she *IS* an empire. ..."
"... It recently dawned on me that the US' empire status solidified during and after WWII is the biggest reason why it's so easy for America to wage prolonged, deep-involvement wars. NATO, overseas bases, freedom of navigation, etc. ..."
"... But let's be honest: when we "killed" the draft we killed, in part, what is called social cohesion in this country. ..."
"... "This Memorial Day, don't cringe when someone says "Thank you for your service" and proceed to correct them." ..."
"... U.S. policy of perpetual war has been well established since 9/11. Everyone who joins the military is well aware of the job description (kill and destroy) and has free will. ..."
"... The U.S. military is currently providing refueling, logistics and intelligence support to the odious Saudis as they pulverize Yemen to smithereens and starve the population. And those American service people are "defending our freedoms" by doing so? ..."
"... The reason these episodes of introspection are called for is because of the massive propaganda machine (Pentagon, Corporate, MSM) of Military Exceptionalism that is the architect of the pathological incongruence. ..."
"... The 'military-civilian' divide, as the author stated it, is as much a product of a media that no longer holds policymakers accountable for seemingly endless military engagements and, the true effect that our endless military engagements are having on the very fabric of our society and on those engaged in them. ..."
"... With a volunteer military that effectively is at the disposal of whoever happens to be in office, no grass-roots opposition movement to hold politicians accountable, and 95 percent of the population untouched by war, the most veterans will receive is a "thank you for your service" as we go on with our daily lives. ..."
"... In my opinion, Demanding answers and justifications for sending people into harms way is the best expression of respect for our military personnel. ..."
"... " instead of asking 'what' we need to break the stalemate in Afghanistan, could ask 'why' there is a stalemate at all -- and whether American forces can truly ameliorate the structural, cultural, and historical obstacles to achieving desired ends there." ..."
"... Be aware that when you ask why, many people (including, sadly, many veterans) will consider this questioning of government foreign policy as a species of treason. Once, while on active duty with the US Army (1970), I suggested to a fellow officer that sending US troops to fight in Vietnam might not be in nation interest. I was immediately and vigorously condemned as a communist, a fascist, and a traitor. ..."
"... According to this reasoning, once the first soldier dies in battle, any criticism of the war denigrates the sacrifice of the deceased. So, we must continue to pile up the dead to justify those who have already died. This is part of the mechanism of war, and is an important reason why it is always easier to start a war than to stop one. ..."
May 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Thucydides tells us that war changes the meaning of words . Social media demonstrated this maxim several years ago when " mil-splaining " military-related holidays was all the rage. From memes outlining the differences between Veterans, Armed Forces, and Memorial Day, to Fourth of July "safe space" declarations seemingly applied to all vets, the trend was everywhere. Thankfully, it seems now to have passed.

Memorial Day is, of course, for remembering the fallen, those who died in service to the nation. Veterans and their families remember their loved ones in ways they deem appropriate, and the state remembers, too, in a somber, serious manner.

This remembrance should in no way preclude the typical family barbecue and other customs associated with the traditional beginning of summer. National holidays are for remembering and celebrating, not guilt. Shaming those who fail to celebrate a holiday according to one's expectations is a bit like non-Christians feeling shame for skipping church: it shouldn't matter because the day means different things to different people. Having a day on the calendar demonstrates the national consensus about honoring sacrifice; anything more than that is a slow walk towards superficiality. President Bush stopped golfing during the Iraq war, but it didn't stop him from continuing it.

Instead, Memorial Day should engender conversation about our military and the gulf between those who serve and those who don't. The conversation shouldn't just be the military talking at civilians; it must be reciprocal. Increasingly civilians see " soldiers as symbols that allow them to feel good about themselves, and the country" -- but many also see OxyContin that way. This situation is lamentable because the aforementioned "mil-splaining" could only occur in a country so profoundly divided from its military as to misunderstand basic concepts such as the purpose of holidays. It's also striking how the most outspoken so-called "patriots" often have little connection to that which they so outlandishly support. Our "thank you for your service" culture is anathema to well-functioning civil-military relations.

After Multiple Deployments, Coming Home to a Changed Country The Best Way to Honor a Vet is With the Truth

The public owes its military more consideration, particularly in how the armed forces are deployed across the globe. Part of this is empathy: stop treating military members as an abstraction , as something that exists only to serve a national or increasingly political purpose. Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are deserving of praise and support -- especially considering the burden they've carried -- but what they need more is an engaged public, one that's even willing to scrutinize the military . Because scrutiny necessitates engagement and hopefully understanding and reform.

But the civil-military divide goes both ways. Military members and veterans owe the public a better relationship as well. This Memorial Day, don't cringe when someone says "Thank you for your service" and proceed to correct them. Open a dialogue: you might build a real connection . Better yet, volunteer to speak at a school or church: partly to explain your service, sure, but more so to show that military personnel are people, too, not just distant abstractions . Veterans are spread across the county and better able to interact with civilians than our largely cloistered active duty force. They shouldn't go to schools, churches, and civic organizations for the inevitable praise. They should go to educate, nurture relationships, and chip away at the civil-military divide.

Perhaps by questioning the fundamentals -- the "why" instead of the so often discussed "what" in military operations -- the public would be in a better position to demand action from a Congress that, heretofore, has largely abdicated serious oversight of foreign policy. Perhaps the public, instead of asking "what" we need to break the stalemate in Afghanistan , could ask "why" there is a stalemate at all -- and whether American forces can truly ameliorate the structural, cultural, and historical obstacles to achieving desired ends there.

A strategy is needed that's rooted in serious analysis of American interests and strengths and a realistic assessment of the world. For nearly a generation, we have failed to align ends, ways, and means . Like " The Weary Titan ," America finds itself unable (or unwilling) to adapt to a changing world. Consumed by domestic strife and the emergence of nationalism , American foreign policy has wandered fecklessly since the end of the Cold War. While we can strike anywhere, this capability is wasted in search of a lasting peace.

What do we have to show for our expenditures? A divided country, financially exhausted while waging war across the globe against an elusive enemy -- who is, frankly, not a threat remotely approaching the resources we have aligned against him. Beyond the material costs, there's the social. Our military has become a syncretic religion, enjoying the support but not due consideration of the nation. This situation is genuinely tragic .

For America to dig its way out of its domestic and foreign troubles it must start with sobering analysis. For the civil-military dialogue, Memorial Day is as good a place to begin as any day. So this weekend, civilians should move beyond "Thank you for your service" and ask a vet about his or her service and lost comrades. Veterans, don't expect praise and don't lecture; speak with honesty and empathy, talk about what you've done and the conditions you've seen. You might be surprised what we can learn from each other.

John Q. Bolton is an Army officer who recently returned from Afghanistan. An Army aviator (AH-64D/E), he is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a 2005 graduate of West Point. The views presented here are his alone and not representative of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

12 Responses to On Memorial Day, Getting Beyond 'Thank You For Your Service'

W May 28, 2018 at 4:03 am

(This reply was intended for an older article "http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-deep-unfairness-of-americas-all-volunteer-force" from 2017 but since the topics are kind of related, so )

The reason US acts like an empire is because she *IS* an empire.

It recently dawned on me that the US' empire status solidified during and after WWII is the biggest reason why it's so easy for America to wage prolonged, deep-involvement wars. NATO, overseas bases, freedom of navigation, etc. Scrapping/re-constituting these frameworks would put the US on par with most other countries on earth sporting home-bound defense forces. Congressional authority/oversight would be reinvigorated, and acting under the auspices of the UN becomes a procedural impairment (sovereignty concerns and selfishness notwithstanding). A practical start would be lobbying for more base closures abroad, for those who feel strongly about this.

But there is a danger: nature abhors a vacuum.

The other thing, I am definitely for professionalism in militaries. Better to have one dedicated soldier than three squirmish kids dragged into the mud.

Aviel , says: May 28, 2018 at 4:07 am
Seems to me a universal draft would be the best way to say thank you. Under that scenario most wars would be avoided or resolved quickly as the cost would be political defeat. An all volunteer/mercenary force is blatantly unfair as virtually no kids of the wealthy fight, prohibitively expensive, as recruiting and retaining soldiers in these times is an uphill challenge, and dangerous as it encourages needless risk since only a tiny percentage of the voting population pay the price
Mark M. Pando , says: May 28, 2018 at 5:31 am
Sir: Thank you for your timely comments. I am a USN veteran and fully support the idea that communication has to be a two-way street between civilians and our military women and men. But let's be honest: when we "killed" the draft we killed, in part, what is called social cohesion in this country. Not having common experiences makes us all more foreign to one another which leads to isolation and platitudes such as "Thank you for your service." I have heard that comment many times, too, and after a while it comes across as: "better you than me." I know I am being cynical but I am also only human .
SteveM , says: May 28, 2018 at 7:54 am
Re: "This Memorial Day, don't cringe when someone says "Thank you for your service" and proceed to correct them."

U.S. policy of perpetual war has been well established since 9/11. Everyone who joins the military is well aware of the job description (kill and destroy) and has free will.

Thanking someone for signing up for the War Machine to wreck havoc on natives thousands of miles from American shores makes little sense.

The U.S. military is currently providing refueling, logistics and intelligence support to the odious Saudis as they pulverize Yemen to smithereens and starve the population. And those American service people are "defending our freedoms" by doing so?

The U.S. military slaughters the Syrian army operating in their own country and we are supposed to thank them for "their service"? Military drone drivers who slaughter Yemeni wedding parties from comfortable installations in Florida and the operators on U.S. Navy ships who launch missiles into Syria based on bogus False Flag scenarios are "Warrior Heroes"?

The veterans we should be thanking are the ones who realized early on that they were being played for chumps by the war-mongers and got out. If John Q. Bolton has that understanding, why hasn't he gotten out?

The real "heroes" in America are the young people who get real jobs in the real economy providing real value to their fellow citizens.

The reason these episodes of introspection are called for is because of the massive propaganda machine (Pentagon, Corporate, MSM) of Military Exceptionalism that is the architect of the pathological incongruence.

E.J. Smith , says: May 28, 2018 at 9:26 am
This is an excellent article. Memorial Day should call upon all Americans to ask some essential questions.

As an aside, The Washington Post ran an article today about the funeral of Spec. Conde who recently was killed in Afghanistan. The article spoke of Spec. Conde's motivations for serving, the events that led to his death, the funeral service, and the effect that his death at age 21 had and will have on his family and those who knew and loved him.

What struck me most about the article was how remote the funeral service and the family's grief seem from the rest of what is taking place in America. For example, there was an oblique reference to a funeral detail for a veteran who committed suicide that apparently no one attended.

The 'military-civilian' divide, as the author stated it, is as much a product of a media that no longer holds policymakers accountable for seemingly endless military engagements and, the true effect that our endless military engagements are having on the very fabric of our society and on those engaged in them.

The vast majority of the American public go about their daily lives, seemingly insulated from the effects of our endless engagements. For example, Spec. Conde's death in Afghanistan did not even make the front page of our major media when it first happened. The death of four soldiers in Niger has faded from view.

With a volunteer military that effectively is at the disposal of whoever happens to be in office, no grass-roots opposition movement to hold politicians accountable, and 95 percent of the population untouched by war, the most veterans will receive is a "thank you for your service" as we go on with our daily lives.

Stuart MacNee , says: May 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm
Thank you, Sir, for articulating my position. In 7 Second Soundbite format, "I Support the Troops, not the Policy that put them in harms way."
The military should never be deployed for political purposes. As a nation, we have willfully refused to learn anything from the lessons of Korea and Viet Nam.

Military service preserves the Ultimate Expression of America, "Question Authority!" (I recognize the Irony of suppressing it within it's ranks.) In my opinion, Demanding answers and justifications for sending people into harms way is the best expression of respect for our military personnel.

Accept Officer Bolton's challenge. When you see me kneeling at the National Anthem, ask me why. [The Answer: I do it to show respect for those that have fallen at the hands of those who oppose the Values embodied in the American Flag.]

Rossbach , says: May 28, 2018 at 1:43 pm
" instead of asking 'what' we need to break the stalemate in Afghanistan, could ask 'why' there is a stalemate at all -- and whether American forces can truly ameliorate the structural, cultural, and historical obstacles to achieving desired ends there."

Be aware that when you ask why, many people (including, sadly, many veterans) will consider this questioning of government foreign policy as a species of treason. Once, while on active duty with the US Army (1970), I suggested to a fellow officer that sending US troops to fight in Vietnam might not be in nation interest. I was immediately and vigorously condemned as a communist, a fascist, and a traitor.

According to this reasoning, once the first soldier dies in battle, any criticism of the war denigrates the sacrifice of the deceased. So, we must continue to pile up the dead to justify those who have already died. This is part of the mechanism of war, and is an important reason why it is always easier to start a war than to stop one.

Stephen J. , says: May 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm
Perhaps we need "our leaders" to do some war "Service."
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
March 9, 2009

"Should We Have War Games for the World's Leaders"?

Yesterday's enemies are today's friends and today's friends are tomorrow's enemies, such is the way of the world, and wars of the world. All these wars cause enormous bloodshed, destruction and suffering to those affected. Therefore, would it not be much simpler to have war games for all of the world's leaders and elites every few years? We have Olympic Games every four years where the world's athletes from different countries compete. And many of these countries are hostile to each other, yet they participate in the Olympics. So if enemies can participate for sport, why not for war games? How could this be arranged? All the leaders and elites of the world would have to lead by example, instead of leading from their political platforms, palaces and offshore tax havens, while the ordinary people have to do the dirty work in wars. The world's leaders and elites would all be in the front lines first. A venue could be arranged in a deserted area and the people of the world could watch via satellite TV their courageous leaders and other elites leading the charge in the war games .
[read more at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2009/03/should-we-have-war-games-for-worlds.html

Keith Danish , says: May 28, 2018 at 4:11 pm
Good to know that not all John Boltons are insane.

[May 29, 2018] Amazon's Relentless Pursuit of Largesse The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Follow him on Twitter: @DanielMKishi . ..."
May 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Powerful is the man who, with a short series of tweets, can single-handedly send the bluest of the blue-chip stocks into a headlong tumble. For better or for worse, the current occupant of the Oval Office is one such man, tapping into his power with the following missive that crossed the Twitter transom on the morning of March 29:

I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

Over the next few trading days, with four subsequent tweets peppered in, Amazon's stock dropped by more than $75 a share, losing a market value of nearly $40 billion. Card carrying-members of the Resistance and Never Trump brigade quickly portrayed the president's scorn as the latest evidence of his "soft totalitarianism" and general disdain for the First Amendment and the free press. They noted that Amazon's CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, owns the Washington Post -- a leading "perpetrator" of what Trump has called the "opposition party" and "fake news."

Concerns of politically motivated impropriety are not without merit. Trump has repeatedly proven himself unworthy of the benefit of the doubt. As presidential candidate and commander in chief, he has demonstrated an eagerness to use his Twitter account as a bully pulpit in his petty brawls with lawmakers, media personalities, and anyone else who might draw his ire.

And yet, ulterior motives though there may be, knee-jerk dismissals of the president's attack are short-sighted. The president's bluster in this instance is rooted in reality.

Indeed, contra the libertarian ethos that Amazon and its leader purport to embody, the company has not emerged as one of history's preeminent corporate juggernauts through thrift and elbow grease alone. Although the company's harshest critics must concede that Amazon is the world's most consistently competent corporation -- replete with innovation and ingenuity -- the company's unprecedented growth would not be possible without two key ingredients: corporate welfare and tax avoidance.

Amazon has long benefitted from the procurement of taxpayer-funded subsidies, emerging in recent years as the leading recipient of corporate welfare. According to Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C., organization dedicated to corporate and government accountability, Amazon has, since 2000, received more than $1.39 billion in state and local tax breaks and subsidies for construction of its vast network of warehouses and data centers.

These private-public "partnership" deals are perhaps best illustrated by the sweepstakes for Amazon's second headquarters. Touted as the economic development opportunity of the century, the chosen destination will reap the benefits of 50,000 "high-paying" jobs and $5 billion in construction spending. The possibility of securing an economic development package of this magnitude elicited proposals from 238 North American cities and regions, fomenting what some have called a "bidding war" between mayors, governors, and county executives desperate for economic invigoration.

After a first round deadline of October 19, the pool of applicants was, in mid-January, whittled down to a list of 20. As expected, each finalist offered incentive packages worth more than a billion dollars, with Montgomery County, Maryland, ($8.5 billion) and Newark, New Jersey, ($7 billion) offering the most eye-popping bundles. Proposals utilized a wide array of state and local economic development programs: property tax discounts, infrastructure subsidies, and, in the case of Chicago's proposal, an incentive known as a "personal income-tax diversion." Worth up to $1.32 billion, Amazon employees would still pay their income taxes in full -- but instead of Illinois receiving the money, the tax payments would be funneled directly into the pockets of Amazon itself.

While critics condemn the ostentatious bids of Maryland and New Jersey and decry the "creative" gimmicks of cities such as Chicago, they are equally worried about the details -- or lack thereof -- of the proposals from the other finalists. Despite demands for transparency from local community leaders and journalists, only a handful of cities have released the details of their bids in full, while six finalists -- Indianapolis, Dallas, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh, North Carolina -- have refused to release any of the details from their first-round bids. Viewing themselves as players in a zero-sum game of high-stakes poker, they claim that there is little to gain, but a lot to lose, in making their proposals public.

Such secrecy has, in the second round of bidding, become the rule more than the exception. Although he owns a newspaper with the slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness," Bezos has required state and local officials involved in negotiations to sign non-disclosure agreements. With the opportunity to revisit and revise their bids (i.e., increase their dollar value), the transition from public spectacle to backroom dealing introduces yet another cause for concern. If the finalists don't apprise citizens of their bids' details, the citizens can't weigh the costs and benefits and determine whether inviting the company into their midst will be a net positive or net negative.

Amazon's pursuit of public tithes and offerings is matched by its relentless obsession with avoiding taxes. Employing a legion of accountants and lawyers, the company has become a master at navigating the tax code and exploiting every loophole. Illegality is not the issue here but rather a tax system that allows mammoth corporations to operate with huge tax advantages not available to mom-and-pop shops on Main Street.

Of course Amazon isn't unique in its desire to avoid the taxman. It is, however, unrivaled in its ability to do so. Last fall's debate concerning the merits of lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent was, for Amazon, a moot point. In the five years from 2012 to 2016, Amazon paid an effective federal income tax rate of only 11.4 percent.

The company fared even better in 2017. Despite posting a $5.6 billion profit, Amazon didn't pay a single cent in federal taxes, according to a recent report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. What's more, Amazon projects it will receive an additional $789 million in kickbacks from last year's tax reform bill.

Even by the standards of mammoth corporations, this is impressive. By way of comparison, Walmart -- no stranger to corporate welfare and tax avoidance -- has paid $64 billion in corporate income tax since 2008. Amazon? Just $1.4 billion.

Amazon's tax-avoidance success can be attributed to two things: avoiding the collection of sales taxes and stashing profits in overseas tax havens. The IRS estimates that Amazon has dodged more than $1.5 billion in taxes by funneling the patents of its intellectual property behind the walls of its European headquarters city, Luxembourg -- a widely used corporate tax haven. Again, nothing illegal here, but there's something wrong with a tax system that allows it.

From day one, Amazon's business model involved legally avoiding any obligation to collect sales taxes, and then using the subsequent pricing advantage to gain market share. It did this by first locating its warehouses in very few states, most of which did not have a sales tax. It then shipped its goods to customers that resided in other states that did have sales tax. This game plan allowed Amazon to avoid what is known as "nexus" in sales-tax states, meaning that those states could not compel it to collect the tax -- a two to 10 percent competitive advantage over its brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Amazon exploited this tax advantage for years until state legislatures -- realizing how much revenue they were losing -- gradually began passing legislation requiring Internet retailers to collect sales taxes for items purchased by their citizens. In 2012, having already benefited from this competitive advantage for more than a decade and a half, Bezos -- under the pretense of a "level playing field" -- began advocating for federal legislation that would require Internet retailers to collect sales tax. No such legislation has been passed.

And despite Bezos's carefully calculated public relations posturing, Amazon's advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers persists: not only does Amazon not collect city and county sales taxes (where applicable) but it also doesn't, with few exceptions, collect sales tax on items sold by third-party distributors on Amazon Marketplace -- sales that account for more than half of Amazon's sales.

It is difficult to overstate how instrumental tax breaks and tax avoidance have been in Amazon's unprecedented growth. As Bezos made clear in his first letter to shareholders in 1997, Amazon's business plan is predicated on amassing long-term market share in lieu of short-term profits. As a result, the company operates on razor-thin margins in some retail categories, while actually taking losses in others.

Amazon has not squandered these competitive advantages. Half of online retail purchases are made through Amazon, and more than half of American households are enrolled in the Amazon Prime program -- a subscription service that engenders platform loyalty and leads to increases in consumer spending.

In fact, Amazon's ascent and tactics have led an increasing number of public policy experts to call for a renewed enforcement of America's antitrust laws. The concern is that Amazon has used its market power to crush smaller competitors with a swath of anti-competitive practices, including predatory pricing and market power advantages stemming from Amazon Marketplace -- Amazon's vast sales platform for third-party retailers.

Such practices may be a boon for consumers and Amazon stockholders, the reasoning goes, but they are only possible because Amazon uses economic power to squeeze its retail partners on pricing at various points in the production line, which harms the health of many other businesses. In fact, some suggest this bullying tendency calls to mind the actions of John D. Rockefeller in his dealings with railroad companies at the turn of the last century.

These monopolistic practices have squeezed local, state, and federal revenue streams in two ways. Not only do these governments forego the collection of needed tax revenue but Amazon's rise has also knocked out many brick-and-mortar competitors that previously had provided streams of tax revenue. By wooing Amazon with taxpayer-funded subsidies and other giveaways, government leaders are, in a very real sense, funding the destruction of their own tax base. There is little evidence that such taxpayer-funded inducements have resulted in a net positive to the states and localities doling out the subsidies.

By forsaking the tenets of free market orthodoxy, forgoing the collection of much-needed tax revenue, and giving big businesses major competitive advantages, state and local governments have generated increasing controversy and political enmity from both ends of the political spectrum. And yet, though bipartisan accusations of crony capitalism and corporate welfare abound, such opposition does little to dissuade state and local governments from loosening the public purse strings in their efforts to woo big corporations such as Amazon.

Daniel Kishi is associate editor of The American Conservative. Follow him on Twitter: @DanielMKishi .

[May 29, 2018] The Urban-Rural Divide More Pronounced Than Ever

Notable quotes:
"... Why Liberalism Failed ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
May 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

These findings reminded me of the suggestion in Patrick Deneen's recently released Why Liberalism Failed that the political ideology of liberalism drives us apart, making us more lonely and polarized than ever. As Christine Emba writes in her Washington Post review of Deneen's book:

As liberalism has progressed, it has done so by ever more efficiently liberating each individual from "particular places, relationships, memberships, and even identities-unless they have been chosen, are worn lightly, and can be revised or abandoned at will." In the process, it has scoured anything that could hold stable meaning and connection from our modern landscape-culture has been disintegrated, family bonds devalued, connections to the past cut off, an understanding of the common good all but disappeared.

likbez

Our political differences are strengthening, with an increasing number of urban Americans moving further left and more than half of rural voters (54 percent)

There is actually no way to move to the left in the two party system installed in the USA. The Democratic Party is just another neoliberal party. Bill Clinton sold it to Wall Street long ago.

Neoliberalism uses identity wedge to split the voters into various groups which in turn are corralled into two camps representing on the federal level two almost identical militaristic, oligarchical parties to eliminate any threat to the status quo.

And they do very skillfully and successfully. Trump is just a minor deviation from the rule (or like Obama is the confirmation of the rule "change we can believe in" so to speak). And he did capitulate to neocons just two months after inauguration. While he was from the very beginning a "bastard neoliberal" -- neoliberal that denies the value of implicit coercion of neoliberal globalization in favor of open bullying of trade partners. Kind of "neoliberalism for a single exceptional country."

The current catfight between different oligarchic groups for power (Russiagate vs. Spygate ) might well be just a smoke screen for the coming crisis of neoliberalism in the USA, which is unable to lift the standard of living of the lower 80% of population, and neoliberal propaganda after 40 or so years lost its power, much like communist propaganda in the same time frame.

The tenacity with which Clinton-Obama wing of Democratic Party wants Trump to be removed is just a testament of the political power of neoliberals and neocons in the USA as they are merged with the "deep state." No deviations from the party line are allowed.

[May 28, 2018] Making Sense Of America s Empire Of Chaos

May 28, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via TomDispatch.com,

Mark Karlin: How much money has gone to the U.S. war on terror and what has been the impact of this expenditure?

Tom Engelhardt: The best figure I've seen on this comes from the Watson Institute's Costs of War Project at Brown University and it's a staggering $5.6 trillion , including certain future costs to care for this country's war vets. President Trump himself, with his usual sense of accuracy, has inflated that number even more, regularly speaking of $7 trillion being lost somewhere in our never-ending wars in the Greater Middle East. One of these days, he's going to turn out to be right.

As for the impact of such an expenditure in the regions where these wars continue to be fought, largely nonstop, since they were launched against a tiny group of jihadis just after September 11, 2001, it would certainly include: the spread of terror outfits across the Middle East, parts of Asia, and Africa; the creation -- in a region previously autocratic but relatively calm -- of a striking range of failed or failing states, of major cities that have been turned into absolute rubble (with no money in sight for serious reconstruction), of internally displaced people and waves of refugees at levels that now match the moment after World War II, when significant parts of the planet were in ruins; and that's just to start down a list of the true costs of our wars.

At home, in a far quieter way, the impact has been similar. Just imagine, for instance, what our American world would have been like if any significant part of the funds that went into our fruitless, still spreading, now nameless conflicts had been spent on America's crumbling infrastructure , instead of on the rise of the national security state as the unofficial fourth branch of government. (At TomDispatch , Pentagon expert William Hartung has estimated that approximately $1 trillion annually goes into that security state and, in the age of Trump, that figure is again on the rise.)

Part of the trouble assessing the "impact" here in the U.S. is that, in this era of public demobilization in terms of our wars, people are encouraged not to think about them at all and they've gotten remarkably little attention. So sorting out exactly how they've come home -- other than completely obvious developments like the militarization of the police, the flying of surveillance drones in our airspace, and so on -- is hard. Most people, for instance, don't grasp something I've long written about at TomDispatch : that Donald Trump would have been inconceivable as president without those disastrous wars, those trillions squandered on them and on the military that's fought them, and that certainly qualifies as "impact" enough.

What makes the U.S. pretension to empire different from previous empires?

As a start, it's worth mentioning that Americans generally don't even think of ourselves as an "empire." Yes, since the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, our politicians and pundits have proudly called this country the "last" or "lone" superpower and the world's most "exceptional" or "indispensable" nation, but an empire? No. You need to go someplace off the mainstream grid -- Truthout or TomDispatch , for instance -- to find anyone talking about us in those terms.

That said, I think that two things have made us different, imperially speaking. The first was that post-1991 sense of ourselves as the ultimate winner of a vast imperial contest, a kind of arms race of many that had gone on since European ships armed with cannon had first broken into the world in perhaps the fifteenth century and began to conquer much of it. In that post-Soviet moment of triumphalism, of what seemed to the top dogs in Washington like the ultimate win, a forever victory, there was indeed a sense that there had never been and never would be a power like us. That inflated sense of our imperial self was what sent the geopolitical dreamers of the George W. Bush administration off to, in essence, create a Pax Americana first in the Greater Middle East and then perhaps the world in a fashion never before imagined, one that, they were convinced, would put the Roman and British imperial moments to shame. And we all know, with the invasion of Iraq, just where that's ended up.

In the years since they launched that ultimate imperial venture in a cloud of hubris, the most striking difference I can see with previous empires is that never has a great power still in something close to its imperial prime proven quite so incapable of applying its military and political might in a way that would successfully advance its aims. It has instead found itself overmatched by underwhelming enemy forces and incapable of producing any results other than destruction and further fragmentation across staggeringly large parts of the planet.

Finally, of course, there's climate change -- that is, for the first time in the history of empires, the very well-being of the planet itself is at stake. The game has, so to speak, changed, even if relatively few here have noticed.

Why do you refer to the U.S. as an "empire of chaos"?

This answer follows directly from the last two. The United States is now visibly a force for chaos across significant parts of the planet. Just look, for instance, at the cities -- from Marawi in the Philippines to Mosul and Ramadi in Iraq, Raqqa and Aleppo in Syria, Sirte in Libya, and so on -- that have literally been -- a word I want to bring into the language -- rubblized, largely by American bombing (though with a helping hand recently from the bomb makers of the Islamic State). Historically, in the imperial ages that preceded this one, such power, while regularly applied brutally and devastatingly, could also be a way of imposing a grim version of order on conquered and colonized areas. No longer, it seems. We're now on a planet that simply doesn't accept military-first conquest and occupation, no matter the guise under which it arrives (including the spread of "democracy"). So beware the unleashing modern military power. It turns out to contain within it striking disintegrative forces on a planet that can ill afford such chaos.

You also refer to Washington D.C. as a "permanent war capital" with the generals in ascension under Trump. What does that represent for the war footing of the U.S.?

Well, it's obvious in a way. Washington is now indeed a war capital because the Bush administration launched not just a local response to a relatively small group of jihadis in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, but what its top officials called a "Global War on Terror" -- creating possibly the worst acronym in history: GWOT. And then they instantly began insisting that it could be applied to at least 60 countries supposedly harboring terror groups. That was 2001 and, of course, though the name and acronym were dropped, the war they launched has never ended. In those years, the military, the country's (count 'em) 17 major intelligence agencies, and the warrior corporations of the military-industrial complex have achieved a kind of clout never before seen in the nation's capital. Their rise has really been a bipartisan affair in a city otherwise riven by politics as each party tries to outdo the other in promoting the financing of the national security state. At a moment when putting money into just about anything else that would provide security to Americans (think health care) is always a desperate struggle, funding the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state continues to be a given. That's what it means to be in a "permanent war capital."

In addition, with Donald Trump, the generals of America's losing wars have gained a kind of prominence in Washington that was unknown in a previously civilian capital. The head of the Defense Department, the White House chief of staff, and (until recently when he was succeeded by an even more militaristic civilian) the national security advisor were all generals of those wars -- positions that, in the past, with rare exceptions, were considered civilian ones. In this sense, Donald Trump was less making history with the men he liked to refer to as " my generals " than channeling it.

What is the role of bombing in the U.S. war-making machine?

It's worth remembering, as I've written in the past, that from the beginning the war on terror has been, above all (and despite full-scale invasions and occupations using hundreds of thousands of U.S. ground troops), an air war . It started that way. On September 11, 2001, after all, al-Qaeda sent its air force (four hijacked passenger jets) and its precision weaponry (19 suicidal hijackers) against a set of iconic buildings in the U.S. Those strikes -- only one of them failed when the passengers on a single jet fought back and it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania -- may represent the most successful use of strategic bombing (that is, air power aimed at the civilian population of, and morale in, an enemy country) in history. At the cost of a mere $400,000 to $500,000 , Osama bin Laden began an air war of provocation that has never ended.

The U.S. has been bombing, missiling, and drone-assassinating ever since. Last year, for instance, U.S. planes dropped an estimated 20,000 bombs just on the Syrian city of Raqqa , the former "capital" of the Islamic State, leaving next to nothing standing. Since the first American planes began dropping bombs (and cluster munitions ) in Afghanistan in October 2001, the U.S. Air Force has been in the skies ceaselessly -- skies by the way over countries and groups that lack any defenses against air attacks whatsoever. And, of course, it's been a kind of rolling disaster of destruction that has left the equivalent of World Trade Center tower after tower of dead civilians in those lands. In other words, though no one in Washington would ever say such a thing, U.S. air power has functionally been doing Osama bin Laden's job for him, conducting not so much a war on terror as a strange kind of war for terror, one that only promotes the conditions in which it thrives best.

What role did the end of the draft play in enabling an unrestrained U.S. empire of war?

It may have been the crucial moment in the whole process. It was, of course, the decision of then-president Richard Nixon in January 1973 , in response to a country swept by a powerful antiwar movement and a military in near rebellion as the Vietnam War began to wind down. The draft was ended, the all-volunteer military begun, and the American people were largely separated from the wars being fought in their name. They were, as I said above, demobilized. Though at the time, the U.S. military high command was doubtful about the move, it proved highly successful in freeing them to fight the endless wars of the twenty-first century, now being referred to by some in the Pentagon (according to the Washington Post ) not as "permanent wars" or even, as General David Petraeus put it, a " generational struggle ," but as " infinite war ."

I've lived through two periods of public war mobilization in my lifetime: the World War II era, in which I was born and in which the American people mobilized to support a global war against fascism in every way imaginable, and the Vietnam War, in which Americans (like me as a young man) mobilized against an American war. But who in those years ever imagined that Americans might fight their wars (unsuccessfully) to the end of time without most citizens paying the slightest attention? That's why I've called the losing generals of our endless war on terror (and, in a sense, the rest of us as well) " Nixon's children ."

* * *

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture . He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com . His sixth and latest book, just published, is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books).

Tags War Conflict Politics
Looney -> TBT or not TBT Mon, 05/28/2018 - 19:58 Permalink

17 major intelligence agencies. For fuck's sake! It's not seventeen – it is SIXTEEN! ;-)

Looney

P.S. I hate re-posting shit or using the same joke twice, but THIS is worth re-posting (from January 13, 2017): U.S. intelligence agencies contend that Moscow waged a multifaceted campaign of hacking and other actions All Democrats, from our own MDB to Hillary and 0bama, have been citing the " 17 intelligence agencies " that agree with their ridiculous claims.

Here's the list of "The Magnificent Seventeen", but (spoiler alert!) there are actually only SIXTEEN INTEL AGENCIES, but who counts? The highlighted agencies have nothing to do with Hacking, Elections, Golden Showers, or whatever sick lies the Libtards have come up with.

Each Agency's responsibilities are very clearly defined by Law and 13 out of the "17 agencies" have absolutely nothing to do with the DNC, Wikileaks, Elections, Hillary's e-mails, the Clinton Foundation, the Russian Hacking, etc.

  1. Twenty-Fifth Air Force - Air Force Intel only
  2. Intelligence and Security Command (US Army) – Army Intel only
  3. Central Intelligence Agency is prohibited by Law to conduct any activities within the US!!!
  4. Coast Guard Intelligence – Coast Guard, really?
  5. Defense Intelligence Agency – Military Intel only
  6. Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (Dept. of Energy) – Nukes, Nuclear Plants
  7. Office of Intelligence and Analysis (Homeland Security)
  8. Bureau of Intelligence and Research - State Dept. Intel
  9. Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (Treasury) – Treasury and Hacking/Elections? Hmm
  10. Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA) – Drug Enforcement, really?
  11. Intelligence Branch, FBI (DOJ)
  12. Marine Corps Intelligence Activity - Marine Corps Intel only
  13. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (Dept. of Defense) – Satellites, Aerial Intel
  14. National Reconnaissance Office (Dept. of Defense) – Defense Recon Only
  15. NSA
  16. Office of Naval Intelligence Navy Defense – Navy only

Looney

Shemp 4 Victory -> TBT or not TBT Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:14 Permalink

On the rare occasions when the US halfheartedly admits that, somehow, mistakes might have been made, it cannot evade employing important US citizenish "core values" like hypocricy and psychological projection.

Four days ago an outstanding example of this type of embarrassment, Russia's Moral Hypocrisy , was posted by Colonel James McDonough, US Army attaché to Poland. Its urgent bleatings display the inadequacy and extremely low level of cohesion to which US propaganda has fallen. The short version: the US fights for all good against all bad, and the Russians disagree because they are very bad and also mean people.

Two days ago, Colonel Cassad posted a response to McDonough's piece which skewered it like a kebab. Using a nota bene format, each point is considered and then crushed into a paste. Even via the Yandex machine translation, the well-deserved kicking to the curb comes through loud and clear.

https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.ru/https/colonelcassad.livejournal

revolla -> WTFUD Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

...the U.S. war on terror... ...was made in Tel Aviv. In some circles, it's known as

Israel's Dark Age of Terror

Baron von Bud -> DownWithYogaPants Mon, 05/28/2018 - 22:29 Permalink

Wars are always about money and control. The war machine supports so many jobs in the US from shipyards to consulting. It's a way to pump cash into a system that essentially died after the 2001 crash.

Algo Rhythm -> HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:01 Permalink

During a memorial day conversation today, "But you live in the evil empire and reap the benefits, why are you complaining about the democrats. Can't you see the black mark on your soul is more important because you support the Empire on either side of the so called two party system."

nmewn -> Algo Rhythm Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:11 Permalink

More divide & conquer BS the commies are belching now that they've been caught "red handed".

If it was a family member resolve yourself that you will have to just deal with it. If only a friend or acquaintance, resolve yourself that there may come a time in the not to distant future you will have to slit their throat lest they slit yours.

TRM -> nmewn Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:26 Permalink

Damn you're getting morbid dude. Chill and have some weed. A gram is better than a damn :)

Nekoti -> TRM Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:59 Permalink

Morbid as it maybe, nmewn is still correct. It's kinda like the saying, " Two people can keep a secret, as long as one of them is dead." You cannot truly depend on or trust anyone, except yourself. And often times family can be worse than friends.

nmewn -> TRM Mon, 05/28/2018 - 22:12 Permalink

Well, what do want me to say?...lol...I know we're all thinking the same thing, we've all had the very same conversations with these assholes whether friends or family. They are unreachable.

Hey, don't kill the guy pointing out the elephant in the middle of the room ;-)

Baron von Bud -> nmewn Mon, 05/28/2018 - 22:37 Permalink

They're unreachable and they're everywhere. And that includes my family. Greed and ego.

nmewn -> Looney Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:34 Permalink

It's not sixteen either, it was three ...the CIA ( Brennan ) the FBI ( Comey at the time) and the NSA which in my opinion was in a go-along-to-get-along position. Seventeen was a lie when Hillary first uttered it. "The [intelligence community assessment] was a coordinated product from three agencies: CIA, NSA and the FBI, not all 17 components of the intelligence community," said former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper during a congressional hearing in May. "Those three under the aegis of my former office."

He spoke the truth (that time) probably not wanting another perjury charge ;-)

brianshell -> Looney Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:11 Permalink

Five eyes. You forgot five eyes. Don't leave out Nine eyes and Thirteen eyes. Hey, we can't leave out Mossad. Contractors, don't forget them.

uhland62 -> Looney Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:49 Permalink

Hillary said 17 - wrong again. The sales are in full swing, 2 billion offered by Poland to buy protection.

DennisR Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:03 Permalink

Ah. The final days of Rome. I will miss cheap gasoline.

Herdee Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:13 Permalink

It's the attitude. The American political leaders have this idea of righteousness and exceptionalism. They think they'll go around the world telling everyone else what to do. I've got two words for them - Fuck-off:

https://www.rt.com/usa/428047-cia-torture-haspel-kiriakou/

AurorusBorealus Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:27 Permalink

This article could have been written by a second-year political science undergraduate at a U.S. public university. This adds a sum total of zero to the public understanding of the rise of American imperialism.

Ms No -> AurorusBorealus Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:34 Permalink

You are too generous Sir.

Chupacabra-322 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:28 Permalink

To state the obvious; the CIA has deeply humiliated the American people in their attempt to tie the American people to be responsible for the CIA's crimes against humanity across the world.

The CIA appears to be the world's greatest threat to peace and prosperity. It is the penultimate terrorist organization, being the direct or indirect creator of all other terrorist organizations. It also appears to be the world's penultimate illegal drug smuggler and pusher making all other illegal drug trading possible and instigating the horrors of addiction and suffering around the world.

If I believed that the CIA was working in any way on behalf of the US government and the American people then it would be sad and shameful indeed. However, it is my belief that the CIA instead was captured long ago, as was the secret military operations and now works for a hidden power that wants to dominate or failing that, destroy humanity.

It's those Select Highly Compartmentalized Criminal Pure Evil Rogue Elements at the Deep State Top that have had control since the JFK Execution that have entrenched themselves for decades & refuse to relinquish Control.

The Agency is Cancer. There should be no question about the CIA's future in the US.

Dissolved & dishonored. Its members locked away or punished for Treason. Their reputation is so bad and has been for so long, that the fact that you joined them should be enough to justify arrest and Execution for Treason, Crimes Against Humanity & Crimes Against The American People.

grunk Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:33 Permalink

The author seems comfortable finding fault with Bush and Trump but can't muster up a criticism of Obama (the Cal Ripken of presidential war mongers), Clinton, Holder, et al.

noob Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:45 Permalink

".. the West defeated Hitler, but Fascism won,"

Chief Joesph Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

What a dichotomy. On the one hand, America self-righteously proclaiming it is the one protecting everyone's freedom, while at the same time making war and spying and oppressing others. On the other hand, seems like America is at war with everyone to have such a large military and 17 spy agencies, and more people in prison than any other country in the world. Really sounds like America has got some serious problems.

Peterman333 Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

Order through chaos, it's their credo.

Tenet Mon, 05/28/2018 - 21:10 Permalink

Note, a majority of the Muslims living close to Iraq still held a positive view of the U.S. even after the 1990-1991 attack on Iraq. And after 12 years of starvation sanctions, even denying Iraq baby formula with the claim that it "can be used to make weapons". And after the UK and US bombing Iraq on average once a week for those 12 years, targeting water refineries so Iraqis had to drink dirty water, and power plants so there was no air conditioning in the blistering summer heat. Causing the death of half a million children, as confirmed by the U.S. ambassador to the UN, which State Secretary Madeleine Albright said was "worth it".

Even after that mass murder, 60% of Gulf residents were generally positive toward the U.S.

"Clash of cultures," right? There wasn't much Islamism at all, except the anger directed at thieving puppet rulers installed after the European empires withdrew. Arabs, who were mostly secular, had always loved the U.S. as an anti-imperialist country. Thus they couldn't understand when the U.S. backed the Zio invasion of Palestine. And then started sanctioning and attacking every Middle Eastern nation that supported the Palestinians.

The U.S. used to have many "Arabist" diplomats, those who wanted to work with Arab nationalists, especially against the Soviets. But the pro-Arab diplomats were sidelined by the media-backed neocon line, where everything was about who were for or against the Palestinians. Saddam Hussein in Iraq had been secular and pro-American, but he gave money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers - these families saw their homes razed with all their possessions, with just an hour's notice, by the Israelis. For the crime of giving these destitute people some money, all of Iraq was targeted.

No wonder the Arabs started hating the U.S. Still even after the Iraq invasion in 2003, most Arabs just want to be left alone by the U.S. But that is not allowed. Arab nationalism was destroyed in favor of puppet regimes.

I Am Jack's Ma -> Tenet Mon, 05/28/2018 - 22:18 Permalink

Shh! You'll upset (((nmewn))) And of course Arabists, like Chas Freeman, were sidelined by Zionist Jews and their gentile confederates

http://www.voltairenet.org/article178638.html

Like Bolton, Pompeo, and Haley...

[May 28, 2018] What if Memorial Day was an occasion to remember all the horrific crimes of our nation, and vow to atone for them? Instead of a day to worship and kiss the militarist boot that is grinding our culture into the dirt

Notable quotes:
"... Exactly right Sam. 'It's the oligarchs, stupid" should be our slogan. To keep us focused on the real source of most of our problems. ..."
"... Memorial ceremonies and flag waving allow the rich dictators to demand loyalty to themselves in the name of the principles they have overthrown. The rich despise America's principles and spit upon the Constitution. ..."
"... Actually, there are a lot of evil empires. History has a long list too. The natural state of man is to create evil abusive murderous empires which kill as many people as they can. "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his." George S. Patton ..."
"... The National Security State is a protection racket for western oligarchy. All the romanticism that surrounds Memorial Day is just to keep the sentimental mythology in tact. Of course, 911 and the GWOT was used to reinforce the troops as national heroes mindset. ..."
"... Americans are that classic example of lab mice being used to form the predetermined outcome of the experimentation. We Americans should just look up and wave and give our controllers the finger, as we all smile and go in the other direction. Joe ..."
May 28, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Edited discussion from How to Honor Memorial Day – Consortiumnews


B Caracciolo , May 28, 2018 at 9:34 pm

As much as I admire and respect Ray McGovern – he and other veterans must understand that suggesting the best leaders in our government would be those with a military background is disappointing. I would rather NOT have those types calling the shots. Look what it's got us?

Cindy reminded me of a quote (whose origin I forget): 'War undoes a mother's work." All power to Cindy Sheehan and all the peace seekers out there. #WomenMarch4Peace

mike k , May 28, 2018 at 5:47 pm

What if Memorial Day was an occasion to remember all the horrific crimes of our nation, and vow to atone for them? Instead of a day to worship and kiss the militarist boot that is grinding our culture into the dirt.

KiwiAntz , May 28, 2018 at 6:20 pm

It's not that America hates peace, they hate, not being able make a profit from War? Peace & it implies means the MIC is obsolete & no longer needed so no more trilli