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Anti-Americanism as a Blowback to American Empire

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Anti-Americanism (anti-American sentiment), is a  term used to describe opposition or hostility to the American empire including but not limited to the culture and aggressive foreign policies of the United States. In practice this broad range of attitudes and actions critical of, or opposed to the United States intervantions in other countries and maintaining military bases in more then 400 locations around the globe( American Empire).  

Anti-Americanism also has some set of stereotypes, prejudices and criticisms towards Americans, American culture,  and/or major US corporation, often including a pointed politically and economically based criticism.  Especially wit the criticism of neoliberalism, as the USA is the center of global neoliberal empire.

It is closely connects with Neocolonialism which is a predominant USA policy toward developing nations, especially nations with natural resources. In such  cases the USA intervention is often masked by "exporting  democracy scam"  -- promoting democracy as a smoke screen of imperial ambitions. 

Whether sentiment hostile to the United States reflects reasoned evaluation of specific policies and administrations or a prejudiced belief system is another aspect of this phenomena. Increases in perceived anti-American attitudes strongly correlate with  the USA particular policies or actions in the region, such as the Syria,  Libya and Iraq wars. For this reason, critics sometimes argue the label is a propaganda term and attempt to censure the United States for its neolinialism as irrational as all powerful states behave in the same way.

Another part of anti-Americanism is connected with the USA support of Isreal.

In all cases the key constituent of anti-Americanism is the opposition to the "hegemonic" US foreign policy, especially military interventions in various parts of the globe. That includes wars, covert operations, attempts to stage "color revolutions" as well as hypocritical usage of democracy as a new Christianity for the new series of Crusades to overthrow governments that Washington does not like (while having deep friendship and "special relations" with Saudi Arabia, Israel and similar states).

See also



NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jul 24, 2020] Nobel peace price hawk and other stories

Jul 24, 2020 | www.rt.com

Roger Thornhill 2 hours ago If I recall correctly, Obama gave the Russians all of 48 hours to leave their consulate in San Francisco, which had been occupied since the 19th Century. This was around Christmas time in 2016. So I don't find this particularly surprising. Two days to have the diplomats, staff, and families completely out of the country.

[Jul 19, 2020] The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 18 2020 22:54 utc | 6 4

Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke? The former's not mentioned in this fascinating essay , but the latter is and appears to deserve some unpacking beyond what Crooke provides.

As for the letter, it's way overdue by 40+ years. I recall reading Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism where they say much the same.

What's most irksome are the lies that now substitute for discourse--Trump or someone from his admin lies, then the WaPost, NY Times, MSNBC, Fox, and others fire back with their lies. And to top everything off--There's ZERO accountability: people who merit "canceling" continue to lie and commit massive fraud.

The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Yes, they were specifically referring to the government, but I'd include the Empire's institutions as well. In the face of that reality, the letter is worse than a joke.

[Jul 17, 2020] The USA foreign policy shows a penchant for amoral deceptiveness of ALL other countries, even best allies, chronically

Jul 17, 2020 | off-guardian.org

voxpox , Jul 16, 2020 9:25 PM

I like this article, it says it all. I have also long harbored a theory that the US intelligence are behind most of the worlds financial cyber-crime, systematically fleecing the world to fund their many many operations around the world. They have the tech with Windows back-doors, the motivation to hide 'off the book' operations and a proven lack of morals as demonstrated during the Iran–Contra affair, many years ago. but what do I know. As Bill Maher says, 'I can't prove it but I know it's true'.

John Ervin , Jul 16, 2020 11:59 PM Reply to voxpox

The USA foreign policy shows a penchant for amoral deceptiveness of ALL other countries, even best allies, chronically.

So that gives heft to Bill Maher's maxim. Perennial treaty busters and oath breakers, why would anyone trust? Fool me once etc.

That's at the core of my take on all USA has said about C-19(84). Been there, done that, with 100 other false flags, always the same tune.

The boy who cried wolf: Uncle Scam. Always proven false after all the marbles are stolen. Or at some point down the road. If not, it shall be, like the JFK fiasco. Like the lone holdout among nations on the Napalm Ban, or sole rogue to drop an A bomb (75th Anniversary of that cowardly Holocaust coming up in a few weeks.)

Lone, lone, lone. A sad little homeboy in the Land of the Lone Gunman. So many, though. Too many, for the world's good .

~~~~~~~~~

Don't take it from me, though, I'm a total patriot, really, compared to Mr. Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson:

"America just a nation of 200 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms at all about using them on anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

Hunter always said it like it is, at least at yhr time he saw it, he rode with the Hell's Angels and wrote the 1st book about them, and wasn't much shy about calling a spade a spade.

And. Like my own old man: another highly assisted apparent suicide.

~~~~~~~~

Old Radio broadcast:

"Who was that masked man?!

Why, it's the Lone Ranger!"

[Jul 11, 2020] Yes, to balance China, let's bring Russia in from the cold by MATTHEW DAL SANTO

Images removed...
This neocon thinks that Russia will ever Trust the USA and "collective West". Credibility is gone, probably for decadesto come.
Notable quotes:
"... In the presence of Russia's previously expansive relationship with Europe, a Russian pivot to Asia may have remained largely symbolic. In the presence of Western sanctions, however, it has instead become truly historic: Russia and China are closer today than at any point since the Sino-Soviet split that Nixon's China policy seized advantage of. ..."
"... pax Sinaica ..."
"... Paul Stronski, a former director for Russia and Central Asia on the US National Security Council, identifies the implications better. Given that China "currently receives most of its primary imports through sea lanes from the south", Stronski writes, "the Russian Far East provides not only a diversified source a reliable and rich supply from its northern borders could also function as a hedge against a US Navy blockade". ..."
"... Australia's foreign policy elite is usually quick to talk up its "post-European" credentials. But on Russia they have been content to be guided by an uncritical neo-Atlanticist perspective . While Europe may fear a Russia that is too strong, Asia should fear a Russia that is too weak. ..."
Jul 07, 2020 | www.lowyinstitute.org
Yes, to balance China, let's
bring Russia in from the cold

The West's isolation of Russia has helped Moscow acquiesce in an expanded Chinese presence it would once have resented.

Last month, US President Donald Trump surprised allies by calling for Russia and Australia to be admitted together with India and South Korea to an expanded G-7.

Writing in support of the idea, federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma has cast the argument as a reversal of Nixon's 1972 opening to Mao's China , a "reshuffling of the deck" to balance China's growing shadow in world affairs by peeling off a sanctioned but far from shrunken " global Russia " increasingly closely attached to China's side.

Given China's increasingly agonistic approach to Australia and Indo-Pacific states, such a policy commends itself by its realist credentials. But it would also acknowledge the role Western policies have played in accelerating the Sino-Russian rapprochement.

Certainly, Moscow and Beijing's "axis of convenience" predates the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia in 2014: the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (a forum for military cooperation and intelligence sharing originally focused on counter-terrorism) was founded in 2002; Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia's own " pivot to the East ", before the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, in 2013.

Russia and China are undoubtedly closer today than six years ago, but there is more to it than that. In the presence of Russia's previously expansive relationship with Europe, a Russian pivot to Asia may have remained largely symbolic. In the presence of Western sanctions, however, it has instead become truly historic: Russia and China are closer today than at any point since the Sino-Soviet split that Nixon's China policy seized advantage of.

In 2018, 3500 Chinese troops crossed the border to join 300,000 Russian counterparts in military exercises billed by the Russian ministry of defence as the largest its forces had participated in since 1981. Through a partnership with Russia's sanctioned Sberbank (Russia's biggest state-owned bank), Huawei seems this year likely to win not only construction rights to Russia's 5G network, but also a vote of confidence in the reliability of Chinese technology that will commend a "tech" pax Sinaica to other BRICS and emerging states.

[Image removed] Vostok-2018 military manoeuvres involving troops from China (Kremlin.ru)

Economically, China has not only cushioned the economic blow of Western sanctions. It has overcome longstanding Russian sensitivities about Chinese investment in Moscow's vast but underpopulated and underdeveloped Asian territories. (In the Russian Far East alone, an area almost the size of Australia, 6.3 million Russians look across the border at 110 million Chinese in China's three northernmost provinces.)

Delivered via the 4857-kilometre Eastern Siberian Oil Pipeline , Russian oil exports to China more than doubled between 2013 and 2016, when Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China's major oil supplier, allowing Beijing to substitute a continental supplier to its north for one dependent on a maritime route policed by the US Navy to its south. Meanwhile, under a deal signed by Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in May 2014 (just months after Western nations first imposed Crimea-related sanctions), the first deliveries of $400 billion worth of Russian gas from fields north of Lake Baikal arrived in China via the Chinese-funded "Power of Siberia" line last December. A "Power of Siberia" II is to follow.

In seeking to bring Russia in from the cold to balance China, Australia should make common cause with Tokyo and Seoul, as it should also with New Delhi. India has long recognised the importance of Russia to the Asian balance.

Moscow once frowned on Chinese investment in Siberia's mining sector. But in the contemporary climate, China obtained its first stake in a Russian gold, iron and copper mining venture in 2015, 400 kilometres from the border. With Russia China's largest supplier of timber, Chinese firms are deeply involved in one of the region's major employers. And barely an hour's flight from Beijing, Siberia's open spaces have enormous potential as crowded North Asia's "lungs" – before Covid-19 struck, the rush to build hotel (and, where relevant, cruise ship) facilities had begun, from Lake Baikal to Vladivostok.

When in 2012 Russia established a Federal Ministry for the Russian Far East, then-President Dmitri Medvedev warned of the danger of Russia's Asian territories becoming a mere "resource appendage" of China. Reflecting the post-2014 shift in Russian attitudes, those qualms seem to have evaporated.

Thus, Russia and China announced plans for a $5.3 billion project for two "International Transport Corridors" linking China's landlocked Heilongjang and Jilin provinces to port facilities in Russia's nearby Maritime Province. If constructed, such corridors would provide China with direct access not only to the Sea of Japan (unhindered by the US Navy and its allies Japan and South Korea), but also an expanded presence in a province, which, though including the Far East's biggest cities (Khabarovsk: 577,000; and Vladivostok: 605,000) has only been Russian since 1858. Modern Chinese maps often designate it as a historical Chinese territory.

Elsewhere, too, the West's isolation of Russia has helped Moscow acquiesce in an expanded Chinese presence it would once have resented. Strategically and economically, the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia are a Russian-Chinese condominium, with resource-rich Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as crucial planks in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Even in the Arctic, Russia's traditional resistance to a larger Chinese role has softened . Just as China has sought (and obtained) recognition as "near-Arctic" state, so Russian authorities have suggested a role for China in constructing the infrastructure to connect the BRI to Russia's Northern Sea Route.

[Image removed]
Construction of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline (Kremlin.ru)

That Western sanctions would drive a Russian rapprochement with China was predictable. Even now that it has happened, however, a certain "operating fallacy" prevents some analysts from extracting any downside in this for the West. As Ariel Cohen wrote in Forbes last year, "By anchoring itself to China with Power of Siberia pipeline, Russia closes many doors, and in the long run, endangers its own energy trade – and national sovereignty."

But the mere fact that something is "bad" for Russia doesn't make it "good" for the West.

Balancing China alone is far more realistic than balancing China and Russia together.

Paul Stronski, a former director for Russia and Central Asia on the US National Security Council, identifies the implications better. Given that China "currently receives most of its primary imports through sea lanes from the south", Stronski writes, "the Russian Far East provides not only a diversified source a reliable and rich supply from its northern borders could also function as a hedge against a US Navy blockade".

Alive to Russia's significance to the Asian balance, Japan imposed a weaker, more "symbolic" sanctions regime than did Australia, following the US and Europe. Faithful to its "New Northern Policy", South Korea imposed none at all . In 2018, the value of Korean trade with Russia rose almost a third.

In seeking to bring Russia in from the cold to balance China, Australia should make common cause with Tokyo and Seoul, as it should also with New Delhi. India has long recognised the importance of Russia to the Asian balance, has not imposed sanctions, and is exploring pipelines.

To "exclude" China from Russian Asia is as pointless as it is undesirable. Not all Chinese investment in Siberia or the Russian Far East is unwelcome: the poorer, emptier, and more underdeveloped these territories remain, the less Russia will have to contribute to any future, informal "coalition of the balancing" in Asia.

But the foreign investment needed should be diverse, lest the Chinese commercial penetration that is already occurring make a continental-size region of vast natural resources and immune to Western blockade, an effective extension of Chinese strategic space – a " Central Powers 2.0 " stretching from Hainan to the Arctic Circle and Baltic.

As Sharma concedes, to bring Russia in from the cold, "the statecraft required is not easy, and the realpolitik underpinning it might be hard to stomach". And – although in the history of "Russia-gate", unsubstantiated intelligence leaks to the press have a record of proving over-egged – in a week that has seen the apparent revelation of Russian bounties on coalition troops in Afghanistan, it will be a particularly hard sell.

But balancing China alone is far more realistic than balancing China and Russia together. Certainly, the asymmetry in the relationship is unpleasant for Russia. But it does nothing to undermine the advantages that accrue to China.

Australia's foreign policy elite is usually quick to talk up its "post-European" credentials. But on Russia they have been content to be guided by an uncritical neo-Atlanticist perspective . While Europe may fear a Russia that is too strong, Asia should fear a Russia that is too weak.

[Jun 28, 2020] Russian position for Start talks: "We don't believe the US in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever".

Highly recommended!
Jun 28, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

START. Talks began in Vienna with a childish stunt by the American side . I wouldn't expect any results: the Americans are fatally deluded . As for the Russians: " We don't believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever ".Russian has a word for that: недоговороспособны and it's characterised US behaviour since at least this event (in Obama's time). Can't make an agreement with them and, even if you do, they won't keep it.

[Jun 06, 2020] For more than two centuries, the country which calls itself the pinnacle of freedom, has been in fact the absolute opposite of that; the epicenter of brutality and terror

Jun 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jun 6 2020 10:00 utc | 120

"The World Cannot Breathe!" Squashed By The U.S. - A Country Built On Genocide And Slavery

More than two centuries of lies are now getting exposed. Bizarre tales about freedom and democracy are collapsing like houses of cards.

One man's death triggers an avalanche of rage in those who for years, decades and centuries, have been humiliated, ruined, and exterminated.

It always happens just like this throughout the history of humankind – one single death, one single "last drop", an occurrence that triggers an entire chain of events, and suddenly nothing is the same, anymore. Nothing can be the same. What seemed to be unimaginable just yesterday, becomes "the new normal" literally overnight.

*

For more than two centuries, the country which calls itself the pinnacle of freedom, has been in fact the absolute opposite of that; the epicenter of brutality and terror.

From its birth, in order to 'clear the space' for its brutal, ruthless European settlers, it systematically liquidated the local population of the continent, during what could easily be described as one of the more outrageous genocides in the human history.

When whites wanted land, they took it. In North America, or anywhere in the world. In what is now the United States of America, millions of "natives" were murdered, infected with deadly diseases on purpose, or exterminated in various different ways. The great majority of the original and rightful owners of the land, vanished. The rest were locked up in "reservations".

Simultaneously, the "Land Of The Free" thrived on slavery. European colonialist powers literally hunted down human beings all over the African continent, stuffing them, like animals, into ships, in order to satisfy demand for free labor on the plantations of North and South America. European colonialist, hand in hand, cooperated, in committing crimes, in all parts of the world.

What really is the United States? Is anyone asking, searching for its roots? What about this; a simple, honest answer: The United States is essentially the beefy offspring of European colonialist culture, of its exceptionalism, racism and barbarity.

Again, simple facts: huge parts of the United States were constructed on slavery. Slaves were humiliated, raped, tortured, murdered. Oh, what a monstrous way to write the first chapters of the country's history!

The United States, a country of liberty and freedom? For whom? Seriously! For Christian whites?

How twisted the narrative is! No wonder our humanity has become so perverse, so immoral, so lost and confused, after being shaped by a narrative which has been fabricated by a country that exterminated the great majority of its own native sons and daughters, while getting insanely rich thanks to unimaginable theft, mass-murder, slavery and later – the semi-slavery of the savage corporate dictatorship!

The endemic, institutionalized brutality at home eventually spilled over to all parts of the planet. Now, for many decades, the United Stated has treated the entire world as full of its personal multitude of slaves. What does it offer to all of us: constant wars, occupations, punitive expeditions, coups, regular assassinations of progressive leaders, as well as thorough corporate plunder. Hundreds of millions of people have been sacrificed on the grotesque U.S. altar of "freedom" and "democracy".

Freedom and democracy, really?

Or perhaps just genocide, slavery, fear and the violation of all those wonderful and natural human dreams, and of human dignity?

https://countercurrents.org/2020/06/the-world-cannot-breathe-squashed-by-the-u-s-a-country-built-on-genocide-and-slavery/

[Jun 02, 2020] Burn Amerikastan burn

Jun 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 9:58 am GMT

Burn Amerikastan burn. It's beautiful watching you burn

You who had your knee on our necks and killed us as the world looked on.

You who broke into our countries on false pretences, you who killed wives in front of husbands, fathers in front of daughters, you who said it was your right to do so,

You who stole our resources, you who watched without words
You who claimed you were Exceptional
The world sees you for what you are
Now you burn.

Burn Amerikastan burn.

In the name of the children of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Donbass, Yemen, Afghanistan

Burn to ashes, Amerikastan.

Emily , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 11:17 am GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist You missed out the Serbs.
'Bombed back to the Stoneage' by direction of Bill Clinton and by the butcher of WACO.
Breaking international law by the stealing of Kosovo and handing it to a bunch of radical islamists – the KLA – thousands of whom have been fighting for ISIS.
Kosovo is Serbia.
They will get it back.
Ashino Wolf Sushanti , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 1:26 pm GMT
Oh, dear poor USA..

Yet Meanwhile

Our Disaster – YEMEN !!

by Kathy Kelly / June 1st, 2020
https://dissidentvoice.org/2020/06/our-disaster/

[Hide MORE]
United Nations reports a death toll of 100,000 people!!!!!!!!!!!!! in that nation's ongoing war
Additional 131 ,000 people !!!!!!!!!!!! dying from hunger, disease and a lack of medical care.
Since then, 3.65 million people have been internally displaced
The worst cholera outbreak ever recorded has infected 2.26 million !!!!!! and cost nearly 4,000 lives (Even so this number is just the official account.)
Attacks on hospitals, clinics by Saudis & Co. have led to the closure of more than half of Yemen's prewar facilities.

The policies of the USA and much of the entire WEST are deeply implicated in Yemen's suffering, through the sale of billions of dollars in munitions to Saudi Arabia and other countries that have intervened in the civil war.

Harold Smith , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 7:03 pm GMT

"If Trump sent in military troops on his own the press would call it unconstitutional."

Since when has the constitution or any law – or anyone citing them – been an obstacle to the evil orange clown?

If he can commit war crimes in Syria and illegally seize Syrian oilfields and seize Russian and Venezuelan diplomatic property, etc., he can send in military troops or whatever he feels like doing. He was accused of abusing his office and acquitted. He can do whatever he pleases.

[Jun 01, 2020] Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov "We Have No Trust, No Confidence Whatsoever" in America by Jacob Heilbrunn

May 29, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

TNI editor Jacob Heilbrunn interviews Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov about the New START Treaty and the state of U.S.-Russia relations.

Jacob Heilbrunn : What is your assessment of the state of U.S.-Russia relations?

Sergei Ryabkov : The current state of our bilateral relations is probably worse than we have experienced for decades preceding this current moment. I don't want to compare this with Cold War times because that era was different from what we have now -- in some ways, more predictable; in some ways, more dangerous. From Moscow's perspective, the Trump era is worrying because we move from one low point to another, and as the famous Polish thinker Jerzy Lec said once, "We thought we had reached the ground, and then someone knocked from beneath."

This is exactly how things happen today. We try hard to improve the situation through different proposals in practically all areas that pull Moscow and Washington apart. It doesn't happen. We recognize that everything that is associated with Russia policy is now quite problematic, to put it mildly -- quite toxic for the U.S. mainstream in the broader sense of the word. But the only answer to this, we believe, is to intensify dialogue and search for ways that both governments, businesses -- structures that impact the general mood of the public -- maintain and probably deepen their interaction and discourse so as to remove possible misunderstandings or grounds for miscalculations.

One of the most troubling areas in this very dark and dull picture is of course arms control. There we see a downward spiral that is being systematically enhanced and intensified by the U.S. government. It looks like America doesn't believe in arms control as a concept altogether. Instead, it tries to find pretexts to depart from as many arms control treaties, agreements, and arrangements that Russia is also a party to. This is very regrettable. But make no mistake: we will not pay any price higher than the one we would pay for our own security in order to save something or keep the U.S. within this system. It's squarely and straightforwardly the choice that the American government may or, in our view, even should make -- because we still think that the maintenance of these agreements ultimately serves American national interests.

Heilbrunn : What is your view of the Trump administration's approach to the START Treaty?

Ryabkov : I can easily say that the Trump administration's approach to the START Treaty is quite strange. Number one: we understand the reasons why the Trump administration wants China to become a party to any future arms control talks or arrangements -- although we equally understand the reasons why China doesn't want to be part of these agreements, and thus we believe that it's up to Washington to deal with Beijing on this issue. And in the absence of a very clear and open and considered consent from the other side -- that is, from China -- there would be no talks with China or with China's participation. That's an obvious reality that we face.

So the next element of this logic brings us to the natural conclusion that it would be in everyone's interest just to extend what we have now -- that is, a new START in the form as it was signed and subsequently ratified -- and then defer contentious issues and unresolved problems, including the one that is associated with U.S. non-compliance with this treaty, to a later point. An eventual extension of the treaty for five more years would give sufficient time to both Washington and Moscow, and eventually for others, to consider the situation and make decisions not in a hurry but with due regard to all aspects and to the gravity of the challenges before us, including those associated with new military technologies. But again, we are not there to trade this approach for anything on the U.S. side, to get something from the U.S. side in return. I think it's quite logical and natural as it stands, so we invite the U.S. to consider what we are telling them at face value.

Heilbrunn: Traditionally, Russia has worked well with Republican administrations starting with Nixon. Is that era at an end?

Ryabkov: I don't know. It completely depends on the U.S. We do believe that irrespective of what party is in the government in the U.S., there are choices; there are opportunities; and there are possibilities that at least should be explored with Russia. I don't know if this administration regards Russia as a party worth having a serious dialogue with. I tend to believe it's not because of domestic political reasons, because of different approaches to matters that are quite obvious at least for us, including the international system of treaties and international law in general.

But then again, it may well be so that the current Republican administration will in effect become a line in history in which a considerable number of useful international instruments were abrogated and that America exited them in the anticipation that this approach would serve U.S. interests better. Having said that, I will never say or never suggest that it was for us -- at least in the mid-2010s -- better with the previous administration.

It was under the previous Obama administration that endless rounds of sanctions were imposed upon Russia. That was continued under Trump. The pretext for that policy is totally rejected by Russia as an invalid and illegal one. The previous administration, weeks before it departed, stole Russian property that was protected by diplomatic immunity, and we are still deprived of this property by the Trump administration. We have sent 350 diplomatic notes to both the Obama and the Trump administrations demanding the return of this property, only to see an endless series of rejections. It is one of the most vivid and obvious examples of where we are in our relationship.

There is no such thing as "which administration is better for Russia in the U.S.?" Both are bad, and this is our conclusion after more than a decade of talking to Washington on different topics.

Heilbrunn: Given the dire situation you portray, do you believe that America has become a rogue state?

Ryabkov: I wouldn't say so, that's not our conclusion. But the U.S. is clearly an entity that stands for itself, one that creates uncertainty for the world. America is a source of trouble for many international actors. They are trying to find ways to protect and defend themselves from this malign and malicious policy of America that many of the people around the world believe should come to an end, hopefully in the near future.

Heilbrunn : If President Trump were to respond to your last point, he might say, "What's wrong with uncertainty from the American perspective? What's wrong with keeping your adversaries off balance? Why should the U.S. be a predictable power?" What would your response be to that?

Ryabkov : My response to this would be that we are not asking the U.S. to be a responsible and predictable partner because we don't believe it would be possible any time soon. We are saying that this is a reality that we all face, and thus we only adjust our own reaction and our own response to it trying the best way possible to protect our own interests.

Heilbrunn : Related to that, and on the START Treaty, a Trump administration State Department official recently announced that the U.S. was ready, essentially, to bury Russia, to spend it into the ground in a new arms race just as it had in the 1980s.

Ryabkov : To bring it into oblivion.

Heilbrunn : Right. What is your response to those kinds of threats?

Ryabkov : There is no response. We just take note of it, and we draw our lessons from the past. We will never, ever allow anyone to draw us into an arms race that would exceed our own capabilities. But we will find ways how to sustain this pressure, both in terms of rhetoric and also in terms of possible action.

Heilbrunn : What does this kind of rhetoric imply for the future of an extension of the START Treaty? Doesn't it suggest that the treaty may in fact already be doomed and that the Trump administration is using China as a poison pill to kill the treaty altogether?

Ryabkov : On China, I think the U.S. administration is obsessed with the issue, and it tries to introduce "Chinese discourse" into every single international issue at the table. So it's not about the START Treaty. It's much broader, deeper, and it's by far more multifaceted than anything that relates to arms control as such. My view on this is that chances for the new START Treaty to be sustained are rapidly moving close to zero, and I think that on February 5, 2021, this treaty will just lapse, and it will end. We will have no START as of February 6, 2021.

Heilbrunn : Do you feel the American stance toward Russia is inadvertently helping to promote a Russia-China rapprochement that is actually not in Washington's interest?

Ryabkov : We don't think we can operate on the premise that because of some pressure or some external impact on us, something happens in terms of the evolution of priorities or approaches to China or to anyone else. We don't believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever. So our own calculations and conclusions are less related to what America is doing than to many, many other things. And we cherish our close and friendly relations with China. We do regard this as a comprehensive strategic partnership in different areas, and we intend to develop it further. Heilbrunn : The U.S. is pushing very hard against China right now, at least rhetorically. China has vowed to smash any Taiwanese move toward independence and looks to be cracking down in Hong Kong as well. Do you see this as another instance where American overt bellicosity ends up boomeranging and pushing its adversaries to take more drastic measures?

Ryabkov : Of course, it's not possible for me to judge what China will do in those cases or in those instances, but I do think that every single area where the U.S. believes there is an opportunity to pressure China is being currently used in a most energetic and most forceful manner. I think it clearly entails a further growth of uncertainty in international relations. I still hope though that at some point, the natural instinct to talk and agree and conclude deals will prevail rather than this ongoing effort to squeeze something out of others -- not only China, but Russia and others who tend to follow their independent policy from America.

Heilbrunn : In this regard, when it comes to Russia -- because you see the U.S. as trying to increase the pressure on Russia as well -- do you draw a distinction between President Trump and his administration, or do you see them as aligned in their approach toward Russia? Because during the 2016 election campaign, Trump was explicit about trying to revive the U.S.-Russia relationship.

Ryabkov : No, I see no lines anywhere. I see no distinction, as you have described. Moreover, I see no distinction between the previous administration and this one.

Heilbrunn : Let me put it another way: what about differences between Trump and his own advisers? Do you think Trump himself is inclined to take a more diplomatic route, or do you think that U.S.-Russia policy is being driven by him?

Ryabkov : I don't know who drives U.S. policy toward Russia. We welcome any signal from the Americans, including from the President himself in favor of improvement, in favor of going along, and we are prepared to bear our share in this. But unfortunately, it doesn't work. And I suspect to some extent that it's also my own fear that in my modest position, I was not able to offer anything to my bosses that may help to change things for the better.

Heilbrunn : Final question: do you think that matters, at least in the area of arms control, would change under a Biden presidency? Because the Democrats are much more sympathetic to arms control agreements than Republicans currently appear to be. What's your take?

Ryabkov : I have no idea how things will unfold in relation to the forthcoming election in the U.S. No predictions, no expectations. I do think, though, that it would be very late in the process for any administration -- including the second Trump administration if he is reelected -- to deal with the issue of a new START extension after the day of elections in America. I think more broadly that the current, almost one-hundred percent watertight anti-Russian bipartisan consensus in the U.S. doesn't promise much good for this relationship for the future, irrespective of who wins the next election. So we will see. We will continuously work hard to try to devise alternative paths forward, but we have no partner on the American side.

Sergei Ryabkov is Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.

[Jun 01, 2020] Reminiscence of the Future... Non-Agreement Capable, Or Agreement Incapable, Or...

Jun 01, 2020 | smoothiex12.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Non-Agreement Capable, Or Agreement Incapable, Or... Agreement-unworthy, or.... I didn't find many English-language report on Putin's last week interview on this issue:

"You know, Obama is no longer president, but there are certain things we don't talk about publicly," Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Putin as saying to Stone. "In any case, I can say that our agreements reached in [a] telephone conversation were not fulfilled by the American side," Putin said, declining to go further into details.
We knew this all along, didn't we? It is not just about personalities, however repulsive in his narcissism and lack of statesmanship Obama was. It is systemic, no matter who comes to power to the Oval Office--it will make no difference. No difference, whatsoever. What is known as US power (political) elite has been on the downward spiral for some time and, in some sense, the whole Epstein affair with serious pedophilia charges, not to mention an unspeakable slap on the wrist in which this well-connected pervert was let go ten years ago, is just one of many indications of a complete moral and cognitive decomposition of this so called "elite" which continues to provide one after another specimens of human depravity. Remarkably, as much as I always feel nauseated when seeing GOPers, it is impossible to hide the fact that Epstein's clients in their majority are mostly associated with putrid creatures from the so called "left", with Bill Clinton featuring prominently in the company of this pervert.
There were some attempts to even conceive a possibility of somehow "progressives" and "conservatives" getting together in their condemnation of this heinous crime (yeah, yeah, I know, Presumption of Innocence).
Now back to Epstein. If we learn that he was actually running something called the "Lolita Express," that would be a signal that prosecutors have a lot of work to do, rounding up the pedophile joyriders. So it was interesting on July 6 to see Christine Pelosi, daughter of the House speaker, posting a stern tweet: "This Epstein case is horrific and the young women deserve justice. It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may -- whether on Republicans or Democrats." So we can see: the younger Pelosi wants one standard -- a standard that applies to all.
Doesn't it sound wonderful, warm and fuzzy, or too good to be true? It sure does, because, as much as most American elite "conservatives" are not really conservatives, what passes as "progressive" in the United States is PRIMARILY based on sexual deviancy, including implicit promotion of pedophilia by "intellectual class", and "environmental" agenda, period! Everything else is secondary. Those who think that actual conservatism (not a caricature it is known in the United States) has anything to discuss with the so called "progressives"--they unwittingly support this very "progressive" cause which, in its very many manifestations, is a realization of the worst kind of suppression of many millennia old natural, including biological, order of things and, in the end, elimination of normality as such--a future even Orwell would have had difficulty describing.
Of course, Pinkerton gets some flashes of common sense, when states that:
Most likely, a true solution will have "conservative" elements, as in social and cultural norming, and "liberal" elements, as in higher taxes on city slickers coupled with conscious economic development for the proletarians and for the heartland. Only with these economic and governmental changes can we be sure that it's possible to have a nice life in Anytown, safely far away from beguiling pleasuredomes.
Well, he puts it very crudely, but I see where he is at least trying to get it from. I will add, until nation, as in American nation, recognizes itself as a nation, as people who have common history, culture and mission, thus, inevitably producing this aforementioned healthy social and cultural norming--no amount of wishful thinking or social-economic doctrine-mongering will help. There is no United States without European-keen, white Christian, heterosexual folk, both with acutely developed sense of both masculinity and femininity, period. But this is precisely the state of the affairs which American "progressives" are fighting against; this is the state of the affairs which they must destroy be that by imposition of suffocating political correctness, the insanity of multi-gender and LGBT totalitarianism, or by criminal opening of the borders to anyone, who, in the end, will vote for the Democratic Party. You cannot negotiate with such people. In the end, WHO is going to negotiate? A cowardly, utterly corrupt, current GOPers and geriatric remnants of Holy Reaganites? Really? Ask how many of them are Mossad assets and are in the pockets of rich Israeli-firsters and Gulfies?
True "Left" economics, which seeks more just distribution (not re-distribution) of wealth, based on a fusion of economic models and types of property, cannot exist within cultural liberal paradigm of "privileged" minorities, be them racial or sexual ones, aided by massive grievance-generating machine--it is not going to last. Both economic and social normality can exist ONLY within cohesive nation and that, due to activity on both nominal sides (in reality it is the same) of American political spectrum, has been utterly destroyed. The mechanism of this destruction is rather simple and it comes down, in the end, to the, pardon my French, number of ass-holes populating unit-volume (density, that is) of political space in America. It goes without saying that such a density in the US reached deadly toxic levels, and Russiagate coup, Epstein's Affair, or the parade of POTUSes with the maturity levels of high school kids are just numerous partial manifestations of what one can characterize as the end of the rope. After all, who would be making any agreements with representatives of the system which is rotting and decomposing?
Paul Craig Roberts penned today a good piece: The Obituary for Western Civilization Can Now be Written . I have to disagree somewhat with PCR's one assertion:
Europeans Are as Dumbshit as Americans
I would pause a little here. Yes and no. Here is Colonel Wilkerson who talks about both wealth (starts roughly at 14:00) and about other very important strategic and operational fact: overwhelming majority of weapons on hands today are among those who either support Trump openly or simply had it with system in general.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/kZA2yIFkhKg/0.jpg
And here is the issue: my bets are on people with military backgrounds, who had first hand experience with military organization (standard manuals, combat manuals et al) and have operational and command experience in their conflict with American Social Justice Warriors (you know--"progressives") and other openly terrorist "progressive" organizations such as Antifa. At least ruined Portland started to do something about it . Is there any real left left in the US? And I don't mean this a-hole Bernie Sanders.

And here is my rephrasing of Tolstoy's conclusion to War and Peace: there are too many ass-holes in American politics today , very many of them being so called "progressives" . This number must be reduced by all legal means today, and if American ass-holes can work together terrorizing majority of good, not ass-hole people, what's precluding those good people to work together? Nothing, except for the rotting corpse of GOP which had audacity to call itself "conservative". If not, all is lost and we do not want to live in the world which will come. And the guns will start speaking.

UPDATE : 07/11/19

Oh goody, do they read me or is it one of those moments when, in Lenin's description of Revolutionary Situation, economic slogans transform into political ones? Evidently Catholic Conservative Michael Warren speaks in unison with Lenin and me, with both me and Warren certainly not being Marxists or "communists". Here is what Warren has to say today:

Whew. Now I get why people become communists. Not the new-wave, gender-fluid, pink-haired Trots, of course. Nor the new far Left, which condemns child predators like Epstein out one side of its mouth while demanding sympathy for pedophiles out the other. No: I mean the old-fashioned, blue-collar, square-jawed Stalinists. I mean the guy with eight fingers and 12 kids who saw photos of the annual Manhattan debutantes' ball, felt the rumble in his stomach, and figured he may as well eat the rich. Of course, we know where that leads us. For two centuries, conservatives have tried to dampen the passions that led France to cannibalize herself circa 1789. Nevertheless, those passions weren't illegitimate -- they were just misdirected. Only an Englishman like Edmund Burke could have referred to the reign of Louis XIV as "the age of chivalry." Joseph de Maistre spoke for real French conservatives when he said the decadent, feckless aristocracy deserved to be guillotined. The problem is, Maistre argued, there was no one more suitable to succeed them.
It is a very loaded statement. It is also not an incorrect one. It is also relevant to what I preach for years, decades really, that history of the so called "communism" in USSR was a conservative history--a transition from depravity and corruption of Russian Imperial "elites" to what resulted in the mutated nationalism of sorts in late 1930s and led to the defeat of Nazism, historically unprecedented restoration of the destroyed country and then breaking out into space. But that is a separate story--in USSR, as it is the case in Russia today, sexual perversion and deviancy are not looked at lightly. Nor are, in general, "liberal values" which are precisely designed to end up with the legitimization of pedophilia--a long held, and hidden, desire of Western "elites" . Guess why such an obsession with, realistically, literary mediocrity of Nabokov's Lolita by Western moneyed and "intellectual" class. Who in their own mind, unless one is a forensic psychiatrist or detective, would be interested in such a topic, not to mention writing a book on it, not to mention a variety of Hollywood and, in general, Western cinematography artsy class making scores of Lolita movies? Each time I read Lolita, in both Russian and English, I felt an urgent desire to take a shower after reading this concoction. I guess, I am not "sophisticated" enough to recognize appeals of this type of "art". As Warren notes:
Yes: those passions are legitimate. We should feel contempt for our leaders when we discover that two presidents cavorted with Epstein, almost certainly aware that he preyed on minors. We should feel disgust at the mere possibility that Pope Francis rehabilitated Theodore McCarrick. And we should be furious that these injustices haven't even come close to being properly redressed. This is how revolutions are born. America is reaching the point where, 200 years ago, a couple French peasants begin eyeing the Bastille. The question is, can conservatives channel that outrage into serious reform before it's too late? Can we call out the fetid, decadent elites within our own ranks ? Are we prepared to hold our own "faves" to account -- even Trump himself? Alas, it's only a matter of time until we find out.
In this, I, essentially an atheist, and a conservative Catholic, are speaking in the same voice.

[Apr 30, 2020] Pompeo's Cynical Attack on the Nuclear Deal by Daniel Larison

Apr 27, 2020 | www.antiwar.com

Originally appeared at The American Conservative .

The Trump administration has been desperately trying to kill the nuclear deal for the last two years after reneging on it. Now they will try to kill it by pretending to be part of it again:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument that the United States remains a participant in the Iran nuclear accord that President Trump has renounced, part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran or see far more stringent sanctions reimposed on the country.

The administration's latest destructive ploy won't find any support on the Security Council. There is nothing "intricate" about this idea. It is a crude, heavy-handed attempt to employ the JCPOA's own provisions to destroy it. It is just the latest in a series of administration moves that tries to have things both ways. They want to renege on U.S. commitments while still refusing to allow Iran to benefit from the agreement, and they ultimately hope to make things difficult enough for Iran that their government chooses to give up on the agreement. It reeks of bad faith and contempt for international law, and all other governments will be able to see right through it. Some of our European allies have already said as much:

European diplomats who have learned of the effort maintain that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo are selectively choosing whether they are still in the agreement to fit their agenda.

It is significant that the Trump administration feels compelled to go through this charade after telling everyone for years that the U.S. is no longer in the deal. Until now, Trump administration officials have been unwavering in saying that the U.S. is out of the deal and can't be considered a participant in it:

Can't wait to see the tortured memo out of State/L claiming that somehow the U.S. is still a participant in the JCPOA. The May 8, 2018 announcement is literally titled "Ceasing U.S. Participation in the JCPOA ." https://t.co/I5t8LaC7dN

-- Richard Johnson (@johnsonrc01) April 26, 2020

[Apr 28, 2020] MoA - To Finally Kill The Nuclear Deal With Iran The U.S. Will Try To Rejoin It

Notable quotes:
"... I guess when an administration has shown over and over again that it does not respect, international law, domestic law, the US constitution, logic, meaning or the English Language then it can say anything and do anything. ..."
"... The power of the United States is rapidly fading. The country is on the eve of a massive social crisis, as its ruling class fails even to understand the extent of the system's failure. ..."
"... Israel is nobody's real need. Zionism is a philosophical oddity stranded by the tides of history, a mid Victorian nonsense entirely composed of racism and silly ideas about human inequality. ..."
Apr 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

, Apr 27 2020 16:54 utc | 9

!! a "deal" with "Not Agreement-Capable" entity.

... is that akin to the portion of a George Carlin comedy sketch ?

"From 1778 to 1871, the United States government
entered into more than 500 treaties with
the Native American tribes;
all of these treaties have since been violated
in some way or outright broken by the US government,

while at least one treaty was violated
or broken by Native American tribes."


Red Ryder , Apr 27 2020 17:07 utc | 11

The EU rapprochement with Iran is all about the huge market the EU wants. Their interest in the JCPOA was always about Iran developing, and the EU benefiting for its trade and investment potential.

Crippling Iran again with snapback sanctions certainly would end Iran-EU relations for a decade or longer.

With the EU economy in the toilet due to the pandemic, now more than ever the EU needs Iran free of sanctions, not laden with crippling new ones.

Only one country benefits from the economic strangulation of Iran--Israel.

Huginn , Apr 27 2020 17:16 utc | 12
In these times of memory holes, sometimes it pays to remember:
As much as I'd like to be optimistic that justice might actually be served for both Epstein and his myriad clients/co-conspirators, I think the powers-that-be will again squash this - or liquidate Epstein - before things get out of hand for them.

The American justice system has been corrupted in much the same way the political system has been, and it's primary objective is to protect the rulers from the common folk, not to actually deliver true justice.

I'll watch with anticipation, but I haven't had any satisfaction from either a political or justice perspective since at least the 2000 coup d'etat, so I won't hold my breath this time.

Does this seem precient?

Peter AU1 , Apr 27 2020 17:17 utc | 13
Glasshopper

You have got to be a paid to be putting to be putting that shit up here. US doesn't accept peace deals.

Nathan Mulcahy , Apr 27 2020 17:22 utc | 14
Economist Michael Hudson explains how American imperialism has created a global free lunch, where the US makes foreign countries pay for its wars, and even their own military occupation.

https://moderaterebels.com/transcript-economics-american-imperialism-michael-hudson/

Stonebird , Apr 27 2020 19:17 utc | 28
Background reading on Pompeo and his mafia.

This is part of Tom's description of the Article on Pompeo, Esper and the gang of 1986 (west pointers). They are well embedded.
In fact, one class from West Point, that of 1986, from which both Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo graduated, is essentially everywhere in a distinctly militarized (if still officially civilian) and wildly hawkish Washington in the Trumpian moment.
In case you missed it the first time, I repeat this link from the beginning of April,
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176686/tomgram%3A_danny_sjursen%2C_trump%27s_own_military_mafia_/

-----------------
Red Ryder | Apr 27 2020 17:07 utc | 14

One addition there. The EU lost "market share" in Iran due to US sanctions. (As they did with Russia). What they would like to do is to get it back. (France was one of the bigger losers)

El Cid , Apr 27 2020 19:24 utc | 29
Before any aggression, the United States want Iran to be hermetically sealed with sanction just like Iraq was before our invasion. Everybody knows the US's intentions because we've seen it before. There will be NO domestic support for war on Iran as Americans die due to no public healthcare and massive unemployment and poverty. Iran and the Middle East view a war on Iran as an Israeli wet dream. Israel is viewed as the intellectual author of aggression against Iran, and Iran will respond appropriately. So, is AIPAC willing to get Israel destroyed? Is AIPAC on a suicide mission? Looks that way.
Noah Way , Apr 27 2020 19:38 utc | 33
@ #8 Grasshopper

Israel and Saudi Arabia are de facto allies aiming to carve up the entire Middle East between them. Forget about Sunni / Shia / Hebrew, that is a manufactured excuse to war for resources (oil first, then water).

Proof? Mutual "enemies" (oil-rich Iran and Syria, which is the nexus for pipelines) and mutual ally (Uncle Sam). Also not a single complaint from Israel over the $100b US-Saudi Arms deal. As to Palestine, that is a human rights issue and has no weight because water is not recognized as a strategic resource (yet).

RT , Apr 27 2020 19:56 utc | 35
I guess when an administration has shown over and over again that it does not respect, international law, domestic law, the US constitution, logic, meaning or the English Language then it can say anything and do anything.
bevin , Apr 27 2020 20:11 utc | 38
"The Iranians are not helping the Palestinians one iota. They are splitting the opposition."
Glasshopper@29

Whoever has been helping Hezbollah has been helping the Palestinians. And whoever has been holding Syria together, despite the pressure of the imperialists and their sunni-state puppets, has also been helping the Palestinians by bringing some kind of balance into regional power calculations.

It is imperative that Iran continues not only to provide political support to the Palestinian cause but to democratise the Gulf, to the extent of bringing about the demise of the autocracies, and the Arabian world generally.

Israel has already exerted its maximum influence. The power of the United States is rapidly fading. The country is on the eve of a massive social crisis, as its ruling class fails even to understand the extent of the system's failure. (There will be no war to divert attention from the crisis.) And Israel will be left to solve its own problems as its 'allies' find themselves increasingly pre-occupied with real problems.

Supporting Israel and building it up as an imperialist base has been part of an era in which the empire was hegemonic and thus able to define international events in terms of domestic politics.

That era has ended. The USA is still powerful but it is no longer anything more than one of the major participants in geopolitical competition. Even to maintain its position it is going to have to do, what other powers have done and concentrate its resources on its real needs.

Israel is nobody's real need. Zionism is a philosophical oddity stranded by the tides of history, a mid Victorian nonsense entirely composed of racism and silly ideas about human inequality. Israel has one choice, to divest itself of its fascist government and its fascistic culture and seek accommodation within the neighbourhood or to wither away as its population emigrates leaving only the committed fascists to play with Armageddon.

Long before that happens the imperialists will have taken its weapons away from it.

It may very well be the case that the ordinary Iranian is no more committed to fighting on behalf of Palestinians than the average American is committed to risking all, or anything, for the sake of Israel. But Iran's commitment to Palestine is a powerful political statement and one that counters the divisive tactics of the wahhabis and their imperial friends. Iran has taken up the mantle that Nasser briefly wore, in the vanguard of a muslim and Arab nationalist movement. This makes it very difficult for the sunni tyrants actually to commit forces to defend Israel or attack Iran. Their duplicity is a measure of their own weakness.

Does anyone imagine that the pro-Israeli policies pursued by the Sauds are actually popular? The Gulf and Saudi policies of sucking up to Israel are far more damaging to them than Iran's stance is to it.

Arch , Apr 28 2020 5:12 utc | 61
@jiri #75

The United States announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the "Iran nuclear deal" or the "Iran deal", on May 8, 2018.

This document discusses the legal rationale for the US withdrawal from tje JCPOA in detail:


https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44761.pdf

Since when does announcing your "withdrawal" from a contract NOT mean "leaving the agreement" ?

Piotr Berman , Apr 28 2020 6:26 utc | 65
Iran should sign a peace deal with the Israelis.
Posted by: Glasshopper | Apr 27 2020 16:42 utc | 8

Some people should stick to what they do well, like hopping on glass. A simple observation: peace deal with "the Israelis" is not possible. Gulfie princes tried. No cigar. They genuinely tried to be nice with Israel, out of "anti-Semitic delusion that Jews control USA". I conjecture that Glasshopper made a similar assumption -- why would Iran consider a "peace deal with the Israelis" if its direct conflict is with USA (and the Gulfies)? How it would help them unless "Jews control USA"?

As a mental experiment, let Grasshopper sketch a putative "deal with Israelis". Kushner plan?

Yeah, Right , Apr 28 2020 6:36 utc | 66
@70 BraveNewWorld, you haven't added up the numbers correctly. Take China, Russia and Iran out of the equation leaves you with five (including the EU as a whole, which is not a given). Take the USA out as well and it doesn't matter how sycophantic the Europeans are, Pompeo can only muster four votes.

And he needs five to refer the issue to the UNSC.

That's why Pompous wants to waddle his way back in: no matter which way he looks at this, without the USA sitting at the table he is one-short.

John Bolton, the gift that keeps giving.....

Yeah, Right , Apr 28 2020 7:12 utc | 67
Actually, I've just read the JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231 and neither has any mention of a "majority vote" requirement for a referral to the UNSC for a vote on "snapping back" sanctions. It appears that any one JCPOA participant can refer the issue of alleged non-compliance to the UNSC, provided that they first exhaust the Joint Commission dispute mechanism.

But I do note this in the JCPOA (my bold): "Upon receipt of the notification from the complaining participant, as described above, including a description of the good-faith efforts the participant made to exhaust the dispute resolution process specified in this JCPOA , the UN Security Council, in accordance with its procedures, shall vote on a resolution to continue the sanctions lifting"

Seems to me that there is a procedural "out" there for the UN Secretariat i.e. it may use that highlighted section to decide that the participant is a vexatious litigant whose participation in the Joint Commission was not in good faith, ergo, the UN can refuse to even take receipt of the complaint.

Everything else then becomes moot.

The USA would raise merry-hell, sure, it would. But that would be no more outrageous a ploy by the UN than was the USA's own argument that it can have its cake and eat it too.

After all, if a participant to the JCPOA referred its complaint to the UNSC without first going through the Joint Commission then it is a given that the UNSC is under no obligation to receive that complaint. No question.

So why can't the UNSC also refuse to accept a complaint when it is clear that the complainant has not gone through the Joint Commission process in "good faith"?

One for the lawyers and ambassadors to argue, I would suggest, but it is not a given that the USA can ram this through even if everyone were to agree that it were still a participant in the JCPOA.

Yeah, Right , Apr 28 2020 7:50 utc | 68
@61 Arch: "This document discusses the legal rationale for the US withdrawal from tje JCPOA in detail"

Arch, the crux of that CRS legal paper boils down to this:
.."under current domestic law, the President may possess authority to terminate U.S. participation in the JCPOA and to re-impose U.S. sanctions on Iran, either through executive order or by declining to renew statutory waivers"..

All the other fluff in that paper is inconsequential compared to this question posed by that quote: can the US claim to be half-pregnant?

I suspect not.

Note that at the time the CRS paper was written (May 2018) it did have a valid point i.e. while Trump *had* refused to re-certify Iranian compliance, he had *not* reimposed US sanctions on Iran, and so the CRS paper could credibly argue that Trump wasn't pregnant, he just talking dirty to the Congress.

But that was then, and this is now, and - as b points out - Executive Order 13846 is the smoking gun because in it Trump is OFFICIALLY stating that he has decided to " cease the participation of the United States in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ".

That EO is clearly the killing blow to Pompeo's nonsense, and even the CRS legal paper you linked to would agree.

Zeug , Apr 28 2020 12:29 utc | 74
As I see it, the historical problem with European fascism has been that when push comes to shove the knife comes out and its either give in to enforced collaboration or take a stabbing, it's your choice. Even if that means helping murder millions of your neighbours or being murdered. As Celan said "Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland."

The US has been enforcing a morally sanitised Disney Adult version of this old world order since at least the 2003 Supreme Crime of Aggression against Iraq. Sooner or later as this global pandemic, political, and financial crisis unfolds, the US leaders will be forced to choose whether or not the UN is a viable vehicle through which to continue the elite lunatic project for planetary full spectrum dominance of 21st C financial and military affairs.

So I reckon the Pentagon at some point either gets to finally execute the long awaited 'Operation Conquer Persia' or the politicians and their chickenhawk ideologues will back off again and continue the death by a thousand cuts of the last 40 years. I'd probably bet the latter but that's the trouble with genuine psychopaths, push comes to shove they will go for it if they think they'll get away with it.

This last 2 decades has been like watching a reality TV series about a fat drunken psychopath with a bloody knife going around and stabbing people at a party, but now the psycho is starting to stagger and everyone in the house is watchful trying to keep their distance. House rules are that anyone starts an actual fight to the death with the psycho then everyone dies!

I more or less trust that if we ever get there, a multipolar world order won't collapse into outright fascism but we're closer to collapse every year, especially from this year on, and most especially in the Persian Gulf.

jared , Apr 28 2020 12:44 utc | 75
In current US political system, it is not necessary to propose a valid claim, or proposal or argument - they intend to act from a position of authority. They know where you live.

[Mar 07, 2020] Note of Trump deals: they are not worth paper they are printed on

Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

False Solace , March 6, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Well they signed the agreement with the Taliban and two days later the DOD was bombing them again so who knows what happens there.

Trump has declared all sorts of deals that ultimately turned into puffs of smoke -- the non-deal with North Korea comes to mind. I consider pulling out of the TPP and tariffs against China more indicative of bucking the consensus, but those can be reversed by Trump or any other president whenever they feel like it.

[Feb 25, 2020] A Worthless 'New Deal' from the Iran Hawks

So Menendez survived as MIC stooge. Nice.
Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it.
Notable quotes:
"... And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

10:03 am

Daniel Larison Two Iran hawks from the Senate, Bob Menendez and Lindse Graham, are proposing a "new deal" that is guaranteed to be a non-starter with Iran:

Essentially, their idea is that the United States would offer a new nuclear deal to both Iran and the gulf states at the same time. The first part would be an agreement to ensure that Iran and the gulf states have access to nuclear fuel for civilian energy purposes, guaranteed by the international community in perpetuity. In exchange, both Iran and the gulf states would swear off nuclear fuel enrichment inside their own countries forever.

Iran is never going to accept any agreement that requires them to give up domestic enrichment. As far as they are concerned, they are entitled to this under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they regard it as a matter of their national rights that they keep it. Insisting on "zero enrichment" is what made it impossible to reach an agreement with Iran for the better part of a decade, and it was only when the Obama administration understood this and compromised to allow Iran to enrich under tight restrictions that the negotiations could move forward. Demanding "zero enrichment" today in 2020 amounts to rejecting that compromise and returning to a bankrupt approach that drove Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges. As a proposal for negotiations, it is dead on arrival, and Menendez and Graham must know that. Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it. They want to make a bogus offer in the hopes that it will be rejected so that they can use the rejection to justify more aggressive measures.

The identity of the authors of the plan is a giveaway that the offer is not a serious diplomatic proposal. Graham is one of the most incorrigible hard-liners on Iran, and Menendez is probably the most hawkish Democratic senator in office today. Among other things, Menendez has been a booster of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), the deranged cult of Iranian exiles that has been buying the support of American politicians and officials for years. Graham has never seen a diplomatic agreement that he didn't want to destroy. When hard-liners talk about making a "deal," they always mean that they want to demand the other side's surrender.

Another giveaway that this is not a serious proposal is the fact that they want this imaginary agreement submitted as a treaty:

That final deal would be designated as a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate, to give Iran confidence that a new president won't just pull out (like President Trump did on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal).

This is silly for many reasons. The Senate doesn't ratify treaties nowadays, so any "new deal" submitted as a treaty would never be ratified. As the current president has shown, it doesn't matter if a treaty has been ratified by the Senate. Presidents can and do withdraw from ratified treaties if they want to, and the fact that it is a ratified treaty doesn't prevent them from doing this. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was ratified 88-2 in 1972. Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty just last year. The INF Treaty had been ratified with a 93-5 vote. The hawkish complaint that the JCPOA wasn't submitted as a treaty was, as usual, made in bad faith. There was no chance that the JCPOA would have been ratified, and even if it had been that ratification would not have protected it from being tossed aside by Trump. Insisting on making any new agreement a treaty is just another way of announcing that they have no interest in a diplomatic solution.

Menendez and Graham want to make the obstacles to diplomacy so great that negotiations between the U.S. and Iran can't resume. It isn't a serious proposal, and it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Feral Finster 5 hours ago

And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more?

[Feb 16, 2020] Developing Countries Showing America Up

Feb 11, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A cynical school of thought holds that one reason America makes borders so unpleasant is to deter US citizens from traveling so as to preserve our sense of exceptionalism in the face of countervailing evidence. For instance, one colleague, a former city planner, came back from a vacation in the south of France and raved about how terrific the roads were. The Gilet Janues would assure him that in rural areas, they were neglected, but my contact's point was that even in affluent parts of the US, you couldn't find ones on a par with the ones he drove on his holiday. And I suspect that even the roads that are impediments to safe, fast driving in the depopulating parts of France are still better than those in Michigan .

But America is slipping even further. It used to be that it would come up short in infrastructure and social well being indicators compared to most European countries. We now have readers who are looking at what they see in the better parts of the developing world and are finding America coming up short.

Costa Rica has admittedly long been depicted as the Switzerland of Central America. It has become more and more popular with expats for at least the last 15 years. I visited there briefly on a client project in 1997. While the downtown section of San José looked worn, even there, the people on the street were neatly if modestly dressed. And when you went out to the suburbs, the country looked comfortable to prosperous, and it seemed as if citizens made an effort to keep their neighborhoods well kept, even in non-tourist sections. Oh, and the food was terrific, particularly the fish.

A more recent sighting from Eureka Springs:

Just returned from deep southern rural Costa Rica to rural N.W. Arkansas. Peace and quiet almost everywhere I go now. Unless it's my own noise (music) which could not bother another.

The entire trip was quite the reminder of just how third world we the peeps are nowadays.

Internet was so much better there. No satellite dishes, except as modifications to them for use as roadside trash receptacles. Still no rural wired net in the U.S.. Cell signals were strong everywhere, yet I never saw people glued to a phone.

Public trans, brand new buses all up and down the countryside. Even many miles down dirt roads. Fantastic bus stops. No such thing as public transit in rural U.S.

A lot of people drive efficient 150cc motorcycles. The large bus stops seem intentionally oversized by design to co-serve as a place to pull under during rain. How civilized.

Grocery stores with real food everywhere. No chain stores best I can tell. Unless in larger cities. And a shockingly smaller amount of trash packaging. I would say for the same amount of weekly grocery consumption I generate at least three if not five times more trash in the U.S. Seemingly every few hundred people, never more than a mile, usually much less, have a store with produce and meats. I'm seven miles from a dollar store, two more miles to actual groceries. About the same population density in both places.

And then there is health care for all vs give me all you got, we don't give a fk.

Don't know but would wager their water tests much better across the board as well. Nobody consumes plastic water bottles. Even very remote beaches had little shards of plastic all along the water line though. No escaping it.

Schools did not look like prison at all. Kids were kids, with cookie stands, a work ethic, bicycles, laughter, no apparent phones, lots of soccer, some dirt on their fingers and toes. And laughter.

Poor to middle working class people did not look miserable, unhealthy, guarded and or afraid.

The chickens, dogs and cats were abundant though not overly so, well fed, healthy, roaming free.

Police were calm, not dressed to kill with body language fitting the peace officer description. CR has no military.

We have a choice and we are making so many bad ones. I feel like so many of my fellow US citizens don't get this fact. And it's a shortcoming of Sanders types by failing to paint this vision/picture. Even they are trapped in the downward spiral, knowing no other way from experience.

And Expat2uruguay seems to have adapted well to her big relocation. Ironically her big lament seems to be the cuisine isn't terribly inspired and fish is hard to come by, but other advantages of living there seem to more than make up for it. From a recent report:

Since relocating to Uruguay I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer. There was no bill whatsoever for the surgery. The entire cost of my entire treatment, including my monthly membership fee of $60 a month, was under $2,700.

That total includes 16 months of the monthly fee and all of my treatments, including six months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of daily radiation, co-pays for medications and tests, $7 co-pays for doctor visits, and additional testing and consultation for heart damage caused by the chemotherapy. I also had a couple of problems during the chemotherapy that required visits to the emergency room, a four day hospital stay because of ultra-low defenses, and consultation in my home a couple times. They did a really good job, and they're very good at cancer treatment here.

But the very best thing about Uruguay is the peacefulness, the tranquility, the laid-back approach to life. My stress levels are way down from when I lived in the US.

Several factors are likely at work. One is, as we've pointed out from the very outset of this site, that unequal societies are unhappy and unhealthy societies. Even those at the top pay a longevity cost due to having shallower social networks, having a nagging awareness that most if not all of their supposed friends would dump them if they took a serious income hit (can't mix with the same crowd if you can't fly private class, can't support the right charities, can't throw posh parties) and having to think about or even building panic rooms.

Another is the precarity even at high but below top 1% levels: job insecurity, the difficulty of getting kids into good colleges and then paying for it when they do, along with attempting to save enough for retirement. Even with steering clear of costly divorces and medical emergencies, the supposed basics of a middle or upper middle income lifestyle add up in light of escalating medical, education, and housing costs. And then some feel they are entitled to or need to give their kids perks in line with their self image of their status, like fancy vacations.

And we don't need to elaborate on how hard it is for people who are struggling to get by. But it's not hard to see that the status and sometimes money anxiety at the top too readily translates into abuses of those further down the food chain to buck up their faltering sense of power and self worth. Anglo-style capitalism is often mean-spirited and that tendency seems particularly strong now.

Specifically, which developing countries that readers know well give the US a lifestyle run for the money? And I don't mean for for US expats bearing strong dollars but for ordinary people. And where do they fall short?


PlutoniumKun , February 11, 2020 at 6:32 am

Just some observations:

You need to be cautious sometimes in interpreting how life is in other countries. I've known people who moved to very orderly, prosperous countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany, Austria etc., and loved the first year or so and would rave about it, but would gradually become, if not disenchanted, but a little more aware as they became familiar of negative undercurrents – there always seems to be a price to be paid for having a very law abiding, neat orderly society. Likewise, moving to poorer, but more cheerful countries like Thailand or the Philippines, or perhaps Portugal/Greece also (for those people willing to learn the language and go deeper into the society, there is a downward curve as they discover the downside to the laid back attitudes and constant sunshine.

There is also the simple advantage of laggards – they can learn from other countries mistakes and skip a generation of technology. I recall foreign visitors to Ireland in the early 1990's raving about how good the phone system was. There was no magic to it – Ireland simply had fallen well behind, but invested in what was then the most up to date proven digital system in the late 1980's, without having to go through the process of an incremental upgrade. You find this in a lot of developing countries – I remember being amazed when travelling in Tibet about 15 years ago that there was near perfect mobile phone signals even in very remote areas. It was simply that it was cheaper for the Chinese to extend mobile masts before land lines, so it made sense to roll out a remote network, when in other more 'advanced' nations your signal died as soon as you hit some hills. Sometimes, economically, there is an advantage to just using old established infrastrure (decades old airports, etc), which function adequately, rather than spending billions on brand new facilities which can only be built with significant opportunity cost.

Anyway, having said all that, as a regular visitor to the US I've frequently been struck by just how poor the infrastructure can be, even in high tech places like New York. I don't think the trek out to JFK from Manhattan would be considered acceptable in any other major world city. And poor areas of the US do have a sort of shabbiness you don't see even in many countries that are unambiguously much poorer (much of Asia, for example). J.K Galbraith of course explained the reason for all this many decades ago when he wrote about private splendour and public squalor.

a different chris , February 11, 2020 at 12:05 pm

>and loved the first year or so and would rave about it, but would gradually become, if not disenchanted, but a little more aware

There's a rule of thumb for this, you must know as any expat will rattle it off for you:

1) The first year you love it beyond all words
2) The second year you hate everything with the heat of a thousand suns.
3) The third year on, it's just where you live.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2020 at 6:43 pm

After WW2, Australia encouraged British people to emigrate out to here. It was called the Ten Pond Pom scheme as these emigrants would pay ten pounds but if they did not like it could return home while paying their own fares. But they had to be here a minimum of two years in order to get a ticket home free.

The British picked up a reputation as whingers as they said that this was not how things were done in England or that is not what we believe back home. Come the two year mark, many left to go back to the UK as they thought the place would be just like England but with more sun.

Funny thing was a very large section of them would after returning home start to remember why they left post-war Britain. Then they would work hard to save up their money to pay the full fare out to Australia for themselves and their families. The numbers were large enough to be a noticeable phenomena.

jrkrideau , February 13, 2020 at 5:52 pm

In Canada in the 1979's it was called the ten thousand pound cure -- it cost about 10,000b quid to return to the UK and come back to Canada.

Yves Smith Post author , February 12, 2020 at 4:47 am

I very much liked Sydney the two years I lived there. But I didn't succeed in getting permanent residence, so perhaps I had not quite settled psychologically.

Plus Australia and Canada are American-tolerant and require less adaptation than any other countries.

vlade , February 12, 2020 at 6:31 am

Not my experience (and I lived in four different countries on average 10 years each, and spent enough time in a couple of others to know more than a "tourist") – for me, it's always "place where you live" with advantages and disadvantages. Each place I lived in was special in its own way – and had some significant problems (often well hidden from an occasional traveller).

What I did see and considered interesting is that after the fall of communist regimes quite a few emigrants went home – and about half of those emigrated again within few years.

thene , February 11, 2020 at 4:42 pm

The 'advantage of laggards' is fairly well documented in the history of technology and especially of telecoms. If something sort of works where you are, you tend to keep using it, while laggards who never got the last generation of tech might pick up a cheaper-better-faster option that doesn't rely on existing infrastructure.

Do you remember the transitions from 1G to 2G to 3G cellphones? How that might have affected you depends on where you were based at the time; basically America did terribly with 2G infrastructure and adoption (remember when Americans had to pay for inbound calls??) whereas Europe handled it much better and thus gave birth to the SMS cultural/linguistic explosion, but then America's bad experience with 2G spurred them to embrace 3G.

Electronic health records are another example the US began adoption a long, long time ago – the most dominant US health records provider (Epic) was founded in the 1970s, and this is part of why the US has the worst electronic health records in the world. I was at a digital health event a few years ago where someone explained to the audience how EHR works in Zambia, and that it was stunningly superior to any American system.

And people get REALLY confused about this. They assume that because a country is 'developed' or 'hi tech' it must have some kind of first-mover advantage, whereas in many cases existing infrastructure forms a stultifying status quo that impedes further development. It's really hard to get your average American to accept that the countries in Asia that they like to look down upon have much better internet/telecoms and industrial tech than America does. I am forever fascinated to watch this technological leapfrogging happen, and I live in hope that the renewables boom leads to a wave of tech we haven't yet dreamed of emerging in Africa & other places that aren't yet choked by an anticompetitive status quo.

Michael , February 11, 2020 at 6:56 am

A big reason I've been living in Europe these last 25 years is because of my experience traveling in Andalucía while living a comfortable life with a well-paying job in Silicon Valley. While not developing world by any common definition, this area is and was relatively poor and unemployment hovered around 20% unemployment and yet somehow people were always out enjoying the evening at bars (not to get drunk, but simply to socialize). Little evidence of homelessness. I lived in Spain for a number of years after/because of that experience. A friend from the US who frequently travels to Spain for work confirms he's never seen such road quality even in the poorest regions. I can attest that, for health care, I never saw a bill. The one time I ventured out of the gov network for a 2nd opinion from a private neurologist, the private expert confirmed the gov't doctor's diagnosis – in fact they knew each other and each respected the other's work.

Ignacio , February 11, 2020 at 8:37 am

Just hope you to enjoy it! I can endorse all that you wrote. This is not to say there are of course lot of problems and things badly done. There is in place a push for privatization like elsewhere in the EU. I knew the guy that many years ago was responsible for developing infrastructure foe primary attention in health care in Andalusia and they did a good job.

PlutoniumKun , February 11, 2020 at 9:33 am

Perhaps you can confirm this, but a doctor friend who briefly worked in Spain told me that the reason healthcare in Andalucia is so good is that it is in effect subsidised by northern European retirees. German and Dutch systems are happy to pay (lower) Andalucian prices for retired people in the South of Spain, while the local system uses the money to make a better system for everyone. I've never heard any traveller I know say anything bad about southern Spanish health care.

Ignacio , February 11, 2020 at 10:54 am

I don't know about this. In the early 80s, with good old days PSOE governing, is when the primary attention was designed and it was done quite well. That is what I can say first hand because I met people involved and heard good critics by outsiders. When you have public servants who are capable and want to do things correctly

Calvin , February 11, 2020 at 1:20 pm

When I'm told "I haven't met my deductible or that a procedure isn't covered" I get down on my knees and thank God I'm an American.
This is what freedom feels like!

Burns , February 11, 2020 at 7:31 am

Taiwan. Cost.of living is generally cheap unless you're buying property, which can get pricey. But, rent is generally low, food is very low and mostly healthy (they dont put much sugar in their stuff compared to America), healthcare isn't free for non-citz but still stupid cheap compared to America and top quality, crime is very low (second lowest crime rate in the world after Japan) and you get to experience real Chinese culture instead of PRC propaganda. I could go on but those are the highlights for me. I view it as a truly civilized society, although it no doubt has it's own problems. I encourage everyone i know to visit.

PlutoniumKun , February 11, 2020 at 9:39 am

I cycled a little around Taiwan 10 years ago – it is a very well functioning country, very safe and friendly with quite a distinct culture somewhere between China and Japan (lots of Japanese retirees go to Taiwan). Public transport is excellent, the cities have good facilities and there are lovely surf beaches in the south – the mountains are amazing, especially when you have cheap hot spring resorts everywhere.

The only negative is that probably because of their history many Taiwanese are super sensitive of anything that could be construed as criticism (even jokes). Oh, and that the towns and cities are incredibly ugly, even by most Asian standards. So much was just thrown up during the years of expansion, it will take a generation or two to make things a little better.

They do have some infrastructure problems though, mainly because of their location right in the path of some of the worst storms the Pacific can throw at any island – entire main roads get completely washed away very regularly.

thene , February 11, 2020 at 4:45 pm

It's not the Japanese retirees, it's the history of Japanese colonial occupation.

Much love to Taiwan. Really hope to spend more time there in the future.

Lindsay Berge , February 11, 2020 at 7:42 pm

The National Palace Museum is one of the great cultural treasures of the world and better than the British Museum in my opinion. A must see option for anyone visiting Taipei.

Stratophile , February 14, 2020 at 3:29 am

Burns:

I've been here for 30 years. Your broad strokes are largely correct but leave out a lot of fine detail. One small point is sugar:

Taiwanese puts TONS of sugar in drinks -- coffee, tea, all the traditional summer drinks, snacks/chips of any kind. When you go to a 500cc place for a drink, they even have a chart so you can choose how much sugar you want -- regular (= high), medium, and low (30% of the normal).

Coffee or tea at 7-11 and Family Mart is always powdered and includes powdered creamer and sugar.

As for food, Taiwanese LOVE garlic and leeks and are not averse to throwing in a lot of salt. Not to mention the cooking oil -- lard or vegetable -- that remains on anything that's been stir fried.

And Taiwanese LOVE deep fried food, traditional as well as MacDonald's.

As for "real Chinese culture," watch out for that since many Taiwanese do NOT consider themselves Chinese, and many Chinese (PRC) and overseas Chinese look down on Taiwanese as somewhat low class.

jackiebass , February 11, 2020 at 7:40 am

This isn't something new. The American people have been fed propaganda for decades to make them believe America was exceptional. It was the bed rock of our Imperialism. If you lookout at measures of well being, America was always down on the list in every category. About the only thing we led in was military spending. American exceptionalism was used as a tool to justify our bad behavior all over the planet. Our government is the biggest terror organization on the planet. We have killed or injured millions of people. All in the name of spreading democracy, something we actually don't have.

eg , February 11, 2020 at 1:21 pm

America IS exceptional in many ways -- but exceptional does NOT always mean better

a different chris , February 11, 2020 at 8:12 am

>America makes borders so unpleasant is to deter US citizens from traveling

And if you do escape, and if you do bring back stories of how much better so many things are in said other country, you are lectured to as how the US "protects their freedom" and if it wasn't for the fruits of your labor being mostly directed into trying to get the F35 to work that other country* would certainly have already been completely overrun by Communists! So shutupshutupshutup.

*which is generally described as "ungrateful".

Colonel Smithers , February 11, 2020 at 9:44 am

An American friend and former colleague, now a UK citizen and regulator, amused us with a story of how she was harangued at JFK for no longer living in the US when she began travelling on her UK passport.

Ignacio , February 11, 2020 at 11:04 am

A friend of mine, a business man, has always problems at JFK because his surname coincides with that of a Colombian drug dealer. He is always directed to a room and stays there for hours until they let him free (always equals two times to my knowledge).

Colonel Smithers , February 11, 2020 at 11:33 am

Thank you, Ignacio.

My Sevillana BFF, now based in NYC, has the same problem. Apparently her name is the most common for mules.

thene , February 11, 2020 at 4:51 pm

Oh gosh, that happened to my spouse once at an airport in the UK – he shares a surname with a Middle Eastern political leader.

BlueMoose , February 11, 2020 at 4:29 pm

My wife and I got lectured several years ago coming through Atlanta from Europe to visit family in the states by the homeland Security agent. My wife hadn't renewed her green card and was travelling on her Canadian passport. She has Polish/Canadian citizenship. I had to really bite down hard on my lip during the lecture because I did not want to miss our connecting flight. I told the agent since we were not planning to move back to the US, there was no need to waste so much money on renewing the card. Finally, I asked: are Canadian passport holders still allowed to enter the country? And if so, can we go now?

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 6:02 pm

The worst border crossings are always upon entering the States. The pointless shouting and general vacuousness of the security – certain indications that you're back among the Free – are comical to a point, until one sees how intimidated the Fins or whoever you flew in with are by this uncivilized chaos. I've apologized more than once on behalf of my country to a nice, non-English speaking non-terrorist being pointlessly harrassed by 'security'.

Kaleberg , February 11, 2020 at 8:32 pm

US Customs were always terrible. When I was a kid, we'd go down to the recently named JFK airport and watch the customs lines from the glassed in gallery above. I remember one agent finding some liqueur chocolates and jumping up and down on them. I didn't know adults did stuff like that.

Bern , February 15, 2020 at 2:04 pm

Alternate experience mine:
While in Lebanon and Syria in 2004, bought a kilo of zatar, had it wrapped in multiple layers of plastic to preserve it, stuffed it in luggage and forgot about it. Upon returning to the states, went thru customs in SF. Agent said "what ya got in the bags?" We said "nothin". He said "open up anyway" so I did. When he got to the bottom and found the (forgotten) spice he pulled it out and looked at me, and I laughed, and told him what it was. He said "Yeah, whatever", put it back in the bag and sent us on our way

Oh , February 11, 2020 at 11:13 am

I grimace when I hear that we are part of a "free world". Ever since 9/11 there have so many curbs on our freedom and the mass surveillance by the 3 letter agencies and corporations make a mockery of the term.

oaf , February 11, 2020 at 8:19 am

Thank you for publishing this delightful article. What a shame that most U.S citizens get their conceptualization of the rest of the world from MSM. A friend lived and worked in various parts of Africa for years; he told me that when he announced plans to return *home*, his African companions asked him "why? its SO DANGEROUS THERE!!!"
My sister's companion-with family in Israel- describes our local ( in upper Northeast U.S.) hospitals as: like something from a 3rd world country
There is nothing like immersion to generate understanding and appreciation for other places, people, and lifestyles.

eg , February 11, 2020 at 1:25 pm

I had drinks with a US professor from Iowa last week and he expressed how surprised and impressed he was with Canadians' interest in and knowledge of US and world affairs. I gave him a version of Trudeau pere's line -- "when you are the mouse sleeping alongside an elephant, it behooves you to pay attention to every twitch "

LifelongLib , February 11, 2020 at 1:50 pm

Many years ago a public radio station here in Hawaii would broadcast a Canadian radio show "As It Happens". I was struck that the host could (say) mention the name of a politician or government official and just assume that the audience knew who they were. Of course I don't know who the target audience in Canada would have been, but very few broadcasts in the U.S. can count on their audience being that well informed

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 4:04 pm

Other countries have to pay attention to what goes on in the USA, as the saying goes, when the USA sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. I recall being impressed in Jamaica with how knowledgeable some local people were about world events, people were pretty up-to-date about African politics, US politics, etc.

sporble , February 11, 2020 at 8:46 am

Berlin, Germany – not exactly developing world. Met a German woman while backpacking in SE Asia in '95, came here in '96, been here ever since, got German citizenship (along with US) in 2017.

Berlin is a bit like NYC in that each city is special, and neither is a particularly representative sample of what the rest of the country is like. So with that caveat: The stress level here seems much lower than in the US; there's great public transport, perhaps the world's strongest privacy and employee-rights laws and not much fear of violence (from fellow citizens or police). And there is no reason for anyone to lack health insurance: everything is covered, with extremely small out-of-pocket expenses and health care is excellent.

That said, neoliberalism's ravages can be felt here, too: wages have been stagnant for 20+ yrs and German politicians are obsessed with "das schwarze Null" (literally, "the black zero"; i.e. "being in the black" or "getting out of the red"). Rents have skyrocketed and not nearly enough affordable/govt housing has been built in the past 20+ yrs.

Among the people I know/deal with, precarity seems basically non-existent, perhaps as a result of everyone knowing that govt welfare/etc. – from which people can live without fear of homelessness, losing their health insurance or going hungry – is available as a last resort, though the housing situation is getting quite precarious.

All in all, I'm very happy and grateful to be able to live here. As a freelancer, I don't benefit from it, but I still think vacation policy here is fantastic: all employees get at least 4 wks off in total (everyone I know gets at least 5 wks) + each employee is entitled to take a 3-wk-long vacation.

Misery , February 12, 2020 at 2:32 am

Unfortunately, there is enough misery in Germany to even have a weekly tv-series about it Armut in Deutschland = Poverty in Germany divided in the all too common categories: Old people poverty, Child poverty, Working poor etc.

Another thought, when discussing poverty it is really important to consider that the psychology (seeing that you cannot afford anything) and physiology (not affording good food so you get fat from salt, fat, sugar-based food from Lidl) of poverty is relative: you compare yourself with the people that you are surrounded by and purchasing power is relative to the country where you live.

https://www.zdf.de/doku-wissen/kinderarmut-in-deutschland-126.html

oliverks , February 11, 2020 at 8:50 am

I was in a very non touristy part of Jamaica last year. The roads were pretty poor, with sections washed out. I would say the overall quality of roads was lower than the USA. In fact they were so bad, bit of plastic started falling off my rented car.

However, people were much happier. Just for starters, the rental agency was completely fine with a few bits of plastic that shook loose. No problem!

The food was fantastic, and inexpensive. The market in the local town just sold meat without any refrigeration. This is Jamaica, it was hot. Yet the market smelled fresh, the meat looked amazing, it was clean. Everything just moves so quickly there seems to be no time for stuff to go off. The veggies were amazing and plentiful.

The school children seemed to wear uniforms. They hung out together. They socialized and talked and well seemed like children. Engaged and full of life.

There was a funeral in a building near by us, and they chanted and sung all night until sun up. That meant it was a little loud (as out place didn't have any glass in the windows). It was sometime haunting, sometimes joyful, but people really celebrated the life that had passed.

The younger people, say less than 30, were all very tall. It seems like nutrition and health must have improved a lot over the last 30-40 years, as the old were much shorter.
So I wouldn't call it first world by any stretch, but you could do much much worse in many parts of the USA.

Ignacio , February 11, 2020 at 11:18 am

I witnessed a funeral in Belize and was similar experience. On the other side of the road some guys having fun playing soccer barefooted. Mosquitoes make Belize the hell if not in the shore where wind keeps them apart.

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 3:16 pm

I spent a lot of time in Jamaica in the late 80s and early 90s. It was life-changing for me in that I was not a particularly happy person at that time, and it was the first time I had spent time in a so-called 3rd world or developing country. I met people in Jamaica who had nothing compared to most Americans, but they were happier than I was. This even though I was on top of the food chain, being a white American male. It made me rethink a lot of stuff. I agree about the food there, I loved it, and the people too.

There is a dark side to Jamaica however, which you will come upon if you stay there for a longer amount of time. I don't know what part of JA you were in, perhaps a small town or in the countryside? It can be very pleasant in the country, but I spent a lot of time in Kingston, and there is some of the worst poverty in the hemisphere there. Better than Haiti and some other places, but still pretty harsh. Lots of unwed teenage pregnancies (younger teens), with the fathers MIA. A lot of homophobia and macho attitudes. Politics can become violent. There are also some serious environmental issues, and climate change will not be kind to the West Indies.

oliverks , February 11, 2020 at 5:15 pm

I was vacationing and stayed in the blue mountains away from Kingston or tourists. I have heard Kingston can be rough, and crime can be a problem in other big cities. The biggest touristy place we spent any time in was Port Antonio, and I never felt unsafe or threatened there. I didn't even see that many tourists there but we were off season.

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Port Antonio is very nice, I stayed there for a few days. It's not all built-up like Montego Bay and Negril, etc.

carl , February 11, 2020 at 8:50 am

I have a passing familiarity with Colombia of late. Although the minimum wage is low, employers are required to provide such benefits as vacation, sick leave and payments into the pension system. In addition, workers are eligible to visit special holiday facilities for recreation and relaxation. Unlike in my US city, in which public transportation is infrequent and inconvenient, Medellin has an overhead heavy rail system. There is a public healthcare system, which is good at covering basic needs, and a private one which, while less affordable for ordinary people, is of European standards of quality. Although admittedly the country has been wracked by violence in past years and there's still much inequality, people are happy and friendly.
Note: my Colombian in the family approved this message.

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 3:53 pm

I have a friend (not a wealthy person by any means) who lives in Lima Peru with his Peruvian wife and their young daughter, and he loves it there.

carl , February 11, 2020 at 6:08 pm

Peru is an amazing country: beautiful scenery, amazing food, inexpensive, and nice people. I sprained my ankle last year in Lima and deliberately found the most expensive clinic in Lima to treat it. English-speaking doctor, full x-rays, medication and foot bandage put on by the doctor herself. Total: $200 US.
Pro tip: get your prescription glasses in Arrequipa. There's at least 500 optical stores in the historic center. Super cheap.

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 7:25 pm

I have another friend who relocated to Ecuador along with his girlfriend. He's a retired optometrist and gives away hundreds of reading glasses to the locals, who much appreciate them.

tegnost , February 11, 2020 at 8:50 am

Regarding highway infra, in the PNW at least any new improved road gets tolled so that it is actually made for the people who can pay the tolls. I'm certain this makes zero tax amazon happy
Oh Look!
https://thetollroads.com/help/faq/469

two tiered society Interstates limited to self driving delivery/important people in 3 2

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 3:51 pm

The interstate toll lanes on I-405 are terribly undemocratic. Regular working commuters who can't afford the toll passes are forced into three over-crowded lanes, while in the two left toll lanes the BMW & Lexus drivers zip on by. I'm guessing a bunch of the wealthy tech people east of Lake Washington used their clout to get that accomplished.

Ford Prefect , February 11, 2020 at 8:58 am

I spent some time in Costa Rica. Everybody seemed quite happy. The impression that I had was its government actually liked its people and was not afraid of them. The people seemed to return the sentiment.

There may be a lesson in that for the US.

carl , February 11, 2020 at 9:58 am

Costa Rica has the highest level of education and lowest birthrate in Central America; no standing military since 1948. Not a cheap country to live in anymore, compared to the rest of Central and South America, and rampant theft problems (probably because of very light penalties for such), but on the whole, you could do a lot worse.

Colonel Smithers , February 11, 2020 at 9:42 am

Mauritius, whence my parents came, is worth considering. The standard of living is good for most people, especially if qualified or with particular manual skills. The average salary is nearing USD12k pa.

Public services are well funded by the government and free at the point of delivery.

It's interesting to observe how many migrants who are not francophone and do not specialise in the island's four pillars, financial services, textiles / light manufacturing, tourism and agriculture (including power generation by sugar mills) are now making the island their home, not just for a secondment of some years. I have come across Italian jockeys and tilers, doctors and teachers, IT specialists, hotel managers and other staff from around the world.

There's a good mix of accommodation. One need not live in a gated community. These were in the main designed to part South Africans and even French from their money, a ploy that appears to be working such is the amount of construction that would not look out of place in the south of France or US sun belt. The island is safe.

Myjobs.mu lists vacancies.

The Rev Kev has visited the island and can provide further insight.

oliverks , February 11, 2020 at 10:46 am

Myjobs.mu doesn't seem to be working for me. Are you sure that's the correct address

Oliver

Colonel Smithers , February 11, 2020 at 11:34 am

Thank you, Oliver.

My mistake. It's https://www.myjob.mu/ .

Colonel Smithers , February 11, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Thank you, Oliver.

It's myjob.mu. My mistake earlier.

The Rev Kev , February 12, 2020 at 2:35 am

Thank you for the shout out Colonel. I must admit that I visited Mauritius during my salad years some forty years ago so I will try to recreate my impressions from that distant era. After spending several weeks in the waning apartheid days of South Africa, I found Mauritius exotic to say the least. Whereas the cultural boundaries of SA were fairly firm, I found Mauritius to have a kaleidoscope of different cultural elements such as English, French, Indian and Creole and you would never know what part you would encounter next. The parts I saw in my brief time were of great beauty and I remember thinking that it would take months to explore all the different parts there.

Colonel Smithers , February 12, 2020 at 6:37 am

Thank you, Kev.

You should return and compare how things have changed. Also, please visit Rodrigues, the one of the world's least known islands and a delight.

The island really took off in the 1980s, once the generation that led the island to independence was turfed out in a landslide and the IMF bitter medicine of 1979 had been overcome.

The island has become more cosmopolitan since. One example is the 10K plus South Africans on the island. Afrikaans is often spoken on the west coast.

Unfortunately, the environmental decay is also plain for all to see.

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 11:58 am

Tho easily discernable, I hesitate a bit to name what has become the truest home I've known, as I can recall what Prague was like 20 years ago compared to the mini-Paris it became after tourists got ahold of it (major crime increase, higher costs of living, general succumbing to the european monoculture, as has happened throughout europe).

In any event, life is better (to my taste) outside NATO-aligned countries & the Schengen zone. Glad that the military jets I hear and see are Russian, as is the base. I was stunned when first arriving to see children happy, safe, walking the streets of their city without a need for adult accompaniment. In fact, the children and elderly people here restore my faith in humanity. When the initial newness wears off after a year or so, it just gets better in terms of comprehending the culture and enjoying the people, along with seeing the problems more clearly. I lived for extended periods in Germany, Portugal, Denmark too, enjoyed each place (far and away higher quality of genuine living than in the US), but indeed there is a certain pretension to false happiness there, no need for that here, as the wheels came off long ago, thus humor, family, friendship and other pillars for endurance are stronger, softer, more genuine.

On occasion, I've done some teaching here (ain't never been no trust-fund traveler, pshaw!), and students (good Syrians and Iranians in the mix with the sweet locals) are shocked when I answer their questions honestly about how America treats its elderly, how much education costs, gun violence, police brutality, the general state of the family, etc.

There is a difficulty in getting paid fairly, tho that's largely nothing new comparatively. One must write or edit an article or 2 each month for a company based outside the local economy if one hopes to sustain oneself; I've been fortunate in this regard. An average person here relies on their family; all work together to survive. Conditions can be spartan (tho again, compared to what?), but the things that make one endure and appreciate the substance of life are in no short supply.

And the food is off the charts – affordable and healthy, as it should be everywhere.

Literature and traditional music are living currency here, as is respect in general. May it always be so.

deplorado , February 11, 2020 at 2:47 pm

Armenia?

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 5:06 pm

Chishte (correct).

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 3:56 pm

I'm curious as to your feelings about Portugal, as we have considered it as a place to live. I've had a lot of friends visit, but don't know anyone who has lived there for an extended period.

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 5:49 pm

My feelings of profound love for Portugal and the Portuguese are of course difficult to summarize, but suffice to say I preferred it to Germany or Denmark, tho it didn't quite suit me as well as Armenia does. The primary ways I relate to a country initially are through its literary and musical traditions, and the Portuguese soul's expressions are deeply beautiful, poetic, and retained.

I spent two years there, in Sintra and in Porto. Sintra is paradisiacal, Porto a hidden gem becoming increasingly well-known. Drawbacks for me were the same as in all Europe: a political bent toward following their NATO masters/western propaganda/Hollywood, and, on the street level, more crime (tho not too bad) and agressive drug dealers, things you just don't see in Yerevan (and used to not see in Prague). But on the whole, many friends became like family there, it's less expensive than the mainstream hubs of Europe, and the Moorish impact, coupled with modern migration from north Africa, results in a vivacity and a fluid, positive moroseness I'd not experienced before. The microclimates are dynamically diverse and well worth experiencing. Certain flowers and mountain mists never evaporate from the mind.

Plenty of retirees from wealthier countries set themselves up there quite comfortably, but those people are rarely part of my experience.

Ignacio , February 12, 2020 at 5:25 am

Same feelings here! When you compare Portuguese and Spanish the biggest difference you find, apart from language is in politeness.

hoki haya , February 12, 2020 at 6:16 am

Having a decent grasp of Spanish, I was surprised it lent itself to a less intuitive grasp of Portuguese than I imagined it would. Both languages are beautiful, with Portuguese being softer in an expressively melodic way.

And yes, I agree, the politeness, dignity, ease-in-the-body qualities found in people there is, in my experience, second only to the grace that operates as the norm for conduct here in Armenia. Many similarities between the two – the unbreakable importance of the family, the style and role of humor, the rightful place literature and music inhabit in one's soul and disposition, etc. My Portuguese friends felt at home here, as if meeting heretofore unknown cousins for the first time.

Nothing against Spain, tho – it was my first love and destination. Catalonia. But yes, in general, interactions were more formal and businesslike there, less relaxed than when inside the generous, creative calm (including explosive boisterousness!) of Portuguese.

carl , February 11, 2020 at 6:11 pm

We visited the southern coast of Portugal last year to explore the idea of moving there. It was not a success: too many Brit expats, more expensive than we'd been told, and the real estate market is completely crazy. The country itself merits a look.

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Indeed, the Alentejo has become overblown, party central, prime strips for the elite, etc. If one can brave the less glamorous climes, such as Sintra's winters of cold rain and bonechilling fog, there are delicacies to be enjoyed at half the cost, in the north as well. I look forward to returning many times.

I'm recalling Jerez, now, up-north mountain-land with its own unique mythology, where local drivers (on fine if narrow roads) have more frequent trouble encountering a bull or flocks upon flocks of chickens than oncoming automotive traffic. I think one bull drove us backward for half a kilometer.

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 7:10 pm

*geres, not jerez, tho they sound nearly the same.

Calvin , February 11, 2020 at 1:10 pm

"They hate us for our freedoms" ; to be strip searched at the airport, toasted with the skin cancer X-ray machine, have our devices downloaded, license plates scanned on the way home, the data sold to an advertiser, to have to pay mandatory fraudulent medical "insurance," borrow money at 29% to pay for medical needs, lose our homes to other scams, have to compete in the job market with imported peons, that we subsidize with tax dollars, then see over half of our tax dollars go to losing wars and to subsidize billion dollar corporations and then be told it's to protect us against the "terrorists".

Still a pretty good country and the only one we have, so it's worth fighting for.

Expat2Uruguay , February 11, 2020 at 1:33 pm

I have lived in Uruguay for 4 years now. The things that are much better here than in California are public transportation, internet service, culture, and small business penetration. I can walk a half a block to a small store that's open several hours a day. I can walk 4 blocks to a store that's open 12 hours a day. I can walk ten blocks to a full-on mall with a large grocery store. There's also one or more bakeries, butchers, vegetable sellers, hardware stores, barbers/hair stylists, and restaurants galore within a quarter-mile radius. And I live in a quiet neighborhood! Oh, there are also three fantastic beaches within a 20 minute walk of my house. I love my location!

Society here is very laid-back, parents are indulgent of their children and it is legal to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana in the public places and streets, But don't drink and drive, there is no legal limit, aka zero tolerance. Yet culture is vibrant here. There's an excellent music scene with lots of low-cost or free live music. Jazz, blues, and electronica are surprisingly popular. There are people who play music on the bus for donations, and not just guitar players, but also saxophone players, operatic singers, rappers, violinists, and accordion players. There are people that meet weekly in the downtown area to dance tango on the sidewalk. There are almost weekly practices all over the city of Candombe, which involves large groups of synchronized dancers and drummers parading through the streets for an hour or two. There are so many beautiful parks large and small all over the city where lovers kiss, families play and groups of friends drink mate or beer and often smoke marijuana. There are 50 museums in Montevideo, and at least 35 of them are free. The ones that cost money are less than $10 and usually include a tour. There are ballets, symphonies and lots of theaters, all of which are very inexpensive. They love sports here and are quite interested in maintaining physical fitness. Lots of soccer balls getting kicked, volleyball games on the beach and bicyclist and runners on the Rambla. The Rambla! It's a UNESCO world heritage site that goes for 20 miles along the beach, a wide paved Boardwalk that is very popular when the weather is nice, especially during sunsets. Full disclosure, the beach is for a river, a really huge river – You can't even see the other side. On the other side of the river is Buenos Aires, just in case you get a hankering for a big city. Or you could travel a few hours to Punta Del Este, playground of the Rich and Famous.

But Uruguay is relatively expensive, the most expensive country in South America. This is not a place where you're going to come and live like a king among the peasants. The prices in restaurants and grocery stores are similar to the prices I paid in Sacramento, California. But the wages here are much less. So this is a good place if you can get your income from somewhere else As a retired person or a remote teleworker. But, oddly, even though the locals here struggle with the difference between wages and prices, it's quite common for them to have second houses along the coast that they go to during their frequent vacations. It's also typical to employ a house cleaner.

Uruguay is a small country, with three million people and half of them live in the capital city of Montevideo. Because of this, nearly everyone here knows everyone else. Uruguay is the safest country in South America with the largest middle class and least income inequality, along with being the most stable economically and politically. People here enjoy discussing politics, and voting in elections is mandatory. But what about the downsides? There are some. First off, you're not going to be able to order a bunch of stuff on Amazon. In fact, you're going to have to give up on finding many of the spices and foods and little trinkets that you're used to acquiring in the US. Consumers beware! Also, flights back to the US or destinations outside of South America are very expensive. And, because it's so laid back, it's difficult to find good workers on household projects or to get good service in a restaurant or at a public counter. You just have to be really patient. Finally, the sidewalks are a mess! Since each resident is responsible for the sidewalk in front of their own house or business, sometimes they can get be a bit dangerous if you don't watch your step. You wouldn't want to scoot around on one of those elderly mobility scooters here! And then there's the dog poop and the trash Oh, well, no place is perfect!

I'm sorry, this is so long, I usually don't talk much about my life here, especially on Facebook, because I don't want to cause resentment and look like I'm bragging, but today I'm making an exception, obviously.
(By the way, I'm happy to host visitors, In fact, I let couchsurfers stay in my home for free.)

Expat2Uruguay , February 11, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Wow, apparently I spent two hours writing that!

EMtz , February 11, 2020 at 2:10 pm

Thank you!

Lorenzo , February 11, 2020 at 5:29 pm

thank you. I visited for vacations once as a teen, I hope I can spend more time there in the future. All the best from Buenos Aires :)

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 7:04 pm

Thank you Very much for taking time to share this detailed, valuable account, and all respect to your journey.

EMtz , February 11, 2020 at 2:03 pm

Central México. Year 4. In spite of the crime I like it here and would not go back to the US. The culture is rich and deep, and the aesthetic is quite refined. The food! The amazing natural beauty. And the colors! And the biodiversity! There is a balanced perspective on life, not the despair or rage that increasingly underly US culture. I live simply and modestly, and find my Social Security can almost pay all of my monthly expenses. My stress levels have dropped tremendously and my BP is at levels I haven't seen in 40 years. Quite honestly, I'm ramping up my Spanish so I can pass my citizenship test and may renounce my US citizenship because I am fed up with having my hard earned $$ underwrite corporate welfare and killing people. I've embraced México as my home and am grateful to have been welcomed in return. Coming here is far and away one of the best things I've ever done.

PuntaPete , February 11, 2020 at 2:49 pm

After his famous rant about people coming to the U.S. from "shit-hole" countries in Africa and other developing countries, Trump asked why more people from, say Norway, were not emigrating to the U.S. I may have missed it, but I don't remember any politician or anyone with a public voice telling him, "Look, Mr. President, compared to the other two dozen or so advanced industrial countries the United States is a shit-hole country".

Acacia , February 11, 2020 at 5:36 pm

As I started reading this article, Trump's comment applied to the US was my first thought.

deplorado , February 11, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Bulgaria, observations from one of the two big cities on the Black Sea coast:
– excellent bus service across the city, from airport to industrial zone; articulated airconditioned busses, everyone uses them, young people read books while riding, space for mothers to latch strollers, doors are wide and steps low so mothers in fact prefer the bus to using personal vehicle
– municipal children's kitchen: delivers free to a local distribution booth 2 meals 5 times a week at very low cost by local standards, or free for families with large number of children 1-3yrs. The meals are home-cooked level, tasty and healthy, delivered in your own glassware (like used pickle jars for example – simple!) – so no throwaway plastic. Ive tried private kitchens, quality was lower and cost 2-3 times higher
– a very large city park along the beach starting just off downtown – one of the best things in the whole country actually: it's everyone's family playground – old and young, there is a new public pool, carnival booths, restaurants, fish stands, icecream stands, open air theater, public hall overlooking the beach, restaurant and club on the beach – for the wide public, not exclusive, in the evening young and old dress up and take walks leasurely and just talk and hang out
– the city is dense and everything is walking distance, within a 20 min walk you will pass by every service that a life needs, from a hospital to police to stadium and trainstation and cobler, not to mention stores and restaurants

Downsides:
– like Uruguay and other similarly positioned countries, incomes of working people are generally low for the local living costs. However most people own a home (I think ~80% or even more) – and with low birthrates many inherit more than one funcitonal home – so that helps a lot. For someone on a US SS check, average I think ~$1300 a month, is plenty for TWO. Local professionals earning the equivalent of $40-50k a year, especially a 2 such income households, live a higher and less stressful standard of living than any tech professional I know in coastal US (not to mention 4 weeks mandatory paid time off).

– lots of professionals – doctors particularly – leave for Western EU countries where they earn more, particularly specialists; for GP's though, staying can be much better as they still make a decent living and only refer people for anything more serious than a cold

In general, I think Bulgaria is good for retired expats if you pick a good spot like the city I described, unless you have a serious health issue which requires specialists, and those may not be available in Bulgaria. But even for things like stents, even cardiac surgery, MRI scans, those are done now and by doctors who specialized or were educated in the UK, Germany or the like – so the issue is more general infrastructure and availability, rather than quality (cost is a fraction of US costs, even paying out of pocket)

hoki haya , February 11, 2020 at 7:24 pm

Appreciate this account. The 'bus-culture' sounds similar to Yerevan's; it makes public transport truly a pleasurable part of one's day (tho we do have the dreaded, indefatigable marshrutkas – are they used in Bulgaria?).

The municipal children's kitchen! I wonder why there isn't something comparable here, tho I've seen scant evidence of anyone going hungry. One always shares with one's neighbors: part of the built-in, practiced and practical ethic.

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 3:35 pm

I was pretty impressed with the infrastructure I saw in China 20 years ago. Brand-new airports and train stations, good new highways mostly, although I saw some failed projects on the island of Hainan, where the roads were like a bad roller coaster, it seemed like a proper bed was not laid down before paving. (I was told that the guys who built those roads had skimmed off the highway budget to line their own pockets, and were later shot for doing so.)

Malaysia looked good too when we were there for 10 days, and inexpensive. Most Malaysians speak English which is nice for visitors, and they have one of the best retirement visa progams.

Thailand's infrastructure is getting better all the time, we were there for more of 2012, and the way you could cheaply get around Bangkok amazed me. A city of 11,000,000 people, but most of the public transport was very well integrated – airports, buses, elevated rail and subways all connect with each other.

What struck me about most of the "developing" nations I've visited was that the quality of life seemed higher than the US, as far as access to good food, general happiness of the people, and access to decent health care, especially in Malaysia and Thailand. I saw some eye specialists in Thailand and was very impressed with them. We ate from street vendors all the time in Thailand and were never sick from the food, which was remarkably fresh. The air pollution in Chiang Mai and Bangkok is a problem however.

We are seriously considering leaving the USA should things go badly in the upcoming election, we're considering Mexico, Ecuador etc and also SE Asia, although the latter is awfully far from friends and family.

ObjectiveFunction , February 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Very interesting topic, but it's also very large so the below comments are brief and therefore overgeneralized, apols in advance. My own area is Southeast Asia, where I've lived for much of the last 30 years, but I get the sense that the below obtains in much of the world .

1. (Caucasian) expats remain a privileged class, even in Singapore which is now significantly more advanced than the US across the board, economically and socially. On the other hand, you're a guest in all these countries, there on sufferance. Any rights of property or residency you may enjoy largely come via your employer/business, or from a local spouse. While this may seem trite, it's important: an expat life just isn't that of the locals, even Westernized local elites, and even when you're married in and living simply as some retirees do.

2. ASEAN countries are all *very* unequal societies by Western standards/ideals. Even Singapore, which provides excellent public services to all citizens, also relies heavily on a low cost migrant labor force (on weekends you see Tamil laborers in the parks flirting with Filipina housemaids). These migrants make far better money than at home and thus remain docile, but also have no path at all to residency status unless they can marry in. Foreign helpers are also becoming common in Thailand.

3. In the other countries, as a local friend put it, 'either you have servants (5 – 15%) or you are one (the rest)'. Having a maid/cook and in trafficky places a driver/errand boy gives a family a fundamentally different daily life not comparable to the modern West. Labor laws are rarely enforced on locals (expats need to take care, you are sheep for shearing)

4. Most non-Western societies assume that successful individuals in all classes subsidize their less successful relatives, via remittance or inheritance. State safety nets consist of primary education and basic health care, which are basically free but very patchy in covering special needs (that's cash).

5. As in the West, a stable income is as or more important than a high income; it's hard to put down roots or plan for the future without that. In most of ASEAN, c.USD 3500 a month still buys a comfortable life for a family: a townhouse with aircon, a number of motorbikes and many of the same Chinese consumer gadgets Americans have, as well as the aforementioned domestic servants. But, see next .

6. To me, social mobility appears quite low. It's hard for the broad peasant/servant class to ascend to the middle class, even via police or military. Foreign workers support their extended families and build a house in their home village; they rarely start their own businesses with savings.
Again, overgeneralizing but it seems most of the ASEAN 'middle class' (the 5-15% PMC) are (grand)children of:
(a) the officials who took over from the colonialists, or (b) mercantile families, predominantly ethnic Chinese.
Thus, that 10% also draws on some kind of inherited income / family support on top of their salaries to maintain their lifestyles, cover emergencies and ensure their own kids can obtain the needed credentials to keep themselves in the PMC.

Anyway, I hope this is useful context for this rich topic. Again, a broad brush, YMMV.

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 4:27 pm

In most of ASEAN, c.USD 3500 a month still buys a comfortable life for a family

Very comfortable, I'm sure. $42k a year is more that millions of Americans earn. Singapore is probably the most expensive SE Asian country.

What struck me about living and travelling in SE Asia was realizing how Americans are being ripped off in comparison to many other parts of the world. In Chiang Mai, we were paying $200 a month for a clean studio apartment with no real kitchen (rent included decent internet and all utilities), $20 a month for cell phone service, and about $20 a day on eating out (for two people). Transportation was also inexpensive. After seven months of living so cheaply, when we came back to the US it felt like we were hemorrhaging money as soon as we hit the airport.

oliverks , February 11, 2020 at 5:34 pm

My wife is refusing to buy anything right now. We got back from staying in Europe and she is shocked at how expensive everything is here. For us it started at the Hilton in the airport as we had a very early departure time to flyout. It was a splash of cold water.

lordkoos , February 11, 2020 at 7:19 pm

Yep. I have a musician friend who did an artist-in-residence gig for 6 months in Germany with his wife & two kids joining him. He said the same thing (they live in NYC). He also said not only were groceries cheaper, they were better quality as well.

Anon1 , February 11, 2020 at 4:32 pm

The article is about developing countries and France is developed, not developing. Weather has huge impact on roads and comparing roads in south of France to Michigan is not a fair comparison. I have driven through France extensively and the roads are good but parts of the US and Canada has much better roads. I would say Arizona or Utah has waaaaaay better roads than any part of France, especially the north.

Harbottle Grimstone , February 11, 2020 at 4:43 pm

Operant word: "developing". AKA a region experiencing the upswing. Shiny new industries, new infrastructure, new institutions. Growth. All nations have a finite socio-political lifespan before re-configuration; the US is no exception. Idealism's parametric in America-2020 is at a nadir compared to the fire-eyed certainty of magistrates in Colonial America-1620. The waterwheel of fortune is philosophy's consolation: rise-up on its spokes if you like but do not complain when you plunge back down into the depths. The tragedy is also the hope: bad times always pass, as do the good times. Rinse-repeat-return to the wilderness. -- Answering the question, Ahmedabad, Gujurat has great food but prohibits alcohol.

Edward , February 11, 2020 at 6:26 pm

This country has spent its productive energy producing MBA's who specialize in sucking money from people. It has a political system based on bribery and is no longer a "nation of laws". Given the non-response to the 2008 crash, the surprise may be it is not in worse shape.

Costa Rica is the one country in South/Central America that was spared CIA "help", presumably because they don't have a military. This is what South America would look like if the U.S. left them alone.

The U.S. probably has the solutions to its problems, but people with solutions, such as college professors, are excluded from government decision making. In my experience, average people tend to be smarter then the geniuses on the boob tube and in Washington.

I don't know what the big problem is with public colleges. You can get a good education at a public college.

Another Anon , February 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm

Is there anyone here who has anything to say about living in Chile ? I visited Chile back in 2007 and enjoyed myself. I spent most of my time in Santiago
and was impressed by it being clean, a nice subway
and interesting architecture.

Norbert Wiener , February 11, 2020 at 9:26 pm

Great thread.

I am three years into my escape from the US. 50 countries of wandering in three years. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine why I would go back to the open-air prison of the US.

Quality of life in places as diverse as Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Penang, Malaysia; Brno, Czechia; Kanazawa, Japan; Kunming, China; are literally off the charts for half the cost.

The other thing I'd add: the wife and I made $480k per year in our last few years. A decent middle-class income in Manhattan.

After taxes and various contributions to Fed-pumped Ponzis and 'healthcare' our net take home was around $240k per year.

All so we could be good goys and pay another 5k a month for a shitty 1-bedroom condo with hollow doors and ride a piss-smelling subway up to offices we sat in meetings for 6 of our 10 daily hours and then fake pointless outrage over whatever new political offense the dear leaders had perpetrated over $17 cocktails and then come home and fall asleep to Netflix and sleeping pills.

Outside the US, we've maxed our income to 220k total (all untaxed), so we're only down 20k or so from our Manhattan highs. And we can do this from anywhere we have an internet connection. We interact with locals. We eat staggeringly good food. When we get bored we hop a plane and fly somewhere new.

I'm 40. Maybe at 50 this will all grow tiring, but I doubt it.

oliverks , February 12, 2020 at 2:31 am

I assume Norbert Wiener is your "nom de plume" or are you related to the Norbert Wiener?

This is what we are finding. You can go to almost anywhere out of America and live for much less with much better food, life style, and people seem much better adjusted. Hell even London seems cheap in many ways when you consider the quality of what you are getting.

[Feb 05, 2020] Syrian Army Progress Leads To New Scuffle Between Turkey And Russia

Feb 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

GMJ , Feb 3 2020 19:40 utc | 21

Thank you for another good article. What strikes me is that so many automatically go to, or refer to, Mr Putin as the voice of reason these days and not Washington DC or any NATO country. I never thought that I will live to see the US become less trusted than our old enemy, the commies. BUT, as I say in my books, the Russia of today is not the USSR at all. Anyway, for those interested in interesting military history, I recently discovered this myself, see https://www.georgemjames.com/blog/the-fuhrers-commando-order-origins. I wanted to post on the open thread but got busy and forgot. GMJ.

[Feb 02, 2020] Out of sync with the world, the US has returned to the ashes and lawlessness of 1945.

Feb 02, 2020 | sputniknews.com

US Vice President Mike Pence used his speech at the Holocaust memorial last week to bang a war drum at Iran. It revealed a deplorable lack of dignity and understanding of the event, despite Pence's efforts to appear solemn. But not only that. It showed too how out of touch the United States – at least its political leadership – is with the rest of the world and a growing collective concern among others to ensure international peace.

Maybe that's why Britain's Prince Charles appeared to snub Pence, declining to shake his hand while attending the commemoration of the Holocaust and 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Charles warmly greeted other dignitaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and France's Emmanuel Macron. It was curious how he blanked Pence.

But there again, maybe not that curious. Pence and the Trump administration seem to be hellbent on starting a war with Iran. A war that would engulf the entire Middle East and possibly ignite a world conflagration.

Washington's wanton threats of violence against Iran and its recent assassination of one of Iran's top military leaders stands as a shocking repudiation of international law and the UN Charter. It's the kind of conduct more akin to an organized crime syndicate rather than a supposedly democratic state.

The UN Charter was created in 1945 in the aftermath of the Second World War precisely to prevent repetition of the worst conflagration in history and all its barbaric crimes, including the Nazi Holocaust. Over 5o million people died in that war, and nearly half of them belonged to the Soviet Union.

The prevention of war is surely the most onerous responsibility of the UN Security Council. Yet the United States is the one power that routinely ignores international law and the UN Charter to unilaterally launch wars or military interventions. Washington's threats against Iran are, unfortunately, nothing new. This is standard American practice.

Britain's Prince Charles speaks to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during the World Holocaust Forum © REUTERS / RONEN ZVULUN Snub or No Snub? Netizens Laugh Off Prince Charles' Explanation After Not Shaking Hands With Mike Pence When world leaders addressed the Holocaust memorial held in Israel last Wednesday it was obvious – albeit implicitly – from their words that the US has become an isolated rogue state owing to its inveterate belligerence.

Putin, Macron, Prince Charles and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier all invoked the need for collective commitment to international law and peace. They implied that such a commitment was the best way to honour those who were killed in the Holocaust and the Second World War; the surest way to prevent the barbarity of fascist ideology and persecution ever to be repeated.

Those speakers one after another denounced the ideology of demonizing others which fuels hatred and wars. How pertinent is that to the way Washington routinely demonizes other nations and foreign leaders?

In sharp contrast, when the American vice president made his address, his apparent solemnity was contradicted by a blood-curdling call to arms against Iran , which he accused of being the "leading state purveyor of anti-semitism". Pence urged the whole world "to stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran", spoken as if he was spitting out the words like venom.

There is little doubt that Pence was formulating a rationale for military confrontation with Iran. That has been the consistent policy of the Trump administration over the past three years.

It was no surprise that Pence's speech was in sync with the usual bellicose rhetoric from Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu towards Iran. But what was arresting was just how out of sync Pence and the Trump administration are with the rest the world.

US Vice President Mike Pence speaking at the fifth World Holocaust Forum, 23 January 2020. © Sputnik / Alexey Nikolsky World War II for Dummies? US Vice President Hails Liberators of Auschwitz Death Camp, 'Forgets' to Name Them It was an odious spectacle to see Pence don a somber face as he talked about the victims of the Holocaust , while his own state wages war against any foreign nation whenever and wherever Washington deems. At an event that was supposed to reflect on the horror and evil of war, Pence showed he had no understanding or self-awareness.

That's what is perplexing about many American politicians. They seem ignorant of history (Pence gave no acknowledgement to the Soviet soldiers who liberated Auschwitz and other death camps); they are consumed by self-righteousness and arrogance like a puritan preacher without an ounce of humanity.

Anyone who reflects on the horror of war would surely be advocating the respect of and adherence to international law, commitment to peace, and the earnest pursuit of dialogue and partnership among nations.

Russia's Putin has repeatedly called for the members of the UN Security Council to urgently get together in order to guarantee a multilateral commitment to peace. Putin has also repeatedly appealed to the United States to get serious about negotiating renewed arms control treaties. Washington has ignored those latter calls.

Participants in the Jewish event of Holocaust remembrance walk in the former Nazi German World War II death camp of Auschwitz shortly before the start of the annual March of the Living in which young Jews from around the world walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau in memory of the 6 million Holocaust victims, in Oswiecim, Poland, Thursday, May 2, 2019 © AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski If One's Outraged by Words About Polish Anti-Semitism, One Should Delve Into History – Ex-Polish MP The American national myth, evolved over recent decades since 1945, views itself as "exceptional" from all other nations. That translates as the US presuming to be "superior" and "above the law that others are bound by".

Mike Pence's menacing words and attitude at the Holocaust memorial showed a disturbing and pernicious disconnect with the need for preventing war and genocide. It was a disgraceful dishonouring of victims.

Out of sync with the world, the US has returned to the ashes and lawlessness of 1945.

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:06 utc | 3

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the EU-3 poodles in Germany, Britain and France with a 25% tariff on their car exports to the U.S. unless they end their role in the JCPOA deal.

In their usual gutlessness the Europeans gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five day decision period after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UN Security Council. The reference to the UNSC would then lead to an automatic reactivation or "snapback" of those UN sanction against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed.

Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if any of the European countries escalates the issue to the UNSC:

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by European states to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPOA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8, 2018 when the US withdrew from the deal.

He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, August 26 and November 2018 to the then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPOA.

However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the European Union before it began reducing its commitments in May 8, 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif.

Iran's top diplomat said that the country's five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans' measure to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council may be followed by Tehran's decision to leave NPT as stated in President Hassan Rouhani's May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal.

He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPOA restore their obligations under the deal.

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU. Cooke has piece at Strategic Culture on Wurmser who may be the strategist behind Trump admin moves on Iran. Adds to this piece by b.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/20/many-matryoska-dolls-america-way-imagining-iran/
"Well (big surprise), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to 'implode' and destroy Iran. And his insight? "A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani"; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran's domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government."

Overall, the strategy looks to be aimed at weakening and disrupting Iran and removing its allies in the region from the game before US strikes begin.

The downing of the Uki plane and Trump Pompeo immediately saying they were with the Iranian people would fit very well into this strategy though it is not mentioned by Crooke.


Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:14 utc | 4

And in Syria, US territory is becoming more defined. US intends to keep control of both Dier Ezzor and Hasakah oilfields along the Iraq border. Iraq Kurdistan is a secure base for the US and as well as being on Iran's border gives access through Hasakah province to the Syrian oilfields.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-forces-block-syrian-russian-troops-from-access-to-key-highway-photos/
vk , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 5
The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

We shouldn't humanize entire nations when analyzing geopolitics.

The Europeans are simply aware of the objective fact they are de facto occupied countries thanks to the many de facto American bases scattered around Western and Central Europe (Germany being the country with the most American bases in the world). They obey the USA for the simple fact they are occupied by the USA.

That's why some neocarolingians/European nationalists mainly from Germany, France and the Benelux (e.g. Macron, Juncker) avidly defend the creation of an European Army. You don't need to be a geopolitics genius to infer the grave consequences such move would have to the European peoples' welfare.

As long as NATO exists, Western Europe will remain firmly in American hands.

Besides, there's also the ideological factor.

Many Europeans still see today the USA as their "most illustrious child", their continuation as the Western Civilization's center. New York is the new Paris+London. They see themselves as the dwarf countries they really are and rationalize that, ultimately, it is better to live under the hegemony of another Western nation than under the hegemony of the "yellows" (i.e. Chinese) or the "slavics" (i.e. Russia). They really see themselves as a true North Atlantic family, which share the same race and the same cultural values.

These Atlanticists are specially numerous in the UK, which is not surprising, given its geographic location and the fact that it was indeed the country that founded the USA.

Walter , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 6
Of course Iran and what happens in Iraq are joined at the hip...

Professor Maranadi>

"Seyed Mohammad Marandi
@s_m_marandi
·
10m
Many believe an economic crisis lies ahead of the US & the timing of the crash will determine the fate of Trump's re-election bid. However, another threat looms. If the US fails to swiftly comply with Iraqi demands to end the occupation, the resistance will become very violent."

and in Germany?

USA warnen: "Unmittelbar bevorstehender Angriff auf US-Militärs in Deutschland". RT/D

"Pulling back" may suit the Clowns, but agreement requires more than that if there's to be no child.

The Clowns are not contract capable. The only "deal" is for the imperial forces to leave the ME... the only deal is action....Of one sort or another. The clowns imagine a glorious victory over smoking ruins.

Careful what ya' wish fer, fellas...

erik , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 7
Fatwa or not, Iran must have the bomb, for the same reason NoKo had to build it. It's the only way to lance the boil and move on from under the incessant threats from the United States. We won't let up, even if it takes 100 years, and they have to know this. They do have the engineering know how to do it; now they must, but they will have to be discrete and stockpile enough 90% U235, then fiddle around with the details involved in assembling a staged device with enough yield so it's understood by all. I expect this whole process will now move forward.
bjd , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 8
Iran should finally make haste with:
a. developing nukes
b. the asymmetric warfare as we move into election season


tucenz , Jan 20 2020 19:25 utc | 9
So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?
Guy THORNTON , Jan 20 2020 19:28 utc | 10
One is reminded of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia in 1914: "As the German ambassador to Vienna reported to his government on July 14, the [note] to Serbia is being composed so that the possibility of its being accepted is practically excluded." As Churchill wrote at the time: "it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it, or that any acceptance, however abject, would satisfy the aggressor."

Uncle Sam is fooling nobody.

SteveK9 , Jan 20 2020 19:31 utc | 11
Many people refer to the European countries as 'occupied' (vk) and that is the reason they submit to American policy. I don't believe that is the case. The number of troops is far too small to 'occupy' a country that was resisting an occupation. Those troops were there as a 'trigger' to initiate a conflict with the Soviet Union if it invaded Europe. These days they are just there as some kind of vestigial legacy, and don't really mean anything. The US exercises its control over the EU and elsewhere through its control of international finance and trade. This system benefits the elite of those countries that are part of the 'empire', so has substantial support from influential people inside those countries. Unless and until there is some groundswell of support among the peoples of those countries to change that system, they will continue to be an obedient part of the US empire.

It's not even clear that resistance isn't futile. Those countries that want to maintain independence like Russia, China, Iran, Turkey (?), India (?) also have a strong internal attraction to Western 'culture'. As much as some denigrate that culture as shallow, materialistic, and worthless, it seems to have a very universal attraction around the World, particularly among the young. There are a lot of people everywhere that would like to be a part of a global empire, with a hedonistic Western-style culture. Sad, but true.

Abe , Jan 20 2020 19:32 utc | 12
I tend to agree with comments here saying Iran needs to make bomb.

North Korea proved that truth 100%. No amount of agreements or "guarantees" with usual lying suspects will provide security to Iran - only hard cold nuclear deterrence will.

This time, now, Iran has enough conventional & asymmetrical firepower to deter its enemies long enough for it to develop nukes (few years?).

It already has proven means to deliver warheads, now it needs them.

time2wakeup , Jan 20 2020 19:50 utc | 13
I strongly concur with several other commentators here. Iran should immediately commence enriching uranium to weapons grade levels and assemble at least 10-20 nuclear warheads ASAP if they ever hope to remain an intact, non-US/Israeli dominated country.

The US understands ONLY raw power and who it perceives has it (Israel, North Korea..etc.), and who doesn't (Libya, Syria, Iraq..etc.).

The NPT "Treaty" is nothing more than a cabal of nuclear armed countries attempting to cartel who's allowed to posses a nuclear weapons arsenal and all the rest of the world countries that's ultimately at their mercy.

Cornelius von Hamb , Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?"

For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms. It's easy to look at the lawless rogue US regime and forget this, but: some countries actually do try to have some semblance of abiding by and respecting treaties and the rule of law.

Nemesiscalling , Jan 20 2020 20:01 utc | 15
@2 Nemo

I am always taken aback when people compare unsavory characters to members of the primate family. Please do not engage in "zoomorphism." And I am dead fucking serious. Animals do not deserve to be denigrated in such a way. Keep your insults grounded in the human sphere.

lgfocus , Jan 20 2020 20:02 utc | 16
PIERACCINI has a very good article on Strategic Culture on what is happening to The Evil Empires dominance
The End of U.S. Military Dominance: Unintended Consequences Forge a Multipolar World Order
lysias , Jan 20 2020 20:03 utc | 17
The U.S. has already used that tactic of insisting on concessions known to be unacceptable to the other side with the intention of causing war at least twice: to Japan in 1941 and to Yugoslavia before the Kosovo War.
goldhoarder , Jan 20 2020 20:08 utc | 18
Does Iran really need a nuke? They have proven they can hit a US base and Saudi oil infrastructure. It is believed they already have.... or at least have the capability of mining the Strait of Hormuz. If the global financial elite can't get oil out of the gulf... what happens to the global economy? My guess is it would implode. Isn't this the real and only reason the US hasn't bombed Iran back to the stone age yet? They already have deterrence. The US claims about restoring deterrence was just the projection of sociopaths and psychopaths.
tucenz , Jan 20 2020 20:12 utc | 19
re:Cornelius von Hamb | Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms."

Iran says it won't develop nuclear weapons (anti Islamic), so what steps could they possibly be not wanting to rule out?

Virgile , Jan 20 2020 20:17 utc | 20
The state of the JCPOA today bears a lot on Trump's negotiations with North Korea.
Kim Un Jung has be spooked by Bolton comparing North Korea's fate to Libya and by the ease with which US withdrew from the JCPOA. Negotiations have halted.
Trump needs to show that he is serious with deals that he guaranties will be binding the partners more seriously than the flawed JCPOA.
Iran has only one choice: Press Europe to take a stand against the USA, (which will probably not happen) then pull out officially from the JCPOA that has become a liability with no advantages and calls for re-negotiation. Trump will certainly jump in and will try to get the best deal possible by squeezing Iran on its regional role. Yet he can't have too excessive demands as he wants to make a similar deal with North Korea.
Iran could ask for withholding sanctions during negotiations. It could take years to finalize the deal. In the meantime the regional situation could change greatly
That seems to be the only path for Iran.
Laguerre , Jan 20 2020 20:27 utc | 21
According to what is said here, the US is still afraid of attacking Iran, and is going for internal disruption, and sanctions. So what's new? It's been the same policy for forty years. The fact that Trump doesn't like long-term wars, and will only go for a big bang without consequences, is neither here nor there.

Rouhani and his team, including Zarif, seem to me pretty bright, and capable of coping with the politics. Relighting nuclear refinement is essentially a political move.

jared , Jan 20 2020 20:30 utc | 22
Again, find it hard to believe that they are in fact such quisling sycophants to the US.
Suspect they rely on Trump to provide cover for the fact that they (like him) are beholden to higher powers.
winston2 , Jan 20 2020 20:35 utc | 23
The USE of WMDs is haram.
Words mean things B, much as the PC police have twisted their meanings,and even fatwas can be reversed.
The frantic efforts to corral the USSRs nukes were never anything like 100% effective,500+ warheads and tonnes of
plutonium were NEVER accounted for from the KNOWN inventory,who knows what the unknown inventory was ?
Generals of Rocket Forces had to eat,and there were willing buyers for their only wares.
A CIA assessment I was made privy to,the old boys network for an opinion from outside, claimed the Iranians did not have the ability to keep those warheads in working order,which begs a question,how many ?
I told my old schoolmate they were wrong in their assessment, they've had the capability since the Shahs nuclear program.I know Iran very well,worked and lived there ,during the Shah times.

[Jan 20, 2020] The American Evil Empire is the threat. The Eurotrash nations are irrelevant. They are America-appeasing shits, who only provide a "multilateral" skirt for the United States to hide behind

Jan 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ak74 , Jan 20 2020 22:32 utc | 54

The American Evil Empire is the threat.

The Eurotrash nations are irrelevant. They are America-appeasing shits, who only provide a "multilateral" skirt for the United States to hide behind.

Neutralize the America Menace--and you won't have to give a damn what the Euro poodles think, do, or believe.

[Jan 20, 2020] The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted.

Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

zard , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm GMT

The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted. It is totally a Masonic land where money is God and the decent people are exploited and oppressed. Free speech and democracy are only kosher if the issue is something like Pooper-Scooper Enforcement Officer with no real money or power involved, unless of course there is an impressive uniform which goes with the position.

The brainwashed masses are presently transfixed to their TV's watching the theatre of the fake-impeachment pageant unfold, dutifully believing it is all real. All the performers strut about keeping to their carefully-scripted lines. Like the establishment-hatched fake Russia-bashing campaign, it is all theater. With the impeachment drama intended the polarize the entire nation, the people are once-again being caresully herded into their red and blue stalls in ensure nothing really populist, and not controlled by the establishment cabal running things, gets off of the ground. the entire performance will be so carefully choreographed, on a pro and anti Trump basis that it will also ensure that whomever the ruling cabal anoints will be chosen for the top puppet job.

Like in the US midterm elections in 2018, issues involving US foreign policy were mum. In the coming presidential election, Americans will see no real difference in the leading contenders' position regarding foreign affairs, which most Americans in any case now believe should be left to the military and the agencies who know best how to protect and advance their interests. Once again, any real discussion or debate on foreign policy during the coming election campaign will be taboo, and with the careful censorship of the alternate media, and with no real protest from the American people, who in fact become willing accomplices to any further unjust wars and atrocities their so-called "free" nation commits.

Americans are brought up on Hollywood imagery, life-styles and fantasy. The corporate media and entertainment industry is so pervasive that most of the people cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality, and as result of their constantly-fed addiction, they now demand more and more theatre and even wars to satisfy their cravings. A false-flag attack, 9/11, on their own people coming from their diabolical "owners", results in being no more than a thrilling performance to make life seem more real. If there was any reality to the people they would long ago have arrested the thousands of insider perps involved, (especially deep-state ones in and out of the US), and long ago they would hung everyone of them.

[Jan 20, 2020] Trump s erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: not agreement capable

Jan 14, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?

Yves Smith Post author, January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone?

Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?

Boomka, January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am

somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/26-years-on-russia-set-to-repay-all-soviet-unions-foreign-debt

"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.

It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.

drumlin woodchuckles, January 14, 2020 at 7:09 pm

In Syria, the Department of Defense was supporting one group of pet jihadis. The CIA was supporting a different group of pet jihadis.

At times the two groups of pet jihadis were actively fighting each other. I am not sure how the DoD and CIA felt about their respective pet jihadis fighting each other. However they felt, they kept right on arming and supporting their respective groups ...

[Jan 19, 2020] The Little-Known Loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty The National Interest

Jan 19, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

North Korea's cavalier rejection of its NPT membership in 2003 is a prime example , but many saw it as a case not applicable to most member states. However, more recently, Saudi Arabia , and Turkey and Iran (which, after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, is looking for new ways to upset Washington), have gone so far as ti layout terms under which they would leave the treaty and even obtain nuclear weapons, statements without precedent in the treaty's history.

A number of otherwise respectable member countries, such as South Korea , also have political parties in their legislatures that advocate treaty withdrawal and acquisition of nuclear weapons.

We have to take seriously the possibility that -- without international action to arrest this tendency -- the already frayed bonds that tie countries to the NPT and the pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons may not hold. This would presage a world with many more nuclear states and a vastly increased risk of nuclear use.

Victor Gilinsky is program advisor for the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) in Arlington, Virginia. He served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Henry Sokolski is executive director of NPEC and the author of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future (second edition 2019). He served as deputy for nonproliferation policy in the office of the U.S. secretary of defense in the Cheney Pentagon.

[Jan 19, 2020] Did Washington played on oil price hike threat to achive Genramny, France and GB compliance

Jan 19, 2020 | www.wsws.org

Britain and the EU powers fear Washington's ever-escalating aggression against Iran will spark an all-out war that will redound against their own imperialist interests, even if it doesn't immediately draw in Russia and China. A war would send oil prices soaring, roil the European economy, spark another massive refugee crisis and further radicalize a growing working class counter-offensive.

No doubt Pompeo and others have told the Europeans that if they want to restrain Trump, avert a major conflagration and retain influence in the Middle East, they must rally behind Washington and its maximum pressure campaign.

To these dubious incentives, the Trump administration added a trade war threat, according to a report published yesterday by the Washington Post under the title, "Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25 percent tariff on European autos if they didn't."

[Jan 19, 2020] Iran The EU-three Trigger Dispute Mechanism in Iran Nuclear Deal New Eastern Outlook

Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org

Why, after so many assurances to the contrary, have the three European Iran's Nuclear Deal Partner's – Germany, France, the UK – decided to go after Iran, to follow the US dictate again?

The short answer is because the cowards. They have zero backbone to stand up against the US hegemony, because they are afraid to be sanctioned – as Trump indicated if they were to honor the" Nuclear Deal". Iran is absolutely in their right to progressively increase uranium enrichment, especially since the US dropped out unilaterally, without any specific reasons, other than on Netanyahu's orders – of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also called Iran's Nuclear Deal.

Just a few days ago Ms. Angela Merkel met with President Putin in Moscow, and BOTH pledged in front of a huge press crowd that the Nuclear Deal must stay, must be maintained and validated.

And now, because of Trump's Barbarian threats, trade threats on Europe – an increase of up to 25% import taxes on European cars – and wanting a new deal with Iran, whatever that means, they, the Europeans – the three Nuclear Deal partners, back down. Why not call Trump's bluff? As China did. This Barbarian Kingpin is lashing around his deathbed with tariffs and sanctions, it is only a sign of weakness, a sign of slowly but surely disappearing in the – hopefully – bottomless abyss.

This threesome is a bunch of shameless and hopeless cowards. They have not realized yet that the west, starting with the US empire, is passé. It's a sinking ship. It's high time for Iran to orient herself towards the east. Iran is already a Middle-Eastern key hub for the Chinese Belt and Road initiative (BRI), or the New Silk road. Iran can do without Europe; and the US needs Europe more than vice-versa. But the 'chickens' haven't noticed that yet.

On the behest of Washington, the Trump clown, they, Germany, France and the UK, want to start an official dispute process, bringing Iran back to where it was before the Nuclear Deal, and reinstating all the UN sanctions of before the signature of the deal in July 2015. And this despite the fact that Iran has adhered to their part of the deal by 100%, as several times attested to by the Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna. Can you imagine what these abhorrent Europeans are about to do?

This reminds of how Europe pilfered, robbed and raped Africa and the rest of the now called developing world, for hundreds of years. No ethics, no qualms, just sheer egocentricity and cowardice. The European Barbarians and those on the other side of the Atlantic deserve each other. And they deserve disappearing in the same bottomless pit.

Iran may consider three ideas:

1) Call the European bluff. Let them start the dispute process – and let them drive it all the way to the UN Security Council. Their spineless British Brother in Crime, BoJo, also called the British Prime-Minister, Boris Johnson, will do the job for them, bringing the case "Iran Nuclear Deal – and Sanctions" to the UN Security Council – where it will fail, because Russia and China will not approve the motion.

2) Much more important, Dear Friends in Iran – do not trust the Europeans for even one iota ! – They have proven time and again that they are not trustworthy. They buckle under every time Trump is breaking wind – and

3) Dedollarize your economy even faster – move as far as possible away from the west – join the Eastern economy, that controls at least one third of the world's GDP. You are doing already a lot in this direction – but faster. Join the SCO – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, comprising half of Mother Earth's population; ditch the dollar and the SWIFT payment system, join instead the Chinese Interbank Payment System (CIPS) – and be free of the sanction-prone western monetary system. Eastern monetary transactions are blocking out western dollar-based sanctions. Already your hydrocarbon trades with China, Russia, India and others are not carried out in US dollars, but in local currencies, Chinese yuans, Russian rubles and Indian rupees.

True – Iran will have to confront Iran-internally the western (NATO) and CIA trained, funded and bought Atlantists, the Fifth Columnists. They are the ones that create constant virulently violent unrest in the cities of Iran; they are trained – and paid for – to bring about Regime Change. That's what Russia and China and Venezuela and Cuba are also confronted with. They, the Fifth Columnists have to be eradicated. It's a challenge, but it should be doable.

Follow the Ayatollah's route. He is on the right track – looking East.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. After working for over 30 years with the World Bank he penned Implosion , an economic thriller, based on his first-hand experience. Exclusively for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook. "

[Jan 18, 2020] Washington is certainly it's impossible to make an agreement with it and, if you should think you have done so, it will break it. A dangerous, uncontrollable madman, staggering around blowing everything up

Jan 18, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

For some years Washington, an implacable enemy of Moscow, has been getting less and less predictable. Lavrov and Kerry spend hours locked up negotiating a deal in Syria ; within a week the US military attacks a Syrian Army unit; "by mistake" . Who's in charge? Now with the murder of Soleimani, possibly on a Washington-approved peace mission, Washington has moved to another level of lawlessness and is exploring the next depth as it defies Baghdad's order to get out. A pirate power. The outside problems for Moscow aren't getting smaller, are they? Washington is certainly недоговороспособны – it's impossible to make an agreement with it and, if you should think you have done so, it will break it. A dangerous, uncontrollable madman, staggering around blowing everything up – is any foreign leader now to be assumed to be on Washington's murder list? Surviving its decay is a big job indeed. The problems are getting bigger in the Final Days of the Imperium Americanum.

[Jan 17, 2020] Trump Threatened Euro-Poodles With 25% Car Tarrifs If They Didn't Blow Up the Iran Nuclear Treaty by John Hudson

Jan 17, 2020 | www.anti-empire.com


1 day ago
CHUCKMAN 7 hours ago ,

What an absolutely chaotic man, using trade measures like military weapons.

Mychal Arnold 7 hours ago ,

Mafia!

[Jan 16, 2020] Isn't America (i.e., America the nation-state, which most Americans still believe they live in) militarily occupying much of the planet, making a mockery of international law, bombing and invading other countries, and assassinating heads of state and military officers with complete impunity.

Jan 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star, January 14, 2020 at 4:11 pm

"World War III is not going to happen because World War III already happened and the global capitalist empire won. [Where is the "capitalism"?] Take a look at these NATO maps (make sure to explore all the various missions). Then take a look at this Smithsonian map of where the U.S. military is "combating terrorism." And there are plenty of other maps you can google. What you will be looking at is the global capitalist empire. Not the American empire, the global capitalist empire.

If that sounds like a distinction without a difference well, it kind of is, and it kind of isn't. What I mean by that is that it isn't America (i.e., America the nation-state, which most Americans still believe they live in) that is militarily occupying much of the planet, making a mockery of international law, bombing and invading other countries, and assassinating heads of state and military officers with complete impunity.

Or, rather, sure, it is America but America is not America."

BINGO!!!!!

https://www.anti-empire.com/ww3-flickers-out-after-terroristy-terrorists-inflict-mass-non-casualties/

[Jan 16, 2020] Does the United States's withdrawal from the JCPOA constitute non-compliance, or not? If so, does their non-compliance constitute breach of contract

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joshua , Jan 15 2020 2:39 utc | 115

Does the United States's withdrawal from the JCPOA constitute non-compliance, or not? If so, does their non-compliance constitute breach of contract, or not?

[Jan 16, 2020] The US extorted their own "allies" to get them to betray Iran and destroy their own reputations

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Jan 15 2020 19:40 utc | 175

woah

WaPo: Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't

The U.S. effort to coerce European foreign policy through tariffs, a move one European official equated to "extortion," represents a new level of hardball tactics with the United States' oldest allies, underscoring the extraordinary tumult in the transatlantic relationship.
...
U.S. officials conveyed the threat directly to officials in London, Berlin and Paris rather than through their embassies in Washington, said a senior European official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.

Kadath , Jan 15 2020 20:05 utc | 179

Yes the US extorted their own "allies" to get them to betray Iran and destroy their own reputations. I must say the one thing i begrudgingly like about Trump is his honest upfront thuggist actions. After the backroom betrayals of Obama bush clinton merkel and the rest its almost refreshingly honest. Also i can think of no quicker way of destroying the US empire than by threatening your own allies the MIC must be desperate to start a new never ending war, although perhaps they should be careful of what they wish for

[Jan 16, 2020] Bulling EU: Trumps calculations were (obviously) right. EU would have never risked a massive economic crisis because of a breakdown in US-EU trade by siding with Iran.

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Jan 15 2020 2:14 utc | 113

Trumps calculations were (obviously) right. EU would have never risked a massive economic crisis because of a breakdown in US-EU trade by siding with Iran.
Sadly, they are doing what every other country would do in this position to protect their own self percieved national interests.

Like China,India and Russia too now more and more totally abiding by sanctions and in case of China winding down oil trade even more.

In this time of lurking economic crisis, US sanctions could cripple Europe from one day to the next. With our countries also being on the edge of social unrest, and mass conflict between elites and people, a massive economic crisis would bring everything tumbling down.

This is the sad reality. Risking the sure economic meltdown to save an already lost Iran deal would trade the social and economic welbeing of their voters for Iran. The deal has been lost ever since Trump annouced his opposition. This is the reality. Triggering a crisis on the back of its own voters without a real chance to save that deal would have been an empty gesture anyway.

Realpolitik.

Good thing is Merkel seems to have had a great day with Putin. EU will silently learn from this and warm ties with Russia. If not for its people, for its business.

The deal was a good idea, but it always was destined to end like this. Iran will go nuclear, and the US and Isreal will have "no alternative" for shooting war. If they dare now.


Peter AU1 , Jan 15 2020 2:30 utc | 114

Paragragh 14 of the UNSC resolution is worth thinking about.

"14. Affirms that the application of the provisions of previous resolutions pursuant to paragraph 12 do not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with the JCPOA, this resolution and the previous resolutions;"

To date, only Russia and China are holding up their ends of the deal. Iran, sticking to the deal is on the losing side as it has no trade with the EU yet it still must stay within the provisions of the deal. I believe there were clauses on what Iran could do if other parties were not upholding their end.
The nuke deal is dead and Iran knows it. Under Paragragh 14, Russia China can sign up to all deals allowed under the resolution and when snapback provisions occur, Iran Russia china can still operate contracts it has signed before sanctions reinstated. This way, Iran gets the benefits of trade and investment with China and Russia that could not have occurred before the nuke deal, but at the same time, Iran will no longer be bound by the deal.
China signed up a huge oil deal with Iran not long back. Russia have also been signing a good number of contracts. None of these will be effected by UNSC sanction.

Overall, the nuke deal was a win for Iran. Pity the US and Euro's have reneged, but still, a win for Iran.

Joshua , Jan 15 2020 2:39 utc | 115
Does the United States's withdrawal from the JCPOA constitute non-compliance, or not? If so, does their non-compliance constitute breach of contract, or not?
karlof1 , Jan 15 2020 2:43 utc | 116
Peter AU 1 @114--

Now Peter, do you really think the Outlaw US Empire or its poodles will abide by contract law in general and the JCPOA contract law specifically?

IMO, the JCPOA's outcome is becoming similar to the outcome of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in that it bought time and showed who's the true aggressor. I recall writing the Eurasians need to behave as if they're at war with the EU-3 and their master--and that includes the Eurasian nations who so far aren't too much affected by the fallout from the JCPOA's failure.

What has me curious is the nature of the talks between Iran and Qatar.

Piotr Berman , Jan 15 2020 3:11 utc | 119 Jackrabbit , Jan 15 2020 3:12 utc | 120
Peter AU1 @114

=
Under Paragragh 14, Russia China can sign up to all deals allowed under the resolution and when snapback provisions occur, Iran Russia china can still operate contracts it has signed before sanctions reinstated.

Not sure about that. Paragraph 14 has this constraining language:

... provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with the JCPOA, this resolution and the previous resolutions.
My reading of this phrase is that he word "and" implies that the contracts must satisfy provisions of ALL of these.

Put another way: When the snap back occurs, then contracts signed are exempt except that they must comply with the provisions that are snapped back (AND) the JCPOA, AND this resolution!?!?

Yes, it seems nonsensical. But how else can one interpret the "and"?

=
Overall, the nuke deal was a win for Iran.

It was a 'win' for both sides.

I've always believed that USA entered into the JCPOA to buy time because Syrian "regime change" was taking longer than expected. I've read many times that neocons and/or neocon sympathizers believed that "Damascus is on the road" to Tehran."

USA-Israel want to fight Iran before it gets a bomb. Iran bought time to prepare for that fight.

!!

snake , Jan 15 2020 3:42 utc | 121
The EU cannot lead in anything - it is a completely owned and operated US tool. It is a big zero in providing humanity any help with the big problem of our time: the 'indispensable and exceptional' supremacist US. by: AriusArmenian @ 15

evilempire @ 74 <= I agree the Iranians probably did not shoot down the 737.. I posted to MOA a link to a presstv article, headlined no missile hit the passenger liner, and the link even said --its official.. within a short few minutes after tha, the pressTV link disappeared and PressTV replaced it with a new story , Iranians admit they had mistakenly shot down the PS752 taking off from Tehran. This suggest either a military coup in Iran, or Iraq double crossed Iran. killed in Iraq by Trump were the leaders of the Shia religious arm (IRCG leaders )

The unusually harsh words and expression in anger by Khomeini, said he would severely punish those 8 persons responsible for the mistake, <= non characteristic of Khomeini , suggesting a trusted friend let him down; the two arms of the Military may be at war with each other and Trump was helping the Iranian Military (eliminate the upper leadership of the Revolutionary guard)? Today's JCOPA by the European powers issue suggest insiders have been at work all weekend. Russia and China silence all fit betrayal. Have the two separate branches of Iran military been at odds with each?
Imagine the White house wiping out Qaseum Soleimani and other IRCG members drawn on false pretense into Iraq.?

here is Bs report on the matter
The Iranian Armed Forces General Staff just admitted (in Farsi, English translation) that its air defenses inadvertently shot down the Ukrainian flight PS 752 shortly after it took off on January 8 in Tehran :

2- In early hours after the missile attack [on US' Ain al-Assad base in Iraq], the military flights of the US' terrorist forces had increased around the country. The Iranian defence units received news of witnessing flying targets moving towards Iran's strategic centres, and then several targets were observed in some [Iranian] radars, which incited further sensitivity at the Air Defence units.
3- Under such sensitive and critical circumstances, the Ukrainian airline's Flight PS752 took off from Imam Khomeini Airport, and when turning around, it approached a sensitive military site of the IRGC, taking the shape and altitude of a hostile target. In such conditions, due to human error and in an unintentional move, the airplane was hit [by the Air Defence], which caused the martyrdom of a number of our compatriots and the deaths of several foreign nationals.

4- The General Staff of the Armed Forces offers condolences and expresses sympathy with the bereaved families of the Iranian and foreign victims, and apologizes for the human error. It also gives full assurances that it will make major revision in the operational procedures of its armed forces in order to make impossible the recurrence of such errors. It will also immediately hand over the culprits to the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces for prosecution.

The Pentagon had claimed that Iran shot down the airliner but the evidence it presented was flimsy and not sufficient as the U.S. tends to spread disinformation about Iran.

The Associated Press errs when it says that the move was "stoked by the American drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani". The move was stoked five days earlier when the U.S. killed 31 Iraqi security forces near the Syrian border despite the demands by the Iraqi prime minister and president not to do so. It was further stoked when the U.S. assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, the deputy commander of the Popular Militia Forces and a national hero in Iraq.b at 19:09 UTC | Comments (150)

The State Department issued a rather aggressive response to Abdul-Mahdi's request:b at 19:09 UTC | Comments (150)
Very interesting post. something is up Thanks.

Mao , Jan 15 2020 3:51 utc | 122
This picture

https://www.moonofalabama.org/images5/europeanpoodles.jpg

in many ways resembles another picture:

https://i.redd.it/ahft7ubghjt31.jpg

Mao , Jan 15 2020 4:19 utc | 124
Posted by: V | Jan 15 2020 4:04 utc | 123

Current Europe is a selling girl of imperialism.

moon , Jan 15 2020 4:58 utc | 125
Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jan 15 2020 2:14 utc | 113

thanks, yes, the US economic power directly and indirectly via economic laws or extra-territorial sanctions. A company simply cannot make a deal with Iran if it doesn't want to be ruined by US legal means. Sad, but true.

Iranian frozen assets in international accounts are calculated to be worth between $100 billion[1][2] and $120 billion.[3][4] Almost $1.973 billion of Iran's assets are frozen in the United States.[5] According to the Congressional Research Service, in addition to the money locked up in foreign bank accounts, Iran's frozen assets include real estate and other property. The estimated value of Iran's real estate in the U.S. and their accumulated rent is $50 million.[1] Besides the assets frozen in the U.S., some parts of Iran's assets are frozen around the world by the United Nations.[1]

***********

Now I will have to cry myself to sleep. Trump, such a poor man...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 15 2020 3:11 utc | 119

Yes, I am getting tired of that meme too. The poor helpless king of the world, if only he could do what he wants ... if only he could "drain the swamp"

He promised to abolish the JCPOA, he suggested he would deal with the increase of Iran's power in the region and he promised to restore US and military power to it's old (lost) world domination. A world domination Russia and China would need to deal with too:

He already promised he would abolish JCPOA during his 2016 election campaign. And he promised to not only make both the American economy and military strong again. So America can exert at least as much power as it did under the great Ronald Reagan.

Secondly, we have to rebuild our military and our economy. The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded their military capability, but look at what's happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent, has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal. And it has to happen immediately. Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The Navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time. The Air Force is about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today. These planes are older than virtually everybody in this room.

And what are we doing about this? President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we're asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.

We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.

V , Jan 15 2020 5:02 utc | 126
Mao | Jan 15 2020 4:19 utc | 124
Current Europe is a selling girl of imperialism.

Indeed! The western band of galoots are captives of their white skin color...
Very unbecoming to the rest of the non-white world = majority.
Fortunately, many of us see past our skin colors, whatever that may be...

V , Jan 15 2020 5:15 utc | 127
We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.

Posted by: moon | Jan 15 2020 4:58 utc | 125

Oh, we'll spend the money alright; for more of the inferior, junk, weaponry already in our arsenals.
Planes that can't fly in the rain, aircraft carriers that can't be commisioned, and battle rifles (that's a misnomer; the M-14 was the last U.S. battle rifle) (M-4 & M-16) that are unreliable in intense combat situations. The M-16 should have been replaced during the Viet Nam war...
But there it still is; almost 60 years later...

Lurker of the Dark , Jan 15 2020 5:41 utc | 128
steven t. jonhson @5

Personally I thought the cartoon was pretty good. The artist even thought that the detail of the dogs' ass holes was important enough to include. Notably none of them have any external genitalia, hence "bitches" also being accurate. I bet if we could see the rendition from the other side, Israel's face would be hideous despite the appealing rear view!

Cyrus , Jan 15 2020 6:50 utc | 131
This is a repeat of the EU3 negotiations with Iran that ended with a EU3 deal offered to Iran that experts called "a lot of pretty wrappig around an empty box" because as it turned out, the EU3 had been promising the US that they would not recognize Iran's right to enrichment contrary to what they were telling the Iranians as part of the EU3's effort to drag out Iran's suspension of enrichment.
The result was that Khatami was embarrassed and Ahmadinejad was elected, as Jack Straw said later: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/us-scuppered-deal-with-iran-in-2005-says-then-british-foreign-minister/

So again the Eu is playing the good cop to the US bad cop, and they keep goalposts moving
This has been a consistent pattern going back years.
All along Iran has been making better compromise offers than the JCPOA only to see the goalposts moved because this conflict was never really about nukes just as the invasion of Iraq was not about WMDs, all that is just a pretext for a policy of imposed regime-change.

NOTE That the Obama administration itself said that the JCPOA is "non-binding" funny how Iran is accused of "breaching" or "violating" it yet Trump is only said to have "abandoned" or even "withdrawn" from the deal

Richard , Jan 15 2020 6:50 utc | 132
Sad news. European leaders are pathetic, craven cowards, hostages to the evil American Regime...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/01/14/welcome-to-the-american-regime/

Australian lady , Jan 15 2020 6:51 utc | 133
"President Rohani represent's the interests of the bourgeoisie in Tehran and Esfahan, merchants oriented toward international trade and hard hit by US sanctions. Sheikh Rohani is a long time friend of the US deep state: he was the first Iranian contact between the Reagan administration and Israel during the Iran-contra affair in 1985. It was he who introduced Hashem Rafsanjani to Oliver North's men, allowing him to buy arms, to become commander-in-chief of the armies and incidentally the richest man in the country, and the president of the Islamic Republic."
Thierry Meyssan. Voltairenet. org.
Wednesday morning, my first read before b's M. O. A. is Thierry. Really folks, it is indespensible. One can support the I. R. I.,but still reserve criticism of the domestic politics of Iran.
Steve , Jan 15 2020 6:56 utc | 134
Outside the West, people don't see any difference between Europe and the USA. So it is known that which ever direction the US takes, Europe will follow. Both the USA and Europe are Israeli colonies. So unless Israel objects whatever the US does would always be the Eurooean policy.
powerandpeople , Jan 15 2020 8:41 utc | 138
Annex B, paragraph 5 allows Iran to purchase weapons from Russia (for example...) after 5 years from signing of the Agreement in 2015.

So 2020 for weapons.

This is why Russia is so insistent the agreement holds together for the 5 years, at least. If it doesn't, due to this action by Germany etc, then they can't sell to Iran as all old sanctions will 'snap back'.

(Other restrictions are lifted on longer time frames, 8 and 10 years. Also, other matters remain open forever until security council agrees the nuclear proliferation issue in Iran is dead and buried.)

V , Jan 15 2020 9:05 utc | 142 Russ , Jan 15 2020 11:08 utc | 143
powerandpeople 138 says:

Annex B, paragraph 5 allows Iran to purchase weapons from Russia (for example...) after 5 years from signing of the Agreement in 2015.

So 2020 for weapons.

This is why Russia is so insistent the agreement holds together for the 5 years, at least. If it doesn't, due to this action by Germany etc, then they can't sell to Iran as all old sanctions will 'snap back'.

There's an example of how appeasement and idiot-legality are way past their expiration date. It's clear the UN itself, like all other existing international bodies, has been fully weaponized with Russia the ultimate target.

In the process of "first they came for Irak, then they came for Libya [with the full consent of Russia and China]...now they're coming for Irak again and for Iran....", well obviously Russia is the one they'll ultimately be coming for.

It really is time to hang together or hang separately. Although Russia should remain cautious about direct military stand-offs, it's definitely way past time to start openly challenging and flouting war-by-sanctions, and to start constructing international bodies alternative to the UN and other imperial weapons.

As for fighting within the UN, someone earlier said Russia and China wouldn't be able to prevent the "snap-back" of UN sanctions on Iran. Why not? I'm not asking for a technical-legalistic answer, but a power-based answer. Self-evidently the "legality" ship has sunk, and anyone who still makes a fetish of it is fighting with one hand tied behind one's back.

I don't say gratuitously flout legality; certainly there's great propaganda value in seeming to adhere to international law in the face of the open lawlessness of the US. But where it comes to critical battles like getting Iran out from under the sanctions, in the process dealing a blow to the alleged impregnability of the sanctions weapon, the most important thing is the real result.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 11:14 utc | 144
Trump has in fact done more to ensure that Iran will have a nuclear weapon than any other president through his abrupt withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) and his assassination of Soleimani..

Trump and Congress Double Down on Demonizing Iran

And this is why you'll never see Philip Giraldi on CNN, Fox News, or any other US broadcast network.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 11:14 utc | 144
Trump has in fact done more to ensure that Iran will have a nuclear weapon than any other president through his abrupt withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) and his assassination of Soleimani..

Trump and Congress Double Down on Demonizing Iran

And this is why you'll never see Philip Giraldi on CNN, Fox News, or any other US broadcast network.

Peter AU1 , Jan 15 2020 11:23 utc | 145
Russ
Russia and I think China are working towards a multi-polar world order based on international law.
Russia is pushing this vision and to pull other countries in, it has to walk the talk.
PR information warfare play a big part in state decisions. As we have seen from the Uki plane shootdown Euro's beginning the process to trigger snapback, A small anti Iran block sprang to life (UK, Canada, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Sweden) that will be great PR for the US in its anti Iran crusade.
As I put in another comment, everyone likes a winner
Bemildred , Jan 15 2020 13:30 utc | 148
Alistair Crooke:

Reading Sun Tzu in Tehran

I also recommend the short piece by Patrick Armstrong posted by moon up there.

I've been of the opinion from the beginning of this that the main reason Russia & China have not leapt to the aid of Iran is that Iran does not need or want them to, yet at least. Crooke's mention of the attack on the Saudi oil facilities is a connection that needs to be made, that was not a fluke.

But it's a very "asymmetric" situation, as Crooke points out. Interesting times.

Bemildred , Jan 15 2020 13:30 utc | 148 peter mcloughlin , Jan 15 2020 13:50 utc | 149
And each consequence leads to yet another consequence. But world leaders do not recognize where this path is leading humanity. If they did they might be able to stop – or perhaps not. They delude themselves to the real destination of the journey.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/


Formerly T-Bear , Jan 15 2020 13:57 utc | 150
@ V | Jan 15 2020 1:32 utc | 104

Does this new 'Policy of Deterrence' apply only to Iran? Could become interesting if it doesn't. Good example of 'be careful of what you wish for'.

Likklemore , Jan 15 2020 14:07 utc | 153
b wrote

"But those promises [of the EU] were empty"

Indeed they were, and now we know it was just a charade. Triggering the Dispute Resolution Mechanism on basis intel supplied by Bibi is a ruse to replace the JCPOA. Where have we heard this before?
Oh, Iran is less than a year from getting the nuclear bomb.

Iran Rejects 'Trump Deal' Proposed by UK PM Johnson as a Replacement for JCPOA


On Tuesday, Britain, France and Germany launched the 2015 Iran nuclear deal's dispute resolution mechanism, which they said was partly prompted by concerns that Tehran might be less than a year away from developing a nuclear weapon.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has rejected a proposal for a new "Trump deal" to resolve a nuclear spat as a "strange" offer, pointing the finger at the US President over his failure to deliver on promises.


"This Mr. Prime Minister in London, I don't know how he thinks. He says let's put aside the nuclear deal and put the Trump plan in action. If you take the wrong step, it will be to your detriment. Pick the right path. The right path is to return to the nuclear deal", Rouhani said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Trump to replace the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with his own new pact to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The US president responded by tweeting that he agreed with Johnson on a "Trump deal".

Zarif Says 'It Depends on Europe' if JCPOA Remains After Dispute Resolution Mechanism Activation. [.]


wendy davis , Jan 15 2020 14:20 utc | 154
my apologies if anyone's brought this already, but the plot now thickens. a commenter at the site at which i cross-post brought this to my attention on my 'iran makes arrests over accidental downing of Ukrainian airliner'.

it's a tweet leading to new york times coverage of a 'Exclusive: Security camera footage verified by the New York Times confirms that 2 missiles, fired 30 seconds apart from an Iranian military site, hit the Ukrainian plane'

i'd used a free click to pull text, including:

"The new video was uploaded to YouTube by an Iranian user around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
The date visible on the footage is "2019-10-17," not Jan. 8, the day the plane was downed. We believe this is because the camera system is using a Persian calendar, not a Gregorian one. Jan. 8 converts to the 18th of Dey, the 10th month in the Persian calendar. Digitally that would display as 2019-10-18 in the video. One theory is that the discrepancy of one day can be explained by a difference between Persian and Gregorian leap years or months." "

but it's everywhere already, set in stone, the WSJ news coverage included:

"The video was verified by Storyful, a social-media-intelligence company owned by News Corp, parent of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. It raises new questions about how forthcoming Iranian authorities were when, after three days of denial, they admitted they had mistakenly struck the Ukraine International Airlines flight without mentioning a second missile."

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1217160457385103360

the video obviously bring up a dozen more questions, including what it shows, where, when, etc., but corporate coverage assures us that 'iran has lied about the airliner thrice now: evil iran'.

wait for even more sanctions, more assassinations.

snake , Jan 15 2020 14:26 utc | 155
What bothers me about this entire thread is no one can see either a way to end the suppression every player on the field has been subjected to by the private mobsters. . War whether by WMDs or Sanctions. produces the same, millions will die and nothing will alter the possession of power, and the abuse of the masses, by the few.

The thesis "the nation state system is the structure that allows the mobsters (private bankers, private corporations, and privateers) to control sufficient authority to rule the world". Without strength from deadly force, and authority from engineered consent, ruling the world is difficult.

No one has found a way to pin the maker of wrongdoing chaos button, or convicted criminal button on the private mobsters. As the private mobsters dance, and side step their positions between the 206 or so nation states, they avoid being boxed up, and they install their puppets in every place they land. It is the puppets who deliver to the international arenas the voting power that allow the private mobsters to control conflict outcomes; and puppets in-service-to the private mobsters oversee and manage the regional and local political and economic domains. In such a situation, the law becomes progressively more suppressive; it produces a hierarchy of relative power and the hierarchy allows to order the nation states relative to their power in the hierarchy. The world might even be safer without any government at all than to allow itself to be victimized by the private mobster use of the nation state system. Clearly the mightier the actor in the system, the less the system can or will hold the mighty actor to conform to the rule of law. So the rule of law suppresses the little guy and enhances the big guy.. If there were no nation state system, there would not be any push button suppression.

There has to be an answer.. that is not war or decimation of more humanity.

chb , Jan 15 2020 14:37 utc | 156
The only goal of Europe in sticking to the JPCoA when Trump walks out is to keep Tehran from developping its nuke while excruciating sanctions hinder all normal life. Regime change is still the goal, be it at the expense of european trade.
Think of NorthStream, or of the two-state fiction in Palestine where " there's no one to broke peace with ".
Robert Snefjella , Jan 15 2020 14:58 utc | 157
There has to be an answer.. that is not war or decimation of more humanity.
Posted by: snake | Jan 15 2020 14:26 utc | 155

One lesson from history is that it is important that those big shots just beneath the ultimate societal power be held to the strictest standards: The law applies to you too, big shot. Clovis effectively adhered to this principle many centuries ago. Putin by reining in the worst of the oligarchs operated in tune with this principle.

The prevailing principle in the West is that oligarchs, the mighty, etc are above the law, while in the US for example swat teams kill pets that bark at their door-smashing arrival at the homes of the little people, and those who invest in private prisons feast financially on slave labor by millions of plebeians 'plea bargained' into servitude.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 15:04 utc | 158
Likklemore | Jan 15 2020 14:07 utc | 153
Oh, Iran is less than a year from getting the nuclear bomb.

Since Bibi, Trump and the rest of Iran's enemies and their indoctrinated populations have been saying this for years it's time for Iran to just get on with it and pull out all stops in putting several together to be used as an option of last resort. But they should make no public confirmation, like Israel. If the warmongering US wants a war they and their allies (and their populations would then be aware of the consequences and would force them to re-assess the situation. IMO this is the only way Iran will survive. If Trump wins another term I can almost guarantee he will forge ahead with attempting another regime change. Iran is already a pariah state in their eyes so really nothing much more for Iran to lose.

A P , Jan 15 2020 15:04 utc | 159
Tim Horton's has been foreign-owned (now Brazil) since 2014, but the rot started to set in as expansion, particularly into the US, became a major goal. Once a reasonable quality purveyor of coffee and made-from-scratch in-store donuts, now just another hawker of industrialized brown swill and partly-cooked/frozen-then-shipped and finish-baked chemical-laced products.

I only patronize a Timmie's if I don't know of a decent quality local bakery/restaurant in that particular area. The devil you know...

bevin , Jan 15 2020 15:15 utc | 160
bemildred draws attention to this article at Strategic Culture:
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/15/reading-sun-tzu-in-tehran/

Another interesting article is this one, which tends to suggest a real softening in Canada's following of the US line.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/trudeau-plane-victims-alive-iran-tensions-200114043724127.html

A P , Jan 15 2020 15:17 utc | 161
To William Gruff: Absolutely, Canada is a vassal state of the US.

Example 1: Cretien managed to keep Cdn troops out of Iraq, but dithering Paul Martin got forced by the US to send non-combat troops into Afghanistan, then bribery-cash-in-brown-envelopes Harper turned it into combat roles that persist to this day.

Ex 2, Diefenbaker scrapped the nearly-complete AVRO Arrow project on direct orders from the US that the total-crap BOMARC missile system was to be implemented instead.

Trudeau sorta confronted the US by legalizing pot, but other than that... the foreign policy leash is very visible on the Canadian lapdog.

Anmie , Jan 15 2020 15:40 utc | 162
Iran doesn't react like the US psychopaths do..
They follow the letter of the law, as they have done with JCPOA.
But in my opinion, Iran should get its nuke capabilities up to par asap. Why continue to want to look as though you're following the law of JCPOA by allowing the IAEA in who reports to the EU/US to continue intrusive inspections when they all plan war against you leaving you nuke defenseless while Israel and Saudis have or are getting nukes?
If Iran has nukes the US will back off. Nuff said.
LuBa , Jan 15 2020 15:41 utc | 163
Mike-SMO

"Israel has done some nasty stuff"

In 70 years of illegal and violent occupation of Palestine through deportation,eradication and no respect for human lives adding what zionist army and services have done through these years and this is "some nasty stuff"..no israel it's the cancer of middle-east..just it!

xLemming , Jan 15 2020 15:43 utc | 164
Posted by: A P | Jan 15 2020 15:17 utc | 161

Thanks AP

The AVRO Arrow fiasco was criminal... "scrapping" doesn't even begin to tell the story... utter destruction was more like it, with welding torches, right down to the last bolt. That plane, with it's mach 2 Iroquois engine was en route to completely embarrassing the US MIC

As well, few people know the AVRO Jetliner story, which preceded the Arrow - the first North American passenger jet aircraft - years ahead of anything the US produced

Jackrabbit , Jan 15 2020 15:48 utc | 165
powerandpeople @138:
Annex B, paragraph 5 allows Iran to purchase weapons ... after 5 years

Thanks for making us aware of this, powerandpeople.

!!

Krollchem , Jan 15 2020 15:59 utc | 166
snake@155

This panel discussion explains how Congress is bought by the military industrial (mostly oil) complex. Then again Eisenhower included Congress in the Cabal several years after he overthrew the democratic leader of Iran. The dialogue of these panel members links all Mideast invasions back to the initial destruction of Iranian government in 1953. Apparently, we cannot have democracy in the Mideast as it is bad for the mafia business.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-W9b-_K_Xo&feature=youtu.be

Trailer Trash , Jan 15 2020 16:00 utc | 167
I recently heard a story on CBC radio about the Arrow. Not only did they destroy the prototype and all parts, they even destroyed all the drawings, except for one set which was smuggled out by a draftsman, who kept them secret for decades. But now they are on display at the "Diefenbaker Canada Centre at the University of Saskatchewan until April 2020" (from Wiki)

It's interesting to learn that Uncle Sam wanted the program stopped. Why didn't some US company just buy Avro instead? Buying out the competition is standard operating procedure for US corporate parasites.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 16:02 utc | 168
What has Iran gotten by being "nice" and playing by the rules all these decades?

Nice guys finish last!

h , Jan 15 2020 17:29 utc | 169
wendy davis @154 Rouhani's tweet when accepting responsibility for the downing of the plane stated:

Hassan Rouhani
@HassanRouhani
·
Jan 10
Armed Forces' internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.
Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752

As you can see, Rouhani stated 'missiles' as in plural.

Hope this helps.

[Jan 16, 2020] By signing on to the JCPOA Iran demonstrated a number of things. Iran keeps her word. The US never does. Europe's role is to smile while preparing to stab you in the back

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lysander , Jan 15 2020 2:04 utc | 111

#39 Kooshy!!

Great to run into you again. Indeed by signing on to the JCPOA Iran demonstrated a number of things. 1) Iran keeps her word. 2) The US never does. 3) Europe's role is to smile while preparing to stab you in the back. 4) The US will sacrifice her own interests for Israel's everytime.

I think all of us could have predicted all that. But what I could never have predicted was the complete in your face nature of American imperialism. It is one thing for there to be overwhelming evidence against a suspect. It's quite another for him to openly brag about his crimes and then promise to commit even more. That is why Trump's presidency is a blessing for Iran. If you happen to be in Iran, please share with us any information about the national mood and how people are coping in difficult circumstances.

[Jan 16, 2020] Another reason Merkel qualifies as a cowardly poodle. It's also clear, IMO, that Merkel lied to Putin and the press about her position on the JCPOA

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 15 2020 1:42 utc | 107


karlof1 , Jan 15 2020 1:45 utc | 108

Passer by @61--

Didn't know that about Merkel; yet another reason she qualifies as a cowardly poodle. It's also clear, IMO, that Merkel lied to Putin and the press about her position on the JCPOA at their post-talks presser :

Putin: "We certainly could not ignore another issue which is vitally important not only for the region but also for the whole world – the issue of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear programme. After the United States withdrew from this fundamental agreement, the Iranian side declared that they suspended some of their voluntary commitments under the JCPOA. Let me underscore this – they only suspended their voluntary commitments while they stress their readiness to go back to full compliance with the nuclear deal.

"Russia and Germany resolutely stand for the continued implementation of the Joint Plan. The Iranians are entitled to a support from European nations, which promised to set up a special financial vehicle separate from the US dollar to be used in trade settlements with Iran. The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) must finally begin working."

Merkel, statement: "Of course, we also discussed Iran. We agree that everything necessary must be done to preserve the JCPOA. Germany believes that there should be no nuclear weapons in Iran, and therefore we will use all the available diplomatic means to preserve this agreement, even though it is not perfect, but it includes obligations of all the sides."

Merkel answering a question: " I have mentioned an issue on which we do not see eye to eye with the Americans (JCPOA), even though they are our allies with whom we are working together on many matters. But when it comes to German and European opinions, we are acting above all in our own interests, while Russia is upholding its own interests, so we should look for common interests in this process.

"Despite certain obstacles, we have found common interests in our bilateral relations regarding the JCPOA with Iran. We have common opinions and different views, but a visit such as this one is the best thing. It is better to talk with each other rather than about one another, because it helps one to understand the other side's arguments."

It's very clear from Russia's reaction that the EU-3's action was a complete surprise. I doubt Merkel will be invited to Moscow again. For Russians and the rest of humanity, there's no trusting the West. IMO, it must always be treated as hostile regardless the smiles.
"

jared , Jan 15 2020 1:52 utc | 109
@ karlof1

Much like Trump - says one thing then immediately does something else. Only makes sense if in fact is outside thier control.

[Jan 16, 2020] While it might work in domestic politics, this mad man negotiating tactic erodes trust in international affairs and it will take decades for the US to recover from the harm done by Trump's school yard bully approach.

Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Thuto , , January 14, 2020 at 11:48 am

While it might work in domestic politics, this mad man negotiating tactic erodes trust in international affairs and it will take decades for the US to recover from the harm done by Trump's school yard bully approach.

Even the docile Europeans are beginning to tire of this and once they get their balls stitched back on after being castrated for so long, America will have its work cut out crossing the chasm from unreliable and untrustworthy partner to being seen as dependable and worthy of entering into agreements with.

[Jan 15, 2020] Trump and the Mad Negotiator Approach

Notable quotes:
"... Another aspect of Trump's erraticness is making sudden shifts, or what we have called gaslighting. He'll suddenly and radically change his rhetoric, even praise someone he demonized. That if nothing else again is a power play, to try to maintain his position as driving the pacing and content of the negotiations, which again is meant to position his counterparty as in a weaker position, of having to react to his moves, even if that amounts to identifying them as noise. It is a watered-down form of a cult strategy called love bombing (remember that Trump has been described as often being very charming in first meetings, only to cut down the person he met in a matter of days). ..."
"... I would disagree with the "selecting staff" part. I can't really think of any of his appointees to any office while he is president that was a good pick. One worse than the other basically. Maybe in his private dealings he did better, but in public office it's a continuous horror show. Examples like Pence, Haley, "Mad Dog", Bolton, DeVos, his son in law, Pompeo. The list goes on. ..."
"... For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy. ..."
"... They are not inept and incompetent at what they are trying to achieve. The GOP has long sought to privatize government to help the rich get richer and harm anyone who isn't rich by cutting services and making them harder to get. Trumps picks are carrying out that agenda very well. ..."
"... Trump is just a huge crude extension of the usual "exceptional" leaders, much more transparent by not pretending he is any sort of representative of democratic and cooperative values claimed by his predecessors. ..."
"... But what I think is noticeable is that his worst high profile staff picks, while horrible people, are generally those who are under his thumb and so he has control of. ..."
"... He got elected over the dead bodies of just about everyone who counts in the Republican Party. He pretty much did a hostile takeover of the GOP. So his ability to draw on seasoned hands was nil. And on top of that, he is temperamentally not the type to seek the counsel of perceived wise men in and hanging around the party. The people he has kept around are cronies like Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin. ..."
"... The one notably competent person he has attracted and retained is Robert Lightizer, the US Trade Representative ..."
"... oderint, dum metuant ..."
"... Führerprinzip ..."
"... Hitler ran the Third Reich by a system of parallel competition among bureaucratic empire builders of all stripes. Anyone who showed servile loyalty and mouthed his yahoo ideology got all the resources they liked, for any purpose they proposed. But the moment he encountered any form of independence or pushback, he changed horses at once. He left the old group in place, but gave all their resources to a burgeoning new bureaucracy that did things his way. If a State body resisted his will, he had a Party body do it instead. He was continually reaching down 2-3 levels in the org charts, to find some ambitious firecracker willing to suck up to him, and leapfrog to the top. ..."
"... This left behind a complete chaos of rival, duplicated functions, under mainly unfit leaders. And fortunately for the world, how well any of these organizations actually did their jobs was an entirely secondary consideration. Loyalty was all. ..."
"... Hitler sat at the center of all the resource grabbers and played referee. This made everyone dependent on his nod and ensured his continued power. The message was: there are no superiors in the Reich. There is only der Führer, and his favor trumps everything ..."
"... The few over-confident generals he picked, except for Flynn, finally caved when they realized staying was an affront to the honor code they swore to back in OCS or their academy. ..."
"... I don't know how they selected staff in the Reagan years, but lately the POTUS seems to appoint based on who the plutocrats want. As has been noted Bary O took his marching orders from Citigroup if I remember right. I doubt if Trump had even heard of most of the people he appointed prior to becoming president. So at least some of Trump's turnover is due to him firing recommendations from others who didn't turn out how he'd like. That's one reason I didn't get all that upset over the Bolton hiring – I didn't think he'd last a year before Trump canned him. ..."
"... I would say that Trump, not acting in an intelligent way is doing very clever things according to his interests. My opinion is that his actions/negotiations with foreign countries are 100% directed for domestic consumptiom. He does not care at all about international relationships, just his populist "make America great again" and he almost certainly play closest attention to the impact of his actions in US opinion. ..."
"... Classic predatory behaviors: culling the herd and eating the weak. ..."
"... I think Trump understands that one of the basic tactics of negotiation (though forgotten by the Left(tm)) is to set out a maximalist position before the negotiation starts, so that you have room to make compromises later. ..."
"... But in domestic politics, there's no doubt that publicly announcing extreme negotiating positions is a winning tactic. You force the media and other political actors to comment and make counter-proposals, thus dragging the argument more in your direction from the very start. Trump remembers something that his opponents have willfully forgotten: compromise is something you finish with not something you start from . In itself, any given compromise has no particular virtue or value. ..."
"... Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate. ..."
"... A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all. ..."
"... The maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are exACTLY the desired result. Deliberately and on purpose. ..."
"... It also helps him do some things quietly in the background ..."
Jan 15, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Trump and the Mad Negotiator Approach Posted on January 14, 2020 by Yves Smith Trump's numerous character flaws, such as his grandiosity, his lack of interest in the truth, his impulsiveness, his habitual lashing out at critics, have elicited boatloads of disapproving commentary. It's disturbing to see someone so emotional and undisciplined in charge of anything, let alone the United States.

Rather than offer yet more armchair analysis, it might be productive to ask a different question: why hasn't Trump been an abject failure? There are plenty of rich heirs who blow their inheritance or run the family business into the ground pretty quickly and have to knuckle down to a much more modest lifestyle.

Trump's lack of discipline has arguably cost him. The noise regularly made about his business bankruptcies is wildly exaggerated. Most of Trump's bankruptcies were of casinos , and most of those took place in the nasty 1991-1992 recession. He was one of only two major New York City developers not to have to give meaningful equity in some of their properties in that downturn. He even managed to keep Mar-a-Lago and persuaded his lenders to let him keep enough cash to preserve a pretty flashy lifestyle because he was able to persuade them that preserving his brand name was key to the performance of Trump-branded assets.

The idea that Trump couldn't borrow after his early 1990s casino bankruptcies is also false. As Francine McKenna pointed out in 2017 in Donald Trump has had no trouble getting big loans at competitive rates:

The MarketWatch analysis shows a variety of lenders, all big banks or listed specialized finance companies like Ladder Capital, that have provided lots of money to Trump over the years in the forms of short-, medium- and long-term loans and at competitive rates, whether fixed or variable.

"The Treasury yield that matches the term of the loan is the closest starting benchmark for Trump-sized commercial real estate loans," said Robert Thesman, a certified public accountant in Washington state who specializes in real estate tax issues. The 10-year Treasury swap rate is also used and tracks the bonds closely, according to one expert.

Trump's outstanding loans were granted at rates between 2 points over and under the matching Treasury-yield benchmark at inception. That's despite the well-documented record of bankruptcy filings that dot Trump's history of casino investment.

The flip side is that it's not hard to make the case that Trump's self-indulgent style has cost him in monetary terms. His contemporary Steve Ross of The Related Companies who started out in real estate as a tax lawyer putting together Section 8 housing deals, didn't have a big stake like Trump did to start his empire. Ross did have industrialist and philanthropist Max Fisher as his uncle and role model, but there is no evidence that Fisher staked Ross beyond paying for his education . Ross has an estimated net worth of $7.6 billion versus Trump's $3.1 billion.

Despite Trump's heat-seeking-missile affinity for the limelight, we only get snippets of how he has managed his business, like his litigiousness and breaking of labor laws. Yet he's kept his team together and is pretty underleveraged for a real estate owner.

The area where we have a better view of how Trump operates is via his negotiating, where is astonishingly transgressive. He goes out of his way to be inconsistent, unpredictable, and will even trash prior commitments, which is usually toxic, since it telegraphs bad faith. How does this make any sense?

One way to think of it is that Trump is effectively screening for weak negotiating counterparties. Think of his approach as analogous to the Nigerian scam letters and the many variants you get in your inbox. They are so patently fake that one wonders why the fraudsters bother sending them.

But investigators figured that mystery out. From the Atlantic in 2012 :

Everyone knows that Nigerian scam e-mails, with their exaggerated stories of moneys tied up in foreign accounts and collapsed national economies, sound totally absurd, but according to research from Microsoft, that's on purpose .

As a savvy Internet user you probably think you'd never fall for the obvious trickery, but that's the point. Savvy users are not the scammers' target audience, [Cormac] Herley notes. Rather, the creators of these e-mails are targeting people who would believe the sort of tales these scams involve .:

Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a low density of victims the Nigerian scammer has an over-riding need to reduce false positives. By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ratio in his favor.

Who would want to get in a business relationship with a guy who makes clear early on that he might pull the rug out from under you? Most people would steer clear. So Trump's style, even if he adopted it out of deep-seated emotional needs, has the effect of pre-selecting for weak, desperate counterparties. It can also pull in people who think they can out-smart Trump and shysters who identify with him, as well as those who are prepared to deal with the headaches (for instance, the the business relationship is circumscribed and a decent contract will limit the downside).

Mind you, it is more common than you think for businesses to seek out needy business "partners". For instance, back in the day when General Electric was a significant player in venture capital, it would draw out its investment commitment process. The point was to ascertain if the entrepreneurs had any other prospects; they wouldn't tolerate GE's leisurely process if they did. By the time GE was sure it was the only game in town, it would cram down the principals on price and other terms. There are many variants of this playbook, such as how Walmart treats suppliers.

Trump has become so habituated to this mode of operating that he often launches into negotiations determined to establish that he had the dominant position when that is far from clear, witness the ongoing China trade row. Trump did in theory hold a powerful weapon in his ability to impose tariffs on China. But they are a blunt weapon, with significant blowback to the US. Even though China had a glass jaw in terms of damage to its economy (there were signs of stress, such as companies greatly stretching out when they paid their bills), Trump could not tolerate much of a stock market downdraft, nor could he play a long-term game.

Another aspect of Trump's erraticness is making sudden shifts, or what we have called gaslighting. He'll suddenly and radically change his rhetoric, even praise someone he demonized. That if nothing else again is a power play, to try to maintain his position as driving the pacing and content of the negotiations, which again is meant to position his counterparty as in a weaker position, of having to react to his moves, even if that amounts to identifying them as noise. It is a watered-down form of a cult strategy called love bombing (remember that Trump has been described as often being very charming in first meetings, only to cut down the person he met in a matter of days).

Voters have seen another face of Trump's imperative to find or create weakness: that of his uncanny ability to hit opponents' weak spots in ways that get them off balance, such as the way he was able to rope a dope Warren over her Cherokee ancestry claims.

The foregoing isn't to suggest that Trump's approach is optimal. Far from it. But it does "work" in the sense of achieving certain results that are important to Trump, of having him appear to be in charge of the action, getting his business counterparts on the back foot. That means Trump is implicitly seeing these encounters primarily in win-lose terms, rather than win-win. No wonder he has little appetite for international organizations. You have to give in order to get.


PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 7:08 am

I think this is pretty astute, thanks Yves. One reason I think Trump has been so successful for his limited range of skills is precisely that 'smart' people underestimate him so much. He knows one thing well – how power works. Sometimes that's enough. I've known quite a few intellectually limited people who have built very successful careers based on a very simple set of principles (e.g. 'never disagree with anyone more senior than me').

Anecdotally, I've often had the conversation with people about 'taking Trump seriously', as in, trying to assess what he really wants and how he has been so successful. In my experience, the 'smarter' and more educated the person I'm talking to is, the less willing they are to have that conversation. The random guy in the bar will be happy to talk and have insights. The high paid professional will just mutter about stupid people and racism.

I would also add one more reason for his success – he does appear to be quite good at selecting staff, and knowing who to delegate to.

timotheus , January 14, 2020 at 8:30 am

There is another figure from recent history who displayed similar astuteness about power while manifesting generally low intelligence: Chile's Pinochet. He had near failing grades in school but knew how to consolidate power, dominate the other members of the junta, and weed out the slightest hint of dissidence within the army.

Off The Street , January 14, 2020 at 9:17 am

To the average viewer, Trump's branding extends to the negative brands that he assigns to opponents. Witness Lyin' Ted , Pocahontas and similar sticky names that make their way into coverage. He induces free coverage from Fake News as if they can't resist gawking at a car wreck, even when one of the vehicles is their own. Manipulation has worked quite a lot on people with different world views, especially when they don't conceive of any different approaches.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Scott Adams touted that as one of Trump's hidden persuasionological weapons . . . that ability to craft a fine head-shot nickname for every opponent.

If Sanders were to be nominated, I suppose Trump would keep saying Crazy Bernie. Sanders will just have to respond in his own true-to-himself way. Maybe he could risk saying something like . . .

" so Trashy Trump is Trashy. This isn't new."

If certain key bunches of voters still have fond memories for Crazy Eddie, perhaps Sanders could have some operatives subtly remind people of that.

Some images of Crazy Eddie, for those who wish to stumble up Nostalgia Alley . . .

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0geKYkLVB5emoUAN6RXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyNm03Y25mBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDQTA2MTVfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=crazy+eddie&fr=sfp

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:23 am

I would disagree with the "selecting staff" part. I can't really think of any of his appointees to any office while he is president that was a good pick. One worse than the other basically. Maybe in his private dealings he did better, but in public office it's a continuous horror show. Examples like Pence, Haley, "Mad Dog", Bolton, DeVos, his son in law, Pompeo. The list goes on.

Another indication how bad his delegation skills are is how short his picks stay at their job before they are fired again. Is there any POTUS which had higher staff turnover?

NotTimothyGeithner , January 14, 2020 at 9:45 am

Its a horror show because you don't agree with their values. After the last few Presidents, too much movement to the right would catastrophic, so there isn't much to do. His farm bill is a disaster. The new NAFTA is window dressing. He slashed taxes. He's found a way to make our brutal immigration system even more nefarious. His staff seems to be working out despite it not having many members of the Bush crime family.

Even if these people were as beloved by the press as John McCain, they would still be monsters.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:43 am

It's not their values that make them a horror show, it's their plain inaptitude and incompetency. E.g. someone like that Exxon CEO is at least somewhat capable, which is why I didn't mention him. Though he was quite ineffective as long as he lasted and probably quite corrupt. Pompeo in the same office on the other hand is simply a moron elevated way beyond his station. Words fail and the Peter principle cannot explain.

The US can paper over this due to their heavy handed application of power for now, but every day he stays in office, friends are abhorred while trying not to show it, and foes rejoice at the utter stupidity of the US how it helps their schemes.

For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy. So while I am sort of happy about the outcome, I don't see the current monsters at the helm worse than the monsters 4 years ago under Obama. In fact I detested them much more since they had the power to drag my governments into their evil schemes.

Evil and clearly despicable is always better than evil and sort of charismatic.

tegnost , January 14, 2020 at 11:29 am

For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy.

Indeed, if you look at the trendline from the '80's to now, trump is, in some ways, the less effective evil.

James O'Keefe , January 14, 2020 at 1:17 pm

They are not inept and incompetent at what they are trying to achieve. The GOP has long sought to privatize government to help the rich get richer and harm anyone who isn't rich by cutting services and making them harder to get. Trumps picks are carrying out that agenda very well.

That he still hasn't filled 170 appointed positions is icing on the cake. See stats at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-administration-appointee-tracker/database/

rosemerry , January 14, 2020 at 4:47 pm

I feel exactly the same. Trump is just a huge crude extension of the usual "exceptional" leaders, much more transparent by not pretending he is any sort of representative of democratic and cooperative values claimed by his predecessors.

PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 10:05 am

But what I think is noticeable is that his worst high profile staff picks, while horrible people, are generally those who are under his thumb and so he has control of. But in the behind the scenes activities, they've been very effective – as an obvious example, witness how he's put so many conservative Republicans into the judiciary, in contrast with Obamas haplessness.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:51 am

That is not a Trump thing, getting more judges is a 100% rep party thing and only rep party thing. Sure, he is the one putting his rubber stamp on it, but the picking and everything else is a party thing. They stopped the placement for years under Obama before Trump was ever thought about, and now are filling it as fast as they can. Aren't they having complicit democrats helping them or how can they get their picks beyond congress? Or am I getting something wrong and Obama could have picked his judges but didn't?

The people he chooses to run his administration however are all horrible. Not just horrible people but horrible picks as in incompetent buffoons without a clue. Can you show a evil, horrible or not but actually competent pick of his in his administration?

The only one I can think of is maybe the new FAA chief Dickson. Who is a crisis manager, after the FAA is in its worst crisis ever right now. So right now someone competent must have this post. All the others seem to be chickenhawk blowhards with the IQ of a fruitfly but the bluster of a texan.

fajensen , January 14, 2020 at 11:13 am

Gina Haspel? She is probably equally good with a handgun, an ice pick and a pair of pliers.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 11:49 am

Is she effective? What has she done to make her a spy mastermind? She is obviously a torturer, but is that a qualification in any way useful to be a intelligence agency boss?

I have the suspicion Haspel was elevated to their office by threatening "I know where all the bodies are buried (literally) and if you don't make me boss, I will tell". Blackmail can helping a career lots if successful.

Thuto , January 14, 2020 at 11:18 am

The outcomes of incompetence and malicious intent are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. With the people Trump has surrounded himself with, horrible, nasty outcomes are par for the course because these guys are both incompetent and chock full of malicious intent. Instead of draining the swamp, he's gone and filled it with psychotic sociopaths.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm

Some time ago I heard Mulvaney answer the criticism about the Trump budget of the day cutting so much money from EPA that EPA would have to fire half of its relevant scientists. He replied that " this is how we drain the swamp".

Citing "corruption" was misdirection. Trump let his supporters believe that the corruption was The Swamp. What the Trump Group ACTually means by "The Swamp" is all the career scientists and researchers and etc. who take seriously the analyzing and restraining of Upper Class Looter misbehavior.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm

I limited the post to his negotiating approach. One would think someone so erratic would have trouble attracting people. However, Wall Street and a lot of private businesses are full of high maintenance prima donnas at the top. Some of those operations live with a lot of churn in the senior ranks. For others, one way to get them to stay is what amounts to a combat pay premium, they get paid more than they would in other jobs to put up with a difficult boss. I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.

Regarding his time as POTUS, Trump has a lot of things working against him on top of his difficult personality and his inability to pay civil servants a hardship premium:

1. He got elected over the dead bodies of just about everyone who counts in the Republican Party. He pretty much did a hostile takeover of the GOP. So his ability to draw on seasoned hands was nil. And on top of that, he is temperamentally not the type to seek the counsel of perceived wise men in and hanging around the party. The people he has kept around are cronies like Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin.

The one notably competent person he has attracted and retained is Robert Lightizer, the US Trade Representative

2. Another thing that undermines Trump's effectiveness in running a big bureaucracy is his hatred for its structure. He likes very lean organizations with few layers. He can't impose that on his administration. It's trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

cocomaan , January 14, 2020 at 1:56 pm

I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.

Is it just me or does nobody know? Does it seem to anyone else like there has been virtually no investigation of his organization or how it was run?

Maybe it's buried in the endless screeds against Trump, but any investigations of his organizations always seem colored by his presidency. I'd love to see one that's strictly historical.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 2:10 pm

I am simply saying that I have not bothered investigating that issue. There was a NY Times Magazine piece on the Trump Organization before his election. That was where I recall the bit about him hating having a lot of people around him, he regards them as leeches. That piece probably had some info on how long his top people had worked for him.

ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 2:30 am

Congratulations Yves, on another fine piece, one of your best. I might recommend you append this comment to it as an update, or else pen a sequel.

While Trump has more in common stylistically with a Borgia prince out of Machiavelli, or a Roman Emperor ( oderint, dum metuant ) than with a Hitler or a Stalin, your note still puts me in mind of an insightful comment I pulled off a history board a while ago, regarding the reductionist essence of Führerprinzip , mass movement or no mass movement. It's mostly out of Shirer:

Hitler ran the Third Reich by a system of parallel competition among bureaucratic empire builders of all stripes. Anyone who showed servile loyalty and mouthed his yahoo ideology got all the resources they liked, for any purpose they proposed. But the moment he encountered any form of independence or pushback, he changed horses at once. He left the old group in place, but gave all their resources to a burgeoning new bureaucracy that did things his way. If a State body resisted his will, he had a Party body do it instead. He was continually reaching down 2-3 levels in the org charts, to find some ambitious firecracker willing to suck up to him, and leapfrog to the top.

This left behind a complete chaos of rival, duplicated functions, under mainly unfit leaders. And fortunately for the world, how well any of these organizations actually did their jobs was an entirely secondary consideration. Loyalty was all.

Hitler sat at the center of all the resource grabbers and played referee. This made everyone dependent on his nod and ensured his continued power. The message was: there are no superiors in the Reich. There is only der Führer, and his favor trumps everything .

As you note, some of these tools (fortunately) aren't available to Cheeto 45 .

I hope this particular invocation of Godwin's avenger is trenchant, and not OT. Although Godwin himself blessed the #Trump=Hitler comparison some time ago, thereby shark-jumping his own meme.

Tomonthebeach , January 14, 2020 at 12:53 pm

It might be as simple as birds of a feather (blackbirds of course) flocking together. Trump seems to have radar for corrupt cronies as we have seen his swamp draining into the federal prison system. The few over-confident generals he picked, except for Flynn, finally caved when they realized staying was an affront to the honor code they swore to back in OCS or their academy.

lyman alpha blob , January 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm

The crooks in the Reagan administration were getting bounced seemingly every other day. Just found this from Brookings (blecchh) which if accurate says Trump has recently surpassed Reagan – https://www.brookings.edu/research/tracking-turnover-in-the-trump-administration/

I don't know how they selected staff in the Reagan years, but lately the POTUS seems to appoint based on who the plutocrats want. As has been noted Bary O took his marching orders from Citigroup if I remember right. I doubt if Trump had even heard of most of the people he appointed prior to becoming president. So at least some of Trump's turnover is due to him firing recommendations from others who didn't turn out how he'd like. That's one reason I didn't get all that upset over the Bolton hiring – I didn't think he'd last a year before Trump canned him.

My recollection of the Reagan years was that he had a lot of staff who left to "spend more time with their families"; in other words they got caught being crooked and we're told to go lest they besmirch the sterling reputation of St. Ronnie.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:57 pm

He early-on adopted the concept of "dismantle the Administrative State". Some of his appointees are designed to do that from within. He appoints termites to the Department of Lumber Integrity because he wants to leave the lumber all destroyed after he leaves the White House.

His farm bill is only a disaster to those who support Good Farm Bill Governance. His mission is to destroy as much of the knowledge and programs within the USDA as possible. So his farm bill is designed to achieve the destruction he wants to achieve. If it works, it was a good farm bill from his viewpoint. For example.

Ignacio , January 15, 2020 at 5:38 am

I would say that Trump, not acting in an intelligent way is doing very clever things according to his interests. My opinion is that his actions/negotiations with foreign countries are 100% directed for domestic consumptiom. He does not care at all about international relationships, just his populist "make America great again" and he almost certainly play closest attention to the impact of his actions in US opinion.

He calculates the risks and takes measures that show he is a strong man defending US interests (in a very symplistic and populist way) no matter if someone or many are offended, abused or even killed as we have recently seen. Then if it is appreciated that a limit has been reached, and the limit is not set by international reactions but perceived domestic reactions, he may do a setback showing how sensibly magnanimous can a strongman like him be. In the domestic front, IMO, he does not give a damn on centrists of all kinds. Particularly, smart centrists are strictly following Trumps playbook focusing on actions that by no means debilitate his positioning as strongman in foreign issues and divert attention from the real things that would worry Trump. The impeachment is exactly that. Trump must be 100% confident that he would win any contest with any "smart" centrist. Of course he also loves all the noises he generates with, for instance, the Soleimani killing or Huawei banning that distract from his giveaways to the oligarchs and further debilitation of remaining welfare programs and environmental programs. This measures don't pass totally unnoticed but Hate Inc . and public opinions/debates are not paying the attention his domestic measures deserve. Trump's populism feeds on oligarch support and despair and his policies are designed to keep and increase both. Polls on Democrats distract from the most important polls on public opinion about Trum "surprise" actions.

Trump will go for a third term.

Seamus Padraig , January 14, 2020 at 7:18 am

Trump has the rare gift of being able to drive his enemies insane – just witness what's become of the Democrats, a once proud American political party.

Eureka Springs , January 14, 2020 at 9:39 am

Democrats have long been (what, 50 plus yrs. – Phil Ochs – Love Me I'm A Liberal) exuding false pride of not appearing to be or sounding insane. Their place, being the concern troll of the duopoly. All are mad. If the Obama years didn't prove it, the Dems during Bush Cheney certainly did.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:53 am

Yes, 50 years. Nixon played mad to get his Vietnam politics through, Reagan was certifiable "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever." "We begin bombing in five minutes." live on air. Etc.

vlade , January 14, 2020 at 7:38 am

I suspect only half of the post was posted? The last para seems to get cut in mid sentence.

I'd add one more thing (which may be in the second half, assuming there's one). Trump's massively insane demands are a good anchoring strategy. Even semi-rational player will not make out-of-this-earth demands – they would be seen as either undermining their rationality, or clearly meant to only anchor so less effective (but surprisingly, even when we know it's only an anchor it apparently works, at least a bit). With irrational Trump, one just doesn't know.

GramSci , January 14, 2020 at 7:41 am

Classic predatory behaviors: culling the herd and eating the weak.

David , January 14, 2020 at 8:21 am

I think Trump understands that one of the basic tactics of negotiation (though forgotten by the Left(tm)) is to set out a maximalist position before the negotiation starts, so that you have room to make compromises later.

Sometimes this works better than others – I don't know how far you can do it with the Chinese, for example. But then Trump may have inadvertently played, in that case, into the tradition of scripted public utterances combined with behind-the-scenes real negotiation that tends to characterize bargaining in Asia.

But in domestic politics, there's no doubt that publicly announcing extreme negotiating positions is a winning tactic. You force the media and other political actors to comment and make counter-proposals, thus dragging the argument more in your direction from the very start. Trump remembers something that his opponents have willfully forgotten: compromise is something you finish with not something you start from . In itself, any given compromise has no particular virtue or value.

Michael Fiorillo , January 14, 2020 at 8:59 am

Yes, Trump does seem to be very good at getting to people to "negotiate against themselves."

chuck roast , January 14, 2020 at 9:52 am

and that is why Trump will eat Biden's lunch.

The Rev Kev , January 14, 2020 at 9:09 am

There is actually two parts to a negotiation I should mention. There is negotiating a deal. And then there is carrying it out. Not only Trump but the US has shown itself incapable of upholding deals but they will break them when they see an advantage or an opportunity. Worse, one part of the government may be fighting another part of the government and will sabotage that deal in sometimes spectacular fashion.
So what is the point of having all these weird and wonderful negotiating strategies if any partners that you have on the international stage have learned that Trump's word is merely a negotiating tactic? And this includes after a deal is signed when he applies some more pressure to change something in an agreement that he just signed off on? If you can't keep a deal, then ultimately negotiating a deal is useless.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:28 am

The incapability of the US to keep their treaties has been a founding principle of the country. Ask any Indian.

Putin or the russian foreign ministry called the US treaty incapable a few years before Trump, and they were not wrong. Trump didn't help being erratic as he is, but he didn't cancel any treaty on his own: JCPOA, INF, etc. He had pretty broad support for all of these. Only maybe NAFTA was his own idea.

timbers , January 14, 2020 at 9:47 am

I'm just not impressed by Trump in any way.

He owes the fact he's President not to any skill he has, but to Democrats being so bad. Many non establishment types could have beaten Hillary.

And Trump owes the fact that he's not DOA in 2020 re-election again because Democrats are so bad. There are a handful of extremely popular social programs Democrats could champion that would win over millions of voters and doom Trump's re-election. But instead, they double down on issues that energize Trump's base, are not off-limits to there donors while ignoring what the broad non corporate/rich majority support. For example impeaching him for being the first recent President not to start a major new war for profit and killing millions and then saying it's really because something he did in Ukraine that 95% of Americans couldn't care less about and won't even bother to understand even if they could.

That leaves the fact he is rather rich and must have done something to become that. I don't know enough about him to evaluate that. But I would never what to know him or have a friend that acts like him. I've avoided people like that in my life.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Did you read the post as positive? Please read again. Saying that Trump's strategy works only to the extent that he winds up selecting for weak partners is not praise. First, it is clinical, and second, it says his strategy has considerable costs.

rd , January 14, 2020 at 6:54 pm

I find it interesting that the primary foreign entity who has played Trump like a violin is Kim in North Korea. He has gotten everything he wanted, except sanctions relief over the past couple of years.

However, Trump's style of negotiating with Iran has made it clear to Kim that North Korea would be idiots to give up their nuclear weapons and missiles. Meanwhile, Iran has watched Trump's attitude towards Kim since Kim blew up his first bomb and Trump is forcing them to develop nuclear weapons to be able to negotiate with Trump and the West.

ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 1:36 am

But other than the minor matter of US 8th Army (cadre) sitting in the line of fire, the bulk of any risks posed by Li'l Kim are borne by South Korea, Japan and China. So for Trump, it's still down the list a ways, until the Norks can nuke tip a missile and hit Honolulu. So what coup has Kim achieved at Trump's expense, again?

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:13 pm

Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate.

A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all.

The ClintoBama Pelosicrats have no standing on which to pretend to support some very popular social programs and hope to be believed any longer. Maybe that is why they feel there is no point in even pretending any more.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Mind you, there's no reason to think that this negotiation approach wasn't an adaptation to Trump's emotional volatility, as in finding a way to make what should have been a weakness a plus. And that he's less able to make that adaptation work well as he's over his head, has less control than as a private businessman, and generally under way more pressure.

HH , January 14, 2020 at 11:43 am

I recall reading that Trump's empire would have collapsed during the casino fiasco were it not for lending from his father when credit was not available elsewhere. NYT investigative reporters have turned up evidence of massive financial support from Trump father to son to the tune of hundreds of millions throughout the son's career. So much for the great businessman argument.

carbpow , January 14, 2020 at 11:45 am

Trump is nothing more or less than a reflection of the mind set of the US people. The left wing resorts to the same tactics that Trump uses to gain their ends. Rational thought and reasonable discussion seems to be absent. Everyone is looking for a cause for the country's failing infrastructure, declining life expectancy, and loss of opportunity for their children to have a better life than they were able to achieve.

They each blame the other side. But there are more than two sides to most folks experience. If ever the USA citizens abolish or just gets fed up with the two party system maybe things will change. In reality most people know there is little difference between the two parties so why even vote?

Jeremy Grimm , January 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm

This analysis of Trump reminded me of a story I heard from the founders of a small rural radio station. Both had been in broadcasting for years at a large station in a major market, one as a program director and the other in sales. They competed for a broadcasting license that became available and they won.

With the license in-hand they needed to obtain investments to get the station on-air within a year or they would lose the license. Even with their combined savings and as much money as they could obtain from other members of their families and from friends -- they were short what they needed by several hundred thousand dollars.

Their collateral was tapped out and banks wouldn't loan on the broadcast license alone without further backing. They had to find private investors. They located and presented to several but their project could find no backers. In many cases prospects told them their project was too small -- needed too little money -- to be of interest. As the deadline for going on-air loomed they were put in touch with a wealthy local farmer.

After a long evening presenting their business case to this farmer in ever greater detail, he sat back and told them he would give them the money they needed to get their station on-air -- but he wanted a larger interest in the business than what they offered him. He wanted a 51% interest -- a controlling interest -- or he would not give them the money, and they both had to agree to work for the new radio station for a year after it went on-air.

The two holders of the soon to be lost broadcast license looked at each other and told the farmer he could keep his money and left. The next day the farmer called on the phone and gave them the names and contact information for a few investors, any one of whom should be able and interested in investing the amounts they needed on their terms. He also told them that had they accepted his offer he would have driven them out of the new station before the end of the year it went on-air. He said he wanted to see whether they were 'serious' before putting them in touch with serious investors.

juliania , January 14, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Sorry, assassination doesn't fit into this scenario. That is a bridge too far. Trump has lost his effectiveness by boasting about this. It isn't just unpredictability. It is dangerous unpredictability.

Yves Smith Post author , January 15, 2020 at 5:52 am

I never once said that Trump was studied in how he operates, in fact, I repeatedly pointed out that he's highly emotional and undisciplined. I'm simply describing some implications.

meadows , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm

If our corrupt Congress had not ceded their "co-equal" branch of gov't authority over the last 40 years thereby gradually creating the Imperial Presidency that we have now, we might comfortably mitigate much of the mad king antics.

Didn't the Founding Fathers try desperately to escape the terrible wars of Europe brought on by the whims and grievances of inbred kings, generation after generation? Now on a whim w/out so much as a peep to Congress, presidential murder is committed and the CongressCritters bleat fruitlessly for crumbs of info about it.

I see no signs of this top-heavy imperialism diminishing. Every decision will vanish into a black hole marked "classified."

I am profoundly discouraged at 68 who at 18 years old became a conscientious objector, that the same undeclared BS wars and BS lies are used to justify continuous conflct almost nonstop these last 50 years as if engaging in such violence can ever be sucessful in achieving peaceful ends? Unless the maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are the actual desired result.

Trump's negotiating style is chaos-inducing deliberately, then eventually a "Big Daddy" Trump can fix the mess, spin the mess and those of us still in the thrall of big-daddyism can feel assuaged. It's the relief of the famiy abuser who after the emotional violence establishes a temporary calm and family members briefly experience respite, yet remain wary and afraid.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Bingo!

The maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are exACTLY the desired result. Deliberately and on purpose.

Jeff Wells of Rigorous Intuition wrote a post about that years ago, in a different context. Here it is.

https://rigint.blogspot.com/2006/07/violent-bear-it-away.html

xkeyscored , January 15, 2020 at 5:42 am

It also helps him do some things quietly in the background
I think you've hit the nail on the head there.

KFritz , January 14, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Kim Jong Un uses similar tactics, strategy, perhaps even style. Clinically and intellectually, it's interesting to watch their interaction. Emotionally, given their weaponry, it's terrifying.

Jason , January 15, 2020 at 9:15 am

Great post! The part about selecting for desperate business partners is very insightful, it makes his cozying up to dictators and pariah states much more understandable. He probably thinks/feels that these leaders are so desperate for approval from a country like the US that, when he needs something from them, he will have more leverage and be able to impose what he wants.

[Jan 14, 2020] The EU is a hopeless vassal of the US. It doesn't matter if the EU is agreement capable or not. They have no sovereignty to begin with.

Notable quotes:
"... Deal finishes October 2020 if I remember correctly. All sanctions will be lifted so long as Iran is in compliance at that time. This is a move to prevent this. ..."
"... Obviously, Merkel doesn't have the political strength to nix Nordstream 2. Until she's replaced by someone with greater vision, EU and German policy won't change toward Iran. IMO, the trio don't amount to the level of poodles as they're known to have courage. The Trio proudly display the fact that they're 100% Cowards. ..."
"... The EU cannot lead in anything - it is a completely owned and operated US tool. It is a big zero in providing humanity any help with the big problem of our time: the 'indispensable and exceptional' supremacist US. ..."
Jan 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nemo , Jan 14 2020 19:35 utc | 1

Be fair. It doesn't matter if the EU is agreement capable or not. They have no sovereignty to begin with. It is known.

powerandpeople , Jan 14 2020 19:37 utc | 2

Deal finishes October 2020 if I remember correctly. All sanctions will be lifted so long as Iran is in compliance at that time. This is a move to prevent this.
BraveNewWorld , Jan 14 2020 19:41 utc | 3
I always learn some thing here. For example imagine my surprise to learn the EU had a reputation worth protecting. All you need to know about the EU is bitches will do what bitches are told. This is just one more step on the road to war with China, is that really what the citizens of the EU want? Are the people of the EU ready to die for the Trump and the Republican party?
Ghost Ship , Jan 14 2020 19:42 utc | 4
Nemo @ 1

You forget that on the day the UK leaves the EU it recovers full sovereignty. Well at least Boris Johnson claimed it would.

Realist , Jan 14 2020 19:49 utc | 6
Think tanks, think tanks, think tanks. In 2009, the Brookings Institute's paper Which Path to Persia, proposed offering Iran a very good deal and then sabotaging it. Good cop, Obama, bad cop, Trump. Mission accomplished.
winston2 , Jan 14 2020 19:50 utc | 7
Only a matter of when and how. The warmongers have Trumps balls in a vice, he can't even resign without making it worse by letting Pence take over. The art of the squeal, very high pitched is whats happening in DC.
Heath , Jan 14 2020 19:51 utc | 8
1st of all The UK was always going to side with DC over Iran. 2ndly for France and Germany they probably aren't ready to put themselves plus their EU partners in the US doghouse for Iran. When they break it will be a time of their own choosing.
Likklemore , Jan 14 2020 19:52 utc | 9
Thanks b, for this detailed coverage of the 3 wimps' efforts to kill JCPOA. You did not disappoint. Love the image showing mother residing in "occupied Palestine" .. (term coined by MoA barfly)

I commented in the previous post, Russia warned of unintended consequences LINK

Moscow is calling on the European parties to the Iran nuclear deal not to escalate tensions and to abandon their decision to trigger the treaty's Dispute Resolution Mechanism, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

"We strongly urge the Eurotroika [of parties to the JCPOA] not to inflame tensions and to abandon any steps which call the prospects of the nuclear deal's future into question. Despite all the challenges it has faced, the JCPOA has not lost its relevance," the ministry said in a statement.

OTH
Trumps impeachment trial begins next Tuesday

so the focus shifts BUT

what do we make of this?

Court in Ukraine orders investigation of Poroshenko, Obama administration members

Ex-US vice-president, Joseph Biden is also suspected of corruption, according to a member of the Ukrainian parliament

KIEV, January 14. /TASS/. Ukraine's Supreme Anti-Corruption Court has obliged the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) to launch a probe into seizure of government power and corruption suspicions. The cases mention the names of the United States' 44th president, Barack Obama, former Ukrainian president, Pyotr Poroshenko and ex-US vice-president, Joseph Biden, a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the Opposition Platform - For Life party, Renat Kuzmin, said[.]

"investigate the suspicions over the seizure of government power in Ukraine and of the embezzlement of state budget money and international financial assistance by members of the Obama administration"

that's what the man said.

Russ , Jan 14 2020 19:53 utc | 10
If it ever was possible to sign a treaty with the US and expect them to abide by it, it hasn't been possible for a long time. Here as everywhere else, Trump merely openly proclaims the systemic lawlessness he shares with the rest of the US political class. (His contemptuous withdrawal from the JCPOA never has been one of the things the establishment and media criticize him for.)

For as long as US imperial power lasts, anyone who doesn't want to be a poodle (or to get regime-changed because they foolishly attempt to sit the fence) has to accept that there can be no legitimate agreements with the US or its poodles. If you sign a treaty with them, you have to view it exactly the same way you know they do, as nothing but propaganda, otherwise not worth the paper it's written on. No doubt North Korea, if they were in any doubt before, registered how Trump and the US media immediately proceeded to systematically lie about the agreement they'd supposedly just concluded, before the ink was even dry.

Here's hoping that if Iran was in any doubt before, they too are getting the message: As far as the US and Europe are concerned, the only purpose of the JCPOA is to serve as a weapon against them.

Pnyx , Jan 14 2020 19:53 utc | 11
Face it B, there will be blood. It's a matter of time. It's unavoidable. The empire will force its own destruction - and perhaps the rest of humanity's. The demons of nihilism will prevail. (Sounds like I have been hearing death metal. I swear I did not. And I not under the influence either.)
les7 , Jan 14 2020 19:53 utc | 12
The Oct 2020 deadline is important for more than one reason- Irans application to the SCO is being held up because of it. The SCO membership would obligate support from countries like India in response to politically motivated sanctions.
karlof1 , Jan 14 2020 19:54 utc | 13
Surprised at Germany since Merkel just met with Putin. When I read of this earlier this morning, that it's based on lies was 100% clear, that the trio are feckless and deserve all the social instability that will soon come their way. Why did I mention social instability:

Breaking :

"US, Japan, EU seek new global rules limiting subsidies."

Thus begging this question : "Does that include all the free money printing from central banks and repo market interventions?"

And why would the Fed need to do this at a time of the greatest Bull Market of all time:

"The Fed is considering a plan to allow them to lend cash DIRECTLY TO HEDGE FUNDS in order to ease the REPO Crisis. [Emphasis original]

"Where is 'bailing out private investment funds' in their alleged 'dual mandate'?"

Which gets us back to the reason Iran's targeted: Because it lies outside the dollar economy, refuses to engage in petrodollar recycling, and has a quasi-socialist economy with no private banking. Plus, we now see that Iraq will pursue evicting NATO and Outlaw US Empire forces and likely join the Arc of Resistance's/Iran's policies which are what the Outlaw US Empire went to war over to begin with.

Obviously, Merkel doesn't have the political strength to nix Nordstream 2. Until she's replaced by someone with greater vision, EU and German policy won't change toward Iran. IMO, the trio don't amount to the level of poodles as they're known to have courage. The Trio proudly display the fact that they're 100% Cowards.

Heath , Jan 14 2020 19:57 utc | 14
@ realist 6. basically it boils down to giving Barry a foreign policy award like getting the Nobel gong.

AriusArmenian , Jan 14 2020 19:58 utc | 15

The EU is a hopeless craven vassal of the US. The US dropping out of the JCPOA was the acid test which the EU has spectacularly failed. We are in a historical pivot with the rise of the coalescing multifarious East which is forcing the EU to make a decision: stay under the US wing, go it alone, or ally with the East. The EU seems to know it at least should get more distance between itself and the US but every time there is a major geopolitical event it starts to talk like it is going independent but then always drops back into the US hand. How many times does this have to happen for us to admit what the EU is about?

The EU cannot lead in anything - it is a completely owned and operated US tool. It is a big zero in providing humanity any help with the big problem of our time: the 'indispensable and exceptional' supremacist US.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jan 14 2020 19:58 utc | 15

Brad , Jan 14 2020 20:00 utc | 16
If we accept that EU nations lack sovereignty and go further to suggest that such nations are more simulations than real, what would an analysis of such events as the fallout from the demise of the JCPOA look like? How should one talk about international events when corporate sovereignty and oligarchical decision making are the real? How would we describe this exact context based not on the simulation but on the real workings of power?
Nemo , Jan 14 2020 20:04 utc | 17
Yes indeed! At least blighty knows the score! The leash is no place for the British bulldog. When brexit is complete they will be free to crawl straight up muricas bum! Lol!
alaff , Jan 14 2020 20:07 utc | 18
Haha, great drawing. This pile on the left is incomparable. But the picture is incomplete - there is not enough proudly walking in front of the masters of a small Polish poodle with a bone in his teeth.

Agree with Nemo, #1. This is a matter of sovereignty. At the moment, European countries are not sovereign, and, btw, this is a kind of double non-sovereignty: the submission of a separate European country to the Americans, plus the submission of the same country to a Brussels bureaucracy called the EU leadership. What independent, bold decisions can we talk about? None.

The once great Europe...

[Jan 07, 2020] The United States, like Israel, has become a pariah that shreds, violates or absents itself from international law

Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

The United States, like Israel, has become a pariah that shreds, violates or absents itself from international law. We launch preemptive wars, which under international law is defined as a "crime of aggression," based on fabricated evidence. We, as citizens, must hold our government accountable for these crimes. If we do not, we will be complicit in the codification of a new world order, one that would have terrifying consequences. It would be a world without treaties, statutes and laws. It would be a world where any nation, from a rogue nuclear state to a great imperial power, would be able to invoke its domestic laws to annul its obligations to others. Such a new order would undo five decades of international cooperation -- largely put in place by the United States -- and thrust us into a Hobbesian nightmare. Diplomacy, broad cooperation, treaties and law, all the mechanisms designed to civilize the global community, would be replaced by savagery.

Chris Hedges, an Arabic speaker, is a former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. He spent seven years covering the region, including Iran.

[Jan 06, 2020] Diplomacy Trump-style. Al Capone probably would be allow himself to fall that low

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Fec , Jan 5 2020 15:23 utc | 3

"We have learned today from #Iraq Prime Minister AdilAbdl Mahdi how @realDonaldTrump uses diplomacy:
#US asked #Iraq to mediate with #Iran. Iraq PM asks #QassemSoleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer of his mediation, Trump &co assassinate an envoy at the airport."

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1213833855754485762

[Jan 06, 2020] Now I know for sure that the US government spreads shameless lies, so you can't believe anything it says.

Notable quotes:
"... So, I did not see it as a war crime back then, but I do now. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , says: Show Comment January 5, 2020 at 10:22 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski At the time I thought that it might be justified, if Al Qaida actually did 9/11. Now I know that Al Qaida was and is a CIA operation and have my doubts regarding its involvement in 9/11.

Even if it was, that was on direct orders of its American handlers.

What's more, now I know for sure that the US government spreads shameless lies, so you can't believe anything it says. In fact, you can safely assume that everything it says is a lie and be right 99.9% of the time.

So, I did not see it as a war crime back then, but I do now.

[Dec 31, 2019] The US is now openly dismissive as a matter of law any ally or partner who engages in economic activity it disapproves by Tom Luongo

Dec 26, 2019 | astutenews.com

Europe is willing to defy the U.S. on Nordstream to the point of forcing the U.S. to openly and nakedly destroy its reputation with European contractors and governments to stop one pipeline in a place where multiple gas pipelines will be needed for future growth.

This is the diplomatic equivalent of the nuclear option. And the neocons in the Senate just pushed the button. Europe understands what this is really about, the U.S. retaining its imperial position as the policy setter for all the world. If it can set energy policy for Europe then it can set everything else.

And it's clear that the leadership in Europe is done with that status quo. The Trump administration from the beginning has used NATO as an excuse to mask its real intentions towards Europe, which is continued domination of its policies. Trump complains that the U.S. pays into NATO to protect Europe from Russia but then Europe buys its energy from Russia. That's unfair, Donald complains, like a little bitch, frankly, even though he right on the surface. But if the recent NATO summit is any indication, Europe is no longer interested in NATO performing that function. French President Emmanuel Macron wants NATO re-purposed to fight global terror, a terrible idea. NATO should just be ended.

But you'll notice how Trump doesn't talk about that anymore. He wants more billions pumped into NATO while the U.S. still sets its policies. This is not a boondoggle for the MIC as much as it's a Sword of Damocles to hold over Europe's head. The U.S.'s involvement in should be ended immediately, the troops brought home and the billions of dollars spent here as opposed to occupying most of Europe to point missiles at a Russia wholly uninterested in imperial ambitions no less harboring any of them.

And Trump also knows this but thinks stopping Nordstream 2 is the price Europe has to pay him for this privilege. It's insane. The time has come for Europe to act independently from the U.S. As much as I despise the EU, to untangle it from the U.S. on energy policy is the means by which for it to then deal with its problems internally. It can't do that while the U.S. is threatening it. Circling the wagons against the immediate threat, as it were.

And that means protecting its companies and citizens from the economic depredations of power-mad neoconservatives in the U.S. Senate like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

Allseas, the Swiss company laying the pipe for Nordstream 2, has halted construction for now , awaiting instructions from the U.S. Gazprom will likely step in to finish the job and Germany will green light any of the necessary permits to get the pipeline done. Those people will be put out of work just in time for Christmas, turning thousands of people against the U.S. Commerce drives people together, politics drives them apart.

But, at the same time, the urgency to finish Nordstream 2 on time is wholly irrelevant now because Ukraine and Russia came to terms on a new five-year gas transit contract. This ensures Gazprom can meet its contractual deliveries to Europe that no one thought could be done on time. But when the Nazi threat to Zelensky meeting with Merkel, Macron and Putin in Paris failed to materialize, a gas deal was on the horizon.

And, guess what? U.S. LNG will still not have the marginal lever over Europe's energy policy because of that. Putin and Zelensky outmaneuvered Cruz, Graham and Trump on this. Because that's what this boils down to. By keeping Russian gas out of Europe, it was supposed to constrain not only Russia's growth but also Europe's. Because then the U.S. government can control who and how much energy can make it into European markets at critical junctures politically.

That was the Bolton Doctrine to National Security. And that doctrine brought nothing but misery to millions.

And if you look back over the past five years of U.S./EU relations you will see this gambit clearly for what it was, a way to continue European vassalage at the hands of the U.S. by forcing market share of U.S. providers into European markets.

Again, it gets back to Trump's ideas about Emergy Dominance and becoming the supplier of the marginal erg of energy to important economies around the world.

The smart play for the EU now that the gas transit deal is in place is to threaten counter-sanctions against the U.S. and bar all LNG shipments into Europe. Gas prices are at historic lows, gas supplies are overflowing thanks to fears of a deal not being in place.

So, a three to six month embargo of U.S. LNG into Europe to bleed off excess supply while Nordstream 2 is completed would be the right play politically.

But, in reality, they won't need to, because the U.S. won't be able to import much into Europe under current prices and market conditions. And once Nordstream 2 is complete, LNG sales to Europe should crater.

In the end, I guess it's too bad for Ted Cruz that economics and basic human ingenuity are more powerful than legislatures. Because Nordstream 2 will be completed. Turkstream's other trains into Europe will be built. Venezuela will continue rebuilding its energy sector with Russian and Chinese help.

There is no place for U.S. LNG in Europe outside of the Poles literally burning money virtue signaling their Russophobia. Nordstream 2 was a response to the revolt in Ukraine, to replace any potential losses in market share to Europe. Now Russia will have what it had before passing through Ukraine along with Nordstream 2. By 2024 there will be at least two trains from Turkstream coming into Europe.

Iran will keep expanding exports, settling its oil and gas trade through Russian banks. And the U.S. will continue to fulminate and make itself even more irrelevant over time. What men like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump refuse to understand is that when you go nuclear you can't ever go back. If you threaten the nuclear option, there's no fall back position.

And when those that you threaten with annihilation survive they are made all the stronger for passing through the eye of the needle. Looking at Gazprom's balance sheet right now, that's my take.


By Tom Luongo. Source: Gold Goats 'n Guns

[Dec 19, 2019] Never Trust a Failing Empire by Federico Pieraccini

Dec 17, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The Washington Post , through documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, has published a long investigation into Afghanistan. Journalists have collected over 400 testimonies from American diplomats, NATO generals and other NATO personnel, that show that reports about Afghanistan were falsified to deceive the public about the real situation on the ground.

After the tampering with and falsification of the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), we are witnessing another event that will certainly discomfit those who have hitherto relied on the official reports of the Pentagon, the US State Department and international organizations like the OPCW for the last word.

There are very deliberate reasons for such disinformation campaigns. In the case of the OPCW, as I wrote some time back, the aim was to paint the Syrian government as the fiend and the al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked "moderate rebels" as the innocent souls, thereby likely justifying a responsibility-to-protect armed intervention by the likes of the US, the UK and France. In such circumstances, the standing and status of the reporting organization (like the OPCW) is commandeered to validate Western propaganda that is duly disseminated through the corporate-controlled mainstream media.

In this particular case, various Western capitals colluded with the OPCW to lay the groundwork for the removal of Assad and his replacement with the al-Nusra Front as well as the very same al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked armed opposition officially responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

As if the massaging of the OPCW reports were not enough in themselves to provoke international outrage, this dossier serves to give aid and comfort to jihadi groups supported by the Pentagon who are known to be responsible for the worst human-rights abuses, as seen in Syria and Iraq in the last 6 years.

False or carefully manipulated reports paint a picture vastly different from the reality on the ground. The United States has never really declared war on Islamic terrorism, its proclamations of a "War on Terror" notwithstanding. In reality, it has simply used this justification to occupy or destabilize strategically important areas of the world in the interests of maintaining US hegemony, intending in so doing to hobble the energy policies and national security of rival countries like China, Iran and the Russian Federation.

The Post investigation lays bare how the US strategy had failed since its inception, the data doctored to represent a reality very different from that on the ground. The inability of the United States to clean up Afghanistan is blamed by the Post on incorrect military planning and incorrect political choices. While this could certainly be the case, the Post's real purpose in its investigation is to harm Trump, even as it reveals the Pentagon's efforts to continue its regional presence for grand geopolitical goals by hiding inconvenient truths.

The real issue lies in the built-in mendacity of the bureaucratic and military apparatus of the United States. No general has ever gone on TV to say that the US presence in Iraq is needed to support any war against Iran; or that Afghanistan is a great point of entry for the destabilization of Eurasia, because this very heart of the Heartland is crucial to the Sino-Russian transcontinental integration projects like the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative. In the same vein, the overthrow of the Syrian government would have ensured Israel a greater capacity to expand its interests in the Middle East, as well as to weaken Iran's main regional ally.

The Post investigation lays bare the hypocrisy of the military-industrial complex as well as the prevailing political establishments of Europe and the United States. These parties are not interested in human rights, the wellbeing of civilians or justice in general. Their only goal is to try and maintain their global hegemony indefinitely by preventing any other powers from being able to realize their potential and thereby pose a threat to Atlanticist preeminence.

The war in Iraq was launched to destabilize the Middle East, China's energy-supply basin crucial to fueling her future growth. The war in Syria served the purpose of further dismantling the Middle East to favor Saudi Arabia and Israel, the West's main strategic allies in the Persian Gulf. The war in Afghanistan was to slow down the Eurasian integration of China and Russia. And the war in Ukraine was for the purposes of generating chaos and destruction on Russia's border, with the initial hope of wresting the very strategically area of Crimea from Russia.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and this has been on full display in recent times. Almost all of Washington's recent strategic objectives have ended up producing results worse than the status quo ante. In Iraq there is the type of strong cooperation between Baghdad and Tehran reminiscent of the time prior to 1979. Through Hezbollah, Iran has strengthened its position in Syria in defense of Damascus. Moscow has found itself playing the role of crucial decider in the Middle East (and soon in North Africa), until only a few years ago the sole prerogative of Washington. Turkey's problems with NATO, coupled with Tel Aviv's open relation with Moscow are both a prime example of Washington's diminishing influence in the region and Moscow's corresponding increase in influence.

The situation in Afghanistan is not very different, with a general recognition that peace is the only option for the region being reflected in the talks between the Afghans, the Taliban, the Russians, Chinese, Indians and Pakistanis. Beijing and Moscow have well known for over a decade the real intent behind Washington's presence in the country, endeavoring to blunt its impact.

The Post investigation only further increases the public's war weariness, the war in Afghanistan now having lasted 18 years, the longest war in US history. Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Post , is a bitter opponent of Trump and wants the president to come clean on the Afghanistan debacle by admitting that the troops cannot be withdrawn. Needless to say, admitting such would not help Trump's strategy for the 2020 election. Trump cannot afford to humiliate the US military, given that it, along with the US dollar, is his main weapon of "diplomacy". Were it to be revealed that some illiterate peasants holed up in caves and armed with AK-47s some 40 years ago are responsible for successfully keeping the most powerful army in history at bay, all of Washington's propaganda, disseminated by a compliant media, will cease to be of any effect. Such a revelation would also humiliate military personnel, an otherwise dependable demographic Trump cannot afford to alienate.

The Washington Post performed a service to the country by shedding light on the disinformation used to sustain endless war. But the Post's intentions are also political, seeking to undermine Trump's electoral chances by damaging Trump's military credentials as well as his standing amongst military personnel. What Washington's elite and the Post do not know, or perhaps prefer to ignore, is that such media investigations directed against political opponents actually end up doing irreparable damage to the political and military prestige of the United States.

In other words, when journalist do their job, the military industrial complex finds it difficult to lie its way through wars and failures, but when a country relies on Hollywood to sustain its make-believe world, as well as on journalists on the CIA payroll, on compliant publishers and on censored news, then any such revelations of forbidden truths threaten to bring the whole facade crashing down.

[Dec 08, 2019] Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Notable quotes:
"... Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider. ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: December 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm GMT

US political "elites" are generally appallingly incompetent in matters of war and are "educated" mostly through Hollywood and Clansiesque "literature". I am not even sure that they comprehend what Congressional Research Service prepares for them as compressed briefings. Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Very true, especially the part about "Hollywood and Clansiesque 'literature.'" I used to read Clancy's books and, while entertaining, in retrospect they appear ridiculous, even childish. But they probably capture the popular notion of American military invincibility better than any other.

Most of Hollywood's output is garbage anyway, and its grasp of real war and military matters appears to be that of a not so precocious third grader.

Arioch , says: December 5, 2019 at 8:58 pm GMT
@joe tentpeg

> USSR Katyn forrest massacre (Poland), Afghanistan.

Katyn, whoever did it, was much before Cold War and before even first relatively small nuclear blast.

And if you want to go that far – why not remember crisis over West Berlin, where tank armees were watching one another, but no one pulled trigger?

Afghanistan was attacking one's own ally. Same as Prague 1968 and Hungary 1956. If you want to compare – that is like USA invading Panama to remove their no longer reliable puppet Norriega. Did American attack on their own Panama risk USSR going ballistic? Hardly so. There was no Soviet invasion into Pakistan nor there was Chinese/American invasion into India.

And looking away from purely military events, there was no attempt to arrest the whole embassy stuff them, neither in Moscow nor in DC. No killing Soviet ambassadors in NATO states during official events.

Those dirty games had red lines, both sides maintained. Today? Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider.

> deploying conventional anti-ballistic missile defenses around their most important cities.

No, by then effective treaty both USSR and USA had only ONE region they were allowed to protect. Those were some nuclear launchpads in USA i guess, and one single city (Moscow) in USSR. No more.

> deterrence [did not] worked
> See the last phrase in bullet 2.

You suppose USSR killed itself trying to keep deterrence working. That does not show it did not work, already. That shows it worked so well (at least from Soviet perspective) that they gambled all they had on the futile effort of keeping that deterrence working into the future.

[Sep 12, 2019] The stars-and-stripes-wavers you meet in comment forums are usually blissfully ignorant, happy in their fool's paradise where everyone wants to be an American, and resistance to Uncle Sam's ruthless bullying is inspired by jealousy and inadequacy.

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman September 10, 2019 at 8:42 am

One reaction Americans are unaccustomed to is pity. When I meet them on the boats, traveling, I am always extra nice to them, because I feel sorry for them. They have to go back. They're nice people, mostly, they've never done anything to me personally. But sooner or later, they have to go back to where those license plates were issued. They can't stay here. And I'm sorry for them. But I would imagine most of them feel they are envied, and their citizenship is coveted by the less-fortunate. That might be true in some third-world hellholes where people would go anywhere to get out, but it certainly isn't so here.

The stars-and-stripes-wavers you meet in comment forums are usually blissfully ignorant, happy in their fool's paradise where everyone wants to be an American, and resistance to Uncle Sam's ruthless bullying is inspired by jealousy and inadequacy. For them, simply acknowledging that Washington sometimes makes mistakes – which it's allowed to do, because it's exceptional – is the essence of responsibility and fairness. There, I said we aren't always right – what could be more fair? But when America invades a country that did nothing to provoke it except refuse when it was ordered to do this or that, sometimes things it couldn't do, like abandon the nuclear weapons program it didn't have well, that was a mistake, but it was an honest mistake because no end of smart people the world over agreed they did indeed have a nuclear weapons program. I mean, if you don't do something quick, the consequences could be a mushroom cloud, ya know. And when it orders the democratically-elected president of a country to stand down and make way for a hand-picked replacement, it's not being arrogant. No; it's taking necessary on behalf of that leader's benighted people, who suffer awful oppression at his hands, and America only wants them to be free to make good choices.

A lot of those comments go unanswered; some because many of those forums now insist you sign in with Facebook so they can go behind the scenes and see who and where you are and gain all sorts of personal information about you, because dimwits love to blabber their entire personal lives on Facebook. But some go unanswered simply because there is no real use in trying to change such made-up minds. You will never dent the my-country-right-or-wrong blathering of ignorant people who know nothing beyond what they see on CNN.

[Sep 10, 2019] Behaving like a normal country

Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Martin , Sep 10 2019 4:56 utc | 24

As newly appointed US Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, was reported to have claimed about wanting for Russia to ''behave like a normal country'', Sergey Lavrov urged for him to clarify what he means by ''normality'' during a press conference in the Russian capital; if Russia was to behave like the US, it would have had to bomb Iraq, Libya, supporting an armed, anti-constitutional coup in Kiev, and allocating millions in the interference in the affairs of other countries, as in the ''promotion of democracy'' in Russia.

Sergey Shoygu did not have much to add, but what he did add could not be clearer: Russia will probably have to remain being ''not normal''.

[Sep 10, 2019] A recurring theme in international relations and diplomacy is that dealing with the Americans is like dealing with children. Of course when the American is trying to kill you, as they a often want to do, the actions of the petulant child take on new meaning.

Notable quotes:
"... For the detached observer the juvenile behavior of groups of Americans is plain to see, both in this comment section and in the world at large. ..."
"... This is somewhat curious as this "normal nation" seems to have hit the neocon talking points as SecDef Esper used similiar phrase as applied to Russia. Russian MinFin responded: "he called upon us to act as a normal country [as such] and not like the United States," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press briefing in the Russian capital: Otherwise, we should have been acting like the US, bombing Iraq and Libya in blatant violation of international law " ..."
"... If there is any country in the world that is less "normal" in the scope and ambitions of its foreign policy than ours, I can't think of which one it would be ..."
"... I can think of one in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. As a matter of fact, USA's foreign policy is their foreign policy. ..."
"... This is somewhat curious as this "normal nation" seems to have hit the neocon talking points as SecDef Esper used similar phrase as applied to Russia. ..."
"... Russian MinFin responded: "he called upon us to act as a normal country [as such] and not like the United States," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press briefing in the Russian capital: Otherwise, we should have been acting like the US, bombing Iraq and Libya in blatant violation of international law " ..."
"... Similar to his rhetoric about other countries not following the "rules-based order". The US, which abandons and ignores treaties, or doesn't enter them in the first place but lectures others who have that they need to follow them. Who refuses to be judged by the ICC, UN and others yet wants them to hold others to account. And who call for regime-change of others based on rigged or suspect elections, yet refuses to fix its own crappy system and corruption. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ted01 , Sep 10 2019 7:17 utc | 26

"...and hope an adult wins."

This can never happen. All Americans are inherently childish. They are all a product of the same environment, the same educational system and the same all pervasive 'cultural' influences. This transcends ethnic boundaries for those born in the US or those who arrived at an early age.

For the detached observer the juvenile behavior of groups of Americans is plain to see, both in this comment section and in the world at large.

A recurring theme in international relations and diplomacy is that dealing with 'the Americans' is like dealing with children. Of course when the American is trying to kill you, as they a often want to do, the actions of the petulant child take on new meaning.

Taras77 11 hours ago
This is somewhat curious as this "normal nation" seems to have hit the neocon talking points as SecDef Esper used similiar phrase as applied to Russia.
Russian MinFin responded: "he called upon us to act as a normal country [as such] and not like the United States," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press briefing in the Russian capital: Otherwise, we should have been acting like the US, bombing Iraq and Libya in blatant violation of international law "
Chris in Appalachia 10 hours ago
" If there is any country in the world that is less "normal" in the scope and ambitions of its foreign policy than ours, I can't think of which one it would be."

I can think of one in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. As a matter of fact, USA's foreign policy is their foreign policy.

Taras77 11 hours ago
This is somewhat curious as this "normal nation" seems to have hit the neocon talking points as SecDef Esper used similar phrase as applied to Russia.

Russian MinFin responded: "he called upon us to act as a normal country [as such] and not like the United States," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press briefing in the Russian capital: Otherwise, we should have been acting like the US, bombing Iraq and Libya in blatant violation of international law "

Chris in Appalachia 10 hours ago
" If there is any country in the world that is less "normal" in the scope and ambitions of its foreign policy than ours, I can't think of which one it would be."

I can think of one in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. As a matter of fact, USA's foreign policy is their foreign policy.

Humboldt Octopus 7 hours ago
Similar to his rhetoric about other countries not following the "rules-based order". The US, which abandons and ignores treaties, or doesn't enter them in the first place but lectures others who have that they need to follow them. Who refuses to be judged by the ICC, UN and others yet wants them to hold others to account. And who call for regime-change of others based on rigged or suspect elections, yet refuses to fix its own crappy system and corruption.

This is also a thing about leftists with Trump Derangement Syndrome, who are oh-so-upset about Trump, either ignorant or lying that he's at all an aberration. The US has consistently flouted international law, waged illegal wars and staged violent coups and assassinations, and killed tens of thousands of innocents, under nearly all Presidents, including Obama.

[Sep 10, 2019] Trump has, unfortunately, shown himself to be completely untrustworthy on the international stage

Notable quotes:
"... I personally suspect that Trump has a negative net worth, and hopes that if he marches to Adelson's orders, he might get a nice pay-off at the end. It's the only thing that explains all this. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kent19 hours ago

I think it is highly unlikely Trump can pull off detente with the Chinese or anyone else before the next election. He has, unfortunately, shown himself to be completely untrustworthy on the international stage. Under what circumstance are the Chinese going to sign some agreement with him, when he might just throw out new tariffs a week later?

What are the Taliban going to agree to when the US wants to leave thousands of troops in Afghanistan?

I personally suspect that Trump has a negative net worth, and hopes that if he marches to Adelson's orders, he might get a nice pay-off at the end. It's the only thing that explains all this.

[Sep 09, 2019] "'The New Normal': Trump's 'China Bind' Can Be Iran's Opportunity" by Alastair Crooke, and "Who Is Holding Back the Russian Economy?" by Tom Luongo.

Notable quotes:
"... Twice in the same sentence we get told what that assumption is: "America's technology leadership" which so clearly no longer exists in weaponry, electronics, nuclear engineering, rocketry, high speed rail and mass transportation, low energy building techniques, and a host of other realms. This same sort of thinking pervades every defense doctrine paper produced during Trump's administration--the planners have eaten and all too well digested their own propaganda about the backwardness of Russia, China and Iran. ..."
"... This does not imply some rabid anti-Americanism, but simply the experience that that path is pointless. If there is a 'clock being played out', it is that of the tic-toc of western political and economic hegemony in the Middle East is running down ..."
"... [with] Iran repeating the same old routines, whilst expecting different outcomes is, of course, one definition of madness. A new US Administration will inherit the same genes as the last. ..."
"... "And in any case, the US is institutionally incapable of making a substantive deal with Iran. A US President – any President – cannot lift Congressional sanctions on Iran. The American multitudinous sanctions on Iran have become a decades' long knot of interpenetrating legislation: a vast rhizome of tangled, root-legislation that not even Alexander the Great might disentangle: that is why the JCPOA was constructed around a core of US Presidential 'waivers' needing to be renewed each six months. Whatever might be agreed in the future, the sanctions – 'waived' or not – are, as it were, 'forever'. ..."
"... "If recent history has taught the Iranians anything, it is that such flimsy 'process' in the hands of a mercurial US President can simply be blown away like old dead leaves. Yes, the US has a systemic problem: US sanctions are a one-way valve: so easy to flow out, but once poured forth, there is no return inlet (beyond uncertain waivers issued at the pleasure of an incumbent President)." ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Speculation's abounded about the political loyalty of the head of Russia's central bank Elvira Nabullina. Luongo simply explains:

"Nabullina has always been a controversial figure because she is western trained and because the banking system in Russia is still staffed by those who operate along IMF prescriptions on how to deal with crises.

"But those IMF rules are there to protect the IMF making the loans to the troubled nation, not to assist the troubled nation actually recover....

"The fundamental problem is a miseducation about what interest rates are, and how they interact with inflation and capital flow. Because of this, the medicine for saving an economy in trouble is, more often than not, worse than the disease itself.

"If Argentina's fourth default in twenty years doesn't prove that to you, nothing will."

It sounds like he's been reading Hudson's J is for Junk Economics !

The real rescue is Putin's aggressive de-dollarization policy that's finally rid Russia of "dollar-dependency":

"She [Nabullina] keeps jumping at the shadows of a dollar-induced crisis. But the Russian economy of 2019 is not the Russian economy of 2015. Dollar lending has all but evaporated and the major source of demand for dollars domestically are legacy corporate loans not converted to rubles or euros."

The key for me is to weave the content emphasis of Putin's Eastern Economic Conference speech with his increasing pressure on Nabullina for the bank to support this very important development policy direction and show China and other nations that Russia's extremely serious about the direction being taken. Just Putin's language about mortgage rate reductions as an attracter ought to be a huge message for Nabullina to respond properly. And a further kick in the pants was provided by the massive deal announced between China and Iran. Luongo briefly alludes to foreign policy in his article, its regional economic aspects, while omitting aspects hidden by the US-China Trade War, specifically Russia's now very clear technological supremacy to the Outlaw US Empire.

This brings us to Crooke's article in which he inadvertently tells us the #1 false assumption in Trump's Trade War policy with China:

"To defend America's technology leadership , policymakers must upgrade their toolkit to ensure that US technology leadership can withstand the aftershocks." [My Emphasis]

Twice in the same sentence we get told what that assumption is: "America's technology leadership" which so clearly no longer exists in weaponry, electronics, nuclear engineering, rocketry, high speed rail and mass transportation, low energy building techniques, and a host of other realms. This same sort of thinking pervades every defense doctrine paper produced during Trump's administration--the planners have eaten and all too well digested their own propaganda about the backwardness of Russia, China and Iran.

I could write further about the supposed handcuffing of POTUS by the unconstitutional and illegal sanction regime "imposed" by the US Congress. Crooke mentions as a significant hindrance--but if it was indeed a hindrance, any POTUS could break it by suing to prove its unconstitutional, illegal standing, yet no effort is put into that, begging the question Why? Crooke spends lots of space about this but fails to see the above solution:

"The pages to that chapter have been shut. This does not imply some rabid anti-Americanism, but simply the experience that that path is pointless. If there is a 'clock being played out', it is that of the tic-toc of western political and economic hegemony in the Middle East is running down , and not the 'clock' of US domestic politics. The old adage that the 'sea is always the sea' holds true for US foreign policy.

And [with] Iran repeating the same old routines, whilst expecting different outcomes is, of course, one definition of madness. A new US Administration will inherit the same genes as the last.

"And in any case, the US is institutionally incapable of making a substantive deal with Iran. A US President – any President – cannot lift Congressional sanctions on Iran. The American multitudinous sanctions on Iran have become a decades' long knot of interpenetrating legislation: a vast rhizome of tangled, root-legislation that not even Alexander the Great might disentangle: that is why the JCPOA was constructed around a core of US Presidential 'waivers' needing to be renewed each six months. Whatever might be agreed in the future, the sanctions – 'waived' or not – are, as it were, 'forever'.

"If recent history has taught the Iranians anything, it is that such flimsy 'process' in the hands of a mercurial US President can simply be blown away like old dead leaves. Yes, the US has a systemic problem: US sanctions are a one-way valve: so easy to flow out, but once poured forth, there is no return inlet (beyond uncertain waivers issued at the pleasure of an incumbent President)."

Being British, we should excuse Crooke for not knowing about the crucial Supremacy Clause within the US Constitution, but that doesn't absolve any POTUS if that person is really intent on talking with Iran--or any other sanctioned nation. IMO, the Iranians know what I know and have finally decided the Outlaw US Empire's marriage to Occupied Palestine won't suffer a divorce anytime soon. The result is the recent very active change in policy direction aimed at solidifying the Arc of Resistance and establishing a Persian Gulf Collective Security Pact that will end in check mating the Empire's King thus causing further economic problems for the Empire.

Crooke does a good job of summarizing my comment and many more made over the year regarding the reasons for the utter failure of Outlaw US Empire policy:

"Well, here is the key point: Washington seems to have lost the ability to summon the resources to try to fathom either China, or the Iranian 'closed book', let alone a 'Byzantine' Russia. It is a colossal attenuation of consciousness in Washington; a loss of conscious 'vitality' to the grip of some 'irrefutable logic' that allows no empathy, no outreach, to 'otherness'. Washington (and some European élites) have retreated into their 'niche' consciousness, their mental enclave, gated and protected, from having to understand – or engage – with wider human experience."

The only real way for the Outlaw US Empire to regain its competitive "niche" with the rest of the world is to mount a massive program of internal reform verging on a revolution in its outcome. It's patently obvious that more of the same will yield more of the same--FAILURE--and the chorus of inane caterwauling by BigLie Media over where to place the blame.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 9 2019 17:24 utc | 118

[Jun 28, 2019] What we should be talking about is not how to make North Korea disarm, but how to ensure the unconditional security of North Korea and how to make any country, including North Korea feel safe and protected by international law that is strictly honoured by all members of the international community

Jun 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 28, 2019 1:50:32 PM | 190

I'm about halfway through Putin's financial Times interview and suggest it be read by all. There is much to be gleaned from it with a view to the 2020 Election Cycle and candidate's positions. Just consider the following very small excerpt and its implications for policy formulation by candidates:

"What we should be talking about is not how to make North Korea disarm, but how to ensure the unconditional security of North Korea and how to make any country, including North Korea feel safe and protected by international law that is strictly honoured by all members of the international community . This is what we should be thinking about." [My Emphasis]

Putin's insights into Trump's 2016 election strategy, IMO, is very enlightening and essential reading as the conditions that contributed to Trump's victory have worsened under his tenure and can be used against him if wisely pursued.

[Jun 25, 2019] US sanctions violate human rights and international code of conduct, UN expert says

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 12:26:26 AM | 136

Let's talk human rights.

news report
Bloomberg, Jun 24, 2019
Pompeo is starting a commission on human rights to rethink what they are and how they should fit into U.S. foreign policy. . . here


Office of the high Commissioner
United Nations Human Rights
May 6, 2019
US sanctions violate human rights and international code of conduct, UN expert says

. . .On 17 April the United States banned the Central Bank of Venezuela from conducting transactions in US dollars after 17 May, and will cut off access to US personal remittances and credit cards by March 2020.

"It is hard to figure out how measures which have the effect of destroying Venezuela's economy, and preventing Venezuelans from sending home money, can be aimed at 'helping the Venezuelan people', as claimed by the US Treasury," the expert said.

His statements follow claims in a recent report published by the Washington-based Centre for Economic and Policy Research that 40,000 people may have died in Venezuela since 2017 because of US sanctions .

Jazairy also said he was concerned the US would not renew waivers for international buyers of Iranian oil, despite protests from NATO ally Turkey, among others. Washington has demanded that all remaining States which benefited from waivers stop purchases on May 1, or face sanctions.

"The extraterritorial application of unilateral sanctions is clearly contrary to international law," the expert said. " I am deeply concerned that one State can use its dominant position in international finance to harm not only the Iranian people, who have followed their obligations under the UN-approved nuclear deal to this day, but also everyone in the world who trades with them.

"The international community must come together to challenge what amounts to blockades ignoring a country's sovereignty, the human rights of its people, and the rights of third countries trading with sanctioned States, all while constituting a threat to world peace and security.

"I call on the international community to engage in constructive dialogue with Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and the United States to find a peaceful resolution in compliance with the spirit and letter of the Charter of the United Nations before the arbitrary use of economic starvation becomes the new 'normal'." . . here

[Jun 25, 2019] Trump's one hundred percent pure Pinocchio behaviour

Trump contradicts Pompeo who contradicts Bolton who contradicts Trump
Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Christian J Chuba , Jun 24, 2019 3:39:32 PM | 25
Favorite lie Trump willing to meet w/no pre-conditions

100 Pinocchio's. He even says that he wants to negotiate about Iran's so-called nuclear weapons program. If the premise of the talks is that Iran has to abandon the JCPOA then how is this not a precondition?

Nothing left to sanction, what's next?

You will know that war is certain when the U.S. forbids Iranian tankers from leaving port (a blockade) so that they cannot even sell oil to China. Iran will rightly call this an act of war and declare that stopping a single tanker will result in them firing on a U.S. naval ship. The morons in the U.S. MSM will bleat and call this Iranian aggression even though it is the U.S. that is blocking the sacred right of 'international shipping'. The number one excuse we use to send our navy to the shores of China and Iran.

Arta , Jun 24, 2019 4:32:13 PM | 45

American way of diplomacy: impose sanction on Iran Foreign Minister, at the same time requesting negotiation with him

[Jun 25, 2019] By rejecting the JCPOA, the Americans rejected the UN and international law/agreements for the second time in 15 short years

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc , Jun 24, 2019 6:01:16 PM | 85

Don Bacon #65
"The US all by itself is leading the current attack on Iran, despite what the other members might think. Iran has not gotten any significant support from other JCPOA participants."

The American's bluff was called way back in Obama's first term when Turkey and Brazil proposed a plan which would settle concerns over Iran's nuclear centrifuges. Sec State Clinton shut that down quickly, confirming the nuclear concerns were merely a pretext for a regime-change policy. That established, the overriding interest, internationally, became preventing a shooting war involving US and Iran -to which the negotiating of the JCPOA played a strong role. The Russians and Chinese were criticized for supporting this process, including the UNSC directed sanctions. But the process strengthened multilateral cooperation and highlighted the obvious downsides of a self-avowed hegemonic power. By rejecting the JCPOA, the Americans rejected the UN and international law/agreements for the second time in 15 short years. The overriding concern remains to expose the negative consequences of a hegemonic entity while avoiding, to the extent possible, an actual shooting war.

[May 22, 2019] Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Before and during the nuclear negotiations that led to the JCPOA, American opponents of the talks kept insisting that Iran couldn't be trusted to keep their word and they would cheat on any agreement they made. ..."
"... It is fitting that they have been the ones to urge the U.S. to break its word and betray our negotiating partners, and in so doing guarantee that the U.S. is seen as the unreliable deal-breakers that Iran's government was supposed to be. In the future, other governments may want to have some "snap-back" mechanisms of their own to ensure that the U.S. will be penalized if it breaches its obligations. ..."
"... Iran isn't interested in photo-op summits ..."
"... A real negotiation would involve making a compromise and offering concessions to Iran. Iran would have to believe that it has something to gain from the exchange, and right now it has no reason to believe anything of the kind. Trump has no desire to make concessions, only to receive them, and he won't compromise because he can't conceive of a mutually beneficial agreement. Because he sees everything as a zero-sum contest, Trump perceives anything less than the other side's capitulation as a "loss" for the U.S. In the absence of a real "win," Trump is willing to settle for the made-up kind that he claims after every unsuccessful summit. ..."
"... The next administration will have their work cut out for them. A future president won't only have to repair the damage to America's reputation, but will have to rebuild tattered relationships with allies and other major economic powers that have been frayed by years of senseless economic warfare. Over the longer term, the U.S. will face the growing problem that our commitments will be called into question every time there is a change in party control. The seesaw between increasingly hard-line unilateralists that want to tear up one agreement after another regardless of the merits and the rest of us will make it so that no one will be able to trust the U.S. to commit to anything for more than four or eight years. That will give presidents strong incentives not to burn political capital on securing agreements that they know their successors will just throw away, and it will eventually mean that U.S. diplomacy continues to atrophy from lack of use. ..."
May 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

May 22, 2019, 1:16 PM

J.Bicking/Shutterstock One of the obvious consequences of violating the JCPOA is that the U.S. can't be trusted to negotiate anything else with Iran:

Zarif told CNN this week Iran had "acted in good faith" in negotiating the deal that Washington abandoned. "We are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises.".

Before and during the nuclear negotiations that led to the JCPOA, American opponents of the talks kept insisting that Iran couldn't be trusted to keep their word and they would cheat on any agreement they made.

It is fitting that they have been the ones to urge the U.S. to break its word and betray our negotiating partners, and in so doing guarantee that the U.S. is seen as the unreliable deal-breakers that Iran's government was supposed to be. In the future, other governments may want to have some "snap-back" mechanisms of their own to ensure that the U.S. will be penalized if it breaches its obligations.

Iran hawks are always complaining about the "fatally flawed" nuclear deal, but they are the ones that exploited what was perhaps its only true flaw, namely the built-in assumption that our government would observe the terms of the agreement in good faith as long as Iran did what it promised to do. Other major powers and Iran now know they shouldn't expect the U.S. to be a reliable partner in future talks, and they will reasonably conclude that offers to "talk" from the administration that seeks to destroy the JCPOA are just so much hot air.

As I was saying yesterday, Iran isn't interested in photo-op summits:

Trump has said Washington is not trying to set up talks but expects Tehran to call when it is ready. A U.S. official said last week Americans "were sitting by the phone", but had received no call from Iran yet

Foad Izadi, a political science professor at Tehran University, told Reuters that phone call is not coming.

"Iranian officials have come to this conclusion that Trump does not seek negotiations. He would like a phone call with Rouhani, even a meeting and a photo session, but that's not a real negotiation," Izadi said.

A real negotiation would involve making a compromise and offering concessions to Iran. Iran would have to believe that it has something to gain from the exchange, and right now it has no reason to believe anything of the kind. Trump has no desire to make concessions, only to receive them, and he won't compromise because he can't conceive of a mutually beneficial agreement. Because he sees everything as a zero-sum contest, Trump perceives anything less than the other side's capitulation as a "loss" for the U.S. In the absence of a real "win," Trump is willing to settle for the made-up kind that he claims after every unsuccessful summit.

The next administration will have their work cut out for them. A future president won't only have to repair the damage to America's reputation, but will have to rebuild tattered relationships with allies and other major economic powers that have been frayed by years of senseless economic warfare. Over the longer term, the U.S. will face the growing problem that our commitments will be called into question every time there is a change in party control. The seesaw between increasingly hard-line unilateralists that want to tear up one agreement after another regardless of the merits and the rest of us will make it so that no one will be able to trust the U.S. to commit to anything for more than four or eight years. That will give presidents strong incentives not to burn political capital on securing agreements that they know their successors will just throw away, and it will eventually mean that U.S. diplomacy continues to atrophy from lack of use.

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

SteveM May 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Related to "America the Untrustworthy" is the economic total war that the U.S. has declared on the rest of the planet. Very complex business relationships and supply chains are being destroyed. The Trump administration's objectives are to economically strangle China and Russia and do economic beat-downs on any country that gets in the way. No company or country wants to do business with that kind of political volatility. And what can't go on forever – won't.

What the idiots in Washington don't realize is that the Chinese and the Russians have suffered 100x mores deprivation than Americans. They will suck it up now and then do whatever it takes to decouple themselves economically from the United States. (See what happens in the U.S. when the Chinese tell Apple to pound sand.)

And to think that the Chinese don't have the organic capability to technically compete with the U.S. now is nuts. China has the resources and intellectual horsepower to compete with the U.S. regardless of what the arrogant "City on a Hill" exceptionalists in Washington think. And given that China has 5X the number of STEM grads, it's easy to do the math.

America the Untrustworthy on the economic front is telling the rest of the planet to find other partners because doing business with an erratic Gorilla is more trouble than its worth.

Scott , says: May 22, 2019 at 3:44 pm
At some point, Americans are going to be outraged when they realize that most of the world doesn't view us as someone to admire but rather a rogue nation.

We have lost so much standing under Trump

BD , says: May 22, 2019 at 3:53 pm
I wonder if it ever occurred to Trump–or any of his advisers–that pulling out of a deal for no other reason than "we didn't like the terms that everyone agreed to" (rather than noncompliance by Iran) only makes it impossible for anyone to trust a new deal he wants to make later. But I guess this is why it's unwise to govern based on what Fox and Friends tells you each morning.
Barry , says: May 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm
"A future president won't only have to repair the damage to America's reputation, but will have to rebuild tattered relationships with allies and other major economic powers that have been frayed by years of senseless economic warfare. "

I don't think that any future president will be able to do this. Dubya was a shock to the rest of the world, in that they realized that there was indeed 'no there there'. Congress isn't helping.

Obama was a relief, but then along came Trump. At this point, all other countries know that (a) any competent Democratic President will be followed by a destructive and reckless GOP president, and (b) that the GOP Congress will aid and abet this.

A reputation for reliability has to be maintained.

Christian J Chuba , says: May 22, 2019 at 6:37 pm
And there is a 90 / 10 chance that we will break the agreement. This is not a Trump'ism, we never keep our word regardless of the Administration.
  1. Libya/Gaddafi GWB made the promise, Obama killed him.
  2. Saddam Hussein – Bush Sr. made the promise, get rid of WMD and live, GWB killed him.
  3. JCPOA – Obama made the agreement, Trump broke it.
  4. Russia – Bush Sr. promised not to expand NATO, Clinton expanded NATO like mad.

When have we ever kept an agreement?

[May 20, 2019] US bullying caprices stain its credibility

Those are pretty strong words from the official agency...
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. side is perhaps narcissistic about its "art of deal," yet its tainted records in failing to keep its own words have alarmed the world. ..."
"... As a matter of fact, China is not the first victim of America's acts of bad faith and trade bullyism. Over more than a year, the U.S. side has wielded a "big stick" of protectionism, and coerced many of its trade partners, including South Korea, Canada and Mexico, into re-negotiating their long-existing trade agreements. ..."
"... When Washington decided to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union (EU) last year, the European Commission rebutted in a tweet, saying that "The EU believes these unilateral U.S. tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules. This is protectionism, pure and simple." ..."
"... Since the Trump administration took power, Washington has backed away from a string of major international agreements and multilateral bodies, including the Paris climate accord, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UN Human Rights Council, and the Universal Postal Union. ..."
"... In the aftermath of the World War II, the United States helped establish the existing global trade and finance order. As a result, Washington has benefited enormously from such a system that is based on the U.S. dollar's supremacy. However, Washington is in no way justified to abuse its superpower status. ..."
"... Instead, it needs to fulfill its duties as an equal member of the international community. It is worth noting that the U.S.-led global order may collapse once Washington's credibility goes bankrupt. This dangerous prospect is in no one's interests. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.xinhuanet.com

Source: Xinhua | 2019-05-20 17:11:21 | Editor: Xiang Bo

BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Modern international trade relations are based on credibility and the spirit of the contract. However,in the year-long China-U.S. trade negotiations, Washington repeatedly reneged on its promises and played "face changing" tricks, leaving stark stains on its credibility.

During Chinese Vice Premier Liu He's visit to Washington last May, Beijing and Washington agreed not to engage in a trade war. Only days later, the Trump administration said it will impose a 25-percent tariff on 50 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports which contain industrially significant technology.

Soon after the recent setbacks in China-U.S. trade consultations, the Trump administration, in the name of "national security," rolled out measures to hit Chinese tech firms. The White House's executive order will kill many business contracts between Chinese and U.S. firms.

The U.S. side is perhaps narcissistic about its "art of deal," yet its tainted records in failing to keep its own words have alarmed the world.

As a matter of fact, China is not the first victim of America's acts of bad faith and trade bullyism. Over more than a year, the U.S. side has wielded a "big stick" of protectionism, and coerced many of its trade partners, including South Korea, Canada and Mexico, into re-negotiating their long-existing trade agreements.

These bullying behaviors have sent a clear signal: one can arbitrarily tamper with the original contracts regardless of cooperation partners' interests and concerns, as long as it has the power to do so. That is "the logic of gangsters" and "the law of jungle." Such bullying tactic has stirred global opposition, including from Washington's allies in Europe.

When Washington decided to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union (EU) last year, the European Commission rebutted in a tweet, saying that "The EU believes these unilateral U.S. tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules. This is protectionism, pure and simple."

Also, America's bullying actions have gone far beyond multilateral economic and trade realms.

Since the Trump administration took power, Washington has backed away from a string of major international agreements and multilateral bodies, including the Paris climate accord, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UN Human Rights Council, and the Universal Postal Union.

These self-serving moves have disgraced Washington's credibility as a responsible major country, and seriously eroded the foundation for international cooperation.

In the aftermath of the World War II, the United States helped establish the existing global trade and finance order. As a result, Washington has benefited enormously from such a system that is based on the U.S. dollar's supremacy. However, Washington is in no way justified to abuse its superpower status.

Instead, it needs to fulfill its duties as an equal member of the international community. It is worth noting that the U.S.-led global order may collapse once Washington's credibility goes bankrupt. This dangerous prospect is in no one's interests.

[May 05, 2019] The Establishment clowns Bolton, Pence and Pompeo will keep Trump on track in proving the the USA is lawless brutal empire

May 05, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Michael , April 30, 2019 at 18:40

America's word has never been taken seriously. Ever heard of our treaties with the Native Americans? Clinton abrogated the accords between Gorbachev and Reagan, that NATO would not move one inch to the East. Clinton set up the drunken Yeltsin as his puppet, interfering with Russia's elections and raping their economy.

Bush II desperately wanted to finish his father's Gulf War, ignoring the UN weapons inspectors. He also unilaterally pulled the US out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty.

America promised Ghaddafi that if he did not pursue nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists (like Saudi Arabia and Israel), he would be left alone. Soon he was dead from bayonet rape with a gleeful chortling Hillary impressing American spooks with her "Libya Model", touted by Bolton, Pence and Pompeo to Kim's face.

Obama's deal with Iran was hated even more by Hillary (and most members of Congress) than by Trump, and was doomed when Obama left office (one of his few achievements, however fleeting).

The Establishment clowns Bolton, Pence and Pompeo will keep Trump on track.

[Apr 27, 2019] A surprisingly crude expression by Huntsman is in fact typical for Trump administration rhetoric with its "Might makes right" mentality of old imperialists

Looks like some people in Trump administration are completely unhinged and try to imitate the most clueless members of the US Congress.
But what you can expect from the State Department which is led by Pompeo ?
Huntsman should be awarded b the special medal "For the promotion of anti-Americanism in Russia"
Apr 27, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Ishmael Zechariah , 27 April 2019 at 11:00 AM

Colonel,
I would appreciate your comments about John Huntsman and his remarks " each of the carriers operating in the Mediterranean as this time represent 100,000 tons of international diplomacy", "Diplomatic communication and dialogue, coupled with the strong defenses these ships provide, demonstrate to Russia that if it truly seeks better relations with the United states, it must cease its destabilizing activities around the world." Strange words coming from a "diplomat". It might be informative to see the kind of a reception he will get when he returns to Russia as "ambassador".
Ishmael Zechariah
turcopolier , 27 April 2019 at 11:00 AM
IZ A surprisingly crude expression by Huntsman but, in fact, reality in this administration.

[Apr 24, 2019] Which is the Greater Threat - Russia or the United States

Apr 24, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

I found it particularly interesting that nations like Germany, Japan, Mexico and South Korea which have traditionally been viewed as pro-American overwhelmingly found that the United States was a greater threat to their nation than Russia. Not surprisingly, only a very small 15 percent of Israelis felt that the United States was a greater threat compared to 28 percent who felt that Russia was a greater threat, however the percentage of Israelis that are concerned about American power is up from only 9 percent in 2013.

Looking back in time, more people now believe that the United States is a greater threat to their nation than in 2013 and 2017; in 2018, a median of 45 percent of all respondents believed that the United States was a major threat to their nation, up from 38 percent in 2017 and 25 percent in 2013.

... ... ...

Once again, it is interesting to observe that nations like France and Germany that have traditionally been viewed as pro-American have seen the highest increase in their assessment of the threat posed by American power.

The growing power and influence wielded by the United States is now rather widely viewed by the world as a far greater threat than the power and influence wielded by Russia, particularly when one looks back to 2013. Respondents in just over 70 percent of the 26 nations in the study feel that America forms a greater threat to their home nation than the much-vilified Russia, a result that is not terribly surprising given the events of the past two years in Washington.

[Apr 13, 2019] Trump Puts America Last by Daniel Larison

Money quote (from comments): This GOP/Israel connection stinks to high heaven. Anyone who studied or remembers our problem with Communist spies back in the '50s has got to be hearing alarm bells ringing in their ears. Worries about Soviet spying and Russian meddling pale in comparison to what's now going on in plain sight with Israel.
Notable quotes:
"... As usual, Trump made the announcement of recognizing Israel's claim to the Golan Heights without any consultation with any of the relevant administration officials: ..."
"... After more than two years of watching Trump's impulsive and reckless "governing" style, it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that he makes these decisions without advance warning. There is no evidence that Trump ever thinks anything through, and so he probably sees no reason to tell anyone in advance what he is going to do. ..."
"... Trump almost never bothers consulting with the people who will be responsible for carrying out his policies ..."
"... There is absolutely no upside for the United States in endorsing illegal Israeli claims to the Golan Heights. It is a cynical political stunt intended to boost Netanyahu and Likud's fortunes in the upcoming election, and it is also a cynical stunt aimed at shoring up Trump's support from Republican "pro-Israel" voters and donors. ..."
"... Once again, Trump has put narrow political ambitions and the interests of a foreign government ahead of the interests of the United States. That seems to be the inevitable result of electing a narcissist who conducts foreign policy based on which leaders flatter and praise him. ..."
"... Bolton is usually the culprit responsible any destructive and foolish policy decision over the last year, and his baleful influence continues to grow. We can also see the harmful effects of the administration's Iran obsession at work. In the end, the Syria "withdrawal" hasn't happened and apparently isn't going to, but Trump nonetheless gives Israel whatever it wants in exchange for nothing so that they will be "reassured" of our unthinking support. ..."
"... I wonder what Mr. Kagan has to say now about "authoritarian" regimes?! ..."
"... Trump is making one hell of a mess for the next president to clean up. ..."
"... The decision to leave the INF treaty was taken in a similar way and with a total disregard for the consequences. The leaders of the European NATO countries have shown utter spinelessness in going along with it. ..."
"... I am shocked and horrified by what I've seen under Trump. I am deeply disappointed that so few Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) have stood up to him on foreign policy, and I will never vote Republican again. This GOP/Israel connection stinks to high heaven. Anyone who studied or remembers our problem with Communist spies back in the '50s has got to be hearing alarm bells ringing in their ears. Worries about Soviet spying and Russian meddling pale in comparison to what's now going on in plain sight with Israel. ..."
"... To be fair, it ain't just Team R that has the sloppy crush on Israel. Team D is just as bad, even if they don't gush quite so publicly. In fact, episodes such as this one are useful in a way, as they make it hard to pretend that this is just a one-off, a misguided decision that we have to go along with to appease a powerful friend. ..."
"... Nevertheless, Israel should be very concerned about Northern Syria. If war breaks out and the US is forced to go to war with its own NATO ally as a result, Israel should prepare to kiss its alliance with the US goodbye. ..."
"... Many (rightfully or not) will blame Israel due to its connections to neoconservatism and Saudi jingoism, and consequently we may end up seeing BOTH parties becoming unfriendly to Israel over the subsequent generation. ..."
"... All of this could be prevented if President Trump would just tell Saudi Arabia to STOP the nonsense. But no. He's too focused on MIC profits. He's not America First. And quite frankly, I'm starting to think Benjamin Netanyahu is not Israel-first either, because if he were he'd be warning Trump about the mess he's going to end up getting America, Israel, and much of Europe and the Middle East into. ..."
Mar 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As usual, Trump made the announcement of recognizing Israel's claim to the Golan Heights without any consultation with any of the relevant administration officials:

President Donald Trump's tweet on Thursday recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory surprised members of his own Middle East peace team, the State Department, and Israeli officials.

U.S. diplomats and White House aides had believed the Golan Heights issue would be front and center at next week's meetings between Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. But they were unprepared for any presidential announcement this week.

No formal U.S. process or executive committees were initiated to review the policy before Trump's decision, and the diplomats responsible for implementing the policy were left in the dark.

Even the Israelis, who have advocated for this move for years, were stunned at the timing of Trump's message.

After more than two years of watching Trump's impulsive and reckless "governing" style, it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that he makes these decisions without advance warning. There is no evidence that Trump ever thinks anything through, and so he probably sees no reason to tell anyone in advance what he is going to do.

Trump almost never bothers consulting with the people who will be responsible for carrying out his policies and dealing with the international fallout, and that is probably why so many of his policy decisions end up being exceptionally poor ones. The substance of most of Trump's foreign policy decisions was never likely to be good, but the lack of an organized policy process on major decisions makes those decisions even more haphazard and chaotic than they would otherwise be.

There is absolutely no upside for the United States in endorsing illegal Israeli claims to the Golan Heights. It is a cynical political stunt intended to boost Netanyahu and Likud's fortunes in the upcoming election, and it is also a cynical stunt aimed at shoring up Trump's support from Republican "pro-Israel" voters and donors.

Whatever short-term benefit Israel gains from it, the U.S. gains nothing and stands to lose quite a bit in terms of our international standing.

There has been no consideration of the costs and problems this will create for the U.S. in its relations with other regional states and beyond because Trump couldn't care less about the long-term effects that his decisions have on the country.

Once again, Trump has put narrow political ambitions and the interests of a foreign government ahead of the interests of the United States. That seems to be the inevitable result of electing a narcissist who conducts foreign policy based on which leaders flatter and praise him.

Trump's bad decision can be traced back to Bolton's visit to Israel earlier this year:

Administration officials said that National Security Advisor John Bolton was instrumental to the decision, after visiting Israel in January to assure officials there that the United States would not abandon them in Syria despite Trump's sudden withdrawal of troops from the battlefield.

Nervous Israeli officials saw an opportunity. "It was an ask," one Israeli source said, "because of the timing -- it suddenly became a relevant issue about Iran."

Bolton is usually the culprit responsible any destructive and foolish policy decision over the last year, and his baleful influence continues to grow. We can also see the harmful effects of the administration's Iran obsession at work. In the end, the Syria "withdrawal" hasn't happened and apparently isn't going to, but Trump nonetheless gives Israel whatever it wants in exchange for nothing so that they will be "reassured" of our unthinking support.


SF Bay March 21, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Well, of course Trump puts America last. There is one and only one person he is interested in -- himself. As you say this is his narcissistic personality at work.

My never ending question is always, "Why does any Republican with a conscience remain silent? Are they really all this shallow and self absorbed? Is there nothing Trump does that will finally force them to put country before party and their own ambition?"

It's a really sad state of events that has put this country on the road to ruin.

Kouros , , March 21, 2019 at 11:39 pm
I wonder what Mr. Kagan has to say now about "authoritarian" regimes?!
Trump 2016 , , March 22, 2019 at 1:45 am
Trump is making one hell of a mess for the next president to clean up. Straightening out all this stupidity will take years. Here's hoping that Trump gets to watch his foreign policy decisions tossed out and reversed from federal prison.
Grumpy Old Man , , March 22, 2019 at 3:29 am
He ought to recognize Russia's seizure of Crimea. Why not? Кто кого?
Tony , , March 22, 2019 at 8:50 am
The decision to leave the INF treaty was taken in a similar way and with a total disregard for the consequences. The leaders of the European NATO countries have shown utter spinelessness in going along with it.

The administration says that a Russian missile violates the treaty but it will not tell us what the range of the missile is. Nor will it allow its weapons inspectors to go and look at it.

The reason is clear: Fear that the weapons inspectors' findings would contradict the administration's claims.

Some Perspective , , March 22, 2019 at 9:08 am
I voted Republican ever since I started voting. I voted for Bush I, Dole, Dubya, and McCain. I couldn't vote for either Obama or Romney, but I voted for Trump because of Hillary Clinton.

I am shocked and horrified by what I've seen under Trump. I am deeply disappointed that so few Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) have stood up to him on foreign policy, and I will never vote Republican again. This GOP/Israel connection stinks to high heaven. Anyone who studied or remembers our problem with Communist spies back in the '50s has got to be hearing alarm bells ringing in their ears. Worries about Soviet spying and Russian meddling pale in comparison to what's now going on in plain sight with Israel.

We're losing our country. We're losing America.

Sid Finster , , March 22, 2019 at 10:22 am
To be fair, it ain't just Team R that has the sloppy crush on Israel. Team D is just as bad, even if they don't gush quite so publicly. In fact, episodes such as this one are useful in a way, as they make it hard to pretend that this is just a one-off, a misguided decision that we have to go along with to appease a powerful friend.

Europoliticians tell that last one a lot. "We really don't want to but the Americans twisted our arms ZOMG Special Relationship so sorry ZOMG!" Only with a lot more Eurobureaucratese.

G-Pol , , March 22, 2019 at 11:15 am
I agree with the article's premise, but not because of this move regarding Israel.

Personally, I believe this move will have little impact on the outcome of the crisis in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies are too focused on containing Iran and Turkey to give a crap about what Israel does. The only Arab states that I can see objecting to this move are Syria (obviously) and the others who were already allied with Iran and/or Turkey to begin with.

Right now, the REAL center of attention in the region should be Northern Syria. THAT's where the next major war likely will begin. In that area, Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are the ones doing the major escalations, while Israel has virtually no role at all aside from sideline cheer-leading. And of course, Trump is doing nothing to stop what could become the next July Crisis. What's "America First" about that?

Nevertheless, Israel should be very concerned about Northern Syria. If war breaks out and the US is forced to go to war with its own NATO ally as a result, Israel should prepare to kiss its alliance with the US goodbye.

There is no way our international reputation will come out of this war unscathed, and odds are we'll be in a far worse position diplomatically than we were at any point in our history, even during the Iraq war. When that happens, the American people will be out to assign blame. Many (rightfully or not) will blame Israel due to its connections to neoconservatism and Saudi jingoism, and consequently we may end up seeing BOTH parties becoming unfriendly to Israel over the subsequent generation.

All of this could be prevented if President Trump would just tell Saudi Arabia to STOP the nonsense. But no. He's too focused on MIC profits. He's not America First. And quite frankly, I'm starting to think Benjamin Netanyahu is not Israel-first either, because if he were he'd be warning Trump about the mess he's going to end up getting America, Israel, and much of Europe and the Middle East into.

[Apr 04, 2019] I hate the Washington doublespeak about "rules-based international order."

Apr 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mike from Jersey , says: April 4, 2019 at 4:21 pm GMT

I hate the Washington doublespeak about "rules-based international order."

When has the Imperial State ever followed any "rules?"

For instance, didn't the Nuremberg trials establish the principle that wars of aggression constituted international war crimes? Wasn't the invasion of Iraq a violation of "rules-based international order." And what about UN approval for the use of force. Did the US get UN approval when they decided to overturn the Assad regime. Wasn't that a violation of "rules-based international order."

The same can be said about the wars in Afghanistan, Libya and the coming war against Venezuela.

What Washington really means when they talk about a "rules-based international order" is "we make up the rules as we go along and those rules don't apply to us."

[Mar 02, 2019] The "Exceptional Nation" has now become the "Detestable Nation"!

Notable quotes:
"... The Puppet show display by Pence & Pompeo to rap Europeans over the knuckles for everything from not exiting the Iran Nuclear deal to not stopping the Nordstream pupeline & trying to contain Hiawei is blowing up in the Trump Administration's faces as these so called Allies or Vassals of the American Empire are refusing to tow the line? ..."
"... A failure for US oligarchy foreign policy is a win for the US and the rest of the world. ..."
Mar 02, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

KiwiAntz , February 20, 2019 at 6:31 am

The "Exceptional Nation" has now become the "Detestable Nation"!

The Puppet show display by Pence & Pompeo to rap Europeans over the knuckles for everything from not exiting the Iran Nuclear deal to not stopping the Nordstream pupeline & trying to contain Hiawei is blowing up in the Trump Administration's faces as these so called Allies or Vassals of the American Empire are refusing to tow the line?

Trump has alienated & disgusted it's Allies, so much that they can now see how deranged, unworkable & destructive is the Americans Foreign Policy & its bankrupt disfunctional , delusional Policies?

It's ridiculous, irrational & pathological hatred for Iran has shown that the US is the main Terrorist Nation on Earth not Iran who has never invaded anyone unlike the hypocritical US Empire!

Meanwhile in Sochi, the real Diplomacy for peace is taking place with Russia, Iran, Turkey & Syria having won the War against the US Empire & its cowardly, crony white helmeted, ragtag bunch of proxy Army misfits made up of Israel, ISIS, SDF & the Kurds now scurrying out of the Country like rats leaving a sinking ship!

And what was really laughable about VP Pences speech in Warsaw was the defeating silence to the pauses in that speech expecting people to clap on demand which never happened?

How embarrassing & really showed the lack of respect & utter contempt that everyone has for America these days!

Sam F, February 20, 2019 at 12:32 pm

A failure for US oligarchy foreign policy is a win for the US and the rest of the world.

Let's hope we see the end of NATO as an excuse for US bully tyrants to "defend" us with greedy aggression.

Perhaps that will lead to strengthening the UN and isolating it from the economic power of US tyrants.
The UN would be far stronger if it taxed its members instead of begging for support, on pain of embargo by all members, and monitored for corrupt influence.

[Mar 02, 2019] Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poodles deserves to be colonized and destroyed

Mar 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Feb 28, 2019 1:23:41 PM | 38

It'll eventually dawn on the Yanks that it was NK's Nukes which brought AmeriKKKa to the negotiating table; NOT US sanctions which brought NK to the table.

The ability to "Manhattan" Manhattan is too strong a negotiating position to swap for some insulting threats and vague non-binding promises. The biggest problem for the US now will be the impossibility of "proving" that it can be trusted.

Deschutes , Mar 1, 2019 2:55:06 AM | link
Just more grist for the bullshit mill that is US foreign policy, i.e. the US government can never be trusted at the negotiating table. Ridiculous to demand N. Korea dismantle their nuclear reactor before sanctions are lifted. Fucking ridiculous demand, why in the hell would N. Korea do that? They need it to produce energy, and to make plutonium to defend themselves from total asshole country USA which, as everybody knows has been on a 25 year sanctioning/bombing/country destroying rampage, leaving entire countries laid to waste. Rest assured, that if N. Korea gets rid of all its nukes as USA wants -- before the drop of a hat USA will totally, completely wipe N. Korea off the map with its own nukes and massive military buildup surrounding N. Korea. As usual, the USA is the biggest problem for the entire world's progress towards peace and prosperity :-(((

Steve , Mar 1, 2019 6:03:28 AM | link

Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed.
">link

Sally Snyder , Feb 28, 2019 8:35:08 AM | link

Here is an article that explains why the North Koreans believe that the United States is not trustworthy:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/06/war-crimes-in-korea-guilty-as-charged.html

The Korean people have paid a very heavy price simply because of their unfortunate geographic location immediately adjacent to the world's largest Communist state.

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 28, 2019 2:20:17 PM | link
The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi. I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.

[Feb 15, 2019] The International Rogue Nation America by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity . ..."
"... At this point the US government barely even bothers to cover itself with plausible stories but just goes ahead with it's open violence. Who is there to stop it? ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction . These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime's 'news'-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or "expose") any of these lies . That's how bad the regime was -- it was virtually a total lock-down against truth, and for international conquest (in that case, of Iraq): it was mass-murder and destruction on the basis of sheer lies.

That's today's U.S. Government -- that's its reality, not its 'pro-democracy' and 'human rights' myth. (After all: its main ally is the Saud regime, which the U.S. regime is now helping to starve and kill by cholera perhaps millions of Houthis to death .)

In 2011, the U.S. regime, then under a different nominal leader than in the Iraq invasion, invaded and destroyed Libya -- also on the basis of lies that its press (which is controlled by the same billionaires who control the nation's two political Parties) stenographically published from the Government and refused ever to expose as being lies.

In 2011-2019 (but actually starting undercover in 2009 ), the U.S. regime (and its then allies King Saud and Tayyip Erdogan, and the Thanis who own Qatar ) hired tens of thousands of jihadis from around the world to serve as foot-soldiers (the U.S. regime calls them 'rebels') , in order to bring down Syria's secular, non-sectarian, Government, and thereby, via these jihadist proxy-forces , they invaded and destroyed Syria -- likewise on the basis of lies that the 'news'-media hid, secreting from the public such facts as that "The US Government's Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT." But the lies are never publicly acknowledged by any of the participating regimes and their press.This is an international empire of death and destruction based upon lies.

In 2011-2014, the U.S. regime perpetrated a bloody coup that ousted Ukraine's democratically elected Government and replaced it by a fascist rabidly anti-Russian regime that destroyed Ukraine and perpetrated ethnic cleansing . How much of this reality was being reported in the U.S. regime's press, at the time, or even afterward? It was hidden news at the time , and so those realities have since become buried, to become now only hidden history; and the U.S. regime and its 'news'-media continue to hide all of this ugly reality. It remains hidden, and isn't mentioned by either the regime or its press.

Right now, the U.S. regime (along with its other lap-dog Canada) is perpetrating, or at least attempting to perpetrate, a coup to take over Venezuela .

On February 8th, the Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (CELAG) issued their study, "The Economic Consequences of the Boycott of Venezuela" , and reported that throughout the five-year period of 2013-2017, Venezuela's "economy and society suffered a suffocation [of] $ 22.5 billion in annual revenues, as a result of a deliberate international strategy of financial isolation [of Venezuela]. Evidently, this financial pressure intensified since 2015 with the fall in the price of crude oil." So: that's a total loss of over $112 billion from Venezuela during the entire 5-year period, and the result has become (especially after 2014) the impoverishment of the country. The U.S. regime and its allies and their propaganda-media blame, for that, not themselves, but the very same Government they're trying to take down. The U.S. regime and its allies have contempt for the public everywhere. The more that Venezuelans blame their own Government for this impoverishment, instead of blame America's Government for it, the more that their exploiters will have contempt for them, but also the more that their exploiters will benefit from them, because the exploiters' taking control of the Government will then be much easier to do.

The U.S-and-allied exploiters are attempting to install in Venezuela a man who has absolutely no justification under the Venezuelan Constitution to be claiming to be the country's 'interim President' . For some mysterious reason, Venezuela's President isn't calling for that traitor to be brought up on charges of treachery -- attempting a coup -- and facing Venezuela's Supreme Judicial Tribunal on such a charge, which Tribunal is the Constitutionally authorized body to adjudicate that matter. So, Venezuela's Government is incompetent -- but so too have been all of its predecessors since at least 1980, and incompetence alone is not Constitutional grounds for replacing Venezuela's President by a foreign-imposed coup . At least Venezuela's actual President is no traitor, such as his would-be successor, Juan Guaido, definitely is .

Did Venezuela invade America so as for America's economic war against it to be justified? Did Iraq invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Libya invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Syria invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? Did Ukraine invade America so as for America's destruction of it to be justified? None of them did, at all. In each and every case, it was pure aggression, by America, the international rogue nation.

Back in 1986, regarding America's international relations including its coups and invasions, the U.S. quit the International Court of Justice (ICJ), when that Court ruled against the U.S. in the Iran-Contra case, Nicaragua v. United States , which concerned America's attempted coup in that country. But though the U.S. propaganda-media reported the Government's rejection of that verdict in favor of Nicaragua, they hid the more momentous fact: the U.S. Government stated that it would not henceforth recognize any authority in the ICJ concerning America's international actions. The public didn't get to know about that. Ever since 1986, the U.S. Government has been a rogue regime, simply ignoring the ICJ except when the ICJ could be cited against a country that the U.S. regime is trying to destroy ('democratize'). And then, when the ICJ ruled on 9 March 2005 against the U.S. regime in a U.S. domestic matter where the regime refused to adhere to the U.S. Constitution's due-process clause regarding the prosecutions and death-sentences against 51 death-row inmates, and the Court demanded retrials of those convicts, the U.S. regime, in 2005, simply withdrew completely from the jurisdiction of the ICJ . Ever since 9 March 2005, the U.S. regime places itself above, and immune to, international law, regarding everything. George W. Bush completed what Ronald Reagan had started.

This rogue regime has no real legitimacy even as a representative of the American people. It doesn't really represent the American public at all . It is destroying the world and lying through its teeth all the while. Its puppet-rulers on behalf of America's currently 585 billionaires are not in prison from convictions by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. They're not even being investigated by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. That's a U.N. agency. Does the U.N. have any real legitimacy, under such circumstances as this? Can an international scofflaw simply refuse to recognize the authority of the international court? This mocks the U.N. itself. The U.S. places itself above the U.N.'s laws and jurisdiction and yet still occupies one of the five permanent seats on the U.N's Security Council and still is allowed to vote in the U.N.'s General Assembly. Why doesn't the U.N. simply expel America? It can't be done? Then why isn't a new international legal body being established to replace the U.N. -- and being granted legal authority everywhere regardless of whether a given national regime acknowledges its legal authority over matters of international law? Why is Venezuela being internationally isolated and sanctioned, instead of the U.S. being internationally isolated and sanctioned?

On top of all that, this is the same U.S. regime that has blocked the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and that has broken one international agreement after another -- not only NAFTA, and not only the nuclear agreement on Iran, and not only many nuclear agreements with first the Soviet Union and then Russia, but lots more -- and all with total impunity.

And it's not only the countries that the U.S. invades or otherwise destroys, which are being vastly harmed by this international monster-regime. How many millions of the flood of asylum-seekers who are pouring into Europe have done that in order to reach safety from America's bombs and proxy-troops -- jihadists and fascist terrorists -- which have ravaged their own homelands? What is that flood of refugees doing to Europe, and to European politics -- forcing it ever-farther to the right and so tearing the EU apart? Why are not Europeans therefore flooding their own streets with anti-American marches and movements for their own Governments to impose economic sanctions against all major American brands, and demanding prosecution of all recent American Presidents, starting at least with G.W. Bush -- or else to vote out of office any national politicians who refuse to stand up against the American bully-regime?

It isn't only weak nations such as Nigeria that are corrupt and rotten to the core. The entire U.S. empire, and especially its U.S. masters, are.

How much more will the peoples of the world remain suckers to the vast corporate propaganda-operation by that out-of-control beast of a rapacious regime, which displays the Orwellian nerve to label as being a 'regime' each and every Government that it seeks to overthrow and to call itself a 'democracy' ? The U.S. regime is itself actually allied the most closely with the world's most barbaric rulers, the Saud family, that own Saudi Arabia. The U.S. regime is also allied with the apartheid and internationally aggressive regime in Israel. Is such an international gang, as this is, going to get off scot-free, as if there were no international law -- or at least none that applies to itself?

And, if the U.S. regime is so concerned to 'protect democracy' and 'protect human rights' all over the world (as that perennially lying bunch always claim to be the 'justification' for their invasions and coups), then why isn't it starting first by prosecuting itself? (Or, maybe, by prosecuting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, for his many crimes -- and prosecuting his predecessors for financing the 9/11 attacks against Americans?) Well, of course, Hitler didn't do anything of the sort. (Nor did he prosecute his allies.) He set the standard. Maybe, ideologically, Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito actually won the war, though this has happened after they first physically lost what everyone had thought was the end of WW II. After all, nobody is prosecuting the U.S. regime today. Isn't that somewhat like a global victory for fascism -- the Axis powers -- after the fact? Maybe "we" won the war, only to lose it later. Doesn't that appear to be the case? Mussolini sometimes called fascism "corporationism" , and this is how it always functions, and functions today by agreement amongst the controlling owners of international corporations that are headquartered in the U.S. and in its vassal-nations abroad.

Is this to go on interminably? When will this international reign of fascism end?

What would happen if all the rest of the world instituted an international legal and enforcement system (under a replacement U.N.) in which all commitments and contractual proceeds to benefit American-based international corporations and the U.S. Government were declared to be immediately null and void -- worthless except as regards the claims against the U.S. entities? (The owners of those entities have been the beneficiaries of America's international crimes.) Contracts can be unilaterally nullified. The U.S. Government does it all the time, with no justification except lies. Here, it would be done as authentically justifiable penalties, against actually massive global crimes.

The U.S. militarily occupies the world; this is a global empire; it has over a thousand military bases worldwide. Why aren't the people in all of those occupied countries demanding their own governments simply to throw them out -- to end the military occupation of their land?

You can't have a world at peace, and anything like international justice, without enforcing international law. This is what doing that would look like.

What we know right now is actually a lawless world. That's what every international gangster wants.

-- -- -- -- --

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .


niteranger , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:46 am GMT

America is a Corporate Fascist Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State. The Intelligence Agencies are inseparable from the Corporations, The Bankers, and The Billionaires they work for. Most of the economic-social-media pathways are controlled by the Magic Jews. Elections are a fraud. You have seen what happened when the person they picked, Hillary didn't win. Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square. The entire Mueller Fiasco is a demonstration of the Intelligence State and a warning for anyone who doesn't play their game. The Super Jew Zionist Senator Shumer warned Trump in a Freudian Slip about upsetting the Intelligence agencies which the Jewish Media quickly tried to hide.

This is the county where dimwits like Cortez complain about Mexican kids on the border while Obama and his associates bombed 7 Muslim countries, murdered and starved hundreds of thousands of children including those in Yemen and not a fucking thing was said by anyone on the left.

America and the world are headed for the dark ages. I doubt if anyone will really survive. Think Tanks for the super rich run by Intel know this and are preparing for the worse case scenario are you!

exiled off mainstreet , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:51 am GMT
The implications of this are enormous. This is the first time I've seen it wrapped up in a single article.
Zumbuddi , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:58 am GMT
"Total lockdown against truth and for internatio al conquest . . .mass murder and destruction on the basis of sheer lies. That's today's U. S. Government, that's it's reality."

It worked so well in WWI and WWII, why mess with a sure thing?

To behave otherwise, that is, honestly and decently would return a heap of millionaires to their rag-picker tin-peddlar origins.

Justsaying , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT

Ever since 1986, the U.S. Government has been a rogue regime

Why the leniency for a regime that has been led by gangsters of varying shades for the best part of the post-WWII era, hands down? Unless the Vietnam war and the companion Gulf of Tomkin lie, the mass murder in Laos and Cambodia and the Korean war are brushed aside. As was the kidnapping of Aristide of Haiti and Panama's Noriega are trivial mobster rule blips and the sodomising of Ghadhafi's cadaver by "rebels" after relentless bombing that left a once prosperous nation in utter ruin regarded as an unfortunate "aberration". The tainting of American hands with the blood of millions of innocents extends well beyond the leaders who presided over arguably the worst atrocities and crimes of the post-WWII era. For a nation that takes pride in its slogan of a government of, for and by the people, the people cannot escape responsibility for the horrendous crimes committed in their name.

animalogic , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:04 am GMT
@exiled off mainstreet Agree: great summary article.
Commentator Mike , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:27 am GMT
Reasonable article but US a fascist country? And I was reading elsewhere that this same US is now a communist country, with those billionaires apparently secret communists. Really!?! How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?
EliteCommInc. , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:07 am GMT
I think some of this is over the top. However, I am not sure that one can excuse challenging the case based on news reports. The case on its face had little of any supporting material. But there were news agencies that provided a counter narrative, they just weren't the mainstream sources. Which is why I think your giving an out where none exists.

Instead, a better case could be made as to how those that questioned the case got the boot and in some cases got it good. Those voices were not only muted out by the media, the advocates, but the public as well. One cannot ignore the palpable anger after 9/11. The country wanted revenge. And they would have it. Unlike Mr. Neeson, we did not restrain ourselves from acting out, against anyone of we held suspect as similar in nature -- we lashed out with few reservations.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -

Now I have to admit that the questions of international order are tricky. Who wants to take on enforcing the rule of law against the US when she violates the very rules she helped create and espouses. When the leadership bends, breaks or ignores the rules in the name of country. It's hard to make a case that everyone else abide by the rules if you yourself breaks them. Maybe people pf conscience will hire people who actually abide by what they say they will do when applying for the job of leadership.

But I have to be honest, I am cautious when it comes bodies of international order: UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA, and others. I appreciate the value of NATO, but I am a bit dubious about the agitation that the US take the lead in addressing Europe's security, at our expense. And while I would like to avoid what about, most nations treat the international bodies of justice with no small amount of reticence on their own account. I am unclear of China has backed away from provoking the Phillipines after the UNCLOS ruling regarding commercial development zones. They have made a point to say they will abide by UNCLOS except where they disagree. The short answer is that ultimately the developed world has to operate with some integrity. There's a lot of complaining about the Saudis and Israel. But those states can simply point to the US or the Europeans states and make a constituent claim,

"What's good for the gander . . ."

There is a manner of discipline and that is to our failures and the cost. We are at the moment large enough to absorb them (not sure that is not more face saving facade than truth). Iraq is a failure. Libya is a failure. Afganistahn most likely a failure, even we end up with some manner of negotiated settlement, it will still be far short of our objective(s). The Ukraine still threatens to fall into a full blown civil war. After five years plus of bombing Yemen, the end is nowhere in sight. If the Saudis think the Yemenis a threat, then they should deal with it. The Syria gambit was never a smart move and it has cost us. I am a firm believer that part of these issues results in not having a national draft system where our entire population is bought in on the US project and in so doing have an incentive to hold its government accountable. Because there is no body count to shock the public into reality as in previous military engagements.

We simply are not electing enough men such as representative Walter Jones into office, who upon recognizing an error will seek to change course. And I like him, I suspect, get increasingly restless about how our unrequited hypocrisy (if continued) will play out for us in the end. I think there are signs of trouble, just hints, that we need to get our ducks in order.

We honor and protect our sovereignty by respecting that of others (minus some outstanding extreme circumstance).

Note: not all of the US military programs are about the use of force. The US does huge amounts of humanitarian aide, independently and in conjunction with with are numerous aid depts. And as a nation we remain the most effectively generous (giving nations) on the planet to others in need, including private charitable organizations, no small number of them faith and practice based.

How many multitudes of sins that will cover is unknown to me.

Michael Kenny , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:57 am GMT
A typical piece of American racism. Naturally, the peoples of all these countries are far too primitive and far too stupid to see that they are being manipulated!
HiHo , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:29 am GMT
Dear Eric,

To quote your first para: 'In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction.'

It should read: 'In 2003, the UK (and its lap dog USA) invaded and destroyed Iraq. I know you Americans like to think that the USA is sovereign in its bullying of the world, but many people apart from myself, see it differently.

Rothschild runs the 'free west' and he is based in The City of London where he operates the world's drug money laundering operation. Yes, even all the drugs moved out of Afghanistan by his private drug army you call the CIA, those profits are laundered in London.

It is Rothschild in London that decides who to invade and why. The USA is Rothschild's private supply of canon fodder, weaponry and congenital idiots who think Jesus of Nazareth, that you erroneously call Jesus Christ, condones the violence, the blood baths and the pure evil that is the USA.

Your nation and its corrupt state is the puppet of Rothschild. I can understand it is especially hard for you to finger one of your own, especially as you consider yourself to be the goyim's friend, but that is not actually true is it?

What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917? What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?

Everything that has happened since 1914 when the Fed came in to existence right up to the attacks on Venezula today, only make sense if you are Rothschild.

Yours sincerely,

HiHo Silver Lining.

JackOH , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:35 am GMT
Eric, thanks.

I'm not into America-bashing. Life's too short, and, besides, I did half-seriously think of emigrating from the States, and didn't do it.

But–but–I think there's enough evidence to support the writing of a "black book" of American democracy since 1945, a hit piece modeled on a similarly titled book about Communism's depredations that, I think, was first published in France maybe thirty years ago.

Better observers than I can probably offer a laundry list of American cruelties worth including, and some of those better observers comment here on Unz Review .

American military interventions, a Constitution drained of effectiveness and meaning, the "ethnic cleansing" of American cities, the gratuitous cruelties of American health care, etc .

Keep the book short, about 250-350 pp., and include good front and back matter to focus the reader's attention.

Sean , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:47 am GMT
@niteranger If the author of this piece a child who believes in fairy stories about American exceptionalism . America is more powerful than other countries and if it is "The International Rogue Nation" then it is solely as a result of being more powerful that other countries, for were they as strong as America they all would do the same as America.

This is the county where dimwits like Cortez complain about Mexican kids on the border while Obama and his associates bombed 7 Muslim countries, murdered and starved hundreds of thousands of children including those in Yemen and not a fucking thing was said by anyone on the left.

The Democrats want future voters to swamp the votes of native-born Americans. The kids in Yemen are irrelevant. So are the innocent kids in countries like Syria.

America is a Corporate Fascist Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State

That is just a long winded way of saying it is a state. Like any other state America can't call 911 if it gets into trouble so it has to do its own dirty work. Or, of course. America could just surrender to moral imperatives and live as tree huggers in perpetual peace. Except it would come to an end, just as it did for the Tibetans (and their trees).

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT

The International Rogue Nation: America

The only?

The U.S. regime is also allied with the apartheid and internationally aggressive regime in Israel.

How about, The International Rogue Mafias: America and Israel?

Felix Krull , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:15 pm GMT
These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime's 'news'-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or "expose") any of these lies.

Back in the late summer of 2003, when Washington finally admitted there were no WMD in Iraq, the Danish Public Broadcaster had invited four of the heaviest hitters in Danish MSM, four foreign policy editors of the largest news outlets in Denmark.

The conversation was supposed to be about something else, but the WMD-news had dropped that same morning, and at one point they discuss the missing WMD. One guy spontaneously says: "I never believed in the WMD-story anyway." The three others quickly agree, because they don't want to be seen as the slow, gullible kid in the class.

So they'd been peddling this WMD-nonsense aggressively since the invasion, but they didn't actually believe that story themselves? The broadcast was taken off the internet 24 hours later, but I have their names in my little book.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT

What we know right now is actually a lawless world. That's what every international gangster wants.

Well yes, but they also want not only a monopoly on violence and compliant tax, debt, wage and dollar slaves, but also "legal" support for it all, hence "gubbermint." Keep payin' dem taxes and hoping for da Messiah in the forms of the likes of the Cacklin' Hyena, The Trumpster, and "Bibi."

Felix Krull , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm GMT
And another thing: back in the day, the PM, Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen spoke frequently about Saddam in the Danish parliament. But he never said "weapons of mass destruction", he said "dangerous weapons" – didn't want to be caught lying to the legislature, would you? Nobody ever called him out on it; you'd think journalists were familiar with sleazy rhetoric, but not on this occasion. He went on to become secretary general of NATO.
Charles Homer , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:46 pm GMT
As shown in this article, Russia has significant concerns about American breaches of the INF treaty that have received almost no coverage in the Western media: https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-russian-response-to-washingtons.html

Rather than presenting a balanced viewpoint where we hear both sides of the story regarding nuclear treaty violations by both sides, we are subjected to what can best be termed "fake news".

The Alarmist , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm GMT

"Is this to go on interminably? When will this international reign of fascism end?"

The plutocrat criminal elite are working fast and furiously to import a new electorate and slave labour force: At some point they will no longer be able to finance the machine, because you get what you pay for, and bread and circuses aren't cheap, and at that point the machine will pull back from the world, if not outright devolve into mayhem in its streets.

Asagirian , says: Website February 15, 2019 at 2:47 pm GMT
How Jewish-controlled Media work.

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/bill-dagostino/2019/02/14/networks-2202-minutes-russia-scandal-zero-no-collusion-report

Globo-homo logic. Russia didn't do it. Punish Russia.

Johnny Walker Read , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT
Just came across these powerful words from Kevin Tillman, Pat Tillman's brother.

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/after-pats-birthday-2/

peter mcloughlin , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm GMT
Global empires rise because of the desire for power, which is also their Nemesis. Power gives prestige, status, wealth, security and a sense of invincibility: the opposite of what is feared most. But they cannot hold that power forever, though they try, and eventually they end up getting the war they have always dreaded: utter defeat. But their leaders are deluded, blindly leading their people to annihilation – even nuclear – because power is the one thing they will destroy themselves and everyone else over. The pattern of history is clear.

https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

Agent76 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:23 pm GMT
Feb 11, 2019 Venezuelans' message to the US: Hands off our country

The Grayzone reports from inside Venezuela, where millions of people waited in long lines to sign an open letter to the US public, strongly rejecting foreign intervention in their country.

15.04.2017 Americans Are No Different Than Germans Were (and Are)

Daniel Goldhagen blamed the Holocaust on "the Germans" (by which he meant the German people), and said that they perpetrated the Holocaust because they positively enjoyed murdering "the Jews".

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/04/15/americans-no-different-than-germans-were-and-are.html

Agent76 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm GMT
Feb 18, 2013 Corporatocracy, Globalization, An Empire Expands

A short video clip from the Documentary Zeitgeist: Addendum, in it a Corporatocracy is explained. "A Incredible cozy relationship between Government and Corporations"

Moi , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm GMT
@niteranger I think this sums up things pretty well:

"All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted." D. H. Lawrence.

Miro23 , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:48 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike

Reasonable article but US a fascist country? And I was reading elsewhere that this same US is now a communist country, with those billionaires apparently secret communists. Really!?! How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?

Fascist country, Communist country – a more understandable definition would be a Mafia run state. The US regime uses violence and threats (local and international) to get its way. It corrupts and terrorizes politicians and forces through its projects. It's all about money and power and it rubs traditional Anglo society's face in the mud while its getting looted.

Che Guava , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:12 pm GMT
@Justsaying You have a pointy head, but rubbish conclusions I am also tired of hearing 'sodomy' or 'sodomized' re. Ghaddafi, assaulting the anus and rectum with bayonets is not 'sodomy'.

Hillary Clinton enjoyed it, I world prefer not to repeat her moronic statement, but will because of the many morons are on this site now, 'we came, we saw, he died, (cackle, cackle, cackle'). She liked to pretend that this is her classical education. She clearly has none. But she sure has an ugly pair of cankles.

wayfarer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT

Fifth Column: Is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favour of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organised actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_column

"Censored 'Israel Lobby' Document Leaks"

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_lobby_in_the_United_States

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm GMT
Enantiodromia

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

Principle od enantiodromia : one thing pushed to the extreme leads to the opposite .

( Hegel with his thesis-antithesis ideas was just another moronic german philosopher )

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:42 pm GMT
@niteranger

Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square.

He's a lying New York idiot Israel firster who demonstrates a new meaning to the concept of winning fair and square and "won" the position as Cuck-in-Chief of the Corporate Fascio-Commie Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State, that's all. He should have saved us all a lot of trouble and just eloped with the Cackling Hyena instead.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
Mrs Ilhan Omar Is the voice from the graves of Millions of Muslims murdered by US Military under leadership of US politicians (purchased for pennies), and ordered by Israel.
Cheburashka , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT
@exiled off mainstreet Interesting for me it's all known for several years, so I was about to say myself "same old, same old". Then I read your comment and think to myself "well, contrary to my belief, obviously publishing this article does make sense"
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT
@Asagirian Most of the european business and population do NOT agree with the yankee sanctions to Russia ( or to Venezuela , or to Iran , Cuba .. ) . Nothing ideological , it is just that the EU has no oil , the EU needs russian , iranian , venezuelan oil and gas , and the EU countries NEED to sell products to any country willing to buy them . The abusive yankee pressure on the EU to santion any country that the US wants will backfire .
Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:55 pm GMT

"This rogue regime has no real legitimacy even as a representative of the American people. It doesn't really represent the American public at all. It is destroying the world and lying through its teeth all the while."

Words seem insufficient to describe the situation, don't they? What we're witnessing, apparently, is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The Satanic cult known from the Book of Revelation as the "beast from the sea" is attempting to rise to the top of the world by "giving worth to evil" (i.e. worshiping Satan). To put it another way, the beast rises to the top by bringing everyone and everything else down.

Being relatively small in number, the Satanic cult operates primarily by deception, corruption and manipulation. If the beast cannot get the people to destroy themselves, it resorts to mass murder, but the end result is always destruction.

"Its puppet-rulers on behalf of America's currently 585 billionaires are not in prison from convictions by the International Court of Justice in the Hague."

Money has nothing to do with it (other than being another tool in the Satanists' tool box). They do what they do because they're evil. Evil is both the means and the end. To put it in Biblical terms, the Satanists seek to do to the whole world what Satan did to Eve. Only when whole world is brought down can evil claim victory over good (as per the Satanic agenda set forth in Isaiah 14:13,14).

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike

How can we have a meaningful debate if we can't agree even on basic definitions of what we're arguing about?

Excellent question, but the two, fascism and the various forms of big "C" Communism, are not necessarily mutually exclusive even though fascism as often used today was intended as a catch-all smear word by the Marxist cornballs a century ago.

In fact, Marxism, Bolshevism and Stalinism are can all be or become forms of fascism. Likewise, as Orwell saw, there is no essential difference between various iterations of capitalism and the various forms of communism that they oftentimes supported and promoted and still do.

Also, I highly doubt whether a meaningful debate regarding politics is possible whether or not definitions are agreed upon.

[During the war]words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.

Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any.

– Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Chap X, ~400 BC

"Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society."

– John Adams, letter to J. H. Tiffany, Mar. 31, 1819.

Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," 1946

IOW, it's pretty much all bullsh!t. Reader and listener beware.

anonymous [241] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT
The gangster laughs in your face: "Whadda going to do about it, kid?". Answer is nothing can be done.

At this point the US government barely even bothers to cover itself with plausible stories but just goes ahead with it's open violence. Who is there to stop it?

The pattern actually goes back 121 years to the Spanish-American war when the US smelled weakness and pounced. It's been on a roll ever since, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. The barriers to the US having a completely free hand are Russia, China, Iran, countries about which there's much heavy propaganda being thrown about. Their areas are limited though and they can't help the Venezuelans or most of the others. The US has a huge budget for internal spying and security to ensure that the people in charge stay that way so don't get optimistic. This supposed democracy is rigged from start to finish. The US has been very efficient in brainwashing it's residents into thinking it is all legit.

c matt , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT

Can an international scofflaw simply refuse to recognize the authority of the international court?

Why yes, yes it can. There is no such thing as rule of law. There is only rule by might. Law is mere rationalization.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:05 pm GMT
@Liza

It just doesn't matter anymore how any country is described or classified.

I wish I had thought of that! Excellent. Brilliant.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@HiHo

What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917? What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?

Talk about sweet summaries; yours is masterful!

Anyone who doubts it would do well to read Fish's, Tragic Deception,
FDR and America's involvement in World War II

https://openlibrary.org/books/OL21320930M/Tragic_deception

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:14 pm GMT
@Stephen Paul Foster This thread is uncommonly full of great comments and yours is another. Excellent.

This question [about the UN] is proof that the author needs psychiatric assistance.

And more than a brief stay in a reprogramming (anti-brainwashing) camp.

The UN was formed by the usual One World (globalist) crowd to serve their ends and theirs only. Anyone who fails to see that needs to be questioned deeply, no matter how correct he or she is about other matters.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
@Sean

Like any other state America can't call 911 if it gets into trouble so it has to do its own dirty work. Or, of course. America could just surrender to moral imperatives

What moral imperatives are you referring to?

Tsar Bomba for CIA , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
This is exactly right. The UN member nations are ready to replace the UN with an organization that can curb criminal regimes like the US. This has been the case since the 80s.

unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000732/073282eo.pdf

Considering the terminal degeneracy of the criminal enterprise that runs the US, it's going to take a war. Classified US policy is to use urban populations as human shields for the CIA COG autocracy. COIN drills like Watertown are dry runs for CIA martial law during war with Russia.

The one hopeful sign is superior SCO missile technology, which allows kinetic warheads to be substituted for nuclear ones. This permits regime decapitation by somewhat less destructive means. Most of you are still going to die, of course. But Russia and China will leave some habitable zones for people they can trust. Make sure you know human rights and humanitarian law,

https://ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/UniversalHumanRightsInstruments.aspx

and you can demonstrate a record of sticking up for them, and the postwar criminal tribunals will let you reconstruct a peaceful and lawful American state.

It's a shame it's going to take a couple hundred million dead, mostly American, to stop the CIA regime, but the world knows it's got to be done. If we're too chicken to storm Langley and hang those criminal scumbags, we're going to have to pay.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.

Somehow the poor sap is still a sucker. Good grief.

James Wood , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
This continuous harping on international law should be wearing thin even with you, Mr. Zuesse. The US outspends the next 24 nations combined on arms, I understand. For the US might is right. Until you and those who oppose US policy have an army that can break the US military might you have no hope.

You really need to think this through and stop the empty posturing. The bird flipped to the International Court of Justice by John Bolton for the third time apparently should teach you a lesson. Three strikes and you're out. Go home.

Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
@niteranger

"Elections are a fraud. You have seen what happened when the person they picked, Hillary didn't win. Trump may be an idiot but he won fair and square."

If elections are a fraud (which they obviously are) how can orange clown be said to have won "fair and square"? It's a contradiction. The evil orange clown had to lie to win the election; he had to completely misrepresent himself. What orange clown did was tantamount to stealing ballots/rigging voting machines. Orange clown is nothing but Satanic low-life scum.

Also, how do you know Clinton was "the person they picked [to win]"? That's very speculative, IMO. A solid argument can be made that orange clown was actually the chosen one.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm GMT
@Miro23

Fascist country, Communist country – a more understandable definition would be a Mafia run state.

Exactly.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT
@nsa Agree. Only one oblique reference to that other mafia state, Israel, in the whole piece.
Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm GMT
@HiHo

"What sort of idiot would want to get involved in a three year old war in 1917?"

An evil idiot.

"What sort of buffoon would want to get involved in a Europe in the 1940s and in the Orient at the same time, if there were not vast profits to be made?"

An evil buffoon.

"Everything that has happened since 1914 when the Fed came in to existence right up to the attacks on Venezula (sic) today, only make sense if you are Rothschild."

They do what they do because they're evil.

Hank , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike Fascists, communist, liberal and conservative. Those terms don't have as much meaning as you might think. In fact they are used as tools.
Benjy , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm GMT
@Harold Smith The Rothschild's are the Kings of the Jews. They have conquered the Bourbon, Habsburgs, the Hohenzollern, the Romanovs. They have merged with the house of Windsor. They have been mercilessly harvesting the entire planet for 200 years. They send Moslems against Christians, Christians agains Moslems, Moslems against Hindu's, Chirstians against Christians, Christians against Chinese, Christians against Hindus, Japanese against Chinese, US Christians against Japanese, Zulu against white, and on and on. Wars are the jews harvest.

They also sent all of these groups to get slaves from each other in raids and wars to provide human material from all the other races, except jewish, to sell on these jewish run slave markets. For centuries.

They extracted blood and organs from the children of the victims for use in the kabalistic rituals.

bookish1 , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:26 pm GMT
America's lying to get us into wars goes farther back than the 1950's to 2000's. The reasons for WW2 against Germany was based on devilish lies. So we claimed Hitler had to be stopped because he planned on taking over the whole world and that he had killed millions of innocent people(which he hadn't) but then turned around and helped the real murderers of millions of people which was the Soviet Union. And it goes on and on and there will be more lies and more wars to follow.
Hank , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX You can almost tell just how important the issue of private central banking is by the fact that you can't get anyone to really explain it, or even talk about it. Right now I would settle for just knowing exactly who owns it.
jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm GMT
@Hank

Fascists, communist, liberal and conservative. Those terms don't have as much meaning as you might think. In fact they are used as tools.

Left and right are two more extremely ambiguous and often misleading terms.

It seems that most of us think that language is used in precise ways, but that's probably not the case.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:52 pm GMT
@bookish1

America's lying to get us into wars goes farther back than the 1950's to 2000's. The reasons for WW2 against Germany was based on devilish lies

All true.

So we claimed Hitler had to be stopped because he planned on taking over the whole world

When in fact it was a handful of mafiosi financial oligarchs, many based in New Yoik, who desired to control the whole world via co-opted Marxist principles. One of their tools was the "holy" UN which the author seems to think is some sort of Messiah. A Rockefeller "donated" the land for the UN Headquarters building, and the UN was formed under the direction of Commies and their sympathizers associated with FDR. I'm convinced that WW2 was instigated partly to begin imposing globalism on the rest of us, just as the constitution of Uncle Shylock was rammed down our throats. All for the benefit of us lowly proles, peasants and peons, of course.

Reactionary Utopian , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
I'm giving about 1.8 cheers for this piece. I agree with much of it, but I surely don't share the author's enthusiasm for this International Court of Justice, not for the workings of the United Nations in general. Give one of these international legal outfits any actual power in America, and "hate crime" laws? You ain't seen nothin' yet. In much of the world, "anti-Semitism" (whatever that's construed to mean) is already a criminal offense. Hell, leave it up to these international bodies, and the Unz Review goes dark -- and quickly, too. No, thanks.
DESERT FOX , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:01 pm GMT
@Hank The owners are the Rothschilds, the Rockerfellers. the Warburgs , the Schiffs, etc., all satanic zionists and they control every central bank in the world including the FED and the Bank of England.
Harold Smith , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm GMT
@Benjy

"They send Moslems against Christians, Christians agains Moslems, Moslems against Hindu's, Chirstians against Christians, Christians against Chinese, Christians against Hindus, Japanese against Chinese, US Christians against Japanese, Zulu against white, and on and on. Wars are the jews harvest."

The Satanists are small in number and generally cowardly so their general modus operandi is to get their victims to destroy themselves. To put it in Biblical terms, their goal is to do to the whole world what Satan did to Eve; they deceive, corrupt, manipulate and ultimately stand tall over the destruction they've brought about. They're destroyers.

jacques sheete , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
Speaking of the UN and war, Douglas Reed provides a lot of great info about the two; too much to summarize here, but I offer a sample for the curious.

The Second War produced a third result, additional to the advance of the [Marxist permanent] revolution into Europe and the establishment by force of the Zionist state: namely, the second attempt to set up the structure of a "world government", on the altar of which Western nationhood was to be sacrificed. This is the final consummation to which the parallel processes of Communism and Zionism are evidently intended to lead; the idea first emerged in the Weishaupt papers, began to take vigorous shape in the 19th Century, and was expounded in full detail in the Protocols of 1905. In the First War it was the master-idea of all the ideas which Mr. House and his associates "oozed into the mind" of President Wilson, and sought to make the president think were "his own". It then took shape, first as "The League to Enforce Peace" and at the war's end as "The League of Nations".

-Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion, p.470

https://archive.org/stream/TheControversyOfZion/TheControversyOfZion_djvu.txt

But of course we can write him off as an early kunspiracy theorist, can't we? And them protykalz is fake. Fake, I tell yi!

WorkingClass , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
Well yeah. The Anglo/Zionist Empire is an evil empire indeed. I've known that since serving under President Johnson in the mid sixties.

The geniuses over at ZeroHedge will be surprised to learn about imperial aggression against Venezuela. They believe the explanation for Venexuela's troubles is "Socialism doesn't work".

I'm a Nationalist. So I say screw your International Court of Justice. What the U.S. needs is a New Republic complete with a new constitution. Failing that, secession will be the way forward.

[Feb 15, 2019] The Deep Hurt Lessons From American Coups

Notable quotes:
"... American imperialists (and many Americans) truly believe that they are superior and that the world would become a better place if nations submitted to their leadership ..."
"... Early promoters of American intervention were zealous patriots. They proclaimed love of country and loyalty to the flag. Yet they could not imagine that people from non-white countries might feel just as patriotic. ..."
"... Americans have been said to be ignorant about the world. ..."
"... Violent intervention in other countries always produces unintended consequences. ..."
"... Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. ..."
"... Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. ..."
"... Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. ..."
"... Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. ..."
"... America is the HIGHLY narcissistic, high functioning, psychopathic garden variety neighbor, highly destructive businessman you work hard to avoid. ..."
"... As Taleb nicely put: Our political leaders have no skin in the game and are completely unaccountable. Best preconditions for disaster! ..."
"... They even call the idea of not mass murdering people 'isolationism'. Hey, well guess what? I don't want to murder other people who never bothered me. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Michael Welton via Counterpunch.org,

As the world watches aghast at another US and allies' attempt to engineer a coup in Venezuela, I would like to offer a few insights from Stephen Kinzer' provocative chapter, "The deep hurt," (pp. 227-250) in his book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire (2017). This remarkable text carries some hope and lessons for all of us. It tells the story of the great conflict around the turn of 20th century about the role that the US might play in either dominating the world or building a cosmopolitan democracy where all people feel secure that they reside in one country, the earth.

Indeed, Kinzer states:

"Anti-imperialists decisively influenced American history by helping to ensure that the first burst of American annexation would be the last" (p. 228).

Even swash-buckling Teddy Roosevelt was influenced, losing his zest for the idea of conquest. When he charged into the White House he held two views simultaneously, intervene to help other people, without oppressing them. Kinzer thinks that this dichotomy "torments our national psyche" (p. 229). In the early parts of the book Kinzer sets out the anti-imperialist (Mark Twain) and pro-imperialist visions (Henry Cabot Lodge). These speeches are worth gathering round for reflection.

During the following hundred years much of what the anti-imperialists predicted has come to pass. The United States has become an "actively interventionist power. It has projected military or covert power into dozens of countries on every continent except Antarctica"(ibid.). George Frisbie Hoar was right, Kinzer points out, when he "warned that intervening in other lands would turn the United States into a 'vulgar, commonplace empire founded upon physical force"" (ibid.).

Anti-imperialists also predicted that an "aggressive foreign policy would have pernicious effects at home" (ibid.). Military budgets have soared to heights unimaginable in the days of fervent expansionism in the 1898 war with the Philippines. The armaments industries wield extraordinary clout. The wealth-soaked elites dominate politics. The invasion and overthrowing of distant regimes resides in the hands of a few decision-makers. And militaristic values and rituals saturate American life and expunge peaceful ones.

To be sure, American intervention brought some material blessings (good schools and orderly systems of justice, etc) and rising American power was perceived as "good for everyone simply because it means strengthening the world's most beneficent nation" (p. 230). The expansionists of 1898 believed that America was "inherently benevolent," and subject nations would rally around the May pole in celebratory dance. "The opposite happened .Carl Schurz was right when he warned that dominating foreigners would ultimately force Americans to 'shoot them down because they stand up for their independence'" (p. 231).

Kinzer states that: " In the face of profound new challenges, Americans are once again debating the role of the United States in the world. Should it intervene violently in other countries? This remains what Senator William V. Allen called it in 1899: 'The greatest question that has ever been presented to the American people'" (p. 231). American culture carries a current of anti-imperialism and commitment to an international legal order. They played a big role in the establishment of the UN and nurturing global governance. They remain the world's only superpower with enormous capacity to move towards building the cosmopolitan world order. What is evident now in this dark moment of history is that the world as it is, is not the way it has to be.

It is difficult, I think, for the United States with its inordinate military might and present delusionary self-understanding to wrench itself free from wanting to intervene for political and economic reasons. Many in the post-WW I world had placed their bet for a better world on the Presbyterian professor Woodrow Wilson. Famously, Wilson triggered immense hopefulness to the disenfranchised in the colonies of European powers. He preached that they should "choose the sovereignty under which the shall live" (p. 232). In office, American troops were dispatched to intervene in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia .Like his predecessors -- and successors -- Wilson insisted that he was doing it for the good of the target countries. Americans would leave them alone, he promised, as soon as they learned 'to elect good men'" (ibid.). Today scholars speak of the "shattered peace" of the post-WW I world. Was the desire to begin building, slowly, carefully, a cosmopolitan world order, as Jan Smuts thought, an "impossible dream"?

Kinzer observes that "this most compassionate of presidents not only invaded countries that defied the United States, but studiously ignored appeals from colonized people outside Europe, notably in Egypt, India, Korea, and Indochina. His hypocrisy set the stage for generations of war and upheaval" (ibid.). Margaret MacMillan's lively and densely detailed book, Paris 1919 (2001) , provides the stories for these outcast colonized countries.

Today, the US has intervened one more time. The difference now may well be that there is little pretence that the US is engaging in the bully politics of "might is right." They don't care two hoots about what the world thinks. They do not give a damn about the self-determination of all countries and peoples. This invasion is stripped of any moral or legal justification. The US has decided to declare the Speaker of the House, Juan Guaido, president. This is unheard of! And Canada has forsaken the best of its liberal and social democratic traditions of adherence to rule of law to hitch its caboose to the US's rampaging imperialist train.

There are several lessons that Kinzer draws from American history of intervention that our worth careful reflection.

1) American imperialists (and many Americans) truly believe that they are superior and that the world would become a better place if nations submitted to their leadership . The United States would be better off, Kinzer says, if it became a learning nation and not a teaching one.

2) Early promoters of American intervention were zealous patriots. They proclaimed love of country and loyalty to the flag. Yet they could not imagine that people from non-white countries might feel just as patriotic. Love of country was a mark of civilization. Lesser peoples, therefore, couldn't grasp it.

3) Americans have been said to be ignorant about the world. They are, says Kinzer, but so are other peoples. The difference is that American leaders, puffed with a sense of mission, acted on ignorance. American leaders see little reason to bother learning about the nations whose affairs they intrude.

4) Violent intervention in other countries always produces unintended consequences. Cuba was turned into a protectorate in 1901. A fine idea? It led ultimately to a bitter anti-American regime. Intervention in the Philippines sparked waves of nationalism across East Asia that contributed to the Communist revolution in China in 1949. Later American interventions also had terrible results planners never anticipated. From Iran and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, intervention has devastated societies and produced violent anti-American passion.

5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.

6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.

7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.

8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela.

9) Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late.


Leguran , 5 hours ago link

America has not become an interventionist power. What has happened is a Coup d'Etat has been staged through Congressional rules that give unconstitutional powers to a tiny group on the basis of their 'seniority' and reconcilliation committee appointment. These few, not the American people want intervention, war, you name it. They spent $5 trillion in the Middle East alone. So, let's not blame the American people.

CatInTheHat , 5 hours ago link

5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.

6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.

7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.

8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela."

America is the HIGHLY narcissistic, high functioning, psychopathic garden variety neighbor, highly destructive businessman you work hard to avoid. How any American can see the US and it's people as exceptional is beyond me. No yellow vests anti WAR protests have evolved to STOP the US genocidal killing machine.

The US, the white supremacist nation has zero trouble killing maiming and displacing millions of brown Muslims & Christians in 3 world countries. This WILL come home to roost as what the Zionazi empire of psychopaths does to other countries they will do to US

Son of Captain Nemo , 5 hours ago link

9) "Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late."...

I don't even think Teddy as self righteous and psychopathic as he was at the turn of the 20th Century would have ponied up to cannibalizing his own ( https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it ) in order to build ever more "pretexts" through the torture and murder of other sovereign nations simply as a means to "control" resources for the good of his $currency and it's banks and not a Country and it's peoples under the rule of law to a parasite/cyst that it is willing to die for ( https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-19/top-us-general-says-american-troops-should-be-ready-die-israel ) before it's own Nation!...

It is not only "too late" Mr. Kinzer... It's epitaph was written large almost 18 years ago when it's people chose not to address that crime of betrayal and treason to it's Constitution and stood idly by as it's government squandered it children's childrens childrens wealth for that lie ( https://www.ae911truth.org/news/506-grand-jury-to-hear-9-11-evidence-an-interview-with-the-lawyers-who-made-it-happen )

Moribundus , 6 hours ago link

Another gr8 lesson about American freedom and democracy is in book: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Americans should know that before slaves from Africa white trash from Britain was shipped as slaves. See: They were white and they were slaves.

Nunyadambizness , 6 hours ago link

" Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. ... In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated....

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other....

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. ... GEORGE WASHINGTON

I wish we had listened.

Smi1ey , 6 hours ago link

Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands.

Meanwhile, their own people in America see them as Satan worshiping pedophiles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS8i7C7JJ14

Chupacabra-322 , 8 hours ago link

As the raises & sets one can be assured of one thing. People are gullible as ****.

schroedingersrat , 11 hours ago link

As Taleb nicely put: Our political leaders have no skin in the game and are completely unaccountable. Best preconditions for disaster!

Dick Buttkiss , 6 hours ago link

Indeed, as that's the nature of the state in any and all its iterations. Reform it? Yes. But only by eradicating it altogether. Why? Because, as the great Albert Jay Nock said,

"Sending in good people to reform the state is like sending in virgins to reform the whorehouse."

Think this is impossible? Think again...

IntercoursetheEU , 14 hours ago link

McCabe, evil whitey on the front line here too? ; chickens coming home to roost finally? Guess there are two kind of people, those who work for a living, and the barbarians who appropriate the fruits of other's labor.

Justapleb , 14 hours ago link

Mark Twain wrote savagely and derisively about the Moro Massacre, where the US killed around a thousand Filipino natives who were hiding in a dormant volcano, they just rimmed it with artillery and killed everyone.

Because they would not pay tribute. We waterboarded about 200 important people, the equivalent of mayors and councilmen, ranking officers in militias we had no business disbanding.

1898 was lies and deceit from the outset. We promised the Philippine General Aguinaldo that if he fought the Spanish on land, then we would fight them at sea. In exchange for victory over the Spanish, the Philippines would be freed from colonization.

Except then we took it ourselves and killed anyone who disagreed. Slaughter, rape, torture, it was never for one moment noble. The USA granted the Philippines its independence after the Japanese conquered them, lol.

DFGTC , 14 hours ago link

Empires do not give up power, their grip weakens ... Empires do not devolve back into "republics", they crash and burn ... And there are really only two options: a) soft collapse b) hard collapse (there is no [c] option)

Kokito , 7 hours ago link

Exactly -The article was written by another delusional trying to reconstruct/masquerade the US criminal empire behind the a new facelift, too little too late. The guy didn't get the memo from Putin/Xi, telling him tat it is a multipolar world & that the US criminal empire is death & that it will never come back in any shape, way or form, to violate international law & carry out war crimes.

keep the bastards honest , 14 hours ago link

American or uk coups are not beneficial. Very sad. Checking USA coups online there is a huge list, after the Allende govt in Chile, comes Australia, the Whitlam govt, much loved, but ousted in a coup, bloodless by his choice. The people were waiting for Gough to call them out. Newspaper staff arrived from overseas.

first day in office his govt had let the conscientious objectors out of the 2 years they were serving in jail. There had been mass demonstrations against Aus participation and incarceration to no avail with the previous govt. Brought back our Australians from Vietnam, and twenty or 30 or more major things. Every day.

Chuckster , 15 hours ago link

We have learned nothing. Apparently we are using the taming of the lion method which has been used for thousands of years to take control of countries on Venezuela. The apparent goal is to take over several Latin and south American countries. Will this be good or bad? Our past history indicates it will be a disaster. Have we had any successes?

Atalanta , 15 hours ago link

Craving for respect. This started after the first bite in the apple, history said. Religion is based on that happening. Americans invented the extra load called fastest. Watch Hollywood portraying it. Respect shown all over the show for plain murderers. Graveyard managers and priest making the picture complete. Making that part of the world the right place for a second coming. Resulting in sending all believers to the place named hell.

lnardozi , 15 hours ago link

The fact that this is not taken for granted is exactly what is wrong with America. If only we could just learn to leave other people alone unless attacked. They even call the idea of not mass murdering people 'isolationism'. Hey, well guess what? I don't want to murder other people who never bothered me. I can't say I'm a Christian, but aren't they supposed to disagree with this sort of thing? They're also supposed to be like 80% of the population, why don't we ever hear, 'murder bad' from them?

[Sep 15, 2018] I don't know why so many people are having trouble realizing that the United States intends to make the rules, not follow them, and to be the ultimate arbiter of its own behaviour. And at its very core, this is an intent that recognizes no equal

Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile September 11, 2018 at 2:03 am

https://www.youtube.com/embed/NWB6IUE0hJU

Whither then the endless cries from libtards to send Putin to this court?

Mark Chapman September 11, 2018 at 10:47 am
I don't know why so many people are having trouble realizing that the United States intends to make the rules, not follow them, and to be the ultimate arbiter of its own behaviour. And at its very core, this is an intent that recognizes no equal. Allies are great, America loves to have them so that it can employ them as it sees fit, but does not recognize their authority to hold Americans to any standard of conduct. Certainly this does not hold true at the administrative levels – no American is going to get away with speeding on the autobahn by saying indignantly, "Of course I wasn't speeding – I'm an AMERICAN!" But speeding by an individual is hardly a national embarrassment. In any international context, allies and enemies alike are going to have to just accept that no international rules supersede American self-regulation, and you'll just have to be good with the concept that America is scrupulously fair in meting out justice to its own subjects.

Oddly enough, American military members and contractors who are accused of various crimes – which it stands to reason they committed, since Americans as a society are no better and no worse than any other social group on the planet – their government elevates their motivation to patriotism, the defending of home and family values. Presumably these transcendent laws protect Americans who blast Iraqi civilians off of balconies for the hell of it, as they did at Nisour Square in 2007. Please note that although eventually four Blackwater employees were tried and convicted in US Federal Court, (a) it was 7 years after the fact, (b) only one employee was found guilty of murder, while the remainder pleaded down to manslaughter and lesser firearms charges which implied they were careless rather than vicious, (c) 14 of 17 Iraqis killed were agreed by the USA to have been entirely without cause, and (d) the original conviction was overturned by a US District Judge on the grounds that all charges against Blackwater had been improperly built on testimony given in exchange for immunity. The entire process weighed heavily in favour of Iraq just giving up in disgust, and had it not persevered, there is every reason to believe Blackwater would have escaped any prosecution. No doubt they were characterized throughout the process as American patriots who were simply protecting their families and their nation and safeguarding American values.

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

One of the first moves in a humanitarian or policing mission involving the USA will be the establishment of a status-of-forces agreement in which American soldiers accused of any crime must be tried by a US court or under American authority. When American citizens are killed in such scenarios, such as the four Blackwater contractors killed and whose burnt bodies were hung from a bridge in Fallujah, Iraq, a disproportionate vengeance is enacted which punishes the whole population.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/contractors/highrisk.html

You all remember what happened to Fallujah; the American-led coalition invaded it twice, and razed it to the ground in a display of violence that made even US allies nervous.

American contractors in Iraq were earning about $600.00 a day. It is pretty hard to imagine they were all motivated by patriotism and family values.

et Al September 12, 2018 at 2:54 am

[Sep 14, 2018] No wonder the Russians came finally to understand that US is non-agreement capable

Notable quotes:
"... In the normal legal world, if one party breaches an agreement, the other party is not bound by this agreement any more. ..."
"... No wonder the Russians came finally to understand that US is non-agreement capable: sign an agreement, immediately start breaching the agreement, unleash an army of presstitutes and trolls who will keep accusing the other party of the breach of agreement. ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kiza , Sep 13, 2018 12:17:37 PM | 25

@cs17 This is an old point of information abuse by the Western government trolls. I cannot count how many times I have disputed one-sided claims such as yours.

The truth is relatively simple - yes, the Budapest Memorandum specifies the inviolability of the Ukrainian border including Crimea, but it also specifically addresses the non-interference into Ukrainian affairs (I used to quote the sections of the Memorandum, but I will skip here). Then the small matter of a coup against a dully elected and recognized government using the $5B by the usual US regime changers represents the original breach of the signed Budapest Memorandum. Unless, of course, the signatory is an exceptional nation for who the international laws and signed agreements do not apply. In the normal legal world, if one party breaches an agreement, the other party is not bound by this agreement any more.

No wonder the Russians came finally to understand that US is non-agreement capable: sign an agreement, immediately start breaching the agreement, unleash an army of presstitutes and trolls who will keep accusing the other party of the breach of agreement.

[Aug 30, 2018] Behviour of the USA toward North Korea confirms the Outlaw US Empire is not agreement capable. It also again confirms the policy to attain Full Spectrum Dominance of the planet is still the #1 goal.

Aug 30, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 28, 2018 1:50:29 PM | 8

But there is a third party to these agreements--South Korea--and we certainly know South Koreans stand to lose as much as their kin in the North should war again erupt.

I'm sure Korean press have asked President Moon for his reaction, but it's likely published in Korean. At this point Moon must choose between his nothing to gain alliance with the Outlaw US Empire or his excellent opportunity to make Korea whole again and the outstanding economic gains that will bring.

I must also wonder if in his meetings with Kim they discussed the very likely prospect that this situation would arise and how to counter.

In two weeks, the Far Eastern Economic Conference will begin in Vladivostok where sideline talks will likely occur on this issue, but I'd hope we'd see a few statements in reaction well before then. Also, prior to Mattis's announcement, the following event was reported by DPRK news outlet Rodong Sinmun and subsequently reported by EurasiaFuture :

"According to a south Korean radio, U.S. special units in Japan staged a drill of flying 1 200 km to the Philippines through air transport.

"The radio said one can confirm that the drill would be the drill aimed at "the infiltration into Pyongyang" in case of change of direction.

"Prior to the exercise, it was disclosed that the Michigan, the nuclear submarine belonging to the U.S. Navy, transported Green Berets, Delta Force and other special units present in Okinawa, Japan to the Jinhae naval base of south Korea in late July or early in August.

"In this regard, Rodong Sinmun in a commentary on Sunday says that it was extremely provocative and dangerous military moves to mar the hard-won atmosphere of the peace on the Korean peninsula and the dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. and prevent the implementation of the Singapore DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement.

"Such acts prove that the U.S. is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK and commit a crime which deserves merciless divine punishment in case the U.S. fails in the scenario of the DPRK's unjust and brigandish 'denuclearization first'.

"We can not but take a serious note of the double-dealing attitudes of the U.S. as it is busy staging secret drills involving man-killing special units while having a dialogue with a smile on its face.

"The U.S. would be sadly mistaken if it thinks that it can browbeat someone through trite "gunboat diplomacy" which it used to employ as an almighty weapon in the past and attain its sinister intention.

"The U.S. should ponder over its deeds."

Clearly, the US had already pondered for as soon as the ink was dry in Singapore, the Outlaw US Empire unilaterally moved denuclearization from step 3 to step 1 and has kept that stance.

[Aug 25, 2018] There is no way anyone in their right mind would enter into an agreement with the USA, and even when they do, as in the examples of North Korea here, or Iran recently - the USA backs out of them! That is not the kind of dance partner anyone would want to tango with

Notable quotes:
"... further signs of the usa coming apart at the seams and getting closer to some type of war.. ..."
"... the msm only holds trumps feet to the fire domestically to let him know that if he strays from supporting the financial/military complex, he is toast.. they never do it when he is carrying water for this same complex... ..."
"... i think it is hard to hold out any hope for trump being different then the ongoing succession of presidents.. that are all serving the plutocracy at this point, and trump is no exception... the only difference is we are getting closer to the wheels coming off the usa here.. ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Aug 25, 2018 3:07:24 PM | 3

thanks b.. further signs of the usa coming apart at the seams and getting closer to some type of war.. it seems like a reckless ride from here on in..

there is no way anyone in their right mind would enter into an agreement with the usa.. and even when they do, as in the examples of north korea here, or iran recently - the usa backs out of them!! that is not the kind of dance partner anyone would want to tango with..

the msm only holds trumps feet to the fire domestically to let him know that if he strays from supporting the financial/military complex, he is toast.. they never do it when he is carrying water for this same complex...

it is hard to tell the difference between trump and the hawks in his present gov't especially in light of his tweets.. maybe someone hacked his twitter account, but i doubt it.. those are his tweets, not bolton or pompeo's..

i think it is hard to hold out any hope for trump being different then the ongoing succession of presidents.. that are all serving the plutocracy at this point, and trump is no exception... the only difference is we are getting closer to the wheels coming off the usa here..

[Aug 14, 2018] Iran s Supreme Leader No War Nor Negotiations Ever With This White House

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In near simultaneous statements addressed to the Iranian public in a speech aired on state TV, the supreme leader who has the final word over all affairs in the Islamic republic, issued the directive: "I ban holding any talks with America... America never remains loyal to its promises in talks."

"America's withdrawal from the nuclear deal is a clear proof that America cannot be trusted," state TV quoted Khamenei further.

As part of his series of tweets, some of which mocked Trump's policy in the Middle East, Khamenei published an infographic presenting his position on ratcheting tensions with the U.S.

He also slammed the idea that this was the first such offer of talks, saying that Iran has proudly resisted unfair and imbalanced U.S. offers of negotiations for decades, and even cited President Ronald Reagan's sending his national security advisor, Robert McFarlane to Tehran for failed negotiations.

Notably, he appeared to troll Trump personally as well as his cabinet in the following:

A stupid man tells the Iranian nation that 'your government spends your money on Syria'. This is while his boss-- the U.S. president-- has admitted he spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East without gaining anything in return!

The top Iranian cleric also briefly referenced Iran's domestic crisis, which has included sporadic protests and clashes with the police throughout the summer in response to a plummeting rial and inability of people to access imported goods, stating "Today's livelihood problems do not emerge from outside; they are internal."

He urged the country to resist sanctions and erect "prudent" ways shielding from their effects.

It will be interesting to see if Trump responds to this directly in a tweet, or if any official reaction will be forthcoming from the White House.

But in the meantime it appears the possibility of any renegotiation after Trump's official pullout of the JCPOA last May has just had to the door slammed on it.


truthseeker47 -> vvaleria692 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:41 Permalink

Of course Iranian leaders do not want to negotiate with Trump, they know they cannot walk all over him like they did with Obummer.

peddling-fiction -> truthseeker47 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

No war? Chuckle.

TBT or not TBT -> peddling-fiction Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:57 Permalink

The mullahs are going to be quite the whiny bitches for a while. The anti-American pro Islam President Obama, Commie CIA director, for sale Sec of State, gay agenda Pentagon director and Ben Rhodes and ValJar, Rice and their ill will not be returning. Islamic socialism will be performing the economic wonders you can expect, putting a strong clamp on you their foreign subversion and domestic payrolls too. Meanwhile, they've got a middle class that hates them and views Islam as foreign dirty Arabs' inhuman sect. Good luck with that.

[Aug 13, 2018] http://www.euronews.com/2018/08/13/iran-s-leader-orders-governent-not-to-talk-to-u-s

Aug 13, 2018 | www.euronews.com

Iran's leader orders government not to talk to US

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned holding any direct talks with the United States, state TV reported, rejecting an offer last month by U.S.

He said "It was my mistake to allow the government for starting The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. I gave the permission for the negotiations because of the insistence of the gentlemen".

President Donald Trump for talks with no preconditions with Tehran.

"I ban holding any talks with America ... America never remains loyal to its promises in talks ... just gives empty words ... and never retreats from its goals for talks," Khamenei was quoted as saying by TV.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif told Al Jazeera that Iran will not change its policies in the Middle East because of US sanctions and threats.

Posted by: partizan | Aug 13, 2018 8:50:05 AM | 38

[Jun 12, 2018] With Trump-Kim Summit Hours Away, Iran Has Warning For North Korea Zero Hedge

Jun 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"The US has a history of sabotage, violation and withdrawal with respect to bilateral and multilateral international commitments." Iran's Foreign Ministry is urging Pyongyang to "exercise complete vigilance" when the 34-year-old Kim negotiates with the 71-year-old Real Estate tycoon who literally wrote a book on making deals.

Kim Jong-un should watch out for Trump's "America First" agenda and Washington's tendency to "betray international agreements and unilaterally withdraw from them," said a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Bahram Qassemi .

"Tehran believes that the North Korean government should be quite vigilant as the US by nature could not be judged in an optimistic way," Qassemi added.

"The US has a history of sabotage, violation and withdrawal with respect to bilateral and multilateral international commitments," the spokesman said.

Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran deal on May 8 - calling it an "unacceptable" and "defective" arrangement.

He also pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate deal - and is stoking international tensions over a current trade war that has caused Britain, Germany and France to reassess the transatlantic bond. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wondered if Europe should continue to be "vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States."

Trump imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, while Mexico and Canada were hit with similar tariffs on June 1. He refused to endorse the joint communique during the G7 summit in Quebec - calling the hose, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, "very dishonest and weak."

The EU says it will retaliate.


PrayingMantis -> ravolla Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:17 Permalink

... the Iranians, I'm quite sure, are hinting about this "conference" held more than 10 years ago as reported by the "Saker" ... and this conference was "planning" a war with Iran, but perhaps the "agreement" with Iran (nullified recently by Trump) got in the way ... and now, it would be too late for the empire to strike Iran, having Russia, China and, perhaps other countries, supporting Iran ...

... the excerpt below is from this link >>> https://thesaker.is/trump-goes-full-shabbos-goy/ ... note: McCain & Guliani's attendance ...

... " ... This topic, the AngloZionist plans of war against Iran, has been what made me write my very first post on my newly created blog 10 years ago . Today, I want to reproduce that post in full. Here it is:

Where the Empire meets to plan the next war

Take a guess: where would the Empire's puppeteers meet to finalize and coordinate their plans to attack Iran?

Washington? New York? London? NATO HQ in Brussels? Davos?

Nope.

In Herzilia. Never heard of that place?

The Israeli city of Herzliya is named after Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, and it has hosted a meeting of the Empire's Who's Who over the past several days at the yearly conference of the Herzilia Institute for Policy and Stragegy. For a while, Herzilia truly became the see of the Empire's inner core of heavy hitters.

(Non-Israeli) speakers included:

Jose Maria Aznar Former Prime Minister of Spain, Matthew Bronfman, Chair of the Budget and Finance Commission, World Jewish Congress, and member of the World Jewish Congress Steering Committee, Amb. Nicholas Burns US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Prof. Alan Dershowitz Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Senator John Edwards Head of the One America Committee and candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Gordon England US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dr. Marvin C. Feuer Director of Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC, Newt Gingrich Former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rudolph Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City and candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, General the Lord Charles Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE. Former Chief of the Defense Staff and Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, Amb. Dr. Richard Haass President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen E. Herbits Secretary-General of the World Jewish Congress, Amb. Dr. Robert Hunter President of the Atlantic Treaty Association and Former U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO. Senior Advisor at the RAND Corporation in Washington (also serves as Chairman of the Council for a Community of Democracies, Senior International Consultant to Lockheed Martin Overseas Corporation), Amb. Dr. Richard H. Jones United States Ambassador to Israel (also served as the Secretary of State's Senior Advisor and Coordinator for Iraq Policy), Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman Director, Israel and Middle East Office, American Jewish Committee (also served in the IDF Intelligence Directorate for over 25 years), Christian Leffler Deputy Chief of Staff of the European Commissioner for External Relations and Director for Middle East and Southern Mediterranean, European Commission, The Hon. Peter Mackay Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator John McCain U.S. Senator (R) from Arizona and candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Dr. Edward L. Morse Chief Energy Economist, Lehman Brothers, Dr. Rolf Mützenich Member of the German Federal Parliament (SPD) and member of the Committee on Foreign Policy of the Bundestag (and Board Member of the "Germany-Iran Society"), Torkel L. Patterson President of Raytheon International, Inc., Richard Perle Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (previously served as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy), Amb. Thomas R. Pickering Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (previously served as Senior Vice President of Boeing), Jack Rosen Chairman of the American Jewish Congress (and member of the Executive Committee of AIPAC and of the Council on Foreign Relations), Stanley O. Roth Vice President for Asia, International Relations of the Boeing Company (member of the Council on Foreign Relations), James Woolsey Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and many others.

Pretty much the entire Israeli "Defence" establishment (why does nobody call it "Aggression establishment?) was present too.

Not bad for a "conference"?!

Of course, the main topic at the conference was the upcoming war with Iran. Richard Perle, the "Prince of Darkness", delivered the keynote and conclusion: "If the Israeli government comes to the conclusion that it has no choice but to take action, the reaction of the U.S. will be the belief in the vitality that this action must succeed, even if the U.S. needs to act with Israel in the current American administration".

Noticed anything funny in his words? It's the "world only superpower" which will have the "belief" (?) in the action of a local country and, if needed, act with it. Not the other way around. Makes one wonder which of the two is the world only superpower, does it not?

Anyway – if anyone has ANY doubts left that the Empire will totally ignore the will of the American people as expressed in the last election and strike at Iran, this conference should settle the issue.

Juggernaut x2 -> ikemike Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:03 Permalink

Gaddafi and Saddam are just a couple of examples of how much you can trust the Zio Snakes of America.

Rudog -> Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:07 Permalink

We only steal land for freedom, and we use love bullets, and love bombs.

Miner -> gzcekkyret Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

North Korea doesn't need this warning. They've experienced it. We promised to build them non-proliferation reactors in exchange for de-nuclearization in the 90's, but Congress never funded it.

That's my country. hoo-rah.

Chief Joesph Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:09 Permalink

Yeah, just ask any Native American Indian about the treaties the U.S. had ever signed and reneged on. From 1778 to 1904, the United States government entered into more than 500 treaties with the Native American tribes; all of these treaties have since been violated in some way or outright broken by the US government. The list of treaties can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_treaties .

Iran is very right in what it says, the U.S. is not a country to be trusted. And to think that the U.S. will be anymore honest with North Korea! It will never happen.

tsog Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:26 Permalink

"But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangmen and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey. And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had -- power."

-- Friedrich Nietzsche

[May 04, 2018] Too Many Foreign Policy Double Standards Hurt U.S. Credibility by Ted Galen Carpenter

Notable quotes:
"... Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at ..."
"... , is the author or coauthor of 10 books on international affairs, including ..."
April 26, 2018
The hypocrisy is especially evident in Washington's approach to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East 'allies.' President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Saturday evening, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) American leaders like to portray the United States as an exemplar of ethical conduct in the international system. The reality is far different, and it has been for decades. Throughout the Cold War, the United States embraced extremely repressive rulers , including the Shah of Iran, Nicaragua's Somoza family, Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek, and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, all the while portraying them as noble members of the "Free World." Such blatant hypocrisy and double standards continue today regarding both Washington's own dubious behavior and the U.S. attitude toward the behavior of favored allies and friends.

The gap between professed values and actual policy is especially evident in the Middle East. U.S. officials routinely excoriate Syria and Iran, not only for their external behavior, but for manifestations of domestic abuse and repression. Some of those criticisms are valid. Both Bashar al-Assad's regime and Iran's clerical government are guilty of serious international misconduct and human-rights violations. But the credibility of Washington's expressions of outrage is vitiated when those same officials remain silent, or even excuse, equally serious -- and in some cases, more egregious -- abuses that the United States and its allies commit.

Following the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in early April, President Trump painted Assad as an exceptionally vile enemy. He immediately issued a tweet describing the Syrian leader as "an animal" who gassed his own people. In his subsequent address to the American people announcing punitive air and missile strikes , Trump charged that the incident confirmed "a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead." The president also blasted Russia and Iran for their longstanding sponsorship of Assad. "To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"

TAC 's Daniel Larison provided an apt response to that question. "Trump should know the answer, since he just hosted one of the chief architects of the war on Yemen that the U.S. has backed to the hilt for the last three years. Britain welcomed the Saudi crown prince earlier on, and France just hosted him in the last few days. All three have been arming and supporting the Saudis and their allies in Yemen no matter how many atrocities they commit."

Indeed, the United States has been an outright accomplice in those atrocities, which among other tragic effects, has led to a cholera epidemic in Yemen. The U.S. military refuels Saudi coalition warplanes and provides intelligence to assist them in their attacks on Yemen -- attacks that have exhibited total indifference about civilian casualties. A recent revelation implicates Washington in even more atrocious conduct. Evidence has emerged that Saudi forces have employed white phosphorous munitions, and that the United States supplied those foul weapons that inflict horrible burns on their victims. For U.S. leaders to criticize Syria for using chemical weapons in light of such behavior may reach a new level of hypocrisy.

Washington's double standard also is evident regarding the international conduct of another U.S. ally: Turkey. U.S. officials reacted with a vitriolic denunciation of Russia's annexation of Crimea, but the reaction was -- and remains -- very different regarding Ankara's invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the occupation of that country's northern territory. Washington's criticism was tepid even at the beginning, and it has become more so with the passage of time. Indeed, there is greater U.S. pressure on the government of Cyprus to accept a peace settlement that would recognize the legitimacy of the puppet Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus that Ankara established (and has populated with settlers from the Turkish mainland) and countenance the continued presence of Turkish troops. Although the United States initially imposed mild sanctions on Turkey for invading and occupying its neighbor, they were soon lifted . Sanctions imposed against Russia are stronger, and there is little prospect that they will be lifted, or even eased, in the foreseeable future.

Washington's criticism of Turkey's repeated military incursions into northern Iraq and northern Syria likewise have been barely audible. That has been the case even though the targets in Syria are Kurdish forces that aided the United States and its allies in their war against ISIS.

The flagrant U.S. double standard also is apparent in the disparate assessments of the domestic conduct of Iran and such U.S. allies as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley verbally eviscerates Tehran at every opportunity for repressing its population. When anti-government demonstrations erupted in several Iranian cities earlier this year, Haley was quick to embrace their cause. "The Iranian regime's contempt for the rights of its people has been widely documented for many years," she stated during a Security Council session. Haley added that the United States stood "unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families, and dignity for their nation."

Iran certainly does not resemble a Western-style democracy, but its political system is vastly more open than either Egypt's or Saudi Arabia's. Although the clerical Guardian Council excludes any candidate for office that it deems unacceptable, competing elections take place between individuals with often sharply contrasting views. President Hassan Rouhani won a new electoral mandate over a decidedly more hardline opponent in the May 2017 presidential election. Compared to some U.S. allies in the Middle East, Iran resembles a Jeffersonian democracy.

The Saudi royal family does not tolerate even a hint of domestic opposition. People have been imprisoned or beheaded merely for daring to criticize the regime. Saudi Arabia's overall human-rights record is easily one of the worst in the world, as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented. It is a measure of just how stifling the system is that the government finally allowing women to drive is considered a radical reform. A similar suffocating miasma of repression exists in Egypt, where President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has imprisoned thousands of political opponents, executed hundreds, and wins rigged elections by absurd margins reminiscent of those in Soviet satellite countries during the Cold War.

Yet, President Trump and other U.S. officials express little criticism of those brutal, autocratic allies. Trump's demeanor during his state visit to Riyadh last year bordered on fawning. Washington approves multi-billion-dollar arms deals for both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, despite their legendary human-rights abuses. As noted, the United States even continues to assist Saudi Arabia in its atrocity-ridden military intervention in Yemen.

There may be plausible geo-strategic reasons for persisting in such double standards. Iran, for example, has been openly hostile to the United States and its policy objectives since the fall of the Shah. It is not illogical for Washington to be intent on countering the influence of Tehran and its Syrian ally, even if that requires making common cause with other repressive regimes in the region. But U.S. leaders need to be candid with the American people and acknowledge that their decisions are based on cold calculations of national interest, not ethical considerations. They should at least spare us their pontificating and the pretense that they care about the rights or welfare of Middle Eastern populations. Washington's policies indicate otherwise.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative , is the author or coauthor of 10 books on international affairs, including Perilous Partners: The Benefits and Pitfalls of America's Alliances with Authoritarian Regime. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

How Rigid Alliances Have Locked Us Into Unwanted Conflicts Was Trump's Threat to Prosecute Hillary a Dictatorial Impulse? Hide 10 comments 10 Responses to Too Many Foreign Policy Double Standards Hurt U.S. Credibility

Realist April 26, 2018 at 3:36 am

"Too Many Foreign Policy Double Standards Hurt U.S. Credibility"

One is too many.

incredibility , says: April 26, 2018 at 8:02 am
"Evidence has emerged that Saudi forces have employed white phosphorous munitions, and that the United States supplied those foul weapons that inflict horrible burns on their victims. For U.S. leaders to criticize Syria for using chemical weapons in light of such behavior may reach a new level of hypocrisy."

Gah! I am so ashamed of having voted for this man. I really thought he was going to get us out of there. I can't believe he's selling the Saudis white phosphorus bombs at the same time he's justifying missile strikes against Syria because of "alleged" use of chemical weapons.

"Credibility"?

What "credibility" are you talking about?

EliteCommInc. , says: April 26, 2018 at 10:23 am
"I can't believe he's selling the Saudis white phosphorus bombs at the same time he's justifying missile strikes against Syria because of "alleged" use of chemical weapons."

You don't have anything to be ashamed about. One can be disappointed that the candidate of their choice by hook or by crook has gone astray. But those are his choices. And those choices are to the delight of those we opposed in the election. I suspect that if we sold WP, it's a sale that took place long before the election.

I thought he would reduce our footprint as well. In fact, I suspected he was going to less with less. Other states are entitled to work out their issues with one another. As a nation we have some shame to bear, but Pres. Trump is far down the least.

Michael Kenny , says: April 26, 2018 at 11:11 am
The author torpedoes his own argument when he says "there may be plausible geo-strategic reasons for persisting in such double standards. Precisely! Ultimately, all the author wants is that US politicians spare Americans their pontificating and the pretence that they care about the rights or welfare of populations. In other words, he has no quibble with the foreign policy, he just wants US politicians to be open about what they're doing.
b. , says: April 26, 2018 at 11:53 am
"Iran, for example, has been openly hostile to the United States and its policy objectives since the fall of the Shah."

Iran has been openly hostile to the US since Eisenhower engineered the fall of Mosaddegh, and for good reasons. The Shah and his torturers fit right in with MbS and al-Siri, or the Bush/Tenet CIA and its Haspels.

"Evidence has emerged that Saudi forces have employed white phosphorous munitions, and that the United States supplied those foul weapons "

Talk about burying the lede along with the bodies.

Sid_finster , says: April 26, 2018 at 1:42 pm
"A wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me."

"Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born."

Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture."

"No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass."

Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well."

"No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me."

Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."

Moral: The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny."
**************************
For a few more years, the US will have absolute power over other people and we will use that power in an absolutely corrupt way at the behest of our overlords in Riyadh and Jerusalem. When retribution finally comes our way, no one will shed a tear for us.

Nor should they, for we do evil.

Ray Joseph Cormier , says: April 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm
There is no criticism of Israel illegally annexing the Golan and East Jerusalem in violation of International Law.

A Democracy for Jews and a Military Dictatorship for Palestinians is untenable.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: April 26, 2018 at 4:05 pm
Truly, what credibility?

You really do have virtually none left in your long march to empire.

It has been almost nothing but lies and manipulation for decades.

Yes, you still have subservient countries like Britain or France who parrot your stuff, but that's only because they are afraid of the consequences of not doing so.

You cannot be both a decent country and a world empire, and almost everyone in the world outside the United States understands that.

Miguel , says: April 26, 2018 at 11:26 pm
Great article in my opinion. I disagree with the comment of Michael Kenny: I don't think the author just wants the U.S. politicians to stop lyinf and to start to admit that they -U.S. politicians and the other U.S. people with power- do what they do because of their interests. I think the author wants to denounce the fact that all the ethical arguments presented by those with power -not only in the U.S., by the way- are "necessary lies".

How necessary lies? Simple: no president, or ruller, can face his polity's people to say that they are going to war on economics or political interests; the only way to justify, I would dare to say emotionaly more than morally, all the horrors of war, is with the excuse of the "Greater Good". To do evil is justified if it is done in order to check a bigger evil", so to speak.

But obvoisully, no one accepts all the spenditures of war "just to do good".

And I think the author points to another, maybe more profound matter: it is like the tale of the lier shepperd who, when the wolf was really coming, no one believed him, and well, the tale didn´t end too well for the shepperd; but I will leave it as an open end.

Now the other countries arround the world are also interets´guided, and therefore can be considered schemers aswell. The problem is that even schemers need to be able to feel trust, or common action becomes immpossible.

David Smith , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:53 am
Good article, but a bit off-base on the criticism of Turkey's annexation of northern Cyprus. As you may or may not recall, in 1974 the Greek military junta planned to annex all of Cyprus to Greece, which would have violated the treaty then in force and brought northern Cyprus, which was predominantly inhabited by Turks, under Greek rule. Turkey responded accordingly by taking northern Cyprus. Greece and Turkey have had a long history of conflict; it is a mistake to make a simple good guys vs bad guys story out of it. I know it was a long time ago, but history is important.

[Apr 29, 2018] The Stupidity of Trying to 'Rewrite' the Nuclear Deal The American Conservative by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... There is no "Western consensus" in support of "rewriting" the deal. Germany has no interest in revising the agreement, and has said so explicitly. If the U.S. and France cook up some other agreement between themselves, none of the other parties will respect its terms. If one or two parties to the agreement can go back and "rewrite" the parts they don't like whenever they want, none of the other parties will see any reason to abide by its requirements. Thinking that the U.S. can "rewrite" a deal and that the other side simply has to go along with it is as arrogant as it is stupid. ..."
"... Iran isn't going to agree to make additional concessions when the other parties have no intention of offering them anything more, and Iran already gave up as much as it was prepared to concede the first time. ..."
Apr 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Wall Street Journal editors make a ludicrous argument in favor of a "revised" deal with Iran:

This is a major advance, and it offers hope that the U.S. and France, Britain and Germany can agree on a revised pact. Contrary to common misunderstanding, Iran, Russia and China wouldn't have to agree to these changes. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is known, isn't a treaty. Mr. Obama never submitted it for Senate approval because he knew it would be defeated. The deal is essentially a set of assurances agreed to at the United Nations that lack the force of U.S. law.

The JCPOA was endorsed by a U.N. Security Council resolution (UNSCR 2231), so all member states are obliged to respect the deal as it was written. The deal wasn't a treaty, but that doesn't give the U.S. license to violate it or arbitrarily change it after the fact. Indeed, every attempt to "rewrite" an agreement once it has already been made is a violation that makes U.S. promises seem worthless.

There is no "Western consensus" in support of "rewriting" the deal. Germany has no interest in revising the agreement, and has said so explicitly. If the U.S. and France cook up some other agreement between themselves, none of the other parties will respect its terms. If one or two parties to the agreement can go back and "rewrite" the parts they don't like whenever they want, none of the other parties will see any reason to abide by its requirements. Thinking that the U.S. can "rewrite" a deal and that the other side simply has to go along with it is as arrogant as it is stupid.

Iran would have to agree to any changes because Iran would be the one implementing those changes, and their government has said many times in no uncertain terms that this isn't going to happen. The reason for this should be obvious: Iran isn't going to agree to make additional concessions when the other parties have no intention of offering them anything more, and Iran already gave up as much as it was prepared to concede the first time. Iran isn't going to give up more when they are under less pressure and have more international support. Besides, if they accepted a "rewrite" of the deal now, it would just be a matter of time until the U.S. came back with another "rewrite" and then another after that.

"Rewriting" the requirements of an agreement made in good faith is a dishonest and treacherous way to deal with other governments. Other governments can see that for what it is, and they will know that the U.S. can't be trusted to keep its end of a bargain. All of this talk about a "new deal" is just a bit of kabuki to distract from the fact that the U.S. is about to renege on its international commitments for no good reason. Hawks are desperate to spread blame around for their reckless scrapping of a working nonproliferation agreement, but everyone can see through this. When the deal falls apart, the Trump administration and its hawkish allies will be the only ones responsible.


liberal April 27, 2018 at 10:02 am

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is known, isn't a treaty. Mr. Obama never submitted it for Senate approval because he knew it would be defeated.

By that standard (ratified by 2/3 vote in Senate) most of our trade treaties are not treaties. They're passed by the normal legislative process. (TPP would have been an example; NAFTA was passed that way, too.)

Of course, given the rabid AIPAC-inspired hatred of Iran, I'm not saying the JCPOA would have passed that way, either.

liberal , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:03 am
Is it just me, or would Trump renouncing the JCPOA be the final nail in the coffin of the NPT?
Bill H , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:16 am
" a violation that makes U.S. promises seem worthless."

Russia has defined the US as a nation who cannot be negotiated with because its promises are meaningless. They have a word for it which goes beyond "untrustworthy," and means someone who makes promises with no intention of keeping them even at the time they are made.

More and more nations will reach the same conclusion.

redfish , says: April 27, 2018 at 10:58 am
liberal,

By that standard (ratified by 2/3 vote in Senate) most of our trade treaties are not treaties. They're passed by the normal legislative process. (TPP would have been an example; NAFTA was passed that way, too.)

Of course, given the rabid AIPAC-inspired hatred of Iran, I'm not saying the JCPOA would have passed that way, either.

Not sure what the debate is they aren't treaties by strict Constitutional standards. Treaties are passed without ratification just like wars are entered without a Declaration of War.

Maybe the outcome of all this is that foreign leaders who want solid agreements will try to get real treaties from the US government instead of convincing the US to do some extra-Constitutional measure that they think should be treated like a treaty when it isn't.

And that would be a good thing, from a conservative perspective.

Christian Chuba , says: April 27, 2018 at 11:30 am
Don't you understand, all international agreements are bound by U.S. law because all of the nations of the earth must bow down to us.

We are such an egotistic, narcissistic people. We will get our comeuppance when we least expect it. I keep hoping for us to wake up but I hope in vain.

b. , says: April 27, 2018 at 12:46 pm
The Wall Street Journal editorial board thinks like a sleazy lawyer – what a surprise. The honor of thieves – and I would not count on Germany maintaining its "splendid isolation" either.

Back in the day, Schroeder pretended to oppose Bush's Iraq invasion for electoral gain, while carefully pretending any of the actual options he had to work against it. The options included using Germany's then-membership in the USNC to unilaterally invoke UN Resolution 377 to force a meeting of the UN General Assembly, with the goal of pass a resolution opposing and disavowing the planned invasion of Iraq. Other, smaller and less powerful countries without much affliction of "Western values and civilization" were trying to organize such a step outside the USNC, and US "diplomats" spent a lot of effort making threats to coerce the more vulnerable nations that participated into dropping out.

Today, Merkel declares that Germany "supports" the repeated illegal bombing of Syria, and has little to say regarding the Turkish and US invasions and Israeli acts of aggression.

Should we consider Israel, undeclared nuclear state, or India, non-signatory to the NPT? Or the failure of the US and Russia to follow the example set by China and settle for minimum means of reprisal even in the face of US forward based missile defense designed to neutralize any deterrent of a "reasonable" size and number?

Should we consider Iraq, Libya, Yemen – those crimes of aggression perpetrated by "the West"?

Nobody can look at the historic record, and with a straight face claim that the US and its various "allies" and hanger-ons and co-belligerents have any standing with respect to the conduct of Iran. Neither Trump nor Macron believes for a moment that the "new deal" is the objective of all this "diplomacy". The only ones fooled are the dupes that take these contortions at face value, and believe that either "leader" is acting in good faith.

redfish , says: April 27, 2018 at 2:29 pm
Christian Cuba,

Don't you understand, all international agreements are bound by U.S. law because all of the nations of the earth must bow down to us.

All international agreements are based on legal processes established by the existence of nations as sovereign entities operating on their own principles, through self-determination.

This is recognized and established in the UN Charter, by the way.

In effect, it practically means the US needs to acknowledge Iranian law, and Iran needs to acknowledge American law.

Globalists who have wanted to act outside this framework have been the arrogant ones, in different ways and different forms, over the decades.

Sid Finster , says: April 27, 2018 at 4:29 pm
Oh, but this is a very valuable lesson, at least for those who didn't figure out the meanings of Iraq and Libya.

The United States cannot be trusted, and can only be dealt with only from a position of strength.

collin , says: April 27, 2018 at 4:39 pm
Again, can't Iran Leader just visit Trump at his hotel during one of weekends and enjoy the best tasting chocolate ever? Or better yet, deliver a Boeing plane to the Iran/Trump summit where Trump takes all the credit for the jobs? Maybe Iran can state how big Trump's hands are. (or Something)

Really I can't tell if Trump is really against the Iran deal or just wants a couple Iranian concessions (or complements on his golfing game) to not back out of the deal. Trump loves to talk loudly and do very little. (It is a very weird way to be a dove.)

GregR , says: April 27, 2018 at 5:00 pm
I can only surmise that Trump's plan is to destroy America's standing as the indispensable party, and instead make us the poison pill. I really do think if the US walks back from this we will see the rest of the world open the doors to Iran further to make up the shortfall. It would be the only way to save the deal and encourage Iran to uphold it end of the deal.

This of course would push the US to implement trade sanctions against the EU, Russia, and China. Further isolating the US as the rest of the world turns its back on us.

Janwaar Bibi , says: April 27, 2018 at 5:57 pm
I read somewhere that the US government violated most treaties that it signed with Native American tribes.

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1830-1860/indian-treaties

https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals/sioux.html

The ethnic cleansing of Cherokees and the seizure of the Black Hills from the Sioux after gold was discovered there are just two of the more notorious examples.

The US violated treaties with impunity because the Native Americans were powerless. Today the US is a client state of the Saudis and Israelis, and it violates international law in the Middle East at their behest for the same reason – because it can.

When it comes to nations or people, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Fran Macadam , says: April 28, 2018 at 11:47 am
Our elites get away with whatever they can, and there is no law beyond, whatever cane be done, will be done.

Since international trade is conducted in US dollars, which are backed by the full faith and power of the US military, there is little junior partners can do other than to obey to avoid punishing economic sanctions, or at worst election interference, regime change, covert military action and ultimately open war.

France, always a rival of Britain, senses Brexit weakness and an opportunity to cosy up to the US to its own advantage in the globalist system. As an international bankster, this fits Macron's own elitist agenda well.

[Apr 27, 2018] Our friends here in China and in Russia tell us that we should not say this. Nevertheless, we do not respect the UN. It is controlled by many players, but in the end the master of puppets who pulls all the strings in the UN is the US.

Apr 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hope you get better very soon b. I'm not a dietist or so but maybe stick to yoghurt or something for a couple of days :-)

Something completely different... the Syrian ambassador to China gave a nice interview recently and had this to say which many already know: (reaffirmation never hurts)

"Our friends here in China and in Russia tell us that we should not say this. Nevertheless, we do not respect the UN. It is controlled by many players, but in the end the master of puppets who pulls all the strings in the UN is the US.

[...]

So these are the major supporters of the terrorist groups in Syria: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, France, Great Britain and the US. [...]

Each one of them has its own terrorist groups. [...] They are warlords. Their true doctrine and ideology is money . It depends on who is paying them.

They get their money from the Saudi Arabia and they follow Wahhabi model of Islam, which is not the model accepted by the majority of the Muslim people across the world."

Posted by: xor | Apr 26, 2018 2:48:46 PM | 20

[Apr 26, 2018] Drones, Baby, Drones! The Rise of Americas High-Tech Assassins

Apr 03, 2015 | Alternet
...President Barack Obama, who had run a quasi-antiwar liberal campaign for the White House, had embraced the assassination program and had decreed, "the CIA gets what it wants." Intelligence budgets were maintaining the steep upward curve that had started in 2001, and while all agencies were benefiting, none had done as well as the CIA At just under $15 billion, the agency's budget had climbed by 56 percent just since 2004.

Decades earlier, Richard Helms, the CIA director for whom the event was named, would customarily refer to the defense contractors who pressured him to spend his budget on their wares as "those bastards." Such disdain for commerce in the world of spooks was now long gone, as demonstrated by the corporate sponsorship of the tables jammed into the Grand Ballroom that evening. The executives, many of whom had passed through the revolving door from government service, were there to rub shoulders with old friends and current partners. "It was totally garish," one attendee told me afterward. "It seemed like every arms manufacturer in the country had taken a table. Everyone was doing business, right and left."

In the decade since 9/11, the CIA had been regularly blighted by scandal-revelations of torture, renditions, secret "black site" prisons, bogus intelligence justifying the invasion of Iraq, ignored signs of the impending 9/11 attacks-but such unwholesome realities found no echo in this comradely gathering. Even George Tenet, the CIA director who had presided over all of the aforementioned scandals, was greeted with heartfelt affection by erstwhile colleagues as he, along with almost every other living former CIA director, stood to be introduced by Master of Ceremonies John McLaughlin, a former deputy director himself deeply complicit in the Iraq fiasco. Each, with the exception of Stansfield Turner (still bitterly resented for downsizing the agency post-Vietnam), received ringing applause, but none more than the night's honoree, former CIA director and then-current secretary of defense Robert M. Gates.

Although Gates had left the CIA eighteen years before, he was very much the father figure of the institution and a mentor to the intelligence chieftains, active and retired, who cheered him so fervently that night at the Ritz-Carlton. He had climbed through the ranks of the national security bureaucracy with a ruthless determination all too evident to those around him. Ray McGovern, his supervisor in his first agency post, as an analyst with the intelligence directorate's soviet foreign policy branch, recalls writing in an efficiency report that the young man's "evident and all-consuming ambition is a disruptive influence in the branch." There had come a brief check on his rise to power when his involvement in the Iran-Contra imbroglio cratered an initial attempt to win confirmation as CIA director, but success came a few years later, in 1991, despite vehement protests from former colleagues over his persistent willingness to sacrifice analytic objectivity to the political convenience of his masters.

Book cover of 'Kill Chain.'

Photo Credit:

Henry Holt

Click to enlarge.

Gates's successful 1991 confirmation as CIA chief owed much, so colleagues assessed, to diligent work behind the scenes on the part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's staff director, George Tenet. In 1993, Tenet moved on to be director for intelligence programs on the Clinton White House national security staff, in which capacity he came to know and esteem John Brennan, a midlevel and hitherto undistinguished CIA analyst assigned to brief White House staffers. Tenet liked Brennan so much that when he himself moved to the CIA as deputy director in 1995, he had the briefer appointed station chief in Riyadh, an important position normally reserved for someone with actual operational experience. In this sensitive post Brennan worked tirelessly to avoid irritating his Saudi hosts, showing reluctance, for example, to press them for Osama bin Laden's biographical details when asked to do so by the bin Laden unit back at headquarters.

Brennan returned to Washington in 1999 under Tenet's patronage, initially as his chief of staff and then as CIA executive director, and by 2003 he had transitioned to the burgeoning field of intelligence fusion bureaucracy. The notion that the way to avert miscommunication between intelligence bureaucracies was to create yet more layers of bureaucracy was popular in Washington in the aftermath of 9/11. One concrete expression of this trend was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, known as T-TIC and then renamed the National Counter Terrorism Center a year later. Brennan was the first head of T-TIC, distinguishing himself in catering to the abiding paranoia of the times. On one occasion, notorious within the community, he circulated an urgent report that al-Qaeda was encrypting targeting information for terrorist attacks in the broadcasts of the al-Jazeera TV network, thereby generating an "orange" alert and the cancellation of dozens of international flights. The initiative was greeted with malicious amusement over at the CIA's own Counterterrorism Center, whose chief at the time, José Rodríguez, later opined that Brennan had been trying to build up his profile with higher authority. "Brennan was a major factor in keeping [the al-Jazeera/al-Qaeda story] alive. We thought it was ridiculous," he told a reporter. "My own view is he saw this, he took this, as a way to have relevance, to take something to the White House." Tellingly, an Obama White House spokesman later excused Brennan's behavior on the grounds that though he had circulated the report, he hadn't believed it himself.

Exiting government service in 2005, Brennan spent the next three years heading The Analysis Corporation, an obscure but profitable intelligence contractor engaged in preparing terrorist watch lists for the government, work for which he was paid $763,000 in 2008. Among the useful relationships he had cultivated over the years was well-connected Democrat Anthony Lake, a former national security adviser to Bill Clinton, who recommended him to presidential candidate Barack Obama. Meeting for the first time shortly after Obama's election victory, the pair bonded immediately, with Obama "finishing Brennan's sentences," by one account. Among their points of wholehearted agreement was the merit of a surgical approach to terrorist threats, the "need to target the metastasizing disease without destroying the surrounding tissue," as Brennan put it, for which drones and their Hellfire missiles seemed the ideal tools. Obama was initially balked in his desire to make Brennan CIA director because of the latter's all-too-close association with the agency's torture program, so instead the new president made him his assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security, with an office down the hall from the Oval Office. Two years into the administration, everyone in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom knew that the bulky Irishman was the most powerful man in U.S. intelligence as the custodian of the president's kill list, on which the chief executive and former constitutional law professor insisted on reserving the last word, making his final selections for execution at regularly scheduled Tuesday afternoon meetings. "You know, our president has his brutal side," a CIA source cognizant of Obama's involvement observed to me at the time.

Now, along with the other six hundred diners at the Helms dinner, Brennan listened attentively as Gates rose to accept the coveted award for "exemplary service to the nation and the Central Intelligence Agency." After paying due tribute to previous honorees as well as his pride in being part of the CIA "family," Gates spoke movingly of a recent and particularly tragic instance of CIA sacrifice, the seven men and women killed by a suicide bomber at an agency base, Forward Operating Base Chapman, in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009. All present bowed their heads in silent tribute.

Gates then moved on to a more upbeat topic. When first he arrived at the Pentagon in 2007, he said, he had found deep-rooted resistance to "new technology" among "flyboys with silk scarves" still wedded to venerable traditions of fighter-plane combat. But all that, he informed his rapt audience, had changed. Factories were working "day and night, day and night," to turn out the vital weapons for the fight against terrorism. "So from now on," he concluded, his voice rising, "the watchword is: drones, baby, drones!"

The applause was long and loud.

Excerpted from Andrew Cockburn's new book, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins Henry Holt, 2015). Reprinted here with permission from the author.

[Apr 25, 2018] If I don't like the government and its policies (purchased by moneyed interests and non-Americans) am I an "America hater"?

Apr 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous


But when [Lang] bristles that "I confess that I was unaware that this is a forum for people who hate America," I won't be getting my hopes up too high.
That does sound like something parroted by Slumlord Hannity and other Fox News types. What is America? Land? People? Government? If I don't like the government and its policies (purchased by moneyed interests and non-Americans) am I an "America hater"? I lived all my life in America. I have close relatives and immediate family who fought in wars and immediate family buried at Arlington. How does one qualify as an America hater? Not to genuflect to the military and their illegal and gravely immoral wars and actions? To disagree with the neocon/neolib policies and policymakers? Policies which run counter to Christian morality and natural law? If so then I'm an America hater in good standing.

EnglishOutsider , April 25, 2018 at 5:32 pm GMT

@Anonymous

I dislike the policies of my government as much as you appear to dislike the policies of yours. So we're on the parallel tracks there. But it's possible to do that and still be a patriot. That's democracy.

Democracy's not working at present, certainly not in my country and maybe not quite as expected for all those Americans patriots who voted anti-neocon. But it's still a good idea, democracy, wouldn't you agree?

[Apr 24, 2018] This country has absolutely zero credibility or standing in the world anymore. All they've got is a military they can use to menace and bully the rest of the planet into submission. Which is a specialty of the Clintons

Apr 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Rurik , April 18, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT

@Steve Gittelson

it's a wonder there's anything left of this country at all.

spiritually, there isn't

just as morally, the ZUSA is a dead husk. This country has absolutely zero credibility or standing in the world anymore. All they've got is a military they can use to menace and bully the rest of the planet into submission. Which is a specialty of the Clintons.

It's wasn't just the Branch Dravidians who were burned alive (no doubt to the cackling of the war hag), or just Gadhafi who was murdered by her sub-human orcs, but this man also had his country illegally bombed and was dragged off to a mock kangaroo court until he was given a chance to speak, whereupon he humiliated his tormentors

so they poisoned him in his cell.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2016/august/03/milosevic-exonerated-as-the-nato-war-machine-moves-on/


the reason I post this image of the hag is to remind readers of what the alternative to Trump actually was.

Fred likes to fulminate over all things Trump (and us Deplorables – calling us 'gas station louts, and much worse ; ), for his own dubious agenda (biological warfare ; ), but the fact remains that even as Trump adopts all the traits of a neocon war pig, and always has been an egotistical and superficial man, he's still a gazillion times to the n'th power preferable to the gorgon war hag.

For all of Trump's many foibles and failings, he isn't the root cause of all the things Fred is lambasting in this article. Rather it's the ((deepstate)) that Trump has made a devil's bargain with, which does not change with presidents. If we're ever to prevent the looming war with Russia, then it would behoove us to look behind the curtain at the fiend pulling the levers. Talking about Trump, as if he's the cause of it all, is like being enthralled over the theatrics of the wizard of Oz.

[Apr 21, 2018] The UN Charter is very vague about a lot of things, but it's very clear about one thing, and that is, when is it legal to go to war

Apr 21, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

tc2011 , 13 Apr 2018 16:21

What Freedland and others are advocating is illegal. They have no moral or legal authority.

For the avoidance of any doubt or confusion, attacking a foreign country without legal basis under international law represents the "supreme international crime". The launching of an "aggressive war" is the "supreme crime" because it is the overarching offense which contains within itself "the accumulated evil of the whole" (e.g. rape, torture, murder, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, etc).

People were tried, convicted and hung at Nuremberg for the crime of waging wars of aggression (as well as crimes against humanity).

Regardless of how unpalatable we may find it, even the verified use of chemical weapons -be they by state or non-state actors - is not a legal basis to attack a country, any country.

As Phyllis Bennis, Fellow and Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., clearly explained (following the last alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, and subsequent military strike on the Syrian air base ordered by President Trump):

"The UN Charter is very vague about a lot of things, but it's very clear about one thing, and that is, when is it legal to go to war? When is it legal to use a military strike? There's only two occasions according to the UN Charter The UN Charter says, "A country can use military force under two circumstances: Number one, if the Security Council authorizes it." Number two, Article 51 of the UN Charter, which is about self-defence. But it's a very narrowly constrained version of self-defence It says very explicitly, "If a country has been attacked." "until the Security Council can meet, immediate self-defence is allowed." Neither of those two categories applied here. So, it was clearly an illegal act."

link

[Apr 21, 2018] How about some basic honesty about the role the US and it's allies have played in fostering and continue if this civil war

Notable quotes:
"... How about some basic honesty about the role the US and it's allies have played in fostering and continue if this civil war. That, coupled by a complete retreat of US imperial neoliberal ambitions across the entire region, you know, might just be incredibly effective ..."
"... Are we seriously going to pretend we and our allies haven't provided financial, technological, diplomatic, political and military support to this extremely heterogenous group of rebels, without which the whole uprising (a legitimate uprising, sure, but certainly not a viable one) would have been over in a few months, without any of the atrocities, tragedies and destruction of the past 6 years? ..."
"... For Europe and the US to have any credibility the double standards applied has to come to an end ..."
"... Sorry but the arguments in the article don't hold water. Reeks of the longstanding agenda of the war profiteers and the Clinton gang to invade this country. On hypocritical reasons. ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

HoublaHoubla , 13 Apr 2018 14:44

Here's an idea Jonathan for another solution. How about some basic honesty about the role the US and it's allies have played in fostering and continue if this civil war. That, coupled by a complete retreat of US imperial neoliberal ambitions across the entire region, you know, might just be incredibly effective
notndmushroom , 13 Apr 2018 14:42

But nor can we watch the brutal dictator slaughter his own people

Why not? We're watching Israelis shoot and kill unarmed Palestinians, we're watching our favourite Saudis bomb and kill Yemeni civilians, we're watching our Nobel-winning inspirational Myanmar leader oversee the persecution, massacre and forced displacement of an entire people, we're watching the North Korean leader oppress and starve his people while stepping closer to a nuclear war against a currently volatile superpower, we're watching the Philipino head of state launching a literal war against low-level drug dealers and junkies, we're watching several central Asian dictators imprison and torture dissidents and oppress their people while robbing them of their national wealth, we're watching the Chinese and Russian leaders do pretty much the same, we're watching the Turkish leader kidnap dissidents from EU countries, imprison thousands of alleged dissidents and invade a neighbouring country to fight against part of said countries' inhabitants, we're watching corrupt politicians, media and judges completing the final touches of a coup in the fifth largest country in the world, and then there's Africa, which is a whole other chapter.

What specifically is it about Syria that made you decide that yeah, all these things are pretty bad, but that's the one thing we really have to do something about?

Perhaps that was why, five years ago, the House of Commons voted to leave the Assad regime untouched. Back then the death toll in Syria stood at around 100,000. More than 400,000 have died since that day. The proof is there if we can bear to look at it. Inaction, too, can be deadly.

Inaction? Really? Are we seriously going to pretend we and our allies haven't provided financial, technological, diplomatic, political and military support to this extremely heterogenous group of rebels, without which the whole uprising (a legitimate uprising, sure, but certainly not a viable one) would have been over in a few months, without any of the atrocities, tragedies and destruction of the past 6 years?

fishandart , 13 Apr 2018 14:42
For Europe and the US to have any credibility the double standards applied has to come to an end. Israel has to comply with UN resolutions and the US has to stop using its veto to block those resolutions that seek to make Israel comply to international standards of acceptable behaviour.

If we can't do that we can forget getting Assad or Putin or anyone else to respect anything we have to say. As it stands the so called West has no moral authority in the Middle East.

Ziontrain , 13 Apr 2018 14:41

But nor can we watch the brutal dictator slaughter his own people

Why is this supposed slaughter such an imperative when we seem to approve of and even profit from selling weapons to slaughters elsewhere in the region

Sorry but the arguments in the article don't hold water. Reeks of the longstanding agenda of the war profiteers and the Clinton gang to invade this country. On hypocritical reasons.

[Mar 10, 2018] The US is not capable of entering into any legal agreement under which it can be trusted to abide by the terms for more than 5 minutes

Mar 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: BM | Mar 9, 2018 11:43:07 AM | 51

O/t

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/03/08/president-trumps-stunningly-effective-north-korea-policy-leaves-professional-diplomatic-corps-gobsmacked/

Supposedly according to a statement by South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong, Kim Jong-un is 'ready' to negotiate away with the US his nuclear deterrance and has asked to meet Trump. The allegations in the above report cannot be true, they would be suicidal. Kim Jong-un is far too intelligent for that. I think more likely the report is seriously distorted by Chung Eui-yong as a means of stupid and naive manipulation - if so that would be a sinister development.

The US is not capable of entering into any legal agreement under which it can be trusted to abide by the terms for more than 5 minutes - that has been proved multiple times over in the recent years. Qadhafy also negotiated away his nuclear programme with legal agreements and where did he end up? And that was before the more recent TOTAL renunciation of adherence to international law by the US which is no longer even covered by a fig leaf!

Kim has claimed (reasonably) before that IF North Korea's security COULD be adequately guaranteed he would be ready to give up his nuclear weapons. That does NOT mean it is POSSIBLE to achieve any such guarantee - who could ever make any such guarantee and how could it be enforced, and what would the interests of the enforcers be? It seems impossible to me. Certainly any bilateral agreement between the US and Kim has no relevance whatsoever to with Kim's offer - it would be like signing his own death warrant.

What makes the report especially implausible by many orders of magnitude is the pitiful allegation in the statement:

"I told President Trump that in our meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is committed to denuclearization. Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests; he understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue. And he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible."

...

"Along with President Trump we are optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution. The Republic of Korea, The United States and our partners stand together in insisting that we not repeat the mistakes of the past; and that the pressure will continue until North Korea matches it's words with concrete actions. Thank You."

In other words, according to (what I presume is a US puppet and beneficiary of the warmongering) Chung Eui-yong, Kim Jong-un bows down to the supreme military superiority of the US and humbly begs for promises that are not worth writing on toilet paper. Anybody who believes that is a moron. Chung Eui-yong is obviously deliberately distorting Kim's position, as an attempt to sabotage the peace negotiations, the treacherous monster. I can well understand that Kim Jong-un would be horrified by Chung Eui-yong's statement which would massively increase distrust and undermine the tremendous recent diplomatic advances between North and South Korea, but hopefully Kim will navigate around it. Chung Eui-yong must be fired immediately.

I cannot see how North Korea's security could possibly be guaranteed without its nuclear weapons, unless the US gives up all its weapons, navy and worldwide bases. If any such possibility exists it would certainly be dependent on guarantees from many parties including (most crucially) Russia and China, but also the SCO, EU, NATO and the US. The Iran agreement already had multiple guarantors but even that is threatening to unravel, and the US is threatening to tear it up. How could Kim trust that he will not end up sodomised with a bayonet like Qadhafy? The real problem is how can any agreement be enforced if the US tears it up?

Probably any solution if it exists must include arming North Korea with the latest Russian non-nuclear defence equipment with guarantees to upgrade them, combined with defence agreements, investments in the economy, and certainly with multi-year transition arrangements before nuclear weapons are actually removed.

Forget about signing a piece of toilet paper with the US - it is meaningless unless North Korea has POTENT means to enforce US compliance with any such agreement. Such enforcement cannot rely on legal channels because the US is a rogue state with no respect for the law.

"he understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue" - bad joke, bad taste.

[Mar 10, 2018] Why We re Underestimating American Collapse

discussion.theguardian.com
Why We're Underestimating American Collapse The Strange New Pathologies of the World's First Rich Failed State

You might say, having read some of my recent essays, "Umair! Don't worry! Everything will be fine! It's not that bad!" I would look at you politely, and then say gently, "To tell you the truth, I don't think we're taking collapse nearly seriously enough."

Why? When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I've never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has history. They suggest that whatever "numbers" we use to represent decline  --  shrinking real incomes, inequality, and so on -- we are in fact grossly underestimating what pundits call the "human toll", but which sensible human beings like you and I should simply think of as the overwhelming despair, rage, and anxiety of living in a collapsing society.

Let me give you just five examples of what I'll call the social pathologies of collapse  --  strange, weird, and gruesome new diseases, not just ones we don't usually see in healthy societies, but ones that we have never really seen before in any modern society.

America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days. That's one every other day, more or less. That statistic is alarming enough  --  but it is just a number. Perspective asks us for comparison. So let me put that another way. America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days, which is more than anywhere else in the world, even Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, the phenomenon of regular school shootings appears to be a unique feature of American collapse  --  it just doesn't happen in any other country  --  and that is what I mean by "social pathologies of collapse": a new, bizarre, terrible disease striking society.

Why are American kids killing each other? Why doesn't their society care enough to intervene? Well, probably because those kids have given up on life  --  and their elders have given up on them. Or maybe you're right  --  and it's not that simple. Still, what do the kids who aren't killing each other do? Well, a lot of them are busy killing themselves.

So there is of course also an "opioid epidemic". We use that phrase too casually, but it much more troubling than it appears on first glance. Here is what is really curious about it. In many countries in the world  --  most of Asia and Africa  --  one can buy all the opioids one wants from any local pharmacy, without a prescription. You might suppose then that opioid abuse as a mass epidemic would be a global phenomenon. Yet we don't see opioid epidemics anywhere but America  --  especially not ones so vicious and widespread they shrink life expectancy. So the "opioid epidemic"  --  mass self-medication with the hardest of hard drugs  --  is again a social pathology of collapse: unique to American life. It is not quite captured in the numbers, but only through comparison  --  and when we see it in global perspective, we get a sense of just how singularly troubled American life really is.

Why would people abuse opioids en masse unlike anywhere else in the world? They must be living genuinely traumatic and desperate lives, in which there is little healthcare, so they have to self-medicate the terror away. But what is so desperate about them? Well, consider another example: the "nomadic retirees". They live in their cars. They go from place to place, season after season, chasing whatever low-wage work they can find  --  spring, an Amazon warehouse, Christmas, Walmart.

Now, you might say  --  "well, poor people have always chased seasonal work!" But that is not really the point: absolute powerlessness and complete indignity is. In no other country I can see do retirees who should have been able to save up enough to live on now living in their cars in order to find work just to go on eating before they die  --  not even in desperately poor ones, where at least families live together, share resources, and care for one another. This is another pathology of collapse that is unique to America  --  utter powerlessness to live with dignity. Numbers don't capture it  --  but comparisons paint a bleak picture.

How did America's elderly end up cheated of dignity? After all, even desperately poor countries have "informal social support systems"  --  otherwise known as families and communities. But in America, there is the catastrophic collapse of social bonds. Extreme capitalism has blown apart American society so totally that people cannot even care for one another as much as they do in places like Pakistan and Nigeria. Social bonds, relationships themselves, have become unaffordable luxuries, more so than even in poor countries: this is yet another social pathology unique to American collapse.

Yet those once poor countries are making great strides. Costa Ricans now have higher life expectancy than Americans  --  because they have public healthcare. American life expectancy is falling, unlike nearly anywhere else in the world, save the UK  --  because it doesn't.

And that is my last pathology: it is one of the soul, not one of the limbs, like the others above. American appear to be quite happy simply watching one another die, in all the ways above. They just don't appear to be too disturbed, moved, or even affected by the four pathologies above: their kids killing each other, their social bonds collapsing, being powerless to live with dignity,or having to numb the pain of it all away.

If these pathologies happened in any other rich country  --  even in most poor ones  --  people would be aghast, shocked, and stunned, and certainly moved to make them not happen. But in America, they are, well, not even resigned. They are indifferent, mostly.

So my last pathology is a predatory society. A predatory society doesn't just mean oligarchs ripping people off financially. In a truer way, it means people nodding and smiling and going about their everyday business as their neighbours, friends, and colleagues die early deaths in shallow graves. The predator in American society isn't just its super-rich  --  but an invisible and insatiable force: the normalization of what in the rest of the world would be seen as shameful, historic, generational moral failures, if not crimes, becoming mere mundane everyday affairs not to be too worried by or troubled about.

Perhaps that sounds strong to you. Is it?

Now that I've given you a few examples  --  there are many more  --  of the social pathologies of collapse, let me share with you the three points that they raise for me.

These social pathologies are something like strange and gruesome new strains of disease infecting the body social. America has always been a pioneer  --  only today, it is host not just to problems not just rarely seen in healthy societies  --  it is pioneering novel social pathologies have never been seen in the modern world outside present-day America, period. What does that tell us?

American collapse is much more severe than we suppose it is. We are underestimating its magnitude, not overestimating it. American intellectuals, media, and thought doesn't put any of its problems in global or historical perspective  --  but when they are seen that way, America's problems are revealed to be not just the everyday nuisances of a declining nation, but something more like a body suddenly attacked by unimagined diseases.

Seen accurately. American collapse is a catastrophe of human possibility without modern parallel . And because the mess that America has made of itself, then, is so especially unique, so singular, so perversely special  --  the treatment will have to be novel, too. The uniqueness of these social pathologies tell us that American collapse is not like a reversion to any mean, or the downswing of a trend. It is something outside the norm. Something beyond the data. Past the statistics. It is like the meteor that hit the dinosaurs: an outlier beyond outliers, an event at the extreme of the extremes. That is why our narratives, frames, and theories cannot really capture it  --  much less explain it. We need a whole new language  --  and a new way of seeing  --  to even begin to make sense of it.

But that is America's task, not the world's. The world's task is this. Should the world follow the American model  --  extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue  --  then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food  --  junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk  --  that America has fed upon for too long.

Umair
January 2018

[Mar 07, 2018] Troubles for US empire are just starting

Mar 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Deep Snorkeler -> y3maxx Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:45 Permalink

Tsar Putin Addresses America

1. you are a country that cannot keep its genders straight

2. always bent on futile crusades in foreign lands

3. normality eludes you

4. your political-economy is hallucinatory

5. you are in a constant state of distorted perception.

You cannot know what is real. It doesn't exist.

It never existed.

BennyBoy -> zerotohero Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:20 Permalink

Komrade Putin speak truth.

Consuelo -> BennyBoy Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:49 Permalink

And he speaks it with an ease and decorum that only a confident but measured individual is capable of - quite frankly, in many ways like President Trump. The problem here is, daring to speak truth and calling a spade a spade has been made to look like one is speaking like a mad man.

veritas semper -> Consuelo Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:08 Permalink

I would like to see The Donald or any other Western Leader having a Q& A televised address, for > 4 hrs,answering without a teleprompter all types of questions,mostly from unfriendly foreign journalists ,without babbling and wiping the floor with idiots like Charlie Rose and comp.

I do not think so.

Fireman -> Snaffew Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:38 Permalink

If USSA gets too loopy with its ongoing financial collapse as the toilet paper Saudi Mercan dollah gets flushed, don't worry Mr. Bear will rip the entire carcass apart and devour it whole like it did NAZI Germany. Count on it. Russians don't boast and never run off at the mouth like USSANS. Russians never threaten but when it's time to strike they ride hard and hammer fast and furious. Ask the Germans the exceptionals the last time round!.

researchfix -> Fireman Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:45 Permalink

"Ask the Germans the exceptionals the last time round!."

100 points, beautiful said.

putaipan -> Cry Baby Moe Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:49 Permalink

speaking of tigers and bears ....

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

Fireman -> Cry Baby Moe Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

You come across as a whack nutjob Bolshevik punk. No cure is possible. Go ahead and jump

Ckierst1 -> Cry Baby Moe Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:08 Permalink

Yeah, those Russkies need to dismantle all those military bases that surround our happy, peaceful little chunk of North America and stop knocking over all our neighbors to install hostile puppet regimes on our doorstep.

FBaggins -> Shitonya Serfs Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:13 Permalink

Add Ottawa Canada to the list.

The Western cabal will not use tactical nukes nukes, and for a land war in Eastern Europe they are far from being ready, nor would they likely win it. But Russia has no such ambitions unless there is a continuation of confrontation against Syria and Iran in the ME further isolating, fragmenting, and economically harming Russia and its allies.

The big concern right now for Putin is not the use of nukes or even the constant provocations in Syria attempting to escalate that war. Rather, it is the upcoming Russian election which the West, led by the US deep state, is clearly interfering in and intends to rig with the billions being spent. The US intends to justify its interference based on the unrelenting, deep-state-generated fake news and political propaganda that the Russians interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election, and with the soft-sell mantra being currently spread through the alleged alternate media that "all major powers these days interfere with foreign elections".

Rico -> LawsofPhysics Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:46 Permalink

... and one fiat to rule them all...

My repost from earlier:

The Norks are the fake enemy to keep to keep MIC pumped. The western fiat faction needs to eat Russia for its survival. The gold kings (Putin and Xi) know that the West is dying, and like a starving man, it wants to prolong the inevitable by consuming Russia first, then it will be China's turn. The gold kings know they are on the menu, they know the West is bleeding out and that if they can block the West from doing something stupid (like a first strike nuclear attack on Russia using the stealth drones from the bases in Ukraine and Afghanistan that have already been established for this purpose) then time will take care of the collapse of the West for them...

But understand, without Russia's resources, the West is dead sooner rather than later. So will a starving man attack his innocent neighbor to steal his food and thus prolong his own death? This is the only question that matters and I think we know what the psychos will do. This is why I found Putin's speech the other day to be so revealing, true or not, he is creating doubt as to the winnable nature of our first strike nuclear plans for Russia...pouring sand into the West's vaseline, so to speak...

Will it be enough? Will the West die gracefully or do we take everyone else with us?

LightTrumpsDark -> Rico Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

Absolutely agree Rico. Since Nixon took the world off the gold standard in 1971, the West has had to transform from a real economy making things into a financial services economy. Problem is that 90% have become slaves to the Private banking cartel supported by the Central banks in each country. The politicians, media conglomerates, big business, intelligence agencies, and the MIC are all in bed together. They know that they have collectively ruined the world's eco system, ruined the worlds monetary system, and that after the world financial crisis mapped out for the rest of this year, they will usher in a limited world war. Limited to depopulating small parts of the west, large parts of the 3rd world (freeing up resources) and large parts of China, India and the middle east. The system has been built on lies and deceit, and those in power are desperate to keep their crimes and money laundering hidden. They would rather destroy the world with nuclear weapons than lose control of the system. The stupid neocons built up China hoping for it to transform into a market economy. Now China is turning against them, and aligning with Russia, and setting up a gold based monetary system (no gold of any decent quantity or quality in Fort Knox by the way). On another level the nuclear rhetoric may just be fear based theater for the masses, and after the financial storm hits the puppet masters will usher in a one world currency and one world totalitarian government. After all, Trump did praise Xi Jinping on being appointed for life.

Peacefulwarrior -> nmewn Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:42 Permalink

Sociopathic politicians and their Attorneys are not good for business or ethics. Looks like we will revisit the same cyclical Zenith of Ill Repute we have throughout known history, eventually reset and then start the game again...

nmewn -> Peacefulwarrior Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:47 Permalink

It would be an interesting comparison, the sociopathy.

Gowdy or Shitz?

DiFi or Grassley?

And on and on ;-)

Dilluminati -> nmewn Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:01 Permalink

this all has it roots in the Crimean thing.. and the following:

Turning his attention to a particularly sensitive topic, Putin said he was dismayed by what he described as the U.S. role in the ouster of Ukraine's Russia-friendly president in February 2014 amid massive protests.

Putin charged that the U.S. had asked Russia to help persuade then-President Viktor Yanukovych not to use force against protesters and then "rudely and blatantly" cheated Russia, sponsoring what he called a "coup." Russia responded by rushing through a referendum in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, whose result was an overwhelming majority voting to join Russia.

"Few expected us to act so quickly and so resolutely, not to say daringly," Putin said.

He described the Western sanctions over Crimea and the insurgency in eastern Ukraine as part of "illegitimate and unfair" efforts to contain Russia, adding that "we will win in the long run." He added that "those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves."

Responding to a question about Russia's growing global leverage, Putin responded: "If we play strongly with weak cards, it means the others are just poor players, they aren't as strong as it seemed, they must be lacking something."

What i wish Russia would say is: Yes we used what internet and information persuasion we could when we invaded/intervened in Crimea.

And then say: There will be no tampering with elections though we of course have foreign policy objectives.

And finally : That the arguments in your neighbor's house belong inside the house and please don't drag them out onto the lawn.

The whole issue boils back to the debate and wtf to do in respect to arming Ukraine, and that time Russia was in newsgroups and targeting information along with the Buk debacle. It happened, it was for real, no bullshit. Even some of the NFL websites had the content and the posting comes from supposedly far right or far left however the hallmark is always an identity politics message , trolling for the lowest common denominator. Some of the work was sooo damn bad it was almost comical but mostly it was drivel and off-topic, misdirecting any meaningful discussion, that was most often used when crowdsourcing the Buk and proof of deployed green men.. the posts were just disruptive in nature and designed to make the posting environment as fucked up as possible. Trump said some things somewhat favorable to the Russians in the debates and that was when McCains knickers went into flames and Lindsey Graham got worked up.

There was this thing called the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which effectively said: heh Ukraine give up your nukes and we'll make sure that that doesn't come back to bite your ass.. and at that time Obama was like.. we'll send blankets and rations.. and Germany and France were like.. well here is the photo

https://cdn3.img.sputniknews.com/images/101854/34/1018543424.jpg

This photo ^ tells more of the issue than anything else.....

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

Now fast forward to the elections.. Some of the facebook ads were back material and if you follow that timeline were in fact the basis of the Ukraine campaign, similar to Rendon group.. etc.. now the difference is that the topics changed and there is no controlled narrative like in the good old days when you'd find a baby in an incubator and that was the story.. or a C130 broadcasting something flying in circles was the message.. so the stuff that surrounded the activity morphed as the larger US based internet discussed the rather "phenomenon" of the elections...

Now if or how, or perhaps there was collusion or more succinctly a quid-pro-quo between Putin and Trump? I don't know.. however the broader incrimination is what is being made. My hunch without all the facts is that the crowd that I call hollywood for ugly people suddenly found the rules changed, couldn't deliver a pinch hit on Brexit, couldn't control the narrative for Hillary, and that they are still floundering around on the issues. They feel cheated as they didn't get their way.

Did Russia troll and perform information campaigns? yes they did.. have I seen a stolen election? Nope.. Hillary really lost that on her own and though she sees the analytics on the email as the issue it was actually when she was too fucking cute and said: "Like with a cloth?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Rha6Wamfp0

you can watch and remember.. the analytics topics email, but it was her fucking dishonesty and her mannerism that sunk her, no matter what she says or does, you can't rollback that verdict

I think some people are taking this way too fucking far, and if Americans violated laws.. well fucking charge em

But if meddling in other peoples elections or having an opinion is illegal then we need to completely redo our foreign policy with some middle east nations.. serious the fuck up..

the truth in a picture

https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/belarus-president-alexander-lukash

Librarian -> Dilluminati Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:09 Permalink

>The whole issue boils back to the debate and wtf to do in respect to arming Ukraine

Respectfully, I don't think that's the real debate here. IMHO that ship sailed long ago. Figuratively, it sank to the bottom of the ocean. Everyone involved is now in the process of sorting out their insurance claims.

It's similar to someone parking an expensive motorcycle in his backyard, with the gate unlocked and the keys in the ignition. It's been more than a year since the bike was jacked. But the property owner is still foaming at the mouth and ranting about setting up tripwire perimeter machine guns and setting up minefields in his flower beds.

It's gone and it isn't coming back. Fighting this battle with the Donetsk rebels even down to the last Western Ukrainian isn't going to do much except to produce a few million childless Ukrainian women. The last census in Ukraine was such a shock that portions of it that will likely never be released.

Baron von Bud Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:25 Permalink

If our government wasn't bought off by defense contractors and bankers then fair compromise would be possible. Put the people first and money second. That's how Putin stays in power. Learn and change.

Boubou -> Baron von Bud Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:41 Permalink

I can tell you this as someone who left USA 50 years ago;

The USA reputation right now for bullying and warmongering is so extreme that most people in the world feel admiration and affection for anyone who tries to stand up for his country's independence from US full spectrum domination. Putin benefits from that, plus many find him charismatic and humorous.

I don't think he is delusional enough to believe that Russia can really survive a US attack or carve out a rival empire, in fact I don't think he is delusional at all.

Radical Marijuana -> exartizo Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:07 Permalink

Putin has a practically impossible task, which is to provide rational deterrence to the Anglo-American (Zionist) Finance Empire, which is dominated by increasingly psychotic psychopaths.

The doctrine of MAD Mutual Assured Destruction was the only policy that could be proposed and promoted in order to attempt to cope with weapons of mass destruction becoming trillions of times more powerful than ever before in human history. However, that threat of force from atomic weapons, etc., was the continuation of the historical trends of the combined money/murder systems based upon the public powers of governments being used to enforce frauds by private banks, and the big corporations that grew up around those big banks.

The MAD Mutual Assured Destruction threats continued to back up the MAD Money As Debt systems. The international bankers, behind the globalized dominance of the Anglo-American (Zionist) Finance Empire became the best organized gangsters, the banksters, who effectively captured control over all NATO governments, and especially recaptured control over the government of the USA for more than a Century.

The social successfulness based upon being able to enforce frauds has been enabled by about exponentially advancing technologies to become about exponentially more fraudulent. That is the context inside of which the combination of MAD Money As Debt, backed by MAD Mutual Assured Destruction, is automatically becoming MADDER & MADDER. Indeed, that overall MAD situation has already become too MAD to be completely comprehended anymore by anyone!

The underlying issues were that Globalized Neolithic Civilization was based on Civilization being effectively controlled by applying the methods of organized crime on larger and larger scales, until those became globalized privatization of public powers, in order that money based on measurement backed by murder could spin out of human control, because the collective MADNESS became runaway criminal insanities.

All over the world, it is painfully obvious that various societies integrated into Globalized Neolithic Civilization are manifesting various forms of runaway social psychoses, due to Civilization becoming based on the excessively successful applications of the methods of organized crime, which have reached the point of the MAD Mutual Assured Destruction seeming to fail to rationally deter the dominate gangsters, the banksters, from attempting to consolidate their globalized control over their MAD Money As Debt systems, which thereby effectively consolidate control over the world's natural resources.

Putin has a practically impossible political problem, which is to provide rational material deterrence against the globalized ruling classes, whose previous privatization of the planet has allowed them to indulge in runaway psychotic attitudes towards themselves, as well as everyone and everything else.

Any attempt to wage overt warfare against Russia would result in the destruction of Globalized Neolithic Civilization. For all practical purposes, that kind of criminal insanity would mean that Civilization had committed collective suicide.

The history of the previous social successfulness of the Anglo-American (Zionist) Finance Empire has reinforced the ruling classes of their organizations to become too criminally insane to recover from the degree to which that has become so, while, at the same time, most of those who have been more and more ruled over by those increasingly psychotic psychopaths have gradually adapted, for generation after generation, to living inside those systems by becoming increasingly incompetent political idiots.

Putin keeps on warning both the rulers, as well as those ruled over, in NATO countries, not to be so criminally insane. However, as Putin points out, those warnings are more and more falling upon deaf ears. Putin is stuck inside the problematic predicament of attempting to maintain the precarious balancing of MAD Mutual Assured Destruction, despite that doing so allows the MAD Money As Debt problems to continue to get about exponentially worse.

Theoretically, since it was the series of intellectual scientific revolutions and profound paradigm shifts in mathematical physics that enabled the development of globalized electronic monkey money frauds, backed by the threat of force from apes with atomic weapons, it "should" be imperative for series of intellectual scientific revolutions and profound paradigm shifts to be applied to the public perception of the combined money/murder systems.

Theoretically, after weapons become trillions of times more powerful, then militarism "should" be radically transformed. Since militarism is the ideology of the murder system, while the murder system has been radically transformed by about exponentially advancing technologies, based on profound paradigm shifts in physics, therefore, militarism "should" go through series of profound paradigm shifts in the perception of the death control systems that back up the debt control systems. However, the only things which are actually happening are the ways in which the collective runaway MADNESS is getting MADDER & MADDER!

exartizo -> Radical Marijuana Wed, 03/07/2018 - 16:17 Permalink

Well written, fascinating, but too verbose my friend.

Here it is in a nutshell for you:

The MAD Money Banksters are losing control of the MAD Bombs and vice versa so that the understanding of which is "wagging the proverbial dog's tail", the dog or the tail, "The Money or The Bombs" is blurring into a surreal landscape of money and power the end of which is MAD in every sense.

Let's please do try to remember to be succinct, my friend.

But your paragraphs are sexy.

Cheers

veritas semper -> exartizo Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:21 Permalink

Do not expect that once taking advantage of Russia's weakness, you will receive dividends forever. Russian has always come for their money. And when they come - do not rely on an agreement signed by you, you are supposed to justify. They are not worth the paper it is written. Therefore, with the Russian is to play fair, or do not play.

Otto von Bismarck

one of the greatest politicians of all times .

Blankone Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:38 Permalink

More hot air from Putin without any actions.
Putin is getting bullied in Syria now. Even Russia says the US has 20 military bases IN Syria. From RT just today:

"That's after it was revealed the Pentagon plans to spend around $300 million to train and equip a 60,000-strong army in Syria. "

Yesterday RT had a story that ZH is avoiding. That a Russian transport crashed in Syria killing over 30 troops. Which was especially interesting for this reason:

A russian transport plane just crashed in Syria killing all the troops on board.
Some group of people really like their numbers to send messages.

The model number of the Russian airliner that recently crashed was AN 148 = 13
The call number of the Iranian airliner that recently crashed is EP-ATS. MSN 391 = 13

This russian transport drops on landing due to "technical issues" on March 6 = 3/6 = 3 - 6's = 666

All 3 planes just dropped suddenly. This plane lost control on approach to where it could not attempt to glide in. Someone's having fun with Russia and Iran. (Let's not forget how the Russian military choir suddenly dropped out of the sky, on Christmas I believe.)

Yesterday we also found out Putin's claims about a hypersonic nuke was BS and he used photo's of a slightly modified run of the mill missile. Add to that the BS story of a super hypersonic nuke torpedo. And the totally BS story about the new super fighter jet.

What is consistent is increased noise from Putin without any action to confront NATO.

Boogity -> Blankone Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:36 Permalink

Yawn... The USA has hundreds of military bases all over the world and a military budget larger than the next 12 countries combined yet it still keeps getting its sorry azzz whipped in Third World shitholes all over the planet.

In fact, with the notable exception of Ronny Raygun's daring invasion of mighty Grenada in 1984, the USA hasn't won a war since WW2. The only thing that's happened is that its "Empire" is now 20 trillion bucks in debt and rapidly collapsing after just a few decades of existence.

In the grand sweep of human history, where many Empires have lasted a millennia or longer, the USA's pretend Empire will be barely a blip on the radar screen.

Blankone -> Boogity Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:01 Permalink

You do not understand their goals.
How many times has Russia/Soviet Union fallen during the time of the US existence?
A decade is 10 yrs, the US has existed more than 2 or 3 decades.
The US is on the path to ruin in many ways. But Russia is no powerhouse and may well crumble from within yet again. And if Russia fails yet again TPTB will dice it up and haul away the resources this time. And then there will be no Russia, even it the US crumbles later.

Right now Putin is so desperate he tries to change history and make Stalin a hero for the Russian people to rally around. Do they not know who Stalin was or maybe Putin honors him due to the religious purges he enforced. Putin pushed into law new legislation making it a serious crime to deny the holohoax. hmmm Are they going to do it Again?

veritas semper -> Blankone Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:45 Permalink

He strikes me as very calm ,collected,intelligent .

He took Russia from a total disaster done by chosen gang during the Yeltsin years and elevated it to a superpower in 16 years.

Russians have been through Hell and back. During the Color Revolution which was Bolshevism and during the shock therapy applied to them by the Haaavard jooo gang working in synchrony with the Russian chosen. They have seen the wanders of Bolshevism and of American so called capitalism.

And they chose neither.

They chose Mr. Putin ,not because he is a Communist ,or a zionist , red or white ,they chose him because he is RUSSIAN.

Russia has learned from past mistakes. The future is on Russia's side. Not so for US . US has not learned anything . When it makes a mistake ,it doubles,triples down.

Remember ,even if you lose a battle ,wining the war is more important. And this is precisely what Russia is doing.

I really don't understand,do you want a hot war ,that will annihilate the world? You do not seem stupid . Which leaves only one other explanation

veritas semper -> Blankone Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:29 Permalink

See above quote . From somebody much ,much smarter then you and me.

And he is going to do it . While avoiding,from his part a WWWIII. Maybe you are eager for one?

Everything in due time. All pieces on the GO table are in place.

And ,remember time is on Russia's side ,not on American one. JUSA is going down .

In 3 years ,Russia had thousands of transports in Syria. this was probably ans accident. And even if it wasn't ,see Bismarck's quote above.

Son of Captain Nemo Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:04 Permalink

God Damn but I wish he were my President and "Russia" was the United States!...

The only thing that needs to be said with the gloves clearly off for good with Uncle Shlomo is... When does Putin announce his formal dislocation and departure from the UN after terrorism on his borders and in his Country courtesy of the "Union" since 1992?...

Calling home his diplomatic corps in the U.S. and sending Amerikansy packing from Russia... Either he speaks the embarrassing truth that the West needs to hear with an announcement to the UN that it's the worst farce that mankind has ever conceived... and that he will work with the SCO/BRICS members to build a new "Home" for the rule of law that it deserves?... Or he continues to acquiesce to unconvicted mass murderers through "diplomatic channels" that no longer exist that only wear camo and that he knows he will inevitably never win over anyway!

ENOUGH is "ENOUGH"!!!

P.S.

Vlad FYI... Make my suntan "extra crispy"... And scatter me over a very large part of Washington D.C. where I reside!

Like all Americans THAT HAVE CHOSEN TO BE COLLECTIVE PSYCHOPATHS since this ( http://www.ae911truth.org/ )... We're fucking cowards that will take the easiest and worst way out when we LOSE!!!

CatInTheHat Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:14 Permalink

The US is so utterly obvious in it's WARMONGERING, particularly toward Putin and Russia. People in other countries think we are the biggest dumbasses and we are.

The other day, RT had an article about the election in Italy and within the article was a tweet from Samantha power blaming Russia for the election outcome. The blowback from Italians reading that Tweet was outstanding. They know Russiagate is bullshit and the blowback on Americans who buy into this highly propagandized subject we're mercilessly ridiculed.

We should be talking diplomacy, but the US doesn't make money or try to even hide the fact that they want WAR. Our population has been so depleted of critical thinking skills and so deeply complacent, they will sit and watch Maddow continue her assault upon Russia, with American idiots parked in front or their computer or TV sets, as the nuke from Russia heads this way while Maddow beelines it to a bunker.

Americans have descended so far into madness, a reset is required to bring them to a reality that shows them who their ZIONIST masters really are. Maddow being one of the most dangerous among the propagandist serving the see eye aye,EFF BEE EYE, EAT.AL.

Putin appears SANE compared to the insane psychopaths running the country. I mean has anyone bothered to read up about Putin? The documentary of his interview? Anyone read up on RUSSIAN culture or it's people?? I have been and it's really interesting.

What Democrats are doing is INCITEMENT to genocide which is a war crime under international law. They dehumanize, demonizes millions of people and their leader. Think about it, what if this were in reverse? If Putin and his parliament were accusing the US of meddling in their elections and then spend two years threatening to murder our entire population??

Jesus H. Christ THINK PEOPLE.

Pliskin -> Vaablane Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:54 Permalink

WOW! The level of american't butt-hurt on this post is through the roof!!

veritas semper -> Pliskin Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:16 Permalink

Yes. Sooo funny.

After Mr. Putin speech ,where he tipped the balance of power on Russia's side ,we are witnessing ,in all its glory , the 5 stages of American grief.

-first stage was denial : Putin lied,Russians are drunk and incapable ,those were fake missiles

-then the angry response : the weapons sent to Ukraine , extending of sanctions for another year by the Donald ,continuing vilification of Russia/Putin ; hey ,the Donald 's State Department Troll Farm received a 40 Mil injection recently.

-then will be the bargaining stage : US will try to offer something ,like let's say the used and discarded Porkoshenko in return for transforming Sarmat into scrap metal

-then it's depression time after Russia says they can shove their offer up their assesky

-will we reach a cold acceptance or a very hot nuclear acceptance ?

Stay

abgary1 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:41 Permalink

Career politicians and bureaucrats are the problem.

-Recall legislation for politicians to remove the worst of the worst.

-Term limits of 2 for politicians at any one level of government and contract limits of 8 years for bureaucrats at any one level of government. If the legislators know they will spend the majority of their working careers in the private sector they won't be passing laws that strictly benefit the public sector.

-Balanced budget laws that require referendums to repeal.

Grass root party members need to demand change.

Let it Go Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

It is not hard to understand Russia's concern a mishap might occur. When it comes to our nuclear arsenal, not only is America ready to launch but we are also about to spend a great deal of money to increase that ability. What the world would look like following a nuclear war has been the subject of much speculation.

A great number of variables feed into such scenarios but we should be troubled that today it seems many people consider nuclear weapons as an acceptable tool or option for us to use in our defense if we are attacked. More on the size of our arsenal and the plans to spend a huge amount to upgrade the delivery system in the article below.

http://Nuclear Weapons-We Are Ready To Launch.html

Anon2017 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:53 Permalink

1. It appears to me that Putin has a better grasp of American politics than millions of Americans of all colors and religions, who I think would even fail the basic civics test given to legal immigrants who apply for US citizenship.

2. Victoria Nuland, who was Secretary of State Clinton's point person on Ukraine, helped stir up the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution which ended up in the ouster of its Russia-friendly President. Did anyone in a senior position in NATO really expect Russia to sit idly by while Ukraine developed ever closer ties to NATO and possibly oust the Russians from their only warm water military base at Sevastopol?

[Mar 07, 2018] The Philosopher's Stone A REPLY TO EWAN

Mar 07, 2018 | robertpaulwolff.blogspot.com
Ewan said...
LFC
John Kerry agreed the terms of a ceasefire. President Obama gave it his imprimatur. The Secretary of Defence said he didn't think the US should comply (publicly defied his commander-in-chief!). The USAF then accidentally bombed Syrian troops. Oops.

(We can get into the bombing of the relief convoy if you wish, and the Western media's practice of broadcasting as fact without verification jihadi propaganda. The reporting of the siege of Aleppo has been one of the very lowest points in our media's lamentable career. Compare and contrast Mosul. It appears to be a principle with us that our enemies can always be trusted to act against their own interests at precisely the moment when it will cause them maximum damage and justify us in doing whatever it is we wanted to do all along. For example, Syria use chemical weapons thus crossing the US "red line" the jihadis want it to cross, precisely when it has invited in the UN chemical weapons inspectors... D'oh!)

Russia and Iran are acting within the law in coming to the aid of an ally at that ally's request. The US and its allies are acting contrary to the law in funding, arming, training etc. jihadists, mostly not even Syrians, to overthrow the Syrian government. What may very well have started as a civil war, soon morphed into a proxy war by the Saudis, Turkey, the US, UK and France to overthrow a government they do not like. Such interference is what treaties they have all signed deem illegal. If we are to believe Messrs. Annan and Ibrahimi of the UN, a negotiated settlement in 2012 was thwarted by the jihadis at the behest of the US and the Saudis. The killing of civilians could have ceased long since but for that. We have encouraged the prolongation of the killing of civilians. Given the record of both the Saudis and the US, it is in any event not for us to be lecturing anyone, even the Ba'athists in Syria. We are in the process of driving 19m Yemenis to starvation. We killed what the UN estimated to be half a million Iraqi children in the 1990s (no-one bothered to count the adults). The US Secretary of State called it a "price worth paying". We have killed more than a million civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen since 2001. And we aren't finished.

"Not grown-up" is maybe not most apt to describe those who complain righteously that their enemies kill thousands as a pretext to kill hundreds of thousands themselves.

And maybe you do not like the term applied to US policy on Syria. Fair enough - but that policy is surely not coherent. The US has signed agreements with Russia it has failed to honour. It has condemned Russia for doing legally in Syria what it is itself doing illegally. It has proclaimed its determination to defeat Islamism - by allying itself with the main source and sponsor of Islamism. It insists on identifying as its chief enemies the only forces on the ground able to fight the jihadis effectively. It has allied itself with those its allies are fighting. It has even been reduced to pretending that a change of name has rendered al qaeda a "moderate rebel force" worthy of US tax dollars. I could go on!

You may think it unhelpful to characterise US behaviour as "not grown-up". Fair enough. It still scares the bejeesus out of the rest of us to no good purpose. Or are you able to tell me what purpose has been served by turning Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia into a chaos of death and destruction with no end in sight and at the expense of several trillion dollars?

US foreign policy for at least a hundred years has been about making the world safe for "free enterprise". Quite how does the current chaos further that policy?

Ewan said...
LFC
I have gone on too long.

A few points:

"If the U.S. is bent on overthrowing Assad, it has an odd way of demonstrating that." This is startling. The US makes no bones about it.

I'm also surprised you don't see the difficulty in us deciding who is legitimate and who illegitimate. If we were indeed the good guys, maybe... but, as it is, it is really not on for us to label Assad worse than the Saudis, or Saddam a good guy when we support him but the new Hitler when he disobeys us. The Russian insistence on the rule of law seems to me the best of a bad job. I can't think of any other way to curb them all even slightly.

On al qaeda in Syria, there are specialists who try to detail the various jihadi groups and affiliations. Al Nusra, ahrar al-Sham etc are all inter-related and all subsidiaries and rebrandings and divisions and factions of the same jihadis. As indeed is ISIS/Daesh. They are all the spawn of the US/Saudi cunning plan to use Islamists against secular Arab states. Brzezinski was actually proud of it!

Mosul: I meant the whole shebang. You refer to one incident we happen to have heard of. Aleppo was "genocide!!!!!"; Mosul - mainly silence.

I hold no brief for any thug or princeling or prime minister in the Middle East. I do think the stream of drivel about Russia needs stopping. It is dangerous to us all.

I won't drone on any longer.

[Jan 02, 2018] American exceptionalism extracts a price from common citizens

Highly recommended!
Widespread anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs.
Notable quotes:
"... For all the haters of us ugly Americans, just remember that we at this blog are suffering in our country standing up for the truth, pitted against our neighbors, coworkers, and friends in the arena of political debate and decrying the massive injustice of our foreign aggression. ..."
"... The world knows the military industrial complex that has worked over years, and year to create the ugly tentacles throughout what was once our government has been usurped. Dollars. All these bastards see is dollars. Not human life. Not the potential of that lost life in science, math, technology. Just dollars. ..."
"... or heavens sakes the voters in Arizona returned the worst of ALL Warmongers to Congress. ..."
"... We can't even get the voters to learn that their votes equal WAR pushed by both Parties they are aligned with. Get real. Our challenge is yours. Help us! ..."
"... I know there are many highly intelligent Americans, who are already today suffering and paying a price. And I agree that (widespread) anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs. ..."
"... Playing groups of people against one another is the oldest domination trick in the world, but it seems to work every single time...sad! ;-) ..."
"... I'm from California. Technically the USA. My take on things is we United States of Americans are exceptional. Most of us are exceptionally ignorant and violent. That is exceptionally sad. ..."
Jul 01, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

NemesisCalling | Jun 30, 2017 8:21:54 PM | 31

For all the haters of us ugly Americans, just remember that we at this blog are suffering in our country standing up for the truth, pitted against our neighbors, coworkers, and friends in the arena of political debate and decrying the massive injustice of our foreign aggression.

I won't call ya out by name, but lumping us forlorn sacks into your "untouchable" category reeks of reactionary arrogance that is, to pay patrons at this fine blog their due, beneath you.

In the mean time, American issues = issues concerning the empire they we all want to see destroyed. Liberating Americans should also be on your wish list.

lex.talionis | Jun 30, 2017 9:14:01 PM | 36
Amen @31

The world knows the military industrial complex that has worked over years, and year to create the ugly tentacles throughout what was once our government has been usurped. Dollars. All these bastards see is dollars. Not human life. Not the potential of that lost life in science, math, technology. Just dollars.

For heavens sakes the voters in Arizona returned the worst of ALL Warmongers to Congress. And you, the World, think for a moment we, citizens in this colony, have a snowball's chance in hell reeling these creatures in all by ourselves are sorely mistaken.

We can't even get the voters to learn that their votes equal WAR pushed by both Parties they are aligned with. Get real. Our challenge is yours. Help us!

h | Jun 30, 2017 8:38:56 PM | 32

@Nemesis

Well said...!

I know there are many highly intelligent Americans, who are already today suffering and paying a price. And I agree that (widespread) anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs.

Playing groups of people against one another is the oldest domination trick in the world, but it seems to work every single time...sad! ;-)

smuks | Jun 30, 2017 8:50:51 PM | 35

@ Nemesis and all,

I'm from California. Technically the USA. My take on things is we United States of Americans are exceptional. Most of us are exceptionally ignorant and violent. That is exceptionally sad.

I am very glad to have found MoA and the crew of experts. I have learned so very much.

Big up b! Booyakah as they say in JA. God help us.

[Dec 22, 2017] At one point inhistory Ru>ssians were americanophiles. No longer by Anatoly Karlin

Notable quotes:
"... the numbers of America fans have plummeted, while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere to constitute majority opinion. ..."
"... For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the "loss of Russia" was largely of their own doing. ..."
"... The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world's dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

When Russians Were Americanophiles Anatoly Karlin December 18, 2017 700 Words 298 Comments Reply

At the tail end of the Cold War, there was an incredible atmosphere of Americanophilia throughout the USSR, including amongst Russians.

Blue – approve of USA; orange – disapprove.

Around 75%-80% of Russians approved of the United States around 1990, versus <10% disapproval.

By modern standards , this would have put Russia into the top leagues of America fans , such as Poland, Israel, and the United Kingdom. It was also around 10%-15% points higher than contemporary US approval of Russia.

The blogger genby dug up a VCIOM poll from 1990 asking Russians – that is, Russians within the RSFSR, i.e. the territory of the modern day Russian Federation – what they thought about Americans.

The poll was redone in 2015, keeping the same questions, which allows a direct comparison between the two dates.

What in your opinion characterizes the United States? 1990 2015
High criminality and moral degradation 1 15
No warmth in people's relations 1 15
High living standards 35 12
Large gap between rich and poor 5 11
Racial discrimination 1 9
Highly developed science and technology 15 7
Success depends on personal effort 20 7
Free society 13 5
Other . 6
Can't say for sure 10 12

I would wager Russian opinions on America were more positive c.1990 than the opinions of the average American on his own country today!

Is US government friendly or hostile to Russia? 1990 2015
Friendly 35 3
Not very friendly 40 32
Hostile 2 59
Can't say 23 6

These results speak for themselves and hardly need more commentary.

Nowadays, of course, things are rather different. Suffice to say the numbers of America fans have plummeted, while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere to constitute majority opinion.

According to other polls, Russian approval of the US rarely breaks above 30% , and the sentiments are quite mutual . Just 1% (that's one percent) of Russians approved of US leadership by 2016 . Although there were hopes that this trend would turn around after Trump, which seemed plausible in early 2017 and indeed seemed to be happening , this was in the end not to be.

What I think is more significant is that nobody likes to talk about it now, because it reflects badly on pretty much everyone.

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for jeans and "common human values."

These figures testify to the complete and utter failure of Soviet propaganda, which spent decades spinning tales about American criminality, unemployment, and lynched Negroes only to end up with a society with some of the most Americanophile sentiments in the entire world.

It also makes it much harder to scapegoat Gorbachev, or the mythical saboteurs and CIA agents in power that feature prominently in sovok conspiracy theories, for unraveling the Soviet Union, when ordinary Soviets themselves considered America the next best thing since Lenin and the US government to be their friend.

For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the "loss of Russia" was largely of their own doing.

The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world's dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. And from a purely Realpolitik perspective, the results have hardly been catastrophic; the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. On the other hand, in a world where China is fast becoming a peer competitor – with the implicit backing of a resentful Russia – this may, in retrospect, not have been the best long-term play.

Anon , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

Well, this Americanophobia plays well for Americans, who afford a new arms race. Yes, you may think that America is deep in debt, but its creditors see it as an investment. When the Exxons of the West will milk the Siberian mineral riches, America will pay everything back. The alternative, a world where they would invest in Rosneft in order to get a share of the plunder of, idk, Gulf of Mexico, is silly. As we saw in the 80′s, the best form of war against Russia is not to bomb and starve Moscow. That won't scare the locals. Let Kremlin do it instead.

If Putin is not careful, if he doesn't go low tech, low cost, the Americans will win the long game.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for jeans and "common human values."

Your 'empire' fell to pieces as rapidly as the Hapsburgs' in 1918 and you had to expend handsome sums in an attempt just to hold onto Chechenya (populaiton 1.1 million). You have 150 million people as is and can do without having to stomp on recalcitrant minorities and to craft institutions which function in multilingual environments. You never had much of a constituency in Austria for attempting to reassemble the Hapsburg dominions and Hungary's ambitions haven't in the last century gone beyond attempting to capture Magyar exclaves.

Look at the other principals in the 1st world war: overseas dependencies retained by them consist of a portfolio of insular territories which prefer their current status and whose total population hardly exceeds that of Switzerland. The only one which has retained contiguous peripheral provinces predominantly populated by minorities would be Turkey. You're not injured for the loss of an opportunity to replicate the Turkish experience with ethnic cleansing (of Greeks and Armenians) conjoined to abuse (of Kurds). Everyone lost their empire, and they're not generally the worse for it.

You have a large national state. Kvetching that you don't have Azerbaijan or Estonia is inconsistent with good sense.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making

What's remarkable to me about that graph of opinion over time is how pig-headedly resilient Russian naivety about the US has been. Time after time it appears the scales would fall from Russians' eyes after the US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia), and within a few months approval would be back up to 50% or above. It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
@Art Deco

There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events

That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments, and supporting Georgia was, like NATO expansion in general and numerous other consistently provocative US foreign policy measures directed against post-Soviet Russia, a literally stupid matter of turning a potential ally against the real rival China into an enemy and ally of said rival.

You are perfectly entitled to endorse mere stupidity on the part of your rulers, but the fact that you so shamelessly approve of waging illegal wars counter to treaty commitments discredits any opinions you might have on such matters.

Verymuchalive , December 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy

Actually, present Russian borders are more those of Peter the Great, circa 1717, than Old Muscovy. Russia, unlike nearly all the Great Powers of the C20th, has retained its Empire – Siberia, the Russian Far East, Kamchatka, South Russia and the Crimea ( first acquired as recently as 1783 ).
Once those dim-witted Ukies finally implode the Ukrainian economy, Russia will be able to gobble up the rest of southern and eastern Ukraine – all the way to Odessa.

The places that seceded from the Soviet Union are places that Russians don't want ( Northern Kazakhstan excepted ) and are urgently required to receive all those Central Asian immigrants who will be deported by sensible Russian governments in the near future. ( I exclude Armenians from the last clause )

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT
Yes, US had squandered a lot of good will in exchange for extremely valuable "geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe."

Incidentally, Soviet propaganda was never anti-American. It was anti-capitalist, an important distinction. Whereas in America, anti-Russian propaganda has always been anti- Russian .

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT

the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework,

Washington could get both by integrating and not alienating americanophile Russia.

closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle.

It also closed off the possibility of an American-led Global North.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm GMT
@Randal That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm GMT
@Art Deco

You have a large national state.

Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state . Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm GMT
@Art Deco With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine. US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever. US interests suffered as a result of its ill-advised aggression, they ended up empowering their avowed enemy – Iran.
Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine.

They dissed you. La di dah. My own countrymen have put up with that from an array of Eurotrash and 3d world kleptocrats every time we open the newspaper.

US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.

No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. Iraq was a charnel house, and the world is well rid of the Tikriti regime, especially Iraq's Kurdish and Shia provinces, which have been quiet for a decade. You don't take an interest in the ocean of blood for which the Ba'ath Party was responsible, but you're terribly butthurt that politicians in Kiev don't take orders from Moscow. Felix, I can taste teh Crazy.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Art Deco

Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.

Exactly, and you're missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:

I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.

http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/

I don't care, because this isn't a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL

The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don't expect one.

[Oct 10, 2017] America Causes War, Sorrow, Poverty - Epic Rant From #1 Russian Anchor (Kiselyov)

Notable quotes:
"... (Full transcript follows below with key points in bold.) ..."
"... When Donald Trump became President, he received the people's mandate to build a rational relationship with Russia, and to implement a more rational policy in the world. ..."
"... He wasn't supposed to overthrow foreign governments . Right now , Trump acts in direct opposition to his voters' expectations. ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | russia-insider.com

Particularly guilty are the media, because they are in the business of selling this horror show to the unsuspecting public.

Take a few minutes and listen to what this man has to say.

He says it well, and he hits the nail on the head, as painful as it might be to admit it.

Time for a change of leadership, America.


(Full transcript follows below with key points in bold.)

Isn't this how how the US acts all over the world though? They destroy countries, cause civil wars, bring sorrow and poverty to entire nations. Just like that. They seem to not even notice the consequences of their actions. They blame others for everything, and then gloat about being sinless. With this simple, carefree mentality, they can allow themselves everything.

America fines European banks and companies, to punish them for defying America. They impose unilateral sanctions in Europe against those who want to buy cheaper Russian gas, instead of the more expensive American gas. They tap phones and read emails of billions of people on the planet, including the leaders of US allied countries. They arrest foreign citizens all over the world and throw them in secret jail outside of the US. Outside of the US of course, so that they can torture them , without fear of breaking any of their own laws. They plan and execute coup d'etats and color revolutions. They usually time them with the elections in the victim country.

They de facto continue to militarily occupy Germany and Japan . The US has a huge number of military bases in these countries. A base, by the way, is a foreign military force. It directly limits the sovereignty and the ability of the occupied country to act in their own national interests.

They start and execute military operations without sanctions from the UN. They falsely justify their own actions and act on false pretenses . For cover, they gather fake coalitions And all of this is done with that simple American air of naïveté. That same mindset allows them to be allied with what is left of Islamic State in Deir-ez-Zor.

With the same simple-mindedness, Trump threatened to destroy an entire country at the UN General Assembly. The Americans have already announced that they are pulling out of the the nuclear agreement with Iran. Without any justifiable reasons, in spite of everything and everyone. Just like that.

When Donald Trump became President, he received the people's mandate to build a rational relationship with Russia, and to implement a more rational policy in the world.

He wasn't supposed to overthrow foreign governments . Right now , Trump acts in direct opposition to his voters' expectations.

Is there, at least , one problem in the world which the US has helped solve this year? - No.

What's worse, he made North Korea even more dangerous and non-complying. South Korea and Japan are in clear danger now. He has deployed more troops to Afghanistan , but we don't know what he is trying to accomplish there either. In Syria, the US has lost its strategic goals and started to directly oppose Russia and the anti-terrorist forces. He is on bad terms with Turkey, he has scared off Europe, and nothing good is happening in South America, either. Tensions between the US and China are growing. Relations with Russia are at an all-time low.

It's bad enough that the US took over Russian diplomatic residencies, but they are also tearing through them like nobody's business. How else one would label the actions of those agents in our Consulate in San Francisco? Does it mean that Russia must respond in a mutual manner? Perhaps as simple-mindedly as the US does? If Russia did, it would ruin the very concept of diplomacy. What would be next? Or does Washington prefer not to think about that? Or do they? The less diplomacy there is, the less politeness and nice words, the higher the demand for US weapons. That's much better.

It's not like diplomacy is very lucrative. It's about airing concerns, which leads to...unneeded restrictions. Taking the high road is difficult, and the low road is always there . It is coarser, but it does have elements of cheap theatricality.

Take for example what Trump did when he went to Puerto Rico after the hurricane. For appearances sake, he brought his wife along. She wasn't wearing her usual high heels , but specially bought yellow Timberlands. He made the local Americans happy, personally throwing paper towels into the crowd. It looked like one big ridiculous show.

And it all took place on a day of nationwide mourning in honor of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

[Oct 09, 2017] Amazon.com Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges published this book eight years ago and the things he predicted have sadly been realized
Notable quotes:
"... his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall. ..."
"... He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes. ..."
"... One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs. ..."
"... Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country. ..."
"... The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society . ..."
"... He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers. ..."
"... Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets. ..."
"... The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style. ..."
"... Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. ..."
"... Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down. ..."
"... Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government. ..."
"... Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it. ..."
"... Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...." ..."
"... The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. ..."
"... This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials. ..."
"... Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails! ..."
"... It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help). ..."
"... The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress). ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

H. I. on May 13, 2011

This Book Explains EVERYTHING!!!!!

Hedges cogently and systematically dismantles the most pernicious cultural delusions of our era and lays bare the pitiful truths that they attempt to mask. This book is a deprogramming manual that trims away the folly and noise from our troubled society so that the reader can focus on the most pressing matters of our time.

Despite the dark reality Hedges excavates, his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall.

As a twenty-something caught in the death-throes of American Empire and culture, I have struggled to anticipate where our country and our world are heading, why, and what sort of life I can expect to build for myself. Hedges presents the reader with the depressing, yet undeniable truth of the forces that have coalesced to shape the world in which we now find ourselves. The light he casts is searing and relentless. He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes.

One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs.

Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country.

Five stars is not enough. Ever since I began reading Empire of Illusion, I have insisted friends and family pick up a copy, too. Everyone in America should read this incredibly important book.

The truth shall set us free.

By Franklin the Mouse on February 5, 2012

Dream Weavers

Mr. Hedges is in one heck of a foul mood. His raging against the evolving of American democracy into an oligarchy is accurate, but relentlessly depressing. The author focuses on some of our most horrid characteristics: celebrity worship; "pro" wrestling; the brutal porn industry; Jerry Springer-like shows; the military-industrial complex; the moral void of elite colleges such as Yale, Harvard, Berkeley and Princeton; optimistic-ladened pop psychology; and political/corporate conformity.

Mr. Hedges grim assessment put me in a seriously foul mood. The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society .

He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers.

Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets.

The oddest part of Mr. Hedges' book is the ending. The last three pages take such an unexpectedly hard turn from "all is lost" to "love will conquer," I practically got whiplash. Overall, the author should be commended for trying to bring our attention to what ails our country and challenging readers to wake up from their child-like illusions.

Now, time for me to go run a nice, warm bath and where did I put those razor blades?...

By Walter E. Kurtz on September 25, 2011
Amazing book

I must say I was captivated by the author's passion, eloquence and insight. This is not an academic essay. True, there are few statistics here and there and quotes from such and such person, but this is not like one of those books that read like a longer version of an academic research paper. The book is more of author's personal observations about American society. Perhaps that is where its power comes from.

Some might dismiss the book as nothing more than an opinion piece, but how many great books and works out there are opinion pieces enhanced with supporting facts and statistics?

The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is about celebrity worship and how far people are willing to humiliate themselves and sacrifice their dignity for their five minutes of fame. But this is not just about those who are willing to make idiots out of themselves just to appear on television. This is about how the fascination with the world of rich and famous distracts the society from the important issues and problems and how it creates unhealthy and destructive desire to pursue wealth and fame. And even for those few who do achieve it, their lives are far from the bliss and happiness shown in movies. More than one celebrity had cursed her life.

Chapter two deals with porn. It offers gutwrenching, vomit inducing descriptions of lives and conditions in the porn industry. But the damage porn does goes far beyond those working in the "industry". Porn destroys the love, intimacy and beauty of sex. Porn reduces sex to an act of male dominance, power and even violence. Unfortunately, many men, and even women, buy into that and think that the sex seen in porn is normal and this is how things should be.

After reading this chapter, I will never look at porn the same way again. In fact, I probably will never look at porn at all.

Chapter three is about education. It focuses mostly on college level education and how in the past few decades it had increasingly changed focus from teaching students how to be responsible citizens and good human beings to how to be successful, profit seeking, career obsessed corporate/government drones. The students are taught that making money and career building are the only thing that matters. This results in professionals who put greed and selfishness above everything else and mindlessly serve a system that destroys the society and the whole planet. And when they are faced with problems (like the current economic crisis) and evidence that the system is broken, rather than rethink their paradigm and consider that perhaps they were wrong, they retreat further into old thinking in search of ways to reinforce the (broken) system and keep it going.
Chapter four is my favorite. It is about positive thinking. As someone who lives with a family member who feeds me positive thinking crap at breakfast, lunch and supper, I enjoyed this chapter very much. For those rare lucky few who do not know what positive thinking is, it can be broadly defined as a belief that whatever happens to us in life, it happens because we "attracted" it to ourselves. Think about it as karma that affects us not in the next life, but in this one. The movement believes that our conscious and unconscious thoughts affect reality. By assuming happy, positive outlook on life, we can affect reality and make good things happen to us.

Followers of positive thinking are encouraged/required to purge all negative emotions, never question the bad things that happen to them and focus on thinking happy thoughts. Positive thinking is currently promoted by corporations and to lesser extent governments to keep employees in line. They are rendered docile and obedient, don't make waves (like fight for better pay and working conditions) and, when fired, take it calmly with a smile and never question corporate culture.

Chapter five is about American politics and how the government and the politicians had sold themselves out to corporations and business. It is about imperialism and how the government helps the corporations loot the country while foreign wars are started under the pretext of defense and patriotism, but their real purpose is to loot the foreign lands and fill the coffers of war profiteers. If allowed to continue, this system will result in totalitarianism and ecological apocalypse.

I have some objections with this chapter. While I completely agree about the current state of American politics, the author makes a claim that this is a relatively recent development dating roughly to the Vietnam War. Before that, especially in the 1950s, things were much better. Or at least they were for the white men. (The author does admit that 1950s were not all that great to blacks, women or homosexuals.)

While things might have gotten very bad in the last few decades, politicians and governments have always been more at the service of Big Money rather than the common people.

And Vietnam was not the first imperialistic American war. What about the conquest of Cuba and Philippines at the turn of the 20th century? And about all those American "adventures" in South America in the 19th century. And what about the westward expansion and extermination of Native Americans that started the moment the first colonists set their foot on the continent?

But this is a minor issue. My biggest issue with the book is that it is a powerful denunciation, but it does not offer much in terms of suggestions on how to fix the problems it is decrying. Criticizing is good and necessary, but offering solutions is even more important. You can criticize all you want, but if you cannot suggest something better, then the old system will stay in place.

The author does write at the end a powerful, tear inducing essay on how love conquers all and that no totalitarian regime, no matter how powerful and oppressive, had ever managed to crush hope, love and the human spirit. Love, in the end, conquers all.

That is absolutely true. But what does it mean in practice? That we must keep loving and doing good? Of course we must, but some concrete, practical examples of what to do would be welcome.

By Richard Joltes on July 18, 2016
An excellent and sobering view at the decline of reason and literacy in modern society

This is an absolutely superb work that documents how our society has been subverted by spectacle, glitz, celebrity, and the obsession with "fame" at the expense of reality, literacy, reason, and actual ability. Hedges lays it all out in a very clear and thought provoking style, using real world examples like pro wrestling and celebrity oriented programming to showcase how severely our society has declined from a forward thinking, literate one into a mass of tribes obsessed with stardom and money.

Even better is that the author's style is approachable and non judgemental. This isn't an academic talking down to the masses, but a very solid reporter presenting findings in an accurate, logical style.

Every American should read this, and then consider whether to buy that glossy celebrity oriented magazine or watch that "I want to be a millionaire" show. The lifestyle and choices being promoted by the media, credit card companies, and by the celebrity culture in general, are toxic and a danger to our society's future.

By Jeffrey Swystun on June 29, 2011
What does the contemporary self want?

The various ills impacting society graphically painted by Chris Hedges are attributed to a lack of literacy. However, it is much more complex, layered, and inter-related. By examining literacy, love, wisdom, happiness, and the current state of America, the author sets out to convince the reader that our world is intellectually crumbling. He picks aspects of our society that clearly offer questionable value: professional wrestling, the pornographic film industry (which is provided in bizarre repetitive graphic detail), gambling, conspicuous consumption, and biased news reporting to name a few.

The front of the end of the book was the most compelling. Especially when Hedges strays into near conspiracy with comments such as this: "Those who manipulate the shadows that dominate our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for illusion. The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style.

What resonated most in the book is a passage taken from William Deresiewicz's essay The End of Solitude: "What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge -- broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider -- the two cultures betray a common impulse.

Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves -- by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility."

Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down.

This is definitely a provocative contribution and damning analysis of our society that would be a great choice for a book club. It would promote lively debate as conclusions and solutions are not easily reached.

By S. Arch on July 10, 2011
A book that needs to be read, even if it's only half true.

Empire of Illusion might be the most depressing book I've ever read. Why? Because it predicts the collapse of America and almost every word of it rings true.

I don't know if there's really anything new here; many of the ideas Hedges puts forth have been floating around in the neglected dark corners of our national discourse, but Hedges drags them all out into the daylight. Just about every social/cultural/economic/political ill you can think of is mentioned at some point in the text and laid at the feet of the villains whose insatiable greed has destroyed this once-great country. Hedges is bold. He predicts nothing less than the end of America. Indeed, he claims America has already ended. The American Dream is nothing more than an illusion being propped up by wealthy elites obsessed with power and the preservation of their lifestyle, a blind academia that has forgotten how to critique authority, and a government that is nothing more than the puppet of corporations. Meanwhile, mindless entertainments and a compliant news media divert and mislead the working and middle classes so they don't even notice that they are being raped to death by the power-elite and the corporations.

(Don't misunderstand. This is no crack-pot conspiracy theory. It's not about secret quasi-mystical cabals attempting world domination. Rather, Hedges paints a credible picture of our culture in a state of moral and intellectual decay, and leaders corrupted by power and greed who have ceased to act in the public interest.)

At times Hedges seems to be ranting and accusing without providing evidence or examples to substantiate his claims. But that might only be because his claims have already been substantiated individually elsewhere, and Hedges's purpose here is a kind of grand synthesis of many critical ideas. Indeed, an exhaustive analysis of all the issues he brings forth would require volumes rather than a single book. In any case, I challenge anyone to read this book, look around honestly at what's happening in America, and conclude that Hedges is wrong.

One final note: this book is not for the squeamish. The chapter about pornography is brutally explicit. Still, I think it is an important book, and it would be good if a lot more people would read it, discuss it, and thereby become dis-illusioned.

By Bruce E. McLeod Jr. on February 11, 2012
Thorough and illuminating

Chris Hedges book, "Empire of Illusion" is a stinging assessment and vivid indictment of America's political and educational systems; a well-told story. I agree with his views but wonder how they can be reversed or transformed given the economic hegemony of the corporations and the weight of the entrenched political parties. Very few solutions were provided.

Corporations will continue to have a presence and set standards within the halls of educational and governmental institutions with impunity. Limited monetary measures, other than governmental, exist for public educational institutions, both secondary and post-secondary. Historically, Roman and Greek political elitists operated in a similar manner and may have set standards for today's plutocracy. Plebeian societies were helpless and powerless, with few options, to enact change against the political establishment. Given the current conditions, America is on a downward spiral to chaos.

His book is a clarion call for action. Parents and teachers have warned repeatedly that too much emphasis is placed on athletic programs at the expense of academics. Educational panels, books and other experts have done little to reform the system and its intransigent administrators.

Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government.

Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it.

They continue to be hood-winked by politicians using uncontested "sound bites" and "racially-coded" phrases to persuade voters.

Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...."

The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. This is further exemplified by Jay Leno's version of "Jaywalking". On the streets, he randomly selects passersby to interview, which seems to validate much of these charges.

We are all culpable. We are further susceptible to illusions. John Locke said, "Government receives its just powers from the consent of the governed".

This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials.

Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails!

By Richard Steiger on January 14, 2012
Powerful in spite of itself

There are many flaws with Hedges' book. For one thing, he is given to writing sermons (his father was a minister), hurling down denunciations in the manner of the prophet Amos. The book also tends to be repetitious, as Hedges makes the same general statements over and over. It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help).

His last-second "happy ending" (something like: we're all doomed, but eventually, somewhere down the line, love will prevail beacuse it's ultimately the strongest power on earth) is, to say the least, unconvincing.

SO why am I recommending this book? Because in spite of its flaws (and maybe even because of them), this is a powerful depiction of the state of American society. The book does get to you in its somewhat clumsy way.

The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress).

This book will not exactly cheer you up, but at least it will give you an understanding of where we are (and where we're heading).

[Sep 20, 2017] Foreign Policy Realists Hit Nerve With Establishment Elite by Andrew J. Bacevich

The problem with neocon chickenhawks is that they all want money from MIC. So their jingoism is a king of prostitution...
Notable quotes:
"... "Saving Realism" is the handiwork of Hal Brands and Peter Feaver, well-connected scholars employed by elite institutions. Brands teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and, according to his bio, has "consulted with a range of government offices and agencies in the intelligence and national security communities." Feaver teaches at Duke University. During the George W. Bush administration, he served on the staff of the National Security Council. They are classic policy intellectuals, one foot planted in academe, the other in the corridors of power. ..."
"... Especially since the end of the Cold War, reality itself is impinging on the prerogatives to which members of the American foreign-policy establishment have grown accustomed and to the arrangements that sustain those prerogatives. It therefore becomes incumbent upon scholars who serve that establishment to deflect such threats. They do so by contriving a "reality" conducive to affirming existing prerogatives and arrangements. ..."
"... The only past that matters is the Cold War, carefully curated as a narrative of American triumphalism. Anything that happened before the Cold War qualifies as irrelevant. Cold War episodes that turned out to be less than triumphal!Vietnam, for example!receive the barest acknowledgment. As for misfortunes that may have befallen the United States since the Cold War ended almost three decades ago, Brands and Feaver shrug them off as insignificant. Sure, "the invasion and occupation of Iraq did prove far costlier than expected." But so what? Stuff happens! ..."
"... Stripped to its essentials, their argument reduces to a brazen tautology: Approaches to policy that worked during the Cold War will work today because they worked during the Cold War. Of course, the argument presumes that the world in which we live today is more or less comparable to the world that existed back in the Forties and Fifties. As to how the supple, nuanced doctrine advanced by realists during that Golden Age yielded such dubious propositions as bipolarity, the domino theory, and the bogus enterprise known as nuclear strategy, Brands and Feaver are conveniently silent. ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In the September issue of Commentary, a magazine of distinguished lineage, there appears an essay bearing the title "Saving Realism from the So-Called Realists." Once upon a time, essays published by Commentary , penned by such eminences as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Hans Morgenthau, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Robert C. Tucker, shaped the debate over U.S. foreign policy. Those days have long since passed. If "Saving Realism" serves any purpose, it is to expose the intellectual exhaustion of the foreign-policy establishment. Those who fancy themselves the source of policy-relevant ideas have given up on actually thinking.

"Saving Realism" is the handiwork of Hal Brands and Peter Feaver, well-connected scholars employed by elite institutions. Brands teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and, according to his bio, has "consulted with a range of government offices and agencies in the intelligence and national security communities." Feaver teaches at Duke University. During the George W. Bush administration, he served on the staff of the National Security Council. They are classic policy intellectuals, one foot planted in academe, the other in the corridors of power.

The chief purpose their essay is to mount a frontal assault on a group of individuals they deride as "academic realists." Of course, when not occupying positions on the fringes of power, Brands and Feaver are themselves academics. Here, however, their use of the term drips with ridicule and condescension. "Academic" becomes a synonym for naïve or wooly-headed or simply irresponsible.

To their credit, Brands and Feaver do not balk at naming names, fingering Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Christopher Layne, prominent political scientists, as dangerous proponents of academic realism.

Take the claims made by Brands and Feaver at face value and this Gang of Four poses a direct threat not only to U.S. national security but to the very possibility to creating a decent global order. "Today's academic realists essentially argue," they write, "that the United States should dismantle the global architecture that has undergirded the international order" ever since World War II. Academic realists seek "the deliberate destruction of arrangements that have fostered international stability and prosperity for decades." They are intent on tearing down "the pillars of a peaceful and prosperous world." They are, in short, a wrecking crew.

Brands and Feaver do not explain what motivates Walt et al., to undertake this nefarious plot, merely hinting that personal pique is probably a factor. "Having lost policy arguments that they thought they should have won," on issues such as NATO expansion and invading Iraq, "academic realists decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater." They are, in effect, soreheads.

For this reason alone, their critique of U.S. policy, suggesting that since the end of the Cold War the United States has squandered a uniquely advantageous position, is without merit. So too with their complaint that in recent decades the United States has misused its military power. What academic realists are actually proposing, Brands and Feaver charge, is to "stake everything on a leap into the unknown." Their calls for greater restraint amount to little more than a pose. In reality, they advocate unvarnished recklessness.

Worse still, Brands and Feaver see worrisome signs that the Gang of Four is making headway. In Donald Trump's White House academic realism "seems to be finding a sympathetic hearing." Indeed, they write, "One of the least academic presidents in American history may, ironically, be buying into some of the most misguided doctrines of the ivory tower."

This is pretty wild stuff. Let me acknowledge that I know each member of this Gang of Four and hold them in high regard. That said, whether individually or collectively, they wield about as much clout in present-day Washington as Karl Marx.

Indeed, the reader will search "Saving Realism" in vain for evidence actually linking the Gang of Four to President Trump. To my knowledge none of the four are Trump supporters. I am unaware of any of them having endorsed the policies of the Trump administration. As for Trump himself, my bet is that he could care less about anything Walt, Mearsheimer, Posen, and Layne have to say. If our president has absorbed the Gang of Four's policy perspective, he must be doing it by osmosis.

In short, the case presented by Brands and Feaver comes precariously close to being a McCarthyite smear!guilt by association without even establishing that any association actually exists.

To which the average American citizen, tested by the trials of everyday life, might well respond: Who cares? An intramural tiff among privileged members of the professoriate might merit a panel at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. But should it qualify as a matter of general interest?

In one specific sense, perhaps it ought to. While it may not be their intended purpose, by mounting their overheated attack on "academic realism," Brands and Feaver succeed in demonstrating why genuine realism rarely receives a serious hearing inside the Beltway. The answer is simply this: Especially since the end of the Cold War, reality itself is impinging on the prerogatives to which members of the American foreign-policy establishment have grown accustomed and to the arrangements that sustain those prerogatives. It therefore becomes incumbent upon scholars who serve that establishment to deflect such threats. They do so by contriving a "reality" conducive to affirming existing prerogatives and arrangements.

Brands and Feaver do their very best to conjure up such a "reality." Having established to their own satisfaction that Trump and the Gang of Four are somehow colluding with each other, they offer their own prescription for a "reformed realism" to be built on "seven bedrock insights."

The seven insights share this common quality: They are unflaggingly banal. Yet the last of the seven manages to be both banal and immensely instructive: Realism, Brands and Feaver write, "requires not throwing away what has worked in the past."

Here we come to the heart of the matter. What exactly is the "the past" that remains relevant to the present and that provides the basis for their version of authentic (as opposed to academic) realism?

On this point, Brands and Feaver, are admirably candid. The only past that matters is the Cold War, carefully curated as a narrative of American triumphalism. Anything that happened before the Cold War qualifies as irrelevant. Cold War episodes that turned out to be less than triumphal!Vietnam, for example!receive the barest acknowledgment. As for misfortunes that may have befallen the United States since the Cold War ended almost three decades ago, Brands and Feaver shrug them off as insignificant. Sure, "the invasion and occupation of Iraq did prove far costlier than expected." But so what? Stuff happens!

Rather than get hung up on Iraq or Afghanistan or the ongoing debacle of U.S. interventionism in the Islamic world, Brands and Feaver keep their focus on the early Cold War, which they depict as a veritable Golden Age of realism and by extension of American statecraft. Peppering their account are favorable references to "Cold War-era realism" and "Cold War realists." After World War II, "realist thinkers understood that America was uniquely capable of stabilizing the international order and containing Soviet power." Back then, serious realists!in contrast to today's academic types!were the very inverse of wooly-headed. "Cold War realists were willing to see the world as it was," according to Brands and Feaver. "During the Cold War, then, realism was a supple, nuanced doctrine."

Stripped to its essentials, their argument reduces to a brazen tautology: Approaches to policy that worked during the Cold War will work today because they worked during the Cold War. Of course, the argument presumes that the world in which we live today is more or less comparable to the world that existed back in the Forties and Fifties. As to how the supple, nuanced doctrine advanced by realists during that Golden Age yielded such dubious propositions as bipolarity, the domino theory, and the bogus enterprise known as nuclear strategy, Brands and Feaver are conveniently silent.

"Contemporary academic realists," Brands and Feaver charge, "sit atop a pyramid of faulty assumptions." They themselves require no such pyramid. Their version of realism rests on just a single assumption: That history is a menu from which Americans can pick and choose. To escape from currently bothersome predicaments, in no small part the product of our folly, Brands and Feaver would have the United States choose from that menu only those bits that we find congenial. The rest we can simply ignore.

Come to think of it, that's an approach that might find favor with Donald Trump himself.


Andrew J. Bacevich is The American Conservative 's writer-at-large.

[Sep 03, 2017] Anyone who blames the US for something it is not responsible for, in an attempt to distract from the country's economic issues for example, is an anti-American

Sep 03, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Matt , September 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Strawman, that many here, including Mark and PO, have tried using against me. First, I have criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, like the 2003 Iraq war, intervention in Libya, and the war in Afghanistan. This debunks the first part of your post.

As for the second: anyone who blames the U.S. for something it is not responsible for, in an attempt to distract from the country's economic issues for example, is an anti-American. Ditto for anyone who wants the U.S. to collapse, be destroyed, or makes fun of its people with stereotypes.

The above paragraph can be applied to any country in the world and is standard fare for defining phobia against a country. You and your ilk are quick to whine about "Russophobia", but when similar tactics are used against the U.S., you start calling anyone who calls them out an "imperialist".

Such extreme over-simplifications do nothing except twist my words and make it easier for you to avoid critically self-assessing your views on U.S. foreign policy. An easy way to avoid debate.

Same old, same old.

likbez , September 3, 2017 at 6:10 pm
"Ditto for anyone who wants the U.S. to collapse, be destroyed, or makes fun of its people with stereotypes."

That's too simplistic. The USA simultaneously represents a country and a global neoliberal empire led from Washington. The latter gave us all those wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria (KSA is a part of the empire).

You may want prosperity for the USA proper, and the collapse of this neoliberal empire at the same time. This is essentially Bannon's position and the position of other "economic nationalists" in the USA, who are now tarred and feathered as "Putin friends" (Putin's position is also somewhat closer to economic nationalism then to neoliberalism, although in certain areas he sits between two chairs).

The USA is a great country which among other things gave the world Internet, as we know it. As well as modern CPUs and computers ( although here British scientists and Germans made important contributions too, often as staff of foreign subsidiaries of the US companies such as Intel, and IBM) . Due to which such forums are possible.

Neoliberalism and US governed global neoliberal empire will most probably shrink or even collapse after the end of cheap oil and due to the rise of nationalist movements in almost all EU countries and elsewhere, which partially reverses the trend toward neoliberal globalization that existed before. That's uneven process. In the USA neoliberalism demonstrated amazing staying power after financial crisis of 2008, which buried neoliberal ideology.

Recently in some countries (not without some help from the USA) neoliberalism staged revenge (Argentina, Brazil), but the general trend now does not favor neoliberal globalization and, by extension, kicking the can down the road via color revolutions and such.

The typical forecast for end of cheap oil is a decade or two. KSA is the canary in the mine here. It should collapse first.

The USA as a country probably will be OK because it is rich in hydrocarbons, but the neoliberal empire will collapse as the USA probably it will not be able or willing to serve as armed enforcer of multinationals around the globe any longer. The set of ideas known as neoliberalism are already on life support. See https://www.amazon.com/dp/0199283273 A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey. Also see http://softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/index.shtml

Neoliberals who control the US state after Reagan coup (or even starting with Carter) still push down the throats of Americans those dead ideas due to power of propaganda machine, but they are less and less effective. Trump election means that allergic reaction to neoliberal propaganda already is a factor in the US political life. Hillary positioned herself as quintessential globalist and warmonger for the USA led neoliberal empire and lost. Trump proved to be no better then the king of "bait and switch" Barak Obama and shed all his election promises with ease. But the fact remains. .

For the same reason we also need to distinguish between neocons, who currently determine the US foreign policy (and dominate the State Department) and the rank-and-file Americans who suffer from this imperial overreach, from outsourcing, with some of them returning home dead or maimed. There nothing bad in denigrating neocons.

I would view the current round of hostilities between Russia and the USA through the prism of the fight for the preservation of the US neoliberal empire. They need an external enemy to squash mounting resistance to neoliberalism with the USA. And Ukraine gambit was designed explicitly for that. If they can take out Russia (by installing Yeltsin-style regime, which is the goal) the life of empire might be prolonged (they tried and failed in 2012). The second round of looting also might help with paying external debt. The shot in the arm which the USA got from the collapse of the USSR led to [fake] prosperity in 1994-2000.

[Jul 17, 2017] Russias anti-American fever goes beyond the Soviet eras by Michael Birnbaum

Is not this a blowback of Washington neocons organized Kiev coup d'état of February 22, 2014 ?
Neocons sowed the teeth of dragon. Now wait...
Notable quotes:
"... The anger is a challenge for U.S. policymakers seeking to reach out to a shrinking pool of friendly faces in Russia. ..."
"... The anti-Western anger stands to grow even stronger if President Obama decides to send lethal weaponry to the Ukrainian military, as he has been considering. The aim would be to "raise the cost" of any Russian intervention by making the Ukrainian response more lethal. But even some of Putin's toughest critics say they cannot support that proposal, since the cost is the lives of their nation's soldiers. ..."
"... "The United States is experimenting geopolitically, using people like guinea pigs," said Sergey Mikheev, director of the Kremlin-allied Center for Current Politics, on a popular talk show on the state-run First Channel last year. His accusations, drawn out by a host who said it was important to "know the enemy," were typical of the rhetoric that fills Russian airwaves. ..."
"... Soviet rhetoric was officially anti-Western, but it couldn't repress ordinary Russians' passion for the Beatles or their enthusiasm for getting news from jammed Voice of America broadcasts. Those positive feelings spilled over after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... But the list of perceived slights from the United States has long been building, particularly after the United States and NATO bombed Serbia, a Russian ally, in 1999. Then came the war in Iraq, NATO expansion and the Russia-Georgia conflict. Each time, there were smaller spikes of anti-American sentiment that receded as quickly as they emerged. ..."
"... The years of perceived humiliations have "led to anti-Americanism at the grass-roots level, which did not exist before," said Vladimir Pozner, a journalist who for decades was a prominent voice of the Soviet Union in the United States. More recently, he has to explain the United States inside Russia. "We don't like the Americans, and it's because they're pushy, they think they're unique and they have had no regard for anyone else." ..."
"... Many Russians tapped into a deep-rooted resentment that after modeling themselves on the West following the breakup of the Soviet Union, they had experienced only hardship and humiliation in return. ..."
Mar 08, 2015 | The Washington Post

After a year in which furious rhetoric has been pumped across Russian airwaves, anger toward the United States is at its worst since opinion polls began tracking it. From ordinary street vendors all the way up to the Kremlin, a wave of anti-U.S. bile has swept the country, surpassing any time since the Stalin era, observers say.

The indignation peaked after the assassination of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, as conspiracy theories started to swirl - just a few hours after he was killed - that his death was a CIA plot to discredit Russia. (On Sunday, Russia charged two men from Chechnya, and detained three others, in connection with Nemtsov's killing.)

There are drives to exchange Western-branded clothing for Russia's red, blue and white. Efforts to replace Coke with Russian-made soft drinks. Fury over U.S. sanctions. And a passionate, conspiracy-laden fascination with the methods that Washington is supposedly using to foment unrest in Ukraine and Russia.

The anger is a challenge for U.S. policymakers seeking to reach out to a shrinking pool of friendly faces in Russia. And it is a marker of the limits of their ability to influence Russian decision-making after a year of sanctions. More than 80 percent of Russians now hold negative views of the United States, according to the independent Levada Center, a number that has more than doubled over the past year and that is by far the highest negative rating since the center started tracking those views in 1988.

Nemtsov's assassination, the highest-profile political killing during Vladimir Putin's 15 years in power, was yet another brutal strike against pro-Western forces in Russia. Nemtsov had long modeled himself on Western politicians and amassed a long list of enemies who resented him for it.

The anti-Western anger stands to grow even stronger if President Obama decides to send lethal weaponry to the Ukrainian military, as he has been considering. The aim would be to "raise the cost" of any Russian intervention by making the Ukrainian response more lethal. But even some of Putin's toughest critics say they cannot support that proposal, since the cost is the lives of their nation's soldiers.

"The United States is experimenting geopolitically, using people like guinea pigs," said Sergey Mikheev, director of the Kremlin-allied Center for Current Politics, on a popular talk show on the state-run First Channel last year. His accusations, drawn out by a host who said it was important to "know the enemy," were typical of the rhetoric that fills Russian airwaves.

"They treat us all in the same way, threatening not only world stability but the existence of every human being on the planet," Mikheev said.

Soviet rhetoric was officially anti-Western, but it couldn't repress ordinary Russians' passion for the Beatles or their enthusiasm for getting news from jammed Voice of America broadcasts. Those positive feelings spilled over after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

But the list of perceived slights from the United States has long been building, particularly after the United States and NATO bombed Serbia, a Russian ally, in 1999. Then came the war in Iraq, NATO expansion and the Russia-Georgia conflict. Each time, there were smaller spikes of anti-American sentiment that receded as quickly as they emerged.

Putin cranked up the volume after protest movements in late 2011 and 2012, which he blamed on the State Department. It wasn't until last year, when the crisis started in Ukraine, that anti-Americanism spread even among those who once eagerly hopped on planes to Miami and Los Angeles.

Fed by the powerful antagonism on Russian federal television channels, the main source of news for more than 90 percent of Russians, ordinary people started to feel more and more disillusioned. The anger seems different from the fast-receding jolts of the past, observers say, having spread faster and wider.

The years of perceived humiliations have "led to anti-Americanism at the grass-roots level, which did not exist before," said Vladimir Pozner, a journalist who for decades was a prominent voice of the Soviet Union in the United States. More recently, he has to explain the United States inside Russia. "We don't like the Americans, and it's because they're pushy, they think they're unique and they have had no regard for anyone else."

... ... ...

Many Russians tapped into a deep-rooted resentment that after modeling themselves on the West following the breakup of the Soviet Union, they had experienced only hardship and humiliation in return.

"Starting from about 1989, we completely reoriented toward the West. We looked at them as a future paradise. We expected that once we had done all that they demanded, we'd dance for them and they would finally hug and kiss us and we would merge in ecstasy," said Evgeny Tarlo, a member of Russia's upper house of parliament, on a Russian talk show last year. Instead, he said, the West has been trying to destroy Russia.

The anti-Americanism makes it harder for American culture to make inroads through its traditional means - soft-power routes such as movies, music and education. Last year, Russian policymakers ended a decades-old high school exchange program that offered their nation's best and brightest the chance to spend semesters at U.S. schools. Few Western artists now perform on Russian soil.

Western diplomats also say privately that they find themselves frozen out of speaking engagements and other opportunities to explain their countries' positions to Russian audiences. And Russians who work for local outposts of Western companies say their friends and neighbors increasingly question their patriotism.

... ... ...

Even McDonald's, long an embodiment of Russian dreams about the West, was targeted for supposed health violations in the fall. Some of its most prominent locations were forced to shut down temporarily. When they reopened, McDonald's started an advertising campaign emphasizing its local ties and its 25-year history in Russia, playing down the Golden Arches' global significance as a bright beacon of America.

Last week, one McDonald's billboard in the heart of Moscow read: "Made in Russia, for Russians."

Michael Birnbaum is The Post's Moscow bureau chief. He previously served as the Berlin correspondent and an education reporter.

[Dec 09, 2015] Narcissistic, mentally-handicapped imbeciIes who just escaped from an asylum after receiving a lobotomy

This was a tread in a pretty reputable blog. Amazing...
www.nakedcapitalism.com
jgordon

In regards to Time Magazine, it's no surprise. Time apparently thinks that most everyone in the world is thoughtful and intelligent–except for Americans–who are mostly at the intellectual level of narcissistic, mentally-handicapped imbeciIes who just escaped from an asylum after receiving a lobotomy. Or at least that's what one would gather after looking at this.

Well, they might not be wrong.

Jim Haygood

"Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders … didn't make it on [Time's] shortlist" for 2015 Person of the Year."

If Time considered Sanders a serious threat, they could dispatch him in a trice by putting his mug on a Person of the Year cover.

The most recent example of the cover story jinx in action came from Mexico. At the start of this year Time profiled president Enrique Pena Nieto as the man 'Saving Mexico', and that was the sentiment at the time. The writer of that story quoted me to the effect that, "In the Wall Street investment community, I'd say that Mexico is by far the favourite nation just now."

Since then it has been all downhill for Pena Nieto and Mexico, with the president embroiled in a series of scandals and economic growth coming in at a disappointing 2.2% this year.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/hit-me-baby-one-more-time-how-narendra-modi-won-by-losing-person-of-the-year/

The MSM is never right. And they always lie.

Peter Schitt

I'd say that Time are right in their assessment of Americans. As Morris Berman says, "what else could you expect of 321 million douchebags".

[Nov 28, 2015] Forget ISIS Humanity Is at Stake by Ramzy Baroud

Antiwar.com

I still remember that smug look on his face, followed by the matter-of-fact remarks that had western journalists laugh out loud.

"I'm now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq," General Norman Schwarzkopf, known as "Stormin" Norman, said at a press conference sometime in 1991, as he showed a video of US bombs blasting an Iraqi bridge, seconds after the Iraqi driver managed to cross it.

But then, a far more unjust invasion and war followed in 2003, following a decade-long siege that cost Iraq a million of its children and its entire economy.

It marked the end of sanity and the dissipation of any past illusions that the United States was a friend of the Arabs. Not only did the Americans destroy the central piece of our civilizational and collective experience that spanned millennia, it took pleasure in degrading us in the process. Their soldiers raped our women with obvious delight. They tortured our men, and posed with the dead, mutilated bodies in photographs – mementos to prolong the humiliation for eternity; they butchered our people, explained in articulate terms as necessary and unavoidable collateral damage; they blew up our mosques and churches and refused to accept that what was done to Iraq over the course of twenty years might possibly constitute war crimes.

Then, they expanded their war taking it as far as US bombers could reach; they tortured and floated their prisoners aboard large ships, cunningly arguing that torture in international waters does not constitute a crime; they suspended their victims on crosses and photographed them for future entertainment.

Their entertainers, media experts, intellectuals and philosophers made careers from dissecting us, dehumanizing us, belittling everything we hold dear; they did not spare a symbol, a prophet, a tradition, values or set of morals. When we reacted and protested out of despair, they further censured us for being intolerant to view the humor in our demise; they used our angry shouts to further highlight their sense of superiority and our imposed lowliness.

They claimed that we initiated it all. But they lied. It was their unqualified, inflated sense of importance that made them assign September 11, 2001 as the inauguration of history. All that they did to us, all the colonial experiences and the open-ended butchery of the brown man, the black man, any man or woman who did not look like them or uphold their values, was inconsequential.

All the millions who died in Iraq were not considered a viable context to any historical understanding of terrorism; in fact, terrorism became us; the whole concept of terror, which is violence inflicted on innocent