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Neoconservatism

Neocons are attack dogs of neoliberalism and lobbyists for MIC:  "national security parasites"

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." ~Sun Tzu

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Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Neoconservatism, an introduction

Years ago, whilst this reactionary putsch was still in it's infancy,
 my mom would listen to the "news" on the local CBS affiliate,
and many times I heard her gasp and say, referring to the "reporters"
jabbering, "My God, they're a bunch of dopes!"

The dopes areascendant; stupid, scared, violent-minded, and very well-paid.

Comment from Veteran NBC-MSNBC Journalist Blasts Network in Resignation

Neoconservatives, which like Bolsheviks in the past are mostly Jewish intellectuals, are frequently described as ideologues with pro-Israel and anti-Russian bent, but the truth is that they are far more interested in gaining access to money and power. Most of them are useless smacks with degree in journalism or history and they would starve if not fed by military industrial complex. Being a lobbyist of military industrial complex is the only job they can get. Add to that that most of them are personal cowards and chicken hawks and you get the picture: they are just bottom-feeders. "National security parasites" is a very apt definition for this category of people.

The ideology of Neoconservatism was explicitly formulated in Wolfowitz Doctrine which contains the key postulates of Neoconservatism in foreign policy. They can be summarized as "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge". That partially explains unprecedented level of military expenses of the USA since 1991 (after the dissolution of the USSR) when, effectively, the USA has not external enemies and those money can be used to improve well being of common people in the USA. But neoliberal elite engage in building global neoliberal empire rules from Washington and that empire needed the dominant military force to protect and  expand it .  From other  point of view that was an attempt of the US MIC to preserve its position acquired during the Cold War, if necessary by inventing or creating a new threats.  Neocons just happen perfectly suit the role of lobbyists of MIC interest in Washington  and thus were financially and politically supported by MIC.

Large part of neocons consist of so-called "elite-wannabes," often well-educated and highly capable, who has been denied access to elite positions and who decided to use warmongering backdoor to get there.

Proselytizing their own brand of global regime change is just a mean to sustain the access to funds and political power.  They know perfectly well which side of the bread is buttered and by whom.   We can suspect that for many of them (Max Boot is a good example here) access to money from MIC and Israel lobby is the primary driving force. Often they are viewed as Likud lobby in the USA:  "The definition of a neocon is somebody who has great difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of Israel, on the one hand, and the strategic interests of the United States on the other. Israel wants bedlam in Syria, and they’ve got it." ( Israel lobby in the United States - Wikipedia ):

The formal component of the Israel lobby consists of organized lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks all lobbies and PACs, describes the ‘background’ of those ‘Pro-Israel’ as, “A nationwide network of local political action committees, generally named after the region their donors come from, supplies much of the pro-Israel money in US politics. Additional funds also come from individuals who bundle contributions to candidates favored by the PACs. The donors' unified goal is to build stronger US-Israel relations and to support Israel in its negotiations and armed conflicts with its Arab neighbors.”[24]

According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups:

... ... ...

A summary of pro-Israel campaign donations for the period of 1990–2008 collected by Center for Responsive Politics indicates current totals and a general increase in proportional donations to the US Republican party since 1996.[46] The Center for Responsive Politics' 1990–2006 data shows that "pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990."[47] In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (1990–2006) period.[48] In 2006, 60% of the Democratic Party’s fundraising and 25% of that for the Republican Party's fundraising came from Jewish-funded PACs. According to a Washington Post estimate, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for as much as 60% of money raised from private sources.[49]

... ... ...

AIPAC does not give donations directly to candidates, but those who donate to AIPAC are often important political contributors in their own right. In addition, AIPAC helps connect donors with candidates, especially to the network of pro-Israel political action committees. AIPAC president Howard Friedman says “AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israel’s predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a ‘position paper’ on their views of the US-Israel relationship – so it’s clear where they stand on the subject.”[43]

.... ... ...

Mearsheimer and Walt state that “pro-Israel figures have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of US support for the Jewish state.”[50]

When strategic interests of Israeli (for example remaking of the Middle East so that Israel can exercise dominant power in this region; which includes fragmentation of several existing states) deviate from the strategic interests of the USA (which mostly are interested in uninterruptable supply of cheap oil) neocons do betray the USA national interests with ease. The US-Israel relationship significantly damages the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. They also were serving as propagandists and influencers for all recent Middle East military adventures and regime change efforts.  Recently that was the case in Syria: in no way Assad government represented a threat to the USA interests. Still the pressure of "likudniks" was such that the USA engaged in the "regime change" efforts.

But in reality they should be viewed more like lobbing group of MIC then lobbing group of Israel. As well as transnational corporations interested in opening new markets. But recently facts that Israel spend large sums on money on trying to influence the USA politicians came to light and to this extent one gets impression that the tail is wagging the dog. 

They should probably be viewed as the lobbying and propaganda arm of military industrial complex. Is both Republican and Democratic Party position themselves as a "War Party" they represent an important political force on the USA political landscape.  The fact that some of staunch neocons  such  as Max Boot recently defected to Democratic Party just confirm the fact that in forign policy there is only one party in the usa -- the neocon party. 

And there is not much conservative in neocon ideology -- it is basically a revamped Trotskyism, if not neo-fascism. Just look at Nuland's fraternization with Ukrainian far right nationalists despite her Jewish roots (and despite the fact that this movement was hell-bent on killing Jewish people during WWII and served as capos in concentration camps). This was not accidental; this was a conscious political choice -- they are birds of the feather.

Ideologically they are a more militant flavor of neoliberals ("neoliberals with the gun", so to speak). They also are more openly statist, then a typical neoliberal. But their neo-Trotskyites roots are mostly demonstrated in foreign policy (they do not have a coherent domestic policy; but generally their views in this area are more aligned with the  Democratic Party than Republican Party views). 

All-in-all, we will essentially view them as lobbyists of MIC, "neoliberals with a gun".


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

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

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

As I previously reported , shutting down the Strait of Hormuz

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

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

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

We'll let you know when it's closed

Then, it happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War dogs barking mad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War zone in effect

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

The Deep State would never allow that to happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Policeman ?!? Hahaha.ha ..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The much derided Chomsky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fact:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

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

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

Such a loss is by no means assured.

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

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

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

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

Does anyone?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should be required reading by all Americans.

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

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

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

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

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

( Ref- Sunshine Warrior NYT )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have any actual numbers?

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

Does anyone?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so did George Bush Senior.

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

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

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

What do you think , Robin?

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

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

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

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:27

@johncj

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

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

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

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

[Jun 23, 2019] The idiots in DC are literally talking about nuclear war with Russia right now in a defense spending/policy hearing on CSPAN. Sickening

Notable quotes:
"... So are we at that point in Idiocracy, where we believe our propaganda has some effect on our enemy? Is it 1950? FFS ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

sejomoje , Jun 12, 2019 5:10:09 PM | 36

The idiots in DC are literally talking about nuclear war with Russia right now in a defense spending/policy hearing on CSPAN. Sickening. I'm not sure why I even turned on the TV.

The "premise" is that Russia launches a "tactical" low yield weapon, and the consensus is that we would not "measure" it and respond in kind, but start an all out nuclear war.

Everyone knows that actual discussions regarding policy are done in closed door meetings (and several reps have referred to this happening at a later time).

So are we at that point in Idiocracy, where we believe our propaganda has some effect on our enemy? Is it 1950? FFS

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

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Starvation sanctions kill people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 23, 2019] Is Democratic system theoretically sustainable?

Notable quotes:
"... "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

bonefisher -> Livemike , 6 Mar 2012 06:52

Great post

The problem is that as De Toqueville realises (his quote below) most of the people commenting here are simply living a parasitic existence benefiting from state largesse - sucking the teat of a bloated and overburdened state caring not whether their sustenance is remotely sustainable and just voting for ever more

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville

[Jun 23, 2019] The 'Extradition Protest' appears to have a startling resemblance to the 'Umbrella Protests' backed by the CIA/NED

Notable quotes:
"... Keep a close watch on whether the organizers are shown to have studied in the US and if the most vociferous media are known to have had connections to the CIA/NED. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

chet380 , Jun 12, 2019 3:04:15 PM | 19

The 'Extradition Protest', with its thousands of protesters seemingly instantly mobilized, appears to have a startling resemblance to the 'Umbrella Protests' that were backed by the CIA/NED.

Keep a close watch on whether the organizers are shown to have studied in the US and if the most vociferous media are known to have had connections to the CIA/NED.

[Jun 23, 2019] Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends.

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

sct2112 , 5 Mar 2012 23:22

Imagine being stuck in a fall out shelter or an underground bunker during some apocalypse with a devoted Ayn Rand follower or followers. Gurantee they would be killed and eaten with in the first few hours.

Rand followers remind me of my little neices and nephews when they fight over candy and toys. You tell them they have to share and they say no mine mine it's all mine. Now imagine a grown man or woman doing the same exact thing except they run a major corporation or worse are an elected official. They have tried to make money off of every crisis in the past thirty years.

Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends. Usually so they can have the most toys like cars, houses, hot tubs, private jets, viagra and wild sex parties Mind you they most likely have to pay people to have sex with them. I have nothing against capitalism but they need to reeled in at some point. Sadly goverment does not do it's job by looking after the public but after their own wallets. The people who view her has a sage and goddess are seriously out of touch with reality.

Honestly her idea's are failures, the west is in debt up to it's eyeballs, Asia is rising and Latin America is telling America and Europe to collectively go and screw ourselves. I am not happy about this but apart of me is a bit amused by it.

[Jun 23, 2019] The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Rozina -> tom1832 , 5 Mar 2012 22:15

The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago among others. Canadian academic Shadia Drury wrote two books critical of Straussian philosophy: "Leo Strauss and the American Right" (1999) and "The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss" (first published 1988, revised 2005). Counterpunch.org carries a number of articles by Gary Leupp, Francis Boyle and others also castigating the influence of Leo Strauss and his followers on US foreign policy. Seymour Hersch also took a blowtorch to Strauss in an article for The New Yorker many years ago when George W Bush was US President (link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/12/030512fa_fact?currentPage=4#ixzz1437Z8MNs).
truebluetah -> Callaig , 5 Mar 2012 17:57
SEP provides a decent summary of Rand's reasoning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivating wealth

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

reduction in export taxes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

What went wrong?

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

.... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

[Jun 23, 2019] Brexit is the spawn of national neoliberalism....

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

shedexile , 10 Apr 2019 17:28

Brexit is the spawn of neoliberalism....

Holding up the EU as the root of all woes, while at the same time dominating political discourse and deflecting the blame from the real culprits.

All at a time when public spending cuts in the name of austerity (itself a direct reaction to the failings of the neoliberal economic system) are spreading untold misery. At a time when we finally have an opposition ready to challenge the policies of austerity, the issue has been conveniently brushed under the brexit rug.

[Jun 23, 2019] Right-wing ideology is often presented as a natural state and not ideological at all. This denial is a central feature, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions

Jan 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Apomorph -> GeorgeMonbiot , 10 Apr 2019 18:19

Right-wing ideology is often presented as a natural state and not ideological at all. This denial is a central feature, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions and providing means of fostering intellectual suspicion to prevent challenges or structured and coherent critiques like your own.

The right engenders coalitions of people disinterested in politics and distrustful of politicians with those who feel intellectually superior but see politics as an amoral game in the pursuit of "enlightened" self-interest.

As a result, everything about it is disingenous.

There is no alternative (that we want you to choose). It's not racist to (constantly, always negatively and to the expense of everything else) talk about immigration. Cutting taxes for the rich reduces inequality (because we change the criteria to exclude the richest from the calculations). This is also because there are dualities at play. Neoliberalism relies on immigration to increase worker competition and suppress wage demand but courts the xenophobic vote (which is why even with reduced EU migration Brexit has so far increased overall immigration and would continue to do so in the event of no deal or May's deal). Both Remainers and Leavers have accused the other of being a neoliberal project, and in certain aspects -because of these dualities - both sides are correct.

I also believe the disdain for "political correctness" is somewhat a result of neoliberalism, since marketisation is so fundamental to the project and the wedge of the market is advertising, the language of bullshit and manipulation. People railing against political correctness feel judged for their automatic thoughts that they identify as natural instead of culturally determined. Behavioural advertising encourages these thoughts and suppresses consideration. It is a recipe for resentment.

[Jun 23, 2019] The return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. ..."
"... Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. ..."
"... Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. ..."
"... This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. ..."
"... It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal. ..."
"... However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism.

In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue.

Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy.

The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

Pinkie123 -> economicalternative , 12 Apr 2019 02:57

Yes, the EU is an ordoliberal institution - the state imposing rules on the market from without. Thus, it is not the chief danger. The takeover of 5G, and therefore our entire economy and industry, by Huawei - now that would be a loss of state sovereignty. But because Huawei is nominally a corporation, people do not think about is a form of governmental bureaucracy, but if powerful enough that is exactly what it is.
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
subtropics , 11 Apr 2019 13:51
Neoliberalism allows with impunity pesticide businesses to apply high risk toxic pesticides everywhere seriously affecting the health of children, everyone as well as poisoning the biosphere and all its biodiversity. This freedom has gone far too far and is totally unacceptable and these chemicals should be banished immediately.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives.

Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.

Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'.

Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism.

This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism.

Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

[Jun 23, 2019] with Trump the ideological patina of faith in free markets has gone and he's more or less just engaged in an asset stripping exercise

Notable quotes:
"... In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs." ..."
"... To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

hartebeest -> consumerx, 10 Apr 2019 19:24

...with Trump the ideological patina of faith in free markets has gone and he's more or less just engaged in an asset stripping exercise. Thing is, though, you can't get away with that without some kind of distraction, and in Trump's case it's his country club racist's understanding of geopolitics converted into campaign rhetoric and immigration policy.

I don't think this is some masterplan -- he just happened to stumble into the stage at a point where there was an opening for his kind of rhetoric. I'm just amazed someone smarter didn't see it earlier and capitalise.

consumerx -> hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:57
Disagree,

Under Trumps tax plan, a single mother with 2 kids working fulltime at minumum wage gets 75 dollars a YEAR in childcare, about $-1.50 per week.
----------
While the rich, those making up to 400,000 per year get 2000.00 per year child credit off their taxes.
---------------
Name a benefit for the poor, that the recent tax bill passed by Trump and GREEDY GOP.


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

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs."

To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control.

This same messy mix of free market fundamentalism and hyper-nationalistic populism is presently taking shape in Trump's proposed budget. But the apparent contradiction there isn't likely to slow down Trump's pro-market, pro-Wall Street, pro-wealth agenda.

His supporters may soon discover that his professions of care for those left behind by globalization are -- aside from some mostly symbolic moves on trade -- empty.

Just look at what has already happened with the GOP's proposed replacement for Obamacare, which if enacted would bring increased pain and suffering to the anxious voters who put their trust in Trump's populism in the first place.

While these Americans might have thought their votes would win them protection from the instabilities and austerities of market-led globalization, what they are getting is a neoliberal president in populist clothing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/03/22/dont-let-his-trade-policy-fool-you-trump-is-a-neoliberal/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.94fa9481fd2a

[Jun 23, 2019] Ironic isn't it, America may end up becoming the Western world's first failed state? A kind of Somalia with hamburgers,obesity and better drainage; ruled by Christian fundamentalist neo liberal warlords and Ayn Rand inspired gangsters

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

OceaneBorgia , 6 Mar 2012 08:06

I adore the ill educated, unintentional, satirical nature of some of the Rand supporters comments here - unsurprisingly predominantly American. Who appear to have a tenuous grasp on the nature and meaning of philosophy. Who replace rational thought with cod philosophy and hysterical rants, - that would embarrass your average cargo cult worshiper - as a justification for their own sociopathy and intellectual inadequacy. Take a bow... MoreThanExists and the even more comic BruceMajors

Ironic isn't it, America may end up becoming the Western world's first failed state? A kind of Somalia with hamburgers,obesity and better drainage; ruled by Christian fundamentalist neo liberal warlords and Ayn Rand inspired gangsters, funded by Wall Street parasites, with the Tea Party as the Sturm Abteilung (SA), and "Atlas Shrugged" as their most sacred holy text written by a third rate Sadeian dominatrix.

Remember the fascist war cry as they went into battle against Republican troops during the Spanish Civil War, "Death to the intellect! Long live death!". How appropriate?!! Maybe Rand's disciples could work that into a revised version of "The Star-Spangled Banner.?"

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

Jun 20, 2019 | www.rt.com

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

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

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

[Jun 23, 2019] The Financial War Escalates

Notable quotes:
"... The build-up of riots against Hong Kong's proposed extradition treaty with the Mainland started months ago, supported and driven by commentary in the Land of the Free ..."
"... This happened before, in 2014. The Chinese leadership was certain the riots in Hong Kong reflected the work of American agencies. The following is an extract translated from a speech by Major-General Qiao Liang, a leading strategist for the Peoples' Liberation Army, addressing the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee in 2015: ..."
"... weakening yuan-dollar exchange rate will dissuade international portfolios from investing in China's projects, for which the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established. China should respond to moves to undermine her currency, seeking to enhance the attractions of her investment opportunities to international investment funds by taking measures to support the yuan. If not, global investment funds will simply not come China's way. ..."
"... Besides attracting portfolio flows into the US, a rising dollar is also a threat to foreign governments and corporates who have borrowed dollars and then have to pay them back later. This was what mauled South-East Asian economies in the 1997 financial crisis. China as a state is not in this position, though some of her regional trading partners will have fallen into this trap again. ..."
"... It is clear from elsewhere in Qiao's speech that the Chinese understand America's motives and methods. Therefore, they will anticipate American actions to undermine the yuan. If the Americans succeed and with the yuan made unattractive, international portfolio money that is already invested in China will be sucked out, potentially crashing China's capital markets. ..."
"... Put another way, we face no less than a dangerous escalation of the financial war between America and China, with America trying to close off international finance to China. ..."
"... Through deploying similar monetary policies to the Americans, it might now occur to Beijing's central planners that they are at a severe disadvantage playing that game. The dollar and the yuan are both unbacked credit-based currencies bedevilled with debt. But if the dollar goes head-to-head against the yuan, the dollar will always destabilise the yuan. ..."
"... Meanwhile, Chinese inaction is likely to be encouraged by another factor: the escalation of US embargoes on Iranian oil, and the increasing possibility of a new Middle-East conflict with Iran. This is bound to have a bearing on Chinese-American relations. ..."
"... Meanwhile, China is securing her defences. Besides aligning with Russia and both being expected to vote at the UN against Israeli/American attempts to escalate tensions in the Gulf, Russia can be expected to covertly help Iran. Beijing is also securing a partnership to protect North Korea, with Xi visiting Pyongyang this week in order to head off American action in that direction. The whole Asian continent from Ukraine to the Bering Sea is now on a defensive footing. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

When you see a rash, you should look beyond the skin for a cause. It has been like this with Hong Kong over the last few weeks. On the surface we see impressively organised demonstrations to stop the executive from introducing extradition laws to China. We observe that university students and others not much older are running the demonstrations with military precision. The Mainland Chinese should be impressed.

They are unlikely to see it that way. The build-up of riots against Hong Kong's proposed extradition treaty with the Mainland started months ago, supported and driven by commentary in the Land of the Free . America is now coming out in the open as China's adversary, no longer just a trading partner worried by the trade imbalances. And Hong Kong is the pressure point.

This happened before, in 2014. The Chinese leadership was certain the riots in Hong Kong reflected the work of American agencies. The following is an extract translated from a speech by Major-General Qiao Liang, a leading strategist for the Peoples' Liberation Army, addressing the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee in 2015:

"Since the Diaoyu Islands conflict and the Huangyan Island conflict, incidents have kept popping up around China, including the confrontation over China's 981 oil rigs with Vietnam and Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" event. Can they still be viewed as simply accidental?

I accompanied General Liu Yazhou, the Political Commissar of the National Defence University, to visit Hong Kong in May 2014. At that time, we heard that the "Occupy Central" movement was being planned and could take place by end of the month. However, it didn't happen in May, June, July, or August.

What happened? What were they waiting for?

Let's look at another time table: the U.S. Federal Reserve's exit from the Quantitative Easing (QE) policy. The U.S. said it would stop QE at the beginning of 2014. But it stayed with the QE policy in April, May, June, July, and August. As long as it was in QE, it kept overprinting dollars and the dollar's price couldn't go up. Thus, Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" should not happen either.

At the end of September, the Federal Reserve announced the U.S. would exit from QE. The dollar started going up. Then Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" broke out in early October.

Actually, the Diaoyu Islands, Huangyan Island, the 981 rigs, and Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" movement were all bombs. The successful explosion of any one of them would lead to a regional crisis or a worsened investment environment around China. That would force the withdrawal of a large amount of investment from this region, which would then return to the U.S."

That America is stoking and organising discontent anew in Hong Kong is probably still China's view today. Clearly, the Chinese believed America covertly managed "Occupy Central" and therefore are at it again. Apart from what their spies tell them, the protests are too well organised and planned to be spontaneous. This time, the attack appears to have a better chance of success. The plan is coordinated with American pressure on Hong Kong's dollar peg in an attempt to destabilise it, principally through the threat to extend tariffs against China to Hong Kong. This second attempt to collapse Hong Kong is therefore more serious.

Hong Kong is critical, because through Shanghai Connect it is the only lawful channel for foreign investment flows into China. This is important to the Americans, because the US Treasury cannot afford to see global portfolio flows attracted into China at a time when they will be needed to invest in increasing quantities of US Treasury stock. Understand that, and you will have grasped a large part of the urgency behind America's attempt to destabilise Hong Kong.

Qiao Liang makes this point elsewhere in his aforementioned speech, claiming American tactics are the consequence of the ending of Bretton Woods:

"Without the restriction of gold, the US can print dollars at will. If they keep a large amount of dollars inside the US, it will certainly create inflation. If they export dollars to the world, the whole world is helping the US deal with its inflation. That's why inflation is not high in the US."

While one can take issue with his simplistic analysis, that is not the point. What matters is what the Chinese believe. Qiao concludes:

"By issuing debt, the US brings a large amount of dollars from overseas back to the US's three big markets: the commodity market, the Treasury Bills market, and the stock market. The US repeats this cycle to make money: printing money, exporting money overseas, and bringing money back. The US has become a financial empire."

Conceptually, Qiao was broadly correct. His error in these two statements was to not explain that ownership of dollars means they are deployed exclusively in America, but perhaps he was simplifying his argument for a non-technical audience. All dollars, despite foreign ownership, remain in the American economy as a combination of US Treasuries and T-bills, investment in US listed and unlisted securities, physical assets such as property and also deposits through correspondent banks held in New York.

It is not the dollars that flow, but their ownership that changes. Dollars are bought and sold for foreign currencies by central banks, sovereign wealth funds, commercial banks, insurance companies and pension funds. The currencies in which these entities invest matters, and investment decisions are obviously affected by currency prospects. It allows the US Treasury to attract these flows into the dollar by simply making other currencies less attractive. Foreign owners of foreign currencies can easily be spooked into the safe havens of the dollar and US Treasuries. This is the way foreigners are corralled into funding the budget deficit.

A weakening yuan-dollar exchange rate will dissuade international portfolios from investing in China's projects, for which the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established. China should respond to moves to undermine her currency, seeking to enhance the attractions of her investment opportunities to international investment funds by taking measures to support the yuan. If not, global investment funds will simply not come China's way.

Besides attracting portfolio flows into the US, a rising dollar is also a threat to foreign governments and corporates who have borrowed dollars and then have to pay them back later. This was what mauled South-East Asian economies in the 1997 financial crisis. China as a state is not in this position, though some of her regional trading partners will have fallen into this trap again.

It is clear from elsewhere in Qiao's speech that the Chinese understand America's motives and methods. Therefore, they will anticipate American actions to undermine the yuan. If the Americans succeed and with the yuan made unattractive, international portfolio money that is already invested in China will be sucked out, potentially crashing China's capital markets.

With the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act going onto the US statute book, President Trump will be able to use the link to the Emergency Economic Powers Act to impose sanctions against trade, finance and technology. The concern in Hong Kong is personal wealth will now decamp and that Hong Kong property prices will implode.

The British involvement

America's strategy has included putting pressure on her allies to fall into line with her interests against China. All NATO members have been told not to buy Huawei equipment. Protective of the special relationship, the British have gone along with it. But Cheltenham's GCHQ (the UK's cyber monitoring agency) has at least given Huawei the opportunity to address the security issues that have been raised.

A greater problem is bound to arise, and that is the role of the City of London. In 2014, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, agreed a plan with the Chinese leadership for the City to work with Hong Kong to internationalise the yuan. The Chinese wanted to bypass New York for obvious reasons.

The request to meet Osborne went through Boris Johnson, at the time Mayor of London and leading a trade delegation to China on behalf of the City. Johnson is now odds-on favourite to become the next Prime Minister and if appointed will undoubtedly find himself in a difficult position. He will have to walk a very fine line between Britain's developing Chinese interests, her special relationship with America, his new friendship with Trump, and also the trade agreement with America which both Trump and Johnson are likely to prioritise following Brexit.

Depending on how Johnson acts, China may have to put her plans to internationalise the yuan on hold. The risk for China is that with her international financial plans threatened and the Americans determined to strengthen the dollar in order to undermine the yuan, she will not have access to the international portfolio flows she needs to help finance her infrastructure plans and her Made in China 2025 project.

Put another way, we face no less than a dangerous escalation of the financial war between America and China, with America trying to close off international finance to China.

China's policy predicament

In a tactical retreat, Hong Kong has put plans to introduce the new extradition legislation on hold. All it has achieved is to redirect demonstrators' demands towards Hong Kong's Chief Executive to resign, and the demonstrations continued.

The question now arises as to how the Chinese will proceed. So far, they have played their hand defensively in the financial war against America, but things are now coming to a head. Obviously, they will protect Hong Kong, but more importantly they must address capital flight through the Shanghai Connect. One option will be to suspend it, but that would undermine the trust fundamental to future inward portfolio flows. It would also be a huge setback for the international yuan. In any event, action must be taken to underwrite the yuan exchange rate.

One option would be to increase interest rates, but this will risk being read as a panic measure. In this context, an early and definite rise in interest rates would be better than a delay or a lesser adjustment to monetary policy. For the domestic economy, this would favour savers in an economy already savings-driven, but disadvantage exporters and many small and medium-size businesses. It would amount to a reversal of recent economic and monetary policies, which are intended to increase domestic consumption and reduce export surpluses.

The economic theories that the central planners in Beijing actually believe in will become centre-stage. China has adopted the global neo-Keynesian standard of economic planning and credit expansion. When the country moved rapidly from a peasant economy, credit was able to expand without the regular pitfalls of a credit cycle observed in an advanced economy being noticeable. This was because economic progress eclipsed the consequences of monetary inflation.

But China is no longer an economic green-field site, having become predominantly a modern economy. Consequently, she has moved from her pure mercantilist approach to running the economy to a more financial and monetary style of central planning.

Through deploying similar monetary policies to the Americans, it might now occur to Beijing's central planners that they are at a severe disadvantage playing that game. The dollar and the yuan are both unbacked credit-based currencies bedevilled with debt. But if the dollar goes head-to-head against the yuan, the dollar will always destabilise the yuan.

Supping from the Keynesian cup is China's principal weakness. She cannot afford to face down the dollar, and the Americans know it. For the Chinese, the path of least risk appears to be the one China has pursued successfully to date: do as little as possible to rock the boat, and let America make the mistakes. However, as I shall argue later, the time is coming for China to take the offensive.

Meanwhile, Chinese inaction is likely to be encouraged by another factor: the escalation of US embargoes on Iranian oil, and the increasing possibility of a new Middle-East conflict with Iran. This is bound to have a bearing on Chinese-American relations.

False flags and Iran

Last week, two oil tankers suffered an attack by parties unknown after leaving the Strait of Hormuz outward-bound. Predictably, the Americans and the Saudis blamed Iran, and Iran has denied involvement. The Americans, supported by the British, have been quick to point out that Iran had the motivation to attack and therefore was the guilty party. As a consequence of US sanctions, her economy is in a state of collapse and Iran needs higher oil prices. The US has been building up its Gulf fleet provocatively, increasing tensions. According to Al-Jazeera, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warned last December that "If one day they (the US) want to prevent the export of Iran's oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf."

Perhaps that day is close. Tehran must be desperate, and she blames the Americans and Israelis for a false flag attack, an accusation that bases its credibility on previous incidents in the region and a suspicion that Israel backed by America wants an excuse to attack Iran. The Syrian bridge to Hezbollah threatens Israel to its North, so its involvement is logical, and it looks like a Mossad operation. By driving Iran into a corner, it is hard to see any other outcome than further escalation.

If America does get tied up in a new war in the Middle East, she will be fighting on two Asian fronts: militarily against Iran and financially against China. It could descend rapidly into a global crisis, which would not suit China's interests or anyone else's for that matter. However, an American attack against Iran could trigger the widespread flight of investment money to the safety of the dollar and US Treasuries.

If America achieves that objective before sending in the troops, she could then compromise on both Iran and on tariffs against China. Assuming Qiao Liang's analysis still has traction in Beijing, this is the way American strategy might be read by the Chinese war-gamers.

Meanwhile, China is securing her defences. Besides aligning with Russia and both being expected to vote at the UN against Israeli/American attempts to escalate tensions in the Gulf, Russia can be expected to covertly help Iran. Beijing is also securing a partnership to protect North Korea, with Xi visiting Pyongyang this week in order to head off American action in that direction. The whole Asian continent from Ukraine to the Bering Sea is now on a defensive footing.

How will it be resolved?

If the funding of the US deficit is the underling problem, then a continuation of China's longstanding policy of not reacting to America's financial aggression is no longer an option. A weaker yuan will be the outcome and a second Asian financial crisis involving China would be in the offing. It also means the progression of China's economy would become more dependent on domestic inflationary financing through the expansion of bank credit at a time when food prices, partially due to the outbreak of African swine fever, are rising as well.

There is bound to be an intense debate in the Chinese Politburo as to whether it is wise to abandon neo-Keynesian financing and revert to the previous understanding that debasing the currency and the inflation of food prices impoverishes the people and will inevitably lead to political destabilisation. The logic behind the state accumulating a hoard of gold, encouraging citizens to hoard it as well, and dominating international bullion markets was to protect the citizens from a paper money crisis. That paper money crisis now threatens the yuan more than the dollar.

It must be clear to the Chinese, who are no slouches when it comes to understanding political strategy, why America is taking a far more aggressive stance in their financial war. The absence of foreign buyers in the US Treasury market could turn out to be the most serious crisis for America since the end of Bretton Woods. The Deep State, driven in this case by the US Treasury, will not permit it to happen. For both China and America, these are desperate times.

There was always going to be a point in time when mundane chess moves end up threatening to check and then checkmate one or the other king. China now finds her king under serious threat and she must make a countermove. She cannot afford portfolio flows to reverse. The financing of her Made in China 2025 plan and the completion of the silk roads are vital to her long-term political stability.

China must therefore counter dollar strength by means other than simply raising interest rates. Inevitably, the solution points towards gold. Everyone knows, or at least suspects that China has accumulated significant undeclared reserves of gold bullion. The time has probably come for China to show her hand and declare her true gold reserves, or at least enough of them to exceed the official gold reserves of the US.

It is likely a declaration of this sort would drive the gold price significantly higher, amounting to a dollar devaluation. By denying gold is money, America has exposed itself to the risk of the dollar's reserve status being questioned in global markets, and this is China's trump card.

If Xi attends the Osaka G20 at the end of this month, the purpose would be less to talk to Trump, but more to talk to the other leaders to make it clear what the Americans are up to and to ensure they are aware of the consequences for the global monetary system when China takes positive action to protect her own currency and domestic capital markets.


Demeter55 , 4 hours ago link

China gives the US too much credit for "people organizing" skills. Credit where credit is due: the Hong Kong population is dynamic and driven. They are "incentivized" by Chinese policy itself.

I am Groot , 19 hours ago link

My next prediction is that Iranian oil leaving their country is blockaded. Especially oil going to China.

BennyBoy , 19 hours ago link

It's a war to secure global RESOURCES.. Fixed it.

iSage , 19 hours ago link

Word war, trade war, financial war, then kinetic war...how many times over history has this happened? 1939 Japan, ring a bell?? Oil embargo.

[Jun 23, 2019] Trump has enough rat cunning to know when he s cornered

Notable quotes:
"... Hire B-team actors whom he can fire at will, and for effect, as required to maintain the facade of 'dominance.' Let the dogs loose and then yank on their chains at the last minute. The master's voice etc. ..."
"... His problem is: it only works in TV Reality Show land -- and only for a limited time between business-as-usual advertising. ..."
"... He, and his cast of zio-policy diplomatic zombies have a much harder time when it comes to the real world and real national boundaries that resist and are likely to fight back. ..."
"... Seems the US is perpetually seeking war or at the very least threatening war. War on drugs, war on poverty war on disinfo war, trade wars , unending list of WAR, WAR, WAR. ..."
"... Sanctions were never justified in the first place. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has submitted to extra-ordinary inspections by the IAEA for decades. And gets ticks on the boxes. Anyone that thinks Iran is trying to 'build the bomb' probably believes unicorns live in the White House (the American one), and that Saddam blew up the Twin Towers. ..."
"... Compare the western attitudes towards Iran, and those towards India and Pakistan. Neither of which have signed up to the NPT. Not a single whimper from western governments or their MSM propaganda channels, when those countries developed an arsenal of nuclear WMD's. ..."
"... My guess on what happened with Trump was the same MO as in Syria, he has a temper tantrum ("kill them all, even the Russians" as was rumored) and he was informed of the possible fallout from such an attack. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

GeorgeV , Jun 21, 2019 9:25:57 AM | 48

Whether Generalissimo Bone Spur and President Chief Kaiser of the USA, His Imperial Majesty Donald Trump, actually called for a stand down of any attack on Iran for the shooting down of a surveillance UAV, or he suddenly realized that such an act would touch off another unneeded war, is at this point in time a matter of some debate. What is clear however is that his Imperial Majesty must clean out his current foreign policy and national defense staff (Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel etc.) before another crisis develops. Otherwise the neocons that currently inhabit the Oval Office chicken hawk coop will be back at fomenting another crisis, which might actually give them the war they so dearly want. His Imperial Majesty appointed them and he can fire them.

imo , Jun 21, 2019 9:36:44 AM | 49

All this narrative fits Trump's modus operandi and his fake Alpha male persona.

Hire B-team actors whom he can fire at will, and for effect, as required to maintain the facade of 'dominance.' Let the dogs loose and then yank on their chains at the last minute. The master's voice etc.

His problem is: it only works in TV Reality Show land -- and only for a limited time between business-as-usual advertising.

He, and his cast of zio-policy diplomatic zombies have a much harder time when it comes to the real world and real national boundaries that resist and are likely to fight back.

Trump and US MIC is dangerous of course. But Trump has enough rat cunning to know when he's cornered. All he's done here with this alleged last minute "call back" is test prove his chain of command is working. (...or is it?)

arby , Jun 21, 2019 9:39:25 AM | 50
George V---
As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who the president has or who he is. Seems the US is perpetually seeking war or at the very least threatening war. War on drugs, war on poverty war on disinfo war, trade wars , unending list of WAR, WAR, WAR.
Ant. , Jun 21, 2019 9:48:30 AM | 53
I cannot see any way that the current irrational sanctions against Iran by the US can be rolled back. All US administrations are full of hubris and in love with their own imagined gloriously supreme power. The only way they can be rolled back is if Iran offers some face-saving excuse, which they can't do. They have nothing else to give (Pompeo's 'conditions for international re-alignment' were essentially a demand for surrender and 'regime' change, probably authored by Maniac Walrus Bolton).

Sanctions were never justified in the first place. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has submitted to extra-ordinary inspections by the IAEA for decades. And gets ticks on the boxes. Anyone that thinks Iran is trying to 'build the bomb' probably believes unicorns live in the White House (the American one), and that Saddam blew up the Twin Towers.

Compare the western attitudes towards Iran, and those towards India and Pakistan. Neither of which have signed up to the NPT. Not a single whimper from western governments or their MSM propaganda channels, when those countries developed an arsenal of nuclear WMD's.

Sorghum , Jun 21, 2019 9:50:51 AM | 54
My guess on what happened with Trump was the same MO as in Syria, he has a temper tantrum ("kill them all, even the Russians" as was rumored) and he was informed of the possible fallout from such an attack.

Trump will attack, just not yet. There is some new toy they want to try out. Shock and Awe style.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember the "Cat food Commission"?

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

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

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

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

@aliasalias

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

From the article..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@dkmich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This story really pisses me off. Can you tell?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[Jun 22, 2019] That's why we are safe :-)

Aug 01, 2014 | discussion.theguardian.com

The1eyedman , 1 Aug 2014 10:11

...The CIA and security services have every right to know who is who on all and every politician and their staff. That's why we are safe. :-)
freeandfair -> Woodby69 , 1 Aug 2014 10:04

...They are so brave, they are pathologically afraid of everyone. And want to be "protected".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 22, 2019] US Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it

Jun 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT

@lavoisier https://politics.theonion.com/u-s-claims-drone-was-minding-own-business-on-its-way-t-1835695562

WASHINGTON -- Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere. "This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace," said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone's upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. "We're talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends -- an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent drone can't fly through Iranian air space on its way to church?" At press time, Department of Defense officials confirmed that their request for Iran to return the drone's body back to the U.S. for a proper burial had gone unanswered.

[Jun 22, 2019] Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they do not need with the money they do not have

Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

Amused , says: June 19, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT

It is a very lightly written article but it touches on a very sensitive nerve rather hard. I liked the entire premise of this story and have ome to agree with the writer that Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they dont need with the money they don't have and stuffing their mouth with food they don't deserve.

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

Oct 22, 2012 | www.unz.com

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

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

11:43 AM 22 Oct 12 Twitter Web Client

[Jun 22, 2019] I was shocked -- but not surprised -- to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning. Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov

Notable quotes:
"... Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Widowson , 21 June 2019 at 02:41 PM

I was shocked-- but not surprised-- to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning quoting an unnamed source that speculated that the reason Trump cancelled the bombing of Iran was that he got "cold-feet."

Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness.

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

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

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

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

[Jun 22, 2019] A case of shark calling barracuda a piranha.

Jun 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Insufferably Insouciant , 15 hours ago link

"The Communist Party of China has used its access to U.S. consumer and capital markets for a predatory economic strategy... "

... which is a threat to our monopoly on such activity.

Have they no sense of irony?

DEDA CVETKO , 16 hours ago link

"The Communist Party of China has used its access to U.S. consumer and capital markets for a predatory economic strategy... "

A case of shark calling barracuda a piranha.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 22, 2019] What we end up calling "aggression" abroad is often more like resistance to our plans to control a region

Notable quotes:
"... The politicians running the United States often owe their careers to military contractors. ..."
"... Iran isn't Iraq, Serbia, Panama, or an airstrip in Grenada. This country has real military strike-back capabilities that the backwater states we're used to invading simply do not, meaning war would present a far heightened danger not only to our troops but to civilians in the region. All our recent wars have been stupid, but this one would be really stupid. Just once, could we not do this? Does the script always have to end the same way? ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Smith , Jun 21, 2019 7:16:38 PM | 200

Next Contestant, Iran: Meet America's Permanent War Formula -- Rolling Stone

When it comes to starting wars, we don't even bother to change the script anymore

<...>

[...]Trump himself doesn't appear thrilled with the idea of going to war with Iran. When Iran shot down the drone, Trump said it was "hard to believe it was intentional" and might have been done by someone who was "loose and stupid," despite the aforementioned General Salami saying Iran was "ready for war" after it happened. This is an area where we actually want to encourage the all-hat-no-cattle side of our president.

The seeming ambivalence of Trump while the likes of Bolton and Mike Pompeo burn through the same old invasion-pretext script presents a powerful case that this is just how the American state operates, irrespective of who sits in the White House.

What we end up calling "aggression" abroad is often more like resistance to our plans to control a region. Sometimes the "aggressor" is genuinely behaving badly, and sometimes not, but for decades we've been lightning-quick to opt for military solutions to almost any crisis, for increasingly obvious reasons.

The politicians running the United States often owe their careers to military contractors. Their children typically don't fight in wars. The mayhem, death, and environmental catastrophe that result from modern war never occur in their home states. It long ago became too easy to make this decision, and we're on the brink of making it again. At least with Iraq we pretended to argue.

Iran isn't Iraq, Serbia, Panama, or an airstrip in Grenada. This country has real military strike-back capabilities that the backwater states we're used to invading simply do not, meaning war would present a far heightened danger not only to our troops but to civilians in the region. All our recent wars have been stupid, but this one would be really stupid. Just once, could we not do this? Does the script always have to end the same way?

[Jun 22, 2019] US Empire finds itself embroiled in a Hybrid Third World War of its own making in an attempt to recoup and then expand its economic dominance

Notable quotes:
"... Putin followed by China decided to act, or rather accelerate the actions they'd already begun. Medvedev & Hu Jintao both erred by not vetoing the UNSCR regarding Libya. ..."
"... Note that there's more than Iran to deescalate from. Indeed, there's a very big mess needing cleaning. The group that's ultimately responsible for the mess is the Current Oligarchy as they did this for their usual goal of attaining A Few Dollars More to further enlarge their Fistful of Dollars at what appeared to be little risk. ..."
"... Trump and the Neocons will be sacrificed. But will the Current Oligarchy have learned its lesson, ceased its attempt at world domination, and become willing to settle for its slice of Win-Win are the big IFs. But for us to get to that point in 2021, we must get beyond the current inflection point here in 2019. ..."
"... Probably the majority of us bar flies have long accepted that there is a "deep state," "ruling plutocracy," call it what you will, effectively running the US...probably for most of its existence, truth be told. ..."
"... But the most interesting thing about the tail end of the Obama presidency, and amplified through the Trump term, was realizing that there is not a single monolith "Deep State." There are discrete groups. When things were going well for the sole superpower, in the '90s and 00's, all of the factions were able to loot to their hearts' content, so you didn't really notice their interests could diverge. ..."
"... But as the overreach became unsustainable, and the World began fighting back, you began to see infighting. I won't pretend to be smart enough to know who is who and how each faction's vision of the world fits or fights with each other, but I think we saw a bit of a glimpse here in Trump's actions. ..."
"... Trump may or may not have much original thought--it's hard to tell, with presidents becoming largely weather vanes. But vanes can show how the winds are blowing. There certainly appears to be an extremely powerful Zionist faction, often allied with the NeoCon "might-makes-right" faction, and there is strong reason to believe Trump was largely bankrolled by and is extremely beholden to that group. ..."
"... But at the very last moment, one of the few groups who are more powerful--the NeoLiberal/Globalist/Financier faction, threw their weight in behind "No War Today." ..."
"... They certainly don't mind when Israel goes stirring shit here and there, as long as they're profiting greatly from low-level warfare and arms sales. But THIS kind of war, that would almost certainly devastate world markets? No. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 5:12:55 PM | 171

,,, ,,,

The Outlaw US Empire finds itself embroiled in a Hybrid Third World War of its own making that began while Obama was in office in an attempt to recoup and then expand its economic dominance. On several occasions Russia's Putin warned the West about the consequences of its intensions, but the West refused to listen.

Putin followed by China decided to act, or rather accelerate the actions they'd already begun. Medvedev & Hu Jintao both erred by not vetoing the UNSCR regarding Libya.

The subsequent change in heads-of-state to Putin & Xi also marked a sea change in treatment of West at UN and in Russia/China relations. Back at the helm, Putin returns to warning the West about consequences. Then came the demonization in the run up to Sochi Olympics and subsequent coup in Ukraine of 2014 followed by Crimea's rejoining Russia and successful resistance by Donbass against aggression.

In 2015, Minsk 2 handcuffed NATO allied with Ukrainian fascists; JCPOA was finalized in July; Russia intervened in Syria at end of September--all turning points blunting Outlaw US Empire aggression.

These events seem to help POTUS aspirations of Sanders and Trump, which Trump won in 2016 thanks to Sanders being stabbed in the back by the Democratic Party establishment. The 2016 POTUS campaign, election and aftermath indicate the breakout of a factional fight within the Current Oligarchy. Trump gets the green light from the prevailing faction within the Current Oligarchy to violate JCPOA and commence economic war with Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela while overseeing the lawfare coup in Brazil to attack BRICS.

And that pretty much brings us to our current moment, although I omitted a few details like Trade War with the world.

Note that there's more than Iran to deescalate from. Indeed, there's a very big mess needing cleaning. The group that's ultimately responsible for the mess is the Current Oligarchy as they did this for their usual goal of attaining A Few Dollars More to further enlarge their Fistful of Dollars at what appeared to be little risk.

But , their risk assessment was wrong thanks to decades of accumulated hubris. Trump finds himself the figurehead of the treed Current Oligarchy that at present can't figure out a way down. There's nothing symbolic to do. What needs to be done must be tangible. Removing its illegal sanctions and surrendering to the many WTO challenges to its illegal trade practices would be relatively quiet yet tangible ways to climb down without too much publicity.

Abstaining at UNSC to sanctions removal from DPRK and Iran would also be substantive and relatively quiet. By then a new POTUS will be in charge and further changes can be made that can be attributed to it as part of usual policy change thus saving whatever face remains to be saved.

Trump and the Neocons will be sacrificed. But will the Current Oligarchy have learned its lesson, ceased its attempt at world domination, and become willing to settle for its slice of Win-Win are the big IFs. But for us to get to that point in 2021, we must get beyond the current inflection point here in 2019.

J Swift , Jun 21, 2019 5:26:31 PM | 176

@karlof1 132

"...the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire."

I agree with the gist of this, but would refine it a bit. Probably the majority of us bar flies have long accepted that there is a "deep state," "ruling plutocracy," call it what you will, effectively running the US...probably for most of its existence, truth be told.

But the most interesting thing about the tail end of the Obama presidency, and amplified through the Trump term, was realizing that there is not a single monolith "Deep State." There are discrete groups. When things were going well for the sole superpower, in the '90s and 00's, all of the factions were able to loot to their hearts' content, so you didn't really notice their interests could diverge.

But as the overreach became unsustainable, and the World began fighting back, you began to see infighting. I won't pretend to be smart enough to know who is who and how each faction's vision of the world fits or fights with each other, but I think we saw a bit of a glimpse here in Trump's actions.

Trump may or may not have much original thought--it's hard to tell, with presidents becoming largely weather vanes. But vanes can show how the winds are blowing. There certainly appears to be an extremely powerful Zionist faction, often allied with the NeoCon "might-makes-right" faction, and there is strong reason to believe Trump was largely bankrolled by and is extremely beholden to that group. Hence his strong pro-Israel/anti-Iran stance.

But at the very last moment, one of the few groups who are more powerful--the NeoLiberal/Globalist/Financier faction, threw their weight in behind "No War Today."

They certainly don't mind when Israel goes stirring shit here and there, as long as they're profiting greatly from low-level warfare and arms sales. But THIS kind of war, that would almost certainly devastate world markets? No.

So the Pentagon drew the line, and Trump toed the line. The nut jobs may have painted everyone so far into a corner that a major conflict might still happen, but there are now truly powerful forces trying to throw cold water on it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 22, 2019] As the available videos illustrate, this is the same crowd on rollpay we are used to witness in the Maidan, on jeans bermudas and t-shirts or bare chest, wearing police helmets and shields, with both, the US and Ukrainian flags waving in the sides and amongst the crowd of "protestors".

Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jun 21, 2019 10:23:04 AM | 57

While everybody is entertained with the drone and events in the Persian Gulf, as it susally goes lately, a coup d´etat is in the works in Georgia, against the moderate, not so russophobic as the US/UK need, recently elected government who wants to restore mutual beneficcial relations with its neighbors..

So far the President of Georgian Parliament have resigned , on the outcome of events last night when in the middle of an Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy with the participation of a Russian representative.

As the available videos illustrate , this is the same crowd on rollpay we are used to witness in the Maidan, on jeans bermudas and t-shirts or bare chest, wearing police helmets and shields, with both, the US and Ukrainian flags waving in the sides and amongst the crowd of "protestors".
It is also reported that the handlers were all English speakers....

Most of injured resulting, according to Georgian Health Ministry, belong to police members.

[Jun 22, 2019] The Financial War Escalates

Jun 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

When you see a rash, you should look beyond the skin for a cause. It has been like this with Hong Kong over the last few weeks. On the surface we see impressively organised demonstrations to stop the executive from introducing extradition laws to China. We observe that university students and others not much older are running the demonstrations with military precision. The Mainland Chinese should be impressed.

They are unlikely to see it that way. The build-up of riots against Hong Kong's proposed extradition treaty with the Mainland started months ago, supported and driven by commentary in the Land of the Free . America is now coming out in the open as China's adversary, no longer just a trading partner worried by the trade imbalances. And Hong Kong is the pressure point.

This happened before, in 2014. The Chinese leadership was certain the riots in Hong Kong reflected the work of American agencies. The following is an extract translated from a speech by Major-General Qiao Liang, a leading strategist for the Peoples' Liberation Army, addressing the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee in 2015:

"Since the Diaoyu Islands conflict and the Huangyan Island conflict, incidents have kept popping up around China, including the confrontation over China's 981 oil rigs with Vietnam and Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" event. Can they still be viewed as simply accidental?

I accompanied General Liu Yazhou, the Political Commissar of the National Defence University, to visit Hong Kong in May 2014. At that time, we heard that the "Occupy Central" movement was being planned and could take place by end of the month. However, it didn't happen in May, June, July, or August.

What happened? What were they waiting for?

Let's look at another time table: the U.S. Federal Reserve's exit from the Quantitative Easing (QE) policy. The U.S. said it would stop QE at the beginning of 2014. But it stayed with the QE policy in April, May, June, July, and August. As long as it was in QE, it kept overprinting dollars and the dollar's price couldn't go up. Thus, Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" should not happen either.

At the end of September, the Federal Reserve announced the U.S. would exit from QE. The dollar started going up. Then Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" broke out in early October.

Actually, the Diaoyu Islands, Huangyan Island, the 981 rigs, and Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" movement were all bombs. The successful explosion of any one of them would lead to a regional crisis or a worsened investment environment around China. That would force the withdrawal of a large amount of investment from this region, which would then return to the U.S."

That America is stoking and organising discontent anew in Hong Kong is probably still China's view today. Clearly, the Chinese believed America covertly managed "Occupy Central" and therefore are at it again. Apart from what their spies tell them, the protests are too well organised and planned to be spontaneous. This time, the attack appears to have a better chance of success. The plan is coordinated with American pressure on Hong Kong's dollar peg in an attempt to destabilise it, principally through the threat to extend tariffs against China to Hong Kong. This second attempt to collapse Hong Kong is therefore more serious.

Hong Kong is critical, because through Shanghai Connect it is the only lawful channel for foreign investment flows into China. This is important to the Americans, because the US Treasury cannot afford to see global portfolio flows attracted into China at a time when they will be needed to invest in increasing quantities of US Treasury stock. Understand that, and you will have grasped a large part of the urgency behind America's attempt to destabilise Hong Kong.

Qiao Liang makes this point elsewhere in his aforementioned speech, claiming American tactics are the consequence of the ending of Bretton Woods:

"Without the restriction of gold, the US can print dollars at will. If they keep a large amount of dollars inside the US, it will certainly create inflation. If they export dollars to the world, the whole world is helping the US deal with its inflation. That's why inflation is not high in the US."

While one can take issue with his simplistic analysis, that is not the point. What matters is what the Chinese believe. Qiao concludes:

"By issuing debt, the US brings a large amount of dollars from overseas back to the US's three big markets: the commodity market, the Treasury Bills market, and the stock market. The US repeats this cycle to make money: printing money, exporting money overseas, and bringing money back. The US has become a financial empire."

Conceptually, Qiao was broadly correct. His error in these two statements was to not explain that ownership of dollars means they are deployed exclusively in America, but perhaps he was simplifying his argument for a non-technical audience. All dollars, despite foreign ownership, remain in the American economy as a combination of US Treasuries and T-bills, investment in US listed and unlisted securities, physical assets such as property and also deposits through correspondent banks held in New York.

It is not the dollars that flow, but their ownership that changes. Dollars are bought and sold for foreign currencies by central banks, sovereign wealth funds, commercial banks, insurance companies and pension funds. The currencies in which these entities invest matters, and investment decisions are obviously affected by currency prospects. It allows the US Treasury to attract these flows into the dollar by simply making other currencies less attractive. Foreign owners of foreign currencies can easily be spooked into the safe havens of the dollar and US Treasuries. This is the way foreigners are corralled into funding the budget deficit.

A weakening yuan-dollar exchange rate will dissuade international portfolios from investing in China's projects, for which the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established. China should respond to moves to undermine her currency, seeking to enhance the attractions of her investment opportunities to international investment funds by taking measures to support the yuan. If not, global investment funds will simply not come China's way.

Besides attracting portfolio flows into the US, a rising dollar is also a threat to foreign governments and corporates who have borrowed dollars and then have to pay them back later. This was what mauled South-East Asian economies in the 1997 financial crisis. China as a state is not in this position, though some of her regional trading partners will have fallen into this trap again.

It is clear from elsewhere in Qiao's speech that the Chinese understand America's motives and methods. Therefore, they will anticipate American actions to undermine the yuan. If the Americans succeed and with the yuan made unattractive, international portfolio money that is already invested in China will be sucked out, potentially crashing China's capital markets.

With the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act going onto the US statute book, President Trump will be able to use the link to the Emergency Economic Powers Act to impose sanctions against trade, finance and technology. The concern in Hong Kong is personal wealth will now decamp and that Hong Kong property prices will implode.

The British involvement

America's strategy has included putting pressure on her allies to fall into line with her interests against China. All NATO members have been told not to buy Huawei equipment. Protective of the special relationship, the British have gone along with it. But Cheltenham's GCHQ (the UK's cyber monitoring agency) has at least given Huawei the opportunity to address the security issues that have been raised.

A greater problem is bound to arise, and that is the role of the City of London. In 2014, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, agreed a plan with the Chinese leadership for the City to work with Hong Kong to internationalise the yuan. The Chinese wanted to bypass New York for obvious reasons.

The request to meet Osborne went through Boris Johnson, at the time Mayor of London and leading a trade delegation to China on behalf of the City. Johnson is now odds-on favourite to become the next Prime Minister and if appointed will undoubtedly find himself in a difficult position. He will have to walk a very fine line between Britain's developing Chinese interests, her special relationship with America, his new friendship with Trump, and also the trade agreement with America which both Trump and Johnson are likely to prioritise following Brexit.

Depending on how Johnson acts, China may have to put her plans to internationalise the yuan on hold. The risk for China is that with her international financial plans threatened and the Americans determined to strengthen the dollar in order to undermine the yuan, she will not have access to the international portfolio flows she needs to help finance her infrastructure plans and her Made in China 2025 project.

Put another way, we face no less than a dangerous escalation of the financial war between America and China, with America trying to close off international finance to China.

China's policy predicament

In a tactical retreat, Hong Kong has put plans to introduce the new extradition legislation on hold. All it has achieved is to redirect demonstrators' demands towards Hong Kong's Chief Executive to resign, and the demonstrations continued.

The question now arises as to how the Chinese will proceed. So far, they have played their hand defensively in the financial war against America, but things are now coming to a head. Obviously, they will protect Hong Kong, but more importantly they must address capital flight through the Shanghai Connect. One option will be to suspend it, but that would undermine the trust fundamental to future inward portfolio flows. It would also be a huge setback for the international yuan. In any event, action must be taken to underwrite the yuan exchange rate.

One option would be to increase interest rates, but this will risk being read as a panic measure. In this context, an early and definite rise in interest rates would be better than a delay or a lesser adjustment to monetary policy. For the domestic economy, this would favour savers in an economy already savings-driven, but disadvantage exporters and many small and medium-size businesses. It would amount to a reversal of recent economic and monetary policies, which are intended to increase domestic consumption and reduce export surpluses.

The economic theories that the central planners in Beijing actually believe in will become centre-stage. China has adopted the global neo-Keynesian standard of economic planning and credit expansion. When the country moved rapidly from a peasant economy, credit was able to expand without the regular pitfalls of a credit cycle observed in an advanced economy being noticeable. This was because economic progress eclipsed the consequences of monetary inflation.

But China is no longer an economic green-field site, having become predominantly a modern economy. Consequently, she has moved from her pure mercantilist approach to running the economy to a more financial and monetary style of central planning.

Through deploying similar monetary policies to the Americans, it might now occur to Beijing's central planners that they are at a severe disadvantage playing that game. The dollar and the yuan are both unbacked credit-based currencies bedevilled with debt. But if the dollar goes head-to-head against the yuan, the dollar will always destabilise the yuan.

Supping from the Keynesian cup is China's principal weakness. She cannot afford to face down the dollar, and the Americans know it. For the Chinese, the path of least risk appears to be the one China has pursued successfully to date: do as little as possible to rock the boat, and let America make the mistakes. However, as I shall argue later, the time is coming for China to take the offensive.

Meanwhile, Chinese inaction is likely to be encouraged by another factor: the escalation of US embargoes on Iranian oil, and the increasing possibility of a new Middle-East conflict with Iran. This is bound to have a bearing on Chinese-American relations.

False flags and Iran

Last week, two oil tankers suffered an attack by parties unknown after leaving the Strait of Hormuz outward-bound. Predictably, the Americans and the Saudis blamed Iran, and Iran has denied involvement. The Americans, supported by the British, have been quick to point out that Iran had the motivation to attack and therefore was the guilty party. As a consequence of US sanctions, her economy is in a state of collapse and Iran needs higher oil prices. The US has been building up its Gulf fleet provocatively, increasing tensions. According to Al-Jazeera, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warned last December that "If one day they (the US) want to prevent the export of Iran's oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf."

Perhaps that day is close. Tehran must be desperate, and she blames the Americans and Israelis for a false flag attack, an accusation that bases its credibility on previous incidents in the region and a suspicion that Israel backed by America wants an excuse to attack Iran. The Syrian bridge to Hezbollah threatens Israel to its North, so its involvement is logical, and it looks like a Mossad operation. By driving Iran into a corner, it is hard to see any other outcome than further escalation.

If America does get tied up in a new war in the Middle East, she will be fighting on two Asian fronts: militarily against Iran and financially against China. It could descend rapidly into a global crisis, which would not suit China's interests or anyone else's for that matter. However, an American attack against Iran could trigger the widespread flight of investment money to the safety of the dollar and US Treasuries.

If America achieves that objective before sending in the troops, she could then compromise on both Iran and on tariffs against China. Assuming Qiao Liang's analysis still has traction in Beijing, this is the way American strategy might be read by the Chinese war-gamers.

Meanwhile, China is securing her defences. Besides aligning with Russia and both being expected to vote at the UN against Israeli/American attempts to escalate tensions in the Gulf, Russia can be expected to covertly help Iran. Beijing is also securing a partnership to protect North Korea, with Xi visiting Pyongyang this week in order to head off American action in that direction. The whole Asian continent from Ukraine to the Bering Sea is now on a defensive footing.

How will it be resolved?

If the funding of the US deficit is the underling problem, then a continuation of China's longstanding policy of not reacting to America's financial aggression is no longer an option. A weaker yuan will be the outcome and a second Asian financial crisis involving China would be in the offing. It also means the progression of China's economy would become more dependent on domestic inflationary financing through the expansion of bank credit at a time when food prices, partially due to the outbreak of African swine fever, are rising as well.

There is bound to be an intense debate in the Chinese Politburo as to whether it is wise to abandon neo-Keynesian financing and revert to the previous understanding that debasing the currency and the inflation of food prices impoverishes the people and will inevitably lead to political destabilisation. The logic behind the state accumulating a hoard of gold, encouraging citizens to hoard it as well, and dominating international bullion markets was to protect the citizens from a paper money crisis. That paper money crisis now threatens the yuan more than the dollar.

It must be clear to the Chinese, who are no slouches when it comes to understanding political strategy, why America is taking a far more aggressive stance in their financial war. The absence of foreign buyers in the US Treasury market could turn out to be the most serious crisis for America since the end of Bretton Woods. The Deep State, driven in this case by the US Treasury, will not permit it to happen. For both China and America, these are desperate times.

There was always going to be a point in time when mundane chess moves end up threatening to check and then checkmate one or the other king. China now finds her king under serious threat and she must make a countermove. She cannot afford portfolio flows to reverse. The financing of her Made in China 2025 plan and the completion of the silk roads are vital to her long-term political stability.

China must therefore counter dollar strength by means other than simply raising interest rates. Inevitably, the solution points towards gold. Everyone knows, or at least suspects that China has accumulated significant undeclared reserves of gold bullion. The time has probably come for China to show her hand and declare her true gold reserves, or at least enough of them to exceed the official gold reserves of the US.

It is likely a declaration of this sort would drive the gold price significantly higher, amounting to a dollar devaluation. By denying gold is money, America has exposed itself to the risk of the dollar's reserve status being questioned in global markets, and this is China's trump card.

If Xi attends the Osaka G20 at the end of this month, the purpose would be less to talk to Trump, but more to talk to the other leaders to make it clear what the Americans are up to and to ensure they are aware of the consequences for the global monetary system when China takes positive action to protect her own currency and domestic capital markets.


Demeter55 , 4 hours ago link

China gives the US too much credit for "people organizing" skills.

Credit where credit is due: the Hong Kong population is dynamic and driven. They are "incentivized" by Chinese policy itself.

I am Groot , 19 hours ago link

My next prediction is that Iranian oil leaving their country is blockaded. Especially oil going to China.

BennyBoy , 19 hours ago link

It's a war to secure global RESOURCES..

Fixed it.

iSage , 19 hours ago link

Word war, trade war, financial war, then kinetic war...how many times over history has this happened? 1939 Japan, ring a bell?? Oil embargo.

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

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

Authored by Doug Bandow via National Interest,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Albright famously asked Colin Powell in 1992:

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albright, Jashari said, would not listen to anyone.

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

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

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

According to delegation member Nikola Šainović ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

Feb 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 22, 2019] Tucker Carlson Tonight 6-21-19

Douglas Macgregor is right -- Trump have surrounded himself with neocons and now put himself against the wall. Wars destroy presidency -- George Bush II is not viewed favorable by the US people now, not is Obama with his Libya adventure.
With the amount of derivatives in the US financial system the rise of the price of oil above $100 can produce some interesting and unanticipated effects.
Notable quotes:
"... PRESIDENT TRUMP don't let them sucker you. ..."
"... The true American people, do never believe what this congress, house, and senate want they are cramming down your throats... ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Carol Widerski , 2 days ago

Thanks Tucker, happy to hear you talking about this. PRESIDENT TRUMP don't let them sucker you.

Andrea Bandish , 1 day ago (edited)

The true American people, do never believe what this congress, house, and senate want they are cramming down your throats...

Again.. No More. Americans are tired of being lied to by our government, enough...

Look back of Cummings sit down on the floor "FLOOR RUG their sit in" of American people in congress a fool...

[Jun 22, 2019] Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM.

Jun 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 01:47 AM

Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM. https://youtu.be/Rf2cS4g0pes

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

Jun 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Smart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

_____

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

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

PEACE

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

very slightly optimistic (48-52%)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HONK! HONK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PEACE

Top Ironik.

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

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

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

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

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

Sean Hannity is a PUSSY AND A FAGGOT!!!

Mostly just an idiot and a Zionist whore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@kerdasi amaq

The first thing in is missiles that target air defense batteries. I doubt the US is worried about Iran shooting down every plane. The drone probably was flying a steady even course and took no evasive maneuvers unlike an attacking aircraft. The success rate of surface to air missiles is not very high.

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:36 am GMT
@TheJester 1. Via economic sanctions, the United States and its European colonial allies systematically denied Japan the resources it needed to sustain its population and its industrial economy.

BS. The embargo was because Japan continued to occupy part of China. All they had to do was go back home. Did FDR do it to get us into the war? Maybe, but Hitler was under no obligation to declare war on the US since Japan did not declare war on the USSR when Hitler attacked the USSR.

Biff , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:03 am GMT

No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

Then

this might also be a strategic PSYOP destined to lull the Iranians into a false sense of security. If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Make up your mind.

BengaliCanadianDude , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:32 am GMT
@A123

Tell your masters in Haifa that they really are not churning out the good ones. We see right through you.

Talha , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:11 am GMT

Trump Claims He Canceled an Airstrike Against Iran at the Very Last Minute

I one hundred percent support letting The Orange One continue on with his awesome cowboy delusions as long as it keeps a war from starting.

My reaction: "Wow, sir! You have such self-control! Those Iranians don't know how close they were to you just kicking them back to the Stone Age! It's great that the better (wiser and more patient) side of you won out in the end – you are awesome!"

Peace.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
@A123

Iran – no aggressive use of force for over 200 years. Sorry, you're choosing the wrong people for your propaganda.

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:44 am GMT
TUCKER CARLSON IS A HERO: Tucker: US came within minutes of war with Iran

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-c0jMsspE7Y?feature=oembed

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT
@lavoisier https://politics.theonion.com/u-s-claims-drone-was-minding-own-business-on-its-way-t-1835695562

WASHINGTON -- Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere. "This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace," said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone's upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. "We're talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends -- an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent drone can't fly through Iranian air space on its way to church?" At press time, Department of Defense officials confirmed that their request for Iran to return the drone's body back to the U.S. for a proper burial had gone unanswered.

Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
@MarkinLA Read Frazier Hunt, The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur.

TheJester is right.

Yes, China was under Japanese occupation. The Chinese Communists were fighting the Japs. The USA was supporting the side that was not fighting the Japs but the Communists, being, the USA, fanatically anti-communist.

My guess is that the USA forced Japan into war because of the economic potential of China, i.e. they wanted to take Japan's place.

And the USA didn't side with Hitler but with the other side because they didn't know Indian independence would come immediately after the War. So they sided with the Brits because of the apparent economic potential of the British Empire. If India had gained independence just before the war the USA would have sided with Hitler, because then, without India, German Europe would have had a greater economic potential than the British Empire.

Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:18 am GMT
The Iranians claim that a manned spy plane was next to the drone (i.e. that it also was in their territory) but that they chose not to shoot it down since 35 soldiers were on board.

"Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too," he said, adding, "But we did not do [shoot down] it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US."

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000471

To me, a total cynic, it looks like the Americans attempted a repeat of the incident when they deliberately misled their sailors so that they sailed into Iranian territorial waters. I guess they messed up the GPS for them.

"Iran releases video of captured American sailor crying "

https://nypost.com/2016/02/10/iran-releases-video-of-captured-american-sailor-crying/

I too would cry if I realised that my superiors had set me up as a sacrificial lamb.

Let's not forget the attempt to sink the USS Liberty. That was a joint operation between the US Deep State and Israel to try and get the US to attack Egypt.

"'But Sir, It's an American Ship.' 'Never Mind, Hit Her!' When Israel Attacked USS Liberty"

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/but-sir-its-an-american-ship-never-mind-hit-her-1.5492908

Popeye , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:19 am GMT
@TheJester But why were sanctions imposed on Japan? Because Japan was acting in violation of international law? Well yes due to Japanese imperial aggression against China. In 1935-40 Japan was no angelic virgin. It committed unprovoked aggression against China, committed massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yes FDR likely wanted to have USA enter the Pacific war to enable war against Hitler but the crippling sanctions against Japan had a legitimate basis. To punish Japan for aggression in China
Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:21 am GMT
It looks like the Americans are having a false flag feast.

The positions in Iraq – whether directly or indirectly connected to the US interests in Iraq – for example Baghdad, Basra and al-Taji base to Northwest of Baghdad and Nineveh operations command headquarters in Northern Iraq have come under Katyusha missile attacks in recent day, the Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

The paper reiterated that the missile attacks have taken place as a result of recent regional tensions, and said that the US officials are trying to portray the attacks as messages by Iran after al-Fujaira and the Sea of Oman mishaps.

It noted that no group has claimed responsibility for the recent missile attacks on Iraqi cities.

Sources close to Hashd al-Sha'abi Commander Abu Mohandes al-Mahdi, meantime, categorically dismissed any accusations against the Iraqi popular and resistance forces, and said that the Americans themselves are most probably behind some of these attacks because some of the missiles are made in the US.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000382

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:58 am GMT
Has there been any mention of ahem the need for a Congressional declaration before the President can act as Commander-In-Chief?

Further evidence that the Constitution is dead.

Greg Bacon , says: Website June 22, 2019 at 8:19 am GMT
@HEREDOT Mr. Saker left out the inconvenient fact that while that drone was indeed flying over Iranian air space, a much larger target, the Poseidon P8 was flying nearby. The P8 is a converted Boeing 737, making for a much larger radar profile for that missile. The P8 has many ASW capabilities, and also can control drones.

It's usual crew numbers nine, but this one had 35 sacrificial lambs packed onboard, to be murdered by the (((Deep State))) to push Trump into the corner, with the (((MSM))) screaming that it was Iran's fault, no proof needed or lies fabricated–just like the illegal invasion of Iraq–to give Israel what it's demanding that its American colony do: Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

My guess is that the American thugs behind this latest FF attempt were hoping the Iranian surface-to-air missile would of shifted its initial target–the drone– and went for the much larger P8.

That Butcher Boy Bolton and his fellow homicidal maniacs failed means that more Americans are being lined up in their cross-hairs, ready to be sacrificed for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Wrong, Saker, the Iranians have been getting attacked by America and the Brits since we overthrew their democratically elected prez in 1953, because he had the audacity to think and say that the majority of Iran's oil revenues should be going to Iranians, not Wall Street .

Greg Bacon , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:23 am GMT
@BengaliCanadianDude Agreed. If Israel want to attack Iran, go ahead, but they won't, because they know they'd get their asses kicked unless Uncle Sucker was leading the way.

Or maybe Israel could send in its fearsome DIAPER BRIGADES to wreak havoc in Tehran?

The diaper reference is not a joke, it's fact that the IDF has issued combat nappies to their troops, who let loose their bladder anytime they engage REAL men with guns who shoot back. But let's give credit where its due, when it comes to shooting Palestinian kids with slingshots or medics, Israel is #1.

Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:25 am GMT
@peterAUS Iran has been living with the same threat since 1979. The result is a hugely popular military and IRGC which is one of the best career choices in the country. It's a way of life for the nation to be under siege by now and for Shia Muslims the idea of being ready to fight to the death always hovers due to the history of Islam with respect to the Sunni/Shia divide. This disagreement is extreme, to be a Muslim and understand it is to feel horror! ; and despair at the idea any reconciliation is even possible between the two sects and a shared history does not make for a shared point of view. Shias have always been outnumbered and it was us who were targeted for extreme violence in the end (or the begginning) when a dispute over leadership turned bitter. Successive Islamic powers have attempted to exterminate Shias and the latest incarnation of the Salafis begginning with Wahhabism (nurtured by the Rothschild controlled British SS at the end of the Ottoman Empire) and lately morphed into Takfirism which is Daesh and their ilk, have always sought out Shias first and foremost for attack.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is firstly an Islamic Republic in full revolutionary mode, (as opposed to 'fundamentalist') it is also in a close second the "Capital" of Shia Islam and what I have described is the history of Iran and the times the Persian state was not an Islamic one are no less a part of the historical memory of the nation. Even those times (which invariably ended in defeat for Persia) reinforce the idea that it is as an Islamic state Iran stands best chance of survival and the confidence that if they remain true to these principles they will prevail is backed by an unbroken history of successful defense as a righteous Islamic state. This may be beyond many of the younger generation and ignored by the wealthy older generation Iranians but it must be ingrained in the political and social cosnciousness of the political and religious and intellectual elite.

Iran is ready. They have always been ready in one sense. Saddan Hussein who attacked them when they were at their weakest and still lived to regret it could attest to that if he was still around to talk. That war in which the USA gave full and unconditional support to their protege Saddam who only became their enemy when he became a better man and leader later on in time, was a wake up call to Iranian leadership and the nation as one. They knew that they needed missiles and a very strong defensive posture and that is what they have. F^ck with them at your peril I say.

I doubt myself the USA will attack Iran, at least as long as they have ships and troops within 1000 miles of Iran. That includes towing their static aircraft carrier "Israel" out of range as well.

sally , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
@2stateshmustate agree, the comment that "the USA is taking the events to the UN is loaded with false something or other..

Iran initiated the UN hearing AFAIK and IRAN says it will present evidence that it was the USA's intention.. to do the deeds ..<=personally, my feeling is neither Russia nor China will veto .. anything about these deeds.. the only veto will come from Article II of the COUS , present leader [one Mr. Trumpy]. who is elected not by popular vote of the govern people in America but instead by the hidden behind the scene, state to state vote of the electoral college.. .. <== you mean all that to-do every four years to elect a president: democrats vs republicans beating each other up, newspapers collecting billions in contribution dollars to publish fake I hate you slogans, and he saids, you saids: dey all be fake news, propaganda erotic ? yep.. sure enough is. dem guys dat rites dem Konstitutions ain't no dummies deys knows vat ve good fore dem. Read Article II, sections 2 and 3.. you see..
Popular vote elects the Article I folks ( 525 in all: 425 members of the house of congressional districts (Art. 1, Section 2), and 100 Senators (amendment 17, proposed 1912, approved 1913federal reserve(act of congress), income tax (amendment 16) both also 1913 ),

=>but Article I (section 2 and amendment 17 ) folks have no power to act.. as powerless buffoons ..they are authorized only to approve a few things, try cases of Treason, and make the laws, fund the actions, wants and needs demanded by Article II persons. It takes 2/3 of each a divided Senate and 2/3 of a divided House [Art. I, sec 7[2,3] to over-power the Art II privilege of veto.. and

==get this=> Article II persons are charged to enforce the law( Art II, section 2 [3] he[the President} shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Where is Hillary? I see no words making such duty to enforce the law optional (so does the AG have an option that the President does not, .) ?

misguided Saker ?

Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:38 am GMT
@Fran Macadam . . . Timed to force Congress to vote on a declaration of war just before elections.
Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:42 am GMT
@HEREDOT Have you ever seen an obese deer?
Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:53 am GMT
I am in full agreement with the author about who was most likely behind the attacks on the ships and how the two separate attacks were done. Even down to accepting the possibility Iran was behind some or all of this as provocation for the reasons given. If so it would mean they are hurting badly and need to bring things to a head fast. This does not fit with my observations of Iranian leadership which has always demonstrated a very long term and patient, typically oriental approach to logjams in diplomacy and nothing has happened to suggest they are suddenly feeling extremely more pain than previously. In short it is possible but I doubt it.

To my mind the things which speak against the Iranians having attacked the tankers the second time at least are substantial: Both ships were Japanese owned. This attack as such was against Japanese interests WHILST the Japanese PM (Japanese death cult and mafia associations and all) was making a historical visit to Tehran! What sort of dung for brains clowns would invite someone for dinner and then send the kids out to set fire to their car whilst they dined? Of course Washington would do something like this (shooting missiles at Syria whilst enjoying a lovely piece of cake with their Chinese ally ffs ) but Iran? Give me a break.

Secondly if Iran was guilty, how come the USA is lying like a cheap rug from the get go? The video the US Navy quickly produced is PROOF they are lying. The black and white imagery does NOT hide the distinctly different paint jobs on the ship depicted and the actual one involved. Whatever that video is, it is NOT a video of either of the ships involved in the second incident. So if Iran was guilty why is the USA using fabricated evidence to assert it?

The claim that the Iranians tried unsuccesfully to shoot down a Reaper drone which was according to the USA monitoring the ship BEFORE IT WAS ATTACKED was what stuck in my craw from the start. What the hell was a REAPER Drone doing monitoring that particular ship at that particular time? Is this a common practice? Reaper drones are NOT recon drones they carry hellfire missiles and kill things! When you consider the reports by the crew, as relayed by the Japanese company owner about a flying object just before the explosion and the pictures of the damage which clearly show fairly small holes about half way between the gunwale and waterline the conclusion these were small missiles is hard to avoid. Indeed HELLFIRE missiles would fit the bill nicely.

As for attacking Iran I do not believe that the USA will dare start anything, especially now, so long as they have troops and ships within range of Iranian missiles. Iranian missiles power is immense and an unknown because they do not know where it all is, and they do know much of it is very, very well hardened against attack. IF they do start a war with Iran whilst they have assets in the region, invluding "Israel" then they have completely lost their minds and I'd say the war will end very fast and hard for them. Not even going nuclear will do it. They are deluded if they think so. Nukes are not magic, they are just big bombs and even the radiation component is not a big deal these days. (few realise it but modern nukes are quite 'clean') Iran is a vast country and well dug in over millenia. However unleashing a full nuclear war against a non nuclear state will end the USA forever as a world citizen in every way. There is no solution for the USA except to make peace or back off. They can plan and scheme all they like but Allah is the best of planners.

Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:00 am GMT
@Fran Macadam Well if that line of turkeys pecking at the crumbs of provocations unfolding which purport to involve Iran keep on gobbling on cue they are going to realise too late they just walked into the slaughter house. Iran will send home many thousands of their boys and girls in body bags and sink their ships but the real hurt will be the end of the US economy. They'll be missing even allegorical crumbs when they only have dirt to eat.
El Dato , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
@MarkinLA Japan continued to occupy part of China (and viciously so, clearly stamping on the foot of white-colonial interests with their homegrown late-comer colonialism) but i mainly started to challenge US power in the Pacific, and with strong determination.

Explainer:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FTupV8o3mW4?start=7391&feature=oembed

China nowadays has this role. This is why the US is interested in a "first strike" nuclear posture. This is gonna be fun.

Sean , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:15 am GMT
Iran's War for higher Oil prices

Israel does not have the ability to deceive the US, and why would it need to with Trump in power? American fracking technology has greatly limited Iranian ability to cause trouble. If it was the Iranians that did the limpet mine attack on international shipping then what would their objective have been? Clearly they don't want more any real war or even more sanctions. What they do want is create demand for their oil and sell it at a good price. The price of oil is already up from the mere tension over the limpet mine and shootdown and had there been US military action oil prices would have gone much higher. I see this whole affair as a sign that the Iranian regieme is getting desperate, because America's slow smothering strategy is working. Iran wants to breack out of its current situation and Trump is walking them into that.

Israel will do nothing, the partisan supporters of Israel in the US can be kept quiet on the immigration Issue by throwing them a bone (as Trump has been doing). Iran want to rase oil prices and create demand for its oil, that is all. Hitting Iran, but quite lightly, is the best option for Trump if he wants to win reelection. And so he will hit Iran at a time of his choosing, which will probabally be closer to the election. The armed forces of America or any other country are not for enforcing international law or notions of fair play, but rather for defending that country's interests. Iran and Trump's agendas converge on a clash well short of all out war in the very near future.

The Alarmist , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:16 am GMT
Occam's Razor suggests Trump got news that the drone was indeed inside Iranian airspace and decided for once to call BS.

Besides, in the great scheme of things, one lost drone doesn't make up for the USS Vincennes killing 290 people on Iran Air 655 by shooting it down in Iranian Airspace. When the Empire warned that civil aircraft were not safe in the airspace, it wasn't the Iranian forces they were warning about.

El Dato , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:17 am GMT
@El Dato Pearl Harbor explained:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FTupV8o3mW4?start=8008&feature=oembed

Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:19 am GMT
@Miggle Sorry, "My guess" covers all that follows. It's only my guess that the USA would have sided with Hitler if they'd known India would not be part of the British Empire.
Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@Colin Wright So, not insane, inzine.

Is there a difference?

Art , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT
Our hero Donald J Trump – a courageous man who saved 150 lives and avoided a war, will ride those lives into 2020.

There will be no war against Iran started by Trump.

Think Peace -- Art

EoinW , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@TheJester But it wasn't wise for the Japanese as they were completely defeated.

The key difference between Japan and Iran is that the Japanese Empire was an aggressor, endlessly invading its neighbours. Iran has not fought an offensive war in 40 years.

Also have to question you on the time element. Time is on the side of the Asian countries. It's countries, like Israel, who see this as peak time for military action. Iran has survived 40 years of sanctions and can certainly survive this time, especially with the support of Russia and China. Yet they still must react to military planes threatening their air space. Plus they have no control over oil tankers being targeted by third parties.

Amon , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
The more I see of this, the more convinced I am that the US as a society is clinically insane.

Its borders are under attack by what can only be described as an invasion is taking place with millions off illegal immigrants pour across the border to commit crime, steal jobs or mooch of the welfare programs.

Its cities are decaying with armies of homeless, shit and drugs flooding the streets in ever greater numbers while the working class people flee in great waves.

Masked and armed criminals roam the streets of major US cities, attack anyone they deem to be a wrong thinker when not busy rioting, stealing and chanting for the deaths of others.

Its economy is in a bi-polar mood. On one hand the GDP is as high as ever with tons of new jobs getting created, on the other hand the physical economy is shrinking as stores closes and houses go unsold due to half the nation being unable to buy anything but food and clothes.

In the face of all of these problems, the US Government has decided to put its full attention on overthrowing the government of Venezuela and starting a war with Iran because somehow, those two nations who posed no danger to the US have been declared high priority targets that requires the full spectrum attention and political intervention by the US.

joeshittheragman , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:13 am GMT
@HEREDOT We can killed much more efficiently.
RVBlake , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:30 am GMT
@A123 "There will be a response with minimal bloodshed." Yes, we are noted for the delicate, nearly bloodless nature of our military reactions, merely focusing on regimes with the full-throated applause of the grateful populaces. It would be a cake-walk, to quote our valiant SecDef Rumsfeld prior to our 2003 Iraqi minimally bloody response.

And speaking of armchair generalship, I wonder where Trump's multi-starred consultant got the figure "150" in answer to the question of civilian casualties. This is the kind of clear-sighted strategic vision that has a U. S. victory in Afghanistan just around the corner, to quote our junior Clausewitz's.

SteveM , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:34 am GMT

But it is also plausible (if by no means certain) that at least two groups could have opposed such a strike:

1) The planners at CENTCOM and/or the Pentagon.

Yes, it's reported that the Pentagon advised Trump not to retaliate militarily for the drone shoot down.

Given advanced missile technologies, surface warships of any stripe are sitting ducks. I'm guessing that Iran has a plethora of missile batteries up and down its coast. If Iran launched a barrage of missiles simultaneously (10? 20? 30?) at a single surface warship in the Persian Gulf, what would be the probability that the ship's self-defense systems could neutralize them all?

If a single multi-billion dollar warship were sunk, the credibility of U.S. naval "power projection" would evaporate. In that context, the Pentagon's reluctance may be because they'd rather not establish that their hyper-expensive blue-water surface Navy is an anachronism.

alexander , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:49 am GMT
There is a very simple solution to all this, and the sooner it happens the better.

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars (dating back to 2002), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

All the assets of these "deceivers" should be "seized" .to pay down the 22 trillion war debt their lies created.

If there is anything left over , it should be placed in an " Iran War Escrow Account ".

This would ensure that the burden of the war costs falls directly on "their" shoulders and NOT the US taxpayers.

This seems like a just and fair solution for everybody ., doesn't it ?

Justsaying , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:51 am GMT
@A123 If this is not proof of what some of these Washington criminals have on their agenda:

https://www.newsweek.com/mike-pompeo-says-iran-must-listen-us-if-they-want-their-people-eat-1208465

An authentic act of war before even before firing the first bullet. First, make the economy scream in the tradition of yet another thug masquerading as head of state (Nixon). Second, starve them into submission. Does the first Iraq war resulting in the death of an estimated half a million children denied essential medicines ring a bell? Venezuela is similarly being starved into surrender. Meanwhile Guaido is embezzling the humanitarian aid intended for his needy countrymen.

All said, the history of our country's lies and deception going back a long ways, more than speaks for itself.

anon [210] Disclaimer , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain Remember, the Holy Hook states that Working Class Native Born White Christian American Male Canon Fodder " owe it to the Jews ."
Zero , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT
@Justsaying Of course, starvation is a favorite tactic of OUR international Communist overlords. They've used it for decades and killed hundreds of millions of people using it. It's cheap and easy.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm GMT

Trump Claims He Canceled an Airstrike Against Iran at the Very Last Minute

That is just bullshit.

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
@lavoisier

Mostly just an idiot and a Zionist whore.

Yes, and there are plenty of them.

sarz , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
Saker, it would be good to see you spell out where you differ from Bernhard of Moon of Alabama's assumptions.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/white-house-pushes-trump-pulled-back-story-he-likely-never-approved-to-strike-iran.html

War for Blair Mountain , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:55 pm GMT
On direct orders from Donald Trump ..the US Military is illegally occupying the sovereign Nation of Syria .and Trump took a direct order from JEW ONLY ISRAEL to do this think about it

A case can be made that the US strategy is not to go to war with Iran .but rather, use the boogey man of Iran to justify a 100 year illegal US Military occupation of Syria on behalf of JEW ONLY ISRAEL .

The late Fat Cockroach Christopher Hitchens justified murdering thousands of Iraqis because it would be good for the Kurds Well, here is what I say:THE CRYPTO JEW KURDS WERE NEVER WORTH IT .Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq always meant an IDF presence in Northern Iraq

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:58 pm GMT
@2stateshmustate Yep, A123 is as full of shit as you can get
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:03 pm GMT
@restless94110

Why would you end your mis-analysis where you justify war with the word PEACE?

Spelling it out in all CAPS?

Because he's a really, really dumbass.

Do you realize that economic sanctions are considered to be acts of war?

He doesn't realize what planet he's on.

Are you insane?

He's just really low IQ.

Biff , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm GMT
@Anonymous

learn the difference between tactics and strategy.

Hey Bill Clinton, is that you?

Dictionary.com gives almost identical definitions for those terms, so tell us oh wise one – what's the difference?

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm GMT
@A123

And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region.

Oh, really! Tsk tsk.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm GMT
The best analysis of the 225 million dollar MQ-4C drone(more expensive than the F-35) shoot down in my opinion is that of Jim Stone:
"The drone shot down was an MQ-4C, which is basically a more advanced clone of the Global Hawk. A better score for Iran than a Global Hawk. ADDITIONALLY IMPORTANT: Iran was the one that recovered the debris, the U.S. navy did not, which means Iran was telling the truth about where it was flying to begin with. If they got it, it fell on their turf. It is really blown to smithereens, a direct hit. That's good for Iran because it proves their missile systems can do it, but it is bad because they don't have any big pieces. Additionally, there was an American P-8 spy plane accompanying the drone, Iran was able to differentiate between the two, and hit the drone. The P-8 was a much easier target. Iran obviously opted not to hit it because killing it's crew would have meant war."

What everyone needs to be aware of here is "stealth" technology is a total farce, and can be defeated with long wave radar, basically the same system used by England during WWII. The drone shot down was considered a Max Stealth aircraft, same as the F-35. The F-35 and F-22 are basically "hanger queens"(many hours of maintenance required for every hour of flying time), and with their stealth capabilities being defeatable, they are pretty much worthless. Trump did not pull the trigger on this because he figured out the whole thing could go real bad real quick.

I urge all to read Jim Stones take on this mess: http://82.221.129.208/.wh7.html

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
@alexander

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars (dating back to 2002), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars, their heirs and all who profited from (dating back to 1812), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

FIFY

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:16 pm GMT
@Justsaying You are correct. This is economic and siege warfare. Flying bullets, etc., add to the drama and consequences, but the war on Iran began many years ago. The vicious clowns are up to the same old tricks, but bullshitting only the willing gulls.
Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:18 pm GMT
@Zero

Of course, starvation is a favorite tactic of OUR international Communist overlords.

Yup. It's what empires do, and they don't even give a flip if their own people have to go without either.

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
@El Dato

It's really like living in a Nazi regime

No, it's not. Clearly the Nazis were on the defensive . Lying Abe Lincoln was, in fact, much worse than the Nazis ever thought of being; in a totally different category even.

DESERT FOX , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm GMT
Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not a terrorist nation and does not export terrorism, that title belongs the the unholy trinity of the zio/US and Israel and Britain, the creators and funders and suppliers of AL CIADA aka ISIS and all the various off shoots thereof.

This war on Iran is a zionist project of the zionists who control the governments of the zio/US and zio/Britain as has been the case in every war in Iraq and Libya and Syria and Yemen and Lebanon , Israel has been the agent provocateur in every one of these wars!

The zionists have a goal of a satanic zionist NWO and are hell bent to get there if they have to kill off all the goyim and muslims to accomplish it and they are well on their way!

Read the book Blood In The Water by Joan Mellen on the zio/US and Israeli attack on the USS Liberty for a look at how these two terrorist nations operate!

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm GMT
@HEREDOT

A handful of psychopaths determine our destiny. What makes us different from animals?

I don't think other animals have psychopaths of the same species ruling over them nor do they have hasbara clowns spouting sewage and doing worse 24/7, such as the alphanumeric zero, above.

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon

Mr. Saker left out the inconvenient fact that while that drone was indeed flying over Iranian air space, a much larger target, the Poseidon P8 was flying nearby. The P8 is a converted Boeing 737, making for a much larger radar profile for that missile. The P8 has many ASW capabilities, and also can control drones.

If this is true the stupid bastards in control of this country better take note. If the missile, that Iran says they developed, is cabable of distinguishing between a P8 and a drone the US may have a big problem.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm GMT
@SteveM Yup, Trump called this off because he knew America could pay dearly for an attack on Iran.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm GMT
@joeshittheragman Excellent answer.
Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm GMT
This is what our Air Force would look like if it was based on war fighting and not making all in the MIC extremely rich.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/03/f-35-replacement-f-45-mustang-ii-fighter-simple-lightweight/
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:39 pm GMT
@MarkinLA

The embargo was because Japan continued to occupy part of China.

True, but China has been occupied by both the British and US in the past .and not too distant past.

Fool's Paradise , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm GMT
More likely, Trump and his Neocons knew that Iran had proof that the spy drone was shot down over Iran's territory, that the truth would come out after the U.S. strike, earning the world's condemnation and making Trump et al look like warmongering fools. That's what they are, of course, but it gave Trump the chance to pose as a big humanitarian, stopping the strike because, since it was only a plane, with no Americans on board, he didn't want to "disproportionately" kill anybody. Yeah. Just wait until the Israeli puppets send another plane with Americans on board, it'll give Israel and our traitorous Neocons the war they've been lusting after for a decade or more.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm GMT
@Art LOL
Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm GMT
@MarkinLA

All they had to do was go back home.

Proof?

In fact it's my understanding that the Japanese were bending over backwards in an attempt to avoid war with the US but the Wall Street Commie catamite FDR and his henchmen foiled and insulted them at every turn. The story of how they were repeatedly humiliated would raise the hackles of the least sensitive among us.

The big picture is that the Wall Street and London Commies were aiming for world hegemony even at their own populations' expense, of course, and Japan and Germany had to be castrated even if populated and run by angels and innocent choir boys to ensure that they could be turned into industrial slave states. It's apparent that the scum of the Earth won't rest until they've accomplished their goals as we can clearly see here.

Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

Sean Hannity lives in the largest Mansion in Lloyd Neck I have driven past his Mansion to get a look as to just how big it is IT'S HUGE ..Lloyd Neck has the most expensive zip code in the US

A simple Google search reveals Hannity sold his Lloyd Neck home in 2014, and has lived in Oyster Bay for several years. Also, Lloyd Neck isn't even in Forbes' Top 50 Most Expensive Zip Codes; the list is headed by four communities in California and one in Florida.

I'm not saying Sean isn't a pussy and a faggot, but your facts are suspect.

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:58 pm GMT
@Popeye Dear Sir,

This is the 21st century. Why do you persist in parroting nearly century-old war propaganda?

Current Commenter

[Jun 21, 2019] The shadow economy in the USSR how it all began

Jun 21, 2019 | weaponews.com

The question about the causes of the collapse and destruction of the Soviet Union – is not idle. It does not lose its relevance today, 22 years after occurred the death of the Soviet Union . Why? because some on the basis of this event concluded that, say, the capitalist model of the economy more competitive, more efficient and has no alternatives. American political scientist Francis Fukuyama after the collapse of the Soviet Union even hastened to declare that it was the "End of history": humanity has reached the highest and last stage of its development in the form of a universal, global capitalism. The relevance of studying the shadow economy, ssco opinion of this kind of political scientists, sociologists and economists, discussing the socialist economic model does not deserve attention.

Better to focus on improving the capitalist model of the economy, i. E. A model that targets all members of society to the enrichment, and a means of enrichment (profit) is the exploitation of one person by another. However, there are such "Natural" attributes of the capitalist model of social and income inequality, competition, cyclical crises, bankruptcies, unemployment and the like. All proposed improvements are aimed only at mitigating the inhuman consequences of capitalism that is reminiscent of utopian attempts to limit the appetite of a wolf devouring a sheep. We proceed from the fact that the key socio-economic characteristics of the socialist model are welfare for all members of society (goal), public ownership of the means of production (the main means), income generation solely for labor, planned nature of the economy, centralization of management, command positions of the state in the economy, the social consumption funds, the limited nature of commodity-money relations and so on. While this refers to the well-being not only in the form of products and services that are vital (biological) needs of the person.

This would also include public safety and defense, education, culture, conditions of work and rest. Of course, socialism – not only the economy and social relations. It also implies a certain type of political power, ideology, a high level of spiritually-moral development of society and another. High moral and spiritual requests should assume that there are higher goals in relation to socio-economic objectives.

But let's focus now is on the socio-economic aspect of the socialist model. So the erosion of the socialist model began long before the tragic events of december 1991, when it signed the infamous agreement on the division of the ussr in the bialowieza forest. It was already the final act of the political order. It is not only the date of death of the ussr, and date of full legalization of a new socio-economic model, which is called "Capitalism". However, implicitly capitalism germinated in the depths of soviet society for nearly three decades.

The soviet economy de facto has acquired the traits of a mixed. It combined socialist and capitalist structures. However, some foreign researchers and politicians said that de facto in the Soviet Union there was a complete restoration of capitalism in the 1960-ies – 1970-ies. The restoration of capitalism was linked to the emergence and development in the bowels of the ussr the so-called shadow or "Second" economy.

In particular, in the early 1960-ies member of the german communist party willy dickhut began publishing their articles, which stated that since coming to power in our country n. With. Khrushchev happened (not started, but it happened!) the restoration of capitalism in the ussr. The shadow economy functioned on the principles different from the socialist. Anyway, she was tied to corruption, embezzlement of state property, receipt of unearned income, in violation of the laws (or use of "Holes" in the legislation). Not to be confused with the shadow economy "Informal" economy, which is not contrary to the laws and principles of the socialist system, but complemented the economy "Official".

First of all, this self-employment – for example, the work of the farmer on the plot or the citizen in his summer cottage. And in the best of times (under stalin) widely developed the so-called fishing cooperation, which was occupied by production of consumer goods and services. In the Soviet Union state and party authorities chose to ignore the phenomenon of the shadow economy. No, of course, the police had uncovered and suppressed various operations in the sphere of the shadow economy. But the leaders of the ussr, commenting on this kind of history, fobbed off with phrases such as "Exception", "Some shortcomings", "Defects", "Bugs" and the like.

For example, in the early 1960-ies of the then first deputy of the ussr council of ministers anastas mikoyan has identified black market in the Soviet Union as "A handful of some dirty foam appearing on the surface of our society. "The shadow economy of the ussr: acincinnati some serious research shadow ("Second") economy in the ussr was conducted until the late 1980-ies. Abroad, such studies came first. First of all we should mention the work of american sociologist gregory grossman (university of california), which was called "Destructive independence. The historical role of genuine trends in soviet society".

She became widely known after was published in 1988 in the book "The light at the end of the tunnel" (university of berkeley, edited by stephen f. Cohen). However, the first article of grossman on this topic appeared in 1977 and was called "The second economy in the ussr (journal problems of communism, september-october 1977). You can also mention the book emigrated to the United States , the soviet lawyer konstantin simis "Corruption in the Soviet Union – the secret underground world of soviet capitalism", published in 1982. The author in the 1970-ies is closely in contact with some shady businessman, a lawyer which he performed at the trials.

However, quantitative assessments of shadow ("Second") economy k. Simes does not. Later appeared the work of american sociologists and economists of Russian origin Vladimir tremlia and michael alexeev. Since 1985, gregory grossman and Vladimir treml produce periodic collections of the "Second economy" of the ussr. Releases continued until 1993, only 51 were published a study involving 26 authors.

Many studies represented surveys of families of immigrants from the Soviet Union (a total of 1061 family). To studies have also used surveys of emigrants from other socialist countries, the official statistics of the ussr, publications in mass media and scientific journals of the Soviet Union . Despite the differences in some quantitative estimates of the individual authors, these differences were not fundamental. The differences arose due to the fact that some authors considered "Informal economy", the other – the shadow economy; however, their definitions of both economies could not match. Here are some results of these studies. 1.

In 1979 the illicit manufacture of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, as well as speculative resale of alcoholic beverages produced in the "First economy", provided the income, equal to 2. 2% of gnp (gross national product). 2. In the late 1970-ies in the ussr was flourishing black market gasoline. From 33 to 65% of purchases of gasoline in urban areas of the country, individual owners of cars had petrol sold by drivers of public enterprises and organizations (gasoline were sold at a price below the state). 3. In the soviet hairdresser 'left' incomes exceeded the amounts that customers have paid through cash.

This is just one example of what some state-owned enterprises de facto belonged to the "Second" economy. 4. In 1974 the share of employment in private and home gardens accounted for almost a third of the total working time in agriculture. And this was almost 10% of the total working time in the soviet economy. 5. In the 1970-ies, about a quarter of agricultural products produced on private plots, much of it was directed at kolkhoz markets. 6.

In the late 1970's, around 30% of all income of the urban population was obtained through various types of private activity – both legal and illegal. 7. By the end of 1970-ies the proportion of people employed in the "Second economy", reached 10-12% of the total workforce in the ussr. At the end of 1980-ies there appeared a number of works on the shadow and "Second" economy in the ussr. First and foremost is the publication of the soviet economist tatyana results and director of the research institute of the state planning commission valery rutgajzer. Here is the data from the t.

The results of the "Shadow economy of the ussr". The annual value of illegally produced goods and services in the early 1960-ies amounted to about 5 billion rubles, and in the end of 1980-ies was already reached 90 billion rubles. At current prices, the gnp of the ussr was (in billions of rubles): in 1960 – 195; in 1990, 701. Thus, the economy of the ussr for thirty years has increased 3. 6 times, and the shadow economy – 14 times.

If in 1960 the shadow economy relative to official gdp was 3. 4%, while by 1988 this figure rose to 20%. However, in 1990 it was equal to 12. 5%. This decline was due to changes in soviet legislation, which transferred to discharge a legal a range of economic activities, which were previously considered illegal. The number of employed in the shadow economy, estimated to be the results, in the beginning of 1960-ies was 6 million people, and in 1974 their number increased to 17-20 million people (6-7% of the population). In 1989, the such shadow was already 30 million people, or 12% of the population of the ussr. The threats and consequences of the development of the shadow economy in sssri american and soviet researchers pay attention to some features of the shadow economy and its impact on the overall situation in the Soviet Union .

[Jun 21, 2019] Putin marathon Q A session

Occasionally, a sharp question found a way through. About three hours in, one young man raised the issue of inflated military spending. "Who are you preparing us for war against?" he asked. The calibrated answer mixed belligerence with fiscal caution. Russian remained committed to nuclear parity, Mr Putin said, but it would do so with falling budgets.
Notable quotes:
"... Mr Putin's other rare forays into foreign policy centered on his traditional adversary, the United States. Washington was at the forefront of disrupting the world order and fanning tensions with Iran, he said. The prospect of armed conflict with Tehran was, he said, a "catastrophe" waiting to happen and risked an unpredictable "spike in violence". ..."
"... "Iran is a Shiite nation ready to defend their country to the hilt," he said. "It's very difficult to assess what will happen if military forces are engaged." ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | independent.co.uk

Wanting peace meant preparing for war, he added, saying: "Whoever doesn't want to feed his own army will end up feeding someone else's."

Mr Putin's other rare forays into foreign policy centered on his traditional adversary, the United States. Washington was at the forefront of disrupting the world order and fanning tensions with Iran, he said. The prospect of armed conflict with Tehran was, he said, a "catastrophe" waiting to happen and risked an unpredictable "spike in violence".

"Iran is a Shiite nation ready to defend their country to the hilt," he said. "It's very difficult to assess what will happen if military forces are engaged."

[Jun 21, 2019] Forget Trump's 'deal of the century'. Israel was always on course to annexation by Jonathan Cook

Israel is just another 'settlers" country. It might be successful or it might fail like South Africa and Rhodesia. The survival of Israel as the settler country hinges on the USA unconditional support as yet another (stealth) USA state, and the continuation of the role of the USA as the world hegemon and the center of the global neoliberal empire. . The USA position as for Israel might eventually change with the collapse of neoliberalism.
One problem that creates negative attitude to Israel around the world (according to BBC data only the USA and a couple of African countries having the majority of population that views Israel positively) is, as one commenter observed, the situation in which "The Children of the Holocaust survivors, born into Israel, have now become the "Holocaust-ers of Palestine"
Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

When Israeli prime ministers are in trouble, facing difficult elections or a corruption scandal, the temptation has typically been for them to unleash a military operation to bolster their standing. In recent years, Gaza has served as a favourite punching bag.

Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting both difficulties at once: a second round of elections in September that he may struggle to win; and an attorney general who is widely expected to indict him on corruption charges shortly afterwards.

Netanyahu is in an unusually tight spot, even by the standards of an often chaotic and fractious Israeli political system. After a decade in power, his electoral magic may be deserting him. There are already rumblings of discontent among his allies on the far right.

Given his desperate straits, some observers fear that he may need to pull a new kind of rabbit out of the hat.

In the past two elections, Netanyahu rode to success after issuing dramatic last-minute statements. In 2015, he agitated against the fifth of Israel's citizens who are Palestinian asserting their democratic rights, warning that they were "coming out in droves to vote".

Back in April, he declared his intention to annex large chunks of the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law, during the next parliament.

Amos Harel, a veteran military analyst with Haaretz newspaper, observed last week that Netanyahu may decide words are no longer enough to win. Action is needed, possibly in the form of an announcement on the eve of September's ballot that as much as two-thirds of the West Bank is to be annexed.

Washington does not look like it will stand in his way.

Shortly before April's election, the Trump administration offered Netanyahu a campaign fillip by recognising Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967.

This month David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel and one of the chief architects of Donald Trump's long-delayed "deal of the century" peace plan, appeared to offer a similar, early election boost.

In interviews, he claimed Israel was "on the side of God" – unlike, or so it was implied, the Palestinians. He further argued that Israel had the "right to retain" much of the West Bank.

Both statements suggest that the Trump administration will not object to any Israeli moves towards annexation, especially if it ensures their favoured candidate returns to power.

Whatever Friedman suggests, it is not God who has intervened on Israel's behalf. The hands that have carefully cleared a path over many decades to the West Bank's annexation are all too human.

Israeli officials have been preparing for this moment for more than half a century, since the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were seized back in 1967.

That point is underscored by an innovative interactive map of the occupied territories. This valuable new resource is a joint project of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem and Forensic Architecture, a London-based team that uses new technology to visualise and map political violence and environmental destruction.

Titled Conquer and Divide , it reveals in detail how Israel has "torn apart Palestinian space, divided the Palestinian population into dozens of disconnected enclaves and unravelled its social, cultural and economic fabric".

The map proves beyond doubt that Israel's colonisation of the West Bank was never accidental, defensive or reluctant. It was coldly calculated and intricately planned, with one goal in mind – and the moment to realise that goal is fast approaching.

Annexation is not a right-wing project that has hijacked the benign intentions of Israel's founding generation. Annexation was on the cards from the occupation's very beginnings in 1967, when the so-called centre-left – now presented as a peace-loving alternative to Netanyahu – ran the government.

The map shows how Israeli military planners created a complex web of pretexts to seize Palestinian land: closed military zones today cover a third of the West Bank; firing ranges impact 38 Palestinian communities; nature reserves are located on 6 per cent of the territory; nearly a quarter has been declared Israeli "state" land; some 250 settlements have been established; dozens of permanent checkpoints severely limit movement; and hundreds of kilometres of walls and fences have been completed.

These interlocking land seizures seamlessly carved up the territory, establishing the walls of dozens of tightly contained prisons for Palestinians in their own homeland.

Two Nasa satellite images of the region separated by 30 years – from 1987 and 2017 – reveal how Israel's settlements and transport infrastructure have gradually scarred the West Bank's landscape, clearing away natural vegetation and replacing it with concrete.

The land grabs were not simply about acquisition of territory. They were a weapon, along with increasingly draconian movement restrictions, to force the native Palestinian population to submit, to recognise its defeat, to give up hope.

In the immediate wake of the West Bank's occupation, defence minister Moshe Dayan, Israel's hero of the hour and one of the architects of the settlement project, observed that Palestinians should be made "to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave – and we shall see where this process leads".

Although Israel has concentrated Palestinians in 165 disconnected areas across the West Bank, its actions effectively won the international community's seal of approval in 1995. The Oslo accords cemented Israel's absolute control over 62 per cent of the West Bank, containing the Palestinians' key agricultural land and water sources, which was classified as Area C.

Occupations are intended to be temporary – and the Oslo accords promised the same. Gradually, the Palestinians would be allowed to take back more of their territory to build a state. But Israel made sure both the occupation and the land thefts sanctioned by Oslo continued.

The new map reveals more than just the methods Israel used to commandeer the West Bank. Decades of land seizures highlight a trajectory, plotting a course that indicates the project is still not complete.

ORDER IT NOW

If Netanyahu partially annexes the West Bank – Area C – it will be simply another stage in Israel's tireless efforts to immiserate the Palestinian population and bully them into leaving. This is a war of attrition – what Israelis have long understood as "creeping annexation", carried out by stealth to avoid a backlash from the international community.

Ultimately, Israel wants the Palestinians gone entirely, squeezed out into neighbouring Arab states, such as Egypt and Jordan. That next chapter is likely to begin in earnest if Trump ever gets the chance to unveil his "deal of the century".

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.


Sally Snyder , says: June 20, 2019 at 11:54 am GMT

Here is an article that clearly explains the pro-Israel bias in America's mainstream media:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-pro-israel-skew-in-american.html

This study shows us that the pro-Israel narrative has become so firmly entrenched in the American mainstream media that it is almost impossible for news consumers to discern the truth about the situation in Israel and Palestine. This has greatly benefitted Washington which has made it abundantly clear that it sides with Israel in this fifty year-old conflict.

Bardon Kaldian , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:19 am GMT

If Netanyahu partially annexes the West Bank – Area C – it will be simply another stage in Israel's tireless efforts to immiserate the Palestinian population and bully them into leaving. This is a war of attrition – what Israelis have long understood as "creeping annexation", carried out by stealth to avoid a backlash from the international community.

Ultimately, Israel wants the Palestinians gone entirely, squeezed out into neighbouring Arab states, such as Egypt and Jordan. That next chapter is likely to begin in earnest if Trump ever gets the chance to unveil his "deal of the century".

This is probably true-and? I don't see Palestinians as a real people; they're just a bunch of Arabs & it is absolutely irrelevant whether they are in Syria, Egypt or Arabia. They themselves say they're not a "real" people:

https://youtu.be/FBPd28WYPFQ

On the other hand, real peoples like Uyghurs & Tibetans are swamped by the Chinese, which is a real tragedy & only, huh, Richard Gere complains.

So, what the big deal with "Palestinians"? Why would they have a "right to exist"on some shitty piece o land Jews seem to be obsessively addicted to in past 2 millennia?

And then, what with Amazonian Indians, Eskimos, Ostyaks, Okinawans, ..? What about expulsion of 13 million Germans in what are now parts of Poland, Czechia, Russia .?

Israelis should have expelled all of them in 1967. & there would be peace.

UncommonGround , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:20 am GMT
There is one point in the article that is not completely accurate. J. Cook writes: "Israeli officials have been preparing for this moment for more than half a century, since the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were seized back in 1967."

In fact, Ilan Pappe shows in his book "The biggest Prison on Earth" (2017) that plans to occupy the whole land were much older. The plans weren't made because Israel took Palestinian lands in 1967. Israel took lands in 1967 because of the plans to colonize it. Those plans were older.

So, Pappe says in a more general way in his book that " . since 1948 and even more since 1956, Israel's military and political elites was looking for the right historical moment to occupy the West Bank." (p. XIV). He also says more specifically: "The strategy was presented by the CoGS to the army on 1 May 1963 and was meant to prepare the army for controlling the West Bank as an occupied military area" (p. XIII).

All talk about "peace", about "coexistence", about a "two state solution" are (and were) made in bad faith. About Pappe's book: I don't want to reccomend it for a casual reading. It may be valuable historically because it deals with historical material from archives. But it's basically a book about the Israeli burocracy, about laws, rules which would make sure that Israel controls the conquested territory which it never thought of giving back. It's a dry book. He has other books that which are much more agreeable to read like his short book "Ten Myths About Israel".

[Jun 21, 2019] America's Confrontation With Iran Goes Deeper Than Trump by Trita Parsi

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The real goal is domination of the Middle East -- and that's been a bipartisan US strategy for decades. ..."
"... By striking a compromise with a defiant non-democracy like Iran, which for the past 40 years has defined itself as the foremost opponent of American hegemony (liberal or otherwise), while signaling a desire to slowly dismantle American hegemony in the Middle East (in order to pivot to Asia), Obama introduced an unsustainable contradiction to US foreign policy. ..."
"... Excellent article, because it clearly exposes the central isssue - US hegemony. And that goes has implications way beyond Iran, particularly with respect to relations with China and Russia. Very similar geopolitical games are playing out in the South China Sea, around the Ukraine, and in Syria. ..."
"... This is not 1950 when the world economy was in collapse and the US was overwhelmingly the top dog. Other countries are nearly equal to the US. Hegemony is unsustainable in today's environment and one solution is a cooperative balance of power employing diplomacy, and unprecedented cooperation on questions of energy and security in order to solve global problems like climate change and the elimination of nuclear weapons. ..."
"... The new world order - as this 'confrontation' suggests, the USA, supported by the Saudis, their compatriots, and Israel. All renowned 'friends' of the USA. With friends like these who needs enemies. ..."
"... The "confrontation" goes way back to 1953, when the CIA overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh (for his "sin" of nationalizing Iranian oil) and labelled him a Communist. Everything that is adversarial in US-Iranian relations goes back to that criminal act. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | www.thenation.com

The real goal is domination of the Middle East -- and that's been a bipartisan US strategy for decades.

... ... ...

...if war is the endgame of their escalation, what is the endgame of their war? Dominance -- perpetual dominance of the Middle East (and the globe as a whole) by the United States. That is and has been Washington's grand strategy, regardless of whether a Republican, a Democrat, or a reality-TV star has occupied the White House. America has, of course, often ensured this domination by supporting friendly dictatorships.

But there is also a liberal version of the strategy. Liberal hegemony, or primacy, dictates that the United States has the moral obligation and the strategic imperative to transform anti–status quo non-democracies into liberal (pliant) democracies. According to this grand strategy, the existence of such non-democracies is a threat to the United States and its hegemony.

America cannot coexist with them but must ultimately transform them. Military force is instrumental to this endeavor. As Max Boot wrote back in 2003, the pillars of liberal hegemony must be spread and sustained " at gunpoint if need be ."

While some advocates of liberal hegemony object to the more militaristic interpretation preferred by neoconservatives, the difference between liberal interventionism and neoconservatism is more a matter of nuance than core belief.

Neither can provide a solution to Washington's endless wars, because both operate within the paradigm of primacy, which itself is a root cause of the country's perpetual conflicts. As long as that paradigm remains the guiding principle of foreign policy, hawks like John Bolton, Tom Cotton, and Lindsey Graham -- and their Democratic fellow travelers, too -- will continue to steer America's engagement with the world, as it is their outlook that is compatible with primacy, not that of those on the progressive left or the libertarian right, who have advocated non-interventionism or negotiated settlements with those who challenge Pax Americana.

This is why the cards were stacked against the survival of the Iran nuclear deal even if Trump had not been elected. By striking a compromise with a defiant non-democracy like Iran, which for the past 40 years has defined itself as the foremost opponent of American hegemony (liberal or otherwise), while signaling a desire to slowly dismantle American hegemony in the Middle East (in order to pivot to Asia), Obama introduced an unsustainable contradiction to US foreign policy.

This contradiction has been particularly visible among Democrats who oppose Trump's Iran policy but who still cannot bring themselves to break with our seemingly endless confrontation with Iran. As long as such Democrats allow the debate to be defined by the diktat of US primacy, they will always be on the defensive, and their long-term impact on US-Iran relations will be marginal.

After all, the strategy of US primacy in the Middle East demands Iran's defeat...

<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=233793277040432&ev=PageView&noscript=1"/> <img height="1" width="1" src="https://api.pymx5.com/v1/sites/track?event_type=PAGE_VIEW&noscript=1"/> <style>.woocommerce-product-gallery{ opacity: 1 !important; }</style>

https://cdn.districtm.io/ids/index.html


Peter Unterweger says: June 21, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Excellent article, because it clearly exposes the central isssue - US hegemony. And that goes has implications way beyond Iran, particularly with respect to relations with China and Russia. Very similar geopolitical games are playing out in the South China Sea, around the Ukraine, and in Syria.

Liberals have to stop talking about "bad actors" (whenever they are linked with competing powers, e.g. Iran, N.Korea, etc.) but welcome them as "allies" when they are our faithful vassals (e.g. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.). Unfortunately, Obama appeared to understand this with respect to Iran, but totally ignored it with respect to the rest of the world.

Victor Sciamarelli says: June 21, 2019 at 1:57 pm

I completely agree with Trita Parsi's succinct description of the problem as, "Dominance -- perpetual dominance of the Middle East (and the globe as a whole) by the United States. That is and has been Washington's grand strategy, regardless of whether a Republican, a Democrat, or a reality-TV star has occupied the White House." However, why not offer alternative policies for debate?

Consider, for example, the idea of a "balance of power." It was for the same reason that the British fought Napoleon, the Crimean War, entered the first world war, and also why they were constantly engaged in diplomatic agreements in Europe. British policy demanded that they prevent the rise of a hegemon on the continent.

Napoleon was never a threat to the English mainland and neither were the Germans in 1914. Yet, they fought both because preventing a hegemon and maintaining a balance of power pre-empted other considerations.

I would suggest that regardless of events since 1918 such as: the decline of the British empire, Versailles, the world wide economic depression, the rise of fascism, the reaction to communism, or the rise of a non-European super power like the US, thinking about a modern, up to date form of the balance of power is useful.

Furthermore, we need an alternative policy because hegemony fails the world and the American people, and the world faces two existential threats: climate change and nuclear war.

Moreover, the US has been a superpower for so long that nobody remembers what it is like not to be a superpower. In addition, American elites seem unwilling or unable to grasp the real limits of military power.

In a world where the five permanent members of the UN security council are nuclear powers, and nuclear weapons are held by smaller nations, the major power centers of the world: Europe, Russia, China, and the US, have no choice but to cooperate with each other and with the countries of the ME.

The ME is a focal point for establishing cooperation because the world needs energy and the ME needs stability and development, but it requires leadership and motive.

This is not 1950 when the world economy was in collapse and the US was overwhelmingly the top dog. Other countries are nearly equal to the US. Hegemony is unsustainable in today's environment and one solution is a cooperative balance of power employing diplomacy, and unprecedented cooperation on questions of energy and security in order to solve global problems like climate change and the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Pauline Hartwig says: June 21, 2019 at 1:38 pm

The new world order - as this 'confrontation' suggests, the USA, supported by the Saudis, their compatriots, and Israel. All renowned 'friends' of the USA. With friends like these who needs enemies.

Gene Bell-Villada says: June 21, 2019 at 12:40 pm

The "confrontation" goes way back to 1953, when the CIA overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh (for his "sin" of nationalizing Iranian oil) and labelled him a Communist. Everything that is adversarial in US-Iranian relations goes back to that criminal act.

[Jun 21, 2019] Pentagon announces $250 million in military aid to Ukraine

Jun 18, 2019 | www.rt.com

The US will provide Ukraine with $250 million worth of military equipment, training and support, the Pentagon announced, saying Ukraine's Navy and marines would be among the beneficiaries.

The Ukrainian military will get sniper rifles, grenade launchers, counter-battery radar systems, night vision equipment and communication devices, the Pentagon statement said...

The statement said the package will bring total US security assistance to Ukraine to $1.5 billion since 2014, when a US-backed coup in Kiev ousted Ukraine's elected government.

[Jun 21, 2019] My own analysis is that the choice of Iran is more or less incidental.

Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

Colin Wright , says: Website June 19, 2019 at 7:03 pm GMT

My own analysis is that the choice of Iran is more or less incidental.

For reasons I won't repeat, Israel always has to have an enemy. Between one thing and another, Iran is the most attractive target at the moment.

Should she be reduced to quivering submission or blood-soaked anarchy, Israel will just pick another victim for us to attack. My guess is that it would be Turkey, but first things first.

On to Teheran.

MK Ultra MJ 12 , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT
"7 Countries in 5 years" and the first Arab Spring dress rehearsal designed to culminate in an Iranian overthrow. Wayback time machine for warnings of what was and was to come:
http://www.arkofcrisis.com/id51.html
Haxo Angmark , says: Website June 19, 2019 at 11:27 pm GMT
@Colin Wright no the Iran War will not be "incidental":

1) as it'll likely set the rest of the Middle East on fire, the Iran War will greatly facilitate the Greater Israel Project; esp. as cover for a Final Solution of Israhell's Palestinian Arab Problem.

2) Iran no longer takes 'Murkan debtbucks for oil. That must be put down, as international demand for the 'Murkan debtbuck-that-buys-oil is what prevents the domestic debtbuck from going to hyperinflationary collapse. Oil-producing Iraq dropped the 'Murkan debtbuck and so did Libya. See what happened to them?

& expect Drumpf to announce his "great discovery about 9/11" any day now:

"Iran did it!" and as Linh D. says, the MAGA-idiots will believe it.

Colin Wright , says: Website June 20, 2019 at 12:42 am GMT
@Haxo Angmark 'no the Iran War will not be "incidental" '

My point is that what's at the heart of this is Israel's need for an enemy. Iran could vanish tomorrow; it'd just mean Israel would have to start the work up on someone else.

Anonymous [205] Disclaimer , says: June 20, 2019 at 3:03 am GMT

Since we're in the endless war era, another war for Israel is on the horizon, but hardly anyone seems alarmed, least of all Americans, for they've come to see themselves, quite casually and indifferently, as only asskicking agents of war, and never its victims.

Please, don't be stupid. The "white man" goyim are not your enemies. We're all in this together.

If we were that bad, we'd end everyone else tomorrow.

jeff stryker , says: June 20, 2019 at 5:28 am GMT
@Escher If all it takes are some cocaine-addicted pedophiles who molested child actors like Corey Faim to make some cheesy films for Americans to be brainwashed, perhaps they DESERVE this.

Definitely Jews themselves are not brainwashed.

Nor are Hindus in America. You won't see many Indian-Americans running out to die in Iran because of the latest film about Nazis.

Muslims-and I worked in a Muslim country-won't care. Emirate Arabs will continue making money.

Asian-Americans will not care, though clearly our author might be the exception.

Hispanics won't care.

So tell me, why do whites care? What meaning is missing in their lives that can only be filled by stupid Hollywood films.

Ghali , says: June 20, 2019 at 6:51 am GMT
I am not sure why is the author left Iraq out. The criminal aggression on Iraq was an open war for Jews and Israel.
9/11 Inside job , says: June 20, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
Trump's foreign policy is that of the neocons and Israel , the B-52's are fuelled and armed just waiting for the false flag/pretext to bomb Iran back into the stone age , there will be no invasion as the costs will be too high . There is speculation that the US is waiting for Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister as unlike Theresa May he will come out strongly in favor of military action against Iran .
PeterMX , says: June 20, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
@Linh

"Above, I named Jews as the instigators of war against Iran, which made some readers cringe" Try not to let it bother you. It's pretty obvious that most of the people that read this website are learning and having a lifetime of indoctrination undone. Many are scared out of their wits at even having a negative thought about Jews in private. I know the feeling. I felt similarly growing up.

Growing up I was I was bombarded with non-stop anti-German hatred in the media and everywhere else. This probably would not have bothered me except that both my parents grew up in Germany during the war. That meant that like 99% of the other Germans, they were patriotic. Both of them experienced some harassment when they came to the US, but my mother liked the USA until we noticed a change around 1970. My father had a more difficult time at work, but he survived and did very well, but he too noticed a change around that time. That is the time period Norman Finkelstein identifies as the beginning of the "Holocaust Industry". Finkelstein explains, that after Israel's victory in the 1967 war, Israel was considered a valuable ally to the US when they defeated the Soviet backed Arabs. The Jews in the US became more bold and the word "Holocaust" was abducted by them and was redefined to refer to what supposedly happened to them during the war. There was an explosion of holocaust movies, newspaper and magazine articles, everywhere you were bombarded with this propaganda. In school too. On top of that, we lived in New York, which the Jews openly dominated by the 1970's. My parents also noticed how some Jews mocked Christianity and how Christianity was being torn down. I think Europeans are more alert than Americans in regards to some things. When I think about how Christianity has been destroyed in the west I can credit my parents with seeing it coming.

My parents hardly noticed Jews until they began this full blown propaganda campaign that went on for decades and I don't think it ever really ended. If it bothered you, it bothered you less as the years passed by. I asked my mom, and during the National Socialist period, she knew some Jews but they were a small minority so she had little interaction with them and their was very little discussion of them. So, in other words, my parents growing up didn't have negative thoughts about Jews, certainly not strong ones. That changed when the Holocaust Industry took off and the Jews showed their hatred for the Germans everywhere, and as I said, it never really stopped. Back then, while having some feelings for my parents homeland, I was often arguing with them and going against them and Germany. And like the frightened readers on this website, I knew better than to say, or even think a negative thought about Jews. I always knew there were many things wrong with the WW II narrative but I think I really became aware of the lies when I wrote an email to David Irving and he replied in 2007. With the advent of the internet and reading some important books, you have to be a coward or liar to deny the hatred and lies that many powerful Jews peddle and how they shove these lies down everyone else's throats. I'm not as timid as I used to be.

DESERT FOX , says: June 20, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
Not only are we fighting Israels wars in the mideast, but the zionists who control the US can attack and kill 34 and wound 174 Americans on the USS Liberty and got away with it and then Israel and the zionist controlled deep state attacked the WTC on 911 and killed some 3000 Americans and got away with that also, and plunged America into 18 years and counting of unending war!

In regards to the USS Liberty see the book Blood In The Water by Joan Mellen, can be had on amazon.

[Jun 21, 2019] Russia accuses U.S. of pushing Iran situation to brink of war RIA - Reuters

Highly recommended!
Did Putin called Trump about the attack ?
Full scale war might also complicate Trump chances for re-election.
Jun 21, 2019 | www.reuters.com

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called on Washington to weigh the possible consequences of conflict with Iran and said a report in the New York Times showed the situation was extremely dangerous.

U.S. President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but called off the attacks at the last minute, the report said.

[Jun 21, 2019] Trump Barters For Borders -- And Wins, Big Time by Ilana Mercer

Notable quotes:
"... Trump issued an executive order, according to which a schedule of tariffs will be implemented unless Mexico polices its borders and ups its dismal rate of deportation, currently at 10 to 20 percent. ..."
"... Beginning on June 10, " a 5 percent tariff was placed on all imports from Mexico, to be increased by five percentage points each month until it hits 25 percent in October." ..."
"... Lo and behold, Mexico quickly promised to arrest Central American migrants headed north. Agreements may soon materialize with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to which Trump has already cut off foreign aid, in March ..."
"... How free and fair is trade anyway? Are unfettered markets at work when Canada, for instance, taxes purchases of American goods starting at $20, while America starts taxing Canadian goods at $1000? Hardly. ..."
"... There needs to be a huge turnaround in the number of illegals crossing the border if Trump wants to avoid being a one term president. It's hard to see the republicans staying relevant as well if the current numbers continue. They might hold the Senate for a little while but the presidency and a majority in Congress will be out of reach forever. ..."
"... In 2018, there were 70 million refugees, seeking safety from the world's conflict zone. One person was forced to flee their home because of war and violence every two seconds. ..."
"... Trump should have made reducing LEGAL immigration (and building the Wall to stop illegals) his #1 priority as soon as he was inaugurated. Instead, he dithered with personnel issues, then Obmacare (betrayed by rot-in-hell you bastard McCain), then tax cuts, Kavanaugh, loss of House, the End. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

If President Trump doesn't waver, his border deal with Mexico will be a victory. The Mexicans have agreed to quit serving as conduits to hundreds of thousands of central Americans headed for the U.S.A.

Despite protests from Democrats, stateside -- Mexico has agreed to significantly increase enforcement on its borders.

At first, Mexico was as defiant as the Democrats -- and some Republicans.

Democrats certainly can be counted on to argue for the other side -- any side other than the so-called sovereign people they swore to represent.

In fairness to the Democrats, Republicans are only notionally committed to the tough policing of the border. And certainly not if policing the porous border entails threatening trade tariffs against our neighborly narco-state. Some Republican senators even considered a vote to block the tariffs.

Nevertheless, to the hooting and hollering of the cretins in Congress and media, Trump went ahead and threatened Mexico with tariffs .

More than that. The president didn't just tweet out "strong words" and taunts.

Since Mexico, the party duopoly, and his own courts have forced his hand, the president proceeded to "retrieve from his arsenal a time bomb of ruinous proportions."

Or, so the Economist hyperventilated.

Trump issued an executive order, according to which a schedule of tariffs will be implemented unless Mexico polices its borders and ups its dismal rate of deportation, currently at 10 to 20 percent.

Beginning on June 10, " a 5 percent tariff was placed on all imports from Mexico, to be increased by five percentage points each month until it hits 25 percent in October."

Lo and behold, Mexico quickly promised to arrest Central American migrants headed north. Agreements may soon materialize with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to which Trump has already cut off foreign aid, in March

It remains for Trump to stick with tough love for Mexico and the rest. If the torrent of grifters from Central America does not let up, neither should the tariffs be lifted or aid restored.

Trump's trade and tariff tactics are about winning negotiations for Americans; they're not aimed at flouting the putative free-market.

How free and fair is trade anyway? Are unfettered markets at work when Canada, for instance, taxes purchases of American goods starting at $20, while America starts taxing Canadian goods at $1000? Hardly.

Free trade is an unknown ideal, to echo Ayn Rand's observations. What goes for "free trade," rather, is trade managed by bureaucratic juggernauts -- national and international -- central planners concerned with regulating, not freeing, trade; whose goal it is to harmonize labor, health, and environmental laws throughout the developed world. The undeveloped and developing worlds generally exploit labor, despoil land and kill off critters as they please.

The American market economy is massive. Trump knows its might. The difference between the president and his detractors is that Trump is prepared to harness the power of American markets to benefit the American people.

But what of the "billions of dollars in imports from Mexico" that are at stake, as one media shill shrieked .

Give me a break. The truth about what Fake News call a major trading partner, Mexico, is that it's a trade pygmy -- a fact known all too well to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard.

The reason these leaders were quick to the negotiating table once a schedule of tariffs had been decided upon by the president is this. Via the Economist :

"Only about 15 percent of the United States' exports go to Mexico, but a whopping 80 percent of Mexico's exports head the other way. 'There is nothing we have in our arsenal that is equivalent to what the United States can do to us,' says Andrés Rozental, a Mexican former diplomat and minister."

Next, President Trump must compel Mexico to accept "safe third-country status." Translated, this means that the U.S. can expel any and all "asylum seekers" if they pass through Mexico, as Mexico becomes their lawful, first port-of-call.

Thinking people should realize that Trump's victory here is a Pyrrhic one. For what the president has had to do is convince the Mexican president to deploy his national guards to do the work American immigration police is not allowed to do.

The U.S. must turn to Mexico to police its border because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has, to all intents and purposes, outlawed immigration laws.

Congressional quislings, for their part, have sat back and grumbled about the need for new laws. But as Daniel Horowitz argues convincingly, this is "a separation of powers problem." Unless the Trump administration understands that the problem lies with the lower-court judges [exceeding their constitutional authority] and not the law -- there will be no fix.

For President Trump, the executive order serves as a way around the courts' violation of the constitutionally enshrined federal scheme, within which the role -- nay, the obligation -- of the commander in chief -- is to defend the country.

Although they're temporary fixes, executive orders can serve to nullify unjust laws. As I argued in my 2016 book, "The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Reconstructed," executive orders are Trump's political power tool -- justice's Jaws of Life, if you will -- to be used by the Executive to pry the people free from judicial oppression.

Understand: The right of a nation to stop The World from flooding its communities amounts to upholding a negative right. In other words, by stopping trespassers at their borders, Americans are not robbing invaders of the trinity of life, liberty and property.

All Americans are asserting is their right to be left alone. What we are saying to The World is what we tell our disobedient toddlers every day, "No. You can't go there."

That's all.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Deconstructed " (June, 2016). She's on Twitter , Facebook , Gab & YouTube


Nehlen , says: June 21, 2019 at 4:29 am GMT

If you believe Mexico is going to squelch the flow of humans into America -- the same humans who are wiring $25BILLION per year back to family members in Mexico -- I've got a fleet of taco trucks with square tires to sell you.
SeekerofthePresence , says: June 21, 2019 at 4:56 am GMT
Do you really believe this "deal" will have a substantial effect? It is like holding up an umbrella to Noah's flood of migrants.
Whitewolf , says: June 21, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
There needs to be a huge turnaround in the number of illegals crossing the border if Trump wants to avoid being a one term president. It's hard to see the republicans staying relevant as well if the current numbers continue. They might hold the Senate for a little while but the presidency and a majority in Congress will be out of reach forever.
Honor is Loyalty , says: June 21, 2019 at 6:26 am GMT
The more this nonsense carries on, the more I empathize with Stalin. Sometimes you gotta bulldoze your way through. Democracy produces nothing but obstacles. Time to put the keys into the caterpillar.
sarz , says: June 21, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I'd love to see what Ann Coulter would say on this and on Trump's total score on immigration.
Leon Haller , says: June 21, 2019 at 7:58 am GMT
I applaud this move by Trump, and will of course vote for him in 2020 (for a patriot, what is the alternative?). But unless we end the LEGAL immigration invasion, all this is for nought, and Trump will likely be the last non-leftist Republican President.

I have fought immigration for 40 years without success, except for CA Prop 187 in 1994, quickly overturned by a dirty Muslim immigrant Federal judge. Immigration of racial and cultural and (now it's clear to everyone, as I knew by the 80s in CA) ideological aliens is simple invasion, imperialism by non-military means. We needed Pat Buchanan in the 90s; instead, the stupid Christianists, with whom I used to argue in the 80s-90s-00s endlessly wrt their insane priorities, worried more about abortion and queers (how'd that work out, morons?) than alien conquest – with the obvious result that "globohomo" is stronger than ever – AND we have another 50+ MILLION race aliens voting 8-1 Democrat.

Sadly, Trump and the all-GOP 2017-18 Congress were America's very last chance to stop the invasion and save our (and the GOP's) future. Trump blew it, utterly. Now the USA as a unitary, Occidental, Constitutional, capitalist nation-state cannot be salvaged and/or restored. The only hope for American patriots is White conservative territorial ingathering and eventual racial secession and new sovereignty.

Bardon Kaldian , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT

Unless the Trump administration understands that the problem lies with the lower-court judges [exceeding their constitutional authority] and not the law -- there will be no fix.

This is the crux. And this is true, too..

Free trade is an unknown ideal, to echo Ayn Rand's observations. What goes for "free trade," rather, is trade managed by bureaucratic juggernauts -- national and international -- central planners concerned with regulating, not freeing, trade; whose goal it is to harmonize labor, health, and environmental laws throughout the developed world. The undeveloped and developing worlds generally exploit labor, despoil land and kill off critters as they please.

Renoman , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:22 am GMT
There are many times when a punch in the face is far more effective than diplomacy, this was one. Good for Donny, good for America.
Gracchus Babeuf , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:03 am GMT
In 2018, there were 70 million refugees, seeking safety from the world's conflict zone. One person was forced to flee their home because of war and violence every two seconds.
Greg Bacon , says: Website June 21, 2019 at 9:28 am GMT
"And I'll huff and puff and bow your house down," said the Big, Bad Wolf.

When stories about the record number of illegals flooding in stop hitting the news cycle, and we no longer get possibly Ebola infected Congolese with wads of $100 bills, I might believe your assumptions.

Africans Coming Across The Southern Border Have "Rolls Of $100 Bills"

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-17/africans-coming-across-southern-border-have-rolls-100-bills

Has Herr Trump huffed and puffed the same hot air towards the Congo?

Greg Bacon , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:42 am GMT
One more thought: Remember that hot air the Big, Bad Orange wolf blew that ICE was going to start rounding up millions of illegals on Tuesday? Here it is Friday and no action.

How many times will people fall for Trump's BS promises where nothing gets done or he backtracks?

Madame Mercer, I suspect the real reason behind your story is that Trump is the best POTUS for Israel since the traitor LBJ and that a certain group wants to keep Tubby the Grifter in the WH so he can keep acting as Israel's de facto real estate agent.

Realist , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:09 am GMT

Trump Barters for Borders -- and Wins, Big Time

Trump was won nothing big time. Including his election. His wins are miniscule. You are becoming an insufferable sycophant.

wesmouch , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:11 am GMT
The simpleton Mercer misses what is really going on. The re-election push is on and Trump will roll out "plans" to deal with immigration. They will never come into fruition as they are mere "boob bait for bubba". The drug cartels run Mexico and people trafficking is a bigger business than drug trafficking. If you think they are going to stop, you are as delusional as Ms Mercer. By the way the politicians work for the drug cartels in Mexico. Of course the advice that Mercer gave to South Africa led to the current situation where the ANC runs the country and whites are disenfranchised. But what else would you expect from a Jew who sell the goyim down the river every chance they get.
Leon Haller , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:26 am GMT
@sarz Grade: D+ (every other President since Kennedy: F)

Trump should have made reducing LEGAL immigration (and building the Wall to stop illegals) his #1 priority as soon as he was inaugurated. Instead, he dithered with personnel issues, then Obmacare (betrayed by rot-in-hell you bastard McCain), then tax cuts, Kavanaugh, loss of House, the End.

America is gone as not only a White nation, but within 25 years, even a semi-civilized and First World one. Diversity is what destroyed us. We could have integrated (more or less) the blacks, but the sheer numbers of mostly clannish nonwhite colonizers since 1968 has doomed us. America was its White, Christian, Anglo-Nordic majority. Without that majority, American dies.

On to the Ethnostate!

vinteuil , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:36 am GMT
@Gracchus Babeuf

I guess it's ok to bomb the crap out of other countries, but when those people try and get away from the hell created, that's supposed to be wrong.

Has the U.S. been bombing Central America, lately? I must have missed that.

[Jun 21, 2019] Book Review Andrew Yang - The War on Normal People by Anatoly Karlin

Yong is a typical neoliberal candidate, a creature of Silicon Valley. His cult of entrepreneurship looks silly, because this is neoliberal myth which is destructive for the society (a lot of Silicon Valley startup are useless or harmful). Politically he is tend to lean libertarian.
He own success look pretty accidental. He is a despicable venture capitalist himself. His NGO is essentially trying to compensate for the neoliberalism flaws: they want fully trains candidate for the jobs and do not want tot "train on the job" candidates, who has potential to be more productive in a long run.
Notable quotes:
"... After graduation, he worked as a corporate lawyer; as a Silicon Valley businessman; as the CEO of a GMAT prep company; and lastly, as the director of Venture for America, an NGO that provided training and seed money for aspiring entrepreneurs. ..."
"... Moore's Law basically already came to an end. While, there are possibly new architectures to explore, i don't see how AI will continue to advance without sharp increases in processing power. ..."
"... I believe it is also immoral to brain drain countries. ..."
"... Considering the fact that 99% of the U.S. government is appointed(by the deciders), and the rest is pre-approved for voting so you can play 'democracy' on special Tuesdays, it doesn't look too good for populism or populists like Andrew or Tulsi. They want another Obama – another shit eating grin to sell a load of false claims and empty promises. ..."
"... Even a big name like Kamala Harris, who has lots of money, a strong organization, tons of endorsements and close to double digit poll numbers, will have to drop out after Iowa and New Hampshire if she doesn't secure, at minimum, no less than third place in either state. Without the momentum a strong finish in these two states provide, campaigns wither and die. The money stops flowing. Volunteers quit. The press pool shrinks. ..."
"... Andrew Yang isn't even polling at 1% in either Iowa or New Hampshire (or anywhere else). He has no ground game. He has no organization. He hasn't raised much money. He has no fired up volunteers willing to make countless phone calls and trudge through the snow to knock on doors. Basically, he has nothing. ..."
"... Moreover, UBI is a terrible idea if it is proposed as a replacement for current social welfare programs, which provide a great deal more value to recipients than $1000 a month. A strict libertarian interpretation of the UBI concept would, in exchange for $1k a month, get rid of food stamps, section 8 housing, AFDC, cash welfare benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, the earned income tax credit and even mortgage interest deductions. There are more moderate proposals. But, ultimately, UBI has to be paid for somehow, either by raising taxes or eliminating much of the welfare state. ..."
"... The narcissistic, self-congratulatory rambling about the superior traits of people who live in coastal cities sounds very much like that Zuckerberg guy, or Chelsea Clinton – in other words, a "progressive" type who want to set up re-education camps for the masses of unwashed, reactionary "white people" – for their own good, of course. ..."
"... The war on terror is a self induced psychosis that is eating away at the moral core of america. Opiods, underage sex, porn are merely diversions. Blessed are the blessed. ..."
"... $12k a year isn't going to free anybody, it's just going to accelerate white genocide (more money for heroin and opiate pills and alcohol). In a world of $1500 a month apartments you're still living on the street with $12k income. ..."
"... Yang says he is against the income tax in principle because you shouldn't tax what you want more of (work) and rich people find loop holes around it anyway. ..."
"... Well, who else offers a better solution? Trump who is to busy being a legendary Isreali president ..."
"... A vomit-inducing brew of Establishment globalists, SJW-appeasing identity politicians, bland corporate stooges, Russiagate conspiracy theorists, and "liberal interventionists" who call Christians "Easter worshippers." ..."
"... America is being continually being deindustrialised by outsourcing every thing to China and Mexico etc. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.unz.com

Andrew Yang – THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE ( 2018 )
Rating: 5 /5

You can access all of my latest book, film, and video game reviews at this link , as well as an ordered, categorized list of all my book reviews and ratings here: https://akarlin.com/books

I

I don't normally read the vapid hagiographies that characterize most political manifestoes. The two exceptions are Trump's ART OF THE DEAL , and Putin's FROM THE FIRST PERSON . The former was a genuinely well-written book that provided many insights into real estate development, and really explained the logic behind Trump's showman "style" of politics (see Scott Alexander's great review ). Though it wasn't a Trump manifesto as such, having been written three decades ago by a guy who now actually hates The Donald, it was probably the closest thing to one amidst the meme wars of 2016. The Putin book was a relatively dull series of interviews, though it still accounts for a significant percentage of what we know about Putin's career before the Presidency and remains required reading for any serious Russia watcher. That said, I imagine the vast majority of such books hew to the pattern of Hillary Clinton's HARD CHOICES , which was apparently so bad that Amazon was forced to mass delete one star reviews to avoid embarrassing their favored candidate.

So why did I make an exception for Andrew Yang's THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE ? Well, part of it is that he is my favorite candidate to date (as a proponent of Universal Basic Income (UBI) since 2015 , there is nothing particularly illogical or contradictory about that). His rational, common sense positions on a bewildering amount of issues help. But what really impressed me is a Twitter post that highlighted his familiarity with the work of Peter Turchin:

At this point, it was obvious that reading the rest of THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE would not be a waste of time, even if Yang's campaign was to otherwise pete out (ha-ha). And good thing I did. While I consider myself relatively well read, especially on "futurist" topics, I was nonetheless continuously regaled with all manner of original insights and things that I didn't know before.

II

The Yang bio only takes up one chapter. This is a good thing. I don't feel people should be writing about themselves unless they're over 60, or have done something pretty impressive, or participated in a war or something. Quite the welcome contrast to Obama, who wrote an entire memoir on the subject at the age of 34.

Yang is highly intelligent. Both of his parents went to grad school, and his father made 69 patents over the course of his career. His brother is a professor. "Good genes, very good genes." He got admitted to Stanford and Brown. He is obviously well read, and the literature he reads is K-selected. Apart from Turchin's book, he also cites Yuval Hari (HOMO DEUS) and Martin Ford (RISE OF THE ROBOTS). After graduation, he worked as a corporate lawyer; as a Silicon Valley businessman; as the CEO of a GMAT prep company; and lastly, as the director of Venture for America, an NGO that provided training and seed money for aspiring entrepreneurs.

One curious, endearingly personal note is that it seems he was bullied at school:

"Hey, Yang, what's it like having such a small dick? Everyone knows Chinese guys have small dicks. Do you need tweezers to masturbate?" Most of this was in middle school. I had a few natural responses: I became quite self-conscious. I started wondering if I did indeed have a small dick. Last, I became very, very angry.

I admit I chuckled a bit at the idea that there is perhaps a 6% chance (today's odds on PredictIt) that high school taunts about anatomy might end up playing a role in creating America's next President. Many of these bullied Asian-Americans tend to become bitter and withdraw into communities such as the SJWs at /r/azidentity or the Chinese nationalists at /r/Sino . Yang didn't go down that path. That said, as someone raised in an Asian-American family, bused tables at a Chinese restaurant as a teen, and who has maintained strong ties to the wider Asian-American community, those ideological currents must have influenced him to at least some extent.

His father immigrated from Taiwan. Geopolitics regardless, many Taiwanese-Americans are very proud of Chinese progress. The early base of Yang's support was predominantly Asian-American, and I was told that many of his earliest foreign fans were Chinese. I have a friend who was slightly acquainted with Yang before he became famous, and he confirmed my impressions – based on the exclusively positive mentions of China on his Twitter, and his website – that Yang is a strong Sinophile. As we saw with Trump and Russia – or for that matter, with Gabbard and Syria – being unseemingly friendly with or even just objective towards countries that have been declared strategic competitors, rivals, or enemies of the US isn't all that great for your political capital. You heard it here first: If Yang somehow wins the Dem nomination, the possibility of a "Chinagate" cannot be excluded. III

As Yang recounts it, his travels throughout America opened his eyes to the yawning gap between the flourishing coasts and its depressed hinterlands. From the chapter "Life in the Bubble":

We joked at Venture for America that "smart" people in the United States will do one of six things in six places: finance, consulting, law, technology, medicine, or academia in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC.

Other parts of the book consist of depressive travelogues about cities in the Rustbelt, with their abandoned malls, dilapidated infrastructure, brain drain, opioid epidemics, and casinos filled with people who probably shouldn't be gambling.

So he is quite aware of the distinction in outcomes between the "Belmont" and "Fishtown" of Charles Murray's COMING APART (for a summary, see " Trump's America " in The Wall Street Journal).

Moreover, I am reasonably sure that Yang is more or less directly familiar with Murray's thesis:

Think of your five best friends. The odds of them all being college graduates if you took a random sampling of Americans would be about one-third of 1 percent, or 0.0036. The likelihood of four or more of them being college graduates would be only about 4 percent. If that described you, you're among the educated class (even without necessarily knowing it; in your context, you're perfectly normal).

This argument that America is developing into a meritocratic caste system is directly lifted from COMING APART, as is the "bubble" metaphor used to describe its Brahmins. E.g., see Charles Murray's Bubble Quiz .

Today, thanks to assortative mating in a handful of cities, intellect, attractiveness, education, and wealth are all converging in the same families and neighborhoods. I look at my friends' children, and many of them resemble unicorns: brilliant, beautiful, socially precocious creatures who have gotten the best of all possible resources since the day they were born.

I imagine them in 10 or 15 years traveling to other parts of the country, and I know that they are going to feel like, and be received as, strangers in a strange land. They will have thriving online lives and not even remember a car that didn't drive itself.

They may feel they have nothing in common with the people before them. Their ties to the greater national fabric will be minimal. Their empathy and desire to subsidize and address the distress of the general public will likely be lower and lower.

That pretty much cinches it. "Assortative mating" isn't the sort of term that everyone throws around; although it is a biological term, its popularization in sociology was led by Murray and other "HBD realists." While I understand and sympathize that these people are generally "unhandshakeworthy", and hence uncitable by someone running for the Dem nomination, I think it is legitimate to think of THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE as the solutions set to the problems posed by COMING APART.

IV

Here are some of the main problems and challenges that Yang talks about:

1. Automation . I won't go on here at length, as this has already been widely covered in the media. I recommend Martin Ford's book RISE OF THE ROBOTS, or at least this 15 minute video , for a full treatment. But the basic thing to take away is that automation is coming for many jobs, and it won't just be manufacturing ones this time round. Some things that struck me as noteworthy:

There are now less than 400 NYSE floor traders, down from 5,500. Legal review: Humans have 60% accuracy, AI already at 85%. Friend of Yang's who works in a ride-sharing company says that according to internal projections, half of all rides will accrue to autonomous vehicles by 2022.

This will eliminate jobs in truck driving, the ride-sharing sector (Uber, Lyft, etc.), and more and more repetitive cognitive white-collar work.

2. Unsatisfactory jobs . There will be jobs to take the place of automated ones, but these will be low productivity jobs with lower salaries (which will further incentivize companies to automate them away). Perhaps uniquely for a politician, Yang is sympathetic to people who can no longer be bothered to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, as conservative orthodoxy dictates.

Imagine a 21-year-old college dropout who is not excited to make sandwiches at Jimmy John's and prefers his gaming community. You could say to him, "Hey, this Jimmy John's job could go places. Sure you make $8 an hour now. But maybe if you stick with it for a few years you could become a manager. Eventually, you could make $35,000 or so if you really excel and are willing to work long and hard hours, including waking up at 5 a.m. to slice up tomatoes and cucumbers every morning, and commit to it." The above is possibly true. Or, the retail district around his Jimmy John's could shrink and a management job might never open up. Or Jimmy John's could bring in an automated system that gets rid of cashiers and front-of-house staff two years from now. Or his manager could just choose someone else.

3. Video games . This explains why NEETs like the above have turned to video games; young men without college degrees now spend 75% of the time they used to spend working with gaming. This is easy, because the marginal cost of video games is near zero; as Yang sagely points out, they are an "inferior good" in economic terms. However, he also notes – as a onetime gamer – that while playing games for hours on end might seem "sad", their satisfaction level is high, especially relative to their low social status and high rates of unemployment.

4. Disability . More and more people, especially discouraged workers, are entering the disability rolls. This is an understandable reaction to the loss of good jobs. However, since most disability applications are more or less fake – rates have been soaring, even as the rate of workplace accidents plummets – this encourages a culture of dishonesty, and disincentivizes people from rejoining the workforce since they would then lose their disability "basic income." There are no solid ways to disprove some common ailments, so getting a note from a doctor is relatively easy. This is a way of life for many depressed rustbelt communities.

5. Other social maladies . These include:

Abandoned malls creating derelict no-go zones. The poverty of communities left behind by falling manufacturing employment, soon to be repeated on an even bigger scale as automation takes off. Rising white middle-aged mortality, in which he cites Case & Deaton's research . He is woke to the opioid crisis: " Many of the deaths are from opiate overdoses. Approximately 59,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, up 19 percent from the then-record 52,404 reported in 2015. For the first time, drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. " I assume he's likelier to make progress on it than Kushner . " An army of drug dealers in suits marketed addictive opioids to doctors, getting paid hundreds of thousands to do it. "
V

In the final "problems"-related chapter, he mentions the work of Russian-American biologist/historian Peter Turchin, one of the founders of cliodynamics, a new multidiscplinary field that aims to mathematize the cycles of history*.

In his book Ages of Discord, the scholar Peter Turchin proposes a structural-demographic theory of political instability based on societies throughout history. He suggests that there are three main preconditions to revolution:

(1) elite oversupply and disunity,

(2) popular misery based on falling living standards, and

(3) a state in fiscal crisis.

Most of the variables that he measures began trending negatively between 1965 and 1980 and are now reaching near-crisis levels. By his analysis, "the US right now has much in common with the Antebellum 1850s [before the Civil War] and, more surprisingly, with France on the eve of the French Revolution." He projects increased turmoil through 2020 and warns that "we are rapidly approaching a historical cusp at which American society will be particularly vulnerable to violent upheaval."

Turchin isn't one of those "doomers" who have predicted all ten of America's past zero collapses since he began predicting.

But he did predict the rise of Islamic State in Iraq back in 2005 :

Western intrusion will eventually generate a counter-response, possibly in the form of a new theocratic Caliphate (War and Peace and War, Penguin, 2005).

And he predicted that populism and social instability in the US would increase through to the 2020s. This was well before either Trump or Sanders came on the radar.

So given this impressive predictive record, it's certainly worth listening to what Turchin has to say.

In addition to Turchin's analysis, Yang also mentions that there will be racial ressentiments:

A highly disproportionate number of the people at the top will be educated whites, Jews, and Asians. America is projected to become majority minority by 2045. African Americans and Latinos will almost certainly make up a disproportionate number of the less privileged in the wake of automation, as they currently enjoy lower levels of wealth and education.

and suggests that SJW policing of speech will complicate frank discussions of these problems:

Contributing to the discord will be a climate that equates opposing ideas or speech to violence and hate. Righteousness can fuel abhorrent behavior, and many react with a shocking level of vitriol and contempt for conflicting viewpoints and the people who hold them. Hatred is easy, as is condemnation.

This could set the stage for RACE WAR NOW as economic dislocations produced by automation further turbocharge preexisting trends towards inequality and polarization:

After the riots, things continue to deteriorate. Hundreds of thousands stop paying taxes because they refuse to support a government that "killed the working man." A man in a bunker surrounded by dozens of guns releases a video saying, "Come and get your taxes, IRS man!" that goes viral. Anti-Semitic violence breaks out targeting those who "own the robots." A white nationalist party arises that openly advocates "returning America to its roots" and "traditional gender roles" and wins several state races in the South.

Incidentally, I would say that this explains the context behind Yang's "whites will shoot up Asian-Americans in another generation" video .

VI

Yang's signature issue is UBI, so it makes sense that he devotes two entire chapters to the topic. Despite its current association with libertarians, crypto evangelists, NEETS, gamers, digital nomads, and various other eccentrics who have only begun spawning on a reasonably large scale these past 1-2 decades, it was once much more mainstream**.

It's hard to fathom now, but the idea of a guaranteed annual income was mainstream political wisdom in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Medicare and Medicaid had just been passed in 1965, and the country had an appetite for solutions for social problems. In May 1968, over 1,000 university economists signed a letter supporting a guaranteed annual income. In 1969, President Nixon proposed the Family Assistance Plan, which would provide cash benefits of about $10,000 per family and serve as a guaranteed annual income with some eligibility requirements; this bill was supported by 79 percent of respondents polled at the time. The Family Assistance Plan passed the House of Representatives by a wide margin -- 243 to 155 -- but then stalled in the Senate due to, of all things, Democrats who wanted an even more robust plan.

But then the Reagan Revolution rolled out, economists produced (now discredited) studies that UBI depressed work hours and increased the divorce rate, and the general public lost interest.

The literature that Yang has amassed tells a different story. He mentions a study by Evelyn Forget (2005) in Canada, who found the effect on work to be "minimal." The only groups of people that worked substantially less were new mothers and teens, which seems to be a perfectly fine outcome. There was also a rise in high school graduation rates, a reduction in hospital visits, less domestic violence, and fewer cases of mental illness. Another study by Akee on Native Americans who got basic income from casino earnings found that children became more conscientious and agreeable.

I was genuinely surprised to learn that there is one major country that has already adopted UBI: Iran. During the 2011 reforms, it eliminated inefficient food and gas subsidies, and replaced them with basic income of $16,000 per year. ( Strictly speaking, this is not quite accurate on Yang's part; this is far too much for a middle-income country like Iran, and as I subsequently confirmed, $16,000 is their basic income NORMED to US standards, i.e. what Americans would get under a scheme that drew on a similar share of the national income ). But in any case, there was apparently no reduction in hours worked. I don't know what effect it had on Iranian economic productivity, and Yang doesn't go into it. I would imagine that doing such analyses on the Iranian economy would be complicated by the relative opacity of its national accounts, as well as by the (much larger) economic shocks created by US sanctions over this past decade.

Either way, the general picture – so far as we can say based on the limited UBI experiments to date – is that they don't have much effect either way on employment or GDP, but they do increase happiness and general welfare. But in any case, when the current President thinks it is very normal to mark Easter with an economic growth update

perhaps it is time to stop worshipping the latest quarterly GDP figures, as was suggested by Simon Kuznets in 1934, the inventor of the GDP:

economic welfare cannot be adequately measured unless the personal distribution of income is known. And no income measurement undertakes to estimate the reverse side of income, that is, the intensity and unpleasantness of effort going into the earning of income. The welfare of a nation can, therefore, scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above.

In Yang's vision, the size of American UBI – the "Freedom Dividend", as he calls it – will be $12,000 for each American aged 18-64, subsequently indexed to inflation. This is just above the current poverty line of $11,700.

But will it be affordable?

An analysis by the Roosevelt Institute of this $12,000 per year per adult proposal found that adopting it would permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent -- or about $2.5 trillion by 2025 -- and it would increase the labor force by 4.5 to 4.7 million people. Putting money into people's hands and keeping it there would be a perpetual boost and support to job growth and the economy. The cost would be about an additional $1.3 trillion per year on top of existing welfare programs, most of which would be folded into the plan, as well as increased taxable revenue and cost savings.

The cost of $1.3 trillion seems like an awful lot. For reference, the federal budget is about $4 trillion and the entire U.S. economy about $19 trillion. But there are myriad ways to pay for it. The most sensible way to pay for it in my view would be with a value-added tax (VAT) -- a consumption tax -- that would generate income from the people and businesses that benefit from society the most.

A VAT would result in slightly higher prices. But technological advancement would continue to drive down the cost of most things. And with the backdrop of a universal basic income of $12,000, the only way a VAT of 10 percent makes you worse off is if you consume more than $120,000 in goods and services per year, which means you're doing fine and are likely at the top of the income distribution.

This counters one of the central "leftist" arguments against UBI – that it is regressive, and falls disproportionately on the poor. Sure, they'll be paying 10% more for most goods and services. But their income will also increase by at least 50%, and by around 100% if they work part-time. It will be rich consumers who lose out.

For people who consider this farcical, consider the bailouts that took place during the financial crisis. You may not recall that the U.S. government printed over $4 trillion in new money for its quantitative easing program following the 2008 financial collapse. This money went to the balance sheets of the banks and depressed interest rates. It punished savers and retirees. There was little to no inflation.

This one is for the inflation bears.

VII

While UBI is the mainstay of Yang's policy platform, he has many other excellent ideas, which he elucidates in the three final chapters.

1. Raise government worker retirement packages, with President getting $4 million per year . This is to be coupled with a lifetime prohibition on making money from their office through speeches, etc.

I very strongly agree with this, and have proposed this on many occasions in the past as well. Admittedly, I was talking about Russia, but it really applies to any country. Politicians and bureaucrats get less money than businessmen, even though they are often just as talented. This is a truism nigh well everywhere. This makes them resentful. Many of them want to close the gap. In the more corrupt countries, they do that directly, from pressuring companies to "contribute" to their family's accounts (at best) to directly "raiding" successful companies and stealing from government accounts. In less corrupt countries, they tend to be slaves to lobbyist interests, on the unspoken understanding that they would be rewarded for their service once out of office (this describes the US). I suppose that in a few countries they might genuine "servants of the people" but the number of such countries isn't all that high.

As it is, the only country that I am aware of that runs similar policies is Singapore, where Ministers get close to $1 million per year. As a high IQ authoritarian state, it is able to resist populist demotism.

2. Stop corporate welfare . This one, I wager, would play well with both Bernie and Trump supporters:

Here's an idea for a dramatic rule -- for every $100 million a company is fined by the Department of Justice or bailed out by the federal government, both its CEO and its largest individual shareholder will spend one month in jail. Call the new law the Public Protection against Market Abuse Act. If it's a foreign company, this would apply to the head of the U.S. operation and the largest American shareholder. There would be a legal tribunal and due process in each case. The president would have the ability to pardon, suspend, shorten, or otherwise modify the period or sentence. The president would also have the ability to claw back the assets of any such individual to repay the public.

3. Education realism . He notes that while tertiary enrollment is rising, its efficiency is falling.

That is, only 59 percent of students who started college in 2009 had completed a bachelor's degree by 2015, and this level has been more or less consistent the past number of years. For those who attended private, selective colleges, this number will seem jarringly low; the same number at selective schools is 88 percent. Among schools with open admissions policies the rate is only 32 percent, and among for-profit universities the six-year graduation rate is 23 percent.

This is inevitable. Only 25% of students can benefit from a university education, as there is only so much space on the right hand side of the IQ bell curve. Only choice is to fail more and more students, to lower standards, or to abandon the fiction that everyone is suited for university.

While Yang can't exactly couch it in such terms, he is – unlike the increasing number of Democrats agitating for free college – obviously woke to the Education Question:

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

(a) Administrative staff at US universities is blooming, and they are passing on the costs to the captive student market. Meanwhile, they use their tax exempt status to run hedge funds.

One way to change this would be a law stipulating that any private university with an endowment over $5 billion will lose its tax-exempt status unless it spends its full endowment income from the previous year on direct educational expenses, student support, or domestic expansion. This would spur Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, Penn, Northwestern, and others to spend billions each year directly on their students and expansion within the United States. There could be a Harvard center in Ohio or Michigan as well as the new one they just opened in Shanghai.

Incidentally, describing the Ivy League colleges as hedge funds with a university attached is something that Ron Unz has also done, though his solution was to suggest forcing Harvard to eliminate its fees .

(b) He talks of the need for more vocational training and apprenticeships.

(c) Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are largely ineffective. While I wasn't expecting miracles, I was still surprised to learn that Udacity's course completion rate is only around 4%. They are not a panacea.

(d) He is especially hard on government "retraining" programs for displaced workers:

The reality is more often displaced workers spending government funds or racking up debt at the University of Phoenix or another for-profit institution in desperate bids to stay relevant and marketable.

In particular, he agrees that "learn to code" is useless advice for the vast majority of these people. They would be better off with a UBI.

4. Mandate "serenity" settings for smartphones and social media . Currently it's a pain to get notifications settings down to a manageable level. Would be good to have an all-in-one option.

5. Social credits . No, this is not the quasi-totalitarian Chinese scheme to coercively promote good behavior. This is similar to a thing called "time banking", which are already exisiting voluntary associations in the US where people get credits within communities by performing useful tasks, e.g. minor home repairs, walking dogs, etc. The idea is to have the government allocate these credits towards solving some major problem, e.g. "100 million DSCs to reduce obesity levels in Mississippi", and let normal people sort out the details in a more efficient way than bureaucrats could dictate. Apart from the direct benefits, it should also help people feel more useful and enhance life satisfactino. I am not fully convinced having the government being involved in this is such a good idea, but I will reserve judgment until I learn more about it.

6. Primary care doctors helped by AI in healthcare . This will also help keep costs down, and lessen the strain on overworked doctors.

Martin Ford, the author of Rise of the Robots, suggests that we create a new class of health care provider armed with AI -- college graduates or master's students unburdened by additional years of costly specialization, who would nonetheless be equipped to head out to rural areas. They could help people monitor chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes and refer particularly hairy problems to more experienced doctors. Call them primary care specialists. AI will soon be at a point where technology, in conjunction with a non-doctor, could offer the same quality of care as a doctor in the vast majority of cases. In one study, IBM's Watson made the same recommendation as human doctors did in 99 percent of 1,000 medical cases and made suggestions human doctors missed in 30 percent of them. AI can reference more cases than the most experienced physician while keeping up to date with the latest journals and studies.

In return for a less hectic pace and greater freedom to focus on patients as opposed to paperwork, doctors will need to take a salary hit:

What's required is an honest conversation in which we say to people who are interested in becoming doctors, "If you become a doctor, you'll be respected, admired, and heal people each day. You will live a comfortable life. But medicine will not be a path to riches. On the bright side, we're not going to burn you out by forcing you to see a million patients a day and fill out paperwork all the time. We're going to supplement you with an army of empathetic people equipped with AI who will handle most routine cases. We'll only call you when the case genuinely requires distincthuman judgment or empathy. We want you to become the best and most human version of yourself, not Dr. Speed Demon who can bang out a nine-minute appointment. Let's leave that to Watson."

VIII

It should be blindingly obvious, but yes, Yang is really the only US Presidential candidate that interests me at this point in time. I consider his policies to be head and shoulders above those of any other candidate. Note that many of his other great ideas, such as banning robocalls, regulating social media as a public utility, and promoting nuclear power are not even in this book. The one mostly blank spot on his policy agenda – admittedly, a very big one – is his stance on foreign policy.

However, the early signs are encouraging. His official policy is seemingly non-interventionist , and he has spoken out against sanctions on Venezuela.

In my view, Yang correctly identifies that a war is being waged on "normal people." And he has a battlefield strategy – a mixture of paternalistic technocracy and capitalism with a human face – that has at least some chance of turning the tables.

I mean look, here is the situation come 2020:

1. An orange man turned POTATUS whose foreign policy agenda is set by neocons and AIPAC, and who has gone from calling for a Wall to calling for millions of LEGAL immigrants to work in factories that will soon be swept away by automation. Yang, at least, will favor cognitively elitist immigration, i.e. which actually creates tons of value and will continue to be viable in the age of automation.

2. A vomit-inducing brew of Establishment globalists, SJW-appeasing identity politicians, bland corporate stooges, Russiagate conspiracy theorists, and "liberal interventionists" who call Christians " Easter worshippers ." Sure, there's one other decent candidate there, but she doesn't seem to have policies between foreign policy and has a <1% chance of getting elected, while Yang has at least a distant shot at it.

3. While I like people such as Tucker Carlson, the problem is that he is not running. It doesn't seem that there will be any challenger to Trump from the Dissident Right. Fortunately, there is no great contradiction, as Yang and Carlson also seem to like each other. Furthermore, while both Yang and Carlson are concerned with automation, the Freedom Dividend is clearly a better and more adaptive policy than the latter's Neo-Luddism.

Most likely, Yang will not win the Dem nomination, and will fade from the scene by this time next year. (Just like Audacious Epigone, I bet on Kamala Harris on PredictIt). This does not mean he will fade from history. Automation isn't going anywhere, and pressure for UBI will continue to build up (and not just in the US). It is reasonable to posit that Yang will continue to serve as a figurehead for it within the US. However, at the rate that "contradictions" are piling up in US society, it is unclear if it will come about in time to prevent mayhem.

The choice is essentially to cut and run or to stand and fight. We must convert from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance. The revolution will happen either before or after the breakdown of society. We must choose before.

On the off chance that Yang actually makes it, I hope this book review will convince at least a few people into helping bring that about and launch fully automated luxury cyborg space human capitalism.

***

* Note that I reviewed Turchin's most important book, WAR AND PEACE AND WAR .

** I also learned that Thomas Paine was a fan, writing in 1796: Out of a collected fund from landowners, "there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, to every person, rich or poor."


E. Harding , says: April 26, 2019 at 10:54 pm GMT
"More and more people, especially discouraged workers, are entering the disability rolls."

Not since September 2014:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/business/economy/social-security-applications.html

Karlin, how do you reconcile your support for UBI with your equally strong support for the Putin entitlement reform?

"But the basic thing to take away is that automation is coming for many jobs, and it won't just be manufacturing ones this time round."

Stagnant productivity for eight years and counting. This is not just a problem unique to Russia, Brazil, Italy, etc.

"is clearly a better and more adaptive policy than the latter's Neo-Luddism"

I actually find Tucker much more Woke than UBI advocates. The central challenges of our generation are basically not about GDP, though more is helpful. Like Ron Unz, I support free college, though obviously for a small minority.

notanon , says: