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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.”
According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups:
- Christians United for Israel, the US "largest" pro-Israel lobby.
- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which directly lobbies the United States Congress
- The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which "is the main contact between the Jewish community and the executive branch" of the US government.
... ... ...
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. 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." In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (1990–2006) period. 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.
... ... ...
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.”
.... ... ...
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.”
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".
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Jul 24, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , July 24, 2018 12:23 am
@run75441 July 23, 2018 2:02 pm
Best bet is for Russia to want to trade with the US and Europe. The gas pipeline will not be enough leverage on Germany as it provides 9% of their needs.
Yes. And that's against the USA interests (or more correctly the US-led neoliberal empire interests). North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine.
As you know, nothing was proven yet in Russiagate (and DNC hacks looks more and more like a false flag operation, especially this Guccifer 2.0 personality ), but sanctions were already imposed. And when the US government speaks "Russia" in most cases they mean "China+Russia" ;-). Russia is just a weaker link in this alliance and, as such, it is attacked first. Russiagate is just yet another pretext after MH17, Magnitsky and such.
To me the current Anti-Russian hysteria is mainly a smokescreen to hide attempt to cement cracks in the façade of the USA neoliberal society that Trump election revealed (including apparent legitimization of ruling neoliberal elite represented by Hillary).
And a desperate attempt to unite the society using (false) war propaganda which requires demonization of the "enemy of the people" and neo-McCarthyism.
But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad (for example, military alliance means the end of the USA global military domination; energy alliance means that is now impossible to impose a blockade on China energy supplies from Middle East even if Iran is occupied)
In this sense the recent descent into a prolonged fit of vintage Cold War jingoistic paranoia is quite understandable. While, at the same time, totally abhorrent. My feeling is that unless Russia folds, which is unlikely, the side effects/externalities of this posture can be very bad for the USA. In any case, the alliance of Russia and China which Obama administration policies forged spells troubles to the global neoliberal empire dominated by the USA.
Trump rejection of existing forms of neoliberal globalization is one sign that this process already started and some politicians already are trying to catch the wind and adapt to a "new brave world" by using preemptive adjustments.
Which is why all this Trump-Putin summit hysteria is about.
Neither hard, nor soft neoliberals want any adjustments. They are ready to fight for the US-led neoliberal empire till the last American (excluding, of course, themselves and their families)
Apr 22, 2019 | kunstler.com
Robert White April 20, 2019 at 12:42 pm #volodya April 20, 2019 at 3:17 pm #
Trump is the chosen representative of the Oligopoly & elite top ten per cent of the wealth transferring opportunist class that make their financial gains from participation within the cartel & concomitant rigged system.
If P.T. Barnum II cannot manage to drum up the requisite market volatility in an across-the-board Secular Stagnation global market the United States of America will fall prey to competition from the alternative superpowers that are currently poised to interlope on previously controlled territories that the USA has traditionally held as their own. T
he GFC ushered in an about face for USD hegemony & USA exceptionalism [read manifest destiny] that needs to be reassessed in light of dwindling market share & trade deficits.
The Duck has been placed in office for purposes of churn for markets because of the deflationary pressures brought about from uncertainty on the finance side of America's balance sheets & finance ledgers.
P.T. Barnum II would only be turfed from office if Wall Street started to implode the dark pool derivatives universe again as they did in 08 when Obama was ushered into office as an apologist for the incompetency of his peers on Wall Street & the Republican Party. The banking sector knew full well that the default government of Obama was guaranteed in light of the market crash that ended the Bush era totalitarianism.
RWozone April 20, 2019 at 6:14 pm #
RW I agree with a lot of what you say. But I would say that Hillary was the chosen rep, the problem being that she lost the election. So, while Trump may not have been the number one pick, the opportunist class, as you call them, will make do. So far, and especially with the corporate tax cut, I think he's been ok for them and as a further example I point to his arguing for lower interest rates to keep the Wall Street party going.
As to deflationary pressures, I presume you're talking about downward pressure on asset prices.
I can't imagine that the banking sector was disappointed by Obama's policies w.r.t. QE, suppression of interest rates, and especially his policy of "too-big-to-jail". And his appointment of Mary Jo White. In my view appointing Mary Jo was as laughable as appointing a mafia lawyer or consigliere as a big city police commissioner.ozone April 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm #
volodya, Your reply to Robert White reinforces his point: They *all* work for the same masters/grifters/skimmers/legal criminals/extractors.
(Your posts often reflect this. I'm puzzled as to why you seem to think his viewpoint is somehow "partisan" here.)Robert White April 20, 2019 at 7:42 pm #
And, yes, we knew Obama was just another slick operator, installed as "cover". The average voter never took the time to wonder, "Where TF did *he* come from?", or bothered to check who was stuffing his war chest with filthy lucre.
The fine trick is never to give the voters anyone to vote for; this way the status quo is maintained and the public is kept at each others throats.
We should probably be concerned that the end of Empathy Road crumbles into a vast, cold waste that stretches endlessly away. Those who tread there are no longer human. At the rate we're approaching that waste, there will be no need for plunging off of any cliff.JohnAZ April 20, 2019 at 12:44 pm #
HRC was the chosenite before she slipped & fell helplessly in front of cameras owned by publishers intent on getting a scoop presidential race ending snapshot of the Democratic frontrunner ending her whole career in one fell swoop on international news networks all over the world.
When the networks ran the newsreels on Hillary falling into the arms of campaign personnel that was a game over moment in history. Hillary just did not have the health to be a presidential candidate and The Duck was still waddling on duck's feet at that juncture on the clock.
Heck, even the bookies knew that HRC was too lame to run after she was conspicuously hospitalized with an infection that was immediately treated by her physician. Americans don't want presidential candidates that are not healthy enough to run the gauntlet of elections. She lost on the basis of her poor health and national news reels that showed her incapable of even walking to a parked waiting van. 'Mericans don't vote for raggedy Ann or Andy. To be presidential is to be able to stand on one's own two feet at all times. Hillary could not pass the standing on her own two feet clause in the tacit agreement that she was attempting to make with the American voter at that time in history.
RWJohnAZ April 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm #
The irony of all these arguments is so obvious to those of us who have been around long enough to witness or be involved in the Cold War. Russia was an archenemy because they were a socialist state opposed to private ownership capitalism. We had just fought a war against two totalitarian states.beantownbill. April 20, 2019 at 1:54 pm #
The irony is that the Russian Federation has become privatized over the last two decades and the US more socialized. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren et al are very close to converting this country to a Communist State. That will be the end result if the Left's coup is successful in 2020.
The reaction of the Red States to the control by the Deep State will be interesting.
On this big picture, Trump is unimportant. Try to picture a post Trump America after a coup, Pence will be the next target, think Buttigieg, until the capitalist basis of the country is destroyed.
The real problem is that the Liberals will just keep coming, being financed by the globalists, and coming and coming until they have their way. We are currently witnessing it. What can be done to stop them, permanently.
The irony again is that the Left has convinced a large part of America that Trump and the Deplorables are responsible for the Russian "takeover", yet the real source of the takeover is the result of the Leftist campaigns.
The last attempted overthrow of the US basic tenets created the civil war and history shows what it took to stop the Confederacy.The Great and Infernal Truthiness of Lil Debbie Snack Packaging April 20, 2019 at 2:19 pm #
The American public's stupidity cannot be overestimated. I know this, but still find it hard to believe that it would elect the likes of Bernie, Liz and Buttplug (BLB).
Keep in mind, the only elected Massachusetts politician in the past 100 years was JFK, but he was a phenomenon and might have lost in 1964. Coolidge never ran, Dukakis lost and so did Kerry. We've never elected a self-described socialist, either. Buttplug is too weird for the typical American. AOC is too young.
No, we'll probably have a mainstream, same old-same old president.BackRowHeckler April 20, 2019 at 2:28 pm #
I can't agree with this theory of candidate change .
Obama, and then Trump is all the evidence you need that the carbon dioxide expelled by American voters is reaching toxic levels. The old Milankovitch cycles of American political economy are long gone.
A fellow related today that he thought Boot-edge-edge would be rejected for being too gay. Sentiments like this have front-run historical campaigns for the last 12 years.
At some point even the morbidly obese have to push away from the buffet table. Expect the candidate change.
Candidate change is real.BackRowHeckler April 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm #
Coolidge did run and win, 1924.malthuss April 20, 2019 at 2:42 pm #
'Keep cool with Coolidge", was the campaign slogan.
Pretty good slogan.Janos Skorenzy April 20, 2019 at 3:36 pm #
The American public's stupidity cannot be overestimated.
Who owns the media?
who engineered this?Exscotticus April 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm #
I asked the Captain the same thing. He doesn't know or doesn't want to know. Or he knows and doesn't know at the same time, depending on which helps him stay the same and in denial. Double think as Orwell put it.
>>> The end of the the Mueller probe doesn't in the least mean that it's over.
Oh we never expected collusionist Dems to go gentle into that good night. I mean did the birthers ever accede to reality?
But all Dems can do now is spin while the rest of the nation moves on. And you better hope they move on. The alternative is that Team Trump starts going after the conspirators of this soft coup.
Apr 22, 2019 | www.unz.com
The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today, is rapidly collapsing. The center of gravity is shifting from west to east where China and India are experiencing explosive growth and where a revitalized Russia has restored its former stature as a credible global superpower. These developments, coupled with America's imperial overreach and chronic economic stagnation, have severely hampered US ability to shape events or to successfully pursue its own strategic objectives. As Washington's grip on global affairs continues to loosen and more countries reject the western development model, the current order will progressively weaken clearing the way for a multipolar world badly in need of a new security architecture. Western elites, who are unable to accept this new dynamic, continue to issue frenzied statements expressing their fear of a future in which the United States no longer dictates global policy.
At the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, underscored many of these same themes. Here's an excerpt from his presentation:
"The whole liberal world order appears to be falling apart – nothing is as it once was Not only do war and violence play a more prominent role again: a new great power confrontation looms at the horizon. In contrast to the early 1990s, liberal democracy and the principle of open markets are no longer uncontested .
In this international environment, the risk of an inter-state war between great and middle powers has clearly increased .What we had been observing in many places around the world was a dramatic increase in brinkmanship, that is, highly risky actions on the abyss – the abyss of war .
No matter where you look, there are countless conflicts and crises the core pieces of the international order are breaking apart, without it being clear whether anyone can pick them up – or even wants to. ("Who will pick up the pieces?", Munich Security Conference )
Ischinger is not alone in his desperation nor are his feelings limited to elites and intellectuals. By now, most people are familiar with the demonstrations that have rocked Paris, the political cage-match that is tearing apart England (Brexit), the rise of anti-immigrant right-wing groups that have sprung up across Europe, and the surprising rejection of the front-runner candidate in the 2016 presidential elections in the US. Everywhere the establishment and their neoliberal policies are being rejected by the masses of working people who have only recently begun to wreak havoc on a system that has ignored them for more than 30 years. Trump's public approval ratings have improved, not because he has "drained the swamp" as he promised, but because he is still seen as a Washington outsider despised by the political class, the foreign policy establishment and the media. His credibility rests on the fact that he is hated by the coalition of elites who working people now regard as their sworn enemy.
The president of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, summed up his views on the "weakening of the liberal world order" in an article that appeared on the CFR's website. Here's what he said:
"Attempts to build global frameworks are failing. Protectionism is on the rise; the latest round of global trade talks never came to fruition. .At the same time, great power rivalry is returning
There are several reasons why all this is happening, and why now. The rise of populism is in part a response to stagnating incomes and job loss, owing mostly to new technologies but widely attributed to imports and immigrants. Nationalism is a tool increasingly used by leaders to bolster their authority, especially amid difficult economic and political conditions .
But the weakening of the liberal world order is due, more than anything else, to the changed attitude of the U.S. Under President Donald Trump, the US decided against joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. It has threatened to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. It has unilaterally introduced steel and aluminum tariffs, relying on a justification (national security) that others could use, in the process placing the world at risk of a trade war .America First" and the liberal world order seem incompatible." ("Liberal World Order, R.I.P.", Richard Haass, CFR )
What Haass is saying is that the cure for globalisation is more globalization, that the greatest threat to the liberal world order is preventing the behemoth corporations from getting more of what they want; more self-aggrandizing trade agreements, more offshoring of businesses, more outsourcing of jobs, more labor arbitrage, and more privatization of public assets and critical resources. Trade liberalization is not liberalization, it does not strengthen democracy or create an environment where human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law are respected. It's a policy that focuses almost-exclusively on the free movement of capital in order to enrich wealthy shareholders and fatten the bottom line. The sporadic uprisings around the world– Brexit, yellow vests, emergent right wing groups– can all trace their roots back to these one-sided, corporate-friendly trade deals that have precipitated the steady slide in living standards, the shrinking of incomes, and the curtailing of crucial benefits for the great mass of working people across the US and Europe. President Trump is not responsible for the outbreak of populism and social unrest, he is merely an expression of the peoples rage. Trump's presidential triumph was a clear rejection of the thoroughly-rigged elitist system that continues to transfer the bulk of the nation's wealth to tiniest layer of people at the top.
Haass's critique illustrates the level of denial among elites who are now gripped by fear of an uncertain future.
As we noted earlier, the center of gravity has shifted from west to east, which is the one incontrovertible fact that cannot be denied. Washington's brief unipolar moment –following the breakup of the Soviet Union in December, 1991 -- has already passed and new centers of industrial and financial power are gaining pace and gradually overtaking the US in areas that are vital to America's primacy. This rapidly changing economic environment is accompanied by widespread social discontent, seething class-based resentment, and ever-more radical forms of political expression. The liberal order is collapsing, not because the values espoused in the 60s and 70s have lost their appeal, but because inequality is widening, the political system has become unresponsive to the demands of the people, and because US can no longer arbitrarily impose its will on the world.
Globalization has fueled the rise of populism, it has helped to exacerbate ethnic and racial tensions, and it is largely responsible for the hollowing out of America's industrial core. Haass's antidote would only throw more gas on the fire and hasten the day when liberals and conservatives form into rival camps and join in a bloody battle to the end. Someone has to stop the madness before the country descends into a second Civil War.
What Haass fails to discuss, is Washington's perverse reliance on force to preserve the liberal world order, after all, it's not like the US assumed its current dominant role by merely competing more effectively in global markets. Oh, no. Behind the silk glove lies the iron fist, which has been used in over 50 regime change operations since the end of WW2. The US has over 800 military bases scattered across the planet and has laid to waste one country after the other in successive interventions, invasions and occupations for as long as anyone can remember. This penchant for violence has been sharply criticized by other members of the United Nations, but only Russia has had the courage to openly oppose Washington where it really counts, on the battlefield.
Russia is presently engaged in military operations that have either prevented Washington from achieving its strategic objectives (like Ukraine) or rolled back Washington's proxy-war in Syria. Naturally, liberal elites like Haass feel threatened by these developments since they are accustomed to a situation in which 'the world is their oyster'. But, alas, oysters have been removed from the menu, and the United States is going to have to make the adjustment or risk a third world war.
What Russian President Vladimir Putin objects to, is Washington's unilateralism, the cavalier breaking of international law to pursue its own imperial ambitions. Ironically, Putin has become the greatest defender of the international system and, in particular, the United Nations which is a point he drove home in his presentation at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 28, 2015, just two days before Russian warplanes began their bombing missions in Syria. Here's part of what he said:
"The United Nations is unique in terms of legitimacy, representation and universality .We consider any attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. It may result in the collapse of the entire architecture of international relations, leaving no rules except the rule of force. The world will be dominated by selfishness rather than collective effort, by dictate rather than equality and liberty, and instead of truly sovereign nations we will have colonies controlled from outside."(Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly )
Putin's speech, followed by the launching of the Russian operation in Syria, was a clear warning to the foreign policy establishment that they would no longer be allowed to topple governments and destroy countries with impunity. Just as Putin was willing to put Russian military personnel at risk in Syria, so too, he will probably put them at risk in Venezuela, Lebanon, Ukraine and other locations where they might be needed. And while Russia does not have anywhere near the raw power of the US military, Putin seems to be saying that he will put his troops in the line of fire to defend international law and the sovereignty of nations. Here's Putin again:
"We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don't need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the decisions they need, often stands in their way .
We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress.
It seems, however, that instead of learning from other people's mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are "democratic" revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa already mentioned by the previous speaker. Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention indiscriminately destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.
I'm urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you've done?" (Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly)
Here Putin openly challenges the concept of a 'liberal world order' which in fact is a sobriquet used to conceal Washington's relentless plundering of the planet. There's nothing liberal about toppling regimes and plunging millions of people into anarchy, poverty and desperation. Putin is simply trying to communicate to US leaders that the world is changing, that nations in Asia are gaining strength and momentum, and that Washington will have to abandon the idea that any constraint on its behavior is a threat to its national security interests.
Former national security advisor to Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, appears to agree on this point and suggests that the US begin to rethink its approach to foreign policy now that the world has fundamentally changed and other countries are demanding a bigger place at the table.
What most people don't realize about Brzezinski, is that he dramatically changed his views on global hegemony a few years after he published his 1997 masterpiece The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperative. In his 2012 book, Strategic Vision, Brzezinski recommended a more thoughtful and cooperative approach that would ease America's unavoidable transition (decline?) without creating a power vacuum that could lead to global chaos. Here's a short excerpt from an article
he wrote in 2016 for the American Interest titled "Toward a Global Realignment":
"The fact is that there has never been a truly "dominant" global power until the emergence of America on the world scene .That era is now ending .As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture .The United States is still the world's politically, economically, and militarily most powerful entity but, given complex geopolitical shifts in regional balances, it is no longer the globally imperial power.
America can only be effective in dealing with the current Middle Eastern violence if it forges a coalition that involves, in varying degrees, also Russia and China .
A constructive U.S. policy must be patiently guided by a long-range vision. It must seek outcomes that promote the gradual realization in Russia that its only place as an influential world power is ultimately within Europe. China's increasing role in the Middle East should reflect the reciprocal American and Chinese realization that a growing U.S.-PRC partnership in coping with the Middle Eastern crisis is an historically significant test of their ability to shape and enhance together wider global stability.
The alternative to a constructive vision, and especially the quest for a one-sided militarily and ideologically imposed outcome, can only result in prolonged and self-destructive futility.
Since the next twenty years may well be the last phase of the more traditional and familiar political alignments with which we have grown comfortable, the response needs to be shaped now . And that accommodation has to be based on a strategic vision that recognizes the urgent need for a new geopolitical framework." ("Toward a Global Realignment", Zbigniew Brzezinski, The American Interest )
This strikes me as a particularly well-reasoned and insightful article. It shows that Brzezinski understood that the world had changed, that power had shifted eastward, and that the only path forward for America was cooperation, accommodation, integration and partnership. Tragically, there is no base of support for these ideas on Capital Hill, the White House or among the U.S. foreign policy establishment. The entire political class and their allies in the media unanimously support a policy of belligerence, confrontation and war. The United States will not prevail in a confrontation with Russia and China any more than it will be able to turn back the clock to the post war era when America, the Superpower, reigned supreme. Confrontation will only accelerate the pace of US decline and the final collapse of the liberal world order.
Walt , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:22 pm GMTZbig has fially admitted that America needs to become friends with Russia. We can not handle the world alone,but with Russia we would have 90% of the worlds nuclear weapons and vast geopolitical ifluence. Americans do hot have anything against Russia. It is the neocon cabal that is fostering conflict . Thet just can not get over the fact that they tried and failed to take control of Russia. They are trying to do so to the u.S.A.Walt , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:24 pm GMTZbig is right. We need to be friends with Russia , not enemies.China girl , says: April 14, 2019 at 2:30 am GMT"2. Russia should become the real leader of the new process. (It has already become it but not yet aware of the fact.) The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world more than anything else, and this alliance is possible only through Russia. Only Russia in an alliance with the Muslim world can keep China in check without conflicts, helping it find its new place in the world as another super-power.MarkinLA , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:24 am GMT
3. Leaders of Russia, America, Israel, Europe, Iran, India, and international financial capitals must initiate a dialogue over leaving this crisis behind and preventing events like those which swept America on September 11.
A time of change is upon us, and it's futile to wish we were living in some other era. We have to change ourselves and change the world "
THE THIRD FORCE OF WORLD WAR III
"THE AMERICANS DON'T REALIZE IT YET, BUT CHINA HAS WRITTEN ITS OWN SCRIPT FOR SQUEEZING THE UNITED STATES OFF THE WORLD STAGE. CHINA SUPPORTS ACTIONS OF THE WEST AIMED AT MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION OF RUSSIA AND THE MUSLIM WORLD. THE WEST, RUSSIA, ISRAEL, AND THE MUSLIM WORLD MUST WORK TOGETHER.
THE WESTERN SCRIPT
"Using techniques of manipulating public opinion, the West is trying to establish the illusion of a global forces with the fascist- like ideology of Wahhabi fundamentalism. As far as the West is concerned, Wahhabi and Islam are the same thing. It is because of this that the essential terrorism of Wahhabi ideas is being formulated so simply for public consumption: all Muslims are terrorists by nature.
The preliminary objective of brainwashing (Islam is the basis of terrorism) is thus achieved. "
"This script becomes possible when we assume that some Western elites and secret services made a kind of covert pact with this still-unknown Player."
THE CHINESE SCRIPT
" Throw a great deal of dollars into the market all at once, and the dollar will crash. A conflict with Taiwan may follow. It will be a conflict waged with American money, with American weapons, investment, and high technology. Add the nuclear factor here. Suffice it to recall the recent scandal when Chinese intelligence obtained all major nuclear secrets of the United States. "
Author: Viktor Minin
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, http://www.wps.ru/e_index.html%5D
http://www.russialist.org/archives/5497-14.phpWhat most people don't realize about Brzezinski, is that he dramatically changed his views on global hegemony a few years after he published his 1997 masterpiece The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperative. In his 2012 book, Strategic Vision, Brzezinski recommended a more thoughtful and cooperative approach that would ease America's unavoidable transition (decline?) without creating a power vacuum that could lead to global chaos.Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 14, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
So somebody put forth a deluded crack-pot idea that got great traction and made a lot of people very rich and powerful who want to stay that way, but the originator now says he was wrong and we should change. Yeah, those rich and powerful people just have to agree to give up some of that. How likely is that without a major catastrophe forcing them, given what we know about human nature?
Maybe the lesson is to have realistic ideas about foreign policy and relations in the future. Did anybody seriously believe countries with long histories like Russia and China were always going to be happy playing second fiddle to the US?anon  Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 12:45 pm GMT
Haass's critique illustrates the level of denial among elites who are now gripped by fear of an uncertain future.
True, but their problem is compounded with their fear which is anchored in the past, whose real history blows all current, being discredited as I type this, narratives out of the water. This, plus most of them, Haas and CFR included, do not operate with actual facts and data.bro3886 , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm GMT"The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world"
Unfortunately, this is probably not entirely feasible considering the United States's inappropriately close relationship to Israel and the American government's radical stance of forcing LGBTQ issues; as San Jose proves, these people aren't simply going to leave you alone, but rather they will make you conform under threat. Probably what will happen in the future is a Japan-EU-Russia alliance that makes peace with the Middle East and contains the Chinese military as much as possible.
The US could very well find itself cut out at some point. It has already proved itself both reckless and incompetent with its handling of Iran, Israel, and Venezuela. Also, I suspect that neither ordinary EU citizens nor Asians will want to be ruled over by a group of POC racists who discriminate against Europeans, Asian males, and traditional families.
I think the rest of the world should begin considering alternate defense arrangements. The US cannot afford to defend their interests forever with an aging, shrinking white Caucasian population and a growing, less capable and less conscientious replacement population less willing to die in imperial wars. Increasingly, the US will be less capable of defending others in the Pacific from China as it Affirmative Actions its air force; Obama was trying to do that throughout the whole of the American military and accomplished his objective by lowering standards. I think this process should continue in the future with disastrous results.
In the future, Asia will try to make peace with China before they get too strong and China will reciprocate with generous territorial concessions in exchange for neutrality. For example, the Chinese may relinquish territorial claims in the Philippines in exchange for a treaty stating that the Philippines will not base the American military or buy weapons from them, but they would be allowed to buy weapons from third parties such as the Russians. A series of moves like this might dramatically weaken the American position in the region, allowing China to jumpskip to Africa and the Middle East more effectively. Perhaps a similar deal will be worked out with Taiwan: autonomy and a peace treaty in exchange for no weapon purchases or defense arrangements with the US, but Taiwan could still buy Russian weapons.
"Zbig has fially admitted that America needs to become friends with Russia."
As Karlin has noted, I don't see this happening in the near future, not with the insane levels of anti-Russian hate coming from the American left, some of which is just pure racial hatred of whites projected onto Russians.All this is irrelevant in the long run. America will be a third-world country in 50 years or less. Imagine a government filled with AOCs, Omars, and Bookers, with a constituency that matches. Brazil of the North isn't going to be a superpower. We can look on that as a silver lining.Republic , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:35 pm GMTdearieme , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
The United States will not prevail in a confrontation with Russia and China any more than it will be able to turn back the clock to the post war era when America, the Superpower, reigned supreme. Confrontation will only accelerate the pace of US decline and the final collapse of the liberal world order.
Very dangerous times are ahead. A declining superpower in late empire mode may make risky decisions. I wonder if America will have a Suez event in the upcoming decade? The 1956 Suez crisis heralded the rise of a new superpower and the eclipse of another one.@anon some of which is just pure racial hatred of whites projected onto RussiansBill Jones , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:53 pm GMT
That hadn't occurred to me. But can it be true?"The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today" Thanks for the laugh. It was over with the passing of the 1947 National Security Act.Bill Jones , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm GMT@Walt I don't know how fucked up you have to be to use "We" to refer to the murderous US State but you should seek competent professional psychiatric assistance, Soon.anon  Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT"That hadn't occurred to me. But can it be true?"Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 14, 2019 at 4:21 pm GMT
The attitudes and political beliefs of your average Russian are very similar to many Red State conservatives, as has been noted on this webzine at least once in recent memory (and with an accompanying political map with similarities noted between American Blue and Red States compared with Russia). The American left projects its racist hate onto the Russians in response to those similarities.
It is not a coincidence that this anti-Russian climate of hatred started back when Putin showed up the left's president, Barack Obama, over Libya.
That also explains the left's hypocrisy on war: their tribe's racial leader, Obama, wanted war in Libya, so war is now good; Russia opposed it and later prevented war in Syria (which Obama wanted), so the Russians are now the bad guys. It's purely a matter of tribal affiliation and racial hate on the part of the American left.@RepublicAnon  Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 4:51 pm GMT
I wonder if America will have a Suez event in the upcoming decade?
She already had it and one is unfolding right this moment. For an empire of this size and influence, granted declining dramatically, it takes a sequence of events. "Suez Moment" for Britain happened during WW II, the actual Suez crisis was merely a nominal conclusion to British Empire dying in WW II.""Suez Moment" for Britain happened during WW II, the actual Suez crisis was merely a nominal conclusion to British Empire dying in WW II."Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 14, 2019 at 5:22 pm GMT
True. Syria might have been the American Suez Moment. We'll see in the coming years if we get a crisis that lays it all bare.@Anonnotanon , says: April 14, 2019 at 6:04 pm GMT
We'll see in the coming years if we get a crisis that lays it all bare.
Ongoing real Revolution in Military Affairs and US losing conventional (and nuclear) arms race is what unfolds right now. Realistically, Putin's March 1, 2018 Speech to Federal Assembly was also one of these moments -- as I said, the process is protracted and at each of its phases US geopolitical cards have been aced and trumped, NO pun intended.when i read these people i get the impression there are two camps:notanon , says: April 14, 2019 at 6:12 pm GMT
1) political globalists who wanted a liberal world order but didn't think about the economic side of things much and so let their economic policy be decided by the central banking mafia
2) The central banking mafia who understood globalization was simply their criminal looting of the West backed up by a big military who could be rented out from a corrupted political class.
it seems the first group still don't understand that it was the banking mafia's neoliberal economics
– currency debasement
– cheap labor
that destroyed their dream.
the same three things have been destroying civilizations for 3000 years.Priss Factor , [AKA "Asagirian"] says: Website April 14, 2019 at 8:37 pm GMT
The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world more than anything else, and this alliance is possible only through Russia.
i think this is short-sighted. The global north needs to combine to contain the global south or the central banking mafia will eventually use them to destroy the north's genetic advantages and all our descendants will end up as 85 IQ slave-cattle.The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today, is rapidly collapsing.Republic , says: April 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
Really? Where? US is still in Middle East and now threatens war with Iran. Venezuela is on the brink. Japan and EU are the ever loyal dogs of the US. If they've been upset with Trump, it's not because he wants to exert more influence but less.@Andrei Martyanovhgw , says: April 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm GMT
the actual Suez crisis was merely a nominal conclusion to British Empire dying in WW II
The Atlantic charter signed aboard the HMS Prince of Wales, in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland on August 14, 1941 by FDR and Churchill was probably the moment when the old British empire traded places with the new global power, the United States. So you are correct in your analysis.@MarkinLA This is not really about history, it is about power. Many of the US allies have much longer histories, but that does not help them in the power department. China and Russia have enough power to stand only on their own two feet.hgw , says: April 14, 2019 at 10:54 pm GMT@Andrei Martyanov You should think more about US being aced. Syria was a masterstroke, but so was Ukraine, and not for Russia. Russia lost an extremely valuable ally and a trully brother nation, maybe forever. Ukraine, in the grand scheme of things, is a huge defeat for Russia.Anon  Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:13 pm GMTAndrei Martyanov , says: Website April 15, 2019 at 12:00 am GMT
The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world more than anything else, and this alliance is possible only through Russia.
Sberbank calls on UAE businesses to invest in Russia, offers help
"According to the statement, the Gulf countries' total capital available for investment is estimated at more than $3.2 trillion but only "a small part" of capital earmarked for investing in Russia has actually gone into Russia-based projects."
"The Russian visitors set out Sberbank's technology strategy and described achievements by the Moscow-based lender in artificial intelligence development.
They also "pointed out interest in Islamic finance", the statement said."
http://emergingmarkets.me/sberbank-calls-on-uae-businesses-to-invest-in-russia-offers-help/@hgwAndrei Martyanov , says: Website April 15, 2019 at 12:11 am GMT
Ukraine, in the grand scheme of things, is a huge defeat for Russia.
You definitely missed last 25 years of Russian-Ukrainian relations. You also, evidently, have very vague understanding of the Ukrainian inner dynamics. I am not sure we can speak of "brother nation" because Ukraine as political nation (and she did form as such by early 2000s) can not be "brother nation" to Russia by definition. In fact, being anti-Russia is the only natural state of Ukrainian political nation.
There is another twist to all this–these are Russians now, who do not want to deal with Ukraine in any of her manifestations and, to rub the salt into the wound, Zbig was delusional when thought that denying Ukraine to Russia would spell the end of Russian "imperialism". As it turned out, Russia is doing just fine without Ukraine. In a long run, if what is called Ukraine today decides to commit suicide by the cop, she sure can try to place US military bases East of Dniepr and we will observe a rather peculiar case of fireworks.@RepublicDigital Samizdat , says: April 15, 2019 at 11:16 am GMT
The Atlantic charter signed aboard the HMS Prince of Wales,in Placentia Bay,Newfoundland on August 14, 1941 by FDR and Churchill was probably the moment when the old British empire traded places with the new global power, the United States.
This happened in 1941 at secret ABC (America-Britain-Canada) consultations where Lord Halifax was trying to recruit American resources for defense of Britain's imperial interests. US "politely" declined. Big Three became Big Two and a Half at 1943 Tehran Conference at which Stalin was very specific that USSR wanted American as a head of Overlord.
All this pursuant to a strategic scandal between US and British Empire at Casablanca where General Stanley Embick of Marshall's OPD accused Britain in his memorandum of avoiding fighting main Nazi forces due to Britain's imperial interests. Churchill knew the significance of Tehran and suffered non-stop bouts of jealousy and suspicion towards FDR and Stalin.
I am sure Sir Winston knew that FDR wanted to meet Stalin without him. Stalin refused to do so without Churchill. As per "global power"–sure, except for one teeny-weeny fact (or rather facts), since WW II "global power" didn't win a single war against even more-or-less determined enemy.@hgwneutral , says: April 15, 2019 at 12:22 pm GMT
Ukraine, in the grand scheme of things, is a huge defeat for Russia.
It would have been a total catastrophe for Russia had she lost Sebastopol; but so long as Crimea is safely in Moscow's hands, Ukraine is not make-or-break. Russia's global position now, in fact, is even stronger than it was in 2014.@bro3886neutral , says: April 15, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
Brazil of the North
It will be much worse than Brazil, Brazil managed to cover up the reality that whites dominate politics and the economy (although there is a new push to copy the American affirmative action ideology). In America whites will not be able to do what is happening in Brazil, all politics will be non white dominated, likewise the woke corporate blue haired brigade will ensure that non whites dominate all companies, no exceptions allowed. The end result of this is predictable, Americans will be wishing they were like Brazil.@Republic No it was earlier, it was when it decided to declare war on the Third Reich. It decided that Poland was more important than keeping its empire.Miro23 , says: April 15, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMTnotanon , says: April 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
Globalization has fueled the rise of populism, it has helped to exacerbate ethnic and racial tensions, and it is largely responsible for the hollowing out of America's industrial core.
Western corporations have been competing with each other (for decades now) to offshore everything to reduce costs /increase profits. The idea is to sell at Western prices and produce at Eastern prices, and this arbitrage has reached crazy proportions.
The US has in fact exported whole industrial sectors (with the jobs and innovation). Same in Europe with a company such as Decathlon (Europe's Nº1 sport goods supplier) entirely sourcing its products outside Europe.
Conclusion that if globalization fails, then so do these companies, and they have a massive incentive buy political protection from Western governments – which they are doing. Nationalism and America First are anathema to them and they have (amazingly) managed to built globalization and open frontiers into the ethos of the EU and US – with all the self-serving multicultural Save the World blah.
Jews also hate nationalism since it threatens their (minority) power and highlights dual loyalty (or no loyalty) so the Zio-Glob are on one side, and the public on the other, with little common ground between them.
This doesn't mean that it's impossible to stop outsourcing. If it happened, then Decathlon would either go bankrupt or have to switch production to Rumania or Portugal = higher prices, but at least the money would stay in Europe. Same with the other industries, and the first step has to be to cut down the power of the EU bureaucracy and Washington.@neutral the banking mafia wanted war cos Hitler closed down the German branch of the central bank.Willie , says: Website April 18, 2019 at 12:22 am GMT
the rest was puppetry.Just prepare fort the impending surge in Totalitarian methods to halt the inevitable in the USA.Alfred , says: April 20, 2019 at 5:42 am GMT
The rest of the world is not our playground.
Good luck.@Andrei Martyanov Haas and CFR included, do not operate with actual facts and data.Oristayne , says: April 20, 2019 at 6:36 am GMT
Absolutely correct. Without an honest media, it is impossible to make good decisions.
Those Zionists who control the media in the West are deluding themselves. They will be the biggest losers when ordinary people finally wake up to the fact that they have been lied to for over 100 years – WW1, WW2, Palestine, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, MH-17, Skripals, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, 9/11 and many other instances.This is a phenomenal article. What an incredibly written piece; much respect to you Mike Whitney.Ma Laoshi , says: April 20, 2019 at 7:20 am GMTNot so fast. OK, so maybe Zbig had some second thoughts about the whole project in 2012. But didn't the same Zbig opine in 2015, at the start of Russia's Syria intervention, that the US should strike hard and fast before the Russkies managed to complete their buildup there? To me that sounded rather much like an unprovoked attack on Russian troops, who were legally in Syria at the invitation of its internationally recognized government.Iris , says: April 20, 2019 at 10:58 am GMT
Bottom line, for all of his far-too-long career Mr. Brzezinski has been exactly what one would expect from the spiritual father of al-Qaeda: a vile and reckless individual. Anyone looking that way for salvation needs some time out for reflection.Ahuehuete , says: April 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
This strikes me as a particularly well-reasoned and insightful article. It shows that Brzezinski understood that the world had changed, that power had shifted eastward,
This is an excellent article, which addresses the key historic driver of our time. By 2015, world GDP had already passed the threshold where the GDP share of the West had become lesser than the share of the Rest.
The major share of global wealth shifting towards Asia is an ineluctable historic re-alignment; it is a natural return to the long-term historic balance pre-Industrial Revolution.
Western politicians ' problem is that they don't want to "break the news" to their people that Western standards of living are going to degrade ineluctably over the coming years , because that would expose their incompetence, as well as highlight the need to address wealth inequality in the West .
It is easier instead to the blame the disenfranchised, pauperised citizens voting for Trump, Brexit, and other "extreme" political parties.@bro3886 When you think about it, the USA is going to become the next South Africa.Zbig , says: April 20, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMTZbig was, and still is, even tho' he is dead now. He was the original zio-neocon illuminist satantic globalist elite.Rubby2 , says: April 21, 2019 at 3:24 am GMT@WaltEndgame Napoleon , says: April 21, 2019 at 11:48 pm GMT
At least Brzezinski became well aware of this shift. So many of America's neo-conservatives have largely failed in expressing this defeat. Between Brzezinski and Boot, & the Others, they've all turned out to be fanatic ideologues.@notanon Ralph Nader used to say the big issue is money in politics -- the money that "Congress Critters" use to get their government jobs at $174k. To get one of those government jobs, you don't have to understand something as complex as the banking system, which is made more opaque by the globalist neoliberals who want to maintain the Cheap Labor Lobby's beloved status quo.
You don't have to be Nomi Prins, someone who actually worked on Wall Street and knows its nooks and crannies, to get a Congress Critter job. You just have to be the right kind of pander bear with the right kind of faux outrage at selective moments.
The other problem is that -- like most of us in the general public -- Congress Critters have to rely on people in the financial system to navigate the terrain. It's a math-heavy field. Politicians have apparently always done this. They have created more than one era with too-big-to-fail institutions. That is what one of Prins' books describes.
But it does not matter whether it's bankers or the manufacturers, employing welfare-assisted illegal aliens or foreign nationals on foreign soil. And it does not matter that Congress Critters occasionally put the bigwigs on the hot seat as a PR stunt. They aren't going to do anything to actually change policy unless the corporate masters who fund their campaigns give them the go ahead. And they don't really even understand why.[MORE]
If you think Congress Critters understand the global banking system, you should watch the banking committee hearing on C-SPAN, where they grilled the Treasury Secretary, dressing him down like he was a $10-per-hour call center worker. It makes for good theater.
Just like at a call center, the humiliation parade had nothing to do with the details of the work or getting anything done other than convincing voters that a bunch of fabulously wealthy legislators (every one) with a 212-day work year really care, especially about predatory factors in the financial system that supposedly affect only oppressed skin-pigmentation factions, located in their districts.
You vicariously enjoy rebellious facial expressions that you could never exhibit during a frequently absentee mom manager's tirades for fear of being fired from a churn job that does not cover the cost of rent that has risen by 72% over 25 years, even when you add any paltry commission for taking the trouble to always meeting your numbers. But that will be the extent of it. It is for show.
My favorite part was Empire-related; it involved the Rep. from Guam, a Congress Critter from one of US's far-flung territories. His mild and precise disposition made a strong contrast with the Chairwoman's fiery ambiguity. Since his questions were math-related and about specific budgetary matters, the Treasury Secretary seemed more frazzled than when he was receiving the emotional Sermon from the gavel-happy chairwoman.
Guam Rep asked the Treasury Secretary about a massive transference of funds from the budget, affecting things like the territory's education budget, trying to clarify whether the Earned Income Tax Credit was actually a "liability."
The language of most of our legislators reflects how bought off they are by the Cheap Labor Lobby. Which is why this Rep from Guam's straight-forward language was so refreshing.
By design, the "Child" "Tax" "Credit" and the Earned Income Tax Credit sound like things that would not subtract from the overall budget to me, too, but this is not money going to people who paid too much income tax. This is money that is credited back to people who make too little to pay income tax.
The moms often call it their "taxes," when explaining to you what they plan to spend it on. It is not education, Rep. from Guam. It is stuff like trips to the beach with a boyfriend and tattoos. That's doable for many low-wage mom workers since their major monthly bills are covered by government.
I enjoyed the Treasury Secretary's facial expressions at this point as well. It appeared to be two math types who didn't really thrive on the process of figuring out how to spin this fiscal irresponsibility, squirming in their chairs and / or looking kind of aghast at the absurdity of the situation.
It would have been nice if the Rep from Guam had been honest enough to narrow that down even more, explaining that the small amount of EITC money going to non-womb-productive, non-welfare-eligible citizens who mostly don't bother to claim such a paltry sum is the not the big issue.
It is the Refundable Child Tax Credit up to $6,431, not so much the smaller maximum EITC of up to $451. It is the big check, given as an additional reward to single-breadwinner, womb-productive households that also often receive free EBT food, reduced-cost rent, monthly cash assistance and free electricity when the single breadwinner works part-time, keeping her income under the earned-income limits for the programs.
He mentioned that Guam has a lot of poor workers like that, but so does the mainland. It is one of the big reasons for the impending collapse: undremployment of prime-aged citizens.
If it is due to technology, it is just because employers of office workers now mostly need data entry people since advanced software does most of the mid-level analytical work. And employers love to hire a near-100% womb-productive "diversity"of childbearing-aged moms with spousal income, rent-covering child support or welfare and refundable child tax credit cash who do not need decent pay or full-time hours. "It would mess them up with the government," as one all-mom employer put it.
Employers benefit from a welfare-fueled workforce that does not need higher pay. The Cheap Labor Lobby benefits. Congress Critters at $174k benefit via fat campaign war chests, but the many welfare-ineligible job seekers who need for pay alone to cover all household bills are screwed royally in this rigged system.
It is also screwing the SS Trust Fund that is no longer running surpluses and a lot of other things.
Guam Rep asked the Treasury Secretary if he was responsible and, specifically, what could he done to help restore fiscal order. Of course, the Treasury Secretary isn't responsible for the mid-allocation of funds. Pandering Congress Critters are. They have the "power of the purse" per US Constitution. The Treasury Sec. just tries to balance the books.
But it was nice that at least one of them showed some non-theatrical concern for finding out which of the six-figure Critters is responsible. He sounded like he wanted constructive action to stop the Neoliberal House of Cards from just putting more structurally unsound cards on the deck.
Good luck with that
Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to JohnH... , April 21, 2019 at 09:42 AM"Who said anything anti-Semitic?..."RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , April 21, 2019 at 09:44 AM
[There is an assumption among the financialized left that any mention of George Soros or the Rothschild family is based in anti-Semitism regardless of the facts of any such statement. In part it is because so much anti-Semitism exists and is gratuitously directed at the rich in general, but particularly the rich that are well known for their ruthless securities trading techniques, principally market moving short-sales. The other part of course is that there is so much loyalty gratuitously directed towards rich patrons of mainstream liberalism that it needs to self-justify behind accusations of reactionary bias. Perhaps liberals learned guilty until proven innocent from Jim Crow. In any case, accusations of anti-Semitism or racism are a powerful antidote to criticism wherever that they can be applied.
My solution to this conundrum is just to give up. I am doing fine on my own and the rest of these people are just not worth the effort, particularly given that any attempt to open and honest discussion is just so much pissing into the wind.
I got weeds to pull and bulbs to plant. Happy Easter.]OTOH, I guess that the Rockefeller family patrons of both neoconservatism and neoliberalism are fair game.RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , April 21, 2019 at 09:46 AM...unless that would be considered anti-Semitism by association since the Rockefeller family and Rothschild family are now business partners in global finance.JohnH -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , April 21, 2019 at 09:46 AMShould any criticism of Bernie Sanders be taken as anti-semitic? What about criticism of anyone groomed or promoted by Bernie?
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
blue peacock , 21 April 2019 at 12:15 PMWho is taking the over/under on whether Barr will actually investigate the origins of the attempted entrapment of Trump in Russia collusion and the roles played by key players in US law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as the Brits & Aussie government agencies therein?Tom22ndState -> blue peacock... , 21 April 2019 at 05:43 PM
I'm willing to bet that it will all be swept under the rug and that Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Lynch & Rice will not be testifying to any grand jury. Barr has received multiple criminal & conspiracy referrals from Rep. Devin Nunes. However, Trump himself disregarded Nunes recommendation to declassify several documents & communications including the FISA application on Carter Page. The question is does Trump want to get to the bottom of the conspiracy? So far all he's done is tweet. IMO, Barr is the epitome of a Swamp Rat."Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." – Sun TzuMad Max_22 , 21 April 2019 at 06:17 PM
I have a feeling that President Trump will declassify and release the relevant documents in a manner that they will have maximum effect. It is stunning that the entirety of federal law enforcement, intelligence, and State department embraced and fortified Russian misinformation in their jihad against Trump.
This must never happen again. At least the operation was run by political hacks, former analysts who fancied themselves as operators. Their ham- fisted prints are over this shit storm. Thank you God for Comey, Brennan, and Clapper -- the three stooges of espionage.I suppose that it's possible that AG Barr's DoJ will mount a serious investigation into the many tentacles ongoing governmental debacle that began with the Lynch DoJ providing political direction and cover for Comey's FBI to lie down on the Clinton e-mail investigation. Which came first, the cover up, or the capitulation, is not completely clear. Perhaps it was a hand in glove affair. Suffice it to say that by any standard of competence, it was a faux effort.jdledell , 21 April 2019 at 06:28 PM
In my opinion, what was not done should constitute the elements of an obstruction violation. It would be a difficult charge to argue before a jury. Was the level of incompetence such that a reasonable person could not believe that it could not exist in the FBI, that there had to be malicious intent?
Nevertheless, while it appeared to the Clinton partisans in the Obama White House, in the DoJ, the CIA, the FBI and overseas in the UK, that the e-mail case had been quashed sufficiently to preserve the likelihood of Clinton's accession, they had enough reservations to exploit a garbage pail of political dirt to take out an "insurance policy."
Once again the question, could they possibly have been so incompetent. "What the heck" appears to have been the launching pad; Clinton's going to win anyway, Trump will be crushed under the unmaskings, leaks, and innuendo; and no one will ever find out.
But Trump wins, and the unwholesome political cabal is now stuck with an investigation of an incoming President whom they had tried to frag on the skimpiest evidentiary grounds imaginable. And worse, he appears to be sensing there is something rotten in the state of Denmark, and Cardinal Jim Comey is a shitty liar, and now he's out, and what is going to happen to this garbage scow they've launched, now with Comey gone. How do they kill this thing? Worse, how do they kill the political riot this thing has caused. They can't; they double down; they take out another insurance policy - Jim Comey's good bud, Bob Mueller with a posse of partisan attorneys, many vets of the Obama DoJ, a couple of squads of FBI Agents, including two who were prominent in the e mail case and the Steele inquiry, and a set up akin to a shadow DoJ. What could go wrong? They would hound the bastard out of office.
Which returns us to the question of whether Barr will mount a serious investigation into the political scandal of the last 100 years, at least. I suppose it is possible, but right now I'm not optimistic. For one thing Barr appeared at the big press conference with Rod Rosenstein. Rod Rosenstein is at minimum a critical witness. There is every reason to suspect that Comey, McCabe, Mueller, and Rosenstein conferred before Comey's leak to the NYT via a lawyer friend in furtherance of Mueller's appointment.
Going side by side with Rosenstein at this juncture doesn't augur well.
On the other hand, the continuing lunatic behavior of the demented left may give Barr no other choice but to sort the mess out once and for all for the good of the country. We'll see.The biggest take I got out of the Mueller report is that Trump is a sleazy character and that is not what I want from the president, the Face of America to the rest of the world. Whether the Deep State went after Trump in an organized fashion is just noise in my ears. To me that is just normal political infighting the same as Trump and other Republicans went after Obama for being an illegitimate President as a non-citizen.turcopolier , 21 April 2019 at 06:28 PMSorry, but it IS NOT "normal political infighting" for the cabal to have sought and still to seek the overthrow of of the legitimate head of state and government.
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
blue peacock -> turcopolier ... , 21 April 2019 at 12:36 PMCol. Lang,
In a recent call from Trump requesting his opinion on China, Jimmy Carter noted that China has not spent a dime on war since 1979, whereas we've spent trillions & continue to spend even more.
China invested trillions in their infrastructure while ours crumbles. They've invested in building the world's manufacturing capacity while we dismantled ours. We spend twice per capita on healthcare compared to any other western country, yet chronic diseases like diabetes keeps growing. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined yet how superior is our weaponry compared to the Russians who spend one-tenth of what we spend? We've financialized our economy and socialized speculative losses of Wall St mavens but when some politicians talk about spending on the commons then socialism is labeled bad.
The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?
Apr 21, 2019 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , April 20, 2019 2:30 am
"Within approximately five hours of Trump's statement, GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton's personal office. "
The report shows that Russia coordinated with Trump even if he was unaware of it.
Do you understand that you implicate Obama administration in total and utter incompetence, if not pandering to the foreign intervention into the USA elections. The latter is called criminal negligence in legal speak.
So all our three letter agencies with their enormous budgets and staff including NSA which intercepts all incoming/outgoing communications (and probably most internal communications) can't protect the USA elections from interference that they knew about ? Why they did not warn Trump?
Or NSA assumed that it was yet another CIA "training exercise" imposing as Russian hackers?
It not clear why Russia need such a crude methods as, for example, hacking Podesta email via spearfishing (NSA has all the recodings in this case), as you can buy, say a couple of Google engineers for less then a million dollars (many Google engineers hate Google with its cult of performance reviews and know that they are getting much less then their Facebook counterparts, so this might well be not that difficult) and get all you want without extra noise.
Historically Soviet and, especially, East German intelligence were real experts in utilizing "humint". With the crash of neoliberal ideology that probably is easier for Russians now then it was for Soviets or East Germans in 60th-80th.
For example, from my admittedly nonprofessional point of view, the most logical assumption about DNC hack is that it was a mixture of the internal leak (download of the files to the UCB drive) and Crowdstrike false flag operation (cover up operation which included implanting Russian (or Ukrainian) malware from Vault 7 to blame Russians.
And that Gussifer 2.0 was most probably a fake personality created specifically to increase credibility of this false flag operation (see for example http://g-2.space/ and https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/guccifer-2-clinton-foundation-hack-leak/ )
likbez , April 20, 2019 1:12 pm
April 20, 2019 11:15 am
"Do you understand that you implicate Obama administration"
They did screw up.
Wrong. The fact that they did not warn/brief Trump suggests that this was an a deliberate and pre-planned attempt to entrap him by initiating Russian contacts by FBI/CIA/MI6 moles
We have some cursory evidence of at least four attempts to link Trump to Russians supposedly conducted by intelligence services ( https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/russiagate/ ):
- Moscow Trump Tower set up (via FBI mole Felix Saters), https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/the-fbi-tried-and-failed-to-entrap-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html
- DNC email setup (via CIA and FBI contractor Crowdstrike ) https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/test-it-yourself-the-2-second-rounding-fact-pattern-in-the-dnc-emails-by-william-binney-and-larry-jo.html
- Veselnitskaya Trump tower meeting set up (via MI6 mole Rob Goldstone). https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/httpstruepunditcomexclusive-six-u-s-agencies-conspired-to-illegally-wiretap-trump-british-intel-used-as-fr.html
- Papadopoulos set up ( via Josef Misfud (MI6) and Stefan Halper (CIA) ). At the time Halper probably was reporting to the current CIA director Gina Haspel who was at this time CIA station chief in GB. She is a Brennan protégé, of recent Skripals dead ducks hoax fame.
Surveillance was specifically established to collect compromising material on Trump and his associates with high level official in Obama administration (and probably Obama himself) playing coordinating role.
Colonel Lang's blog is a good source of information on those issues with posts by former intelligence specialists.
And please note that I am not a Trump supporter. I resent him and his policies.
Mar 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Felix Sater, the man at the center of a controversial email "tying" President Trump to Russia while trying to work a business deal, has come forward in a comprehensive BuzzFeed News Exposé, which if Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Anthony Cormier and co-author Jason Leopold hadn't verified - nobody would believe.
Sater went from a "Wall Street wunderkind" working at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, to getting barred from the securities industry over a barroom brawl which led to a year in prison, to facilitating a $40 million pump-and-dump stock scheme for the New York mafia, to working telecom deals in Russia - where the FBI and CIA tapped him as an undercover intelligence asset who was told by his handler " I want you to understand: If you're caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head ."
... ... ...
Meanwhile, Sater is still working for the FBI , according to two current FBI agents. Moreover, he has relationships with at least six members of Robert Mueller's team, "some going back more than 10 years."
To this day, Sater continues to cooperate with the FBI and Justice Department, he said in his statement to the House Intelligence Committee. He wouldn't disclose additional details, except to say that he works on "international matters." Two US officials confirmed Sater continues to be a reliable asset.
As for his regular life, when he relocated back to the US in 2010, he recalled, "Donald said, 'Where have you been?'" Sater said Trump asked him to join the Trump Organization. "That's when I became senior advisor to him," he said. The Trump Organization and the White House declined to comment. - BuzzFeed
In effect, Sater - at least according to BuzzFeed , is more or less a rockstar opportunist spy with a shady past, who redeemed himself as an asset for the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the FBI. During the course of his work for the agencies, all unpaid, BuzzFeed confirmed the following exploits:
- He obtained five of the personal satellite telephone numbers for Osama bin Laden before 9/11 and he helped flip the personal secretary to Mullah Omar, then the head of the Taliban and an ally of bin Laden, into a source who provided the location of al-Qaeda training camps and weapons caches.
- In 2004, he persuaded a source in Russia's foreign military intelligence to hand over the name and photographs of a North Korean military operative who was purchasing equipment to build the country's nuclear arsenal.
- Sater provided US intelligence with details about possible assassination threats against former president George W. Bush and secretary of state Colin Powell. Sater reported that jihadists were hiding in a hut outside Bagram Air Base and planned to shoot down Powell's plane during a January 2002 visit. He later told his handlers that two female al-Qaeda members were trying to recruit an Afghan woman working in the Senate barbershop to poison President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.
- He went undercover in Cyprus and Istanbul to catch Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminals around 2005. After the FBI set him up with a fake name and background, Sater posed as a money launderer to help nab the suspects for washing funds stolen from US financial institutions .
Mar 23, 2019 | www.truthdig.com
Gordon begins her comparison by exploring the main charge levied against Nazis during the Nuremberg trials, which was committing a crime against peace due to Germany's breach of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which, she explains, "essentially outlawed war." American prosecutors in the mid-20th century insisted that this initial crime was the unlawful act from which all other crimes committed by the Nazis originated.
"By comparison," the author tells Scheer, "I look at the Bush-Cheney administration's decision to make an unnecessary and illegal war, both in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq.
"It's very clear from the documentary record that exists that the main reason people were being tortured [by the U.S. before the Iraq War began] was because they wanted to get somebody somewhere to say that Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaida, so that there could be an excuse for invading Iraq," Gordon says.
Throughout the so-called war on terror, the ethics expert says, the U.S. has also violated several rules set forth in just-war theory, including what constitutes collateral damage and proportionality, in its slaughter of countless Iraqi civilians.
"We took what had been one of the most vibrant, developed and cosmopolitan countries in that part of the world -- which was Iraq -- and we essentially did what [U.S. military officials] used to say they wanted to do to North Vietnam: bombed it back to the Stone Age," Gordon says.
Listen to Scheer and Gordon discuss a range of moral issues that Americans for several generations have swept under the rug as the government both openly and secretly commits crimes in their name abroad. You can also read a transcript of the interview below the media player.
Robert Scheer: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence. The intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, it's Rebecca Gordon. And she has her doctorate in ethics and social theory. I teach ethics at USC; you teach at the University of San Francisco, which is a Catholic school, so presumably with all their difficulties they're still concerned about ethics. And actually we have a good pope, in major ways, who's dealing with the subject I want to talk to you about: the ethics of war making, and the violence that has been unleashed on the world. And you wrote two very important books, maybe the most important in some ways. One is called Mainstreaming Torture, and another is called American Nuremberg. So the question I want to ask you, you know, because we've always treated the crimes of others, particularly the Germans, the worst crimes of modern history, as an aberration in the development of the human race. Those people went berserk, crazy, and they were evil; now we have another category, Muslims are evil, they do terrible things. We're recording this on a day where in New Zealand, some 48 people trying to practice their religion were killed. So we see a lot of crime against Muslims, as there was obviously a lot of crimes against Jews and other people. And in your writing, you're very clear that the crimes of Nuremberg, of the Nazis, are a low level of evil. But the real question is, the Germans are so much like Americans. They were–largest number of immigrants in this country were Germans; they're a white, Anglo-Saxon population; they're highly educated, probably the highest level of music and science at that point. And can it happen here?
Rebecca Gordon: And that, of course, is the question many of us have been asking at least since the election of 2016, and probably before that. And the answer in some ways, of course, is that it did happen here with the invasion of the Americas by people from Europe, and the destruction of all the peoples who were living here at the time. So there has been a genocide on this continent and in South America that, you know, we just forget about, because it happened a while ago. But coming to Nuremberg, what I was trying to do in the book is to say how important the principle was that was established at Nuremberg, which is that international law is real law. And when you break international law, there are genuine consequences, and people can and should be held accountable. So what I looked at was the conduct of this so-called War on Terror in the post-September 11th period, and asked: Could the United States be accused of the same categories of crimes for which the Nazi leadership were held accountable? And there were three categories that were established by the prosecution, and these were crimes against peace; ordinary war crimes, which had already been well described in the body of international law; and a new category, crimes against humanity, which was created in order to take in the enormity of what had been done in Europe by the Nazis. But what was very interesting is that it was Americans who insisted that the first of these crimes should be crimes against peace. So what's that? That means making an aggressive war. It means starting a war that was not a war of self-defense, that was not a war of so-called necessity, but making an aggressive war. Why was that illegal? It was illegal because Germany and the United States and many other countries in Europe had signed a treaty in 1928 called the Kellogg–Briand Treaty, which essentially outlawed war. It said that nations will not use war to settle their disputes. And the argument that the U.S. prosecutors made was that all the other crimes that the Germans committed actually sprang from this first crime of making this aggressive, unnecessary, illegal war. And so by comparison, I look at the Bush-Cheney administration's decision to make an unnecessary and illegal war, both in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq. And just as the Nazi crimes arose from this making of a war that was wrong and illegal, the U.S. crimes–and specifically now because my area of expertise is torture, I look at the reasons why the United States became involved in torture. And in the beginning, it's very clear from the documentary record that exists, that the main reason people were being tortured, both in the CIA dark sites and also at Guantanamo under the Department of Defense, was because they wanted to get somebody somewhere to say that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al-Qaeda, so that there could be an excuse for invading Iraq. And so the other crimes–
RS: But wait, let's be very clear about that. This would be like the Nazis saying, Jewish bankers destroyed our economy and colluded with Western powers, and therefore made life untenable in Germany. That was the vicious scapegoating argument to justify Nazi expansion and destruction of other societies. So this thing of whether Bush–you know, it's kind of become part of folklore–they lied us into the war in Iraq. But what you're saying, and very clearly, the very idea of going to war in Iraq over the 9/11 incident, which not only did Saddam Hussein have–
RG: Nothing to do with.
RS: –nothing to do with, but actually he was opposed to Al-Qaeda, and it was the one country where Al-Qaeda could not operate in, was Iraq. But instead of going to war with Pakistan, or going to war, you know, elsewhere–no. We–
RG: Or Saudi Arabia.
RS: Well, of course, Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 hijackers–
RG: Came from.
RS: –came from. You could actually make an argument to go into–hey, you attacked us, you supplied the money and so forth. No, we whitewashed the Saudi Arabia thing and went to war with Iraq. So your analogy, listeners should understand, is very precise. It is inventing an excuse, a defensive excuse, to engage an offensive invasion.
RG: Exactly. And from that spring all of these other kinds of crimes. So then I look at ordinary war crimes, and if you go over the Geneva Conventions and the various other laws of war, you can see that there are a number of categories of crimes. Many of them have to do with failing to make the distinction between civilians and fighters, combatants. And of course the Bush-Cheney administration very early on decided to create a third, nonexistent category called unlawful combatants. But this designation doesn't exist in the International Red Cross's understanding; it doesn't exist in the Geneva Convention's. It was just a convenient way of saying this particular group of people, whoever it is that we choose to capture, detain forever, torture–they have no legal standing in the world. They exist outside of international law.
RS: So let me pick up on that also. And I don't want to lose the earlier thread of the invention of war, and connecting with this incredibly important work you've done on torture. And you made the statement, which I think people should ponder: the reason we were torturing these people was not to get information about a future attack. We already had Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and everything, we knew everything about it, and so forth. The real reason for it was to invent an alibi for the invasion, to get somebody to say Saddam Hussein was backing them. And I think that's a very important–a reason, by the way, to read your book, Mainstreaming Torture ; let me give a plug here. But this other argument is also interesting, the whole idea of the noncombatant. And we are doing this interview at a time when Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, is in prison–
RS: –again, because they want to fabricate a story about WikiLeaks and all that, and get everybody off the hook for all of the crimes and torture and everything they've done. But the interesting thing is, if you look at what did WikiLeaks–and they were just like in the position of the Washington Post with the Pentagon Papers, they're the publisher–what did Chelsea Manning reveal? She revealed the death of noncombatants, including journalists. So why don't you develop that a little bit, because that is so critical to the moment, that no one–no one has been prosecuted for those attacks that she revealed with the data. But she is now sitting in prison.
RG: And this is, of course–the fate of whistleblowers all over the world, and certainly in this country, is exactly that. That the matters that they have revealed disappear in a story that becomes about the crimes of the revealer. And of course in the war in Iraq, there was tremendous amounts of civilian death. And it falls into a number of categories; one category is those people who had actually been detained and were being held by U.S. forces. And for example at Abu Ghraib, we know–which is the prison outside of Baghdad that had been Saddam Hussein's major torture site, and which the U.S. decided in its wisdom would be the perfect place to hold detainees, and where we know a group of reservists ended up torturing people. But the real torture was going on upstairs, by the employees of various C.I.A. contractors, and by the C.I.A. itself. And that's where people actually died. So there's that whole category of people, but that's a much smaller category than the category of ordinary civilians whose lives were either ended or destroyed by the regular U.S. use of warfare in places like Fallujah and other cities. So that we took what had been one of the most vibrant, developed, and cosmopolitan countries in that part of the world–which was Iraq–and we essentially did what they used to say they wanted to do to North Vietnam, bombed it back to the Stone Age. And so in just war theory, there are these rules about discriminating between combatants and noncombatants, and you are permitted a certain number of civilian deaths as long as they are side effects of your attempt to go after some legitimate military target. And this is called collateral damage; it's, collateral means on the side, right? But in fact, in Iraq, we don't know because there are many different counts, but anywhere between 500,000 and a million people have died in the U.S. invasion and occupation in Iraq. And when you lay that against the 3,000 people who died on September 11th, none of whom were killed by anyone even from Iraq, you also see that we have violated another rule of just war theory, which is proportionality. We have destroyed human life out of all proportion.
RS: And let me just–you know, it's so difficult to grapple with these questions. And you are teaching at one of the major Catholic universities here.
RG: It's a Jesuit university, and that's a little different. And these are the left-wing Jesuits.
RS: I'm not putting down your school. [Laughter] Hey, I teach ethics at the University of Southern California–
RG: Enough said.
RS: –and clearly, yes, we are ethically challenged at this moment. I was about to actually celebrate the pope in this regard. And so there is a certain necessity for being consistent in the application of these principles, or they mean nothing.
RS: And I think that's the body of your life's work, to remind us of that. So in a sense, you are at a good place where you're teaching. I'm just wondering, how is this disregarded so widely? I mean, people make a big deal about don't kill the unborn child. You know, I could see arguments about that. But if that's the beginning of a consistent, pro-life position, yes, it makes certain sense. If it's the end of a pro-life position, and then you end welfare and you don't care what happens to the baby and so forth, you're into a deep immorality. And it seems to me you're at a very interesting place. Because for better or worse, this pope seems to be the only one able to challenge, let's call it U.S. imperialism or imperial ventures, on a moral basis.
RG: I think that's right. He certainly is doing a better job of that than either of his last two predecessors.
RS: Or the major–
RG: Other major, yeah. No, I think that's right. And I think, you know, it's interesting that at USF, we have Reserve Officers' Training Corps. We have people who are training to be second lieutenants when they leave university in the U.S. Army. And I have had students tell me, I had a student from Guam who told me, you know, Professor Gordon, I know that when they send me to basic training, they're going to try to take me apart and change me from being a person into being a soldier. And I just want you to know that I'm not going to let them do that to me. He said, but you know, ROTC was my ticket off the island, and I have a duty now to follow through with my promise. And I just, my heart broke for him. Because what they do to you in basic training is actually a slightly lighter version of what they do when they train torturers. Everyone who becomes a torturer–and people don't just torture on a whim; people are trained to be torturers. And part of that training involves being brutalized first yourself, and having survived that ordeal, you emerge with this sense of yourself as an elite person who therefore has the right, as a superior being, and now the skills, to turn around and abuse and torture people who come along behind you. And the U.S. has its own methods of training, and its own locations where this happens.
RS: [omission for station break] I'm back after our break with Professor and Doctor Rebecca Gordon. And we were just talking about how we train people to be torturers. And this is fascinating, because if you don't consider this question, that you're getting basically good people to do horrible things, you're missing the whole point. But I just want to say something about the good German. Because the basic appeal of Hitler was the solid–you know, he was going to make Germany great again. And this is, I'm not demonizing Germans here, but Donald Trump's father was obviously familiar with this in his lineage, in that tradition. And the whole appeal, even though this dictator Hitler was this funny-looking guy, hardly the Aryan model–was to a notion of order. And even in the concentration camps, keeping direct bookkeeping of how many teeth you pulled and gold you found in the teeth, and so forth. But it's not–manners. They had the manners. And what bothers me about the very simplistic Trumpwashing that we're going through now, that Trump is uniquely evil–it's all about manners. He's crude, he's boorish, he's a misogynist, he says these things, he does these things, he grabs people's private parts, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That's not his crime. His crime is he's continuing a tradition of bombing people who we have no right to bomb. And so I want to push this a little bit more, the whole question of manners. Because what Nuremberg did is unmask the manners. And this was also true in the Eichmann trial that Hannah Arendt talked about, when she talked about the banality of evil. Evil can be masked by manners. Smile while you learn to kill, right?
RG: That's exactly right. And I especially know, when you talk about the meticulous records that they kept, this is a hallmark of torture regimes all over the world. This very careful record-keeping, this documentation of the work that's been done–because there's no shame about the work. The process of becoming a torturer includes developing a sense of yourself as doing something uniquely courageous, uniquely necessary, a unique sacrifice that you as the torturer, more in sorrow than in anger, are being forced to do by the tremendous evil that confronts you. And so you're absolutely right that especially among upper-class liberals in the United States, the objection to Trump is his manner, and his manner is crude and obnoxious, as you say. But what he's really doing is not only continuing to kill people, and in fact increasing the number of drone strikes, for example, over the already great number that the Obama administration–
RS: A man of impeccable manners. Barack Obama. I even feel that way about Bill Clinton. When Bill Clinton's on television, I smile. I like him. He's warm, he's encouraging. And then I forget, he's the guy that ended the welfare system, for example. Yes.
RG: Exactly. Exactly right. And you know, Trump is now with his, I don't know if you've taken a look at his so-called budget, but he's planning to take away our Medicare and Medicaid, just in case you might have wanted to have healthcare. Obviously, that's dead on arrival. But nonetheless, the point is that he is masking what he is actually doing by distracting us with this bombastic display. And in fact, one of his officials in the EPA actually recently said exactly that, that they've been able to make all these regulatory changes because every time it looks as though the press is going to notice, Trump fires off a tweet, and everybody's like, ooh, shiny!
RS: This is a really important point. Because if you look at the Nuremberg Trial or you look at the Eichmann trial, these people all hid behind manners. They were well spoken, they were well educated, and they were following a Charlie Chaplinesque figure, a ludicrous figure; Hitler was certainly a, yes, he was a more ludicrous figure than Trump, in terms of manners and style and everything. But his popularity was largely based on being a sort of comic figure, in a way. He inspired a whole nation of logical, scientific, well-educated–probably the best-educated population in the world. And so I've had this experience, I've talked to people in the business community and they say well, you know, but Trump is good for business. And we did have a mess before, and then look at what's happened to unemployment, and so forth and so on. And so we are really at the limit of manners as a guide. And that's really what Nuremberg is about. Nuremberg was unmasking manners. Now, we didn't continue after that; we had the brief Eichmann trial. But what we didn't really ever do in this country–and this is why I want people to listen or to read your book, better to read it, although listening is great–we never really took apart the Nazi experience. Because we wanted the ex-Nazis and other Germans to be our allies in the Cold War. So we have never had that investigation of how an incredibly well-educated, Christian, law-and-order nation goes into madness.
RG: Not only that, we never did what the next step was supposed to be, which is establish a venue in which U.S. war crimes could also be examined in World War II. And there were a number of people who developed the Nuremberg principles, and worked on the original trial, who really honestly believed that this would be the prelude to establishing an international court for trying offenses committed during war, and expected that the United States would in fact be held accountable, not only for the firebombing of German cities, but for the destruction of up to 60 Japanese cities which were constructed of wood and paper and reduced to ashes, in a campaign that really very few people in this country even know about. Although Robert McNamara actually describes it in that excellent documentary–
RS: The Fog of War , yeah.
RG: -- The Fog of War.
RS: And it's excellent because you see that McNamara was involved in designing the bombing of Japan and Germany. But also, I mean–like, we talk about Korea. Oh, North Korea, animals, and Kim Il-sung and his progeny–nobody I ever run into knows we leveled every single structure in North Korea during the Korean War. Again, a war that was not needed; it was an attempt to get a Chinese communist who had come to power the year before. I mean, it's bizarre. Then you look at what we did to North Vietnam, and the carpet bombing, and everything. So this is critical. American exceptionalism–I've mentioned this a number of times on this podcast–to my mind, is a really, it's the most profound problem that American people have to face.
RG: It's a vicious idea. And it's been taken up in different ways by both the liberal democratic world, and by the, you know, the hard right in this country. The idea that by definition, the United States can do no wrong, because we are the leader of the so-called free world. Which is a locution I don't even understand anymore, given that we're not competing anymore with the unfree communist world that supposedly we were in opposition to. But the idea that–and this was the argument, actually, that the Bush administration made about torture. By definition, the United States is a country that does not torture. Therefore, whatever it is that you are observing, it cannot be torture, because that would be a logical contradiction, because we are the nation that doesn't do that. And it's almost impossible to enter into that understanding of the world, because no amount of evidence that you can present to the person who believes that is going to break that worldview. And so American exceptionalism allows us not only to have military bases in over