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American Imperialism Bulletin, 2017

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[Feb 04, 2019] Trump s Revised and Rereleased Foreign Policy: The World Policeman is Back

Highly recommended!
This article from 2017 looks like it was written yesterday. Trump betrayal of his elctorate on multiple levels, essentially on all key poin of his election program mkes him "Republican Obama".
What is interesting about Trump foreign policy is his version of neoliberal "gangster capitalism" on foreign arena: might is right principle applied like universal opener. Previous administrations tried to put a lipstick on the pig. Trump does not even bother.
In terms of foreign policy, and even during the transition before Trump's inauguration, there were other, more disturbing signs of where Trump would be heading soon. When Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016, Trump seemed jubilant as if he had somehow been vindicated, and took the opportunity to slander Castro as a "brutal dictator" who "oppressed his own people" and turned Cuba into a "totalitarian island".
Notable quotes:
"... However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first". ..."
"... Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat. ..."
"... The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. ..."
"... Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding. ..."
"... AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States? ..."
"... AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing? ..."
"... AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange? ..."
"... While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them. ..."
"... Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture ..."
"... As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world . ..."
"... To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits. ..."
"... As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is ..."
"... On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. ..."
"... As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics. ..."
"... As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition. ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | zeroanthropology.net

Trump could have kept quiet, and lost nothing. Instead what he was attacking -- and the irony was missed on his fervently right wing supporters -- was someone who was a leader in the anti-globalist movement, from long before it was ever called that. Fidel Castro was a radical pioneer of independence, self-reliance, and self-determination.

Castro turned Cuba from an American-owned sugar plantation and brothel, a lurid backwater in the Caribbean, into a serious international actor opposed to globalizing capitalism. There was no sign of any acknowledgment of this by Trump, who instead chose to parrot the same people who would vilify him using similar terms (evil, authoritarian, etc.). Of course, Trump respects only corporate executives and billionaires, not what he would see as some rag-tag Third World revolutionary. Here Trump's supporters generally failed, using Castro's death as an opportunity for tribal partisanship, another opportunity to attack "weak liberals" like Obama who made minor overtures to Cuba (too little, too late).

Their distrust of "the establishment" was nowhere to be found this time: their ignorance of Cuba and their resort to stock clichés and slogans had all been furnished to them by the same establishment they otherwise claimed to oppose.

Just to be clear, the above is not meant to indicate any reversal on Trump's part regarding Cuba. He has been consistently anti-communist, and fairly consistent in his denunciations of Fidel Castro. What is significant is that -- far from overcoming the left-right divide -- Trump shores up the barriers, even at the cost of denouncing others who have a proven track record of fighting against neoliberal globalization and US interventionism. In these regards, Trump has no track record. Even among his rivals in the Republican primaries, senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul had more of an anti-interventionist track record.

However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first".

Russia

Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat.

Instead, Trump continued the sanctions, as if out of meek deference to Obama's policy, one founded on lies and antagonism toward Trump himself. Rather than repair the foul attempt to sabotage the US-Russian relationship in preparation for his presidency, Trump simply abided and thus became an accomplice. To be clear, Trump has done precisely nothing to dampen the near mass hysteria that has been manufactured in the US about alleged -- indeed imaginary -- "Russian intervention".

His comments, both during the electoral campaign and even early into his presidency, about wanting good relations with Russia, have been replaced by Trump's admissions that US relations with Russia are at a low point (Putin agreed: "I would say the level of trust [between Russia and the US] is at a workable level, especially in the military dimension, but it hasn't improved. On the contrary, it has degraded " and his spokesman called the relations " deplorable ".)

Rather than use the power of his office to calm fears, to build better ties with Russia, and to make meeting with Vladimir Putin a top priority, Trump has again done nothing , except escalating tensions. The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. Russia had actively facilitated the US' war in Afghanistan for over a decade, and was a consistent collaborator on numerous levels. It is up to thinking American officials to honestly explain what motivated them to tilt relations with Russia, because it is certainly not Russia's doing. The only explanation that makes any sense is that the US leadership grew concerned that Russia was no longer teetering on the edge of total socio-economic breakdown, as it was under the neoliberal Boris Yeltsin, but has instead resurfaced as a major actor in international affairs, and one that champions anti-neoliberal objectives of enhanced state sovereignty and self-determination.

WikiLeaks

Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding.

After finding so much use for WikiLeaks' publication of the Podesta emails, which became incorporated into his campaign speeches, and which fuelled the writing and speaking of journalists and bloggers sympathetic to Trump -- he was now effectively declaring WikiLeaks to be both an enemy and a likely target of US government action, in even more blunt terms than we heard during the past eight years under Obama. This is not mere continuity with the past, but a dramatic escalation. Rather than praise Julian Assange for his work, call for an end to the illegal impediments to his seeking asylum, swear off any US calls for extraditing and prosecuting Assange, and perhaps meeting with him in person, Trump has done all of the opposite. Instead we learn that Trump's administration may file arrest charges against Assange . Mike Pompeo , chosen by Trump to head the CIA, who had himself cited WikiLeaks as a reliable source of proof about how the Democratic National Committee had rigged its campaign, now declared WikiLeaks to be a " non-state hostile intelligence service ," along with vicious personal slander against Assange.

Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks was one that he defended in terms that were not just a deceptive rewriting of history, but one that was also fearful -- "I don't support or unsupport" WikiLeaks, was what Trump was now saying in his dash for the nearest exit. The backtracking is so obvious in this interview Trump gave to the AP , that his shoes must have left skid marks on the floor:

AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States?

TRUMP: When Wikileaks came out never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it. When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, "Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff." You know, they tried to hack the Republican, the RNC, but we had good defenses. They didn't have defenses, which is pretty bad management. But we had good defenses, they tried to hack both of them. They weren't able to get through to Republicans. No, I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, "Wow." It was just a figure of speech. I said, "Well, look at this. It's good reading."

AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing?

TRUMP: No, I don't support or unsupport. It was just information .

AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?

TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it's OK with me. I didn't know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it's OK with me.

First, Trump invents the fictitious claim that WikiLeaks was responsible for hacking the DNC, and that WikiLeaks also tried to hack the Republicans. Second, he pretends to be an innocent bystander, a spectator, in his own administration -- whatever others decide, is "OK" with him, not that he knows about their decisions, but it's all up to others. He has no power, all of a sudden.

Again, what Trump is displaying in this episode is his ultimate attachment to his class, with all of its anxieties and its contempt for rebellious, marginal upstarts. Trump shuns any sort of "loyalty" to WikiLeaks (not that they ever had a working relationship) or any form of gratitude, because then that would imply a debt and therefore a transfer of value -- whereas Trump's core ethics are those of expedience and greed (he admits that much). This move has come with a cost , with members of Trump's support base openly denouncing the betrayal. 6

NAFTA

On NAFTA , Trump claims he has not changed his position -- yet, from openly denouncing the free trade agreement and promising to terminate it, he now vows only to seek modifications and amendments, which means supporting NAFTA. He appeared to be awfully quick to obey the diplomatic pressure of Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Mexico's President, Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump's entire position on NAFTA now comes into question.

While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them.

This really deserves to be treated at length, separately from this article. However, for now, let's keep in mind that when Trump complains about Canadian softwood lumber and dairy exports to the US, his argument about NAFTA is without merit. Neither commodity is part of the NAFTA agreement.

Moreover, where dairy is concerned, the problem is US overproduction. Wisconsin alone has more dairy cows than all of Canada . There is a net surplus , in the US' favour, with respect to US dairy exports to Canada. Overall, the US has a net surplus in the trade in goods and services with Canada. Regarding Mexico, the irony of Trump's denunciations of imaginary Mexican victories is that he weakens his own criticisms of immigration.

Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture.

As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world .

To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits.

His arguments with respect to Canada are akin to those of a looter or raider. He wants to block lumber imports from Canada, at the same time as he wants to break the Canadian dairy market wide open to absorb US excess production. That approach is at the core of what defined the US as a "new empire" in the 1800s. In addition, while Trump was quick to tear up the TPP, he has said nothing about TISA and TTIP.

Mexico

Trump's argument with Mexico is also disturbing for what it implies. It would seem that any evidence of production in Mexico causes Trump concern. Mexico should not only keep its people -- however many are displaced by US imports -- but it should also be as dependent as possible on the US for everything except oil. Since Trump has consistently declared his antagonism to OPEC, ideally Mexico's oil would be sold for a few dollars per barrel.

China

Trump's turn on China almost provoked laughter from his many domestic critics. Absurdly, what figures prominently in most renditions of the story of Trump's change on China (including his own), is a big piece of chocolate cake. The missile strike on Syria was, according to Wilbur Ross, the " after-dinner entertainment ". Here, Trump's loud condemnations of China on trade issues were suddenly quelled -- and it is not because chocolate has magical properties. Instead it seems Trump has been willing to settle on selling out citizens' interests , and particularly those who voted for him, in return for China's assistance on North Korea. Let's be clear: countering and dominating North Korea is an established favourite among neoconservatives. Trump's priority here is fully "neocon," and the submergence of trade issues in favour of militaristic preferences is the one case where neoconservatives might be distinguished from the otherwise identical neoliberals.

North Korea

Where North Korea is concerned, Trump chose to manufacture a " crisis ". North Korea has actually done nothing to warrant a sudden outbreak of panic over it being supposedly aggressive and threatening. North Korea is no more aggressive than any person defending their survival can be called belligerent. The constant series of US military exercises in South Korea, or near North Korean waters, is instead a deliberate provocation to a state whose existence the US nearly extinguished. Even last year the US Air Force publicly boasted of having "nearly destroyed" North Korea -- language one would have expected from the Luftwaffe in WWII. The US continues to maintain roughly 60,000 troops on the border between North and South Korea, and continues to refuse to formally declare an end to the Korean War and sign a peace treaty . Trump then announced he was sending an "armada" to the Korean peninsula, and boasted of how "very powerful" it was. This was in addition to the US deploying the THAAD missile system in South Korea. Several of his messages in Twitter were written using highly provocative and threatening language. When asked if he would start a war, Trump glibly replied: " I don't know. I mean, we'll see ". On another occasion Trump stated, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely". When the world's leading military superpower declares its intention to destroy you, then there is nothing you can do in your defense which anyone could justly label as "over the top". Otherwise, once again Trump posed as a parental figure, the world's chief babysitter -- picture Trump, surrounded by children taking part in the "Easter egg roll" at the White House, being asked about North Korea and responding "they gotta behave". Trump would presume to teach manners to North Korea, using the only tools of instruction that seem to be the first and last resort of US foreign policy (and the "defense" industry): bombs.

Syria

Attacking Syria , on purportedly humanitarian grounds, is for many (including vocal supporters) one of the most glaring contradictions of Trump's campaign statements about not embroiling the US in failed wars of regime change and world policing. During the campaign, he was in favour of Russia's collaboration with Syria in the fight against ISIS. For years he had condemned Obama for involving the US in Syria, and consistently opposed military intervention there. All that was consigned to the archive of positions Trump declared to now be worthless. That there had been a change in Trump's position is not a matter of dispute -- Trump made the point himself :

"I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don't change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I'm proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me -- big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I've been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn't get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility, and it's very, very possible -- and I will tell you, it's already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas. You're now talking about a whole different level".

Bending to the will of the prevailing Cold War and neo-McCarthyist atmosphere in the US, rife with anti-Russian conspiracy theories, Trump found an easy opportunity to score points with the hostile media, ever so mindful as he is about approval ratings, polls, and media coverage. Some explain Trump's reversals as arising from his pursuit of public adulation -- and while the media play the key role in purveying celebrity status, they are also a stiff bastion of imperialist culture. Given his many years as a the host of a popular TV show, and as the owner of the Miss Universe Pageant, there is some logical merit to the argument. But I think even more is at work, as explained in paragraphs above. According to Eric Trump it was at the urging of Ivanka that Donald Trump decided to strike a humanitarian-militarist pose. He would play the part of the Victorian parent, only he would use missiles to teach unruly children lessons about violence. Using language typically used against him by the mainstream media, Trump now felt entitled to pontificate that Assad is "evil," an " animal ," who would have to go . When did he supposedly come to this realization? Did Assad become evil at the same time Trump was inaugurated? Why would Trump have kept so silent about "evil" on the campaign trail? Trump of course is wrong: it's not that the world changed and he changed with it; rather, he invented a new fiction to suit his masked intentions. Trump's supposed opponents and critics, like the Soros-funded organizer of the women's march Linda Sarsour, showed her approval of even more drastic action by endorsing messages by what sounded like a stern school mistress who thought that 59 cruise missiles were just a mere "slap on the wrist". Virtually every neocon who is publicly active applauded Trump, as did most senior Democrats. The loudest opposition , however, came from Trump's own base , with a number of articles featuring criticism from Trump's supporters , and one conservative publication calling him outright a " weakling and a political ingrate ".

Members of the Trump administration have played various word games with the public on intervention in Syria. From unnamed officials saying the missile strike was a "one off," to named officials promising more if there were any other suspected chemical attacks (or use of barrel bombs -- and this while the US dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan); some said that regime change was not the goal, and then others made it clear that was the ultimate goal ; and then Trump saying, "Our policy is the same, it hasn't changed. We're not going into Syria " -- even though Trump himself greatly increased the number of US troops he deployed to Syria , illegally, in an escalation of the least protested invasion in recent history. Now we should know enough not to count this as mere ambiguity, but as deliberate obfuscation that offers momentary (thinly veiled) cover for a renewal of neocon policy .

We can draw an outline of Trump's liberal imperialism when it comes to Syria, which is likely to be applied elsewhere. First, Trump's interventionist policy regarding Syria is one that continues to treat that country as if it were terra nullius , a mere playground for superpower politics. Second, Trump is clearly continuing with the neoconservative agenda and its hit list of states to be terminated by US military action, as famously confirmed by Gen. Wesley Clark. Even Trump's strategy for justifying the attack on Syria echoed the two prior Bush presidential administrations -- selling war with the infamous "incubator babies" myth and the myth of "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). In many ways, Trump's presidency is thus shaping up to be either the seventh term of the George H.W. Bush regime, or the fifth straight term of the George W. Bush regime. Third, Trump is taking ownership of an extremely dangerous conflict, with costs that could surpass anything witnessed by the war on Iraq (which also continues). Fourth, by highlighting the importance of photographs in allegedly changing his mind, Trump has placed a high market value on propaganda featuring dead babies. His actions in Syria will now create an effective demand for the pornographic trade in pictures of atrocities. These are matters of great importance to the transnational capitalist class, which demands full global penetrability, diminished state power (unless in the service of this class' goals), a uniformity of expectations and conformity in behaviour, and an emphasis on individual civil liberties which are the basis for defending private property and consumerism.

Venezuela

It is very disturbing to see how Venezuela is being framed as ripe for US intervention, in ways that distinctly echo the lead up to the US war on Libya. Just as disturbing is that Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has a clear conflict of interest regarding Venezuela, from his recent role as CEO of Exxon and its conflict with the government of Venezuela over its nationalization of oil. Tillerson is, by any definition, a clear-cut member of the transnational capitalist class. The Twitter account of the State Department has a battery of messages sternly lecturing Venezuela about the treatment of protesters, while also pontificating on the Venezuelan Constitution as if the US State Department had become a global supreme court. What is impressive is the seamless continuity in the nature of the messages on Venezuela from that account, as if no change of government happened between Obama's time and Trump's. Nikki Haley, Trump's neocon ambassador to the UN, issued a statement that read like it had been written by her predecessors, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, a statement which in itself is an unacceptable intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs. For Trump's part, from just days before the election, to a couple of weeks after his inauguration, he has sent explicit messages of support for anti-government forces in Venezuela. In February, Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela's Vice President. After Syria and North Korea, Venezuela is seeming the likely focus of US interventionism under Trump.

NATO

Rounding out the picture, at least for now (this was just the first hundred days of Trump's presidency), was Trump's outstanding reversal on NATO -- in fact, once again he stated the reversal himself, and without explanation either: " I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete ". This came just days after the US missile strike against Syria, and just as Ivanka Trump was about to represent his government at a meeting of globalist women, the W20 . NATO has served as the transnational military alliance at the service of the transnational capitalist class, and particularly the military and political members of the TCC. 7

Saving Neoliberalism?

Has Trump saved neoliberal capitalism from its ongoing demise? Has he sustained popular faith in liberal political ideals? Are we still in the dying days of liberalism ? If there had been a centrally coordinated plan to plant an operative among the ranks of populist conservatives and independents, to channel their support for nationalism into support for the persona of the plant, and to then have that plant steer a course straight back to shoring up neoliberal globalism -- then we might have had a wonderful story of a masterful conspiracy, the biggest heist in the history of elections anywhere. A truly "rigged system" could be expected to behave that way. Was Trump designated to take the fall in a rigged game, only his huge ego got in the way when he realized he could realistically win the election and he decided to really tilt hard against his partner, Hillary Clinton? It could be the basis for a novel, or a Hollywood political comedy. I have no way of knowing if it could be true.

Framed within the terms of what we do know, there was relief by the ousted group of political elites and the liberal globalist media at the sight of Trump's reversals, and a sense that their vision had been vindicated. However, if they are hoping that the likes of Trump will serve as a reliable flag bearer, then theirs is a misguided wishful thinking. If someone so demonized and ridiculed, tarnished as an evil thug and racist fascist, the subject of mass demonstrations in the US and abroad, is the latest champion of (neo)liberalism, then we are certainly witnessing its dying days.

Is Trump Beneficial for Anti-Imperialism?

Once one is informed enough and thus prepared to understand that anti-imperialism is not the exclusive preserve of the left (a left which anyway has mostly shunned it over the last two decades), that it did not originate with the left , and that it has a long and distinguished history in the US itself , then we can move toward some interesting realizations. The facts, borne out by surveys and my own online immersion among pro-Trump social media users, is that one of the significant reasons why Trump won is due to the growth in popularity of basic anti-imperialist principles (even if not recognized under that name): for example, no more world policing, no transnational militarization, no more interventions abroad, no more regime change, no war, and no globalism. Nationalists in Europe, as in Russia, have also pushed forward a basic anti-imperialist vision. Whereas in Latin America anti-imperialism is largely still leftist, in Europe and North America the left-right divide has become blurred, but the crucial thing is that at least now we can speak of anti-imperialism gaining strength in these three major continents. Resistance against globalization has been the primary objective, along with strengthening national sovereignty, protecting local cultural identity, and opposing free trade and transnational capital. Unfortunately, some anti-imperialist writers (on the left in fact) have tended to restrict their field of vision to military matters primarily, while almost completely neglecting the economic and cultural, and especially domestic dimensions of imperialism. (I am grossly generalizing of course, but I think it is largely accurate.) Where structures such as NAFTA are concerned, many of these same leftist anti-imperialists, few as they are, have had virtually nothing to say. It could be that they have yet to fully recognize that the transnational capitalist class has, gradually over the last seven decades, essentially purchased the power of US imperialism. Therefore the TCC's imperialism includes NAFTA, just as it includes open borders, neoliberal identity politics, and drone strikes. They are all different parts of the same whole.

As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is. 8

On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. In addition to that, given that his candidacy aggravated internal divisions in the US, which have not subsided with his assumption of office, these domestic social and cultural conflicts cause a serious deficit of legitimacy, a loss of political capital. A declining economy will also deprive him of capital in the strict sense. Moreover, given the kind of persona the media have crafted, the daily caricaturing of Trump will significantly spur anti-Americanism around the world. If suddenly even Canadian academics are talking about boycotting the US, then the worm has truly turned. Trump can only rely on "hard power" (military violence), because "soft power" is almost out of the question now that Trump has been constructed as a barbarian. Incompetent and/or undermined governance will also render Trump a deficient upholder of the status quo. The fact that nationalist movements around the world are not centrally coordinated, and their fortunes are not pinned to those of Trump, establishes a well-defined limit to his influence. Trump's antagonism toward various countries -- as wholes -- has already helped to stir up a deep sediment of anti-Americanism. If Americanism is at the heart of Trump's nationalist globalism, then it is doing all the things that are needed to induce a major heart attack.

As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics.

As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition.

[Dec 31, 2017] Truth-Killing as a Meta-Issue

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. ..."
May 05, 2017 | nationalinterest.org
One of the best summary observations in this regard is from Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein , who writes on business and financial matters but whose conclusions could apply as well to Trump's handling of a wide range of foreign and domestic matters: " What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. What he says bears no relationship to any consistent political or policy ideology or world-view. What he says is also likely to bear no relationship to what his top advisers or appointees have said or believe, making them unreliable interlocutors even if they agreed among themselves, which they don't. This lack of clear policy is compounded by the fact that the president, despite his boasts to the contrary, knows very little about the topics at hand and isn't particularly interested in learning. In other words, he's still making it up as he goes along."

Many elements of dismay can follow from the fact of having this kind of president. We are apt to get a better idea of which specific things are most worthy of dismay as the rest of this presidency unfolds. I suggest, however, that a prime, overarching reason to worry is Trump's utter disregard for the truth. Not just a disregard, actually, but a determination to crush the truth and to instill falsehood in the minds of as many people as possible. The Post 's fact checker, Glenn Kessler , summarizes the situation by noting that "the pace and volume of the president's misstatements" are so great that he and other fact checkers "cannot possibly keep up."

Kessler also observes how Trump's handling of falsehoods is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the garden variety of lying in which many politicians indulge: "Many will drop a false claim after it has been deemed false. But Trump just repeats the claim over and over." It is a technique reminiscent of the Big Lie that totalitarian regimes have used, in which the repetition and brazenness of a lie help lead to its acceptance.

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth-factual reality -- is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

[Dec 30, 2017] The recent blather in the "Conservative" Commentariat that Haley is looking like Presidential material. God help us all

Dec 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Alarmist , December 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT

"Nikki Haley -- there is the real imbecile!"

And yet there is recent blather in the "Conservative" Commentariat that Haley is looking like Presidential material. God help us all.

[Dec 30, 2017] Nikki Haley The Bold Scold of the Trump Administration by Doug Bandow

This reincarnation of Madeleine "Not so bright" Albright is capable mostly of imperial bulling. But times changed...
Notable quotes:
"... While you are here For the last 15 years, our magazine has endeavored to be your refuge from the nasty partisan politics and Washington echo chamber with thoughtful, smart conservatism, fresh and challenging writing, and authors who, above all, bravely hew to our most basic tenets: Ideas over ideology, principles over party. Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end contribution so that TAC can make an even bigger difference in 2018! ..."
"... for reasons unknown (other than perhaps her Indian heritage), Donald Trump tapped her to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. There, she has performed to perfection, offering a model of the hubris and lack of awareness that consistently characterize U.S. foreign policy. ..."
"... What makes Americ a different from other nations when it comes to foreign policy is the certainty that it is the right -- indeed, the duty -- of Americans to run the world. That means telling everyone everywhere what they should do, not just internationally, but in their own nations, too. ..."
"... U.S. officials believe they know how other societies should organize their governments, who foreign peoples should elect, what economic policies other nations should implement, and what social practices foreigners should encourage and suppress ..."
"... . On Fox News (where else?) she declared: "We have the right to do whatever we want in terms of where we put our embassies." As for foreign criticism: "We don't need other countries telling us what's right and wrong." ..."
"... What could be more obvious? Other governments have no right to make decisions about their own countries, and need to be told what's right and wrong by Washington on any and every subject, day or night, in sunshine, rain, or snow. But another element of American exceptionalism is the fact that the U.S. is exempt from the rules it applies to other nations. Washington gets to lecture, but no one gets to tell Americans what they should do. ..."
"... The sad irony is that the U.S. would have greater credibility if it better practiced what it preached, and didn't attempt social engineering abroad that's routinely failed at home. Especially nice would be a bit more humility and self-awareness by Washington's representatives. But Nikki Haley seems determined to continue as a disciple of the Madeleine Albright school of all-knowing, all-seeing, all-saying diplomacy. As such, she's unlikely to fool anyone other than herself. ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Carrying on the tradition of hubris and hypocrisy of every other modern U.N. ambassador. While you are here For the last 15 years, our magazine has endeavored to be your refuge from the nasty partisan politics and Washington echo chamber with thoughtful, smart conservatism, fresh and challenging writing, and authors who, above all, bravely hew to our most basic tenets: Ideas over ideology, principles over party. Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end contribution so that TAC can make an even bigger difference in 2018!

As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley didn't have much need to worry about foreign policy. Yet for reasons unknown (other than perhaps her Indian heritage), Donald Trump tapped her to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. There, she has performed to perfection, offering a model of the hubris and lack of awareness that consistently characterize U.S. foreign policy.

What makes Americ a different from other nations when it comes to foreign policy is the certainty that it is the right -- indeed, the duty -- of Americans to run the world. That means telling everyone everywhere what they should do, not just internationally, but in their own nations, too.

U.S. officials believe they know how other societies should organize their governments, who foreign peoples should elect, what economic policies other nations should implement, and what social practices foreigners should encourage and suppress .

There is precedent for Washington as all-seeing and all-knowing. A sparrow cannot "fall to the ground apart from the will of" God, Jesus explained. So, too, it appears, is such an event impossible in America's view apart from U.S. approval.

Washington officials rarely are so blunt, but their rhetoric is routinely suffused with arrogance. The concept of American exceptionalism is one example. The country's founding was unique and the U.S. has played an extraordinary role in international affairs, but that does not sanctify policies that have often been brutal, selfish, incompetent, perverse, and immoral. Sometimes America's actions share all of those characteristics simultaneously -- such as aiding the royal Saudi dictatorship as it slaughters civilians in Yemen in an attempt to restore a puppet regime there.

In recent history, Madeleine Albright, both as UN ambassador and secretary of state under Bill Clinton, perhaps came closest to personifying the clueless American diplomat. As Washington made a hash of the Balkans and Middle East, she explained that "we stand tall. We see further than other countries in the future." The U.S., of course, was "the indispensable nation." Which presumably is why she felt entitled to announce that "we think the price is worth it" when asked about the reported deaths of a half million Iraqi children as a result of sanctions against Baghdad.

And, of course, there was her extraordinary exchange with Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when she asked, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" Presumably she had no family members at risk as she planned to wage global crusades with other people's lives.

Albright has large shoes to fill but Haley appears to be well on her way. In a position that theoretically emphasizes diplomacy, the former South Carolina governor has been cheerleading for war with North Korea. Never mind that a nuke or two landing on Seoul or Tokyo would wipe out millions of people. No doubt she will cheerfully put a positive spin on disaster if the administration decides it's time for Armageddon in Northeast Asia.

Haley has also brilliantly played the sycophantic spokeswoman for the Saudi royals. Riyadh's intervention in the unending Yemeni civil war has killed thousands of civilians, imposed a starvation blockade, and led famine and cholera to sweep through what was already one of the poorest nations on earth. All of this has been done with U.S. support: supplying munitions, refueling aircraft, and aiding with targeting.

But when the Yemenis returned fire with a missile, Haley summoned her best sanctimonious demeanor and denounced Iran for allegedly making this outrageous, shocking attack possible. Apparently the Saudi sense of entitlement goes so far as to believe that Saudi Arabia's victims aren't even supposed to shoot back.

Yet Haley's finest hubristic moment may have come after the president's decision to move America's embassy to Jerusalem. Israel treats that city as its capital, of course. But Jerusalem is the holiest land for Jews and Christians, third holiest for Muslims, and the most emotional point of dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, since conquering East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, the Israeli government has been working assiduously to squeeze Palestinians out of the city.

Congress's approval in 1995 of legislation mandating that the State Department move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was politics at its most cynical. Members in the Republican-controlled Congress postured as great friends of Israel while adding a waiver that they expected presidents to always employ. Everyone did so until Donald Trump. At least his decision ostentatiously puts the lie to the claim that Washington can play honest broker in promoting a Middle East peace. No sentient Palestinian could have believed so, but the president finally made it official.

That Haley kept a straight face while explaining how Washington could upset the status quo, outrage Palestinians, undercut Arab allies, and anger Muslims, yet still bring peace, harmony, and calm to the Middle East was to be expected. "We can see the peace process really come together," she declared without a hint of irony.

But her finest moment -- almost Churchillian in significance -- was when she responded to criticism of the president's decision, including by the other 14 members of the UN Security Council . On Fox News (where else?) she declared: "We have the right to do whatever we want in terms of where we put our embassies." As for foreign criticism: "We don't need other countries telling us what's right and wrong."

Of course.

What could be more obvious? Other governments have no right to make decisions about their own countries, and need to be told what's right and wrong by Washington on any and every subject, day or night, in sunshine, rain, or snow. But another element of American exceptionalism is the fact that the U.S. is exempt from the rules it applies to other nations. Washington gets to lecture, but no one gets to tell Americans what they should do.

The sad irony is that the U.S. would have greater credibility if it better practiced what it preached, and didn't attempt social engineering abroad that's routinely failed at home. Especially nice would be a bit more humility and self-awareness by Washington's representatives. But Nikki Haley seems determined to continue as a disciple of the Madeleine Albright school of all-knowing, all-seeing, all-saying diplomacy. As such, she's unlikely to fool anyone other than herself.

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

All of us at TAC wish you a Merry Christmas holiday and the best wishes for 2018. Our 501(c)(3) depends on your generosity to make the biggest impact possible. Please consider your tax deductible donation to our magazine, here .* Thank you!

*Contribute $250 or more before December 31 and receive an autographed copy of Robert Merry's brand new book, President McKinley: Architect of a New Century!

[Dec 30, 2017] Not a single officer resigned in protest despite the fact that the US is deeply in bed with ISIS and those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11

Saker, of course, if "Russia firster". And that makes his analyses of Russia weaker than it should be. But his analysis of the USA is superb.
Notable quotes:
"... What defeats? US achieved its real goal in Iraq, which was to smash it and leave it divided. Zionist wanted a weak Iraq, and it is weak indeed. US still occupies Afghanistan and uses it for whatever it wants. The longer the war goes on, the Occupation is justified like continued US presence in South Korea. US doesn't want to win in Afghanistan. As long as the war is officially 'on', US can stay and rule that part of the world. ..."
"... And Libya is destroyed. Gaddafi's dream of counter-currency is finished. Libya is like humpty dumpty, smashed forever, and the Zionists are happy. ..."
"... And Syria? It didn't cost America anything to see that nation totally wrecked. ..."
"... re the first sentence of this comment. And probably confusing for "Russia-Firsters"; USA is this/that (all bad) and Russia/China are this/that (all good) but there is a fear about the "bad boy". Doesn't make sense but, well, who cares. We gotta go with the message, that one "USA bad" etc. ..."
"... The burden now is clearly on Russia and China to do everything they can to try to stop the US from launching even more catastrophic and deeply immoral wars. That is a very, very difficult task and I frankly don't know if they can do it. I hope so. That is the best I can say. ..."
"... US foreign policy flows from internal conditions. As long as the US is ruled by ...Globalists... as their cuckaroo dogs like Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham, and the rest, nothing will change. ..."
"... Simplistically, it appears most Americans because of the Cold War view geopolitics as a Manichean struggle of civilizations, good versus evil. Therefore, as they understand the United States, representing absolute good, to have been the victor in that battle for the planet, the United States now has the right to dictate terms to the entire globe in a mopping up action. ..."
"... It is US "elites" Modus Operandi, otherwise "exceptionalism" flies out of the window. With some effort and time given we may yet see the US taking credit for the Battle of Lepanto and, eventually, for Thermopylae. Consider his: "Kursk was an Anglo-American victory as well as a Soviet one." (c) ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Priss Factor , Website December 29, 2017 at 5:47 am GMT

The same goes for the US military: not one single officer has found in himself/herself to resign to protest the fact that the US is deeply in bed with those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11. Nope, in fact US special forces are working with al-Qaeda types day in and day out and not a single one of these "patriots" has the honor/courage/integrity to go public about it.

But for 9/11, Alqaeda was always the US's baby. They were used in Afghanistan against the Soviets. US and its ally Pakistan fully backed Osama and his ilk for a long time. If not for 9/11, US and Alqeda's good relations would have been unbroken.

It's like US-Japan's relations. It got rocky cuz of disagreement over China and then Pearl Harbor. But had it not been for that, US-Japan relations would have been smooth throughout the 20th century. US had initially backed Japan's war with Russia and looked the other way when Japan moved into Korea and China. It was Japan's over-reaching that set the two nations apart and led to Pearl Harbor. But after WWII, they were friends against against China and Russia.

So, it shouldn't surprise us that US and Alqaeda are pals again. They were for a long time. It was US presence in Saudi Arabia that made Osama bitter and turn against his ally, the US. But with Iran and Shias as the Big Enemy, the US and Alqaeda are friends again.

Priss Factor , Website December 29, 2017 at 5:53 am GMT
And yet, somewhere, to some degree, these guys must know that the odds are not in their favor. For one thing, an endless stream of military defeats and political embarrassments ought to strongly suggest to them that inaction is generally preferable to action, especially for clueless people.

What defeats? US achieved its real goal in Iraq, which was to smash it and leave it divided. Zionist wanted a weak Iraq, and it is weak indeed. US still occupies Afghanistan and uses it for whatever it wants. The longer the war goes on, the Occupation is justified like continued US presence in South Korea. US doesn't want to win in Afghanistan. As long as the war is officially 'on', US can stay and rule that part of the world.

And Libya is destroyed. Gaddafi's dream of counter-currency is finished. Libya is like humpty dumpty, smashed forever, and the Zionists are happy.

And Syria? It didn't cost America anything to see that nation totally wrecked.

...These were great successes in a sick way. The Zionist-US goal was to spread chaos and turn those nations into hellholes that will take many decades to recover. And since 9/11, there's been hardly any major terrorist attacks in America.

peterAUS , December 29, 2017 at 6:00 am GMT
Beauties of time zone(s). Anyway . The usual Saker's "panic attack". So, for those 10 % here who aren't actually on his wavelength, a brief comment. As usual there is a bit of discrepancy between:

the AngloZionist Empire is reeling from its humiliating defeat in Syria

and

Syria (threats of a US-Israeli-KSA attack; attack on Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria)
attack on Russian forces in Syria)
.attack Iranian forces in Syria)

but not important, of course. Just think "USA bad", "Russia good" and all makes sense. Surprisingly, though, this is well stated

Let me immediately say here that listing pragmatic arguments against such aggression is, at this point in time, probably futile.

with a bit of Freudian slip

that is really frightening.

re the first sentence of this comment. And probably confusing for "Russia-Firsters"; USA is this/that (all bad) and Russia/China are this/that (all good) but there is a fear about the "bad boy". Doesn't make sense but, well, who cares. We gotta go with the message, that one "USA bad" etc.

Now, he got this mostly right:

whereas those in the elites not only know that they are total hypocrites and liars, but they actually see this as a sign superiority: the drones believes in his/her ideology, but his rulers believe in absolutely nothing.

Except they do believe in something: POWER.

He got close here, I admit:

Because they profoundly believe in four fundamental things:
1. We can buy anybody
2. Those we cannot buy, we bully
3. Those we cannot bully we kill
4. Nothing can happen to us, we live in total impunity not matter what we do

Now, I also admit THIS is quite interesting:

The same goes for the US military: not one single officer has found in himself/herself to resign to protest the fact that the US is deeply in bed with those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11. Nope, in fact US special forces are working with al-Qaeda types day in and day out and not a single one of these "patriots" has the honor/courage/integrity to go public about it.

Still, the explanation feels weak.

Imbeciles and cowards. Delusional imbeciles giving orders and dishonorable cowards mindlessly executing them.

He could've gone deeper, but that would've complicated the message. Propaganda is all about keeping things simple and close to the lowest denominator (read imbecile). Makes sense, actually. He is correct here, though:

Alas, this is also a very hard combo to deter or to try to reason with.

The usual "Bad USA has been losing badly" compulsory part of the article we'll skip here, save:

.to engage either the Iranians or Hezbollah is a very scary option

("panic" thing) And, of course oh man .

Putin is a unpredictable master strategist and the folks around him are very, very smart.

I suggest reading this a couple of times. For a couple of reasons I'd leave to the reader. Back to topic at hand:

I think that we can agree that the Neocons are unlikely to be very impressed by the risks posed by Russian forces in Syria and that they will likely feel that they can punch the russkies in the nose and that these russkies will have to take it.

with

I place the risk here at 'medium' even if, potentially, this could lead to a catastrophic thermonuclear war because I don't think that the Neocons believe that the Russians will escalate too much (who starts WWIII over one shot down aircraft anyway, right?!)

..("panic" thing)
and

Let's hope that the Urkonazis will be busy fighting each other and that their previous humiliating defeat will deter them from trying again, but I consider a full-scale Urkonazi attack on the Donbass as quite likely

..("panic" thing).
and

The truth is that at this point nobody knows what the outcome of a US attack on the DPRK might be, not even the North Koreans. Will that be enough to deter the delusional imbeciles giving and dishonorable cowards currently at the helm of the Empire? You tell me!

("panic" thing).

And, at the end, kudos actually, he appears to be getting there:

Frankly, I am not very confident about this attempt as analyzing the possible developments in 2018. All my education has always been based on a crucial central assumption: the other guy is rational.

This isn't bad:

The burden now is clearly on Russia and China to do everything they can to try to stop the US from launching even more catastrophic and deeply immoral wars. That is a very, very difficult task and I frankly don't know if they can do it. I hope so. That is the best I can say.

But I'd keep focus on "I frankly don't know if they can do it". Now, back to fanboys and resident agenda pushers.

Priss Factor , Website December 29, 2017 at 6:23 am GMT
Frankly, I am not very confident about this attempt as analyzing the possible developments in 2018.

US foreign policy flows from internal conditions. As long as the US is ruled by ...Globalists... as their cuckaroo dogs like Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham, and the rest, nothing will change.

America needs a new civil 'war' to set things right. The ruling elites must be outed, routed, and destroyed. But the elites have framed the civil war in America as between 'nazis' and 'antifa', and this divide-and-conquer strategy gets nothing done. The American Left is more at war with Civil War monuments than with the REAL power. This civil 'war' must be between people vs the elites. But elites have manipulated the conflict as 'blue' vs 'red'.

What happens IN America will affect what happens OUTSIDE America.

There are people on both right and left who know what is going on with this neo-imperialism BS. Elite intellectuals are useless as critics because the filtering system for elitism favors the cucks and toadies. To reach the top in any profession, one has to suck up to Zionists, denounce Russia, worship homos, and denounce any form of white agency as 'white supremacism'.

... ... ...

How can the elite power be challenged by non-elites? Is there some way? A new way to use the internet? Maybe. That must be why the Platforms are shutting down so many alternative voices.

And how can masses of Trumptards and Anti-Trump resistance be convinced that the real power is not with Trump or any president but with the Deep State that colludes with Big Media and Big donors?

So many Trumptards think all is fine because Trump is president. Likewise, so many progs paid no attention as long as Obama was president even though Obama proved to be a war criminal.

US is now a silly nation where progs are totally incensed over 'gay cakes'. With dummy populists who think in terms of flag and guns and idiot decadent proggists who think in terms of 'muh gender' and 'white privilege', a true challenge to sick elite power is impossible.

We need more on the right to call out on Trump, and we need more on the left to call out on likes of Obama and Hillary. And both sides need to focus on the Power above Trump-Hillary-Obama. But they are too childish to see anything cuz for most of them, it's either 'muh guns' or 'muh gender'.

Fran Macadam , Website December 29, 2017 at 7:46 am GMT
Simplistically, it appears most Americans because of the Cold War view geopolitics as a Manichean struggle of civilizations, good versus evil. Therefore, as they understand the United States, representing absolute good, to have been the victor in that battle for the planet, the United States now has the right to dictate terms to the entire globe in a mopping up action.
Andrei Martyanov , Website December 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT

Yet none of that prevents them from claiming that they, not Russia, defeated Daesh/ISIS/al-Nusra/etc. This is absolutely amazing, think of it –

It is US "elites" Modus Operandi, otherwise "exceptionalism" flies out of the window. With some effort and time given we may yet see the US taking credit for the Battle of Lepanto and, eventually, for Thermopylae. Consider his: "Kursk was an Anglo-American victory as well as a Soviet one." (c)

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-the-battle-kursk-might-just-be-the-most-misunderstood-22931?page=3

You see where it is all going? In real everyday life this is qualified as Stolen Valor and there is a Federal Law from 2013 which makes it a crime.

Diversity Heretic , December 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm GMT
@Priss Factor

Calvin Coolidge referred to Japan as America's natural friend. Were the economic sanctions imposed because of Japanese expansion in China, Indochina and the Dutch East Indies really necessary? How important was it to Mr. and Mrs. Average American that China be governed by Communists, warlords and corrupt nationalists, that Indochina be governed by French colonialists, and the Dutch East Indies be governed by Dutch colonialists, than by Japanese imperalists? Pat Buchanan has called WWII in Europe the unnecessary war; I think the truly unnecessary WWII conflict was in the Pacific.

[Dec 30, 2017] The recent blather in the "Conservative" Commentariat that Haley is looking like Presidential material. God help us all

Dec 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Alarmist , December 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT

"Nikki Haley -- there is the real imbecile!"

And yet there is recent blather in the "Conservative" Commentariat that Haley is looking like Presidential material. God help us all.

[Dec 30, 2017] Nikki Haley The Bold Scold of the Trump Administration by Doug Bandow

This reincarnation of Madeleine "Not so bright" Albright is capable mostly of imperial bulling. But times changed...
Notable quotes:
"... While you are here For the last 15 years, our magazine has endeavored to be your refuge from the nasty partisan politics and Washington echo chamber with thoughtful, smart conservatism, fresh and challenging writing, and authors who, above all, bravely hew to our most basic tenets: Ideas over ideology, principles over party. Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end contribution so that TAC can make an even bigger difference in 2018! ..."
"... for reasons unknown (other than perhaps her Indian heritage), Donald Trump tapped her to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. There, she has performed to perfection, offering a model of the hubris and lack of awareness that consistently characterize U.S. foreign policy. ..."
"... What makes Americ a different from other nations when it comes to foreign policy is the certainty that it is the right -- indeed, the duty -- of Americans to run the world. That means telling everyone everywhere what they should do, not just internationally, but in their own nations, too. ..."
"... U.S. officials believe they know how other societies should organize their governments, who foreign peoples should elect, what economic policies other nations should implement, and what social practices foreigners should encourage and suppress ..."
"... . On Fox News (where else?) she declared: "We have the right to do whatever we want in terms of where we put our embassies." As for foreign criticism: "We don't need other countries telling us what's right and wrong." ..."
"... What could be more obvious? Other governments have no right to make decisions about their own countries, and need to be told what's right and wrong by Washington on any and every subject, day or night, in sunshine, rain, or snow. But another element of American exceptionalism is the fact that the U.S. is exempt from the rules it applies to other nations. Washington gets to lecture, but no one gets to tell Americans what they should do. ..."
"... The sad irony is that the U.S. would have greater credibility if it better practiced what it preached, and didn't attempt social engineering abroad that's routinely failed at home. Especially nice would be a bit more humility and self-awareness by Washington's representatives. But Nikki Haley seems determined to continue as a disciple of the Madeleine Albright school of all-knowing, all-seeing, all-saying diplomacy. As such, she's unlikely to fool anyone other than herself. ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Carrying on the tradition of hubris and hypocrisy of every other modern U.N. ambassador. While you are here For the last 15 years, our magazine has endeavored to be your refuge from the nasty partisan politics and Washington echo chamber with thoughtful, smart conservatism, fresh and challenging writing, and authors who, above all, bravely hew to our most basic tenets: Ideas over ideology, principles over party. Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end contribution so that TAC can make an even bigger difference in 2018!

As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley didn't have much need to worry about foreign policy. Yet for reasons unknown (other than perhaps her Indian heritage), Donald Trump tapped her to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. There, she has performed to perfection, offering a model of the hubris and lack of awareness that consistently characterize U.S. foreign policy.

What makes Americ a different from other nations when it comes to foreign policy is the certainty that it is the right -- indeed, the duty -- of Americans to run the world. That means telling everyone everywhere what they should do, not just internationally, but in their own nations, too.

U.S. officials believe they know how other societies should organize their governments, who foreign peoples should elect, what economic policies other nations should implement, and what social practices foreigners should encourage and suppress .

There is precedent for Washington as all-seeing and all-knowing. A sparrow cannot "fall to the ground apart from the will of" God, Jesus explained. So, too, it appears, is such an event impossible in America's view apart from U.S. approval.

Washington officials rarely are so blunt, but their rhetoric is routinely suffused with arrogance. The concept of American exceptionalism is one example. The country's founding was unique and the U.S. has played an extraordinary role in international affairs, but that does not sanctify policies that have often been brutal, selfish, incompetent, perverse, and immoral. Sometimes America's actions share all of those characteristics simultaneously -- such as aiding the royal Saudi dictatorship as it slaughters civilians in Yemen in an attempt to restore a puppet regime there.

In recent history, Madeleine Albright, both as UN ambassador and secretary of state under Bill Clinton, perhaps came closest to personifying the clueless American diplomat. As Washington made a hash of the Balkans and Middle East, she explained that "we stand tall. We see further than other countries in the future." The U.S., of course, was "the indispensable nation." Which presumably is why she felt entitled to announce that "we think the price is worth it" when asked about the reported deaths of a half million Iraqi children as a result of sanctions against Baghdad.

And, of course, there was her extraordinary exchange with Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when she asked, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" Presumably she had no family members at risk as she planned to wage global crusades with other people's lives.

Albright has large shoes to fill but Haley appears to be well on her way. In a position that theoretically emphasizes diplomacy, the former South Carolina governor has been cheerleading for war with North Korea. Never mind that a nuke or two landing on Seoul or Tokyo would wipe out millions of people. No doubt she will cheerfully put a positive spin on disaster if the administration decides it's time for Armageddon in Northeast Asia.

Haley has also brilliantly played the sycophantic spokeswoman for the Saudi royals. Riyadh's intervention in the unending Yemeni civil war has killed thousands of civilians, imposed a starvation blockade, and led famine and cholera to sweep through what was already one of the poorest nations on earth. All of this has been done with U.S. support: supplying munitions, refueling aircraft, and aiding with targeting.

But when the Yemenis returned fire with a missile, Haley summoned her best sanctimonious demeanor and denounced Iran for allegedly making this outrageous, shocking attack possible. Apparently the Saudi sense of entitlement goes so far as to believe that Saudi Arabia's victims aren't even supposed to shoot back.

Yet Haley's finest hubristic moment may have come after the president's decision to move America's embassy to Jerusalem. Israel treats that city as its capital, of course. But Jerusalem is the holiest land for Jews and Christians, third holiest for Muslims, and the most emotional point of dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, since conquering East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, the Israeli government has been working assiduously to squeeze Palestinians out of the city.

Congress's approval in 1995 of legislation mandating that the State Department move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was politics at its most cynical. Members in the Republican-controlled Congress postured as great friends of Israel while adding a waiver that they expected presidents to always employ. Everyone did so until Donald Trump. At least his decision ostentatiously puts the lie to the claim that Washington can play honest broker in promoting a Middle East peace. No sentient Palestinian could have believed so, but the president finally made it official.

That Haley kept a straight face while explaining how Washington could upset the status quo, outrage Palestinians, undercut Arab allies, and anger Muslims, yet still bring peace, harmony, and calm to the Middle East was to be expected. "We can see the peace process really come together," she declared without a hint of irony.

But her finest moment -- almost Churchillian in significance -- was when she responded to criticism of the president's decision, including by the other 14 members of the UN Security Council . On Fox News (where else?) she declared: "We have the right to do whatever we want in terms of where we put our embassies." As for foreign criticism: "We don't need other countries telling us what's right and wrong."

Of course.

What could be more obvious? Other governments have no right to make decisions about their own countries, and need to be told what's right and wrong by Washington on any and every subject, day or night, in sunshine, rain, or snow. But another element of American exceptionalism is the fact that the U.S. is exempt from the rules it applies to other nations. Washington gets to lecture, but no one gets to tell Americans what they should do.

The sad irony is that the U.S. would have greater credibility if it better practiced what it preached, and didn't attempt social engineering abroad that's routinely failed at home. Especially nice would be a bit more humility and self-awareness by Washington's representatives. But Nikki Haley seems determined to continue as a disciple of the Madeleine Albright school of all-knowing, all-seeing, all-saying diplomacy. As such, she's unlikely to fool anyone other than herself.

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

All of us at TAC wish you a Merry Christmas holiday and the best wishes for 2018. Our 501(c)(3) depends on your generosity to make the biggest impact possible. Please consider your tax deductible donation to our magazine, here .* Thank you!

*Contribute $250 or more before December 31 and receive an autographed copy of Robert Merry's brand new book, President McKinley: Architect of a New Century!

[Dec 30, 2017] Iran - Regime Change Agents Hijack Economic Protests

Notable quotes:
"... Videos published by the terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq [MEK], 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , also show mostly small protests despite the MEK's claim of Tens of thousands of people chant "death to dictator" . The MEK, or its "civilian" organization National Council of Resistance of Iran , seem to be most involved in the current protests. Its website is currently filled with the protest issue with a total of ten reports and its head figure issued a supportive statement: ..."
"... This very early engagement of the MEK -its first report was published yesterday at 10:26 am- is extremely suspicious. In 2012 it was reported that Israel had used the MEK terrorist organization to assassinate nuclear scientists in Iran: ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yesterday and today saw some small protests in Iran. They are probably the first stage of a large "regime change" operation run by the U.S. and Israel with the help of Iranian terrorist group.

Earlier this month the White House and the Zionist prepared for a new assault on Iran:

A delegation led by Israel's National Security Adviser met with senior American officials in the White House earlier this month for a joint discussion on strategy to counter Iran's aggression in the Middle East, a senior U.S. official confirmed to Haaretz.

Another report about the meeting quotes Israeli officials on the result:

"[T]he U.S. and Israel see eye to eye the different developments in the region and especially those that are connected to Iran. We reached at understandings regarding the strategy and the policy needed to counter Iran. Our understandings deal with the overall strategy but also with concrete goals, way of action and the means which need to be used to get obtain those goals. "

This is probably a result of the above meeting:

Hundreds took to the streets of Iran's second largest city of Mashad on Thursday to protest over high prices, shouting slogans against the government.

Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators in Mashad in northwest Iran, one of the holiest places in Shia Islam, chanting "death to (President Hassan) Rouhani" and "death to the dictator".

The semi-official ILNA news agency and social media reported demonstrations in other cities in Razavi Khorasan Province, including Neyshabour and Kashmar.

A video of that protest in Mashad showed some 50 people chanting slogans with more bystander just milling around.

Protests against the (neo-)liberal economic policies of the Rohani government in Iran are justified. Official unemployment in Iran is above 12% and there is hardly any economic growth. The people in the streets are not the only ones who are dissatisfied with this:

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has repeatedly criticized the government's economic record, said on Wednesday that the nation was struggling with "high prices, inflation and recession", and asked officials to resolve the problems with determination.

On Thursday and today the slogans of some protesters turned the call for economic relief into a call for regime change.

My hunch is that the usual suspects are behind these protests. Note that these started in several cities at the same time. This was not some spontaneous local uproar in one city but had some form of coordination.

Then there is this:

Carl Bildt‏ @carlbildt - 9:38 PM - 28 Dec 2017 from Rome, Lazio

Reports of signals of international satellite TV networks jammed in large cities of Iran. Would be sign of regime fear of today's protests spreading.

A search in various languages finds exactly zero such "reports". Carl Bildt is a former Swedish prime minister. He was recruited in 1973 as a CIA informant and has since grown into a full blown U.S. asset. He was involved in the Ukraine coup and tried to personally profit from it.

The only response to Bildt's tweet was from one Riyad Swed‏ - @SwedRiyad who posted several videos of protests with one of them showing burning police cars.

I am not sure the video is genuine. The account has some unusual attributes (active since September 2016, 655 tweets but only 32 followers?).

Just yesterday one lecture at the CCC "hacker" congress was about the British GHCQ Secret Service and its sock-puppet accounts on Twitter and Facebook. These are used for acquiring human intelligence and for running "regime change" operations. Page 14-18 of the slides (11:20 min) cite from obtained GCHQ papers which lists Iran as one of the targets. The speaker specifically notes a GCHQ account "@2009Iranfree" which was used in generating the protests in Iran after the reelection of then President Ahmedinejad.

Today, Friday and the weekly day off in Iran, several more protest took place in other cities. A Reuters report from today:

About 300 demonstrators gathered in Kermanshah after what Fars called a "call by the anti-revolution" and shouted "Political prisoners should be freed" and "Freedom or death", while destroying some public property. Fars did not name any opposition groups.
...
Footage, which could not be verified, showed protests in other cities including Sari and Rasht in the north, Qom south of Tehran, and Hamadan in the west.

Mohsen Nasj Hamadani, deputy security chief in Tehran province, said about 50 people had rallied in a Tehran square and most left after being asked by police, but a few who refused were "temporarily detained", the ILNA news agency reported.

Some of these protests have genuine economic reasons but get hijacked by other interests:

In the central city of Isfahan, a resident said protesters joined a rally held by factory workers demanding back wages.

"The slogans quickly changed from the economy to those against (President Hassan) Rouhani and the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)," the resident said by telephone.
...
Purely political protests are rare in Iran [...] but demonstrations are often held by workers over layoffs or non-payment of salaries and people who hold deposits in non-regulated, bankrupt financial institutions.
...
Alamolhoda, the representative of Ayatollah Khamenei in northeastern Mashhad, said a few people had taken advantage of Thursday's protests against rising prices to chant slogans against Iran's role in regional conflicts.
...
"Some people had came to express their demands, but suddenly, in a crowd of hundreds, a small group that did not exceed 50 shouted deviant and horrendous slogans such as 'Let go of Palestine', 'Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I'd give my life (only) for Iran'," Alamolhoda said.

Two videos posted by BBC Persian and others I have seen show only small active protest groups with a dozen or so people while many more are just standing by or film the people who are chanting slogans.

Videos published by the terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq [MEK], 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , also show mostly small protests despite the MEK's claim of Tens of thousands of people chant "death to dictator" . The MEK, or its "civilian" organization National Council of Resistance of Iran , seem to be most involved in the current protests. Its website is currently filled with the protest issue with a total of ten reports and its head figure issued a supportive statement:

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, saluted the heroic people of Kermanshah and other cities who rose up today chanting "death or freedom", "death to Rouhani", "death to the dictator", and "political prisoners must be freed", and protested against high prices, poverty and corruption.

She said, "Yesterday Mashhad, today Kermanshah, and tomorrow throughout Iran; this uprising has tolled the death knell for the overthrow of the totally corrupt dictatorship of the mullahs, and is the rise of democracy, justice and popular sovereignty.

This very early engagement of the MEK -its first report was published yesterday at 10:26 am- is extremely suspicious. In 2012 it was reported that Israel had used the MEK terrorist organization to assassinate nuclear scientists in Iran:

psychohistorian , Dec 29, 2017 2:56:15 PM | 1

Thanks for the Iran analysis b

I saw the reports of unrest in Iran and know that the pot is being stirred externally.

Trump needs his war to be a real US president, Netanyahoo needs cover for his crimes and SA needs cover for its war crimes.

The carousel keeps spinning faster and faster. How many will die when it crashes? Sad.....and hard to watch

james , Dec 29, 2017 3:19:45 PM | 2
thanks for this b... i agree with your 3rd to last paragraph and the line in the 2nd to last one "Mossad and the MEK are not shy of killing random people." it seems these paid stooges - carl bildt and etc, are quite happy to try another regime change/ green revolution on iran.. everything has been headed in this direction for some time.. usa/israel saber rattling towards iran 24/7, financial sanctions and etc. etc. it never stops.. these neo-con regime change artists get extremely tiring and predictable..

[Dec 28, 2017] How CrowdStrike placed malware in DNC hacked servers by Alex Christoforou

Highly recommended!
If this is true, then this is definitely a sophisticated false flag operation. Was malware Alperovich people injected specifically designed to implicate Russians? In other words Crowdstrike=Fancy Bear
Images removed. For full content please thee the original source
One interesting corollary of this analysis is that installing Crowdstrike software is like inviting a wolf to guard your chicken. If they are so dishonest you take enormous risks. That might be true for some other heavily advertized "intrusion prevention" toolkits. So those criminals who use mistyped popular addresses or buy Google searches to drive lemmings to their site and then flash the screen that they detected a virus on your computer a, please call provided number and for a small amount of money your virus will be removed get a new more sinister life.
I suspected many of such firms (for example ISS which was bought by IBM in 2006) to be scams long ago.
Notable quotes:
"... Disobedient Media outlines the DNC server cover-up evidenced in CrowdStrike malware infusion ..."
"... In the article, they claim to have just been working on eliminating the last of the hackers from the DNC's network during the past weekend (conveniently coinciding with Assange's statement and being an indirect admission that their Falcon software had failed to achieve it's stated capabilities at that time , assuming their statements were accurate) . ..."
"... To date, CrowdStrike has not been able to show how the malware had relayed any emails or accessed any mailboxes. They have also not responded to inquiries specifically asking for details about this. In fact, things have now been discovered that bring some of their malware discoveries into question. ..."
"... there is a reason to think Fancy Bear didn't start some of its activity until CrowdStrike had arrived at the DNC. CrowdStrike, in the indiciators of compromise they reported, identified three pieces of malware relating to Fancy Bear: ..."
"... They found that generally, in a lot of cases, malware developers didn't care to hide the compile times and that while implausible timestamps are used, it's rare that these use dates in the future. It's possible, but unlikely that one sample would have a postdated timestamp to coincide with their visit by mere chance but seems extremely unlikely to happen with two or more samples. Considering the dates of CrowdStrike's activities at the DNC coincide with the compile dates of two out of the three pieces of malware discovered and attributed to APT-28 (the other compiled approximately 2 weeks prior to their visit), the big question is: Did CrowdStrike plant some (or all) of the APT-28 malware? ..."
"... The IP address, according to those articles, was disabled in June 2015, eleven months before the DNC emails were acquired – meaning those IP addresses, in reality, had no involvement in the alleged hacking of the DNC. ..."
"... The fact that two out of three of the Fancy Bear malware samples identified were compiled on dates within the apparent five day period CrowdStrike were apparently at the DNC seems incredibly unlikely to have occurred by mere chance. ..."
"... That all three malware samples were compiled within ten days either side of their visit – makes it clear just how questionable the Fancy Bear malware discoveries were. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | theduran.com

Of course the DNC did not want to the FBI to investigate its "hacked servers". The plan was well underway to excuse Hillary's pathetic election defeat to Trump, and CrowdStrike would help out by planting evidence to pin on those evil "Russian hackers." Some would call this entire DNC server hack an "insurance policy."

... ... ...

[Dec 28, 2017] The CIA as Organized Crime How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By illuminating CIA programs and systems of surveillance, control, and assassination utilized against the civilian population of South Vietnam, we are presented with parallels with operations and practices at work today in America's seemingly perpetual war against terror. ..."
"... Through the policies of covert infiltration and manipulations, illegal alliances, and "brute force" interventions that wreak havoc on designated enemy states, destroy progress and infrastructure under the claim of liberation, degrade the standards of living for people in the perceived hostile nations, "...America's ruling elite empowers itself while claiming it has ensured the safety and prestige of the American people. Sometimes it is even able to convince the public that its criminal actions are 'humanitarian' and designed to liberate the people in nations it destroys." ..."
"... Want to know why the DEA is losing the war on drugs, how torture has become policy? Want to know why the government no longer represents your interests? Look no further. ..."
Nov 27, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Alan Dale on November 27, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Addition to an Essential Body of Work

Of the extraordinarily valuable and informative works for which Mr. Valentine is responsible, his latest, CIA As Organized Crime, may prove to be the best choice as an introduction to the dark realm of America's hidden corruptions and their consequences at home and around the world. This new volume begins with the unlikely but irrevocable framework by which Mr. Valentine's path led to unprecedented access to key Agency personnel whose witting participation is summarized by the chapter title: "How William Colby Gave Me the Keys to the CIA Kingdom."

By illuminating CIA programs and systems of surveillance, control, and assassination utilized against the civilian population of South Vietnam, we are presented with parallels with operations and practices at work today in America's seemingly perpetual war against terror.

Through the policies of covert infiltration and manipulations, illegal alliances, and "brute force" interventions that wreak havoc on designated enemy states, destroy progress and infrastructure under the claim of liberation, degrade the standards of living for people in the perceived hostile nations, "...America's ruling elite empowers itself while claiming it has ensured the safety and prestige of the American people. Sometimes it is even able to convince the public that its criminal actions are 'humanitarian' and designed to liberate the people in nations it destroys."

Mr. Valentine has presented us with a major body of work which includes: The Strength of the Wolf; The Strength of the Pack; The Pheonix Program, to which we may now add The CIA as Organized Crime, and for which we are profoundly indebted.

felixnola on December 6, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About the CIA and What is Instore For You

If you want the inside scoop on the CIA and it's criminal past; this is the book. Additionally, why the Phoenix Program is pertinent for our own times. This book connects the dots.

If you have been wondering why Homeland Security has fusion centers; why the USA Anti-Patriot Act, NDAA and Rex 84 have been passed by Congress; you will get your answer here.

A book every intelligent American needs to read and place in a prominent place in their library. Oh, and don't forget after you read it; spread the word !!! (this book is based upon actual face to face interviews and documents)

Jay Trout on January 2, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars A crucial tool to understanding present reality. An absolute must read.

Run, don't walk, and get yourself a copy of this book. The author has been warning us for decades about the clear and present danger that is the CIA I was unaware of Valentine's work for most of those years, perhaps because our media outlets (even the "anti-establishment" ones like Democracy Now and The Intercept) have been compromised. Valentine's work has been suppressed since his ground-breaking book on the Phoenix Program.

Not that I didn't know anything about the sordid history. I knew about MK-Ultra, some of the agency's drug running and empire-building exploits. This work goes much deeper and paints a much bigger picture. The extent of the agency's influence is much greater than I had imagined.

This is not another history book about dirty tricks. It is not just about our insane foreign policy and empire building. The cancer of corruption, of outright crime, has metastasized into every agency of the government right here in the US itself. Those dirty tricks and crimes have become domestic policy- in fusion centers and Homeland Security, in the militarization of local police and in Congress, from Wall Street to Main Street. Border Patrol, the DEA, Justice and State have all been compromised.

Want to know why the DEA is losing the war on drugs, how torture has become policy? Want to know why the government no longer represents your interests? Look no further.

The problem is now. We are the new targets.

Read it and weep, but for God's sake, please read it.
A highly informative and comprehensive book, and a scathing, fearless indictment of government corruption.
I cannot overstate it's importance.

Andrew E. Belshaw on December 6, 2016

Disguising Obama's Dirty War Chapter 22

I just picked up this book and have not read it yet--but I am writing this to CORRECT THE RECORD regarding very basic information. There are 446 PAGES (not 286, as listed above). 160 Pages is a big difference--obviously, QUALITY is more important than quantity--but I do feel the listing needs be corrected.

The "Inside Look" feature is also cutting off the last 9 chapters of the book, which are as follows:

PART IV: MANUFACTURING COMPLICITY: SHAPING THE AMERICAN WORLDVIEW

John C. Landon on January 2, 2017

Expose of the CIA mafia

This is a devastating and must-read study of the social and political calamity created by the CIA over the last sixty years. The portrait shows the criminal character of the agency and finally of the government it is said to serve. The portrait is a double shock because it shows not just a sordid corruption but a malevolent 'dark side' mafia-style corruption of american civilization and government. That the CIA controls the drug trade is not the least of the stunning revelations of this history.

[Dec 28, 2017] Our well informed, and, on top of it all, UN ambassador

Dec 28, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Kooshy 26 December 2017 at 12:54 PM

Colonel, FYI, our well informed, and, on top of it all, UN ambassador Nikki the bookkeeper, is hoping for a newly independent island nation of "Binomo" rising from bottom of South China Sea, and delivered by Santa to her huge Christmas tree in Guatemala.
https://www.rt.com/news/414086-prank-nikki-haley-russia-place/

[Dec 28, 2017] Our well informed, and, on top of it all, UN ambassador

Dec 28, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Kooshy 26 December 2017 at 12:54 PM

Colonel, FYI, our well informed, and, on top of it all, UN ambassador Nikki the bookkeeper, is hoping for a newly independent island nation of "Binomo" rising from bottom of South China Sea, and delivered by Santa to her huge Christmas tree in Guatemala.
https://www.rt.com/news/414086-prank-nikki-haley-russia-place/

[Dec 27, 2017] Putin may be in more trouble than we know

Was not Navalny a failed McFaul project ? And figure of past, of the failed "white color revolution" of 2011-2012.
Dec 27, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

Opinion A column or article in the Opinions section (in print, this is known as the Editorial Pages). December 26 at 6:54 PM

VLADIMIR PUTIN boasts of popularity ratings that Western leaders, Donald Trump included, can only dream of -- 85 percent and above since Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Yet Mr. Putin remains unwilling to test those numbers against real competition. On Monday, the state election commission banned his most popular opponent, Alexei Navalny, from running in the presidential election scheduled for March 18 -- meaning that Mr. Putin will face no serious opposition to obtaining another six-year term.

Mr. Navalny, who has attracted a broad following across Russia by campaigning against corruption, was proscribed on the basis of trumped-up fraud charges that the European Court of Human Rights ruled invalid . His real offenses were helping to lead opposition to Mr. Putin's last reelection, in 2012; producing videos documenting Kremlin criminality, such as the more than $1 billion in property amassed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; and bringing out tens of thousands of followers in cities across Russia this year to denounce the regime.

Mr. Navalny was credited with 27 percent of the vote when he ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013, and his presentation of his case against Mr. Medvedev had been viewed 25.7 million times on YouTube as of Tuesday. Still, the conventional political wisdom in Moscow holds that Mr. Putin could easily best Mr. Navalny in the presidential election, bolstering both his international and domestic credibility.

He nevertheless prefers to stage a Potemkin vote in which his only challengers will be two perennial candidates, one Communist and one ultra-nationalist, and Ksenia Sobchak , a 36-year-old celebrity who has called the election "a high-budget show." Mr. Navalny has now called for a boycott, which means that the Kremlin's reported goal of a 70 percent turnout may be impossible to reach, barring fraud. In one recent poll, only 58 percent said they would vote.

... ... ...

[Dec 27, 2017] Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections. Any candidate that WOULD make a difference would NEVER see the daylight of nomination, especially at the presidential level. I myself believe all the talk of Russia interfering the 2016 Election is no more than a witch hunt

Highly recommended!
Neocons dominate the US foreign policy establishment.
In other words Russiagate might be a pre-emptive move by neocons after Trump elections.
Notable quotes:
"... The dogma does not come from questioning this conclusion. Because Putin, during the campaign, complimented Trump, does not support the conclusion with its insinuation that those who voted for Trump needed to be influenced by anything other than being fed up with the usual in American politics. Same with Brexit. That dissatisfaction continues, and it doesn't need Russian influence to feed it. This is infantile oversimplification to say so. ..."
"... "The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind." ..."
"... But I do believe Putin, and for that matter Xi Jinping of China too, should make efforts to infiltrate the USA election processes. It's an eye for an eye. USA has been exercising its free hands in manipulating elections and stirring up color revolutions all around the world, including the 2012 presidential election in Russia. They should be given a taste of their own medicine. In fact, I believe it is for this reason that the US MSM is playing up this hocus pocus Russian-gate matter, as a preemptive measure to justify imposing electioneering controls in the future. ..."
"... USA may not be vulnerable as yet to this kind of external nuisances, as the masses have not yet reached the stage of being easily stirred. But that time will come. ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rhett , Dec 26, 2017 2:18:30 PM | 20

I have great respect for the reporting on this site regarding Syria and the Middle East. I regret that for some reason there is this dogmatic approach to the issue of Russian attempts to influence the US election. Why wouldn't the Russians try to sway the election? Allowing Hillary to win would have put a dangerous adversary in the White House, one with even more aggressive neocon tendencies than Obama. Trump has been owned by Russian mobsters since the the 1990s, and his ties to Russian criminals like Felix Sater are well known.

Putin thought that getting Trump in office would allow the US to go down a more restrained foreign policy path and lift sanctions against Russia, completely understandable goals. Using Facebook/Twitter bots and groups like Cambridge Analytica, an effort was made to sway public opinion toward Trump. That is just politics. And does anyone really doubt there are incriminating sexual videos of Trump out there? Trump (like Bill Clinton) was buddies with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Of course there are videos of Trump that can be used for blackmail purposes, and of course they would be used to get him on board with the Russian plan.

The problem is that everything Trump touches dies. He's a fraud and an incompetent idiot. Always has been. To make matters worse, Trump is controlled by the Zionists through his Orthodox Jewish daughter and Israeli spy son-in-law. This gave power to the most openly extreme Zionist elements who will keep pushing for more war in the Middle East. And Trump is so vile that he's hated by the majority of Americans and doesn't have the political power to end sanctions against Russia.

Personally, I think this is all for the best. Despite his Zionist handlers, Trump will unintentionally unwind the American Empire through incompetence and lack of strategy, which allows Syria and the rest of the world to breathe and rebuild. So Russia may have made a bad bet on this guy being a useful ally, but his own stupidity will end up working out to the world's favor in the long run.

Sid2 , Dec 26, 2017 3:17:40 PM | 27
@20

there is considerable irony in use of "dogmatic" here: the dogma actually occurs in the rigid authoritarian propaganda that the Russians Putin specifically interfered with the election itself, which now smugly blankets any discussion. "The Russians interfered" is now dogma, when that statement is not factually shown, and should read, "allegedly interfered."

The dogma does not come from questioning this conclusion. Because Putin, during the campaign, complimented Trump, does not support the conclusion with its insinuation that those who voted for Trump needed to be influenced by anything other than being fed up with the usual in American politics. Same with Brexit. That dissatisfaction continues, and it doesn't need Russian influence to feed it. This is infantile oversimplification to say so.

To suggest "possibly" in any argument does not provide evidence. There is no evidence. Take a look at b's link to the following for a clear, sane assessment of what's going on. As with:

"The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind."

this is b's link in URL form here:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking

Oriental Voice , Dec 26, 2017 3:56:16 PM | 35
@20:

I echo you opinion that this site gives great reports on issues pertaining to Syria and the ME. Credit to b.

On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections. Any candidate that WOULD make a difference would NEVER see the daylight of nomination, especially at the presidential level. I myself believe all the talk of Russia interfering the 2016 Election is no more than a witch hunt.

But I do believe Putin, and for that matter Xi Jinping of China too, should make efforts to infiltrate the USA election processes. It's an eye for an eye. USA has been exercising its free hands in manipulating elections and stirring up color revolutions all around the world, including the 2012 presidential election in Russia. They should be given a taste of their own medicine. In fact, I believe it is for this reason that the US MSM is playing up this hocus pocus Russian-gate matter, as a preemptive measure to justify imposing electioneering controls in the future.

USA may not be vulnerable as yet to this kind of external nuisances, as the masses have not yet reached the stage of being easily stirred. But that time will come.

[Dec 27, 2017] Wayne Masden - Five Eyes and Color Revolutions

Just a reminder...
Notable quotes:
"... taking control of cell phone and social media networks used for socio-political uprisings. ..."
May 26, 2015 | Strategic Culture Foundation
A recent release of Edward Snowden-provided classified PowerPoint presentation from the National Security Agency (NSA) provides a rather detailed description of how the FIVE EYES signals intelligence alliance of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand has conspired with the promoters of social media-based revolutions, such as the "Arab Spring", to bring about the collapse of democratically-elected or otherwise stable governments. However, the PowerPoint slides were partially redacted in key areas by the dubious censors of First Look Media, financed by e-Bay founder and multi-billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

The PowerPoint slides illustrate how, in November 2011, the NSA; Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE), now Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD) of Australia, now the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD); New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB); and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) developed a method for not only monitoring but taking control of cell phone and social media networks used for socio-political uprisings.

The program, known as "Synergizing Network Analysis Tradecraft", was developed by the FIVE EYES's Network Tradecraft Advancement Team or "NTAT".

... ... ...

The slides show that among the countries where mobile application servers were targeted by the FIVE EYES were France, Cuba, Senegal, Morocco, Switzerland, Bahamas, and Russia. The information targeted by the Western signals intelligence partners included "geolocation and network ownership information for each IP address" that consisted of "network owner name, carrier name, ASN (advanced service network), continent, country, region, city, latitude and longitude, and any other related details". Not of interest to FIVE EYES were such applications as Google, mobile banking, and iTunes.

[Dec 27, 2017] Coup detat: A Practical Handbook by Edward N. Luttwak

Notable quotes:
"... Luttwak identifies conditions that make countries vulnerable to a coup, and he outlines the necessary stages of planning, from recruitment of coconspirators to postcoup promises of progress and stability. But much more broadly, his investigation of coups-updated for the twenty-first century-uncovers important truths about the nature of political power. ..."
"... I found the book fascinating in its presentation of analytic tools for assessing the potential for successful a coup based on the concentration of power in ethnic groups and in the organization of a country's security agencies. In many cases these agencies are structured more to deal with internal threats to the regime from each other rather than external enemies! ..."
Apr 11, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Harvard University Press ISBN 9780674737266, Publication: April 2016 304 pages 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches Coup d'État astonished readers when it first appeared in 1968 because it showed, step by step, how governments could be overthrown. Translated into sixteen languages, it has inspired anti-coup precautions by regimes around the world.

In addition to these detailed instructions, Edward Luttwak 's revised handbook offers an altogether new way of looking at political power-one that considers, for example, the vulnerability to coups of even the most stable democracies in the event of prolonged economic distress.

The world has changed dramatically in the past half century, but not the essence of the coup d'état. It still requires the secret recruitment of military officers who command the loyalty of units well placed to seize important headquarters and key hubs in the capital city. The support of the armed forces as a whole is needed only in the aftermath, to avoid countercoups. And mass support is largely irrelevant, although passive acceptance is essential. To ensure it, violence must be kept to a minimum. The ideal coup is swift and bloodless. Very violent coups rarely succeed, and if they trigger a bloody civil war they fail utterly.

Luttwak identifies conditions that make countries vulnerable to a coup, and he outlines the necessary stages of planning, from recruitment of coconspirators to postcoup promises of progress and stability. But much more broadly, his investigation of coups-updated for the twenty-first century-uncovers important truths about the nature of political power.

Related Links 5.0 out of 5 stars

Phoenix Without Ashes on December 14, 2016

Takeovers for Smart Dummies

This is a new version of an earlier 1968 edition of the same book, with updated examples. I had always imagined that coups were confined to 3rd world banana republics, but was surprised to find that Lutwak's definition of a coup, successful or not, included both France and Italy, and that coups, as opposed to revolutions, were the more common method of seizing power.

I found the book fascinating in its presentation of analytic tools for assessing the potential for successful a coup based on the concentration of power in ethnic groups and in the organization of a country's security agencies. In many cases these agencies are structured more to deal with internal threats to the regime from each other rather than external enemies!

Most of the book was very well written, but Chapter 7, "The Execution of the Coup D'Etat" which painted a hypothetical scenario of how a coup could take place seemed fictional and didn't play well with the actual case studies covered in the rest of the book. Appendix C was a useful list of 20th century coups organized by region and country.

Previously I'd read Luttwak's "Strategy" and "Strategy of the Byzantine Empire." Both were immensely enjoyable. The author's style and depth is always both interesting and engaging. It was a good read that I think that other political junkies might enjoy.

Robert Mosher on April 9, 2011
A Tour de Force Effort

Coup d'etat, A Practical Handbook, Edward Luttwak, The Penguin Press, London, ©1968 Edward Luttwak

I first read this work at university shortly after it was published and have kept it near ever since. Edward Luttwak has in fact written a "handbook" that in five chapters offers clear and concise insights into the theory and the mechanics of the transfer of political power via the use or threatened use of armed force. In this surprisingly compact volume, he discusses what is a coup d'etat, when is it possible, and how to plan and execute a coup d'etat. Furthermore, he links this analysis to the historical record, repeatedly citing real world examples that were the basis for his work. Finally, he provides some 20 pages of appendices that provide much of the historical record and analytical background to the book's main theses. I had an opportunity to test Mr. Luttwak's work in December 1979.

I was then on duty as an intelligence watch officer at the Department of State in Washington as Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan.

Although the Soviet Union claimed that its forces had been invited in by the regime in Kabul, the arrival and movement of those forces in Kabul made it soon evident that their actions, which meticulously followed Luttwak's script, were intended to give them full and unimpeded sole control of Kabul and Afghanistan.

This small volume represents a valuable contribution to the political scientist's understanding of how armed political changes work and to the historian's understanding of how such changes have taken place over the years - this book is highly recommended and may be one of the most valuable single volumes in your library.

[Dec 27, 2017] Trump's Continuation of US Interventionism Consortiumnews

Dec 27, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Trump's Continuation of US Interventionism December 24, 2017

Criticizing his predecessors for misguided foreign wars, President Trump promised a break in that approach, but his National Security Strategy report indicates a shift more in rhetoric than substance, reports Dennis J. Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein

President Trump's recent report on National Security Strategy supposedly reflected his America First "realism" but his approach seems more like old wine in a new bottle, particularly his continued strong support for Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East combined with an even more aggressive U.S. policy in Asia aimed at containing China as well as confronting North Korea.

President Trump outside the Department of Defense on July 20, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

For more background on Trump's foreign policy, I spoke to Matthew Hoh. In 2009, Hoh resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a senior fellow with the Center of International Policy. Hoh is also a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War.

Dennis Bernstein: Before we get into Trump's recent major speech on foreign policy, let's take a look at Afghanistan, where you were posted by the State Department until you resigned in protest. Your thoughts after over 16 years of a US-waged war there?

Matthew Hoh: For the people of Afghanistan, this war has been going on since the 1970's, much of it propelled by and supported by outside involvement. It has been eight years now since I resigned. If you had told me back then that this level of tragedy would still be continuing eight years on, there is no way I would have believed you.

It was just revealed by the Pentagon that in the last six months, American and Afghan commandos have conducted more than 2,000 raids in Afghanistan. Americans are still there kicking in doors, raiding people's homes in the middle of the night, killing them, taking prisoners. This has happened over 2,000 times in Afghanistan in the last six months! In addition to that, we have seen an escalation in air strikes, both from drones and from manned aircraft, in Afghanistan and throughout the Muslim world.

These poor suffering people are no closer to seeing an end to this horrific violence. Money continues to pour in to support the war, people continue to get rich off the war, the opium trade continues to expand.

Bernstein: It's interesting, there are two major things that Trump has done when it comes to Afghanistan. One was to test out "the mother of all bombs" there and the other was to state that we are not going to make any commitment to withdraw by a certain date.

Hoh: Dropping the mother of all bombs was really the first indication of what war policy was going to look like under Trump. Under Obama and under Bush, there was a political victory sought. As immoral and misguided as the military aims were, there was a political end stated. They encouraged elections, they assisted in development, they were involved in a process of reconciliation.

Under the Trump administration, there is no political end state. People who were concerned about there being so many generals in the White House were concerned for a reason. We have General Kelly as Chief of Staff, Mattis as Secretary of Defense and General McMaster as National Security Advisor. You have military operations now conducted simply for military purposes. This new bomb is a great example of that.

They lied that it was used to go after a tunnel complex. It was above ground and turns the entire area into one huge flash. It is useless against tunnels. The dropping of this bomb was meant to punish the people there because, a week prior, an American service member had been killed in that area.

This policy of terror and punishment is in common with other wars which America is leading in the region. In Iraq, the US-led forces have demolished Sunni cities in the Euphrates and Tigris River Valleys. Look at what the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates have been doing in Yemen, what the Kurdish forces along with the American Air Force have done to Raqqa as well as other cities in eastern Syria. And in Afghanistan we are seeing an increase in air strikes, in artillery operations and in these night raids into people's homes.

Our policy has become to terrorize people into subjugation. And this ties into what Trump said on the campaign trail. Trump said a number of times that he was going to "take the gloves off," that our wars were too politically correct, that we should be killing the families of terrorists and destroying their homes, etc.

The photograph released by the White House of President Trump meeting with his advisers at his estate in Mar-a-Lago on April 6, 2017, regarding his decision to launch missile strikes against Syria.

Bernstein: President Trump gave his big speech yesterday [Monday, Dec. 18] on US foreign policy. What is your take on what was said?

Hoh: As has been pointed out by a number of commentators, Trump's speech yesterday was really a public relations speech, affirming his status as the leader of the Make America Great Again campaign. The first thing he talked about, as he was addressing the national security interests of the United States, was how thirteen months prior the American people elected him to be a "glorious new hope." The target of the speech was not China or Russia or the Islamic State. Its purpose was to reaffirm to his domestic political base that he is the man to lead a policy of American exceptionalism. This is the belief that American moral superiority is needed to keep the world in order.

If you wanted details, you weren't going to get them in this speech. I always tell people, if you want the details, go to the budget. Just as in previous administrations, there is a preoccupation with China. We are building ten new aircraft carriers that will cost $13 billion apiece. That is meant for an adversary like China. The Air Force refuses to even reveal the price tag of its new nuclear bomber. Our nuclear weapons program will get a trillion dollar shot in the arm to modernize over the next thirty years. These types of weapons are meant to intimidate our "competitors," as Trump likes to call them, who might rival our power.

Bernstein: The Obama administration had a very aggressive policy in the so-called Pacific Pivot, drawing a ring around China to undermine it while at the same time asking for China's support in dealing with North Korea. Is it more dangerous now because Trump is a little more volatile and dangerous and might want to create a distraction from his troubles at home?

Hoh: For those of us on the left, we should not lose sight of what took place during Obama's eight years which allowed this to happen. The previous administration did nothing to hold the torturers accountable. This makes it easier for a Donald Trump to proclaim that torture is back.

In the case of the Pacific Pivot, we are ringing China with military bases, strike aircraft and naval ships that would demolish anything that China has, despite the fact that they have expanded their military forces over the last couple decades. A modern conventional war with China would last a week at the outside. Obama did a lot to heighten those tensions.

For centuries, the Chinese have had to deal with colonization and the imperialist ambitions of various powers. A hundred years ago, the American Navy was present on Chinese rivers! What we are seeing now is really an extension of gunboat diplomacy. So when, today, the Chinese hear of American plans to build new aircraft carriers and bombers and nuclear cruise missiles, and know that this is geared toward them, it is not difficult to predict how they are going to react.

I think Trump truly believes that, through our weapon superiority and our violence, we can be a great nation again. And also, as you mentioned, there's the "wag the dog" phenomenon. What if his son does get indicted (which is probably what he deserves)? Will he do something to distract from that? Clinton did something similar to distract attention from the Monica Lewinsky affair. It is not uncommon for politicians to get the media and the public to focus elsewhere.

But the fact that Trump has these generals on his cabinet who are driven by their military mindset and tend not to have the political concerns that civilians have, makes this administration more dangerous than the previous two.

Bernstein: I'd like to hear your thoughts on Russiagate.

Hoh: First of all, if the Russian intelligence services were not trying to hack into the DNC and RNC computers in order to understand our election system, as well as everything else about us, then the head of Russian intelligence should be fired. This is what intelligence services do. We've known about hacking for decades now. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that they did hack into these systems. However, evidence of this has not been presented to the American public, other than assertions from the intelligence community, whose chief function is to lie.

Normally, what is called a "national intelligence estimate" is done, which follows specific guidelines and is reviewed by all the different agencies. This is what was doctored under the Bush administration to allow for the war in Iraq. But we also saw it with the 2007 national intelligence estimate, which said that the Iranians had not been doing anything with their nuclear weapons program since 2003.

So, within the intelligence community, they do have a process that would substantiate these claims of Russian interference in our elections but that process has not been utilized. This hand-picked group of a dozen or so men and women from a few different agencies produced a report that says, in effect, "trust us." I am very skeptical, because no real evidence has yet to be produced.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

[Dec 26, 2017] Are sanctions pushing Russians to rally around the flag Not exactly

Notable quotes:
"... There is an ongoing conflict between Russia and the West concerning EU and NATO expansion into the former USSR. Russia's resisting this expansion, and the West is trying to bully Russia into accepting it. ..."
"... The Atlantic Alliance's support for the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was all about pulling that country into the EU and NATO. The West's involvement in this revolt amounted to an aggressive move by the West against Russia. In return, Russia annexed Crimea, and triggered an anti-Ukrainian revolt in Donbass. ..."
"... The West's response to this was to impose economic sanctions on Russia, in an effort to destroy that country's economy. The goal was to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate, and to permanently forgo its vital national interests in Ukraine ..."
"... Sanctions are there because Russia. is an ally of Syria , and Israel wants Syria destroyed. The sanctions are a means to punish Russia for being Syria's friend, and also to remove Russian influence from that area of the world. Their base at Tarterus. ..."
"... For all it is worth , currently the Russians have more of a legitimate justification to attack the USA and Israel , than Japan did when they attacked Pearl Harbor, because of sanctions slapped on them since they would not leave China, and then moved into Vietnam after being allowed to by Vichy France. ..."
"... Quite obvious sanctions are not hurting Russia as they were Japan otherwise it would be a nasty scene right now. But still not advisable to poke that bear further. ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

AMR56 6/18/2017 10:52 AM EDT

There is an ongoing conflict between Russia and the West concerning EU and NATO expansion into the former USSR. Russia's resisting this expansion, and the West is trying to bully Russia into accepting it.

The Atlantic Alliance's support for the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was all about pulling that country into the EU and NATO. The West's involvement in this revolt amounted to an aggressive move by the West against Russia. In return, Russia annexed Crimea, and triggered an anti-Ukrainian revolt in Donbass.

The West's response to this was to impose economic sanctions on Russia, in an effort to destroy that country's economy. The goal was to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate, and to permanently forgo its vital national interests in Ukraine.

The first round of sanctions has obviously failed to have its effect. That's why the US Senate is now attempting a new, harsher round of sanctions in an effort to force Russia to submit to the West's mandate. ... more See More Like Share

MyFreeAdvice 6/16/2017 9:08 AM EDT
The new sanctions on Russia is all about giving an advantage to US LNG producers. First shipment of LNG to Poland from US, ever, was done just last week. It is all a game for the benefit of the big business while emotionally victimizing the common person in the US.
Alex Bes 6/16/2017 7:31 AM EDT [Edited]
Timoty Frai made a lot of research and did a lot of conclusions. Unfortunately he did not understand the only fact: we Russians has a little bit different mentality. Sanctions could not make us gave up if we believe that we are on a right side )))

For example: Imagine if someone say to you: "If you will not let me hurt your baby I will reject you as a customer!" Will you let him hurt your baby??? Most of the Russians won't!

Christopher Perrien 6/15/2017 9:06 AM EDT [Edited]
Sanctions are there because Russia. is an ally of Syria , and Israel wants Syria destroyed. The sanctions are a means to punish Russia for being Syria's friend, and also to remove Russian influence from that area of the world. Their base at Tarterus.

For all it is worth , currently the Russians have more of a legitimate justification to attack the USA and Israel , than Japan did when they attacked Pearl Harbor, because of sanctions slapped on them since they would not leave China, and then moved into Vietnam after being allowed to by Vichy France.

Quite obvious sanctions are not hurting Russia as they were Japan otherwise it would be a nasty scene right now. But still not advisable to poke that bear further.

Manuel Angst 6/15/2017 9:49 AM EDT
"... punish Russia for being Syria's friend"

Propping up the biggest butcher of Syrian people is hardly "being Syria's friend".

... more See More Like Nedlog and Manuel Angst 2

Revealer 6/15/2017 6:42 PM EDT
Must I remind you that many thousands of Americans living in both Southern and Northern states of American considered Abraham Lincoln a butcher of American people and a tyrant doing the U.S. civil war. In fact he outraged so many who thought of him that way he was assassinated because of a belief that he was a tyrant and a butcher of American people. Many people at the time remembered Gen. Sherman's military march through the South that burned everything in sight and believe it or not killed many civilians. Be careful who you call a butcher. ... more See More Like
Don Brook 6/15/2017 8:47 AM EDT
Putin's disciple Trump may well decide to invade some small country as a way of shoring up his own declining approval. ... more See More Like Share
Tebteb27 6/15/2017 8:54 AM EDT
You are a type locality example of the slow digression into destructive ignorance that we currently face as a nation. God help us. ... more See More Like
Ed Chen 6/15/2017 9:10 AM EDT
That is the best vision of how the leftist (the same word "liberal") propaganda screw the minds of the people like Don Brook, to bring this nation to a dangerous situation of clash with each other over nothing, but the pain could be great. Are sanctions pushing Russians to 'rally around the flag'? Not exactly. - The Washington Post
Bob Twou 6/15/2017 8:37 AM EDT
The sanctions have strengthen Russia's domestic economy and has turn the corner
despite low energy prices. Sanctions are never an effective tool for international relations, look at Cuba. lol
Russian are an educated people, they are not stupid which the Establishment media wants us to believe. Time to talk, isn't that what diplomacy is all about? ... more See More Like Share Erugo 1
altR 6/15/2017 8:58 AM EDT
You are also correct, sanctions are the biggest waste of time. They are only for the political elite to fake resolve

[Dec 26, 2017] The role of intelligence agencies and NGOs in color revolution is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) look like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless (and well paid) demonstrators and then institute a regime change installing their puppets projecting on them authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor

Color revolutions are false flag operations of regime change based on deception, fueling the resentment and delegitimization+ of the elected government and fake promises to population.
Notable quotes:
"... color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception. ..."
"... It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership. ..."
"... Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks. ..."
"... History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. ..."
"... to help deconstruct the deception ..."
"... A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | colorrevolutionsandgeopolitics.blogspot.com

Color revolutions are, without a doubt, one of the main features of global political developments today. Should the casual reader immediately wonder what a "color revolution" is, keep reading, our view here is unique, but we most certainly have some answers.

Let us first begin with the Wikipedia definition. That website introduces the concept by stating the following:

" Color revolution(s) is a term used by the media to describe related [political] movements that developed in several societies in the CIS (former USSR) and Balkan states during the early 2000s. Some observers have called the events a revolutionary wave .

"Participants in the color revolutions have mostly used nonviolent resistance , also called civil resistance . Such methods as demonstrations, strikes and interventions havebeen [used to] protest against governments seen as corrupt and/or authoritarian, and to advocate democracy; and they have also created strong pressure for change. These movements all adopted a specific color or flower as their symbol. The color revolutions are notable for the important role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and particularly student activists in organizing creative non-violent resistance.

"These movements have been successful in Serbia (especially the Bulldozer Revolution of 2000), in Georgia's Rose Revolution (2003), in Ukraine's Orange Revolution (2004), in Lebanon's Cedar Revolution and (though more violent than the previous ones) in Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution (2005), in Kuwait's Blue Revolution (2005), in Iraq's Purple Revolution (2005), and in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution (1989), but failed in Iran's Green Revolution (2009–2010) . Each time massive street protests followed disputed elections or request of fair elections and led to the resignation or overthrow of leaders considered by their opponents to be authoritarian ."

What the Wikipedia article fails to mention is the massive foreign funding, and at least any notion that color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception.

It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9E75GWFDMec/SjXWwi-wPnI/AAAAAAAAAmc/Jlt2fAVGcgQ/s400/IranProtestor.jpg

The secret ingredient is a sophisticated science used to manipulate emotions and circumvent critical thinking. History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. These days the manipulation is so pervasive, so subtle, so effective, that even critical individuals at times must necessarily fail to recognize how often -- or in what context -- they have fallen prey.

Of course fear is the most obvious emotion played upon to effect massive social change. One need only to reflect upon the last ten years, since 9/11, to know that fear is a primary instrument used to initiate and justify dangerous shifts in public policy.

But as humanity has been physiologically equipped with a range of emotions, and is not merely arrested and controlled by fear alone, a strata of behavioral and political science also found it useful to master the flip-side of the emotional spectrum, and by that we mean desire, and all that drives groups of individuals to act, even in the face of fear, in pursuit of something worthwhile.

Many are the professions that utilize this type of understanding, including (but not limited to) marketing, advertising, public relations, politics and law-making, radio, television, journalism and news, film, music, general business and salesmanship; each of them selling, branding, promoting, entertaining, sloganeering, framing, explaining, creating friends and enemies, arguing likes and dislikes, setting the boundaries of good and evil: in many cases using their talents to circumvent their audiences' intellect, the real target being emotional, oftentimes even subconscious.

http://bmpr.com/chip_martin/blogs/images/chip_martin/Skyyad5.jpg (Legs for educational purposes only)

Looking beneath the facade of the color revolutionary movement we also find a desire-based behavioral structure, in particular one that has been built upon historical lessons offered by social movements and periods of political upheaval.

It then makes sense that the personnel of such operations include perception managers, PR firms, pollsters and opinion-makers in the social media. Through the operational infrastructure, these entities work in close coordination with intelligence agents, local and foreign activists, strategists and tacticians, tax-exempt foundations, governmental agencies, and a host of non- governmental organizations.

Collectively, their job is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) seem like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless demonstrators advocating on behalf of a government of their choosing, which then legitimizes the sham governments with the authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor.

Because the operatives perform much of their craft in the open, their effectiveness is heavily predicated upon their ability to veil the influence backing them, and the long-term intentions guiding their work.

Their effectiveness is predicated on their ability to deceive, targeting both local populations and foreign audiences with highly-misleading interpretations of the underlying causes provoking these events.

And this is where we come in: to help deconstruct the deception .

But we will not just cover color revolutions here, as color revolutions are bound up in the larger geopolitical universe. A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ . It follows that understanding geopolitical context (and motive) is necessary to understanding the purpose of the color revolution.

Toward that end, we will discuss and analyze relationships of global power in great detail. We will highlight specific institutions of power; identify what their power rests upon; draw attention to the individuals that finance and direct their activities; speculate upon some of their motives; and get to know the broad range of tools they use to achieve them, tools which include the color revolution.

As in-depth studies into the color revolution are far too rare, and as the issue itself is far too obscure, we hope to draw more attention to it; to spark discussion and even debate.

It is an issue that takes time and patience. And it is for those that are willing to provide this time and patience that we offer this site.

"Never utter these words: 'I do not know this, therefore it is false.' One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge." --Apothegm of Narada

[Dec 26, 2017] National Security Searches for a Strategy by Philip Giraldi

Trump is now 100% pure neocon. What a metamorphose is less a year from inauguration...
Notable quotes:
"... It says, with extreme hyperbole, that "China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people." ..."
"... A somewhat more detailed account of what Moscow is up to is also contained in the written report, stating that "Russia is using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments. With its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region. Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities." ..."
"... Nearly every detail in the indictment of Russia can be challenged. Most notably, if anyone is forward deploying offensive capabilities in Eastern Europe or invading other countries it is the United States, a trend that continues under Donald Trump. Just this past week, Trump approved the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which has already drawn a warning from Moscow and will make any dialogue with Russia unlikely. ..."
"... And, of course, there is the usual softball for Israel claiming that "For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems." It is a conclusion that must make the unspeakable Benjamin Netanyahu smile. One might observe that as Israel has attacked all of its neighbors since it was founded, holding its governments blameless is a formulation that others in the region might well dispute. ..."
"... So the Donald Trump National Security Strategy will be more of the same, a combination of the worst ideas to emerge from his two predecessors with little in the way of mitigation. Trump might balk at going toe-to-toe with North Korea because they have the actual capability to strike back and might think they have nothing to lose if they are about to be incinerated, something no bully likes to see, but Iran is certainly in the cross hairs and you best believe they have taken notice and will be preparing. Vladimir Putin too can sit back and wonder how Trump could possibly have gotten everything so ass-backwards when he had so much latitude to get at least some things right. The National Security Strategy will deliver little in the way of security but it will provide an answer to why most of the world has come to hate the United States. ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

If one takes Trump at his word, the U.S. will use force worldwide to make sure that only Washington can dominate regionally, a frightening thought as it goes beyond even the wildest pretensions of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And equally ridiculous are the potential consequences of such bullying – the White House clearly believes that it will make other nations respect us and follow our leadership whereas quite the reverse is likely to be true.

On the very limited bright side, Trump did have good things to say about the benefits derived from intelligence sharing with Russia and he also spoke about both Moscow and Beijing as "rivals" and "adversaries" instead of enemies. That was very refreshing to hear but unfortunately the printed document did not say the same thing.

The NSS report provided considerably more detail than did the speech but it also was full of generalizations and all too often relied on Washington group think to frame its options. The beginning is somewhat terrifying for one of my inclinations on foreign policy:

"An America that is safe, prosperous, and free at home is an America with the strength, confidence, and will to lead abroad. It is an America that can preserve peace, uphold liberty, and create enduring advantages for the American people. Putting America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations."

One has to ask what this "lead" and "leadership" and "partner" nonsense actually represents, particularly in light of the fact that damn near the entire world just repudiated Trump's decision to move the American Embassy in Israel as well as the nearly global rejection of his response to climate change? And Washington's alleged need to lead has brought nothing but grief to the American people starting in Korea and continuing with Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous lesser stops along the way in places like Somalia, Panama and Syria. The false narrative of the threat coming from "foreigners" has actually done nothing to make Americans safer while also diminishing constitutional liberties and doing serious damage to the economy.

The printed report is much more brutal than was Trump about the dangers facing America and it is also much more carefree in the "facts" that it chooses to present. It says, with extreme hyperbole, that "China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people."

A somewhat more detailed account of what Moscow is up to is also contained in the written report, stating that "Russia is using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments. With its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region. Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities."

Nearly every detail in the indictment of Russia can be challenged. Most notably, if anyone is forward deploying offensive capabilities in Eastern Europe or invading other countries it is the United States, a trend that continues under Donald Trump. Just this past week, Trump approved the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which has already drawn a warning from Moscow and will make any dialogue with Russia unlikely.

And, of course, there is the usual softball for Israel claiming that "For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems." It is a conclusion that must make the unspeakable Benjamin Netanyahu smile. One might observe that as Israel has attacked all of its neighbors since it was founded, holding its governments blameless is a formulation that others in the region might well dispute.

So the Donald Trump National Security Strategy will be more of the same, a combination of the worst ideas to emerge from his two predecessors with little in the way of mitigation. Trump might balk at going toe-to-toe with North Korea because they have the actual capability to strike back and might think they have nothing to lose if they are about to be incinerated, something no bully likes to see, but Iran is certainly in the cross hairs and you best believe they have taken notice and will be preparing. Vladimir Putin too can sit back and wonder how Trump could possibly have gotten everything so ass-backwards when he had so much latitude to get at least some things right. The National Security Strategy will deliver little in the way of security but it will provide an answer to why most of the world has come to hate the United States.

[Dec 25, 2017] The USA as neocons occupied country

Apr 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
XXX, April 28, 2017 at 06:29 PM
Sanjait,

"Hillary Clinton, following a long tradition of mainstream Democrats, had a grab bag of proposals that, if enacted, would collectively make a huge difference in the lives of working people. "

I think you are wrong here.

Hillary was/is a neoliberal, and as such is hostile to the interests of working people and middle class in general. Like most neoliberals she is a Machiavellian elitist. Her election promises are pure demagogy, much like Trump or Obama election promised (immortalized in the slogan "change we can believe in" which now became the synonym of election fraud)

Also she was/is hell-bent of preserving/expanding the US neoliberal empire and the wars for neoliberal dominance (in ME mainly for the benefit of Israel and Saudis). War are pretty costly ventures and they are financed at the expense of working class and lower middle class, never at the expense of "fat cats" from Wall Street.

All-in-all I think the role of POTUS is greatly "misunderestimated" in your line of thinking. As we can see differences between Trump and Hillary in foreign policy are marginal. Why are you assuming that the differences in domestic economic policies would be greater ?

In reality there are other powerful factors in play that diminish the importance of POTUS:

  1. The US Presidential Elections are no longer an instrument for change. They are completely corrupted and are mostly of "bread and circuses" type of events, where two gladiators preselected by financial elite fight for the coveted position, using all kind of dirty tricks for US public entertainment.
  2. While the appearance of democracy remains, in reality the current system represents that rule of "deep state". In the classic form of "National security state". In the National Security State, the US people no longer have the any chances to change the policies.
  3. Political emasculation of US voters has led to frustration, depression and rage. It feeds radical right movement including neo-fascists, which embrace more extreme remedies to the current problems because they correctly feel that the traditional parties no longer represent the will of the people.
  4. Insulated and partially degenerated US elite have grown more obtuse and is essentially a hostage for neocons. They chose to ignore the seething anger that lies just below the surface of brainwashed Us electorate.
  5. The "American Dream" is officially dead. People at a and below lower middle class level see little hope for themselves, their children or the country. The chasm between top 1% (or let's say top 20%) and the rest continues to fuel populist anger.
  6. While Trump proved to be "yet another turncoat" like Barak Obama (who just got his first silver coin in the form of the $400K one hour speech) Trump's election signify a broad rejection of the country's neoliberal elite, including neoliberal MSM, neocon foreign policy as well as neoliberal economic system (and first of all neoliberal globalization).
  7. The country foreign policy remains hijacked by neocons (this time in the form of fiends of Paul Wolfowitz among the military brass appointed by Trump to top positions in his administration) and that might spell major conflict or even WWIII.

The level of subservience to neocon agenda in Trump administration might well be higher then in previous administration. And "make America first" was already transformed into "full spectrum dominance" == "America uber alles". http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/deutschland-uber-alles-and-america-first-in-song

8. We can now talk about the USA as "neocon occupied country" (NOC), because the neocons policies contradict the USA national interests and put heavy burden of taxpayers, especially in lower income categories. Due to neglect in maintaining infrastructure, in some areas the USA already looks like third word country. Still we finance Israel and several other countries to the tune of $40 billion dollars in military aid alone (that that's in case of Israel just the tip of the iceberg; real figure is probably double of that) https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf

Since Bill Clinton POTUS is more or less a marionette of financial oligarchy (which Obama -- as a person without the past (or with a very fuzzy past) - symbolizes all too well).

[Dec 25, 2017] The Petro-Yuan Bombshell and Its Relation to the New US Security Doctrine

Notable quotes:
"... The new 55-page "America First" National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as "revisionist" powers, "rivals," and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States. ..."
"... The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an "attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries." Still, Beijing qualified it as "reckless" and "irrational." The Kremlin noted its "imperialist character" and "disregard for a multipolar world." Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as "the world's most significant state sponsor of terrorism." ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | russia-insider.com

"Russia and China ... have concluded that pumping the US military budget by buying US bonds ... is an unsustainable proposition ..." Pepe Escobar 12,072 198

The new 55-page "America First" National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as "revisionist" powers, "rivals," and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.

The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an "attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries." Still, Beijing qualified it as "reckless" and "irrational." The Kremlin noted its "imperialist character" and "disregard for a multipolar world." Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as "the world's most significant state sponsor of terrorism."

Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geo-economic process of Eurasia integration.

The NSS can certainly be regarded as a response to what happened at the BRICS summit in Xiamen last September. Then, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on "the BRIC countries' concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies," and stressed the need to "overcome the excessive domination of a limited number of reserve currencies."

That was a clear reference to the US dollar, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total reserve currency around the world and remains the benchmark determining the price of energy and strategic raw materials.

And that brings us to the unnamed secret at the heart of the NSS; the Russia-China "threat" to the US dollar.

The CIPS/SWIFT face-off

The website of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) recently announced the establishment of a yuan-ruble payment system, hinting that similar systems regarding other currencies participating in the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will also be in place in the near future.

Crucially, this is not about reducing currency risk; after all Russia and China have increasingly traded bilaterally in their own currencies since the 2014 US-imposed sanctions on Russia. This is about the implementation of a huge, new alternative reserve currency zone, bypassing the US dollar.

The decision follows the establishment by Beijing, in October 2015, of the China International Payments System (CIPS). CIPS has a cooperation agreement with the private, Belgium-based SWIFT international bank clearing system, through which virtually every global transaction must transit.

What matters, in this case, is that Beijing – as well as Moscow – clearly read the writing on the wall when, in 2012, Washington applied pressure on SWIFT; blocked international clearing for every Iranian bank; and froze $100 billion in Iranian assets overseas as well as Tehran's potential to export oil. In the event that Washington might decide to slap sanctions on China, bank clearing though CIPS works as a de facto sanctions-evading mechanism.

Last March, Russia's central bank opened its first office in Beijing. Moscow is launching its first $1 billion yuan-denominated government bond sale. Moscow has made it very clear it is committed to a long-term strategy to stop using the US dollar as their primary currency in global trade, moving alongside Beijing towards what could be dubbed a post-Bretton Woods exchange system.

Gold is essential in this strategy. Russia, China, India, Brazil & South Africa are all either large producers or consumers of gold – or both. Following what has been extensively discussed in their summits since the early 2010s, the BRICS countries are bound to focus on trading physical gold .

Markets such as COMEX actually trade derivatives on gold, and are backed by an insignificant amount of physical gold. Major BRICS gold producers – especially the Russia-China partnership – plan to be able to exercise extra influence in setting up global gold prices.

The ultimate politically charged dossier

Intractable questions referring to the US dollar as the top reserve currency have been discussed at the highest levels of JP Morgan for at least five years now. There cannot be a more politically charged dossier. The NSS duly sidestepped it.

The current state of play is still all about the petrodollar system; since last year, what used to be a key, "secret" informal deal between the US and the House of Saud, is firmly in the public domain .

Even warriors in the Hindu Kush may now be aware of how oil and virtually all commodities must be traded in US dollars, and how these petrodollars are recycled into US Treasuries. Through this mechanism, Washington has accumulated an astonishing $20 trillion in debt – and counting.

Vast populations all across MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) also learned what happened when Iraq's Saddam Hussein decided to sell oil in euros, or when Muammar Gaddafi planned to issue a pan-African gold dinar.

But now it's China who's entering the fray, following through on plans set up way back in 2012. And the name of the game is oil-futures trading priced in yuan, with the yuan fully convertible into gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong foreign exchange markets.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange and its subsidiary, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) have already run four production environment tests for crude oil futures. Operations were supposed to start at the end of 2017, but even if they start sometime in early 2018, the fundamentals are clear: this triple win (oil/yuan/gold) completely bypasses the US dollar. The era of the petro-yuan is at hand.

Of course, there are questions on how Beijing will technically manage to set up a rival mark to Brent and WTI, or whether China's capital controls will influence it. Beijing has been quite discreet on the triple win; the petro-yuan was not even mentioned in National Development and Reform Commission documents following the 19th CCP Congress last October.

What's certain is that the BRICS countries supported the petro-yuan move at their summit in Xiamen, as diplomats confirmed to Asia Times . Venezuela is also on board. It's crucial to remember that Russia is number two and Venezuela is number seven among the world's Top Ten oil producers. Considering the pull of China's economy, they may soon be joined by other producers.

Yao Wei, chief China economist at Societe Generale in Paris, goes straight to the point, remarking how "this contract has the potential to greatly help China's push for yuan internationalization."

The hidden riches of "belt" and "road"

An extensive report by DBS in Singapore hits most of the right notes linking the internationalization of the yuan with the expansion of BRI.

In 2018, six major BRI projects will be on overdrive; the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, the China-Laos railway, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, the Hungary-Serbia railway, the Melaka Gateway project in Malaysia, and the upgrading of Gwadar port in Pakistan.

HSBC estimates that BRI as a whole will generate no less than an additional, game-changing $2.5 trillion worth of new trade a year.

It's important to keep in mind that the "belt" in BRI should be seen as a series of corridors connecting Eastern China with oil/gas-rich regions in Central Asia and the Middle East, while the "roads" soon to be plied by high-speed rail traverse regions filled with – what else - un-mined gold.

A key determinant of the future of the petro-yuan is what the House of Saud will do about it. Should Crown Prince – and inevitable future king – MBS opt to follow Russia's lead, to dub it as a paradigm shift would be the understatement of the century.

Yuan-denominated gold contracts will be traded not only in Shanghai and Hong Kong but also in Dubai. Saudi Arabia is also considering to issue so-called Panda bonds, after the Emirate of Sharjah is set to take the lead in the Middle East for Chinese interbank bonds.

Of course, the prelude to D-Day will be when the House of Saud officially announces it accepts yuan for at least part of its exports to China.

A follower of the Austrian school of economics correctly asserts that for oil-producing nations, higher oil price in US dollars is not as important as market share: "They are increasingly able to choose in which currencies they want to trade."

What's clear is that the House of Saud simply cannot alienate China as one of its top customers; it's Beijing who will dictate future terms. That may include extra pressure for Chinese participation in Aramco's IPO. In parallel, Washington would see Riyadh embracing the petro-yuan as the ultimate red line.

An independent European report points to what may be the Chinese trump card: "an authorization to issue treasury bills in yuan by Saudi Arabia," the creation of a Saudi investment fund, and the acquisition of a 5% share of Aramco.

Nations under US sanctions, such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela, will be among the first to embrace the petro-yuan. Smaller producers such as Angola and Nigeria are already selling oil/gas to China in yuan.

And if you don't export oil but are part of BRI, such as Pakistan, the least you can do is replace the US dollar in bilateral trade, as Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal is currently evaluating.

A key feature of the geoeconomic heart of the world moving from the West towards Asia is that by the start of the next decade the petro-yuan and trade bypassing the US dollar will be certified facts on the ground across Eurasia.

The NSS for its part promises to preserve "peace through strength." As Washington currently deploys no less than 291,000 troops in 183 countries and has sent Special Ops to no less than 149 nations in 2017 alone, it's hard to argue the US is at "peace" – especially when the NSS seeks to channel even more resources to the industrial-military complex.

"Revisionist" Russia and China have committed an unpardonable sin; they have concluded that pumping the US military budget by buying US bonds that allow the US Treasury to finance a multi-trillion dollar deficit without raising interest rates is an unsustainable proposition for the Global South. Their "threat" – under the framework of BRICS as well as the SCO, which includes prospective members Iran and Turkey – is to increasingly settle bilateral and multilateral trade bypassing the US dollar.

It ain't over till the fat (golden) lady sings. When the beginning of the end of the petrodollar system – established by Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud way back in 1974 – becomes a fact on the ground, all eyes will be focused on the NSS counterpunch.

John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 10:11 AM

China and Russia been dumping US bonds for a good while.
They just have to do it slowly, so they can get as much cash, to buy stolen discounted gold with from the British Anglo Zionist Empire, as possible without tanking the market.

The Federal reserve, prints currency, "loans" it to USA corporation, at USURY rates, gives this currency to other "sovereign" puppet states such as Belgium, who then act like they are buying the bonds for themselves.

It is a scam. Those who trust the USA/British Empire, will wind up with worthless paper, while the Usury bankers, their bosses, China and Russia, will wind up with gold.
All you USA worshipers should understand something.
He who has the gold, makes the rules.
Guess the western sheep are going to be the bitc#s of China and Russia for the next century or so.

Tommy Jensen John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:26 AM

I believe America will win. Therefore I sold my gold and bought dollares. The bad guys always win.............LOL.

Cliff Aleksandar Tomić , December 23, 2017 6:20 PM

" Treason doth never prosper
What be the reason?
For when it prosper,
None dare call it treason" -William Shakespere

Mychal Arnold Tommy Jensen , December 24, 2017 4:49 AM

Hey Tim or whatever. Yep you always win huh? Vietnam, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Sudan, .ring any bells I could go on but you have been embarrassed enough with your msm drivel. Always the weak and defenseless you lily livered chicken's. You better avoid war with the two most powerful countries in the world. Can you guess? and neither are you pedos and babykillers. You make me sick and disgusted. Voted again the most threat to world peace. Ussa, ussa, ussa. Proud are ya all. The time is coming where you reap what you have sown and on that day I shall dance my happy dance that you feel what you and your evil countrymen have wrought in the world in the name of democracy and freedom hope it is on cable! You rotten to the core people!

Richard Burton Mychal Arnold , December 24, 2017 11:11 AM

Here here, the US Holocaust, countless millions killed all over the globe as the USA plunders, wars and props-up evil, despot regimes. Bin Laden, Taleban, just two of the US former best allies, how long can a 200 year old, degenerate country like the USA keep sponging-off/ using exploiting the worlds billions to enrich itself? USA... infested with drugs, crime, rust belts, slums, homeless, street bums VAST inequality.

zorbatheturk Richard Burton , December 25, 2017 2:11 AM

It's still a million miles better than a craphole like RuSSia!

Mychal Arnold Richard Burton , December 24, 2017 12:01 PM

Yep! As Rome burns and eaten from within!

Le Ruse Tommy Jensen , December 25, 2017 2:32 AM

Yes Tommy.. Good move !!
Buy US$ !! US$ is backed by US government !! Gold is not backed by anything !!

Peter Jennings John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:09 AM

Remember the Belgium Bulge a few years back? the process must also work in reverse.

wilmers13 John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 12:43 AM

You cannot buy gold from the Empire, have you not read the book Gold Warriors.

Security is a propaganda term now, stands for war preparations.

John C Carleton wilmers13 , December 24, 2017 8:39 AM

The Empire sells other peoples gold to China and Russia everyday, having stole and sold Americans gold long since.
Works like this.
The not Federal, and no Reserve(s) dollar, is worth about 1 cent, of a 1913, pre Usury criminal banker scam "dollar".
That 1 % is swiftly loosing it's value.
To keep the American people, from realizing, the USA, is using them for cattle, stealing their labor, through planned hyperinflation,:
Israhell/Washington crime cabal, dumps massive amounts of "paper gold and silver", on the market, each and every damn day the rigged market is open, in order to artificially keep the price of gold and silver way the hell below where it should be priced in federal reserve currency.
This hide s the true inflation rate of the not federal and no reserves private Usury Banker Currency, falsely identified as the "US Dollar".
Israhell/Washington DC, does not have the physical gold and silver to cover what they sell.
It is a criminal scam.
Those who buy this paper gold and silver, small guy, will never be given physical for the paper.
Small guy, traded green paper for white paper. Either will be worthless soon.
Sovereigns, can buy enough of it, to demand delivery of physical.
The day the British Anglo zionist Empire defaults delivering physical gold, to China and Russia, for the paper gold, is the day the curtain comes down on the illusion of the USA financial empire.
Washington DC knows this, China knows this, Russia knows this.
In order to buy time, Israhell/Washington DC, has stolen, sold at hugely discounted prices, to keep the dollar scam alive, just a while longer, all the gold they were supposably storing for safe keeping, of other sovereigns.
They have stolen privately held gold, which was stored in commercial banks and vaults for "safe keeping.
They stole the gold which went missing from the basement vaults in the world trade centers, before they set off the demolition charges.
Then they sold it.
They stole and sold Ukraines gold.
They stole and sold, Libya's gold.
They had intended to have already stole and sold Syria's gold.
They are fast running out of other peoples gold, to deliver to China and Russia at huge discounts, to prop up the scam, just a while longer.
The day there is no more stolen gold to deliver to China and Russia, the music stops, all the chairs are removed, this game of musical chars is over. Starving Americans will eat their pets, rats, and each other.
Thanks Israhell!
Thanks Washington DC/USA.

Trauma2000 John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 1:11 PM

I want more information on this. Isabella said a similar thing. I want to know more... So the U$T's that are in actual fact worthless, Russia is using to buy gold at a huge discount to what should be the true market rate; and then Russia is storing this. I understand the storing thing. I'm a straight forward kind-of-a-guy. But its the U.$.T.'s to Physical Gold I can't get my head around.

Why is the U.$. honouring what is a knife-to-its-throat deal that is very soon going to result in the collapse of the U.$. dollar? And according to this forum fully 20% of Russia's reserves are still held in fiat U.$.T's..?

Why would Russia hold such a large percentage if its reserves in what will be worthless U.$.T.'s when it knows that the U.$. is going to try and scam Russia and default..?

I want to know more.

John C Carleton Trauma2000 , December 24, 2017 2:02 PM

Picture a crime family.
Some branches are pure evil.
Some not so evil.
Some are very open about their evil.
Some are sneaky hypocrites who use the news media to white wash their crimes, and vilify their victims.

BUT! And this is one huge BUT, they all know too much on each other to start talking too damn much.
Also, their criminal Empire, (shearing/raping/murdering the sheep for fun and profit) is all tied together. Common banks, common/interchangeable fiat currencies, Usury debt practices.
Take part of it down, the other part will suffer great losses, if not go down with them.
Russia, and China, has gotten tired of the British Anglo zionist Empire lording it over them and treating them like red headed step children.
Russia and China, have not seen the Light, are not operating for the sake of their people, but to keep themselves in power, by returning to the people, some of the wealth they stole from the people to begin with
British Anglo zionist pig fkers Empire, is too greedy to return any of the stolen loot.
The BAzE, have a let them eat grass like the animals they are elitist attitude.
China and Russia, are trying to position themselves to come out on top when the economic reset happens.
They both were FORCED, by Empire, to both buy and hold, huge stashes of both Federal reserve fiat currency, and bonds, to do business in the rest of the world.
The USA military is the enforcement arm for the BAzE.
USA military is corrupted, demoralized, veterans fked over royally, weapons do not work as their purpose, was to steal the labor of the American working man and women, not to produce weapons which worked as advertised.
Russia and China, will continue to buy gold, buy time, to get in a better position to give Uncle Sugar's pedophilic ass both middle fingers.
It is in their interest to do so.
The owners of the British Anglo zionist Empire, have their personal vaults filled with stolen gold.
The politicians you see, the Rothschild's even, are window dressing to hide the true owners, and to protect the true owners asses during slave revolts, by offering, kings, queens, politicians, bankers, heads to get chopped.
These owners have no loyalty to any other person, or country in the world. They see themselves as the chess players, humanity as the pieces, the earth as their personal chess board.
They do not give a FF about America, the American people, or the hand puppet political whore of DC/USA.
The hand puppet whores, are too stupid, and corrupt anyway, to understand whats coming, or to have the power, intelligence, or balls to stop it
There are all kinds of fun and wealth created, for deviant sick bastards, in creating, and tearing down empires.
Besides, all the death and destruction gets them sexually excited
Takes years of study, experience with, and intuition, to begin to understand their evil, and the way the world really works.
Whether someone started years back, educating themselves, preparing for whats coming, will determine if they will enter the kill zone as a sheep or not.
The only protection sheep have, is the hope, the jackals will rape and murder some other sheep, not them. That is why they will not stand up or speak up.
That is why they violently attack anyone wants to leave the herd mentality, everyone else forced to be in the same sheep state as them,
They are afraid the jackal will notice them individually.
Herd numbers and hiding in the herd, are the cowards only protection

Bd-prince Pramanik Trauma2000 , December 24, 2017 8:28 PM

your answer is in your question!

Mychal Arnold John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 12:41 PM

John I firmly believe they will get what is coming to them just a matter of time nothing endures forever. But mostly not in our life time, though!

John C Carleton Mychal Arnold , December 24, 2017 12:46 PM

Any day now, any week, not very many months, can the scam go on.
In other words, Americans might want to bone up on delicious recipes for Rats, cats, and their neighbors.

Trauma2000 John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 3:15 PM

re: "China and Russia been dumping US bonds for a good while.
They just have to do it slowly, so they can get as much cash, to buy stolen discounted gold with from the British Anglo Zionist Empire, as possible without tanking the market."

I have been reading this for a while. But I've yet to see it in practice. Rosneft is still accepting U.$. dollars for oil/gas transactions, the most recent of which I believe was the gas shipment from St Petersburg to Poland..? https://tomluongo.me/2017/1...

I need to read more on this subject.

BobValdez Trauma2000 , December 23, 2017 3:48 PM

Russia acceps dollars for oil, and uses them to buy physical gold. No need to hold useless dollars, just convert them to gold.

Paw Trauma2000 , December 23, 2017 9:48 PM

What you buy by petrodollars ?
Saudi .Arabia buys arms. But SA has got millions of unemployed people , because they studied Islamic religion , wahabist fanaticism ... Further SA employs millions of workers from other countries. And owns US assets in value over 1 trillion dollars. So what else to buy , where to spend their petrodollars? Only get billions dollars arms ,that are in couple years useless...Population hate the fully corrupt royal family in numbers approximately 40 thousands princess as they have to get about 500 thousands yearly salaries...For doing nothing , only to spend it everywhere...
Populations hate US presence in SA. Very much.

Richard Burton Paw , December 24, 2017 11:18 AM

But the Great Satan~USA adore such scum as the vile Crooked Saudi royal family, the snakehead USA ignore all their anti-democracy, anti- human rights their beheading, their evil ways, they worship money the US swine, its all they see and lap-up, plus they have Russia/ China /Iran to pick on and blame not their evil Saudi- swine arms buyers. View Hide

Isabella Jones Trauma2000 , December 24, 2017 11:54 AM

At the moment, because the US is illegally holding gold prices down using uncovered shorts on paper gold, and at the same time has used sanctions to devalue the rouble, Russia is producing oil at reduced - rouble - rates, selling it on the international market for U$, [artificially inflated] and buying massive amounts of cheap gold with the huge profits she is making.
Russia is singing all the way to the bank right now. The US backed itself into a corner on this one it cannot get out from - short of waging war on Russia !!!

Mychal Arnold Isabella Jones , December 24, 2017 12:32 PM

10% of GDP goes out where is the ussa 100 as are many others in the west. All western country have huge debts funny how that is or is it?

Tony B. Isabella Jones , December 24, 2017 11:31 PM

Why should anyone who is in love with gold be upset if someone is holding the price down? It should be a wonderful time to buy.
Russia is MINING gold, its own gold.

Isabella Jones Tony B. , December 25, 2017 5:41 AM

It is a great time to buy, if you have some spare cash to store, I agree. It's just a poor time if you need to realise your gold - you wont get the price for it you should. But indeed, it's a buyers market. Yes, Russia has a fair bit of gold "reserves" just sitting in the ground.

John C Carleton Trauma2000 , December 23, 2017 3:41 PM

There is the face the beast lets you see, and the real face of the beast.
You do not think the beast is stupid enough to show it's real face to all the sheep?
Really?
The sheep who are given personal attention in private places, see the real face of the beast, because it sexually excites the beast for the chosen sheep to die bleating in terror.

Nathan Dunning John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 4:36 PM

You're a tool for the left I bet you're American Liberal.

John C Carleton Nathan Dunning , December 24, 2017 9:44 AM

You are a sheep.
i Am a wolf.
You are lucky i lost my taste for mutton.
i prefer goat and jackal. View Hide

John C Carleton Nathan Dunning , December 24, 2017 9:49 AM

View Hide

Mychal Arnold Nathan Dunning , December 24, 2017 12:45 PM

Guess you just got here you friggin troll. You know nothing you shill. Go back to the basement mom has brought you dinner and cookies n milk and let the grown men talk, now that is a good boy bye. Sorry John I have disappointed my Mom said be nice but idiots bother me. Say hi to your lovely Mom for me and God bless. Merry Christmas everyone! Got your back as always.

alexwest11 John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:25 AM

John C Carleton • an hour ago China and Russia been dumping US bond
-------
no they don't! Russians reserves are about 100+ bln in UST

and WHOLLY 20 % OF RUSSIAN assets in Russian banks are kept mostly $$$ and some euro

John C Carleton alexwest11 , December 23, 2017 12:18 PM

Glad you are so confident in the currency, which has lost 99% of it's buying power since 1913, when the not Federal and no Reserve(s) was forced on the American people by the Usury Banker ancestors of the owners of the 'Fed", buying USA politicians.

Where did that 99% value go?
To the I%ters. You know, the pedophile elite.
They want it all, they are coming for the other 1% of the "dollar's" value.
They are coming for Social security, government pensions, private pensions, checking accounts, any thing with any value.

Oh by the way, just cause you are ignorant of how things work, don't mean they don't work that way, just means you are ignorant.
Have a wonderful day now!
See mother, i was nice to the bad person who was trying to run interference for pedophile baby rapers.

oncefiredbrass John C Carleton , December 24, 2017 2:44 AM

Good to see someone else Awake! A good portion of the Sheep are still sleeping, they think the National Debt and Zero Interest Rates mean nothing (in the Eurozone Interest is Negative). The US Dollar is soon to be Toilet Paper! Our Military can only overthrow small countries that defy the PetroDollar system. Now with so many doing it, John Carleton is right, the National Debt and Retirements Accounts are basically equal. That is why Obutthead set the start of grabbing them by creating the MYRA, the Theory is the Sheep are to stupid to manage their own retirement accounts, so the Government would grab them and put them in a so called safe investment called "Treasury's". Unfortunately the SS Trust Fund has been raided and is broke, but they do have drawers full of Treasuries. Trump has to immediately open public lands for Mining & Drilling! A normalization of Interest Rates to 5-6% would consume Government Revenues just to pay Interest on the Debt!

John C Carleton oncefiredbrass , December 24, 2017 8:22 AM

Will work like this, they may already be doing it quietly.
Take private pensions.
They are already in trouble, having stocks, bonds, commercial real estate holdings.
All of these will become worthless, or close to it.
Anything with value, currency, decimal dollars, will be taken by the Washington thieves, and worthless US bonds which will probably never be redeemed, or redeemed for chump change, will be put in their place by Washington, as they "protect" the retirement accounts.
Old people will eat rats, each other, dog and cats, die without medical care and meds which they can not afford.
Some will eat their pistols.
Not going to be nice or orderly.

Ron John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:11 PM

Dude, your postings are good and has an element of humor, thanks.

alexwest11 John C Carleton , December 23, 2017 11:25 PM

pedophile baby rapers.
------
people who associate everything w/ pedophile baby rapers.
USUALLY ARE pedophile baby rapers.!!!!!

YES, $ lost about 97 %, but rest of even worse

russian ruble of 1913 - worthless
german mark -worthless
japanese yen - worthless
etc!

John C Carleton alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 8:58 AM

Open mouth in ignorance, insert foot.
Don't worry about a foot in the other end, i will do that verbally with my Texas cowboy boot.

Dispora Pedophiles increasingly Use Israel as 'haven,' activist charge.'
https://www.timesofisrael.c...

'Advocacy group: Israel is a pedophiles paridise-Haaetz-Israel News'
https://www.haaretz.com/adv...

'Nachlaot, where pedophiles roam free,--the Times of Israel
https://www.haaretz.com/adv...

'Israel Found to be Safe For Pedophiles'
http://yournewswire.com/isr...

'Jewish Pedophiles Increasingly use Israel as a haven, activist charge'
https://freespeechtwentyfir...

'Power, Pedophilia and the US Government'
http://www.whale.to/c/power...

'Frankland Coverup Sex Scandal,
(pedophile prostitution ring being run out of Reagan's White House)
http://www.johnccarleton.or...

All pedo's, should be given a fair trial, and a fair hanging. A pedophile which was given a fair trial, and a fair hanging, never again, raped a child.
Amazing how that works.

How you like them Texas cowboy boots?

Aurora alexwest11 , December 23, 2017 1:19 PM

Correct and very easy at any given moment to be converted in a GOLD.Just follow dynamic Russia and China buying GOLD on a world market and everything will be clear to you

alexwest11 Aurora , December 24, 2017 12:43 AM

dynamic Russia and China buying GOLD on a world market
-----

btw . moron

Russia/ china don't buy gold on world market. they are 2 /3 gold producers in the world

WHAT IS YOU LEVEL OF FORMAL EDUCATION ??

it seems you are uneducated moron !

AM Hants alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 7:25 AM

Russian Gold Reserves 2014-2017 View Hide

Aurora alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 1:19 PM

While all eyes are on the oil price and the ruble to dollar rate, the Central Bank of Russia has quietly been buying huge volumes of gold over the past year. In January, 2016, the latest data available, the Russian Central Bank again bought 22 tons of gold, around $800 million at current exchange rates, that, amidst US and EU financial sanctions and low oil prices. It was the eleventh month in a row they bought large gold volumes. For 2015 Russia added a record 208 tons of gold to her reserves compared with 172 tons for 2014. Russia now has 1,437 tonnes of gold in reserve, the sixth largest of any nation according to the World Gold Council in London. Only USA, Germany, Italy, France and China central banks hold a larger tonnage of gold reserves.
Notably also, the Russian central bank has been selling its holdings of US Treasury debt to buy the gold, de facto de-dollarizing, a sensible move as the dollar is waging de facto currency war against the ruble. As of December, 2015, Russia held $92 billion in US Treasury Bonds down from $132 billion in January 2014.China bought another 17 tons of gold in January and will buy a total of another 215 tons this year, approximately equal to that of Russia. From August to January 2016 China added 101 tonnes of gold to its reserves. Annual purchases of more than 200 tons by the PBOC would exceed the entire gold holdings of all but about 20 countries, according to the World Gold Council. China's central bank reserves of gold have risen 57% since 2009 acording to data the PBOC revealed in July, 2015. Market watchers believe even that amount of gold in China's central bank vaults is being politically vastly understated so as not to cause alarm bells to ring too loud in Washington and London.

Mychal Arnold alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 12:50 PM

Dude stop your only making yourself look stupid by opening your gob and proving or in this case writing. Merry Christmas or is it happy Hanukkah? Troll boy.

Le Ruse Mychal Arnold , December 25, 2017 2:37 AM

Maybe Happy "Kwanza" whatever is that ??

alexwest11 Aurora , December 23, 2017 11:29 PM

any given moment to be converted in a GOLD.J
----------
???????? converted what ?

in Russia, in gold ? you are not Russian, don't live, know nothing

----------
most Russians are stupid and uneducated in finance, savings do not exist

average Russian rather buy car , or flat than save money for something.

it is USSR mentality plagued by memory of deficits

Bd-prince Pramanik alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 8:51 PM

alexwest11 You are stupid ! a flat or house is real money you know ! They are uneducated in Rothschild finance! are you a russlanddeutsche! or jew from holy ukraine like poroschenko ?

Tony B. Bd-prince Pramanik , December 24, 2017 11:36 PM

Rothschild finance can be described in a single word: THEFT.
The world's sole economic problem.

Le Ruse Tony B. , December 25, 2017 2:39 AM

Humm...
the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away ??

AM Hants alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 7:38 AM

You confuse me. If Russians are so stupid and uneducated in finance, then why is their President a Dr in Economics?

Why are they in control of their vast wealth of natural resources?

Why do they have virtually enough gold to back the ruble and decent currency reserves, that rise monthly?

Also, how come they have free healthcare and education, including university level, if they are so stupid and uneducated?

Why does the US require Russian engines to make it into space?

Like I said, you confuse me, as I assumed you were talking about another super-nation, that has seriously lost it's way.

PUTIN'S PHD THESIS ESSENTIAL READING FOR OFFICIALS
http://slavija.proboards.co...

Russia National Debt: $194,545,062,334
Interest per Year $12,805,556,000
Interest per Second $406
Debt per Citizen $1,330
Debt as % of GDP 19.32%
GDP $1,007,000,000,000
Population 146,300,000

Russia Foreign Exchange Reserves

View Hide
oncefiredbrass alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 2:52 AM

Russia is one of the largest Countries by land mass with a sparse population after the breakup of the Soviet Union. They run very low deficits and their National Debt is very low, they are one of the Countries that is best prepared for a major economic crash.

alexwest11 oncefiredbrass , December 24, 2017 3:19 AM

oncefiredbrass alexwest11 • 28 minutes ago Russia
is one of the largest Countries by land mass with a sparse population
after the breakup of the Soviet Union. They run very low defic
--------
but facts say quite opposite!!!!!!!!

during oil selloff of 2008*9 Russian ruble fall 50%, from 23 to 37 per$

during oil selloff of 2014*15 Russian ruble fall 250 %, from 33 to almost 90 per$

right now its about 60 per $ , still 100% devaluation from 2014
-------

i don't remember $ fall against euro or yen during 2000 or/and 2008 crises in USA

more than 20 %

oncefiredbrass alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 3:27 AM

The fall of the Ruble was an attack or sanction by the Obama Regime over Ukraine. Why not trying to look up the Debt to GDP ratio for Russia and then the US and then ask yourself what economy is actually in a better position to withstand a Depression. Russia almost has enough Gold to back all their currency. How much gold would it take to back all the Treasuries and Dollars that the US has spread all over the world?

alexwest11 JIMI JAMES , December 24, 2017 6:23 AM

because in the end only the strong will survive and russia just like china
-------
!!sure moron.

avg salary in Russia about 500 $
avg pension 200 $

that is why idiotic Russians twice in 20 century totally annihilated own country!!!!!! 1917 and 1991

-----
and for china!!!!!!! it just show how moronic you are
we will see how china is good in 100 or 200 years!!!

cause history showed china always being overrun by someone else;
mongols, Manchurians, etc

learn a history western moron!!!!!!!!

Mychal Arnold alexwest11 , December 24, 2017 12:59 PM

Hey let the grown men talk baby boy! You are spouting msm talking points you're trying to debate the choir about hymns. Your not going to make anyone here see the light because you have no truths behind or in front. Msm drivel. One simple question! Who took Berlin? In ww2 of course!

Why , December 23, 2017 9:42 AM

I hope Russia will survive UKUSA's onslaught.

Craig A. Mouldey Why , December 23, 2017 10:51 AM

Me too. The U.S. has become the evil empire. The bully on the world stage stealing everyone's lunch money. I know it will devastate us in Canada, but I would still rather see the U.S. economy crumble if it would cripple their war machine, than to see this situation go on. Ron Paul was right: Instead of war, why not pursue peaceful trade? But the U.S. controllers want everyone else under their thumb as obedient serfs. It is evil. And as Smedley Butler so bluntly put it "War is a Racket"! He said this because he was sent to war with Guatemala on behalf of the United Fruit Company, aka Chiquita Brands International. This time, they are trying to steal the lunch money from those who can defend themselves. We aren't going to sit on our couch watching this war on TV, because we will watch it out our front windows.

[Dec 25, 2017] As American Statecraft Crumbles into Dangerous Incoherence, Where is the Senate By Andrew Bacevich Common Dreams

Notable quotes:
"... Contrast that with our situation today. Donald Trump came to office almost entirely ignorant of statecraft. Rather than a considered worldview, he offers slogans and sound bites. As Trump approaches the first anniversary of his inauguration, we can say this about U.S. foreign policy: It has ceased to exist. ..."
"... Any policy worthy of the name requires principles. Trump has none. So U.S. behavior on the world stage today consists of little more than random and often contradictory impulses. For recent examples, consider the inflammatory rhetoric directed at North Korea, stealth increases in U.S. troop contingents in Syria and Afghanistan, the inauguration of a U.S. bombing campaign in Somalia and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In each instance, the president acted without making the slightest pretense of consulting anyone outside a small circle of White House advisors. None of these decisions, to put it mildly, will Make America Great Again. ..."
"... Given the chance, any president will treat statecraft as his personal fiefdom. History shows that even a small number of senators with sufficient gumption and wit can frustrate such ambitions. This is what La Follette and Norris, Borah and Wheeler, and Fulbright did in their time. That among their successors today there appear to be none willing or able to take up their mantle is a sad testament to the state of American politics. ..."
"... is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History ..."
"... which has just been published by Random House. ..."
"... He is also editor of the book, The Short American Century ..."
"... Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project) ; Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War , The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War , The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project) , ..."
"... The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II . ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | www.commondreams.org

The USA foreign policy remain unchanged. It is a neocon foreign policy. Trump just does not matter. He just added a spicy flavor of reckless adventurism to it.

How senators of both parties have made themselves complicit in the unfolding folly of Trump's foreign policy by Andrew Bacevich Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, smiles as he takes an elevator after meeting with President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans on Nov. 28 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press) Where is J. William Fulbright when we need him? Or if not Fulbright, perhaps Robert M. La Follette or George W. Norris. Personally, I'd even settle for William Borah or Burton K. Wheeler.

During the 20th century, each of these now largely forgotten barons of the U.S. Senate served the nation with distinction. Their chief contribution? On matters related to war and peace, they declined to kowtow to whoever happened to occupy the office of commander in chief. On issues involving the safety and security of the American people, they challenged presidents, insisting that the Congress should play a central role in formulating basic policy. With the floor of the Senate as their bully pulpit, they questioned, provoked and thereby captured public attention.

"The Senate's duty is clear -- to spell out the implications of Trump's mishandling of U.S. foreign policy before the damage becomes irreversible."

A century ago, La Follette of Wisconsin and Norris of Nebraska, both progressive Republicans, spoke eloquently and at length in opposition to President Woodrow Wilson's insistence that the United States should go to war with Germany. Following the World War I armistice, Borah, a Republican from Idaho, emerged as an uncompromising critic of the Versailles Treaty that Wilson negotiated in Paris. During the late 1930s, having concluded that U.S. participation in that earlier European war had been a huge error, Borah and Wheeler, a Democrat from Montana, sought to prevent President Franklin D. Roosevelt from repeating Wilson's mistakes. Three decades later, Fulbright, a Democrat from Arkansas and the influential chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, became a thorn in Lyndon B. Johnson's side as a sharp critic of the Vietnam War.

In opposing presidents whom they saw as too eager to wage war or too certain that they alone understood the prerequisites of peace, these senators were not necessarily correct in their judgments. Yet by drawing widespread public attention to foreign policy issues of first-order importance, they obliged their adversaries in the White House to make their case to the American people.

Whatever the issue -- sending Americans to fight on the Western Front, joining the League of Nations, rescuing Great Britain from Hitler or defending South Vietnam -- the back and forth between presidents and prominent Senate critics provided a means of vetting assumptions, assessing potential risks and debating possible consequences. In each instance, American citizens gained a clearer picture of what their president was intent on doing and why. The president became accountable.

Contrast that with our situation today. Donald Trump came to office almost entirely ignorant of statecraft. Rather than a considered worldview, he offers slogans and sound bites. As Trump approaches the first anniversary of his inauguration, we can say this about U.S. foreign policy: It has ceased to exist.

Any policy worthy of the name requires principles. Trump has none. So U.S. behavior on the world stage today consists of little more than random and often contradictory impulses. For recent examples, consider the inflammatory rhetoric directed at North Korea, stealth increases in U.S. troop contingents in Syria and Afghanistan, the inauguration of a U.S. bombing campaign in Somalia and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In each instance, the president acted without making the slightest pretense of consulting anyone outside a small circle of White House advisors. None of these decisions, to put it mildly, will Make America Great Again.

As American statecraft succumbs to incoherence, where is the Senate? Somewhere between missing in action and too preoccupied with partisan and parochial considerations to take notice. As a body, the Senate has done nothing to restrain Trump or to enlighten the American people regarding the erratic course on which the president has embarked. Occasional complaints registered by a handful of senators, such as the ailing John McCain, amount to little more than catcalls from the bleachers. In effect, senators of both parties have made themselves complicit in the unfolding folly.

The duty of the Senate is clear -- to spell out the implications of Trump's mishandling of U.S. foreign policy before the damage that he is inflicting becomes irreversible.

Given the chance, any president will treat statecraft as his personal fiefdom. History shows that even a small number of senators with sufficient gumption and wit can frustrate such ambitions. This is what La Follette and Norris, Borah and Wheeler, and Fulbright did in their time. That among their successors today there appear to be none willing or able to take up their mantle is a sad testament to the state of American politics. © Los Angeles Times Andrew Bacevich Andrew J. Bacevich , a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History , which has just been published by Random House. He is also editor of the book, The Short American Century (Harvard Univ. Press) , and author of several others, including: Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project) ; Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War , The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War , The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project) , and The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II . Share This Article

[Dec 25, 2017] Kamala Harris Pisses Off Intelligence Committee Chairman When She Tries to Control Senate Hearing!

Dec 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Published on Nov 9, 2017

Kamala Harris Pisses Off Intelligence Committee Chairman When She Tries to Control Senate Hearing!

[Dec 24, 2017] UN votes resoundingly to reject Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital

Dec 24, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The United Nations general assembly has delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump, voting by a huge majority to reject his unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital .

The vote came after a redoubling of threats by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, who said that Washington would remember which countries "disrespected" America by voting against it.

Despite the warning, 128 members voted on Thursday in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus that the status of Jerusalem – which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians – can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal. Countries which voted for the resolution included major recipients of US aid such as Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although largely symbolic, the vote in emergency session of the world body had been the focus of days of furious diplomacy by both the Trump administration and Israel, including Trump's threat to cut US funding to countries that did not back the US recognition .

But only nine states – including the United States and Israel –voted against the resolution. The other countries which supported Washington were Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.

[Dec 24, 2017] Nikki Haley's Speech to UN on Jerusalem

"Barf Alert"
Dec 24, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Nikki Haley's Speech to UN on Jerusalem

Video and Transcript

'The United States will remember this day, in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation'

Posted December 21, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KVTQefA77Ys

To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the state of Israel. Both the current and the previous Secretary-Generals have objected to the UN's disproportionate focus on Israel. It's a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution, and that in turn is harmful for the entire world.

I've often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body. And then I remember that Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it's important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation; but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.

Standing here today, being forced to defend sovereignty and the integrity of my country – the United States of America – many of the same thoughts have come to mind. The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies. We do this, in part, in order to advance our values and our interests. When that happens, our participation in the UN produces great good for the world. Together we feed, clothe, and educate desperate people. We nurture and sustain fragile peace in conflict areas throughout the world. And we hold outlaw regimes accountable. We do this because it represents who we are. It is our American way.

But we'll be honest with you. When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What's more, that nation is asked to pay for the "privilege" of being disrespected.

In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege. Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people. As such, we have an obligation to acknowledge when our political and financial capital is being poorly spent.

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We have an obligation to demand more for our investment. And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways. Those are the thoughts that come to mind when we consider the resolution before us today.

The arguments about the President's decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem have already been made. They are by now well known. The decision was in accordance to U.S. law dating back to 1995, and it's position has been repeatedly endorsed by the American people ever since. The decision does not prejudge any final status issues, including Jerusalem's boundaries. The decision does not preclude a two-state solution, if the parties agree to that. The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts. Rather, the President's decision reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy. There is no need to describe it further.

Instead, there is a larger point to make. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.

America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.

But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered.

Thank you.

machado · 2 days ago

Dump Trump, Nikki for President. If we are going to have a bullshi**er for President we might as well have the best. THe crap she spouted makes Trump sound like a novice.
Gor · 2 days ago
"Instead, there is a larger point to make. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation."

I have lost count of how many times the US has destroyed countries, for exercising THEIR rights as a sovereign nation. Often deceitfully and cynically using the UN as it's instrument.

The hypocrisy is stunning. Fortunately it seems the rest of the world is coming to realize that the US is unhinged and that trying to deal rationally with a lunatic is pointless. Watch China and Russia make great gains globally as former US allies turn away.

jjc · 2 days ago
I suppose that any Congressional action could be said to be a reflection of "the will" of the American people since they are elected representatives, but, in reality, how many Americans were even aware of the 1995 Jerusalem embassy law? How can it be said that such law has been repeatedly "endorsed" by the American people, presumably by continuing to send people to Congress or by the re-signing of 6-month waivers to delay sending the embassy to Jerusalem, which has happened twice a year for over twenty years with absolutely zero discussion or publicity?

Haley claims to speak for the American people but she is truly speaking for the grossly powerful Israel lobby which has literally purchased its significant place at the table. Everyone knows this, so her self-righteous remarks produce scorn and disgust.

dl66 86p · 2 days ago
"Israel... stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity... "
Haley must be talking about a different Israel from the one in the middle east.
As for the United Nations, it's about time the organisation stands up against the tyrants and starts doing what it was created for, support global cooperation and international laws. Apply it's rules equally: not just sanction developing countries for saying no to exploitation by the rich ot for building their own national defense because rich and powerful countries use aggression to get what they want.
If the United Nations were a just organisation Palestine would have become a sovereign nation decades ago, global terrorism would not exist and no nation would develop nuclear weapons.
But, as always, money is the driver and the US/Israel blackmailing may just succeed.
InTheKeyofF 68p · 2 days ago
Hey Nikki - most of the world, and many of us here in the U.S. are sick and tired of the nation's work on behalf of some mythical "values" and those ever-present "interests." We know who you serve, and it sure as hell ain't the people of any nation. Haley is prepping for a run at the Senate, and is setting herself up quite nicely for those big checks from Adelson.
guest · 2 days ago
When we pay our dues to the UN we expect to be obeyed. "We have an obligation to demand more for our investment" - thus shrieked the incomparable Nikki Haley. If she had read Lewis Carrol (which I doubt) she might have shortened her speech by saying "Off with their heads".

If the US thinks it can buy out the world, it is getting truly delusional. BTW, are these 128 countries now going to be sanctioned? And what after that if the world still disobeys the mighty US?

guest · 2 days ago
Watch out for a blast of twitters from the USA's Twitterer-in-Chief. He will drown these 128 countries in venom and fry their Twitter accounts. The lady representing the US at the UN has carefully prepared a list of these countries - watch out all you 128 countries. Trump and the lady will go hopping mad - maybe we may get to see that routine - and then just you wait, you 128 countries, for the barrage of twitters that will be let loose upon you. Some day, the US rep at the UN may even assault the reps of other countries and spit and cuss at them. Now that would be a show worth watching!
Jack · 2 days ago
Well that's it but don't blame Trump.
UN member states have come to the conclusion that it's now safe to rebut the United States .
Trump in his clumsiness has only highlighted what the UN has been and that it is a corrupt sovereign nation bribing nation states with American aid for their votes.
Reagan did it Clinton did it Bush did it Bush Senior did it and now Trump has done it.
This is Americas international policy wake up call.
Member States do not trust America any more and they could not have expressed their views any stronger.
The British must take some blame too for riding the Tigers back for the past seventy years.
Only psychophantics will follow these nations now.
That goes for North Korea too.
Will the UN decide now not to attack North Korea and level it to the ground with horrific casualties for the second time.
The world has tired of Americas impudence of terror.
They should pull out of their military bases now around the world .
The countries that host them have had enough of their paranoid exceptionalism.
It's time to change direction and to defy US fiat money bribes.
Jack · 2 days ago
Oh and Obama did it but more covertly .
Jack · 2 days ago
Why in the name of sanity would the Marshal Islands vote with the US .
Were they bribed ?
Jerry Alatalo 95p · 2 days ago
Bizarre, surreal, unbelievable, jaw-dropping, astounding, mind-boggling, incomprehensible? ... Watching Ms. Haley - on behalf of Mr. Trump, Mr. Netanyahu and their bosses - continue digging in an already deep hole of isolation leads one to ponder if the human language even provides words sufficient for accurately describing what is occurring.
Qani Tinn · 2 days ago
with her cheap words and empty threats who does this Islamophobic American of Punjabi descent the rest of humanity are?
beanhead001 102p · 2 days ago
Puppet doesn't even cover it. Some zionazi hand is up this puppets back
1871 91p · 2 days ago
Jack
Marshall Islands - pop 53,000. In free association with USA Inc.
Nuclear test site. Most bombed country on the planet. Nuked 67 times.
Uses USD for currency.
Bikini Atoll fame. First hydrogen bomb test.
Survives on payments from uncle Sam for genocide of an island population.
Destitute and radiated with Amerikkkan values, happy Hanukka Marshall Islands
prairiedog540 90p · 2 days ago
After reading the comments on this page I just can't figure out why the American voter is always voting for the one corporate party dictatorship. Sorry to say I don't see much difference in republicans and democrats, when it comes to wars, and Israel.
tomanocu · 2 days ago
Chilling.
Quite a plastic, cold, crafting, Machiavellian reptilian hosting hybrid.
Olly · 2 days ago
Such a profound master of distortion... U.S. oligarchy will have her running for El Presidente...
2LTMorrisseau 98p · 2 days ago
There is a reason much of the world hates Israel.......and now also they hate the US.

Dennis Morrisseau
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Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FireCongress.org
Second Vermont Republic, VFM
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT 05775
[email protected]
802 645 9727

[Dec 24, 2017] Nikki Haley's Speech to UN on Jerusalem

"Barf Alert"
Dec 24, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Nikki Haley's Speech to UN on Jerusalem

Video and Transcript

'The United States will remember this day, in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation'

Posted December 21, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KVTQefA77Ys

To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the state of Israel. Both the current and the previous Secretary-Generals have objected to the UN's disproportionate focus on Israel. It's a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution, and that in turn is harmful for the entire world.

I've often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body. And then I remember that Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it's important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation; but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.

Standing here today, being forced to defend sovereignty and the integrity of my country – the United States of America – many of the same thoughts have come to mind. The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies. We do this, in part, in order to advance our values and our interests. When that happens, our participation in the UN produces great good for the world. Together we feed, clothe, and educate desperate people. We nurture and sustain fragile peace in conflict areas throughout the world. And we hold outlaw regimes accountable. We do this because it represents who we are. It is our American way.

But we'll be honest with you. When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What's more, that nation is asked to pay for the "privilege" of being disrespected.

In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege. Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people. As such, we have an obligation to acknowledge when our political and financial capital is being poorly spent.

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We have an obligation to demand more for our investment. And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways. Those are the thoughts that come to mind when we consider the resolution before us today.

The arguments about the President's decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem have already been made. They are by now well known. The decision was in accordance to U.S. law dating back to 1995, and it's position has been repeatedly endorsed by the American people ever since. The decision does not prejudge any final status issues, including Jerusalem's boundaries. The decision does not preclude a two-state solution, if the parties agree to that. The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts. Rather, the President's decision reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy. There is no need to describe it further.

Instead, there is a larger point to make. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.

America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.

But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered.

Thank you.

machado · 2 days ago

Dump Trump, Nikki for President. If we are going to have a bullshi**er for President we might as well have the best. THe crap she spouted makes Trump sound like a novice.
Gor · 2 days ago
"Instead, there is a larger point to make. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation."

I have lost count of how many times the US has destroyed countries, for exercising THEIR rights as a sovereign nation. Often deceitfully and cynically using the UN as it's instrument.

The hypocrisy is stunning. Fortunately it seems the rest of the world is coming to realize that the US is unhinged and that trying to deal rationally with a lunatic is pointless. Watch China and Russia make great gains globally as former US allies turn away.

jjc · 2 days ago
I suppose that any Congressional action could be said to be a reflection of "the will" of the American people since they are elected representatives, but, in reality, how many Americans were even aware of the 1995 Jerusalem embassy law? How can it be said that such law has been repeatedly "endorsed" by the American people, presumably by continuing to send people to Congress or by the re-signing of 6-month waivers to delay sending the embassy to Jerusalem, which has happened twice a year for over twenty years with absolutely zero discussion or publicity?

Haley claims to speak for the American people but she is truly speaking for the grossly powerful Israel lobby which has literally purchased its significant place at the table. Everyone knows this, so her self-righteous remarks produce scorn and disgust.

dl66 86p · 2 days ago
"Israel... stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity... "
Haley must be talking about a different Israel from the one in the middle east.
As for the United Nations, it's about time the organisation stands up against the tyrants and starts doing what it was created for, support global cooperation and international laws. Apply it's rules equally: not just sanction developing countries for saying no to exploitation by the rich ot for building their own national defense because rich and powerful countries use aggression to get what they want.
If the United Nations were a just organisation Palestine would have become a sovereign nation decades ago, global terrorism would not exist and no nation would develop nuclear weapons.
But, as always, money is the driver and the US/Israel blackmailing may just succeed.
InTheKeyofF 68p · 2 days ago
Hey Nikki - most of the world, and many of us here in the U.S. are sick and tired of the nation's work on behalf of some mythical "values" and those ever-present "interests." We know who you serve, and it sure as hell ain't the people of any nation. Haley is prepping for a run at the Senate, and is setting herself up quite nicely for those big checks from Adelson.
guest · 2 days ago
When we pay our dues to the UN we expect to be obeyed. "We have an obligation to demand more for our investment" - thus shrieked the incomparable Nikki Haley. If she had read Lewis Carrol (which I doubt) she might have shortened her speech by saying "Off with their heads".

If the US thinks it can buy out the world, it is getting truly delusional. BTW, are these 128 countries now going to be sanctioned? And what after that if the world still disobeys the mighty US?

guest · 2 days ago
Watch out for a blast of twitters from the USA's Twitterer-in-Chief. He will drown these 128 countries in venom and fry their Twitter accounts. The lady representing the US at the UN has carefully prepared a list of these countries - watch out all you 128 countries. Trump and the lady will go hopping mad - maybe we may get to see that routine - and then just you wait, you 128 countries, for the barrage of twitters that will be let loose upon you. Some day, the US rep at the UN may even assault the reps of other countries and spit and cuss at them. Now that would be a show worth watching!
Jack · 2 days ago
Well that's it but don't blame Trump.
UN member states have come to the conclusion that it's now safe to rebut the United States .
Trump in his clumsiness has only highlighted what the UN has been and that it is a corrupt sovereign nation bribing nation states with American aid for their votes.
Reagan did it Clinton did it Bush did it Bush Senior did it and now Trump has done it.
This is Americas international policy wake up call.
Member States do not trust America any more and they could not have expressed their views any stronger.
The British must take some blame too for riding the Tigers back for the past seventy years.
Only psychophantics will follow these nations now.
That goes for North Korea too.
Will the UN decide now not to attack North Korea and level it to the ground with horrific casualties for the second time.
The world has tired of Americas impudence of terror.
They should pull out of their military bases now around the world .
The countries that host them have had enough of their paranoid exceptionalism.
It's time to change direction and to defy US fiat money bribes.
Jack · 2 days ago
Oh and Obama did it but more covertly .
Jack · 2 days ago
Why in the name of sanity would the Marshal Islands vote with the US .
Were they bribed ?
Jerry Alatalo 95p · 2 days ago
Bizarre, surreal, unbelievable, jaw-dropping, astounding, mind-boggling, incomprehensible? ... Watching Ms. Haley - on behalf of Mr. Trump, Mr. Netanyahu and their bosses - continue digging in an already deep hole of isolation leads one to ponder if the human language even provides words sufficient for accurately describing what is occurring.
Qani Tinn · 2 days ago
with her cheap words and empty threats who does this Islamophobic American of Punjabi descent the rest of humanity are?
beanhead001 102p · 2 days ago
Puppet doesn't even cover it. Some zionazi hand is up this puppets back
1871 91p · 2 days ago
Jack
Marshall Islands - pop 53,000. In free association with USA Inc.
Nuclear test site. Most bombed country on the planet. Nuked 67 times.
Uses USD for currency.
Bikini Atoll fame. First hydrogen bomb test.
Survives on payments from uncle Sam for genocide of an island population.
Destitute and radiated with Amerikkkan values, happy Hanukka Marshall Islands
prairiedog540 90p · 2 days ago
After reading the comments on this page I just can't figure out why the American voter is always voting for the one corporate party dictatorship. Sorry to say I don't see much difference in republicans and democrats, when it comes to wars, and Israel.
tomanocu · 2 days ago
Chilling.
Quite a plastic, cold, crafting, Machiavellian reptilian hosting hybrid.
Olly · 2 days ago
Such a profound master of distortion... U.S. oligarchy will have her running for El Presidente...
2LTMorrisseau 98p · 2 days ago
There is a reason much of the world hates Israel.......and now also they hate the US.

Dennis Morrisseau
USArmy Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR

LIBERTY UNION founder
Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FireCongress.org
Second Vermont Republic, VFM
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT 05775
[email protected]
802 645 9727

[Dec 24, 2017] UN votes resoundingly to reject Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital

Dec 24, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The United Nations general assembly has delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump, voting by a huge majority to reject his unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital .

The vote came after a redoubling of threats by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, who said that Washington would remember which countries "disrespected" America by voting against it.

Despite the warning, 128 members voted on Thursday in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus that the status of Jerusalem – which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians – can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal. Countries which voted for the resolution included major recipients of US aid such as Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although largely symbolic, the vote in emergency session of the world body had been the focus of days of furious diplomacy by both the Trump administration and Israel, including Trump's threat to cut US funding to countries that did not back the US recognition .

But only nine states – including the United States and Israel –voted against the resolution. The other countries which supported Washington were Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.

[Dec 23, 2017] What we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult. It won't be forgotten," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said after the vote, adding that it was the first veto cast by the United States in more than six years.

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , December 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm

One can only be dumbstruck by the breathtaking arrogance and stupidity of this woman:

"What we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult. It won't be forgotten," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said after the vote, adding that it was the first veto cast by the United States in more than six years.

"The fact that this veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of America's role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council," Haley said.

Yup, she's taking names.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/israel-believes-u-veto-u-n-resolution-jerusalem-170400201.html

marknesop , December 18, 2017 at 9:50 pm
Oh, dear; America is isolated! How did this happen?

The Trump administration must have had a feeling it would go badly, and Haley must have prepared a response to go with using the American veto; she's just not that good at thinking on her feet. Politics One-Oh-One: never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer.

Keep it up, America. You are pissing off Europe to the point it is asking itself, why are we friends with this jerk? We're not there yet – the USA still has lots of money, and too many European leaders perceive that the bloc could not survive without lovely American money. But the progress is incrementally in that direction.

Jen , December 18, 2017 at 9:50 pm
I'd like to see her taking all fourteen names – she'll probably need a lifetime taking them.
marknesop , December 18, 2017 at 10:30 pm
Unless she's wearing open-toe sandals; unlikely, this time of year.
yalensis , December 19, 2017 at 2:52 am
Nikki is a modern-day Margaret Dumont defending her beloved Freedonia:

[Dec 23, 2017] Nikki Haley is the most honest UN rep America has had in a long time. Look at the exact words. The clear meaning is that the UN (and associated international law) is, in the American view, most emphatically not an association of equal nations bound by common rules. It's a protection racket where little countries can be bullied by big ones

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Ryan Ward , December 20, 2017 at 7:04 am

I'm really happy about this. The reason being that the mask is completely off. Nikki Haley is the most honest UN rep America has had in a long time. Look at the exact words. The clear meaning is that the UN (and associated international law) is, in the American view, most emphatically not an association of equal nations bound by common rules. It's a protection racket where little countries can be bullied by big ones, but big ones (most especially the US) are accountable to no one. And it's an insult to even suggest that the UN might have standing to criticize the US the same way it criticizes smaller countries. Everyone knew all this before, but it's refreshing to see it expressed so honestly.
marknesop , December 20, 2017 at 5:36 pm
I absolutely agree, and the more America shits itself right in front of everyone, the better I like it. Because it is burning all its soft-power bridges; carrots are out and the stick is in. But quite a few countries don't care for that sort of threatening, and some among those might even say "Or what? Like, what will you do? Impose sanctions against us? Because you are running out of trading partners already, fuck-stick, so just keep it up and you won't have any".
Patient Observer , December 20, 2017 at 6:59 pm
Me too.
kirill , December 20, 2017 at 9:57 pm
Don't be too quick. Here the OP is happy that US exceptionalism is being forced down the world's throat. It is clear that the UN and most other "international organizations" such as WADA, IOP, etc, are US puppets. For some reason, such organizations were trying to act impartial during the previous cold war. During the current cold war they have no impartiality whatsoever. So some pancake house waitress can spew all sorts of "refreshing" BS and the "united nothings" are supposed to eat it with a smile.

I recall lots of wailing in the NATzO media before 1990 how the UN was "ineffective". They must be all wet with glee that the current UN is nothing more than Washington's tool.

[Dec 23, 2017] Haley has completed the transformation of diplomacy at the the UN into a farce. Its her party and she can cry if she wants to. All food will be kosher.

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , December 22, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Haley has completed the transformation of diplomacy at the the UN into a farce. Its her party and she can cry if she wants to.

The 64 nations that voted 'no,' abstained, or were not present during the UN General Assembly's diplomatic spanking of Washington's Jerusalem move will get a "thank you" reception from US envoy Nikki Haley.

https://www.rt.com/usa/414008-nikki-haley-un-party-jerusalem/

All food will be kosher.

Perhaps those unwanted miserably losers (e.g. China, Russia, most of Europe, etc.) can have their version of the deploraball featuring sumptuous Middle East cuisine (no joke, that would be good eatin').

[Dec 23, 2017] For the American UN rep to be a warmongering psycho POS has a certain Deja Vu feel to it

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Northern Star , December 22, 2017 at 1:37 pm

For the American UN rep to be a warmongering psycho POS has a certain Deja Vu feel to it..does it not??

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/5689320359001/?#sp=show-clips

Hmmm..who were the reps under Obongo??

Well there you have it !!!

[Dec 23, 2017] Neocons and Neoliberals -- Two Masks, One Face by WashingtonsBlog

Notable quotes:
"... Trotsky communism ..."
Nov 10, 2008 | www.washingtonsblog.com

Obama might very well be classified as a "neoliberal". He appears to be appointing leading neoliberals to key positions in his administration .

If you're a liberal, you might think this is great. Instead of the Neoconservatives who have been in power for the last 8 years, we'll now have neoliberals. You may assume that "neoliberals" are new, smarter liberals -- with liberal social policies, but with a stronger, more realistic outlook.

Nope.

In reality, neoliberalism is as dissimilar to true progressive liberal politics as neo-conservatism is to true conservative politics (if you don't know it, most leading neoconservatives are former followers of Trotsky communism -- not very conservative, huh?)

For example, did you know that Ronald Reagan was a leading neoliberal ? In the U.S., of course, he is described as the quintessential conservative. But internationally, people understand that he really pushed neoliberal economic policies.

As former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi writes :

Neoconservatives and neoliberals are really quite similar, so it doesn't matter who gets elected in 2008. The American public, weary of preemptive attacks, democracy-promotion, and nation-building, will still get war either way.

And leading neo-conservative strategist Robert Kagan recently said :

Until now the liberal West's strategy has been to try to integrate these two powers into the international liberal order, to tame them and make them safe for liberalism."

So neoconservatives are not really conservative and neoliberals are not really liberal. But neocons and neoliberals are very similar to each other . Neocons are a lot more similar to neoliberals than to true conservatives; neoliberass are more similar to neocons than to real liberals.

Do you get it? Both the Republican and Democratic party are now run by people with identical agendas: make the big corporations richer and expand the American empire.

There is only one party, which simply puts on different faces depending on which "branch" of the party is in power. If its the Democratic branch, there is a slightly liberal social veneer to the mask: a little more funding for social programs, a little more nice guy talk, a little more of a laissez faire attitude towards gays and minorities, and a little more patient push towards military conquest and empire.

If its the Republican branch, there's a little more tough guy talk, quicker moves towards military empire, a little more mention of religion, and a tad more centralization of power in the president.

But there is only a single face behind both masks: the face of raw corporatism, greed and yearning for power and empire.

Until Americans stop getting distracted by the Republican versus Democratic melodrama, America will move steadily forward towards war, empire and -- inevitably as with any country which extends too far -- collapse.

Neoliberalism is neither "new" or liberal. Neoconservativism is neither new or conservative. They are just new labels for a very old agenda: serving the powers-that-be, consolidating power, controlling resources. Whether the iron fist has a velvet glove on it or not, it is still an iron fist.

A true opposition party is needed to counter the never-changing American agenda for military and corporate empire.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9498954186704486?pubid=ld-6193-3093&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonsblog.com&width=747

J R Thompson , September 19, 2012 10:33 PM

This article does much to confuse and disinform. NeoCons are essential modern day Fascists. If you don't recall your politics, Fascists are to the right of Conservatives on the political spectrum. They have nothing to do with Communists who are far to the left. During the 1930s Nazis were the NeoCons. They were Fascists, and they also had the overwhelming support of Muslims, who are also Fascists. Today's NeoLiberals are basically Right Wing and hardly middle of the fence. There is virtually no politics to the left of centre and this is the catalyst for massive economic stagnation, economic collapse, rapidly growing global instability, indemic poverty, and an ongoing threat of pandemic disease and general global conflict. Until we have some form of political balance, we're on the brink of catastrophe, and will probably end up with an enormous mess to clean up.

Guest J R Thompson , June 18, 2014 8:12 PM

The Wiki page disagrees with you.

It says that Neo-Conservatives descend from Trotskeyism.

Grey Winters J R Thompson , June 23, 2014 4:28 PM

Fascism is statism and nothing represents the ultimate power of the state then the liberal. No liberal supports our constitution or a smaller government . But it's innately typical of a liberal to project their agenda onto others.

Malcolm Scott J R Thompson , November 4, 2016 9:18 PM

Fascism, Communism are just different faces of Totalitarianism or Statism. Fascism gives "private" owners (oligarchs) the illusion of freedom.

MisterReason J R Thompson , November 8, 2015 6:27 AM

Your communist professor lied to you.

Communism and Fascism are one degree apart. In Fascism, instead of the elite being part of the government, they are part of the private sector. That is the only difference. They are both mainly concerned with consolidation of power and shaping the culture though control of information. Internationally they operate the same as well, expanding their influence through wars of occupation.

Adnihilo , November 11, 2008 7:16 PM

Thank you for this article! As an author you always seem to be one step ahead of me in articles I've been planning to write! I too have been asserting [in comments mostly at OpedNews] that the economic right political 'values' found in NeoLibs, [short for both NeoLibertarians and Neoliberals] NeoCons, and TheoCons are predominantly the same for months now ever since these corporate bailouts started. This author has a firm grasp on political ideologies as evidenced in his other articles correctly identifying the now $2 trillion in US corporate bailouts as the economic policy of Fascism.

The TheoCons-NeoCons-NeoLibs have taken the country so far to the economic right and up in to an authoritarian level since 2000 that most all in the democratic party, excluding a few like Kucinich and Sanders, have moved from a 'centrist' political ideology to an authoritarian right and moderate conservative political ideology.

Like Anna here more fully displays, the overwhelming majority of Americans just do not have a realistic grasp on global political ideologies, much less their own personal political values. Political party indoctrination and mud slinging has the population wrongly convinced democratic politicians are for the most part 'liberals' when they're economic right NeoLiberals and moderate conservatives while republicans calling themselves 'conservative' are instead radically authoritarian and economic right TheoCons and NeoCons.

When Americans don't understand their own political values, much less those of the candidate they vote for, they will continue to make the wrong choices. This would seem to be exactly what the '1' party corporatist system wants so Americans will only continue making the wrong choices from choosing between 'moderate conservative' Democrats like Obama-Biden, and NeoCon/TheoCon republicans like McCain-Palin. Who better to assert this 1 party economic right NeoLiberal reality than one of the most renown liberal authors and intellectuals than Chomsky in his recent article the Anti-Democratic Nature of US Capitalism is Being Exposed.

Chomsky cites America as a "one-party system, the business party, with two factions, Republicans and Democrats" while putting the blame on this economic crisis where it belongs on the very people who created it, America's NeoLiberals. Anna, if you need more proof I suggest you take a trip to the non partisan web site created by a group of doctorate degreed political ideology professors, political experts and sociologists called Political Compass. I guarantee you these experts are far more learned than you are about political ideologies and political values not just in the US, but around the globe. It will surely shock you to learn based on speeches, public statements and most crucially voting records that Obama is firmly in the authoritarian right quadrant as a moderate conservative.

There you'll see their reasons for this based on his voting record and speeches briefly cited in "While Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader are depicted on the extreme left in an American context, they would simply be mainstream social democrats within the wider political landscape of Europe.

Similarly, Obama is popularly perceived as a leftist in the United States while elsewhere in the west his record is that of a moderate conservative. For example, in the case of the death penalty he is not an uncompromising abolitionist, while mainstream conservatives in all other western democracies are deeply opposed to capital punishment. The Democratic party's presidential candidate also reneged on his commitment to oppose the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He sided with the ultra conservative bloc in the Supreme Court against the Washington DC handgun ban and for capital punishment in child rape cases. He supports President Bush's faith-based initiatives and is reported in Fortune to have said that NAFTA isn't so bad."A way to realistically determine if the candidate you vote for actually represents your own political values is to take the political values test found at political compass here and afterward learn about the inadequacies inherent in the limited age-old traditional left-right economic view of political ideologies.

Then you Anna, along with a host of others, may actually start voting in support of candidates that factually represent your own political values. Or you may find you really aren't this liberal you think you are after all. Regardless, only by learning more about ones' own political values and those of the candidates Americans support will they get the political leaders, type of leadership, and government they actually want....

Alejandro Moreno Adnihilo , July 21, 2016 2:07 PM

Written 8 years ago and yet STILL true, Sanders and Kucinich are still of, by and for the people.

Dave , December 8, 2012 11:06 AM

Libertarian Party. http://www.lp.org

SuperTech86 Dave , November 11, 2015 3:20 AM

Doesn't do anything to stop the advance of corporatism which ultimately leads to tyranny and fascism.

Ian SuperTech86 , September 5, 2016 6:28 PM

Its debatable. Corporations won't be near as interested in a small government that is less willing to do favors for them. What do you suggest as a solution to stop the advancement of corporatism? If your answer is to tax the rich more and grow the government you would just get tyranny. Currently with big government we have both tyranny and fascism.

bosunj , November 10, 2008 5:59 PM

Indeed. One Party. The Corporate party. GOP-DEM are little different than Sunni and Shia! GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!

anon bosunj , November 17, 2013 9:43 PM

This is just ignorance -- the Republicans and Democrats are the same, but Sunni and Shia Islam are not just arbitrary branches of some terrorist collective called Islam. I suggest you read more about Islam, it's extraordinarily misunderstood AND--I might add--misinforming people about Islam is an integral part of the agenda of the corporate GOP-DEM elite. I'm not a Muslim, for the record.

Mike , November 10, 2008 6:31 PM

You are confusing the issue. The work neoliberal applies to an economic philosophy which is also sometimes called the Chicago School or the Washington Consensus. It is related to what we often call globalization, and it has to to with "liberalization" of economies, in other words privatization of publicly held industries etc. Liberal in the American political sense it totally unrelated to neoliberal. Neoconservatism is a political philosophy that espouses vanguardism and militant foreign policy. They are related in that their goals dove tail, kind of like apples and oranges are similar in that they are both edible.

[Dec 23, 2017] Danny Sjursen Three Administrations, One Standard Playbook by Tom Engelhardt

Notable quotes:
"... Ghost Riders of Baghdad ..."
"... Its not the military. Military is O.K. more or less. It is the Administration that is the headless chicken. ..."
"... In Vietnam there was no consideration of terrain. That was bigger mistake than Germans were not considering Russian winter. Concerning Somalia to this day I was not able to figure out what Carter wanted there. ..."
"... Than there was Iran that suddenly left the US sphere of influence and Bush l just could not tolerate such an impertinence. He hired Sadam to do the job. Everything what happened after is of this thoughtless act. Result is that Levant is now totally under Iran's influence. ..."
"... US simply never was able to come up with comprehensive END FOCUSED policy using military. Total irresponsibility indicating failed administrative decisions. ..."
"... Here's another hint: when you referred to "Carter" -- that was meant to indicate former Secretary of Defense Ashton ("Ash") Carter, not former President Jimmy Carter. ..."
"... The neocon infiltrators into high levels of our government do not care how headless the chicken appears as it does its dance, or how silly the dog appears as it is wagged by its tail. Their concern is primarily that they cannot be held responsible and thus they always distance themselves from the military decisions. ..."
"... I agree that "It is not the military. The military is okay more or less." It's okay in that it still attempts to function as it should, that is, as subject to civilian control, per the Constitution of the United States. The top brass of the Pentagon can be compared to the Wehrmacht commanders during World War II, they always remained nominally loyal to Hitler no matter how idiotic might be Hitler's instructions. Metaphorically, (((Neocons))) === Hitler ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | www.unz.com

In a Washington politically riven in ways not seen since the pre-Civil War era, take hope. Despite everything you've read, bipartisanship is not dead. On one issue, congressional Democrats and Republicans, as well as Donald Trump, all speak with a single resounding voice, with, in fact, unmatched unanimity and fervor as they stretch hands across the aisle in a spirit of cooperation. Perhaps you've already guessed, but I'm referring to the Pentagon budget. By staggering majorities , both houses of Congress just passed an almost $700 billion defense bill, more money than even President Trump had requested and he's already happily signed it.

And Americans generally seem to partake of the same spirit. After all, while esteem for other American institutions like, uh, Congress has fallen radically in these years, the U.S. military hasn't lost a step. Last June, for instance, Gallup's pollsters found that public confidence in U.S. institutions generally had dropped to a dismal 32%, but a soaring 73% of Americans had the highest possible confidence in the military, which means that Donald Trump's decision to surround himself with three generals as secretary of defense, White House chief of staff, and national security adviser was undoubtedly a popular one. In a similar vein, it's striking that America's war on terror, now entering its 17th dismal year and still expanding , and the military that wages it remain essentially beyond criticism or protest . It hardly seems to matter that, in this century of constant warfare across significant parts of the planet, that military has yet to bring home a real victory of any sort.

Who cares? That military is, by now, a distinctly Teflon outfit to which no criticism sticks, even through it and the rest of the national security state swallow stunning amounts of taxpayer dollars as if there were no tomorrow, while the Pentagon experiences cost overruns of every kind for its weapons systems, has proven incapable of auditing itself (ever!), and recently couldn't even account for 44,000 (yes, 44,000!) of its troops deployed somewhere in the imperium, though who knows where. No wonder Donald Trump, a man of no fixed beliefs (except about himself), but with a finely tuned sense of what might be popular with his base, has loosed that military from many of the already modest bounds within which it's fought its largely losing wars of these last years, and seems to be leaving its generals (and the CIA ) to do their escalatory damnedest from Afghanistan to Niger , Syria to Somalia .

With all of this in mind, as another year in which permanent war is the barely noticed background hum of American life, I asked TomDispatch regular U.S. Army Major Danny Sjursen, author of Ghost Riders of Baghdad , to assess American war in 2017 and consider just where we're headed.

America's Wars Yet More of More of the Same? Danny Sjursen December 19, 2017 2,700 Words (Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)

Priss Factor , Website December 20, 2017 at 9:23 pm GMT

Bubble Economy, Bubble Wars, Bubble everything.

US is less a republic than a rebubblic.

Ilyana_Rozumova , December 21, 2017 at 1:27 am GMT
Its not the military. Military is O.K. more or less. It is the Administration that is the headless chicken.

In Vietnam there was no consideration of terrain. That was bigger mistake than Germans were not considering Russian winter. Concerning Somalia to this day I was not able to figure out what Carter wanted there.

Than there was Iran that suddenly left the US sphere of influence and Bush l just could not tolerate such an impertinence. He hired Sadam to do the job. Everything what happened after is of this thoughtless act. Result is that Levant is now totally under Iran's influence.

US simply never was able to come up with comprehensive END FOCUSED policy using military. Total irresponsibility indicating failed administrative decisions.

RobinG , December 21, 2017 at 3:13 am GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

Sure, US policy is FUBAR, but could you explain what you're talking about, and why you're not attaching the wrong presidents to these countries/events? (Are you maybe referring to when GHW Bush was at CIA?)

Ilyana_Rozumova , December 21, 2017 at 5:43 am GMT
@RobinG

I am sloppy! I only throw in a hint.

Grandpa Charlie , December 21, 2017 at 9:46 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

Ilyana,

Here's another hint: when you referred to "Carter" -- that was meant to indicate former Secretary of Defense Ashton ("Ash") Carter, not former President Jimmy Carter.

I don't know whether you are deliberately sowing seeds of confusion, or what?

Anyway, when you start out with "It is the Administration that is the headless chicken," you seem to have missed the central theme of Sjursen's article -- that one administration or another, it's the same idiocy. Obviously, the "headless chicken" is an act, a ruse. Behind it all, there's a continuity: there's a method in the madness. The method proceeds from the neocon subversion, if not total domination, of the policy-making organs of the United States government (e.g., the NSC), which formulate the "civilian" strategy directives that the military (Joint Chiefs) must follow, per force and per the Constitution. The point that should be understood or inferred is that the continuity that Sjursen notes can only be explained by a trans-administration organ at the top of strategic-global policy-making, which means the National Security Council (NSC).

The neocon infiltrators into high levels of our government do not care how headless the chicken appears as it does its dance, or how silly the dog appears as it is wagged by its tail. Their concern is primarily that they cannot be held responsible and thus they always distance themselves from the military decisions.

I agree that "It is not the military. The military is okay more or less." It's okay in that it still attempts to function as it should, that is, as subject to civilian control, per the Constitution of the United States. The top brass of the Pentagon can be compared to the Wehrmacht commanders during World War II, they always remained nominally loyal to Hitler no matter how idiotic might be Hitler's instructions. Metaphorically, (((Neocons))) === Hitler

"Yet none dare call it treason!"

[Dec 23, 2017] The Saudi 'Cakewalk' Into Iran The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... I'd like to believe either the Repubs or Dems were the answer, except both are near unanimous in their support for the military industrial complex and its expanding wars. Note the 98-2 vote to make Russia a permanent enemy. I believe the resistors were bipartisan, lonely as they are in either party, in reality separate branches of an imperial War Party. ..."
"... Let me be the dink who reminds you: Peak Oil ..."
"... As a clever newspaper writer said about Jesse Ventura: Jesse is a lot smarter than most folks think he is, but not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Like Jesse, Trump is smart enough to avoid unnecessary war. However, war may just become "necessary" when the heat of his Russia investigation becomes unbearable, and Trump needs the ultimate distraction. When (not if) that happens, either North Korea or Iran will be in trouble -- perhaps both. Millions will most likely die, billions of dollars will be spent, and the US will create an entirely new generation of terrorists. This will not end well. ..."
"... EngineerScotty wrote: "The foreign policy of a President Hillary Clinton wouldn't be the amateur hour that we've gotten so far with Trump" No, it would be the ruthlessly effective professionalism of the reset with Russia and the ouster of Qaddafi. /sarc She wanted and wants Assad deposed. How well would that have gone? ..."
"... "In the meantime, Frack Baby Frack! The less oil we have to import from there, Venezuela, or anyplace crazy the better." That would be sane. But the elites have decided to export it at a cut rate, to undermine Russia as the supplier in Europe, in order to foment regime change by crashing the Russian economy. Why did you think we had such low fuel prices all of a sudden? ..."
"... No, the fuel extracted from American soil does not accrue to the benefit of the American people, but to the profits and plans of elites ..."
"... That would be sane. But the elites have decided to export it at a cut rate, to undermine Russia as the supplier in Europe, in order to foment regime change by crashing the Russian economy. Why did you think we had such low fuel prices all of a sudden? ..."
"... No, the fuel extracted from American soil does not accrue to the benefit of the American people, but to the profits and plans of elites. ..."
"... Oil obtained by fracking is far more expensive to produce than oil obtained by simply drilling a well in the Arabian Desert and quickly finding a gusher. The US can meet its domestic needs, but isn't that great of a net exporter -- prices have to be sufficiently high before high-volume production becomes cost-effective. ..."
"... Noah and Engineer Scotty -- There is a reasonable compromise. Both of you are right. Trump is a disaster and we know Clinton was terrible. There is no point in arguing about whether she would be worse. I happen to think In some ways she wouldn't be as bad. She wouldn't be engaged in stupid twitter fights with dictators. But she might be better at leading us into some stupid war in Syria. Trump will stumble into some war with no support. Clinton would have had lots of support for whatever mindlessly stupid bloodbath she wanted to start. ..."
"... One of my biggest concerns about Trump's foreign policy–and a major difference from how Hillary would have governed–is his utter disdain for diplomacy. As noted, he (and Tillerson) have been busy setting the State Department ablaze, and many, many, many seasoned diplomats (career civil servants, not political appointees) have left Foggy Bottom, some of their own accord, some not. Some Trump defenders claim this is part of "draining the swamp", and many critics claim this is a purge of anyone not loyal to Trump personally–and these two claims may be opposite sides of the same coin. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Pavlos December 20, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Trump won't get dragged into war, although his conniving nature may try to make it look like that if it serves some ulterior motive of his. Trump will race on his own volition (not get dragged by others) to war because he's already been chomping at the bit for war as evident in how he's been baiting Iran and N. Korea alike, just as Bush baited Saddam Huessein, then bait and switched Osama Bin Laden for Saddam. So if not war with one (Iran), then with the other (N. Korea), or with both.

Why? Because like all Republican politicians, Trump's a businessman and proud of it, (Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.) And because war is good for American business, a lesson that was learned from WWII from which was created the military-industrial-complex and the Permanent War Economy under which we've lived ever since.

That bit's key to understanding the whole unwavering GOP attack on social services and desire to deregulate and privatize everything, not because of evil "socialism" as the Republican constituency is hypnotized with propaganda into believing, but because there's no money to be made in government expenditures otherwise. The whole GOP agenda has been and is about public expense for private gain. All the blather about shrinking the government is smokescreen. The real agenda is about directing all government spending towards private contractors with none wasted on things like social services, medicare, or Social Security.

Economic aspects of politics can't be ignored and separated from social aspects of politics which is how conservatism in America has helped create the current political mess, by turning a blind eye and dittohead to economic matters in order to push the chosen, preferred social agenda.

As Coolidge said, "The business of America is business." So since the US is ruled by money of markets, there can be no getting one's moral back up and all Jesus over social immorality, only to ignore the immorality of the marketplace and thereby fail to push for a moral economy along with a moral society. Such misidentification of the problem will only result in missing the mark, in inappropriate rather than on the mark effective solutions to problems.

Trump is simply a braggart who likes to exaggerate by talking in superlatives, so it's fitting that Trump ran on the GOP ticket, because he's but another child of the Father of Lies, who superlatively lies about his wealth being billions instead of millions to swell his pride in being a mammon worshipper, and going to war is and will be as it certainly has been part and parcel of such hubris.

Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:22 pm
To be fair, the Saudi dictators have always been best friends with America's elites – think Bandar Bush, the grounding of all air traffic in the United States after 9/11, except the Saudi evacuation planes spiriting Saudi royals out of the country so they could not be questioned. And there is the locus of the Likud Israeli party friendship with the Saudis, and Trump is certainly nothing if not onside with his good friend, the Israeli PM.
Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:40 pm
I'd like to believe either the Repubs or Dems were the answer, except both are near unanimous in their support for the military industrial complex and its expanding wars. Note the 98-2 vote to make Russia a permanent enemy. I believe the resistors were bipartisan, lonely as they are in either party, in reality separate branches of an imperial War Party.
mohammad , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:50 pm
Make no mistake: if there is going to be an attack on Iran by Americans, it is not because MbS wants it, it is because the Americans love war.

I am convinced that most (some 90%) Americans are open or closeted Neo-cons/liberal-interventionists/war-hawks. Some are shamelessly and openly so (John Bolton), but many are so without showing it or even being aware of it. The hawk in them is restlessly waiting for an opening, an excuse, to come out and proclaim what they have ever been

leonard , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:38 am
Don't worry, w Captain Marmalade at the helm, the US will mess this all up by itself just like it has again and again and again.
Kronsteen1963 , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:04 am
Bush 41 dragged us into a coalition war over Kuwait. Clinton dragged us into a coalition war in the Balkans. Bush 43 dragged us into a war in Iraq. Obama dragged us into a secret war when he destabilized Syria and Lybia, which unleashed ISIS. All for the right reasons, of course (sarcasm).

You might be right, but I fail to see how that would be different than the last 30 years.

charles cosimano , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:42 am
Finally.

It should have been done 37 years ago.

Kronsteen1963 , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:47 am
BTW, Politico has a story about how the Obama Administration shot down DEA drug trafficking investigations of Hezbollah to support the Iran nuclear deal. I would like to read your comments about it, particularly in light of the comments you made above about Trump.

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/

Pro ivic , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:57 am
Parents always tell kids to choose their friends carefully. With pals like Netanyahu and the Saudi bogus "crown prince", Trump clearly didn't follow that advice.
Nelson , says: December 21, 2017 at 3:12 am
That looked like a promotional video made by defense contractors. Anyway it's crazy. If they go to war I hope we stay out of it.
ludo , says: December 21, 2017 at 3:49 am
That video looks like a Nazi's wet dream, I mean the undiluted fascistic element is overwhelming, it's like getting a peek at an alternate dimension, not even a society, of pure militaristic "hathos" festooned by a limitless cloud of lies.

The worst of humanity is engrafted in that video, by which, I mean the unalloyed lying stupidity of war: imperialist expansionism, nationalist revanchism, and plutocratic supremacism, haloed by the grey mist–the dehumanzing pixelated mist–of the most dehumanizing endeavor man can undertake, for the most dehumanizing of modern causes: fascistic capitalism, the kind that fueled WWII (In this latter case, under the guise of religious supremacism or religious survivalism, but, in any case, only an obvious guise as far as the grotesque House of Saud is characteristically concerned).

Adamant , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:03 am
Echoing Noah above, this doesn't appear to be a production of the Saudi government, but having a contingent of the Saudi population gung-ho for a Sunni/Shi'a Ragnarok is concerning in itself. Both KSA and Iran will fight each other to the last Yemeni before any direct conflict arises.

This is the scenario that should be keeping us all up at night:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/20/exclusive-us-making-plans-bloody-nose-military-attack-north/

Floridan , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:04 am
The greatest myth of warfare -- "Once our forces invade the people will rise up against their government and welcome us a liberators."
AB , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:42 am
Fran Macadam: To be fair, the Saudi dictators have always been best friends with America's elites – think Bandar Bush, the grounding of all air traffic in the United States after 9/11, except the Saudi evacuation planes spiriting Saudi royals out of the country so they could not be questioned.

It wasn't the royals -- it was the bin Laden family itself. The people who knew Osama best. I never understood why we didn't insists that, with all airplanes grounded, they had to have a US Air Force pilot -- who then would have flown them to Gitmo for a sit-down on their newly famous relative. Instead the highest levels of government -- how high did you have to go to get permission to fly? -- broke into their busy schedules to be briefed and let them go.

The whole thing still stinks. We really need to have an investigation into the role of Saudi Arabia in American foreign policy; especially the Iraq Wars.

In the meantime, Frack Baby Frack! The less oil we have to import from there, Venezuela, or anyplace crazy the better.

muad'dib , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:17 am

President Trump's new best friend, MBS, is going to get us dragged into a new war in the region. Watch.

But her E-mails Good Thing the witch from Chappaqua isn't in the White House

ROTFLMAO!!!

If the Saudis are foolish enough to try that they will get their ass so thoroughly kicked that "who were the Al Saud?" will a trivial pursuit question on par with "Who were the Romanov's?" 10 years from now, and if the US is foolish enough to let them do that, watch the Global Economy collapse as the Strait of Hormuz gets closed for a few years.

Dr Talon,
The best military in the Middle East is Hezbollah (Trained & equipped by the Iranian, blooded and forged by the Israelis) the only thing they don't have is an air force. Let them have a half way decent air wing, and they would be on par or better than the USMC.

Duke Leto,
All that beautiful hardware has to be put to good use, after all if you don't use it you can't replace it. Think of all that beautiful money to be made in hardware replacement

Noah,

Trump also declined to support Kurdish independence, which the Israeli right supports and would have undermined Iran (which has a restive Kurdish minority) and Iran ally Iraq.

Supporting the Kurds would have pissed off his best buddy Erdogan, in that Turkey has the largest Kurdish minority population of all the Middle Eastern countries (about 20% of population) and the largest military in the Middle East. Not a good idea, especially if you don't want them to become buddy buddy with their eastern neighbor.

Oh, did I mention that Saudi Arabia has a substantial Shiite minority (10 to 15% of the population) who isn't exactly thrilled to live under Wahhabi rule.

Watching the Saudis (a country that has to import plumbers from South Asia because it's below the dignity of the locals to be plumbers) getting their asses handed to them, watching the Dumpster's poll rating jump up to the 80% mark before cratering down to 15%, watching the Trump recession that would follow would almost be worth it if I didn't have to suffer the consequences of "Real American's(TM)" idiocy. It would be almost as much fun as watching Brexit.

Michelle , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:05 am
And President Ted Cruz or Clinton would be different how?

It's a pretty safe assumption that a President Clinton would work to uphold the treaty her predecessor signed with Iran. Cruz, like the rest of the GOP hawks, would probably (like Trump) be actively working to undermine it and provoke Iran. She'd want more money for social and infrastrucure spending, less for military.

Pavlos has it right. The GOP (and a lot of Democrats) think war is good for business and are happy to funnel obscene amounts of money to the military-industrial complex under the guise of "national security."

Siarlys Jenkins , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:02 am
Underestimating Iran would be a mistake. Trying this in real life would make Iran, very roughly, into "Saudi Arabia's Vietnam."

"What is the national anthem of Saudi Arabia?"
"Onward, Christian Soldiers."

Reminds me of 1975, when I said that the Cuban army marching band was going to adopt a new theme song, "We Are Marching to Pretoria."

Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:44 am
It depends on what you imply when saying that it has lit up Arab social media, Rod. "Damn those Saudis are strong!" type of reaction means that social media are lit up. "LOL, what sorry comedian a-holes those Saudis are!" type of reaction also means that social media are lit up.
Ark712 , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:49 am
So we are going to give North Korea a "Bloody nose" and invade Iran where they will welcome us as liberators with flower petals?

Is this what it will finally take Trump supporters to realize they made a mistake, or will they once again move the goal posts?

I am sure they will say "hurr-durr Clinton voted for the war", as if Republicans were not calling anyone against it a traitor.

collin , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:09 am
I can't decide if this truly 'government' backed or some Saudia wackos let their freak loose. At least the wackos are going after Iran and not the US. It is probably really nothing than an expensive Youtube comment but it does indicate that Saudia Arabia population really desires War somewhere and somehow.

Although this is probably forgotten in 1 month, the Middle East appears to be following similar paths as Europe in the 1900 – 1914. We have lots of secret Allies and treaties with enormous tensions that is hungry for a battle.

SDS , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:15 am
"And President Ted Cruz or Clinton would be different how?" Probably not at all .. Which is what's so tragic, really .
Gunner , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm
The Saudis couldn't invade a Dunkin Doughnuts without the West helping them.
TR , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm
Paul: Keep your jokes to yourself. They're too painful.

Noah172: Astute analysis and advice.

EngineerScotty , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm
The foreign policy of a President Hillary Clinton would probably be too hawkish for my tastes–and certainly she wouldn't enjoy strong relations with Russia (given evidence, in this hypothetical, that Putin was actively interfering in the election to support her opponent)–but it wouldn't be the amateur hour that we've gotten so far with Trump. Clinton would still have a functioning diplomatic corps, instead of sacking half the State Department. She wouldn't be trading insults with foreign heads of state on Twitter. She'd likely be not trying to undermine the Iran deal. And she'd not be performing fellatio on the likes of Netanyaho, Ergodan, and MbS, as Trump has been eagerly doing.

Really. At what point does the "as bad as Trump's foreign policy has been, Clinton wudda been worse" refrain stop? Trump is already the worst foreign policy president since LBJ–he only needs a Vietnam War to his name to blow past him. And he has none of Johnson's domestic achievements.

Hound of Ulster , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm
The last time an Arab dictator tried to attack the Iranians he could only get a draw that bankrupted him and lead, by a series of second-order consequences, to his downfall.

The Iranians had just, when they were attacked by Iraq, had thier revolution and had liquidated thier officer corps. Think about that. Iranians as polity may, for the most part, dislike the rule of the clerics, but they are intensely patriotic and will fight to the last man/woman to defend the Persian homeland. Underestimate them at your peril.

George , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm
When Iran's proxies in Yemen -- the Houthis -- are launching missiles at airports and the Royal Palace, I don't think this type video is very surprising and as propaganda goes really a big deal. It is pretty low level saber rattling if it is a Saudi Government produc, or what you would see a million times over among Americans if it is the work of just a bunch of young Saudi yahoos. Oh, and MSAGA -- Make Saudi Arabia Great Again!
leonard , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:09 pm
So Charles Cosimano. I'm assuming you'll be the first to sign up?
TTT , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm
Israel has never fought side-by-side with the US in any of the wars it has sent the us to fight [and die for and pay for] at the instigation of the settlers/occupiers.

Since the U.S. has never fought any wars for Israel, that makes the score 0:0 then.

Noah172 , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:23 pm
muad'dib wrote:

But her E-mails Good Thing the witch from Chappaqua isn't in the White House

What ignorant drivel. Clinton is plenty hawkish (she cheered on Trump's April missile strike on Assad, and urged him to go much further). Moreover, as I wrote above, this video seems to be youthful fan fiction, not carrying any Saudi government imprimatur (let alone endorsement from Trump). Rod is speculating that the US will eventually join Saudi Arabia in a war against Iran, but Rod is no seer, whatever his other attributes.

Supporting the Kurds would have pissed off his best buddy Erdogan

Poppycock. Trump is hardly Erdogan's poodle. Trump gave heavy armaments to the Syrian Kurds (O had limited their support to small arms) and wants to move our embassy to Jerusalem, both decisions angering Erdogan. Erdogan would also liked to have seen Assad deposed.

Elijah , says: December 21, 2017 at 4:23 pm
I'm not going to offer an opinion on the efficacy of Saudi Arabia's army, and neither should you. Remember how everyone warned us about Iraq's Republican Guard?) Few of us know what we're talking about. On the larger point: are you all taking drugs? Some video "lights up" Arab social media and therefore Trump is taking us to war against Iran?? What?!

Let me be the dink who reminds you: Peak Oil

Merry Christmas!

FoolMeOnce , says: December 21, 2017 at 4:48 pm
We should warn the Saudis not to choose vain, arrogant, bloodthirsty plutocrats as leaders. Oh .
grumpy realist , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:09 pm
Muad'dib:

+1000

(especially the Straits of Hormuz aspect. The Iranians just have to mine it so that one or more cargo ships get holed and got to the bottom at strategic bends and nobody ain't shipping no Saudi Oil nowhere. Have fun with $300/bbl oil economies, guys China will make out like a bandit, considering it's now the world leader in solar power.

james , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:31 pm
As a clever newspaper writer said about Jesse Ventura: Jesse is a lot smarter than most folks think he is, but not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Like Jesse, Trump is smart enough to avoid unnecessary war. However, war may just become "necessary" when the heat of his Russia investigation becomes unbearable, and Trump needs the ultimate distraction. When (not if) that happens, either North Korea or Iran will be in trouble -- perhaps both. Millions will most likely die, billions of dollars will be spent, and the US will create an entirely new generation of terrorists. This will not end well.
Noah172 , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm
EngineerScotty wrote: "The foreign policy of a President Hillary Clinton wouldn't be the amateur hour that we've gotten so far with Trump" No, it would be the ruthlessly effective professionalism of the reset with Russia and the ouster of Qaddafi. /sarc She wanted and wants Assad deposed. How well would that have gone?

She wouldn't be trading insults with foreign heads of state on Twitter

Clinton has insulted Putin any number of times on social media and in interviews. On the Colbert program just last September, she claimed that he worked against her election because of sexism, and claimed that he "manspread" during a meeting with her.

And she'd not be performing fellatio on the likes of Netanyaho, Ergodan, and MbS

Netanyahu and Erdogan do not get along, so it's pretty hard to please both of them simultaneously. Like muad'dib, Scotty has it in his head that Trump is a poodle of Erdogan, but the latter would disagree. Heavy weapons to Syrian Kurds, Jerusalem -- Erdogan is not fully pleased with Trump.

If Scotty thinks the Clintons are hostile to Saudi Arabia, he hasn't been paying attention (does he ever?).

Trump is already the worst foreign policy president since LBJ -- he only needs a Vietnam War to his name to blow past him

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:46 pm
"In the meantime, Frack Baby Frack! The less oil we have to import from there, Venezuela, or anyplace crazy the better." That would be sane. But the elites have decided to export it at a cut rate, to undermine Russia as the supplier in Europe, in order to foment regime change by crashing the Russian economy. Why did you think we had such low fuel prices all of a sudden?

No, the fuel extracted from American soil does not accrue to the benefit of the American people, but to the profits and plans of elites.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: December 22, 2017 at 6:22 am

As a clever newspaper writer said about Jesse Ventura: Jesse is a lot smarter than most folks think he is, but not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Like Jesse, Trump is smart enough to avoid unnecessary war. However, war may just become "necessary" when the heat of his Russia investigation becomes unbearable, and Trump needs the ultimate distraction. When (not if) that happens, either North Korea or Iran will be in trouble -- perhaps both. Millions will most likely die, billions of dollars will be spent, and the US will create an entirely new generation of terrorists. This will not end well.

Except that "heat" of his investigation is almost extinguished already.

Elijah , says: December 22, 2017 at 7:47 am
"Except that "heat" of his investigation is almost extinguished already."

Exactly.

Donald ( the left leaning one) , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm
Noah and Engineer Scotty -- There is a reasonable compromise. Both of you are right. Trump is a disaster and we know Clinton was terrible. There is no point in arguing about whether she would be worse. I happen to think In some ways she wouldn't be as bad. She wouldn't be engaged in stupid twitter fights with dictators. But she might be better at leading us into some stupid war in Syria. Trump will stumble into some war with no support. Clinton would have had lots of support for whatever mindlessly stupid bloodbath she wanted to start.
EngineerScotty , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:44 pm
That would be sane. But the elites have decided to export it at a cut rate, to undermine Russia as the supplier in Europe, in order to foment regime change by crashing the Russian economy. Why did you think we had such low fuel prices all of a sudden?

No, the fuel extracted from American soil does not accrue to the benefit of the American people, but to the profits and plans of elites.

Unless the "elites" you are talking about are the Saudis–who are well-known for flooding the market with cheap crude periodically to undercut the competition (they can still produce oil for far less than anywhere else), and have many reasons to be suspicious of Russia–this makes no sense.

Oil obtained by fracking is far more expensive to produce than oil obtained by simply drilling a well in the Arabian Desert and quickly finding a gusher. The US can meet its domestic needs, but isn't that great of a net exporter -- prices have to be sufficiently high before high-volume production becomes cost-effective.

And if you don't think that either the Saudis or the American oil industry have the ear of Trump, you're smokin' something.

The "elites" that oppose Trump have rather little political power at the present moment. Don't confuse cultural elites (who don't like the Donald one bit) with the gazillionaires who actual control the petroleum industry, and are more than happy to do business with whoever is in charge in Washington.

Trump–ignorant and fatuous and unworldly as he may be–is an "elite" by virtue of the office he holds. Do not forget that.

EngineerScotty , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Noah and Engineer Scotty -- There is a reasonable compromise. Both of you are right. Trump is a disaster and we know Clinton was terrible. There is no point in arguing about whether she would be worse. I happen to think In some ways she wouldn't be as bad. She wouldn't be engaged in stupid twitter fights with dictators. But she might be better at leading us into some stupid war in Syria. Trump will stumble into some war with no support. Clinton would have had lots of support for whatever mindlessly stupid bloodbath she wanted to start.

Fair enough–though I think that Hillary's foreign policy would likely be similar to that of her husband. Far from ideal, but not disastrous. Of course, Bill got to hold office in a time when the Soviet Union (and its constituent parts) was in shambles, China was still a third-world country, North Korea was no threat to anyone but South Korea, Islamic extremism was far less of a problem, and even the Israelis and Palestinians were talking, and on roughly equal terms. Now is a much more dangerous time.

One of my biggest concerns about Trump's foreign policy–and a major difference from how Hillary would have governed–is his utter disdain for diplomacy. As noted, he (and Tillerson) have been busy setting the State Department ablaze, and many, many, many seasoned diplomats (career civil servants, not political appointees) have left Foggy Bottom, some of their own accord, some not. Some Trump defenders claim this is part of "draining the swamp", and many critics claim this is a purge of anyone not loyal to Trump personally–and these two claims may be opposite sides of the same coin.

But there is something else. Trump seems to think that international diplomacy ought to be conducted like real-estate deals: Two high-rollers (CEOs or heads of state) meet on the golf course, hash out a deal, and the lawyers work out the details; and that having a large staff of people trained in understanding a potentially-hostile foreign country is simply unnecessary. In short, he acts as though he believes the entire system of international diplomatic protocol, is a racket. Perhaps he has a point here; and perhaps he does not–as the old saying goes, don't knock down a wall unless you know what loads it is bearing.

But you'll notice that neither Russia, nor China, nor Israel, nor Iran, or Germany, nor any other player on the world stage, have been engaging in similar purges of their diplomatic services.

[Dec 22, 2017] When Sanity Fails - The Mindset of the Ideological Drone by The Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... North Korea's air defenses are so weak that we had to notify them we were flying B1 bombers near their airspace–they didn't even know our aircraft were coming. This reminds me of the "fearsome" Republican Guard that Saddam had in the Persian Gulf. Turns out we had total air superiority and just bombed the crap out of them and they surrendered in droves. ..."
"... We have already seen what happens when an army has huge amounts of outdated Soviet weaponry versus the most technologically advanced force in the world. It's a slaughter. Also, there has to be weaponry up the USA's sleeve that would be used in the event of an attack. Don't forget our cyber warfare abilities that would undoubtedly be implemented as well. This writer seems to always hype Russia's capabilities and denigrate the US's capabilities. Sure, Russia has the capacity to nuke the US into smithereens, and vice versa. But if its a head to head shooting war, the US and NATO would dominate. FACT. ..."
"... Commander's intent: ..."
"... Decapitate the top leadership and remove retaliatory capability. ..."
"... Massive missile/bombing campaign (including carpet) of top leadership locations, tactical missile locations and DMZ artillery belt. Destruction of surface fleet and air force. ..."
"... Advance into DMZ artillery belt up to a range of 240 mm cannon. Not further (local tactical considerations taken into account of course). ..."
"... Phase three: "break the enemy's will to fight" and destroy the "regime support infrastructure" ..."
"... I guess an American attack on North Korea would consist of preemptive strategic nuking to destroy the entire country before it can do anything. Since North Korea itself contributes essentially nothing to the world economy, no one would lose money. ..."
"... These examples perfectly illustrate the kind of mindset induced by what Professor John Marciano called "Empire as a way of life" [1] which is characterized by a set of basic characteristics: ..."
"... there has to be ..."
"... would undoubtedly ..."
"... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts ..."
"... A perfect illustration of that is the famous quote " it became necessary to destroy the town to save it ..."
"... I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you, the difference in Iraq and Iran, but I know Jesus and I talk to God ..."
"... this applies to the vast majority of US politicians, decision-makers and elected officials, hence Putin's remark that " It's difficult to talk with people who confuse Austria and Australia ". ..."
"... As a result, there is no more discernible US diplomacy left: all the State Department does is deliver threats, ultimatums and condemnations. Meaningful *negotiations* have basically been removed form the US foreign policy toolkit. ..."
"... That belief is also the standard cop out in any conversation of morality, ethnics, or even the notions of right and wrong. An anti-religious view par excellence . ..."
"... The US policies towards Russia, China and Iran all have the potential of resulting in a disaster of major magnitude. The world is dealing with situation in which a completely delusional regime is threatening everybody with various degrees of confrontation. This is like being in the same room with a monkey playing with a hand grenade. Except for that hand grenade is nuclear. ..."
"... This situation places a special burden of responsibility on all other nations, especially those currently in Uncle Sam's cross-hairs, to act with restraint and utmost restraint. That is not fair, but life rarely is. It is all very well and easy to declare that force must be met by force and that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness until you realize that any miscalculation can result in the death of millions of people. I am therefore very happy that the DPRK is the only country which chose to resort to a policy of hyperbolic threats while Iran, Russia and China acted, and are still acting, with the utmost restraint. ..."
"... they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners ..."
"... If the U.S. attacks North Korea or Iran we will become a pariah among nations (especially once the pictures start pouring in). We will be loathed. Countries may very well decide that we are not worthy of having the world's reserve currency. In that case the dollar will collapse as will our economy. ..."
"... Maybe it's just me, but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own. Therefore, the best thing you can do is simply to ignore it (thus denying the tyrant an external threat to rally the populace) and wait for the NK people to say enough is enough. ..."
"... I agree with the logic that as Americans become dumber the ability to have a powerful military also degrades, however an increasingly declining America also makes it more dangerous. As ever more ideologues rule the corridors of power and the generally stupid population that will consent to everything they are told, America will start involving itself in ever more reckless conflicts. This means they despite being a near idiocracy, the nuclear weapons and military bases all over world make America an ever greater threat for the world ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

My recent analysis of the potential consequences of a US attack on the DPRK has elicited a wide range of reactions. There is one type of reaction which I find particularly interesting and most important and I would like to focus on it today: the ones which entirely dismissed my whole argument. The following is a selection of some of the most telling reactions of this kind:

Example 1:

North Korea's air defenses are so weak that we had to notify them we were flying B1 bombers near their airspace–they didn't even know our aircraft were coming. This reminds me of the "fearsome" Republican Guard that Saddam had in the Persian Gulf. Turns out we had total air superiority and just bombed the crap out of them and they surrendered in droves.

We have already seen what happens when an army has huge amounts of outdated Soviet weaponry versus the most technologically advanced force in the world. It's a slaughter. Also, there has to be weaponry up the USA's sleeve that would be used in the event of an attack. Don't forget our cyber warfare abilities that would undoubtedly be implemented as well. This writer seems to always hype Russia's capabilities and denigrate the US's capabilities. Sure, Russia has the capacity to nuke the US into smithereens, and vice versa. But if its a head to head shooting war, the US and NATO would dominate. FACT.

Example 2:

Commander's intent:

Decapitate the top leadership and remove retaliatory capability.

Execution:

Phase one:

Massive missile/bombing campaign (including carpet) of top leadership locations, tactical missile locations and DMZ artillery belt. Destruction of surface fleet and air force.

Phase two:

Advance into DMZ artillery belt up to a range of 240 mm cannon. Not further (local tactical considerations taken into account of course).

Phase three: "break the enemy's will to fight" and destroy the "regime support infrastructure"

Phase four: Regime change.

There you go .

Example 3:

I guess an American attack on North Korea would consist of preemptive strategic nuking to destroy the entire country before it can do anything. Since North Korea itself contributes essentially nothing to the world economy, no one would lose money.

These examples perfectly illustrate the kind of mindset induced by what Professor John Marciano called "Empire as a way of life" [1] which is characterized by a set of basic characteristics:

First foremost, simple, very simple one-sentence "arguments" . Gone are the days when argument were built in some logical sequence, when facts were established, then evaluated for their accuracy and relevance, then analyzed and then conclusions presented. Where in the past one argument per page or paragraph constituted the norm, we now have tweet-like 140 character statements which are more akin to shouted slogans than to arguments (no wonder that tweeting is something a bird does – hence the expression "bird brain"). You will see that kind of person writing what initially appears to be a paragraph, but when you look closer you realize that the paragraph is really little more than a sequence of independent statements and not really an argument of any type. A quasi-religious belief in one's superiority which is accepted as axiomatic .

Nothing new here: the Communists considered themselves as the superior for class reasons, the Nazis by reason of racial superiority, the US Americans just "because" – no explanation offered (I am not sure that this constitutes of form of progress). In the US case, that superiority is cultural, political, financial and, sometimes but not always, racial. This superiority is also technological, hence the " there has to be " or the " would undoubtedly " in the example #1 above. This is pure faith and not something which can be challenged by fact or logic. Contempt for all others . This really flows from #2 above. Example 3 basically declares all of North Korea (including its people) as worthless. This is where all the expressions like "sand niggers" "hadjis" and other "gooks" come from: the dehumanization of the "others" as a preparation for their for mass slaughter. Notice how in the example #2 the DPRK leaders are assumed to be totally impotent, dull and, above all, passive.

The notion that they might do something unexpected is never even considered (a classical recipe for military disaster, but more about that later). Contempt for rules, norms and laws . This notion is well expressed by the famous US 19th century slogan of " my country, right or wrong " but goes far beyond that as it also includes the belief that the USA has God-given (or equivalent) right to ignore international law, the public opinion of the rest of the planet or even the values underlying the documents which founded the USA. In fact, in the logic of such imperial drone the belief in US superiority actually serves as a premise to the conclusion that the USA has a "mission" or a "responsibility" to rule the world. This is "might makes right" elevated to the rank of dogma and, therefore, never challenged. A very high reliance on doublethink . Doublethink defined by Wikipedia as " the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts ".

A perfect illustration of that is the famous quote " it became necessary to destroy the town to save it ". Most US Americans are aware of the fact that US policies have resulted in them being hated worldwide, even amongst putatively allied or "protected" countries such as South Korea, Israel, Germany or Japan. Yet at the very same time, they continue to think that the USA should "defend" "allies", even if the latter can't wait for Uncle Sam's soldiers to pack and leave. Doublethink is also what makes it possible for ideological drones to be aware of the fact that the US has become a subservient Israeli colony while, at the same time, arguing for the support and financing of Israel.

A glorification of ignorance which is transformed into a sign of manliness and honesty. This is powerfully illustrated in the famous song " Where were you when the world stopped turning " whoso lyrics include the following words " I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you, the difference in Iraq and Iran, but I know Jesus and I talk to God " (notice how the title of the song suggests that New York is the center of the world, when when get hit, the world stops turning; also, no connection is made between watching CNN and not being able to tell two completely different countries apart). If this were limited to singers, then it would not be a problem, but this applies to the vast majority of US politicians, decision-makers and elected officials, hence Putin's remark that " It's difficult to talk with people who confuse Austria and Australia ".

As a result, there is no more discernible US diplomacy left: all the State Department does is deliver threats, ultimatums and condemnations. Meaningful *negotiations* have basically been removed form the US foreign policy toolkit.

A totally uncritical acceptance of ideologically correct narratives even when they are self-evidently nonsensical to an even superficial critical analysis. An great example of this kind of self-evidently stupid stories is all the nonsense about the Russians trying to meddle in US elections or the latest hysteria about relatively small-size military exercises in Russia .

The acceptance of the official 9/11 narrative is a perfect example of that. Something repeated by the "respectable" Ziomedia is accepted as dogma, no matter how self-evidently stupid. A profound belief that everything is measured in dollars . From this flow a number of corollary beliefs such as "US weapons are most expensive, they are therefore superior" or "everybody has his price" [aka "whom we can't kill we will simply buy"]. In my experience folks like these are absolutely unable to even imagine that some people might not motivated by greed or other egoistic interests: ideological drones project their own primitive motives unto everybody else with total confidence.

That belief is also the standard cop out in any conversation of morality, ethnics, or even the notions of right and wrong. An anti-religious view par excellence .

Notice the total absence of any more complex consideration which might require some degree of knowledge or expertise: the imperial mindset is not only ignoramus-compatible, it is ignoramus based . This is what Orwell was referring to in his famous book 1984 with the slogan "Ignorance is Strength". However, it goes way beyond simple ignorance of facts and includes the ability to "think in slogans" (example #2 is a prefect example of this).

There are, of course, many more psychological characteristics for the perfect "ideological drone", but the ones above already paint a pretty decent picture of the kind of person I am sure we all have seen many times over. What is crucial to understand about them is that even though they are far from being a majority, they compensate for that with a tremendous motivational drive. It might be due to a need to repeatedly reassert their certitudes or a way to cope with some deep-seated cognitive dissonance, but in my experience folks like that have energy levels that many sane people would envy. This is absolutely crucial to how the Empire, and any other oppressive regime, works: by repressing those who can understand a complex argument by means of those who cannot. Let me explain:

Unless there are mechanisms set in to prevent that, in a debate/dispute between an educated and intelligent person and an ideological drone the latter will always prevail because of the immense advantage the latter has over the former. Indeed, while the educated and intelligent person will be able to immediately identify numerous factual and logical gaps in his opponent's arguments, he will always need far more "space" to debunk the nonsense spewed by the drone than the drone who will simply dismiss every argument with one or several slogans. This is why I personally never debate or even talk with such people: it is utterly pointless.

As a result, a fact-based and logical argument now gets the same consideration and treatment as a collection of nonsensical slogans (political correctness mercilessly enforces that principle: you can't call an idiot and idiot any more). Falling education standards have resulted in a dramatic degradation of the public debate: to be well-educated, well-read, well-traveled, to speak several languages and feel comfortable in different cultures used to be considered a prerequisite to expressing an opinion, now they are all treated as superfluous and even useless characteristics. Actual, formal, expertise in a topic is now becoming extremely rare. A most interesting kind of illustration of this point can be found in this truly amazing video posted by Peter Schiff:

One could be tempted to conclude that this kind of 'debating' is a Black issue. It is not. The three quotes given at the beginning of this article are a good reminder of this (unless, of course, they were all written by Blacks, which we have no reason to believe).

Twitter might have done to minds what MTV has done to rock music: laid total waste to it.

Consequences:

There are a number of important consequences from the presence of such ideological drones in any society. The first one is that any ideology-based regime will always and easily find numerous spontaneous supporters who willingly collaborate with it. Combined with a completely subservient media, such drones form the rontline force of any ideological debate. For instance, a journalist can always be certain to easily find a done to interview, just as a politician can count on them to support him during a public speech or debate. The truth is that, unfortunately, we live in a society that places much more emphasis on the right to have an opinion than on the actual ability to form one .

By the way, the intellectually challenged always find a natural ally in the coward and the "follower" (as opposed to "leader types") because it is always much easier and safer to follow the herd and support the regime in power than to oppose it. You will always see "stupid drones" backed by "coward drones". As for the politicians , they naturally cater to all types of drones since they always provide a much bigger "bang for the buck" than those inclined to critical thinking whose loyalty to whatever "cause" is always dubious.

The drone-type of mindset also comes with some major weaknesses including a very high degree of predictability, an inability to learn from past mistakes, an inability to imagine somebody operating with a completely different set of motives and many others. One of the most interesting ones for those who actively resist the AngloZionist Empire is that the ideological drone has very little staying power because as soon as the real world, in all its beauty and complexity, comes crashing through the door of the drone's delusional and narrow imagination his cocky arrogance is almost instantaneously replaced by a total sense of panic and despair. I have had the chance to speak Russian officers who were present during the initial interrogation of US POWs in Iraq and they were absolutely amazed at how terrified and broken the US POWs immediately became (even though they were not mistreated in any way). It was as if they had no sense of risk at all, until it was too late and they were captured, at which point they inner strength instantly gave way abject terror. This is one of the reasons that the Empire cannot afford a protracted war: not because of casualty aversion as some suggest, but to keep the imperial delusions/illusions unchallenged by reality . As long as the defeat can be hidden or explained away, the Empire can fight on, but as soon as it becomes impossible to obfuscate the disaster the Empire has to simply declare victory and leave.

Thus we have a paradox here: the US military is superbly skilled at killing people in large numbers, but but not at winning wars . And yet, because this latter fact is easily dismissed on grounds #2 #5 and #7 above (all of them, really), failing to actually win wars does not really affect the US determination to initiate new wars, even potentially very dangerous ones. I would even argue that each defeat even strengthens the Empire's desire to show it power by hoping to finally identify one victim small enough to be convincingly defeated. The perfect example of that was Ronald Reagan's decision to invade Grenada right after the US Marines barracks bombing in Beirut. The fact that the invasion of Grenada was one of the worst military operations in world history did not prevent the US government from handing out more medals for it than the total number of people involved – such is the power of the drone-mindset!

We have another paradox here: history shows that if the US gets entangled in a military conflict it is most likely to end up defeated (if "not winning" is accepted as a euphemism for "losing"). And yet, the United States are also extremely hard to deter. This is not just a case of " Fools rush in where angels fear to tread " but the direct result of a form of conditioning which begins in grade schools. From the point of view of an empire, repeated but successfully concealed defeats are much preferable to the kind of mental paralysis induced in drone populations, at least temporarily, by well-publicized defeats . Likewise, when the loss of face is seen as a calamity much worse than body bags, lessons from the past are learned by academics and specialists, but not by the nation as a whole (there are numerous US academics and officers who have always known all of what I describe above, in fact – they were the ones who first taught me about it!).

If this was only limited to low-IQ drones this would not be as dangerous, but the problem is that words have their own power and that politicians and ideological drones jointly form a self-feeding positive feedback loop when the former lie to the latter only to then be bound by what they said which, in turn, brings them to join the ideological drones in a self-enclosed pseudo-reality of their own.

What all this means for North Korea and the rest of us

I hate to admit it, but I have to concede that there is a good argument to be made that all the over-the-top grandstanding and threatening by the North Koreans does make sense, at least to some degree. While for an educated and intelligent person threatening the continental United States with nuclear strikes might appear as the epitome of irresponsibility, this might well be the only way to warn the ideological drone types of the potential consequences of a US attack on the DPRK. Think of it: if you had to deter somebody with the set of beliefs outlined in #1 through #8 above, would you rather explain that a war on the Korean Peninsula would immediately involve the entire region or simple say "them crazy gook guys might just nuke the shit out of you!"? I think that the North Koreans might be forgiven for thinking that an ideological drone can only be deterred by primitive and vastly exaggerated threats.

Still, my strictly personal conclusion is that ideological drones are pretty much "argument proof" and that they cannot be swayed neither by primitive nor by sophisticated arguments. This is why I personally never directly engage them. But this is hardly an option for a country desperate to avoid a devastating war (the North Koreans have no illusions on that account as they, unlike most US Americans, remember the previous war in Korea).

But here is the worst aspect of it all: this is not only a North Korean problem

The US policies towards Russia, China and Iran all have the potential of resulting in a disaster of major magnitude. The world is dealing with situation in which a completely delusional regime is threatening everybody with various degrees of confrontation. This is like being in the same room with a monkey playing with a hand grenade. Except for that hand grenade is nuclear.

This situation places a special burden of responsibility on all other nations, especially those currently in Uncle Sam's cross-hairs, to act with restraint and utmost restraint. That is not fair, but life rarely is. It is all very well and easy to declare that force must be met by force and that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness until you realize that any miscalculation can result in the death of millions of people. I am therefore very happy that the DPRK is the only country which chose to resort to a policy of hyperbolic threats while Iran, Russia and China acted, and are still acting, with the utmost restraint.

In practical terms, there is no way for the rest of the planet to disarm the monkey. The only option is therefore to incapacitate the monkey itself or, alternatively, to create the conditions in which the monkey will be too busy with something else to pay attention to his grenade. An internal political crisis triggered by an external military defeat remains, I believe, the most likely and desirable scenario (see here if that topic is of interest to you). Still, the future is impossible to predict and, as the Quran says, " they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners ". All we can do is try to mitigate the impact of the ideological drones on our society as much as we can, primarily by *not* engaging them and limiting our interaction with those still capable of critical thought. It is by excluding ideological drones from the debate about the future of our world that we can create a better environment for those truly seeking solutions to our current predicament.

-- -- -

1. If you have not listened to his lectures on this topic, which I highly recommend, you can find them here:

Paul b , December 22, 2017 at 12:28 pm GMT

If the U.S. attacks North Korea or Iran we will become a pariah among nations (especially once the pictures start pouring in). We will be loathed. Countries may very well decide that we are not worthy of having the world's reserve currency. In that case the dollar will collapse as will our economy.
Third world nationalist , December 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm GMT
North Korea is a nationalistic country that traces their race back to antiquity. America on the other hand is a degenerated country that is ruled over by Jews. The flag waving American s may call the Koreans gooks but if we apply the American racial ideology on themselves, the Americans are the the 56percent Untermensch. While the north Koreans are superior for having rejected modern degeneracy.
Andrei Martyanov , Website December 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness

A key point, which signifies a serious cultural degeneration from values of chivalry and honoring the opposite side to a very Asiatic MO which absolutely rules current US establishment. This, and, of course, complete detachment from the realities of the warfare.

Sean , December 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT
It is all talk, because China makes them invulnerable to sanctions and NK has nukes. The US will have to go to China to deal with NK and China will want to continue economically raping the US in exchange. That is why China gave NK an H bomb and ICBM tech ( it's known to have gave those same things to Pakistan). The real action will be in the Middle East. The Saudi are counting on the US giving them CO2 fracking in the future, and Iran being toppled soon. William S. Lind says Iran will be hit by Trump and Israel will use the ensuing chaos to expel the West Bank Palestinians (back to the country whose passports they travel on).
VICB3 , December 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm GMT

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own. Therefore, the best thing you can do is simply to ignore it (thus denying the tyrant an external threat to rally the populace) and wait for the NK people to say enough is enough.

Don't think that would ever happen? Reference 'How Tyrannies Implode' by Richard Fernandez: https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/02/27/how-tyrannies-implode/?print=true&singlepage=true

There's no doubt in my mind that Kim will end up like Nikolae Ceaușescu in Romania, put up against a wall by his own military and shot on TV. All anyone has to do is be patient and not drink the Rah-Rah Kool-Aid.*

Just a thought.

VicB3

*Was talking with a 82nd Major at the Starbucks, and mentioned NK, Ceausecu, sitting tight, etc. (Mentioned we might help things along by blanketing the whole country with netbooks, wi-fi, and even small arms.) Got the careerist ladder- climber standard response of how advanced our weapons are, the people in charge know what they're doing, blah blah blah. Wouldn't even consider an alternative view (and didn't know or understand half of what I was talking about). It was the same response I got from an Air Force Colonel before the U.S. went into Afghanistan and Iraq and I told him the whole thing was/would be insanely stupid.

His party-line team-player response was when I knew for certain that any action in NK would/will fail spectacularly for the U.S., possibly even resulting in and economic collapse and civil war/revolution on this end.

Wish I didn't think that, but I do.

pyrrhus , December 22, 2017 at 5:03 pm GMT
Excellent post. But the US public education "system", while awful, is not the main reason that America is increasingly packed with drones and idiots. IQ is decreasing rapidly, as revealed in the College Board's data on SAT scores over the last 60 years .In addition, Dr. James Thompson has a Dec.15 post on Unz that shows a shocking decline in the ability of UK children to understand basic principles of physics, which are usually acquired on a developmental curve. Mike Judge's movie 'Idiocracy' appears to have been set unrealistically far in the future ..
In short, the current situation can and will get a lot worse in America. On the other hand, America's armed forces will be deteriorating apace, so they are becoming less dangerous to the rest of the world.
anonymous , Disclaimer December 22, 2017 at 6:10 pm GMT
The good thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion. The bad thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion. I have to laugh at all the internet commandos and wannabe Napoleons that roost on the internet giving us their advice. It's easy to cherrypick opinions that range from uninformed to downright stupid and bizarre. Those people don't actually run anything though, fortunately. Keep in mind that half the population is mentally average or below average and that average is quite mediocre. Throw in a few degrees above mediocre and you've got a majority, a majority that can and is regularly bamboozled. The majority of the population is just there to pay taxes and provide cannon fodder, that's all, like a farmer's herd of cows provides for his support. Ideological drones are desired in this case. It's my suspicion that the educational system is geared towards producing such a product as well as all other aspects of popular culture also induce stupefying effects. Insofar as American policy goes, look at what it actually does rather than what it says, the latter being a form of show biz playing to a domestic audience. I just skip the more obnoxious commenters since they're just annoying and add nothing but confusion to any discussion.
Randal , December 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT
@VICB3

but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own
.
There's no doubt in my mind that Kim will end up like Nikolae Ceaușescu in Romania, put up against a wall by his own military and shot on TV.

All things come to an end eventually, and I agree with you that the best course of action for the US over NK would be to leave it alone (and stop poking it), but this idea that "tyrannies always collapse" seems pretty unsupported by reality.

Off the top of my head all of the following autocrats died more or less peacefully in office and handed their "tyranny" on intact to a successor, just in the past few decades: Mao, Castro, Franco, Stalin, Assad senior, two successive Kims (so much for the assumption that the latest Kim will necessarily end up like Ceausescu). In the past, if a tyrant and his tyranny lasted long enough and arranged a good succession, it often came to be remembered as a golden age, as with the Roman, Augustus.

I suspect it might be a matter of you having a rather selective idea of what counts as a tyranny (I wouldn't count Franco in that list, myself, but establishment opinion is against me there, I think). You might be selectively remembering only the tyrannies that came to a bad end.

neutral , December 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
@pyrrhus

so they are becoming less dangerous to the rest of the world

I agree with the logic that as Americans become dumber the ability to have a powerful military also degrades, however an increasingly declining America also makes it more dangerous. As ever more ideologues rule the corridors of power and the generally stupid population that will consent to everything they are told, America will start involving itself in ever more reckless conflicts. This means they despite being a near idiocracy, the nuclear weapons and military bases all over world make America an ever greater threat for the world.

neutral , December 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm GMT

The good thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion.

Not sure if this is a joke or not. In case you are serious, you clearly have not been following the news, from USA to Germany all these so called democracies have been undertaking massive censorship operations. From jailing people to shutting down online conversations to ordering news to not report on things that threaten their power.

Dana Thompson , December 22, 2017 at 9:37 pm GMT
A bizarre posting utterly detached from reality. Don't you understand that if a blustering lunatic presses a megaton-pistol against our collective foreheads and threatens to pull the trigger, it represents a very disquieting situation? And if we contemplate actions that would cause a million utterly harmless and innocent Koreans to be incinerated, to prevent a million of our own brains from being blown out, aren't we allowed to do so without being accused of being vile bigots that think yellow gook lives are worthless? Aren't we entitled to any instinct of self preservation at all?
What the Korean situation obviously entails is a high-stakes experiment in human psychology. All that attention-seeking little freak probably wants is to be treated with respect, and like somebody important. Trump started out in a sensible way, by treating Kim courteously, but for that he was pilloried by the insanely-partisan opposition within his own party – McCain I'm mainly thinking of. That's the true obstacle to a sane resolution of the problem. I say if the twerp would feel good if we gave him a tickertape parade down Fifth Avenue and a day pass to Disneyland, we should do so – it's small enough a concession in view of what's at stake. But if rabid congress-critters obstruct propitiation, then intimidation and even preemptive megadeath may be all that's left.
peterAUS , December 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm GMT
@Dana Thompson

Agree.

I suspect the true conversation about the topic will start when all that becomes really serious. I mean more serious than posting the latest selfie on a Facebook. Hangs around that warhead miniaturization/hardening timetable, IMHO. Maybe too late then.

VICB3 , December 23, 2017 at 12:07 am GMT
@Randal

Just be patient.

Also, one man's tyranny is another mans return to stability. For better or worse, Mao got rid of the Warlords. Franco got rid of the Communists and kept Spain out of WWII. The Assads are Baath Party and both secular and modernizers.

Stalin? Depends on who you talk to, but the Russians do like a strong hand.

Kim? His people only have to look West to China and Russia, or def. to the South, to know that things could be much better. And more and more he can't control the flow of information. That, and the rank and file of his army have roundworms. And guns.

At some point, the light comes on. And that same rank and file with guns tells itself "You know, we could be doing better."

And then it's "Live on TV Time!"

Hope this helps.

Just a thought.

VicB3

Santoculto , December 23, 2017 at 12:27 am GMT
Double think is not just a question of ignorance or self contradiction because often it's important to make people embrace COMPLEXITY instead CONFUSION believing the late it's basically the first

METWO#

Erebus , December 23, 2017 at 12:59 am GMT
@peterAUS

Saker and his legion of fanboys here didn't "attack" the text but the writer.

In the first place, there's nothing in the text to "attack". It's a laundry list of disconnected slogans and so is not a different point of view at all. Released from the confines of the author's gamer world, it evaporates into nothing. I pointed this out to you at some length elsewhere.

In the second, it appears you missed the point of the article. Hint: it's stated in the title. The article's about the mindsets of the authors of such "texts", and not about the texts themselves.

It appears that I am sort of a "dissident" here.

You flatter yourself. To be a dissident requires, at the very least, comprehension of the argument one is disagreeing with. Your "texts" are the equivalent of shouting slogans and waving placards. It may work for a street protest, but is totally out of place on a webzine discussion forum. Hence your screeds here do not constitute real dissension, but trolling.

Simple, really.

[Dec 22, 2017] Nikki Haley Holds Friendship Party For Countries That Supported US In UN Israel Vote Zero Hedge

Dec 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Thursday's UN General Assembly vote on the Jerusalem resolution to a "friendship" party.

Hours after Haley tweeted "We appreciate these countries for not falling to the irresponsible ways of the UN," Voice of America's UN correspondent Margaret Besheer posted an electronic version of the invitation to twitter, which reads "Save the Date: The Honorable Nikki R. Haley, Permanent Representative United States Mission to the United Nations invites you to a reception to thank you for your friendship to the United States, Wednesday, January 3, 2018 6:00-8:00p.m. Formal Invitation to Follow."


US Ambassador Nikki Haley invites the 64 countries who voted 'no', abstained or didn't show up for UNGA Jerusalem resolution to "friendship" party.

Naturally our first thought is that it sounds like it's going to be a pretty sad and deeply awkward party. After all only 9 actually voted with the United States, and 35 were absentions, leaving all the rest as no-shows. So even the majority of the 64 "friends" on the invitation list were a bit too embarrassed to fully step up for their "friend" the first time around - why would they then attend what sounds like a literal pity party for the losing side?

Perhaps the absentions will quietly show up trying to fit in at the "cool party" for the winning team, wherever that may be. Newsweek has likened the invitation for making into the 'nice' column of the White House's "naughty or nice" list .

And concerning what could very well comprise the "VIP part" of the invitation list - only Israel, Honduras, Togo, U.S., Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Guatemala voted against the Jerusalem resolution to condemn the US move to recognize the city as the capital of Israel and relocate the American embassy there. Two-thirds of UN member states including Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Greece voted in favor of the resolution.

Notably, Canada abstained, which is sure going to make the "friendship to the United States" party extra stiff and awkward the moment the Canadian delegation walks through the door.

Sad little party. pic.twitter.com/ClBzvn9xHM

-- Stephanie Lamy (@WCM_JustSocial) December 21, 2017

And who knows, perhaps a few of those countries that did vote 'no' alongside the US did so because prior to the vote both President Trump and Nikki Haley threatened to cut aid to countries failing to support the controversial US decision (well actually many are sparsely populated micronations who have long essentially been dependencies of the US government).

Haley's parting speech after the vote took on a threatening tone as well, as despite being isolated by virtually the entire international community, she warned the international body that the U.S. would remember the vote as a betrayal by the U.N., and that the vote would do nothing to affect the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move its embassy there.

Haley reminded UN members of the US' generous contributions to the organization and said that the United States expects its will to be respected in return. "When we make a generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected," Haley said, adding that the vote will be "remembered" by the US and "make a difference on how the Americans look at the UN."

And with all that parting drama, regarding Nikki's upcoming "friendship" party, it would be great to be a fly on the wall for the event... or, perhaps it'll be too awkward even for the flies.

BennyBoy -> Give_me_liberty_or , Dec 22, 2017 6:09 AM

That "Bribeship Party" requires a very, very, very small room.

Give_me_liberty_or -> BennyBoy , Dec 22, 2017 6:11 AM

this is yet another divide and conquer wedge issue. If you are against it they will label you "unpatriotic anti-trump muslim-loving commie bolshevik." The cognitive dissonance is so dense it's creating a vortex.

Haus-Targaryen -> Give_me_liberty_or , Dec 22, 2017 6:27 AM

The propaganda coming from Hailey is the most obvious/egregious out there.

old naughty -> Haus-Targaryen , Dec 22, 2017 6:28 AM

do we have a full list of the members abstained and no show?

Shemp 4 Victory -> Haus-Targaryen , Dec 22, 2017 6:33 AM

So is there some kind of unwritten rule that the US envoy to the UN must be a self-righteous raving lunatic?

Go back to Waffle House where you belong, Nikki.

Latina Lover -> Give_me_liberty_or , Dec 22, 2017 6:28 AM

Too bad we can't move Washington to Jerusalem? At least this way everyone knows for sure who controls the USA.

ludwigvmises , Dec 22, 2017 6:15 AM

What a pathetic joke we've become on the international circuit. I loved the idea of #MAGA and America first. But this? We're the laughing stock of international diplomacy.

JailBank -> ludwigvmises , Dec 22, 2017 6:22 AM

U.S. Gives Financial Aid to 96% of All Countries. According to the federal government, for fiscal year 2012, "The United States remained the world's largest bilateral donor, obligating approximately $48.4 billion -- $31.2 billion in economic assistance and $17.2 billion in military assistance." Oct 15, 2014

Merry Christmas we have decided to split $50 billion bewtween you 64.

ludwigvmises -> JailBank , Dec 22, 2017 6:27 AM

You forgot it was the United State sand NO ONE ELSE who was pressing for the creation of the United Nations. It is and always was an instrument for US control of it's mercantilist policies. We gave money to South America and Africa and the Middel East out of the goodness of our heart or in order to install regimes that allowed us to exploit their natural resources?

ludwigvmises -> JailBank , Dec 22, 2017 6:27 AM

You forgot it was the United State and NO ONE ELSE who was pressing for the creation of the United Nations. It is and always was an instrument for US control of it's mercantilist policies. We gave money to South America and Africa and the Middel East out of the goodness of our heart or in order to install regimes that allowed us to exploit their natural resources?

kochevnik -> JailBank , Dec 22, 2017 7:41 AM

USA a corporation not a nation

Expat -> Jethro , Dec 22, 2017 8:24 AM

And no UN success stories? None?

Smallpox?

Cyprus? India-Pakistan? Haiti?

Astonishing reduction in death from famine versus previous centuries?

Education programs worldwide.

Population control programs.

I have worked many times with the UN in my career so I know what a sham it can be. But it is an international institution that has prevented a major world or regional war since its inception. You might be too young to know the seventies and eighties, but the UN served a very useful purpose in giving a forum to argue between the world powers.

Trumpeteers call the UN a sham because the UN is not a US department. That is the entire point. If you want war and to continue building the empire, just quit the UN. Cast off the sheep's clothing and admit that the US is a violent, expansionist nation of thugs and xenophobes.

I think what bothers Trumpeteers and right wing Americans the most about the UN is that it costs money but the benefits are hard to measure. And Americans have no interest any more in spending money to help people. Charity starts at home! Jesus was a white man. Death to unbelievers. Fuck the poor and downtrodden. All of this is American zeitgeist. For years Americans thought these things but did not dare to shout them out loud. Now Trump. a man with no mental control over his words, shouts these things and Americans feel empowered. So fuck the UN and all the money-grubbing poor people. Let them starve. And if they dare turn to China or Russia we will bomb the shit out of them...in the name of democracy.

you can spout "MAGA" and "The UN sucks", but until you actually provide facts and acknowledge facts, you look like any of the other mullet-headed, ignorant fuckheads here on ZH.

Robert Trip , Dec 22, 2017 7:06 AM

The U.S. embassy to be built in Jewrusalem will resemble one of the larger German fortification bunkers built along the Atlantic Wall.

9 stories tall with 8' thick reinforced steel concrete walls, the latest surveillance and defensive equipment installed should make it a winner.

No moat around this one though.

Robert Trip , Dec 22, 2017 7:21 AM

There should be a major shakeup in the Trump team coming up imminently.

Those that put the bug in the President's ear concerning this fiasco creating move of our embassy to Jewrusalem or on the other hand those that failed to stop him if he was set on doing it.

We look like fools on the international stage

An interesting aside is the reaction of our main stream media to this whole affair.

100% positive to the move and recognition.

I wonder why?

GPW , Dec 22, 2017 7:21 AM

She is a national embarassment. What the hell was Trump thinking in appointing her?

J J Pettigrew , Dec 22, 2017 7:40 AM

Compare Nikki to Samantha Powers....nuff said...

Shemp 4 Victory -> J J Pettigrew , Dec 22, 2017 9:15 AM

Compare Nikki to Samantha Powers....

Nikki Haley, Samantha Power, John Bolton: defiant deniers of reality, raving and drooling warmongers, eager fellators of Netanyahoo...

nuff said...

Yeah, I see your point.

Laughing.Man , Dec 22, 2017 7:51 AM

SMH Juvenile behavior. I'm hoping someone is brave enough to snap a few pics of this " Friendship Party ".

rejected , Dec 22, 2017 7:55 AM

The Donald trying to squeeze the UN. Vote our way or take the well known highway. Not bad coming from the exceptional demockracy,,, the indispensable nation,,, leader of the Fee world. Haley in an embarrassment to the US and to the species.

Worse,,, Many Americans have no problem with it. Hell, they screw each other on a daily basis. In fact it's about the only way to make a buck these days,,, Ask the stooges at Ebay or Amazon selling imported junk or any lawyer or MD. The sickness just never ends.

rejected , Dec 22, 2017 7:55 AM

The Donald trying to squeeze the UN. Vote our way or take the well known highway. Not bad coming from the exceptional demockracy,,, the indispensable nation,,, leader of the Fee world. Haley in an embarrassment to the US and to the species.

Worse,,, Many Americans have no problem with it. Hell, they screw each other on a daily basis. In fact it's about the only way to make a buck these days,,, Ask the stooges at Ebay or Amazon selling imported junk or any lawyer or MD. The sickness just never ends.

Fake Trump , Dec 22, 2017 7:57 AM

What fucking party when 128 countries condemn Trump.

africoman , Dec 22, 2017 8:02 AM

128-9 vote result

The seven countries that sided Thursday with the United States and Israel on a U.N. General Assembly resolution declaring "null and void" of Trump's Jerusalem Israel capital

1. Guatemala

2. Honduras

3. Marshall Islands

4. Micronesia

5. Nauru

6. Palau

7. Togo

35 creepy abstenshines.

Add U$A and I$$rahell to the seven comes 9 countries in fevour of.

Hellish repeatedly claimed that the move<<<for them to move the capital to Jerusalem>>> was because of the will of Americans!

Question:

is Americans=Zionist/deep-state/

or

name exactly just one citizenry who happen beg Niki/Orange to trouble themselves.

Motherfuckers, they even said irrespective of the

UN votes resounding rejection, they gonna just ignore and move the USA embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

And not surprisingly the bibi whore played guilty trip and claimed the rejection was disrespecting to the USA.

Lying , pricks super Psychopath.Bibi also confirmed he doesn't care the vote,implying they gonna punish UN by pulling out U$A $$$$ supply?

How the world gonna see these outragious move? Silently ?

Raul44 , Dec 22, 2017 8:28 AM

For those who dont understand, this is psychological warfare they will now try to run for a while. Most of this will be actually happening in private talks between 2, kind of "you can be part of us and benefit, rather than be on your own where we cannot guarantee your country's future" - type of talk. When you see sometimes in the future significant number of UN's reversal on this stance, you will know what I was talking about. Probably terms like "surprise" will be used in the news headlines.

Shemp 4 Victory -> dogismycopilot , Dec 22, 2017 9:25 AM

he can turn off the US Foreign Aid spigot

He wouldn't dare. Most US foreign aid consists of gift cards for shopping at Uncle Sam's Arms Emporium . The rest, like food and medical aid, are just cover ops for the CIA station chiefs. You think he's going to go against the MIC/CIA?

[Dec 22, 2017] When Sanity Fails - The Mindset of the Ideological Drone by The Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... North Korea's air defenses are so weak that we had to notify them we were flying B1 bombers near their airspace–they didn't even know our aircraft were coming. This reminds me of the "fearsome" Republican Guard that Saddam had in the Persian Gulf. Turns out we had total air superiority and just bombed the crap out of them and they surrendered in droves. ..."
"... We have already seen what happens when an army has huge amounts of outdated Soviet weaponry versus the most technologically advanced force in the world. It's a slaughter. Also, there has to be weaponry up the USA's sleeve that would be used in the event of an attack. Don't forget our cyber warfare abilities that would undoubtedly be implemented as well. This writer seems to always hype Russia's capabilities and denigrate the US's capabilities. Sure, Russia has the capacity to nuke the US into smithereens, and vice versa. But if its a head to head shooting war, the US and NATO would dominate. FACT. ..."
"... Commander's intent: ..."
"... Decapitate the top leadership and remove retaliatory capability. ..."
"... Massive missile/bombing campaign (including carpet) of top leadership locations, tactical missile locations and DMZ artillery belt. Destruction of surface fleet and air force. ..."
"... Advance into DMZ artillery belt up to a range of 240 mm cannon. Not further (local tactical considerations taken into account of course). ..."
"... Phase three: "break the enemy's will to fight" and destroy the "regime support infrastructure" ..."
"... I guess an American attack on North Korea would consist of preemptive strategic nuking to destroy the entire country before it can do anything. Since North Korea itself contributes essentially nothing to the world economy, no one would lose money. ..."
"... These examples perfectly illustrate the kind of mindset induced by what Professor John Marciano called "Empire as a way of life" [1] which is characterized by a set of basic characteristics: ..."
"... there has to be ..."
"... would undoubtedly ..."
"... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts ..."
"... A perfect illustration of that is the famous quote " it became necessary to destroy the town to save it ..."
"... I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you, the difference in Iraq and Iran, but I know Jesus and I talk to God ..."
"... this applies to the vast majority of US politicians, decision-makers and elected officials, hence Putin's remark that " It's difficult to talk with people who confuse Austria and Australia ". ..."
"... As a result, there is no more discernible US diplomacy left: all the State Department does is deliver threats, ultimatums and condemnations. Meaningful *negotiations* have basically been removed form the US foreign policy toolkit. ..."
"... That belief is also the standard cop out in any conversation of morality, ethnics, or even the notions of right and wrong. An anti-religious view par excellence . ..."
"... The US policies towards Russia, China and Iran all have the potential of resulting in a disaster of major magnitude. The world is dealing with situation in which a completely delusional regime is threatening everybody with various degrees of confrontation. This is like being in the same room with a monkey playing with a hand grenade. Except for that hand grenade is nuclear. ..."
"... This situation places a special burden of responsibility on all other nations, especially those currently in Uncle Sam's cross-hairs, to act with restraint and utmost restraint. That is not fair, but life rarely is. It is all very well and easy to declare that force must be met by force and that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness until you realize that any miscalculation can result in the death of millions of people. I am therefore very happy that the DPRK is the only country which chose to resort to a policy of hyperbolic threats while Iran, Russia and China acted, and are still acting, with the utmost restraint. ..."
"... they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners ..."
"... If the U.S. attacks North Korea or Iran we will become a pariah among nations (especially once the pictures start pouring in). We will be loathed. Countries may very well decide that we are not worthy of having the world's reserve currency. In that case the dollar will collapse as will our economy. ..."
"... Maybe it's just me, but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own. Therefore, the best thing you can do is simply to ignore it (thus denying the tyrant an external threat to rally the populace) and wait for the NK people to say enough is enough. ..."
"... I agree with the logic that as Americans become dumber the ability to have a powerful military also degrades, however an increasingly declining America also makes it more dangerous. As ever more ideologues rule the corridors of power and the generally stupid population that will consent to everything they are told, America will start involving itself in ever more reckless conflicts. This means they despite being a near idiocracy, the nuclear weapons and military bases all over world make America an ever greater threat for the world ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

My recent analysis of the potential consequences of a US attack on the DPRK has elicited a wide range of reactions. There is one type of reaction which I find particularly interesting and most important and I would like to focus on it today: the ones which entirely dismissed my whole argument. The following is a selection of some of the most telling reactions of this kind:

Example 1:

North Korea's air defenses are so weak that we had to notify them we were flying B1 bombers near their airspace–they didn't even know our aircraft were coming. This reminds me of the "fearsome" Republican Guard that Saddam had in the Persian Gulf. Turns out we had total air superiority and just bombed the crap out of them and they surrendered in droves.

We have already seen what happens when an army has huge amounts of outdated Soviet weaponry versus the most technologically advanced force in the world. It's a slaughter. Also, there has to be weaponry up the USA's sleeve that would be used in the event of an attack. Don't forget our cyber warfare abilities that would undoubtedly be implemented as well. This writer seems to always hype Russia's capabilities and denigrate the US's capabilities. Sure, Russia has the capacity to nuke the US into smithereens, and vice versa. But if its a head to head shooting war, the US and NATO would dominate. FACT.

Example 2:

Commander's intent:

Decapitate the top leadership and remove retaliatory capability.

Execution:

Phase one:

Massive missile/bombing campaign (including carpet) of top leadership locations, tactical missile locations and DMZ artillery belt. Destruction of surface fleet and air force.

Phase two:

Advance into DMZ artillery belt up to a range of 240 mm cannon. Not further (local tactical considerations taken into account of course).

Phase three: "break the enemy's will to fight" and destroy the "regime support infrastructure"

Phase four: Regime change.

There you go .

Example 3:

I guess an American attack on North Korea would consist of preemptive strategic nuking to destroy the entire country before it can do anything. Since North Korea itself contributes essentially nothing to the world economy, no one would lose money.

These examples perfectly illustrate the kind of mindset induced by what Professor John Marciano called "Empire as a way of life" [1] which is characterized by a set of basic characteristics:

First foremost, simple, very simple one-sentence "arguments" . Gone are the days when argument were built in some logical sequence, when facts were established, then evaluated for their accuracy and relevance, then analyzed and then conclusions presented. Where in the past one argument per page or paragraph constituted the norm, we now have tweet-like 140 character statements which are more akin to shouted slogans than to arguments (no wonder that tweeting is something a bird does – hence the expression "bird brain"). You will see that kind of person writing what initially appears to be a paragraph, but when you look closer you realize that the paragraph is really little more than a sequence of independent statements and not really an argument of any type. A quasi-religious belief in one's superiority which is accepted as axiomatic .

Nothing new here: the Communists considered themselves as the superior for class reasons, the Nazis by reason of racial superiority, the US Americans just "because" – no explanation offered (I am not sure that this constitutes of form of progress). In the US case, that superiority is cultural, political, financial and, sometimes but not always, racial. This superiority is also technological, hence the " there has to be " or the " would undoubtedly " in the example #1 above. This is pure faith and not something which can be challenged by fact or logic. Contempt for all others . This really flows from #2 above. Example 3 basically declares all of North Korea (including its people) as worthless. This is where all the expressions like "sand niggers" "hadjis" and other "gooks" come from: the dehumanization of the "others" as a preparation for their for mass slaughter. Notice how in the example #2 the DPRK leaders are assumed to be totally impotent, dull and, above all, passive.

The notion that they might do something unexpected is never even considered (a classical recipe for military disaster, but more about that later). Contempt for rules, norms and laws . This notion is well expressed by the famous US 19th century slogan of " my country, right or wrong " but goes far beyond that as it also includes the belief that the USA has God-given (or equivalent) right to ignore international law, the public opinion of the rest of the planet or even the values underlying the documents which founded the USA. In fact, in the logic of such imperial drone the belief in US superiority actually serves as a premise to the conclusion that the USA has a "mission" or a "responsibility" to rule the world. This is "might makes right" elevated to the rank of dogma and, therefore, never challenged. A very high reliance on doublethink . Doublethink defined by Wikipedia as " the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts ".

A perfect illustration of that is the famous quote " it became necessary to destroy the town to save it ". Most US Americans are aware of the fact that US policies have resulted in them being hated worldwide, even amongst putatively allied or "protected" countries such as South Korea, Israel, Germany or Japan. Yet at the very same time, they continue to think that the USA should "defend" "allies", even if the latter can't wait for Uncle Sam's soldiers to pack and leave. Doublethink is also what makes it possible for ideological drones to be aware of the fact that the US has become a subservient Israeli colony while, at the same time, arguing for the support and financing of Israel.

A glorification of ignorance which is transformed into a sign of manliness and honesty. This is powerfully illustrated in the famous song " Where were you when the world stopped turning " whoso lyrics include the following words " I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you, the difference in Iraq and Iran, but I know Jesus and I talk to God " (notice how the title of the song suggests that New York is the center of the world, when when get hit, the world stops turning; also, no connection is made between watching CNN and not being able to tell two completely different countries apart). If this were limited to singers, then it would not be a problem, but this applies to the vast majority of US politicians, decision-makers and elected officials, hence Putin's remark that " It's difficult to talk with people who confuse Austria and Australia ".

As a result, there is no more discernible US diplomacy left: all the State Department does is deliver threats, ultimatums and condemnations. Meaningful *negotiations* have basically been removed form the US foreign policy toolkit.

A totally uncritical acceptance of ideologically correct narratives even when they are self-evidently nonsensical to an even superficial critical analysis. An great example of this kind of self-evidently stupid stories is all the nonsense about the Russians trying to meddle in US elections or the latest hysteria about relatively small-size military exercises in Russia .

The acceptance of the official 9/11 narrative is a perfect example of that. Something repeated by the "respectable" Ziomedia is accepted as dogma, no matter how self-evidently stupid. A profound belief that everything is measured in dollars . From this flow a number of corollary beliefs such as "US weapons are most expensive, they are therefore superior" or "everybody has his price" [aka "whom we can't kill we will simply buy"]. In my experience folks like these are absolutely unable to even imagine that some people might not motivated by greed or other egoistic interests: ideological drones project their own primitive motives unto everybody else with total confidence.

That belief is also the standard cop out in any conversation of morality, ethnics, or even the notions of right and wrong. An anti-religious view par excellence .

Notice the total absence of any more complex consideration which might require some degree of knowledge or expertise: the imperial mindset is not only ignoramus-compatible, it is ignoramus based . This is what Orwell was referring to in his famous book 1984 with the slogan "Ignorance is Strength". However, it goes way beyond simple ignorance of facts and includes the ability to "think in slogans" (example #2 is a prefect example of this).

There are, of course, many more psychological characteristics for the perfect "ideological drone", but the ones above already paint a pretty decent picture of the kind of person I am sure we all have seen many times over. What is crucial to understand about them is that even though they are far from being a majority, they compensate for that with a tremendous motivational drive. It might be due to a need to repeatedly reassert their certitudes or a way to cope with some deep-seated cognitive dissonance, but in my experience folks like that have energy levels that many sane people would envy. This is absolutely crucial to how the Empire, and any other oppressive regime, works: by repressing those who can understand a complex argument by means of those who cannot. Let me explain:

Unless there are mechanisms set in to prevent that, in a debate/dispute between an educated and intelligent person and an ideological drone the latter will always prevail because of the immense advantage the latter has over the former. Indeed, while the educated and intelligent person will be able to immediately identify numerous factual and logical gaps in his opponent's arguments, he will always need far more "space" to debunk the nonsense spewed by the drone than the drone who will simply dismiss every argument with one or several slogans. This is why I personally never debate or even talk with such people: it is utterly pointless.

As a result, a fact-based and logical argument now gets the same consideration and treatment as a collection of nonsensical slogans (political correctness mercilessly enforces that principle: you can't call an idiot and idiot any more). Falling education standards have resulted in a dramatic degradation of the public debate: to be well-educated, well-read, well-traveled, to speak several languages and feel comfortable in different cultures used to be considered a prerequisite to expressing an opinion, now they are all treated as superfluous and even useless characteristics. Actual, formal, expertise in a topic is now becoming extremely rare. A most interesting kind of illustration of this point can be found in this truly amazing video posted by Peter Schiff:

One could be tempted to conclude that this kind of 'debating' is a Black issue. It is not. The three quotes given at the beginning of this article are a good reminder of this (unless, of course, they were all written by Blacks, which we have no reason to believe).

Twitter might have done to minds what MTV has done to rock music: laid total waste to it.

Consequences:

There are a number of important consequences from the presence of such ideological drones in any society. The first one is that any ideology-based regime will always and easily find numerous spontaneous supporters who willingly collaborate with it. Combined with a completely subservient media, such drones form the rontline force of any ideological debate. For instance, a journalist can always be certain to easily find a done to interview, just as a politician can count on them to support him during a public speech or debate. The truth is that, unfortunately, we live in a society that places much more emphasis on the right to have an opinion than on the actual ability to form one .

By the way, the intellectually challenged always find a natural ally in the coward and the "follower" (as opposed to "leader types") because it is always much easier and safer to follow the herd and support the regime in power than to oppose it. You will always see "stupid drones" backed by "coward drones". As for the politicians , they naturally cater to all types of drones since they always provide a much bigger "bang for the buck" than those inclined to critical thinking whose loyalty to whatever "cause" is always dubious.

The drone-type of mindset also comes with some major weaknesses including a very high degree of predictability, an inability to learn from past mistakes, an inability to imagine somebody operating with a completely different set of motives and many others. One of the most interesting ones for those who actively resist the AngloZionist Empire is that the ideological drone has very little staying power because as soon as the real world, in all its beauty and complexity, comes crashing through the door of the drone's delusional and narrow imagination his cocky arrogance is almost instantaneously replaced by a total sense of panic and despair. I have had the chance to speak Russian officers who were present during the initial interrogation of US POWs in Iraq and they were absolutely amazed at how terrified and broken the US POWs immediately became (even though they were not mistreated in any way). It was as if they had no sense of risk at all, until it was too late and they were captured, at which point they inner strength instantly gave way abject terror. This is one of the reasons that the Empire cannot afford a protracted war: not because of casualty aversion as some suggest, but to keep the imperial delusions/illusions unchallenged by reality . As long as the defeat can be hidden or explained away, the Empire can fight on, but as soon as it becomes impossible to obfuscate the disaster the Empire has to simply declare victory and leave.

Thus we have a paradox here: the US military is superbly skilled at killing people in large numbers, but but not at winning wars . And yet, because this latter fact is easily dismissed on grounds #2 #5 and #7 above (all of them, really), failing to actually win wars does not really affect the US determination to initiate new wars, even potentially very dangerous ones. I would even argue that each defeat even strengthens the Empire's desire to show it power by hoping to finally identify one victim small enough to be convincingly defeated. The perfect example of that was Ronald Reagan's decision to invade Grenada right after the US Marines barracks bombing in Beirut. The fact that the invasion of Grenada was one of the worst military operations in world history did not prevent the US government from handing out more medals for it than the total number of people involved – such is the power of the drone-mindset!

We have another paradox here: history shows that if the US gets entangled in a military conflict it is most likely to end up defeated (if "not winning" is accepted as a euphemism for "losing"). And yet, the United States are also extremely hard to deter. This is not just a case of " Fools rush in where angels fear to tread " but the direct result of a form of conditioning which begins in grade schools. From the point of view of an empire, repeated but successfully concealed defeats are much preferable to the kind of mental paralysis induced in drone populations, at least temporarily, by well-publicized defeats . Likewise, when the loss of face is seen as a calamity much worse than body bags, lessons from the past are learned by academics and specialists, but not by the nation as a whole (there are numerous US academics and officers who have always known all of what I describe above, in fact – they were the ones who first taught me about it!).

If this was only limited to low-IQ drones this would not be as dangerous, but the problem is that words have their own power and that politicians and ideological drones jointly form a self-feeding positive feedback loop when the former lie to the latter only to then be bound by what they said which, in turn, brings them to join the ideological drones in a self-enclosed pseudo-reality of their own.

What all this means for North Korea and the rest of us

I hate to admit it, but I have to concede that there is a good argument to be made that all the over-the-top grandstanding and threatening by the North Koreans does make sense, at least to some degree. While for an educated and intelligent person threatening the continental United States with nuclear strikes might appear as the epitome of irresponsibility, this might well be the only way to warn the ideological drone types of the potential consequences of a US attack on the DPRK. Think of it: if you had to deter somebody with the set of beliefs outlined in #1 through #8 above, would you rather explain that a war on the Korean Peninsula would immediately involve the entire region or simple say "them crazy gook guys might just nuke the shit out of you!"? I think that the North Koreans might be forgiven for thinking that an ideological drone can only be deterred by primitive and vastly exaggerated threats.

Still, my strictly personal conclusion is that ideological drones are pretty much "argument proof" and that they cannot be swayed neither by primitive nor by sophisticated arguments. This is why I personally never directly engage them. But this is hardly an option for a country desperate to avoid a devastating war (the North Koreans have no illusions on that account as they, unlike most US Americans, remember the previous war in Korea).

But here is the worst aspect of it all: this is not only a North Korean problem

The US policies towards Russia, China and Iran all have the potential of resulting in a disaster of major magnitude. The world is dealing with situation in which a completely delusional regime is threatening everybody with various degrees of confrontation. This is like being in the same room with a monkey playing with a hand grenade. Except for that hand grenade is nuclear.

This situation places a special burden of responsibility on all other nations, especially those currently in Uncle Sam's cross-hairs, to act with restraint and utmost restraint. That is not fair, but life rarely is. It is all very well and easy to declare that force must be met by force and that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness until you realize that any miscalculation can result in the death of millions of people. I am therefore very happy that the DPRK is the only country which chose to resort to a policy of hyperbolic threats while Iran, Russia and China acted, and are still acting, with the utmost restraint.

In practical terms, there is no way for the rest of the planet to disarm the monkey. The only option is therefore to incapacitate the monkey itself or, alternatively, to create the conditions in which the monkey will be too busy with something else to pay attention to his grenade. An internal political crisis triggered by an external military defeat remains, I believe, the most likely and desirable scenario (see here if that topic is of interest to you). Still, the future is impossible to predict and, as the Quran says, " they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners ". All we can do is try to mitigate the impact of the ideological drones on our society as much as we can, primarily by *not* engaging them and limiting our interaction with those still capable of critical thought. It is by excluding ideological drones from the debate about the future of our world that we can create a better environment for those truly seeking solutions to our current predicament.

-- -- -

1. If you have not listened to his lectures on this topic, which I highly recommend, you can find them here:

Paul b , December 22, 2017 at 12:28 pm GMT

If the U.S. attacks North Korea or Iran we will become a pariah among nations (especially once the pictures start pouring in). We will be loathed. Countries may very well decide that we are not worthy of having the world's reserve currency. In that case the dollar will collapse as will our economy.
Third world nationalist , December 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm GMT
North Korea is a nationalistic country that traces their race back to antiquity. America on the other hand is a degenerated country that is ruled over by Jews. The flag waving American s may call the Koreans gooks but if we apply the American racial ideology on themselves, the Americans are the the 56percent Untermensch. While the north Koreans are superior for having rejected modern degeneracy.
Andrei Martyanov , Website December 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness

A key point, which signifies a serious cultural degeneration from values of chivalry and honoring the opposite side to a very Asiatic MO which absolutely rules current US establishment. This, and, of course, complete detachment from the realities of the warfare.

Sean , December 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT
It is all talk, because China makes them invulnerable to sanctions and NK has nukes. The US will have to go to China to deal with NK and China will want to continue economically raping the US in exchange. That is why China gave NK an H bomb and ICBM tech ( it's known to have gave those same things to Pakistan). The real action will be in the Middle East. The Saudi are counting on the US giving them CO2 fracking in the future, and Iran being toppled soon. William S. Lind says Iran will be hit by Trump and Israel will use the ensuing chaos to expel the West Bank Palestinians (back to the country whose passports they travel on).
VICB3 , December 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm GMT

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own. Therefore, the best thing you can do is simply to ignore it (thus denying the tyrant an external threat to rally the populace) and wait for the NK people to say enough is enough.

Don't think that would ever happen? Reference 'How Tyrannies Implode' by Richard Fernandez: https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/02/27/how-tyrannies-implode/?print=true&singlepage=true

There's no doubt in my mind that Kim will end up like Nikolae Ceaușescu in Romania, put up against a wall by his own military and shot on TV. All anyone has to do is be patient and not drink the Rah-Rah Kool-Aid.*

Just a thought.

VicB3

*Was talking with a 82nd Major at the Starbucks, and mentioned NK, Ceausecu, sitting tight, etc. (Mentioned we might help things along by blanketing the whole country with netbooks, wi-fi, and even small arms.) Got the careerist ladder- climber standard response of how advanced our weapons are, the people in charge know what they're doing, blah blah blah. Wouldn't even consider an alternative view (and didn't know or understand half of what I was talking about). It was the same response I got from an Air Force Colonel before the U.S. went into Afghanistan and Iraq and I told him the whole thing was/would be insanely stupid.

His party-line team-player response was when I knew for certain that any action in NK would/will fail spectacularly for the U.S., possibly even resulting in and economic collapse and civil war/revolution on this end.

Wish I didn't think that, but I do.

pyrrhus , December 22, 2017 at 5:03 pm GMT
Excellent post. But the US public education "system", while awful, is not the main reason that America is increasingly packed with drones and idiots. IQ is decreasing rapidly, as revealed in the College Board's data on SAT scores over the last 60 years .In addition, Dr. James Thompson has a Dec.15 post on Unz that shows a shocking decline in the ability of UK children to understand basic principles of physics, which are usually acquired on a developmental curve. Mike Judge's movie 'Idiocracy' appears to have been set unrealistically far in the future ..
In short, the current situation can and will get a lot worse in America. On the other hand, America's armed forces will be deteriorating apace, so they are becoming less dangerous to the rest of the world.
anonymous , Disclaimer December 22, 2017 at 6:10 pm GMT
The good thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion. The bad thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion. I have to laugh at all the internet commandos and wannabe Napoleons that roost on the internet giving us their advice. It's easy to cherrypick opinions that range from uninformed to downright stupid and bizarre. Those people don't actually run anything though, fortunately. Keep in mind that half the population is mentally average or below average and that average is quite mediocre. Throw in a few degrees above mediocre and you've got a majority, a majority that can and is regularly bamboozled. The majority of the population is just there to pay taxes and provide cannon fodder, that's all, like a farmer's herd of cows provides for his support. Ideological drones are desired in this case. It's my suspicion that the educational system is geared towards producing such a product as well as all other aspects of popular culture also induce stupefying effects. Insofar as American policy goes, look at what it actually does rather than what it says, the latter being a form of show biz playing to a domestic audience. I just skip the more obnoxious commenters since they're just annoying and add nothing but confusion to any discussion.
Randal , December 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT
@VICB3

but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own
.
There's no doubt in my mind that Kim will end up like Nikolae Ceaușescu in Romania, put up against a wall by his own military and shot on TV.

All things come to an end eventually, and I agree with you that the best course of action for the US over NK would be to leave it alone (and stop poking it), but this idea that "tyrannies always collapse" seems pretty unsupported by reality.

Off the top of my head all of the following autocrats died more or less peacefully in office and handed their "tyranny" on intact to a successor, just in the past few decades: Mao, Castro, Franco, Stalin, Assad senior, two successive Kims (so much for the assumption that the latest Kim will necessarily end up like Ceausescu). In the past, if a tyrant and his tyranny lasted long enough and arranged a good succession, it often came to be remembered as a golden age, as with the Roman, Augustus.

I suspect it might be a matter of you having a rather selective idea of what counts as a tyranny (I wouldn't count Franco in that list, myself, but establishment opinion is against me there, I think). You might be selectively remembering only the tyrannies that came to a bad end.

neutral , December 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
@pyrrhus

so they are becoming less dangerous to the rest of the world

I agree with the logic that as Americans become dumber the ability to have a powerful military also degrades, however an increasingly declining America also makes it more dangerous. As ever more ideologues rule the corridors of power and the generally stupid population that will consent to everything they are told, America will start involving itself in ever more reckless conflicts. This means they despite being a near idiocracy, the nuclear weapons and military bases all over world make America an ever greater threat for the world.

neutral , December 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm GMT

The good thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion.

Not sure if this is a joke or not. In case you are serious, you clearly have not been following the news, from USA to Germany all these so called democracies have been undertaking massive censorship operations. From jailing people to shutting down online conversations to ordering news to not report on things that threaten their power.

Dana Thompson , December 22, 2017 at 9:37 pm GMT
A bizarre posting utterly detached from reality. Don't you understand that if a blustering lunatic presses a megaton-pistol against our collective foreheads and threatens to pull the trigger, it represents a very disquieting situation? And if we contemplate actions that would cause a million utterly harmless and innocent Koreans to be incinerated, to prevent a million of our own brains from being blown out, aren't we allowed to do so without being accused of being vile bigots that think yellow gook lives are worthless? Aren't we entitled to any instinct of self preservation at all?
What the Korean situation obviously entails is a high-stakes experiment in human psychology. All that attention-seeking little freak probably wants is to be treated with respect, and like somebody important. Trump started out in a sensible way, by treating Kim courteously, but for that he was pilloried by the insanely-partisan opposition within his own party – McCain I'm mainly thinking of. That's the true obstacle to a sane resolution of the problem. I say if the twerp would feel good if we gave him a tickertape parade down Fifth Avenue and a day pass to Disneyland, we should do so – it's small enough a concession in view of what's at stake. But if rabid congress-critters obstruct propitiation, then intimidation and even preemptive megadeath may be all that's left.
peterAUS , December 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm GMT
@Dana Thompson

Agree.

I suspect the true conversation about the topic will start when all that becomes really serious. I mean more serious than posting the latest selfie on a Facebook. Hangs around that warhead miniaturization/hardening timetable, IMHO. Maybe too late then.

VICB3 , December 23, 2017 at 12:07 am GMT
@Randal

Just be patient.

Also, one man's tyranny is another mans return to stability. For better or worse, Mao got rid of the Warlords. Franco got rid of the Communists and kept Spain out of WWII. The Assads are Baath Party and both secular and modernizers.

Stalin? Depends on who you talk to, but the Russians do like a strong hand.

Kim? His people only have to look West to China and Russia, or def. to the South, to know that things could be much better. And more and more he can't control the flow of information. That, and the rank and file of his army have roundworms. And guns.

At some point, the light comes on. And that same rank and file with guns tells itself "You know, we could be doing better."

And then it's "Live on TV Time!"

Hope this helps.

Just a thought.

VicB3

Santoculto , December 23, 2017 at 12:27 am GMT
Double think is not just a question of ignorance or self contradiction because often it's important to make people embrace COMPLEXITY instead CONFUSION believing the late it's basically the first

METWO#

Erebus , December 23, 2017 at 12:59 am GMT
@peterAUS

Saker and his legion of fanboys here didn't "attack" the text but the writer.

In the first place, there's nothing in the text to "attack". It's a laundry list of disconnected slogans and so is not a different point of view at all. Released from the confines of the author's gamer world, it evaporates into nothing. I pointed this out to you at some length elsewhere.

In the second, it appears you missed the point of the article. Hint: it's stated in the title. The article's about the mindsets of the authors of such "texts", and not about the texts themselves.

It appears that I am sort of a "dissident" here.

You flatter yourself. To be a dissident requires, at the very least, comprehension of the argument one is disagreeing with. Your "texts" are the equivalent of shouting slogans and waving placards. It may work for a street protest, but is totally out of place on a webzine discussion forum. Hence your screeds here do not constitute real dissension, but trolling.

Simple, really.

[Dec 22, 2017] At one point inhistory Ru>ssians were americanophiles. No longer by Anatoly Karlin

Notable quotes:
"... the numbers of America fans have plummeted, while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere to constitute majority opinion. ..."
"... For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the "loss of Russia" was largely of their own doing. ..."
"... The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world's dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

When Russians Were Americanophiles Anatoly Karlin December 18, 2017 700 Words 298 Comments Reply

At the tail end of the Cold War, there was an incredible atmosphere of Americanophilia throughout the USSR, including amongst Russians.

Blue – approve of USA; orange – disapprove.

Around 75%-80% of Russians approved of the United States around 1990, versus <10% disapproval.

By modern standards , this would have put Russia into the top leagues of America fans , such as Poland, Israel, and the United Kingdom. It was also around 10%-15% points higher than contemporary US approval of Russia.

The blogger genby dug up a VCIOM poll from 1990 asking Russians – that is, Russians within the RSFSR, i.e. the territory of the modern day Russian Federation – what they thought about Americans.

The poll was redone in 2015, keeping the same questions, which allows a direct comparison between the two dates.

What in your opinion characterizes the United States? 1990 2015
High criminality and moral degradation 1 15
No warmth in people's relations 1 15
High living standards 35 12
Large gap between rich and poor 5 11
Racial discrimination 1 9
Highly developed science and technology 15 7
Success depends on personal effort 20 7
Free society 13 5
Other . 6
Can't say for sure 10 12

I would wager Russian opinions on America were more positive c.1990 than the opinions of the average American on his own country today!

Is US government friendly or hostile to Russia? 1990 2015
Friendly 35 3
Not very friendly 40 32
Hostile 2 59
Can't say 23 6

These results speak for themselves and hardly need more commentary.

Nowadays, of course, things are rather different. Suffice to say the numbers of America fans have plummeted, while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere to constitute majority opinion.

According to other polls, Russian approval of the US rarely breaks above 30% , and the sentiments are quite mutual . Just 1% (that's one percent) of Russians approved of US leadership by 2016 . Although there were hopes that this trend would turn around after Trump, which seemed plausible in early 2017 and indeed seemed to be happening , this was in the end not to be.

What I think is more significant is that nobody likes to talk about it now, because it reflects badly on pretty much everyone.

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for jeans and "common human values."

These figures testify to the complete and utter failure of Soviet propaganda, which spent decades spinning tales about American criminality, unemployment, and lynched Negroes only to end up with a society with some of the most Americanophile sentiments in the entire world.

It also makes it much harder to scapegoat Gorbachev, or the mythical saboteurs and CIA agents in power that feature prominently in sovok conspiracy theories, for unraveling the Soviet Union, when ordinary Soviets themselves considered America the next best thing since Lenin and the US government to be their friend.

For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the "loss of Russia" was largely of their own doing.

The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world's dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. And from a purely Realpolitik perspective, the results have hardly been catastrophic; the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. On the other hand, in a world where China is fast becoming a peer competitor – with the implicit backing of a resentful Russia – this may, in retrospect, not have been the best long-term play.

Anon , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

Well, this Americanophobia plays well for Americans, who afford a new arms race. Yes, you may think that America is deep in debt, but its creditors see it as an investment. When the Exxons of the West will milk the Siberian mineral riches, America will pay everything back. The alternative, a world where they would invest in Rosneft in order to get a share of the plunder of, idk, Gulf of Mexico, is silly. As we saw in the 80′s, the best form of war against Russia is not to bomb and starve Moscow. That won't scare the locals. Let Kremlin do it instead.

If Putin is not careful, if he doesn't go low tech, low cost, the Americans will win the long game.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for jeans and "common human values."

Your 'empire' fell to pieces as rapidly as the Hapsburgs' in 1918 and you had to expend handsome sums in an attempt just to hold onto Chechenya (populaiton 1.1 million). You have 150 million people as is and can do without having to stomp on recalcitrant minorities and to craft institutions which function in multilingual environments. You never had much of a constituency in Austria for attempting to reassemble the Hapsburg dominions and Hungary's ambitions haven't in the last century gone beyond attempting to capture Magyar exclaves.

Look at the other principals in the 1st world war: overseas dependencies retained by them consist of a portfolio of insular territories which prefer their current status and whose total population hardly exceeds that of Switzerland. The only one which has retained contiguous peripheral provinces predominantly populated by minorities would be Turkey. You're not injured for the loss of an opportunity to replicate the Turkish experience with ethnic cleansing (of Greeks and Armenians) conjoined to abuse (of Kurds). Everyone lost their empire, and they're not generally the worse for it.

You have a large national state. Kvetching that you don't have Azerbaijan or Estonia is inconsistent with good sense.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making

What's remarkable to me about that graph of opinion over time is how pig-headedly resilient Russian naivety about the US has been. Time after time it appears the scales would fall from Russians' eyes after the US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia), and within a few months approval would be back up to 50% or above. It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
@Art Deco

There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events

That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments, and supporting Georgia was, like NATO expansion in general and numerous other consistently provocative US foreign policy measures directed against post-Soviet Russia, a literally stupid matter of turning a potential ally against the real rival China into an enemy and ally of said rival.

You are perfectly entitled to endorse mere stupidity on the part of your rulers, but the fact that you so shamelessly approve of waging illegal wars counter to treaty commitments discredits any opinions you might have on such matters.

Verymuchalive , December 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy

Actually, present Russian borders are more those of Peter the Great, circa 1717, than Old Muscovy. Russia, unlike nearly all the Great Powers of the C20th, has retained its Empire – Siberia, the Russian Far East, Kamchatka, South Russia and the Crimea ( first acquired as recently as 1783 ).
Once those dim-witted Ukies finally implode the Ukrainian economy, Russia will be able to gobble up the rest of southern and eastern Ukraine – all the way to Odessa.

The places that seceded from the Soviet Union are places that Russians don't want ( Northern Kazakhstan excepted ) and are urgently required to receive all those Central Asian immigrants who will be deported by sensible Russian governments in the near future. ( I exclude Armenians from the last clause )

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT
Yes, US had squandered a lot of good will in exchange for extremely valuable "geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe."

Incidentally, Soviet propaganda was never anti-American. It was anti-capitalist, an important distinction. Whereas in America, anti-Russian propaganda has always been anti- Russian .

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT

the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework,

Washington could get both by integrating and not alienating americanophile Russia.

closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle.

It also closed off the possibility of an American-led Global North.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm GMT
@Randal That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm GMT
@Art Deco

You have a large national state.

Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state . Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm GMT
@Art Deco With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine. US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever. US interests suffered as a result of its ill-advised aggression, they ended up empowering their avowed enemy – Iran.
Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine.

They dissed you. La di dah. My own countrymen have put up with that from an array of Eurotrash and 3d world kleptocrats every time we open the newspaper.

US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.

No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. Iraq was a charnel house, and the world is well rid of the Tikriti regime, especially Iraq's Kurdish and Shia provinces, which have been quiet for a decade. You don't take an interest in the ocean of blood for which the Ba'ath Party was responsible, but you're terribly butthurt that politicians in Kiev don't take orders from Moscow. Felix, I can taste teh Crazy.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Art Deco

Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.

Exactly, and you're missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:

I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.

http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/

I don't care, because this isn't a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL

The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don't expect one.

[Dec 22, 2017] The way I see it "an ocean of blood" in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion, and it included plenty of American blood. Young healthy American men lost their lifes in Iraq, lost their their bodyparts (arms, legs, their nuts), lost their sanity, and as an American I can't imagine that you were pleased about that.

Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm GMT

@Art Deco The way I see it "an ocean of blood" in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion, and it included plenty of American blood. Young healthy American men lost their lifes in Iraq, lost their their bodyparts (arms, legs, their nuts), lost their sanity, and as an American I can't imagine that you were pleased about that. Certainly, most of your countrymen didn't feel this way, they didn't feel this war was worth it for the US.
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT
@Art Deco

We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq

The treaty commitment in question was with almost the entire rest of the world, namely when your country entirely voluntarily signed up to a commitment to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state". If your country had retained the slightest trace of integrity and self-respect it would at least have had the decency to withdraw from membership of the the UN when it chose to breach those treaty commitments.

And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts for weaselling out of their country's commitment, such as a wholly imaginary entitlement for them to decide for themselves when there is a "humanitarian" justification for doing so, or make up wholesale fantasy allegations about "weapons of mass destruction" that even if true wouldn't justify war.

An entire nation state behaving like a lying '60s hippy or a shamelessly dishonest aggressor.

I'm sure you're proud.

and both places had it coming.

A straightforward confession of lawless rogue state behaviour, basically.

Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country's position with such arguments? Better for a real American patriot to just stop digging and keep sheepishly quiet about the past three decades of foreign policy.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 6:15 pm GMT
@reiner Tor The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn't show that), and yet our re-unification has been a huge success! I honestly can't think of good reason, why we can't go futher.
Mr. XYZ , December 18, 2017 at 6:20 pm GMT
: Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?
Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 6:27 pm GMT
@reiner Tor Neither apply.
Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich "an ocean of blood" in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion,

By various and sundry Sunni insurgents, who continue to distort and disfigure life in the provinces where they have a critical mass of the population. The Kurdish and Shia provinces are quiet.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 6:32 pm GMT
@Randal Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country's position with such arguments?

Depends on the degree to which my interlocutor lives in a bubble breathing in the air of his own mephitic resentments.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT
And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts

There were no imaginary pretexts. You need to get out more.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 6:38 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media.

There seems no evident reason to look for another explanation for the drops in pro-American sentiment. They seem eminently justified by the US's behaviour over the period 1990-date and perfectly unsurprising.

What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them. It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn't around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

It's understandable that following a particular instance of particularly bad US behaviour (such as Kosovo or Iraq) opinion of the US in US sphere states would dip dramatically (as it did, mostly) and then recover slowly to roughly its long term mean, because those crimes were not directed against the interests of US sphere states or elites. But they very much were targeted at Russia or its interests and disadvantageous to Russia and its global status. Russians had few excuses for failing to see that the US was an implacable and dangerous enemy from at least Kosovo onward, and yet they repeatedly chose to pretend to themselves that it wasn't.

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

Why are you assuming that the pendulum would swing back?
The Kremlin is still playing nice with Western "partners".
The alternative does not have to be more pro-American.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT
@Art Deco As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet -- is this why American soldiers died?

C'mon, Iraq invasion was a disaster for the US whichever way you look at it. That's what happens when you start a war for the wrong reasons.

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 6:45 pm GMT
@reiner Tor Correction. It's the elites that don't want to join Russia. And the reason they don't is because the West gives them goodies for being anti-Russian. This kind of strategy worked pretty well so far (for the West) in Eastern Europe and it will continue to work for some time yet. But not forever, not in Ukraine and Belorussia.

That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian. The rulers of Ukraine and, to a much lesser degree, Belorussia are trying to erect cultural barriers between themselves and Russia. Good luck with that, in the 21st century. It's more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world. Eventually it will tell.

Now, the question is if Russians will even want Ukraine back. This is not so clear.

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 6:45 pm GMT
@Art Deco They do.
Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT
@Mr. XYZ

Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?

Integration into West is what Russians wanted.

An example

IF RUSSIA HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION NOW, WOULD YOU BE FOR OR AGAINST THIS? (N=800)

08/2009:
For: 53%
Against: 21%
Difficult to say: 27%

https://www.levada.ru/en/2016/06/10/russia-s-friends-and-enemies-2/

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 6:52 pm GMT
@Art Deco That's just dumb. The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- Saddam's regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world -- were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time. Saddam's regime was extremely brutal and increasingly Islamic or even Islamist in character, but by 2003 it wasn't a serious threat to anyone outside Iraq anymore the worst thing it did was send money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (bad, but hardly an existential threat). Admittedly there was the question how to deal with his regime in coming years, whether to eventually relax sanctions or to keep them in place for the foreseeable future. But there was no urgent need to invade Iraq that was purely a war of choice which the US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences. If you don't understand why many people find that rather questionable, it's you who needs to get out more.
Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Randal

What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

Yugoslavia and Iraq were not that close to Russia and Russian elite was still pushing for Integration into West at that time. After 2008, "Reset" and Obama happened.

It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn't around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

Keep in mind that Obama's opponent in 2008 was McCain, that McCain.
Just like Trump, Obama seemed like the lesser evil and not to blame for previous conflicts.

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 7:04 pm GMT
@Art Deco Hungary joined NATO a few days (weeks? can't remember) before the start of the Kosovo-related bombardment of Serbia. I attended university in a city in the south of Hungary, close to the Serbian border. I could see the NATO planes flying by above us every night when going home from a bar or club (both of which I frequented a lot).

I was a staunch Atlanticist at the time, and I believed all the propaganda about the supposed genocide which later turned out not to have gone through the formality of actually taking place. But it was never properly reported as the scandal it was -- it was claimed that the Serbs were murdering tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians, but it never happened. They might have killed a few hundred, at worst a few thousand civilians, but that's different from what the propaganda claimed at the time. I only found out that there was no genocide of Albanians in Kosovo when I searched the internet for it some time after the Iraq invasion. By that time I was no longer an Atlanticist. Most people are totally unaware that there was any lying going on while selling us the war.

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 7:12 pm GMT
@German_reader

and that was clearly discernible at the time

Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes and made me question some previous policies, especially the bombardment of Serbia. I wasn't any longer comfortable of being in NATO, especially since it started to get obvious that Hungarian elites (at least the leftists among them) used our membership to dismantle our military and use the savings on handouts for their electorate, or -- worse -- outright steal it. While it increasingly looked like NATO wasn't really protecting our interests, since our enemies were mostly our neighbors (some of them). This kind of false safety didn't feel alright.

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 7:34 pm GMT
@reiner Tor "Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes"

Same for me. I was 15 during the Kosovo war and believed NATO's narrative, couldn't understand how anybody could be against the war, given previous Serb atrocities during the Bosnian war it seemed to make sense. And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don't think I'm just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 7:45 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" -- foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.

The last two sentences contradict the first.

Russians tend to be rather ignorant of Ukrainians, and you are no different.

DFH , December 18, 2017 at 7:45 pm GMT
@Mitleser Western Europe, with the best will in the world, doesn't need more Slav/Muslim immigrants. Europeans would have never agreed to it.
reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 7:48 pm GMT
@German_reader

Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified

Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building "democracy" is just stupid, though. They should've quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It's not our business.

Darin , December 18, 2017 at 7:53 pm GMT
@inertial

That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.

This is for them to decide, not for you.

It's more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world.

Yeah, the culture homogenizes around the world, into global Hollywood corporate culture. In the long there, "traditional Russian culture" is as doomed as "traditional Ukrainian culture" and "traditional American culture" if there is anything left of it.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 7:56 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn't show that)

Nonsense, Mr. Clueless-About-Ukraine:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_status_referendum,_2014#Polling

Polling by the Razumkov Centre in 2008 found that 63.8% of Crimeans (76% of Russians, 55% of Ukrainians, and 14% of Crimean Tatars, respectively) would like Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia and 53.8% would like to preserve its current status, but with expanded powers and rights . A poll by the International Republican Institute in May 2013 found that 53% wanted "Autonomy in Ukraine (as today)", 12% were for "Crimean Tatar autonomy within Ukraine", 2% for "Common oblast of Ukraine" and 23% voted for "Crimea should be separated and given to Russia".

The takeaway is that Crimeans were satisfied being part of Ukraine as long as Ukraine had an ethnic Russian, generally pro-Russian president like Yanukovich in charge (2013 poll), but preferred being part of Russia to being part of a Ukrainian state run by Ukrainians (2008 poll, post-Maidan).

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 7:56 pm GMT
@reiner Tor Totally agree, there should just have been a quick punitive expedition, trying to "fix" Afghanistan is pointless.
AP , December 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm GMT
@inertial

That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.

Believer of Russian nationalist fairytales tells Russian nationalist fairytales. You managed to fit 3 of them into 2 sentences, good job.

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm GMT
@DFH Oh, Western Europe does not mind Slav/Muslim immigrants.
In fact, they love them.
They would not have agreed for other reasons without admitting them in public.
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 8:07 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together,

The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country's military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis:

James Mattis' 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

That's something that ought to seriously concern anyone with a rational view of world affairs.

which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country.

In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat and agreed to pull out before Obama took office. Bush II signed the withdrawal agreement on 14th December 2008. After that, US forces in Iraq were arguably no longer occupiers and were de jure as well as de facto present on the sufferance of the Iraqi government. The US regime had clearly hoped to have an Iraqi collaboration government for the long term, as a base from which to attack Iran, but the long Iraqi sunni and shia resistances scuppered that idea. The sunnis had fought hard, but were mostly defeated and many of them ended up collaborating with the US occupiers, as indeed had much of the shia, for entirely understandable reasons in both cases.

Military occupations are morally complicated like that.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:07 pm GMT
@AP I was referring specifically to Russian attitudes about Ukrainians. I know that among Ukrainians themselves, there is quite the confusion on this subject.
Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet -- is this why American soldiers died?

Your memory is bad. The three Kurdish provinces never suffered much. Political violence in the Shia provinces was finally suppressed over a series of months in late 2007 and early 2008. It was also contained to a degree in the six provinces with Sunnis. And that is how matters remained for six years. ISIS was active in those provinces which have had public order problems consistently since 2003.

Iran has influence in Iraq. It is an 'Iranian' puppet only when unzdwellers require rhetorical flourishes.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 8:11 pm GMT
@Randal In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat

Were we defeated, Iraq would be ruled by the Ba'ath Party or networks of Sunni tribesman. It is not. This isn't that difficult Randal.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 8:15 pm GMT
@Mitleser Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

But I have been told by Russians who ought to have some knowledge of these things that Putin and the wider regime were not so naïve even back in the late 1990s, so the case can be made both ways.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' -- an actual Russian nation-state.

In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime. Obviously there will have to be a militarized occupation regime and prison camps and a network of informants. A proud home.

Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

Baltics were Russian longer than Ukraine. Central Poland became Russian at the same time as did half of Ukraine. According to the 1897 census, there were about as many Great Russian speakers in Kiev governate as in Warsaw. Take the Baltics and Warsaw back too?

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 8:17 pm GMT
@German_reader That's just dumb.

No, it's just an argument you're not used to having to answer.

The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- Saddam's regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world -- were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time.

It was nothing of the kind. That was on the list of concerns Bush had. Bush's trilemmas don't go away just because Eurotrash strike poses and have impoverished imaginations.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm GMT
@reiner Tor I was a staunch Atlanticist at the time, and I believed all the propaganda about the supposed genocide

The concern at the time was that Serbia was beginning an ethnic cleansing operation contra the Albania population, but carry on.

inertial , December 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm GMT
@Darin This is for them to decide, not for you.

Yes, of course. Just don't assume they will decide the way you think.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:21 pm GMT
@AP These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless : most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

I'm sure, support for reunification will go up in Belarus, if the Kremlin shows some leadership on this issue. We will find enough people willing to work with us, the rest will just have to accept the new reality and go about their daily lifes as usual.

The situation in Ukraine is different, it differs wildly by region and will require us to modify our approach.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 8:24 pm GMT
@German_reader US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences.

It did nothing of the kind. It ejected two governments for reasons of state. One we'd been a state of belligerency with for 12 years, the other was responsible for a gruesome casus belli. Now, having done that, we needed to put in place a new government. There was no better alternative means of so doing than electoral contests.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm GMT
@inertial Yes, of course. Just don't assume they will decide the way you think.

They've had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn't happened, and there's no reason to fancy they'll be more amenable a decade from now.

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia's present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm GMT
@Art Deco

Were we defeated, Iraq would be ruled by the Ba'ath Party or networks of Sunni tribesman. It is not. This isn't that difficult Randal.

Well this is an old chestnut that is really just an attempt to abuse definitions of victory and defeat on your part.

The US invasion of Iraq itself was initially a military success. It ended in complete military victory over the Iraqi regime and nation, the complete surrender of the Iraqi military and the occupation of the country.

However, the US regime's wider war aims were not achieved because they were unable to impose a collaboration government and use the country as a base for further projection of US power in the ME (primarily against Iran, on behalf of Israel), and the overall result of the war and the subsequent occupation was catastrophic for any honest assessment of American national interests (as opposed to the interests of the lobbies manipulating US regime policy). The costs were significant, the reputational damage was also significant, and the overall result was to replace a contained and essentially broken opponent with vigorous sunni jihadist forces together with a resurgent Iran unwilling to kowtow to the US as most ME states are.

So the best honest assessment is that the US was defeated in Iraq, despite an initial military victory.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT
@Randal

The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country's military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis

I suspect the reason this happens is because ambitious American officers know that hating Iran (hating enemies of Israel in general) is what gets you promoted. It wasn't an accident that James Mattis was appointed Secretary of Defense -- he is Bill Kristol's favourite.

melanf , December 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

Definitely no
American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:38 pm GMT
@Art Deco US military is still butthurt over the Iran's support for Shia militias, targeting US troops during Iraq occupation. Clearly, the Shias hurt them a lot, and it was very unexpected for the US, because Americans actually brought Shias into power.
Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 8:42 pm GMT
@Randal

Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

I am just taking into account that the early 00s were right after the 1990s when pro-Americanism was at its peak in Russia. Yugoslavia and Iraq were too distant too alienate the majority permanently.

I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option?
Not because NATO are "good guys", but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia's voice in the unipolar world.

melanf , December 18, 2017 at 8:43 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Integration into West is what Russians wanted.
An example
08/2009:

Since then, everything has changed

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm GMT
@Art Deco Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
Calling me "Eurotrash" oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 8:48 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building "democracy" is just stupid, though. They should've quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It's not our business.

In fact destroying the Taliban government was both illegal and foolish (but the latter was by far the more important). It seems clear now the Taliban were quite willing to hand bin Laden over for trial in a third party country, and pretty clearly either had had no clue what he had been planning or were crapping themselves at what he had achieved. Bush declined that offer because he had an urgent political need to be seen to be kicking some foreign ass in order to appease American shame.

The illegality is not a particularly big deal in the case of Afghanistan because it's clear that in the post-9/11 context the US could easily have gotten UNSC authorisation for the attack and made it legal. Bush II deliberately declined to do so precisely in order to make the point that the US (in Americans' view) is above petty details of international law and its own treaty commitments. A rogue state, in other words.

But an attack on Afghanistan was unnecessary and foolish (for genuine American national interests, that is, not for the self-interested lobbies driving policy obviously), as the astronomical ongoing costs have demonstrated. A trial of bin Laden would have been highly informative (and some would argue that was why the US regime was not interested in such a thing), and would if nothing else have brought him out into the open. Yes, he would have had the opportunity to grandstand, but if the US were really such an innocent victim of unprovoked aggression why would the US have anything to fear from that? The whole world, pretty much, was on the US's side after 9/11.

The US could have treated terrorism as what it is, after 9/11 -- a criminal matter. It chose instead to make it a military matter, because that suited the various lobbies seeking to benefit from a more militarised and aggressive US foreign policy. The result of a US attack on the government of (most of) Afghanistan would always have been either a chaotic jihadi-riddled anarchy in Afghanistan worse than the Taliban-controlled regime that existed in 2001, or a US-backed regime trying to hold the lid down on the jihadists, that the US would have to prop up forever. And so indeed it came to pass.

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 8:51 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West.

There is no reason to assume that West will offer the Russian elite enough carrot to deregulate the Russian media order and the stick is just more reason not to do it and to retain control.

What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

And you think that people in Russian elite are not aware of it?

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT
@AP

In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime.

This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 -- does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority -- they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass. A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, "human rights activist" -- these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare, they will just flee (like they already fled from Donbass).

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 8:59 pm GMT
@Randal

In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them.

I agree with most of this, but you leave out precisely why public opinion shifts. My, rather cynical, view is that media is by far the main driver in shifting public views, and so whoever gives the media marching orders is the Pied Piper here.

An example close to home was the consternation among some of my conservative friends over the events Charlottesville. They knew nothing about the American alt-right, and still less about the context of what happened that day, yet they still spoke of what a disgrace it was for Trump not to distance himself from these deplorables. This was, of course, fully the making of Swedish media. The 1996 Presidential Election campaign suggests that the Russian public is no less suggestible, and so does Russian (and Ukrainian) opinions on the crisis in the Donbass.

Andrei Martyanov , Website December 18, 2017 at 8:59 pm GMT
@German_reader

US nationalists like you

He is not US "nationalist". Agree with the rest of your post.

Andrei Martyanov , Website December 18, 2017 at 9:01 pm GMT

while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere

LOL!!

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Swedish Family ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

It tells me the reporters are confused or you are. There is no 'agreement' that will prevent 'Russia' from 'meddling' in American political life or the converse. The utility of agreements is that they make understandings between nations more precise and incorporate triggers which provide signals to one party or the other as to when the deal is off.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:04 pm GMT
@Swedish Family Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media?

Why do people give up 'control' of anything? Because they cannot be bothered anymore.

utu , December 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm GMT
@inertial Soviets and Soviet Union were always in awe of America. You could see it in "between-the-lines" of the texts of the so-called anti-imperialist, anti-American Soviet propaganda. It was about catching up with American in steel production and TV sets ownership and so on. American was the ultimate goal and people did not think of American as an enemy.

Then there is the fact that Bolsheviks and Soviet Union owed a lot to America though this knowledge was not commonly known. Perhaps one should take look at these hidden connections to see what was the real mechanism bending the plug being pulled off the USSR. There might be even an analogy to South Africa but that is another story.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:09 pm GMT
@German_reader Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction

No, that's what you noticed in an amongst everything else being discussed by officials and in the papers at the time.

which didn't exist in 2003.

It's a reasonable inference the stockpiles were largely destroyed. To what extent they were able to ship stockpiles to co-operating third parties is not altogether certain. You know the stockpiles were largely destroyed because . we were occupying the country .

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:11 pm GMT
@German_reader , amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext a

It amounts to no such thing. That you have three reasons for doing something does not render one of them a 'real' reason and the others artificial.

Sean , December 18, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT
Two powerful countries beside one another are natural enemies, they can never be friends until one has been relegated by defeat. Britain and France were enemies until France became too weak to present a threat, then Britain's enemy was Germany (it still is, Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent). Russia cannot be a friend of China against the US until Russia has been relegated in the way France has been. France has irrecoverably given up control of its currency, they are relegated to Germany's sidekick.

China is like Bitcoin. The smart money (Google) is going there. Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China's economic growth to slow down but it isn't going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China's economic growth, that will be Russia's opportunity.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT
@German_reader given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).

Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 9:16 pm GMT
@Art Deco What stockpiles are you talking about?
Johann Ricke , December 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm GMT
@German_reader

Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction which didn't exist in 2003.

It was one of many reasons. You don't set a guy on Death Row free just because one of the charges didn't stick. The biggest reason was Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, which should have resulted in his removal from power. We settled on a truce because George HW Bush did not want to pay the price, and the (mostly-Sunni) Arab coalition members did not want (1) a democracy in Iraq and (2) a Shiite-dominated Iraq. Bush's son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business. The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm GMT
@melanf

American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.

Being Russian, you would be in a better position than I am to comment on this, but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose? This article might hold the answer:

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/

reiner Tor , December 18, 2017 at 9:20 pm GMT
@Art Deco Well, they can now send troops to Syria on land.
Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:25 pm GMT
@German_reader Calling me "Eurotrash"

I didn't have you in particular in mind.

oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

No, I'm a fat middle aged man who thinks most of what people say on political topics is some species of self-congratulation. And a great deal of it is perverse. The two phenomena are symbiotic. And, of course, I'm unimpressed with kvetching foreigners. Kvetching Europeans might ask where is the evidence that they with their own skills and resources can improve some situation using methods which differ from those we have applied and kvetching Latin Americans can quit sticking the bill for their unhappy histories with Uncle Sam, and kvetching Arabs can at least take responsibility for something rather than projecting it on some wire-pulling other (Jews, Americans, conspiracy x).

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 9:26 pm GMT
@Art Deco

Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

Is that "victory" for you?

An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That's something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

Is that "victory" for you?

And they don't have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

Is that "victory" for you?

Mitleser , December 18, 2017 at 9:28 pm GMT
@reiner Tor And they can recruit more easily in post-Saddam Iraq.
AP , December 18, 2017 at 9:28 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

So according to you when hundreds or thousands of people are asked a question they are not prepared for, their collective answer is meaningless and does not indicate their preference?

So it's a total coincidence that when Ukraine was ruled by Ukrainians most Crimeans preferred to join Russia, when Ukraine was ruled by a Russian, Crimeans were satisfied within Ukraine but when Ukrainian nationalists came to power Crimeans again preferred being part of Russia?

Are all political polls also meaningless according to you, or just ones that contradict your idealistic views?

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:29 pm GMT
@Sean Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent).

No, it's an effort by the British public to reclaim for elected officials discretion which had been transferred to unaccountable microbes in Brussels.

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 9:31 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 -- does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the "draft" mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder. (I'm not sure "draft" is the word I'm looking for. My understanding is that they are temporarily exempt from military service if they study at university or have good jobs.)

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT
@Randal Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

You can get away with more by using the prefix 'there has even been speculation'/

An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That's something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

They've been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.

And they don't have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

Their western neighbor never invaded them 'with U.S. backing'. During the latter half of the Iraq war, Iraq restored diplomatic relations with the United States and received some agricultural credits and other odds and ends.

Iran will be under threat from their western neighbor should they have something that neighbor wishes to forcibly seize.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 9:38 pm GMT
@Johann Ricke

Bush's son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business.

No, Bush II chose to invade Iraq entirely voluntarily. There was no good reason to do so, and the very good reasons why his father had sensibly chosen not to invade still largely applied (even more so in some cases, given Iraq's even weaker state).

The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.

This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.

More fool the Yanks. Most everyone else honest on the topic was giving you sensible advice. Bush II (whose incompetence is now generally accepted) chose to ignore that advice, and committed what is generally now regarded as the most egregious example of a foreign policy blunder since Vietnam at least, and probably since Suez, and will likely be taught as such around the world (including in the US, once the partisan apologists have given up trying to rationalise it) for generations to come.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 9:39 pm GMT
@Sean Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China's economic growth to slow down but it isn't going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China's economic growth, that will be Russia's opportunity.

https://www.amazon.com/MITI-Japanese-Miracle-Industrial-1925-1975/dp/0804712069

Whatever.

melanf , December 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose?

It is known -- the minions of Putin translated into Russian language American (and European) propaganda, and putting it on the website http://inosmi.ru/ .
The Americans also try: there is a special "Radio Liberty" that 24-hour broadcasts (in Russian) hate speech against the Russian.
But it only speeds up the process (which will happen anyway) .

Swedish Family , December 18, 2017 at 9:50 pm GMT
@Art Deco

They've been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.

Only by air.

For the last four years, Iran was shipping weapons and ammunition to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah through an air route. This method allowed Israel to identify, track and target Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah easily, as only few cargo airplanes land in Syrian airports every day.

However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route, as it will be used by thousands of Iraq and Syrian companies on daily basis in the upcoming months. Experts believe that this will give Hezbollah and the SAA a huge advantage over Israel and will allow Iran to increase its supplies to its allies.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/12/httpssouthfrontorgfirst-iranian-military-convoy-enters-syria-through-land-route-from-iraq-reports.html

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm GMT
@Art Deco US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian "empire" supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideast since you seem to put great trust in their credibility, shouldn't that concern you? Personally I think those fears are exaggerated, but how can it be denied that Iran's influence has increased a lot in recent years and that the removal of Saddam's regime facilitated that development? Iranian revolutionary guards and Iranian-backed Shia militias operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government maintains close ties to Iran, and Iran is also an active participant in the Syrian civil war would that have been conceivable like this before 2003?
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option?
Not because NATO are "good guys", but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia's voice in the unipolar world.

Well you have to wonder if he was just trolling the Americans, or if he was really naïve enough to expect a serious response.

Sean , December 18, 2017 at 9:57 pm GMT
@Art Deco Lord Weinstock said Britain could be de-industrialised in the EU, and how right he was.
AP , December 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 -- does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

It was about 50,000 in 2014, about 200,000-250,000 now.

Polish military has 105,000 personnel. Poland also not united or willing to defend itself?

On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority -- they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass

Avakov, Poroshenko's interior minister and sponsor of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, in 2010 got 48% of the vote in Kharkiv's mayoral race in 2010 when he ran as the "Orange" candidate. In 2012 election about 30% of Kharkiv oblast voters chose nationalist candidates, vs. about 10% in Donetsk oblast. Vkontakte, a good source for judging youth attitudes, was split 50/50 between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan in Kharkiv (IIRC it was 80/20 anti-Maidan winning in Donetsk). Kharkiv is just like Donbas, right?

A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, "human rights activist"

Football hooligans in these places are also Ukrainian nationalists. Azov battalion and Right Sector are both based in Eastern Ukraine.

Here is how Azov started:

The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82″ (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82″ was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82″ occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82″ there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

Here is Azov battalion commander-turned-Kiev oblast police chief, Kharkiv native Vadim Troyan:

Does he look like an intellectual to you? Before Maidan he was a cop.

these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare,

On the contrary, they will probably dig in while seeking cover in urban areas that they know well, where they have some significant support (as Donbas rebels did in Donetsk), forcing the Russian invaders to fight house to house and causing massive damage while fighting native boys such as Azov. About 1/3 of Kharkiv overall and 1/2 of its youth are nationalists. I wouldn't expect mass resistance by the Kharkiv population itself, but passive support for the rebels by many. Russia will then end up rebuilding a large city full of a resentful population that will remember its dead (same problem Kiev will face if it gets Donbas back). This scenario can be repeated for Odessa. Dnipropetrovsk, the home base of Right Sector, is actually much more nationalistic than either Odessa or Kharkiv. And Kiev is a different world again. Bitter urban warfare in a city of 3 million (officially, most likely about 4 million) followed by massive reconstruction and maintenance of a repression regime while under international sanctions.

Russia's government has adequate intelligence services who know better what Ukraine is actually like, than you do. There is a reason why they limited their support to Crimea and Donbas.

Your wishful thinking about Ukraine would be charming and harmless if not for the fact that such wishful thinking often leads to tragic actions that harm both the invader and the invaded. Remember the Iraqis were supposed to welcome the American liberators with flowers after their cakewalk.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 10:14 pm GMT
@Swedish Family Only by air.

How often has Israel shot down Iranian aircraft?

However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route,

Not buying.

neutral , December 18, 2017 at 10:16 pm GMT
@AP

Does he look like an intellectual to you?

The question reminds me of this:

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 10:20 pm GMT
@Sean The share of value-added in industry as a share of global product has been declining for over 50 years. In the EU, industry accounts for 24.5% of value added. In Britain, the figure is 20.2%. Not seeing why that animates you.
AP , December 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm GMT
@Swedish Family

In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the "draft" mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder.

Correct. The thinking often was -- "the corrupt officers will screw up and get us killed, or sell out our positions to the Russians for money, if the Russians came to our city I'd fight them but I don't wanna go to Donbas.." This is very different from avoiding the draft because one wouldn't mind if Russia annexed Ukraine. Indeed, Dnipropetrovsk in the East has contributed a lot to Ukraine's war effort, primarily because it borders Donbas -- ones hears from people there that if they don't fight in Donbas and keep the rebels contained there, they'd have to fight at home.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 10:28 pm GMT
US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian "empire" supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideast

No, they aren't. The political class has been anxious about Iran because it's sinking a lot of resources into building weapons of mass destruction, because key actors therein adhere to apocalyptic conceptions, and because it's a weirdly (and gratuitously) hostile country.

since you seem to put great trust in their credibility, shouldn't that concern you? Personally I think those fears are exaggerated, but how can it be denied that Iran's influence has increased a lot in recent years and that the removal of Saddam's regime facilitated that development? Iranian revolutionary guards and Iranian-backed Shia militias operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government maintains close ties to Iran, and Iran is also an active participant in the Syrian civil war would that have been conceivable like this before 2003?

You keep alluding to things that cannot be quantified or even readily verified. Iran's taken advantage of disordered situations in the past (in Lebanon), so it's not surprising they do so in Syria. The disordered situation there is a function of the breakdown of government in Syria, not of the Iraq war. Whether any influence Iran has in Iraq turns out to be abiding remains to be seen. The anxiety about Iraq has concerned it's inclination to subvert friendly governments and drop atomic weaponry on Israel. Not sure how their subrosa dealings with the Iraqi government further the latter (or even the former).

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 10:39 pm GMT
@AP LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types. And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them -- no more than 10.000 in the entire country. I assume Russian security services know all of them by name.

To deal with Ukronazi problem, I would first take out their leaders, then target their HQs, arms depots and training camps. I would kill or intimidate their sponsors. Ukronazis would be left decapitated, without resources, undermanned and demoralised, trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them. It will be a short lived insurgency.

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT
@Art Deco

No, they aren't.

The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media and in certain think tanks/pressure groups, even five minutes of googling produced this:

https://nypost.com/2015/02/01/the-iranian-dream-of-a-reborn-persian-empire/

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/01/15/fmr-nato-supreme-allied-commander-stavridis-iran-will-be-imperial-power-due-to-iran-deals-golden-shower-of-money/

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/iran/iran-and-the-imperialism-hypocrisy/

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/30/what-to-do-about-an-imperial-iran-middle-east-persia-regional-dominance/

http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/may-clifford-d-the-new-persian-empire/ (btw, the Foundation for defense of democracies agrees with me that the removal of Saddam's regime was to Iran's benefit).

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/henry-kissinger-isis-iranian-radical-empire-middle-east-a7881541.html

Obviously I don't want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, though imo US policy in this regard has been rather counter-productive recently.
Regarding the Iraq war, it's probably pointless to continue the discussion, if you want to continue regarding it as a great idea, I won't argue with you.

Talha , December 18, 2017 at 10:56 pm GMT
I remember my dad telling me that the Carter administration was the highlight of America-love in Pakistan. Slowly went downhill from there and crashed at Dubya.

Peace.

AP , December 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types.

And Russians and Poles were also soft when someone invaded their country? Ukrainians are not modern western Euros.

And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

Most pensioners. It will be about 50/50 among young fighting-age people.

The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them -- no more than 10.000 in the entire country

Maybe. Ukrainian government claims 46,000 in volunteer self-defense battalions (including Azov) but this is probably an exaggeration.

OTOH there are a couple 100,000 demobilized young people with combat experience who would be willing to fight if their homeland were attacked, who are not neo-Nazis in Azov. Plus a military of 200,000-250,000 people, many of whom would imitate the Donbas rebels and probably redeploy in places like Kharkiv where they have cover. Good look fighting it out block by block.

trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them

In 2010, 48% of Kharkiv voters chose a nationalist for their mayor. In 2012 about 30% voted for nationalist parties. Judging by pro vs, anti-Maidan, the youth are evenly split although in 2014 the Ukrainian nationalist youths ended up controlling the streets, not the Russian nationalist ones as in Donbas. This is in the most pro-Russian part of Ukraine.

Suuure, the population of Kharkiv will despise their kids, grandkids, nephews, classmates etc,. but will welcome the invaders from Russia who will be bombing their city. Such idealism and optimism in Russia!

It will be a short lived insurgency.

And Iraq was supposed to be a cakewalk.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 11:04 pm GMT
@German_reader The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media

"Imperial" or "Imperialist" is a term of art among IR specialists referring to active revisionist powers in a given state system.

The people you are linking to are a mixed bunch. One's a lapsed reporter. Two are opinion journalists with background (one in the military and one in the intelligence services, or so he says), one has been out of office for 40 years (and, IMO, is engaging in the academic's exercise of attention-seeking through counter-factual utterance; there's little downside to that), and one actually is someone who has been a policy-maker in the last generation (and he's offering a critique of the Iran deal, which was not a Bush administration initiative).

Johann Ricke , December 18, 2017 at 11:06 pm GMT
@Randal

This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.

Who gives a damn what they think? These are the same countries that plunged the world into two World Wars that killed 100m people between them. Their blinkered and self-serving stupidity is a model for what not to do.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 11:06 pm GMT
@Talha I remember my dad telling me that the Carter administration was the highlight of America-love in Pakistan. Slowly went downhill from there and crashed at Dubya.

I remember Gen. Zia on the front page of The New York Times ridiculing Mr. Carter in plain terms (the $400 million aid offer was 'peanuts').

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 11:10 pm GMT
@Randal The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq,

The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq. As for the rest, they all have their shticks and interests (and no, I don't stipulate that you've characterized their opinion correctly either).

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 11:13 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Sounds like fun.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT
@German_reader

And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don't think I'm just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.

The common factor amongst you, reiner and myself here is that none of us come from a dogmatically anti-American background or personal world-view, nor from a dogmatically pacifist one.

As I've probably noted here previously, I grew up very pro-American and very pro-NATO in the late Cold War, and as a strong supporter of Thatcher and Reagan. I saw the fall of the Soviet Union as a glorious triumph and a vindication of all the endless arguments against anti-American lefties and CND numpties. I also strongly supported the Falklands War (the last genuinely justified and intelligent war fought by my country, imo) and also the war against Iraq in 1990/1, though I'm a little less certain on that one nowadays. I'm significantly older than you both, it seems, however, and it was watching US foreign policy in the 1990s, culminating in the Kosovo war, that convinced me that the US is now the problem and not the solution.

When the facts changed, I changed my opinion.

So I was a war or two ahead of you, chronologically, because I'm older, but we've travelled pretty much the same road. Our views on America have been created by US foreign policy choices.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 11:15 pm GMT
@AP Again, supporting Maidan doesn't mean you're ready to take up Kalashnikov and go fight. Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It's a fact.

This is what typical Maidanist Ukrainian youths look like; these people certainly don't look like they have a lot of fight in them:

They remind me of Navalny supporters in Russia. These kind of people can throw a tantrum, but they are fundamentally weak people, who are easily crushed.

RadicalCenter , December 18, 2017 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Donnyess I haven't heard either Russia, or the Right in the USA, alleging that African-"Americans" are taking white Americans' jobs.

Generally, I don't know anyone in the USA whose complaint about African-"Americans" is that they are working.

RadicalCenter , December 18, 2017 at 11:17 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Similarly, it doesn't seem likely that the US government will give up its control and influence over the "independent media" that many Americans still think we have.
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 11:18 pm GMT
@Johann Ricke

Who gives a damn what they think?

Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.

US foreign policy is pretty much a byword for incompetence even amongst its own allies, at least when they are talking off the record.

RadicalCenter , December 18, 2017 at 11:22 pm GMT
@Art Deco Folks in Belarus shouldn't make up their minds about applying to the EU until they speak with regular German, French, English, and Swedish people about the effects of the Islamic / Third World immivasion that the EU has imposed on them. My wife and I speak & correspond with Germans living in Germany frequently, and the real state of affairs for non-elite Germans is getting worse fast, with no good end in sight.

Anyone who does not desire to die or at best live subjugated under sharia -- and sharia run largely by cruel dimwits from Africa and Arabia -- ought to stay out (or GET out of) the EU.

Felix Keverich , December 18, 2017 at 11:24 pm GMT
@RadicalCenter It shocks me, the amount of supposedly 'smart', 'educated' people in the US, who seriously think "free press" is a thing.
Randal , December 18, 2017 at 11:25 pm GMT
@Art Deco

The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq.

That was the staring-eyed sycophant's work.

The man who opened the floodgates to immigration because he thought multiculturalism is a great idea.

As for the rest, they all have their shticks and interests

Of course. Unlike the exceptional United States of course, the only country in the world whose government never has any axe to grind in the nobility of purpose and intent it displays in all the wars it has ever fought.

You seem to be degenerating into a caricature of the ignorant, arrogant American.

Johann Ricke , December 18, 2017 at 11:31 pm GMT
@Randal

Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.

"History" has proven no such thing. What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush's underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury*, for which he and the GOP paid a serious political price. However, it's also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone. While both communities seem to think that we should continue to bear a bigger chunk of the price of pacifying Iraq's bellicose Sunni Arabs, it's also obvious that they are not electing Tikritis or even Sunni Arabs to office, as they would if they were nostalgic for Saddam's rule. The big picture, really, is that the scale of the fighting has probably convinced both Shiites and Kurds that they could not have toppled Saddam without the assistance of Uncle Sam. They could certainly not have kept Iraq's revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.

* These costs were larger than projected, but small compared to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Whether or not Iraq can be secured as an American ally in the decades ahead, both the gamble and the relatively nugatory price paid will, in retrospect, be seen as a reasonable one, given Iraq's strategic location.

Talha , December 18, 2017 at 11:40 pm GMT
@Art Deco Sure, but the ordinary folks liked him -- he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.

I was just a wee lad at the time, so I'm only conveying what my dad told me.

Peace.

RadicalCenter , December 18, 2017 at 11:51 pm GMT
@Art Deco Well, there is some reason to think that membership in the EU will become a steadily less attractive prospect.

The substantial demographic changes sweeping northern and western Europe now will become far larger as (1) new "migration" occurs from Africa and the Middle East and Pakistan into Europe; (2) "family reunification" chain migration goes on endlessly from the same places into Europe; and (3) Muslims continue to dramatically outbreed non-Muslims in Europe.

(Even if Muslims in Europe drop their total fertility rate to replacement, around 2.1 I think, the non-Muslim Europeans have TFRs like 1.4 and 1.5 and 1.6, the very definition of dying peoples.)

And that doesn't even account for the flight of non-Muslims out of Europe as it becomes ever more violent, frightening, chaotic, and impoverished. That flight could become a massive phenomenon. (We have acquaintances in Germany and Austria already mulling over the idea, with great sadness and anger in their hearts.)

On current trends, what reason is there to think that "Germany" and "France" and "England" and "Sweden" won't in fact be heavily Islamic / African (and in the case of Germany, Turkish) hellholes in the lifetime of many of us here?

Granted, Russia has too many Muslims itself, and I don't know enough to predict whether they will be willing and able to remove the excessive number of Central Asian Muslims (guestworkers or otherwise) from their territory. But Russia is not giving itself away to Muslims at a breakneck pace like the terminally naïve Germans, French, English, and Swedes are doing with their own countries.

The point is, Belarus and Ukraine won't be faced with a choice between Russia and the "Europe" that we still envision from the recent past.

Belarus and Ukraine will likely face a choice between a tenuous independence that they lack the force to maintain, union or close formal affiliation with Russia, or a "Europe" where white Europeans are outnumbered, terrified, massively taxed to pay for their younger and more confident Islamic / African overlords, and ultimately subjugated and killed / inter-bred into nonexistence.

The Europe that you are positing as an alternative to Russia, already doesn't quite exist anymore. Soon it won't exist at all in any recognizable or desirable form. Russia merely needs to be a better alternative than THAT.

Art Deco , December 18, 2017 at 11:54 pm GMT
@RadicalCenter Fine. The EU is poorly constructed and a threat to self-government.

Mr. Felix fancies White Russia is Russia's property. There's a constituency in White Russia for re-incorporation into Russia, but it amounts to about 1/4 of the population and is half the proportion it was 20 years ago. Kinda think it really shouldn't be Mr. Felix's call, but he doesn't see it that way.

RadicalCenter , December 18, 2017 at 11:59 pm GMT
@German_reader Agree with much of what you say. With a big exception": most Europeans ARE pussies who try to appease the Islamic and African aggressors and freeloaders they are importing into their lands at a furious pace. Besonders die Deutschen.

At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country. Albeit probably without success.

Summary: we're probably screwed, you're almost certainly screwed worse and faster.

Keep patting yourself on the back. But grow that beard now and bend over -- and beat the rush.

Art Deco , December 19, 2017 at 12:03 am GMT
@RadicalCenter Belarus and Ukraine will likely face a choice between a tenuous independence that they lack the force to maintain,

Just to point out that occasions where a state has had its sovereignty extinguished since 1945 are as follows: East Germany (1990, voluntary), South Yemen (1990, voluntary, but triggering an insurrection), Kuwait (1990, temporary), South VietNam (1975/76, conquered). Not real common. N.B. the Axis rampage in Europe and Asia during the War: the only thing that stuck was Soviet Russia's seizure of the Baltic states.

Mr. Hack , December 19, 2017 at 12:07 am GMT
@Felix Keverich Why don't you present us a photo of yourself, so that we can see what a true Russian warrior looks like?

I think I've found one of you?

German_reader , December 19, 2017 at 12:08 am GMT
@RadicalCenter

At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country.

30 years too late, though I'll readily admit that I was somewhat impressed how normal US citizens managed to kill off amnesty proposals during Bush's 2nd administration by lobbying their congressmen etc. Quite the contrast with what's going on in my own country where people just meekly submit to everything.
And I've never denied that many Europeans are quite decadent they should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.

Randal , December 19, 2017 at 12:08 am GMT
@Johann Ricke

What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush's underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury

No, what went wrong in Iraq from the pov of any kind of honest assessment of an American national interest was that an unnecessary war was fought justified by lies that have seriously discredited the nation that told them, and that the results of the war were hugely counter to said American national interests: the conversion of a contained and broken former enemy state into a jihadist free fire training and recruitment zone combined with a strong ally of a supposed enemy state, Iran.

Whether the direct material cost of the war is acceptable or not is rather beside the point. It's a matter between Bush II and the parents, relatives and friends of those Americans who lost their lives or their health, and between Bush II and American taxpayers. If it had been achieved cost-free it still wouldn't have been worth it, because it was a defeat.

But it's no accident that the costs of the war were "underestimated". As usual, if the Bush II regime had been honest about the likely costs of their proposed war, there would have been a political outcry against it and they'd have been forced to back down as Obama was over Syria.

However, it's also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone

Amusing to see you are currently pretending that what Iraqi Kurds and Shiites feel matters. It's always entertaining to see just how shameless Americans can be at their game of alternately pretending to care for foreigners' views (when they need to justify a war) and regarding foreigners with utter contempt and disregard (when said foreigners are saying something Americans don't like to hear).

They could certainly not have kept Iraq's revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.

Well that partly depends upon how much support the US regime allowed its Gulf sunni Arab proxies to funnel to said jihadists, I suppose. But most likely they'd have crushed them in due course with Iranian backing.

In Iraq, IS were fine as long as they stayed out of the strongly Shiite areas in the south. They'd have quickly been whipped if they'd ventured there. Just as IS were fine in Syria as long as they were taking relatively remote land over from a government and army in desperate straits as a result of a disastrous externally funded civil war, but were soon beaten when the Russians stepped in and started actually fighting them rather than pretending to do so only as long as it didn't interfere too much with their real goal of overthrowing the Syria government, American-style.

utu , December 19, 2017 at 12:16 am GMT
@German_reader I see that Art Deco got more active than usual. Seems that the destruction of Iraq is close to his heart. Several days ago Ron Unz had this to say about him:

http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116171
Exactly! It's pretty obvious that this "Art Deco" fellow is just a Jewish-activist type, and given his very extensive posting history, perhaps even an organized "troll." But he's certainly one of the most sophisticated ones, with the vast majority of his comments being level-headed, moderate, and very well-informed, generally focusing on all sorts of other topics, perhaps with the deliberate intent of building up his personal credibility for the periodic Jewish matters that actually so agitate him.

To which I added:

http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116402
The quality and wide range of his comments are really impressive. As if it was coming form a super intelligent AI Hal that has access to all kinds of databases at his finger tips. And then there is always the same gradient of his angle: the reality is as it is; reality is as you have been told so far; do not try to keep coming with weird theories and speculations because they are all false; there is nothing interesting to see. His quality and scope are not congruent with his angle. All his knowledge and all his data and he hasn't found anything interesting that would not conform to what we all read in newspapers. Amazing. If America had its High Office of Doctrine and Faith he could have been its supreme director.

His overactivity here is somewhat out of character and after reading his comments here I doubt that Ron Unz would call him "one of the most sophisticated ones." I also would take back the "really impressive" part too. Perhaps some other individuum was assigned to Art Deco handle this Monday.

Randal , December 19, 2017 at 12:27 am GMT
Speaking of US foreign policy stupidity and arrogance, the response to the latest evidence that Trump will continue the inglorious Clinton/Bush II/Obama tradition of destructive corrupt/incompetent buffoonery:

US outnumbered 14 to 1 as it vetoes UN vote on status of Jerusalem

And here's the profoundly noxious Nikki Haley "lying for her country" (except, bizarrely, it isn't even really for her own country). Her appointment by Trump certainly was one of the first signs that he was going to seriously let America down:

The resolution was denounced in furious language by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who described it as "an insult" that would not be forgotten. "The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy," she said.

"It's scandalous to say we are putting back peace efforts," she added. "The fact that this veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of America's role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the security council."

The real nature of the UN resolution the execrable Haley was so faux-offended by:

The UK and France had indicated in advance that they would would back the text, which demanded that all countries comply with pre-existing UNSC resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the city's final status be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

But requiring Israel and its US poodles to act in good faith is surely anti-Semitic, after all. The real beneficiary (he thinks, at least) of Trump's and Haley's buffoonery was suitably condescending in his patting of his poodles' heads:

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted: "Thank you, Ambassador Haley. On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump."

German_reader , December 19, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT
@utu Art Deco isn't Jewish iirc, but an (Irish?) Catholic from the northeastern US. And I suppose his views aren't even that extreme, but pretty much standard among many US right-wingers (a serious problem imo), so it makes little sense to attack him personally.
utu , December 19, 2017 at 12:29 am GMT
@German_reader Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons

The fact that Iraq had no WMD was actually critical to making the claims that it had them. If Iraq had them it would officially relinquish them which would take away the ostensive cause for the invasion.

I am really amazed that now 14 years after the invasion there are some who still argue about the WMD. Iraq was to be destroyed because this was the plan. The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria. The WDM was just an excuse that nobody really argued for or against in good faith including Brits or Germans or Turks. Everybody knew the writing on the wall.

utu , December 19, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT
@German_reader it makes little sense to attack him personally

Yes, personal attacks are counterproductive but I can't resit, I just can't help it, so I must to say what I said already several times in the past: you are a cuck. You are a hopeless case.

German_reader , December 19, 2017 at 12:41 am GMT
@utu

The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria.

Has to be admitted though that Iraq became increasingly less secular during the 1990s, with Saddam's regime pushing Islamization as a new source of legitimacy. It's probably no accident that former Baath people and officers of Saddam's army were prominent among the leadership of IS.
Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.

German_reader , December 19, 2017 at 12:48 am GMT
@utu With all due respect to you and Ron Unz, but the idea that someone like "Art Deco" is an "organized troll" who creates an elaborate fake persona (which he then maintains over multiple years on several different websites -- I first encountered him years ago on the American conservative's site) to spread pro-Jewish views seems somewhat paranoid to me.
I have no reason to doubt he's genuine (as far as that's possible on the internet), his views aren't unusual.
RadicalCenter , December 19, 2017 at 3:16 am GMT
@German_reader Agree with everything you just wrote. And please understand, I love the Germans and I'm angry at them in the way that you'd be angry at a brother who refuses to stop destroying himself with drugs or whatever.
John Gruskos , December 19, 2017 at 3:25 am GMT
@German_reader The commenter using the name "Art Deco" is NOT an American nationalist.

He is neocon trash.

Cato , December 19, 2017 at 3:43 am GMT
@Felix Keverich Northern Kazakhstan is/was ethnically Russian, since the 1700s. This should have been folded into Russia; the North Caucasus should have been cut loose. My opinion.
AP , December 19, 2017 at 3:53 am GMT
@Felix Keverich Typical Russian mistakes regarding Ukraine: weak student-types in Russia are the main supporters of Ukraine in Russia, thus the same type must be the main pro-Maidan people in Ukraine. Because Ukraine = Russia. This silly dream of Ukraine being just like Russia leads to ridiculous ideas and hopes.

As I already said, the Azov battalion grew out of brawling football ultras in Kharkiv. Maidan itself was a cross-section -- of students, yes, but also plenty of Afghan war vets, workers, far right brawlers, professionals, etc. It's wasn't simply "weak" students, nor was it simply far-right fascists (another claim by Russia) but a mass effort of the western half of the country.

Here are Afghan war vets at Maidan:

Look at those weak Maidan people running away from the enemy:

Azov people in their native Kharkiv:

Kharkiv kids:

Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It's a fact.

Dodging the draft in order to avoid fighting in Donbas, where you are not wanted by the locals, is very different from dodging the draft to avoid fighting when your own town is being invaded.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 4:10 am GMT
@AP Summer camp was in Kiev, but there is another outside Kharkiv.

To be clear, most Ukrainians fighting against Russia are not these unsavory types, though they make for dramatic video. Point is that pro-Maidan types in Ukraine are far from being exclusively liberal student-types.

Anon , Disclaimer December 19, 2017 at 5:08 am GMT
@RadicalCenter Said a dude who invested in an Asian woman.
utu , December 19, 2017 at 6:59 am GMT
@German_reader Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.

What do you mean by that? Are you so out of touch? You really do not understand what was the reason behind Iraq 2003 war and then fucking it up when Gen. Garner was recalled and replaced with Paul Bremer who drove Iraq to the ground? Repeat after me: Iraq was destroyed because this was the only objective of 2003 Iraq war. The mission was accomplished 100%.

jimbojones , December 19, 2017 at 8:01 am GMT
A few points:
- The Russians ALWAYS were Americanophiles -- ever since the Revolution. Russia has been an American ally most often explicit but occasionally tacit -- in EVERY major American conflict, including the War on Terror and excluding Korea and Vietnam (both not major compared to the Civil War or WW2). The only comparable Great Power US ally is France. Russia and the US are natural allies.
- Russians are Americanophiles -- they like Hollywood movies, American music, American idealism, American video games, American fashion, American inventions, American support in WW2, American can-do-aittude, American badassery and Americana in general.
- There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.
- The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government. Yanukovich was certainly a corrupt scoundrel. But he was a democratically elected corrupt scoundrel. To claim Russian intervention in his election is a joke in light of the CIA-backed 2004 and 2014 coups. Moreover, post-democratic post-Yanukovich Ukraine is clearly inferior to its predecessor. For one thing, under Yanukovich, Sevastopol was still Ukrainian
LondonBob , December 19, 2017 at 8:18 am GMT
@Andrei Martyanov Art Deco is a Zionist, just checkout his reaction when you point out Israel assassinated JFK.
LondonBob , December 19, 2017 at 8:19 am GMT
@utu Israel wanted Iraq destroyed, it was.
Anatoly Karlin , Website December 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich I think this poll is the most relevant for assessing the question, since it covered different regions and used the same methodology.

Takeaway:

1. Support for uniting into a single state with Russia at 41% in Crimea at a time when it was becoming quite clear the Yanukovych regime was doomed.

2. Now translates into ~90% support (according to both Russian and international polls) in Crimea. I.e., a more than a standard deviation shift in "Russophile" sentiment on this matter.

3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto . Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

4. Central and West Ukraine would not be, which is why their reintegration would be far more difficult -- and probably best left for sometime in the future.

5. What we have instead seen is a one standard deviation shift in "Ukrainophile" sentiment within all those regions that remained in the Ukraine. If this change is "deep," then AP is quite correct that their assimilation into Russia has been made impossible by Putin's vacillations in 2014.

Anon , Disclaimer December 19, 2017 at 1:39 pm GMT
@LondonBob Check out any American's reaction when some random Londoner tells him Israel assassinated JFK.
for-the-record , December 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm GMT
@German_reader they [Germans] should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription .

With all due respect, and making allowance for your relative youth, that is simply rubbish. Defense against whom? Russia? Iran? As your posts make it eminently clear, the real enemy of Germany is within, not without.

AP , December 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm GMT
@jimbojones

The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government

Typical Russian nationalist half-truth about Ukraine.

To be clear -- Yanukovich was democratically elected in 2010, into a position where his powers were limited and where he was faced with a hostile parliament. His post-election accumulation of powers (overthrowing the Opposition parliament, granting himself additional powers, stacking the court with local judges from his hometo