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It is clear than ever that the problem of American intervention in Ukraine is the result of dominance of neocons in the USA foreign policy. The United States has slowly slid away from any plausible claim of standing for peace in the world. The ideal of peace was one that America long promoted, enshrining it in law and institutions, and the end of the Cold War offered an unparalleled opportunity to advance the cause. But US elite as represented by leaders of both parties chose another path -- the path of unhinged militarism. Wars has come to seem inevitable and eternal, in practice and even desirable. This cannibalization of the USA elite is an interesting phenomena, which suggest that the existence of the USSR was the major positive factor for the USA, as it prevented the USA elite from becoming crazy, unhinged warmongers and forced it to care more about the USA population, implicitly limiting military spedings.
When the USA assumed the global leadership after World War II, it felt compelled to establish the United Nations to halt the "scourge of war," as the U.N. Charter says right at the start. At America's urging, the organization outlawed the use of force, except where authorized by its Security Council or used in self-defense. Since 1990th the USA violated the US charter with impunity multiple times.
Many expected that the legal constraints on the USA warmongering -- including international obligations, domestic statutes and constitutional duties -- ought to have returned to the fore after the Cold War, when the rationale for America's vast mobilization in the second half of the 20th century seized to exist. And even this rational in a form of the existence of the USSR was by-and-large bogus -- while it adhered to a hostile Marxist ideology, which it tried without much success to expand to other countries, while its own economy crumbled, the USSR did not represent any security threat to the USA.
After the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy establishment adopted the "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine. And it is still in place today despite disastrous results. Bill Clinton and the next two presidents, subscribed to the liberal internationalist and neoconservative creeds that embraced armed force. They all treated international law cavalierly, essentially abandoning any pretence of the following international norms and treaties. The neocons in State Department blatantly violated existing treaties when it suit them pursuing aggressive and, in retrospect, stupid, damaging for the USA and extremely costly for US taxpayers foreign policy. The use of force became not a last resort; but the first resort (The infinity war - The Washington Post)
Once such arguments gained currency, their authors lost control of them. Conservative hawks found that a law-optional approach suited their agenda as well, and their liberal counterparts, if they disagreed at all, did so mostly as a matter of tactics, not principle. George W. Bush benefited from this permissive context when he launched the Iraq War, whose illegality was flagrant and catalytic, since it was unauthorized by the United Nations and relied on the administration's dangerous claim that "anticipatory self-defense" justifies invasion. The world took notice. Russia, in particular, seized on the new U.S. position as a spectacular excuse to make incursions of its own in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014.
Obama won election in part because he ran against the Iraq War. In office, however, he cemented more than reversed America's disregard of international constraints on warmaking. While failing to end the war in Afghanistan, his administration exceeded the Security Council's authorization by working to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, converting a permission slip to avert atrocity into a blank check for regime change. Then, to punish the Islamic State, Obama bombed Syria on a contrived rationale -- one that allowed attacks against nations unwilling or unable to control terrorists on their territory. When he nearly struck again in response to Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, Obama laid the legal foundation for Trump to strike the Syrian government, again without a U.N. sign-off. Once highly valued, then defied only with controversy, international law now scarcely figures in U.S. decisions of war and peace.
Like international law, U.S. domestic law enshrines an expectation of peace, setting a high bar for the resort to war. If war is to be waged, the Constitution requires Congress to declare it -- a purposeful grant of authority to the branch of government that best reflects the diverse interests of the people and therefore should be harder to rouse to conflict than one commander in chief. Yet the nation has drifted from that tradition, too. After defaulting on its constitutional obligation during the Cold War (partly on the grounds that the speed of a potential nuclear strike required a president who could respond quickly), Congress declined to reassert its authority after the Soviet threat passed.
In the 1990s, Congress might at least have kept faith with the WPR, which it passed in 1973 to rein in future presidents. The resolution calls for Congress to authorize "hostilities" within 60 days of their start; otherwise U.S. forces must withdraw. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, members of the House of Representatives brought presidents to court for taking military action in violation of the statute -- in El Salvador , the Persian Gulf War and Kosovo , for example. But advocates of the strategy all but gave up, and Congress itself increasingly deferred to presidential wars in the age of terrorism. By the time Obama intervened in Libya, the WPR lay in tatters. In a final indignity during the Libya operation, one administration lawyer explained that "hostilities" was an " ambiguous term of art " that might exclude aerial bombardment, so Congress did not need to approve a war that toppled a regime.
Disasters such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia, Syria, Yemen followed. Trillions of dollars were wasted.
The coup d'état in Ukraine (called by Washington propagandists "The Revolution of Dignity") was a part of Brzezinski's Gran Chessboard plan -- the attempt to encircle Russia with NATO. The US can now threaten Russia from Ukraine, Poland, Rumania, Baltic State and Georgia. And most of the dying in unleashed by the USA (or, at least, with the USA encouragement, as Provisional Government was drank with their victory after the coupe and was incline to reckless actions) Western Ukrainian far right nationalists who came to power in 2014 are the USA puppet; Poroshenko was probably the USA agent in the past. But they profess such a level of Russophobia that the current neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA looks pretty mild in comparison. In any case the ciovil war was unleashed by them. And tens of thousand civilians were killed. Specifically Donetsk and Lugansk area civilians. So who cares. "Let it Bleed"
The USA now keep permanent presence of military advisors/trainer force in Ukraine and supplied the country with sophisticated weapons such as Javelins (which might be resold to people whom the USA fight in other war theaters). Presence of foreign military force is usually called occupation. Such a presence formally is called occupation of the country. What The USA get as a blowback is unclear. The only thing which is clear that that will be a blowback, and probably no less strong then in case of Afghan war. Russians are clearly incensed by February 2014 coup and only presence of Putin at the helm prevented full stale occupation of Eastern Ukraine and possible nuclear hit on the USA. And it created a real flashing point with Russia. It seems that when it comes to our policy in Ukraine and pretty much the rest of the world it looks like "Groundhog Day" every day. I would suggest we send all those neocons to the frontline, but this of course is a wishful thinking. Trump actually gave a green light for the war party. Do they think Putin is going to blink, or he will keep his finger on the button and say: "I dare you".
In any case Ukraine became a part of the bigger game of provoking Russia (continuing the foreign policy adopted by previous three administrations - Clinton, Bush II and Obama) . Why they are doing that, especially those who have children is completely unclear to me.
The Foreign Policy Blob Versus Trump: are the attacks on Trump's Ukraine conduct causing real damage? by Hunter DeRensis
October 30, 2019
Ever since the whistleblower complaint from inside the CIA first surfaced against President Donald Trump, a steady stream of national security and State Department officials have testified about their consternation at his dealings with Ukraine. The dominant impression that they have left, however, is that they are blurring the line between what constitutes unsavory behavior when it comes to pressuring Ukraine for information on domestic political opponents, on the one hand, and what are legitimate policy disagreements. Indeed, it appears that they are, more often than not, substituting their own political judgments for the president’s when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy—something that should concern Democrats as much as Republicans. A whole caste of government officials seems to believe that for an American president to aim to improve relations with Russia is an illegitimate, even treasonous, aspiration.
Today was no exception. Consider the testimony of State Department official Catherine Croft. In her brief opening statement, she declared, “As the Director covering Ukraine, I staffed the President's December 2017 decision to provide Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missile systems. I also staffed his September 2017 meeting with then-President Petro Poroshenko on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Throughout both, I heard—directly and indirectly—President Trump describe Ukraine as a corrupt country.” The implication was that Trump had no business complaining about corruption in Ukraine. But why not? The persistence of corruption, which President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected by an overwhelming majority to combat, is hardly a secret.
Perhaps even more revealing was Croft’s declaration to the House Intelligence Committee that in November 2018 the White House refused to approve the release of a statement condemning Russia for seizing three Ukrainian ships located close to Crimea. It sounds damning at first glance. But once again, why shouldn’t Trump have practiced restraint in this instance if he was intent on improving relations with Russia, a platform that he was elected on? As it happens, the Zelensky campaign depicted the ship incident as a political provocation on the part of the Poroshenko government.
The implicit assumptions that appear to guide these veteran members of the bureaucracy were even more obvious in the case of Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman. As the media has underscored, he is the first person to testify in the impeachment inquiry who participated in the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Initially, Trump’s defenders sought to portray him as guilty of “espionage” or dual loyalty because he emigrated to America as a toddler. But this was always preposterous. More telling is that Vindman, no less than Croft, epitomizes a mindset that seems to regard a deviation from the strictures of the foreign policy establishment as by definition unacceptable.
In his opening statement, Vindman declared, that Ukraine is a “frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.” He added, “the U.S. government policy community’s view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the promise of reforms will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity.” But what if Trump has a different view of matters than the “U.S. government policy community’s view”? After all, Trump was elected in part on his explicit declarations that he would not rely on the experts who had plunged America into Iraq and Libya.
Consider as well the attention that Vindman has lavished upon Trump’s phone call with Zelensky. According to Vindman, portions of the call he considered important were not included in the document kept by the government that was released to the last month. This includes President Trump claiming there are recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukrainian corruption, and President Zelensky specifically referring to Biden’s son’s company, Burisma Holdings. The document released by the administration includes Zelensky talking about “the company” and Trump saying, “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution,” which is an interpretation of a video of Joe Biden describing how the Obama administration made firing Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin a prerequisite for receiving foreign aid. Vindman’s recollection of the call does not change the substance of what was already understood. However, the changes in language are being portrayed as more analogous to Richard Nixon editing the White House tapes than the routine process that produced a routine document. “Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who heard President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president and was alarmed, testified that he tried and failed to add key details to the rough transcript,” blared the New York Times headline.
For two months, major media outlets have described the document as a “transcript,” as a shorthand term. But as the document, and TNI’s previous reporting makes clear, it is not a transcript in the strict sense of the term. “This is what’s known as a memorandum of conversation: MEMCON. It is a standard tool that is used throughout the government and the procedures can vary from agency to agency, or who your boss is. But generally, they’re all done about the same way,” explains Peter Van Buren, a former Foreign Service Officer in the State Department.
“In my own experience in government for 24 years it’s a pretty standardized practice. The idea is, for all sorts of reasons, most interactions are not recorded. Instead, they’re memorialized through this process of MEMCON. Typically, while there are many people who may be listening in or present at a meeting, someone (or sometimes two people) are designated as official notetakers and they take down the conversation. And they’re not trying necessarily to get an exact word-for-word account, but they’re certainly trying to get an idea for idea. And in many cases when you’re dealing at the White House level, they are getting it pretty much word for word,” Van Buren tells TNI.
As a participant on the phone call, Vindman would have been one of the early editors. As the process continued, officials higher than him made changes, just like the editor of a magazine would for a writer. The precise reasons for the changes are open-ended and probably unknowable. There exists no evidence that the changes were nefarious or anything other than mundane word choice. The document released to the public is the official U.S. government record of what happened.
John Marshall Evans, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer and Ambassador to Armenia, narrows down what should be the focus of this inquiry—and what it’s actually becoming. “The issue is indeed not one of policy, which the President can change, but of the purpose that was pursued in the July 25th call: whether it was in the national interest or a private gain,” he says. So far, no one has shown that Trump demanded that the Ukrainian government produce a specific result or fabricate evidence about the Bidens.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is supposed to hold a House vote on the impeachment inquiry tomorrow, after a barrage of criticism from Republicans for moving forward without one. Whether the open hearings and public testimony will provide any more substance than a parade of national security bureaucrats ventilating their grievances about a president who sought to take a different course in foreign policy is questionable.
Hunter DeRensis is a reporter at the National Interest.
Jan 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Passer by , Jan 19 2021 21:57 utc | 36
Posted by: teri | Jan 19 2021 21:31 utc | 33
>>Today, the Trump administration filed an appeal against the UK decision not to extradite Assange. I must imagine that means that Trump has no intention of pardoning Assange.
Trump was a desperate "Murica must have the biggest dick" imperialist massively triggered by the US decline and trying to save the US Empire. Like a rabid dog that is wounded, he attacked anything that moves, including those who helped him get into power.
Anyone who thought that he will help the likes of Russia or Assange does not understand the psychology of elite US WASPs.
These people thought that they and the US should rule the world and that they are the cream of the cream. Anything denying them that would lead to crazed reactions, hysteria, rabid animalistic behavior, and snarling and gnashing of teeth at anything that moves.
Simply put, their decline caused them to go rabid. A rabid dog attacks anything that moves, whether friendly or not. Unfortunately for the likes of Russia and Assange.
Jan 19, 2021 | www.rt.com
46 Follow RT on Outgoing US President Donald Trump has delivered his "parting gift" to the Moscow-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with newly announced sanctions targeting a pipe-laying vessel and companies involved in the multinational project.
The specialist ship concerned, named, 'Fortuna,' and oil tanker 'Maksim Gorky', as well as two Russian firms, KVT-Rus and Rustanker, were blacklisted on Tuesday under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) as part of Washington's economic war on Moscow. The same legislation had been previously used by the US to target numerous Russian officials and enterprises.
Russian energy giant Gazprom warned its investors earlier on Tuesday that Nord Stream 2 could be suspended or even canceled if more US restrictions are introduced.ALSO ON RT.COM Gazprom warns investors that Nord Stream 2 could be canceled as Trump announces more US sanctions in 'parting gift'
However, Moscow has assured its partners that it intends to complete the project despite "harsh pressure on the part of Washington," according to Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov. Reacting to the new package of sanctions on Tuesday, Peskov called them "unlawful."
Meanwhile, the EU said it is in no rush to join the Washington-led sanction war on Nord Stream 2. EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said that the bloc is not going to resist the construction of the project.
"Because we're talking about a private project, we can't hamper the operations of those companies if the German government agrees to it," Borrell said Tuesday.
Nord Stream 2 is an offshore gas pipeline, linking Russia and Germany with aim of providing cheaper energy to Central European customers. Under the agreement between Moscow and Berlin, it was to be launched in mid-2020, but the construction has been delayed due to strong opposition from Washington.ALSO ON RT.COM One more European firm caves to US pressure on Nord Stream 2 project – media
The US, which is hoping to sell its Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe, has hit the project with several rounds of sanctions over scarcely credible claims that it could undermine European energy security. Critics say the real intent is to force EU members to buy from American companies.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!46 Follow RT on Trends:
Fatback33 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:20 AMThe group that owns Washington makes the foreign policy. That policy is not for the benefit of the people.DukeLeo Fatback33 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:06 PMThat is correct. The private banks and corporations in the US are very upset about Nord Stream - 2, as they want Europe to buy US gas at double price. Washington thus introduces additional political gangsterism in the shape of new unilateral sanctions which have no merit in international law.noremedy 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:22 AMIs the U.S. so stupid that they do not realize that they are isolating themselves? Russia has developed SPFS, China CIPS, together with Iran, China and Russia are further developing a payment transfer system. Once in place and functioning this system will replace the western SWIFT system for international payment transfers. It will be the death knell for the US dollar. 327 million Americans are no match for the rest of the billions of the world's population. The next decade will see the total debasement of the US monetary system and the fall from power of the decaying and crumbling in every way U.S.A.Hanonymouse noremedy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:37 PMThey don't care. They have the most advanced military in the world. Might makes right, even today.Shelbouy 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:25 PMRussia currently supplies over 50% of the natural gas consumed by The EU. Germany and Italy are the largest importers of Russian natural gas. What is the issue of sanctions stemming from and why are the Americans doing this? A no brainer question I suppose. It's to make more money than the other supplier, and exert political pressure and demand obedience from its lackey. Germany.David R. Evans Shelbouy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:58 PMRussia and Iran challenge perpetual US wars for Israel's Oded Yinon Plan. Washington is Israel-controlled territory.Jewel Gyn 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:34 AMSanctions work both ways. With the outgoing Trump administration desperately laying mines for Biden, we await how sleepy Joe is going to mend strayed ties with EU.Count_Cash 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:20 AMThe US mafia state continues with the same practices. The dog is barking but the caravan is going. The counter productiveness of sanctions always shows through in the end! I am sure with active efforts of Germany and Russia against US mafia oppression that a blowback will be felt by the US over time!Dachaguy 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:24 AMThis is an act of war against Germany. NATO should respond and act against the aggressor, America.xyz47 Dachaguy 42 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 03:20 PMNATO is run by the US...lovethy Dachaguy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:04 PMNATO has no separate existence. It's the USA's arm of aggression, suppression and domination. Germany after WWII is an occupied country of USA. Thousand of armed personnel stationed in Germany enforcing that occupation.Chaz Dadkhah 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:19 PMFurther proof that Trump is no friend of Russia and is in a rush to punish them while he still has power. If it was the swamp telling him to do that, like his supporters suggest, then they would have waited till their man Biden came in to power in less than 24 hours to do it. Wake up!Mac Kio 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:34 PMUSA hates fair competition. USA ignores all WTO rules.Russkiy09 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:33 PMBy whining and not completing in the face of US, Russia is losing credibility. They should not have delayed to mobilize the pipe laying vessel and other equipment for one whole year. They should have mobilized in three months and finished by now. Same happens when Jewtin does not shoot down Zio air force bombing Syria everyday. But best option should have been to tell European vassals that "if you can, take our gas. But we will charge the highest amount and sell as much as we want, exclude Russophobic Baltic countries and Poland and neo-vassal Ukraine. Pay us not in your ponzi paper money but real goods and services or precious metals or other commodities or our own currency Ruble." I so wish I could be the President of Russia. Russians deserve to be as wealthy as the Swiss or SIngapore etc., not what they are getting. Their leaders should stand up for their interest. And stop empowering the greedy merchantalist Chinese and brotherhood Erdogan.BlackIntel 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:27 PMAmerica i captured by private interest; this project threatens American private companies hence the government is forced to protect capitalism. This is illegalOhhho 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:15 PMThat project was a mistake from the start: Russia should distance itself from the Evil empire, EU included! Stop wasting time and resources on trying to please the haters and keeping them more competitive with cheaper Russian natural gas: focus on real partners and potential allies elsewhere!butterfly123 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:58 PMI have said it before that part of the problem is at the door of the policy-makers and politicians in Russia. Pipeline project didn't spring up in the minds of politicians in Russia one morning, presumably. There should have been foresight, detailed planning, and opportunity creation for firms in Russia to acquire the skill-set and resources to advance this project. Not doing so has come to bite Russia hard and painful. Lessons learnt I hope Mr President!jakro 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:37 AMGood news. The swamp is getting deeper and bigger.hermaflorissen 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:49 AMTrump finally severed my expectations for the past 4 years. He should indeed perish.ariadnatheo 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 03:06 PMThat is one Trump measure that will not be overturned by the Senile One. They will need to amplify the RussiaRussiaRussia barking and scratching to divert attention from their dealings with ChinaNeville52 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:01 PMIts time the other nations of the world turned their backs on the US. Its too risky if you are an international corporation to suddenly have large portions of your income cancelled due to some crazy politician in the US5th Eye 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:03 PMFrom empire to the collapse of empire, US follows UK to the letters. Soon it will be irrelevant. The only thing that remains for UK is the language. Probably hotdog for the US.VonnDuff1 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:10 PMThe USA Congress and its corrupt foreign policy dictates work to the detriment of Europe and Russia, while providing no tangible benefits to US states or citizens. So globalist demands wrapped in the stars & stripes, should be laughed at, by all freedom loving nations.
Jan 11, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
LittleWhiteCabbage , Jan 11 2021 15:19 utc | 128
As sometimes said: don't sweat the small stuff.
This "We are all Taiwanese now" stunt is Pompeo's act of petty spite for getting outfoxed in the Hong Kong colour revolution play.
Empire's useful idiots were let loose to trash the hapless city, fired up by the Western propaganda machinery.
Now Beijing is putting the stock on those pompous minions with the National Security Law, and their foreign masters can't do nuffin' except squeal human rights and apply some nuisance sanctions.
The West fails because it looks at China through ideological lenses and sees Communists, who can fall back on 5000 years of statecraft to push back at interlopers.
Beijing's moves can be likened to two classic strategies.
1. Zhuge Liang fools the enemy to fire all their arrows at straw men, which become ammunition against them.
2. The Empty City strategy. Invaders take over an ostensibly abandoned city, only to be trapped inside.
Global Times is cantankerous and sometimes risible, but even a broken clock is right, twice a day.
So when it says that crossing Beijing's red line on the Taiwan issue is not in the island's best interests, the incoming BiMala administration should take note.
Jan 02, 2021 | consortiumnews.com
rump the New Yorker was a stranger in a strange land, having nothing of the sensibility of the insular, self-serving swamp-dwellers in Washington and no grasp whatsoever of the power of the Deep State, whose ire he quickly aroused. Trump was a terrible statesman, too seat-of-the-pants, but what was to him dealmaking was at bottom diplomacy, an activity Washington has little time for.
Why did Trump surround himself with people who opposed him and not infrequently sabotaged those few foreign policy ideas one can approve of -- constructive ties with Russia, an end to wasteful wars, peace in Northeast Asia, sending "obsolete" NATO into the history books? What were H.R. McMaster, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and numerous others like them but of lesser visibility doing in his administration?
I am asked this not infrequently. My reply is simple: It is not at all clear Trump appointed these people and at least as likely they were imposed upon him by the Deep State, the permanent state, the administrative state -- whatever term makes one comfortable. Let us not forget, Trump knew nobody in Washington and had a lot of swivel chairs to fill.
We must add to this Trump's personal shortcomings. He is by all appearances shallow of mind, poorly read (to put it generously), of weak moral and ethical character, and overly concerned with appearances.
Put these various factors together and you get none other than the Trump administration's nearly illegible record on the foreign policy side.
Trump is to be credited with sticking to his guns on the big stuff: He held out for a new-détente with Russia, getting the troops out of the Middle East and Afghanistan, making a banner-headline deal with the North Koreans. He was scuttled in all cases.
Complicating the tableau, the prideful Trump time and again covered his impotence by publicly approving of what those around him did to subvert his purposes. A year ago, the record shows, Pompeo and Mark Esper (then the defense secretary) concocted plans to assassinate Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian military leader, flew to Mar–a–Lago, and presented Trump with a fait accompli -- whereupon Trump acquiesced as the administration and the press pretended it was White House policy all along.
Now We Come to Iran
Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly's General Debate, Sept. 25, 2019. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)
Pulling out of the Iran nuclear accord a year into his administration was among the most destructive moves Trump made during his four years in office. It was afterward that the shamefully inhumane "maximum pressure" campaign against Iranians was set in motion.
Trump's intention, however miscalculated, was the dealmaker's: He expected to force Tehran back to the mahogany table to get a new nuclear deal. As secretary of state, Pompeo's was to cultivate a coup or provoke a war. It was cross-purposes from then on, notably since Pompeo sabotaged the proposed encounter between Trump and Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN GA.
Now we have some context for the recent spate of Iranophobic posturing and the new military deployments in the Persian Gulf. We have just been treated to four years of a recklessly chaotic foreign policy, outcome of a war the Deep State waged against a pitifully weak president who threatened it: This is the truth of what we witness as Trump and his people fold their tents.
Trump the dealmaker a year ago now contemplates an attack on Natanz on the pretext Iran is not holding to the terms of an accord he abandoned two years ago? The only way to make sense of this is to conclude that there is no sense to be made of it.
Who ordered the B–52 sorties and the Nimitz patrols? This question promises a revealing answer. It is very highly doubtful Trump had anything to do with this, very highly likely Pompeo and his allies in hawkery got it done and told the president about it afterward.
Trump is out in a few weeks. The self-perpetuating bureaucracy that made a mess of his administration -- or a bigger mess than it may have been anyway -- will remain. It will now serve a president who is consonant with its purposes. And the eyes of most people who support him will remain wide shut.
Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century . Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Ed Rickert , December 31, 2020 at 10:06
A first rate analysis of the inconsistent and inchoate policies of Trump as well as an acute assessment of his psychology, notably his weakness when challenged. Equal cogent is Lawrence's trepidation and concern over the policies and potential actions of the administration that is to replacement Trump. Thank you for your thoughtful work.
Pierre Guerlain , December 31, 2020 at 06:51
I would just like to have a linkto the sources for Pompeo hoodwinking Trump for the assassination of Soleimani.
Linda , December 30, 2020 at 18:42
Thank you, Patrick, for this very clear article summarizing Trump's clumsy attempts at making peace with other countries (a campaign offering to voters) and the Deep State's thwarting of those attempts. My friends and I intuitively knew the people taking roles around the Trump presidency were put there by the "system". Trump had been made into a pariah by the Press, his own Republican Party, and shrieks for 'Resistance' by Hillary Democrats in the millions across the country even before he was inaugurated. There was no 'respectable' person in Washington DC who would dare help Trump make his way in that new, strange land. Remember one of the Resistanace calls to the front? . "Become ungovernable!!!!" Tantrums, not negotiations, have become the norm
So long, any semblance of Washington DC respectability. It was nice to think you were there at one time.
Jerry Alatalo , December 30, 2020 at 16:52
Dear readers and supporters of Consortium News around the Earth,
Please pass the following important message along to the genuine war criminals United States President Donald Trump and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson:
"Do the right & moral thing for once in your hideous, miserable & pathetic lives, – and free genuine peacemaker Julian Assange."
Please consider making the (1st ever in history) establishment of genuine Peace on Earth the absolute overwhelming #1 New Year's Resolution worldwide for 2021. The quality of life for future generations depends on the good actions of this generation.. Thank you.
Patrick Lawrence , December 30, 2020 at 14:32
I thank these commentators, a couple of whom read these pieces regularly, and all others who've taken the time this year gone by to put down their thoughts. I read them always and almost always learn things from them. Blessings to all and wishes for a superb new year! -- Patrick.
Lee C Ng , December 30, 2020 at 14:02
I agree 100% with the writer. Example; if Bolton, probably pushed into the administration by the Deep State, didn't sabotage Trump's talks with the N. Koreans in Vietnam, we might've had a peaceful settlement on the Korean peninsular by now. And it's no surprise that Trump on several occasions prevented the success of US-China trade talks – it was more than likely he was forced to do so. Trump wasn't a politician, much less a statesman. But he wasn't an orgre either, despite the hostility of the corporate press towards him (and I'm no fan of Trump).
Biden will represent better the real forces behind all US administrations – the forces responsible for the over 200 wars/military interventions in its 242 years of Independence.
Jeff Harrison , December 30, 2020 at 00:19
Thank you, Patrick, you have made some sense out of a nonsensical situation. "We have just been treated to four years of a recklessly chaotic foreign policy, outcome of a war the Deep State waged against a pitifully weak president who threatened it: This is the truth of what we witness as Trump and his people fold their tents." What is it that the Brits call their Deep State? It's something like the civil service but it's actually called something else.
You called Donnie Murdo a deal maker. Donnie Murdo is a New York hustler. His "negotiation" style only works when his interlocutor must make a deal with him. If his interlocutor can walk away, he will and Donnie Murdo will go bankrupt. The real problem is that the US doesn't need a deal maker – we have people for that. The Prezzy & CEO is frequently called that, the chief executive officer. But that's an administrative title. He is also frequently called the commander in chief but that really only applies if we are at war which we should be at as little as possible. What the prezzy really is supposed to be is a leader. If Donnie Murdo were, in fact, a leader, John Bolton would have been taking a commercial flight back to the US after his little stunt in Vietnam. But he didn't. So the question isn't what could Donnie Murdo do in the next three weeks, it's what can Donnie Murdo's henchmen do in the next three weeks?
Casper , December 29, 2020 at 18:19
One of the other personal things about Donald Trump, was that he had no skill nor experience in leading and manipulating a bureaucracy. He had basically directed a family business and his personal publicity machine. To the extent that Trump hotels had thousands of employees, Trump hired managers to do that. It would appear that the Trump family business largely concentrated on making of new deals for new hotels.
Thus, Donald Trump arrived in Washington completely unprepared to be the leader of a bureaucracy and completely unskilled at being able to get it to do what he wanted it do do.
I'm not a Joe Biden fan, but he's been in Washington since the 1970's. He's seen the bureaucracy from the Senate point of view for 40 years, then got at least a view of what it was like to try to direct it from watching as Veep. I still suspect the real power lies with the military command, and has since the 1950's, but this administration is going to come in with at least some skills in terms of trying to get a government to do what it wants.
PEG , December 29, 2020 at 17:46
Perfect article – and epitaph on Trump's foreign policy record.
Anne , December 29, 2020 at 14:00
Indeed, Patrick, they (the eyes of most of the electorate) will remain shut, eyelids deftly closed Only other peoples commit barbaric, heinous war crimes, invade other cultures completely without cause, bomb other peoples to death, devastation, loss of livelihood, home water supply We, the perfecto (along with one other group now ensconced – illegally, but apparently western acceptably – in the ME) people do what we do because, well, we are perfecto and thus when we commit these barbarisms, they aren't such. And are, it would seem, totally ignorable. Wake me in the morning style .
Truly, the vast majority of those – whatever their skin hue, ethnic background – who voted for the B-H duo are comfortably off, consider themselves oh so bloody "liberal" (do they really know what that means, in fact? Or don't they care?), so to the left of Attila the Hun (which obviously doesn't mean much, Left wise) .and what the MICMATT does to other people in other societies matters not flying F .After all, aren't they usually of "swarthy" skin hue and likely not western and of that offshoot religion of the one gawd, the third go around?
The west (US, UK, FR, GY etc ) really and truly need to develop a Conscience, a real morality, humanity but I fear that that is all too late
Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Dec 19 2020 13:39 utc | 40
Et tu, Brutus?
Pompeo Claims Russia is 'Pretty Clearly' Behind Major Hack Attack on US
Nov 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Nov 18 2020 20:12 utc | 13
Here's China's unofficial response via this Global Times editorial . I wish I could reproduce the art at the editorial's header as it's very spot-on:
"There is no new wording in the report, which can be seen as a collection of malicious remarks from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other anti-China US politicians and senators. Right now, only a little more than 60 days are left for the current US administration. An official from the State Department explained that the report is not meant to constrain the next US administration. But the fact is the Department of State fears that the Biden administration will adjust US-China relations, and the release of the report is part of their efforts to consolidate the current extreme anti-China path.
"But most Chinese scholars who have read the report believe it is an insult to Kennan by labeling the report as Kennan-style. Kennan, then US charge d'affaires in Moscow, sent an 8,000-word telegram to the Department of State detailing his views on the Soviet Union. At least, there was no special political motive in Kennan's report. But the latest report is trying to leave a legacy for the extreme anti-China policy adopted by the Trump administration and fawning on Pompeo, which is evil in essence .
"The impulsive and capricious governing style of Donald Trump leaves sufficient room for politicians like Pompeo to give free play to their ambitions. The Department of State has become the governmental organ that has the most serious clashes with China, outperforming the CIA and the Department of Defense.
"Diplomats are supposed to be communicators, but Pompeo and his team have chilled the communication atmosphere with China. In the China direction, today's US Department of State can close its door.
"Surrounded by such deep hostility and prejudice toward China and the wild ambition of the secretary of state, how could the Department of State's Office of Policy Planning make out anything objective about China? Their observation ability, cautious attitude toward research, and sense of responsibility for history have been severely squeezed. They are just currying favor from their seniors and manipulating extreme paths, pretending to be 'thoughtful....'
"Chinese diplomatic and academic circles look down upon the Pompeo team, which lacks professionalism, and acts like a group of gangsters suddenly taking official positions. They not only have messed things up, but also hope to build their nonsense as legacy. Pompeo's choice of opportunists like Miles Yu as advisor in particular has increased Chinese people's doubts over the 'amateurism' and 'immorality' of the Pompeo team's China policy....
"The US' China policy is very much like 'drunk driving' internally while on the international stage it's like sailing against the current." [My Emphasis]
There's not much more to add aside for asking barflies to read the entire editorial.
Nov 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgTominAZ , Nov 18 2020 19:54 utc | 5Pompeo, if not shamed out of politics soon, will be as bad or worse than Trump, because besides being nuts is a fanatic, crackpot 'Christian'.
Dave , Nov 18 2020 19:56 utc | 67-10 each sound fine but given the record of recent US leaders I wouldn't expect them to be implemented with the good of mankind in mind.karlof1 , Nov 18 2020 19:59 utc | 7I posted this to the Biden thread, but it belongs here.
RT op/ed analysis of Pompeo's China containment policy plan, "The Elements of the China Challenge" :
"Although it is hardly atypical of the President Trump administration, the document is significant because it represents yet another attempt by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to immortalize his Cold War confrontation between the US and China, bind the succeeding administration to it and most strikingly, institutionalize anti-Beijing ideas into American bureaucracy.
"The push against China by the Trump White House is not designed to be a passing phase, but a permanent and defining change of direction, for which this entire term in office has sought to prepare. This document aims to be a blueprint for long-term ideological struggle and a series of aspirations for maintaining hegemony, an affirmation of priority and a statement that things cannot " go back to normal ". But it makes no guarantee that the US can ever adequately understand China, or that it will succeed in its aims.
"The reference to George F. Kennan in pitching this document is appealing given the historical parallels, but it is not an exact fit and this, in turn, helps shine a light on Pompeo's own ignorance of China. It might be described in one simple sentence: China is not the Soviet Union and the ideological stakes are not quite the same." [Emphasis Original]
While I'd agree that differences in ideology exist between China and the Outlaw US Empire, it is the Empire that's constructed upon and is living the Big Lie inherent within Neoliberalism, while China continues to perfect its already very efficient system of Collective Libertarianism through its revamped Democratic Centralism. The really big fundamental difference is that China has absolutely no need to lie to its people, whereas the exact opposite's true within the Neoliberal West. After a lengthy period of public input, the government meets and eventually publishes its 5-year plan of development, which is contained within an even larger plan that's also been devised with public input and once put together is also published for public consumption. And since 2010, all plans have existed within China's UN 2030 Development plan, which is also available to the public. In a great many respects. China is a more open society than the Outlaw US Empire. Why? Because it doesn't need to lie to its citizens because it fights against the corruption that provides the reason for such lies--China has no Financial Parasitism it must mask from its citizens whereas the Outlaw US Empire is drowning in a massive sea of corruption that is killing it. Clearly, Pompeo wants that to continue.
Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Nov 7 2020 15:08 utc | 56RSH's warning that Trump could still start a war should be taken very seriously. Trump has vowed that he will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Will he leave office without ENSURING that they cannot?
Israel Warns Of Coming War With Iran If Biden Wins As Trump Calls
I don't think for a minute think that Zionist Biden will do anything to upset Israel. But the election of Biden is a convenient excuse for Trump to start a war (probably based on a false flag of some sort) that Biden (or Kamala-Hillary) will "inherit".
Don Bacon , Nov 7 2020 15:14 utc | 57@ pnyx #43David , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 66
. . .on Biden. Just think of the warmongering role he played for the Iraq war. The Neocons would have an easier time with Biden than with Tronald
Yes. Biden is a Clintonite, Trump was anti-Clinton.
The US war in Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom - with its death, destruction and displacement has been rightly called the worst US foreign policy move ever.
The Clintons started it, and then promoted it with Biden's assistance as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act into law on October 31, 1998.
On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors.dave , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 67
Trump's foreign policies were remarkably different? How? He assassinated an Iranian general, which nearly had the US enter into a hot war with Iran, bombed Syria twice, put additional sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Russia and the DPRK. Trump's State Department has successfully enacted regime change in Zimbabwe, Sudan, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras, Bolivia (Mike Pompeo congratulating Luis Arce on his win -- very suspicious), and is trying regime change in Hong Kong, Belarus, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe again, and as of late, Nigeria.
You could argue that Trump wants Iran to be somewhat stronger so he can sell more weapons to his MIC buddies and profit that way, therefore he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, and the weapons import/export sanctions on Iran expired. But that's a different and more brash method of managing Empire. It's different from Biden's "strategic de-escalation" policy with Iran via the Iran nuclear deal, but not that one that necessarily yields better results for Iran in the long term.David , Nov 7 2020 15:37 utc | 69
Calm down folks, the elected officials in the US have been puppets of the elite for the entire history of the country.
The problem we're facing is within the elite community and far above any government's control.
They didn't legalize drone striking "terrorists" any where on the globe by accident.
This means the elite are terrified of the fact that the internet and Trump both have exposed them for the morally bankrupt, greedy, mass murdering psychopaths they truly are.
The accidental presidency of Trump made them realize that their useful idiots(elected officials) where more idiots than useful and that they had to use the state sponsored monopolies in the press as well as their privately controlled publicly funded covert community to steer the narrative away from actual reality into their alternative commoditized version of reality.
Trump was never trying to defend America from the elite for the common man. He was trying to exploit the elite who had rejected him and his father for decades as well as cash in on their predicament in order to pay off his debts and start his own reality TV network.
I agree Trump was useful and informative but in the end he, like us is just along for the ride.
Don't do anything rash and don't for one second think a regime change in America is a rare occurrence. Remember the Kennedy's ?
The only way to win is to not become one of the elite's useful idiots by lashing out against another citizen. Poor and middle class only get the illusion they help decide policy.
The policy is decided and auctioned off within the billionaire funded think tanks and sent to the useful idiots in DC to be rubber stamped in order to trick you into thinking the legislative branch is legitimate. These people could f*ck up a two car parade and prove it over and over again.
Stay sane folks, the motives haven't changed in centuries and the elite are far more scared of us than they are the other elite's because they all know they're all cowards.GeorgeV , Nov 7 2020 15:39 utc | 70
In addition, considering Trump was supposedly a Russian puppet, Congress under his admin passed a bill which allowed the US to arm Ukraine against Russia even more.
Wonderful and thought provoking analysis of current political affairs b. However I would like to add that Biden and Trump are the products of political trends that have deep roots in modern US and world political affairs that have been ongoing for some 100 years or more. Biden and Trump did not occur in a vacuum. Both are products of the two world wars that were fought in the last century. More recently, the US since 1940 and continuing to the present day, has been actively preparing or fighting a major war somewhere on this planet. This development has in turn created a vast military and civilian bureaucracy that constantly needs to be fed a diet of real or imagined threats in order to survive.
Nov 05, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Home / Articles / Realism & Restraint / Is Mike Pompeo The Worst Secretary Of State In History?
With his laughable attempts at diplomacy and general hawkishness, he's certainly in the runnings for the honor. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, on October 21, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) |
Is Mike Pompeo the worst secretary of state ever? He's been awful, no doubt. However, there are 69 other contenders for that title.
Among modern secretaries, Colin Powell was misused by George W. Bush, who defrauded the country in selling the tragically misbegotten invasion of Iraq. Madeleine Albright, her mindset permanently stuck in Adolf Hitler's world, stands out for her enthusiastic embrace of war for others to fight. Alexander Haig achieved little beyond claiming to be in charge in the wake of the assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan. William Rogers was overshadowed by National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, who eventually took the latter's position.
Going back a bit further, Robert Lansing helped maneuver the U.S. into World War I, one of the dumbest, most counterproductive moves in American history. The earlier one looks, the more circumstances diverge, making any comparative judgment more difficult.
Still, about the best that can be said of Pompeo is that he has not gotten America into any new wars, despite his best efforts. Most often he has played the anti-diplomat, determined to insult, hector, demand, insist, dictate, threaten, harangue, and impose. But never persuade. The results speak for themselves: the administration's record lacks any notable successes that benefit the U.S, the supposed purpose of an "America First" foreign policy. There was a bit of good, a lot of bad, and some real ugly.
A solid good was President Donald Trump's most important diplomatic initiative: his opening with North Korea. Pompeo took over in March 2018, with the first summit already planned. That initiative faltered the following year at the second summit in Hanoi, which was Pompeo's responsibility.
Alas, the secretary lost points by apparently doing nothing to disabuse the president of the belief that Pyongyang was prepared to turn over its entire arsenal with the hope that Washington would look favorably upon its future aspirations. That was never going to happen, especially after the allied double-cross of Libya, which yielded its missiles and nascent nuclear program, and after Trump dumped the nuclear accord with Iran, demanding that Tehran abjectly surrender its independent foreign policy. The North can easily imagine similar mistreatment, by this or a future administration.
me title=00:36 / 00:59
Washington has also pursued better relations with India, which is a positive. As elsewhere, however, concern about human rights violations is almost entirely absent from Pompeo's portfolio unless it operates as a weapon against an adversary. The secretary cheerfully holds the coat of allied dictators as they jail, torture, and murder. Such is the case with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has abetted if not aided rising religious persecution.
The Abrahamic accords between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates were a tepid good. Improved relations between Arabs and Israelis are useful, though strengthening two authoritarian regimes is not. The Bahraini Sunni monarchy sits atop a Shia population with the backing of the Saudi military, while the Emirates, nicknamed "Little Sparta," by the Pentagon -- as if that's a compliment -- has used its military to commit murder and mayhem against Yemen in a war of political aggression and economic exploitation. The related negotiations with Sudan have been worse, using an unjust terrorist state designation to force recognition of Israel, which will undermine the democracy that has yet to be fully born after last year's popular revolution.
Examples of bad are far more common. For example, Pompeo has worked to thwart the president's evident desire to exit "endless wars." Nineteen years of nation-building in Afghanistan is enough. The U.S. does not belong in the Syrian civil war. Iraq and its neighbors are capable of and should deal with whatever remains of the Islamic State.
The secretary has played an equally malign role in Europe, undercutting his boss -- and, not incidentally, the American people -- by working to spend more on, and place more troops in, the continent, even as Trump pushed the Europeans to do more on their own defense. This is an inane strategy: Washington should cut defense welfare to states with the capability to protect themselves and allow them to decide how to proceed.
Much the same policy has played out with America's relationship to South Korea. Japan has escaped most of that pressure. Yet consider the defensive capabilities against China for Japan and the region if Tokyo spent not 1 percent of GDP on its military, but 2 or 3 percent. And why shouldn't it do so, instead of expecting Americans to do the job for it?
The secretary turned human rights into a political weapon, sacrificing any credibility on the issue. He tears up while criticizing Iran but kowtows to the Saudi royals, who are far more brutal killers. He is horrified by the crimes committed by Venezuela's Maduro regime, but spreads love to Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has punished the slightest criticism, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is turning Turkey into an autocracy. Pompeo actually introduced a new initiative in support of unalienable rights with the support of countries like Saudi Arabia and other assorted tyrannies.
Then there is the ugly. Using sanctions to try starve the people of Syria and Venezuela in order to force their governments to yield to America is not just immoral but ineffective. Both regimes have survived much and are not inclined to surrender.
At least Venezuela is a matter of geographic interest to Washington. Syria has never mattered to U.S. security and Pompeo should have backed the president's effort to bring home all American troops. Today, U.S. and Russian troops are clashing there over the administration's bizarre and illegal seizure of Syrian oilfields. Also inexplicable is reinforcing six decades of failure by tightening sanctions on Cuba; the private business community there has suffered badly as a result, reducing what was becoming a sharp challenge to the political authorities during the waning days of the Obama administration.
The fixation on Iran, which appears to come more from Pompeo than Trump, can best be explained as turning Mideast policy over to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The result of abandoning the nuclear accord has been nothing short of catastrophic. The Iranians have refused to negotiate. Instead they ramped up nuclear reprocessing, interfered with Gulf tanker traffic, attacked Saudi oil facilities, and attacked U.S. bases and the embassy in Iraq. Far from reestablishing deterrence, as claimed, the secretary was left to whimper and whine that he might have to close America's embassy in Baghdad.
Pompeo has taken the lead in the administration's shameful policy toward Saudi Arabia, aiding it in its war of aggression against impoverished Yemen. That nation has been at war within and without for most of its existence. Riyadh decided to invade to restore a puppet regime to power, turning typical internal discord into a sectarian war in which Tehran was able to bleed the ineffective Saudi armed forces, which were armed and aided by the Pentagon. In this way, the secretary has made the American population into accomplices to war crimes.
Even more foolish geopolitically, Pompeo has matched Albright's retreat to World War II clichés with a stroll back into the Cold War. Russia is an unpleasant actor but doesn't threaten American security. Europe is capable of defending itself. Alas, constantly piling on sanctions without providing an off-ramp ensures continued Russian hostility and a tilt toward China in that burgeoning struggle. How does this make any sense for America?
Finally, Pompeo has been his blundering, maladroit, offensive self in seeking to launch an American-led campaign against the People's Republic of China. Beijing poses a serious challenge, but not primarily a security issue. No one believes that the PRC plans to launch an armada across the Pacific to conquer Hawaii. The issue is Washington's willingness to pay the cost to forever treat Asia-Pacific waters as an American lake.
As for other issues, the U.S. needs work in concert with friendly powers. Pompeo has done his best to drive away potential partners: for instance, the G-7 refused his demand to call COVID-19 the Wuhan Virus and even allies such as South Korea have remained far more measured in their relations with China, determined not to turn their large neighbor into an enemy. In what promises to be a long and complicated relationship, genuine and serious diplomacy, which obviously lies beyond Pompeo's limited capabilities, is required.
On the personal side, he appears to have abused his position for both personal and ideological advantage. For example, so committed to showing his fealty to Riyadh, he declared an "emergency" to thwart congressional opposition and rush munitions to the Saudi military so it could kill more Yemeni civilians. He then sought to impede a departmental investigation, pressuring and firing the inspector general. What prompted his determination to so avidly assist a ruler who is ostentatiously vile, reckless, and even criminal is one of the greatest mysteries of his tenure.
Tragically, Pompeo proved to be one of the greatest obstacles to the best of the president's international agenda. In a speech delivered last year in which he claimed to be implementing the Founders' foreign policy vision, he denigrated diplomacy and its successful fruits, such as opening up both Cuba and Iran to potentially corrosive outside influences, which is the most likely strategy to induce change over the long term. This approach would be more in sync with Trump's desire to deal with countries such as North Korea and Iran.
Indeed, left to his own devices, Pompeo would likely have America at war with Iran and perhaps beyond -- Venezuela, China, and/or Russia. His belligerence serves the American people badly. As does his consistent campaign, conscious or not, to thwart the president's brave but incompetent attempts to escape largely braindead practices enforced by what Ben Rhodes termed "the Blob," the foreign policy establishment that dominates the field.
The secretary has forgotten that his job is not to push his personal ideological line. Rather, it is to advance the interests of the American people, with a special emphasis on defending their lives, territory, liberties, constitutional system, and prosperity. In this, he has failed consistently. Maybe he isn't the worst secretary of state in history. But surely he is one of the worst.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .
Nov 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgMarkU , Nov 1 2020 4:22 utc | 103@ Jackrabbit and _K_C
I do agree with you both that the anti-Trump hysteria has probably worked for him to some extent but I really don't believe that is a four year long plan, it is too much of a stretch to believe that the likes of Olbermannn and Schiff are consciously working for him. American politics really is that toxic, remember the stuff about Obama's birth certificate.
I also agree that Trump might actually have the support needed for a landslide win, not so much because of the vilification but because of the arson and looting imo. A lot of Trump supporters are keeping their heads down atm (and who can blame them) However, now it is my turn to make a prediction. I predict mass unrest on polling day. it is well accepted that the majority of the Democrat voters (fraudulent or not) are going to vote by post. Conversely most Trump supporters are likely to vote in person on the day (or try to at least)
I expect a concerted attempt to disrupt the polls by people who know that it will disproportionately affect the Trump vote. I expect violent clashes (with both sides trading blame) and a result that will please nobody. The worms are not going back into the can.
if I am wrong then I will be big enough to say so on the first appropriate thread on this site, fair enough?
OhOh , Nov 1 2020 4:36 utc | 104Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 31 2020 23:43 utc | 81uncle tungsten , Nov 1 2020 4:37 utc | 105
Zhang Weiwei is the author of a very important book some may have heard about and even read, The China Wave: Rise Of A Civilizational State, of which an open preview can be read here. Also, the professor gave a talk at the German Schiller Institute related to the above book and the BRI project, which can be read here.
I've commented several times that China's political-economic system is far superior to the Parasitic Neoliberalism that's destroying the West. China's success suggests very strongly that we listen and closely observe while not taking heed of what any Western source has to say about China.
More gems, thanks.Well it wont change Wall Street on Parade or the tireless commentary by Pam Martens and Russ Martens. Legends.Biswapriya Purkayast , Nov 1 2020 5:54 utc | 109
I just paused by their tavern to see what elixirs of despair or mirth they have on offer today. Pour a strong drink comrades and scroll through the cellar. Always worth a visit.Trump has been preselected to win. The rest is just a circus.m , Nov 1 2020 6:01 utc | 111If Biden is not much different from Trump then why does "the blob" portray Trump as the Beelzebub?_K_C_ , Nov 1 2020 6:10 utc | 112MarkU , Nov 1 2020 6:32 utc | 114
If Biden is not much different from Trump then why does "the blob" portray Trump as the Beelzebub?
Posted by: m | Nov 1 2020 6:01 utc | 112
Because he's the heel and none of the negative coverage they give him sticks, most often on purpose. Don't mistake their serious tones and somber pronouncements for genuineness. It's not. The executives and majority shareholders of the CIA/NSA infiltrated corporate news media don't care whether Trump wins, and in fact often prefer it.
Sorry for the long link, I'm on a tablet and formatting is really difficult here:
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/with-cnn-flap-medias-trump-era-identity-crisis-continues-195072/@_K_C (108)chu teh , Nov 1 2020 6:50 utc | 117
I am aware of the fact that corruption is rife in both parties. I saw the link to the Biden bus incident, deplorable yes but hardly on the same scale as the massive rioting, looting and intimidation of the BLM movement, they didn't actually burn down half the neighborhood did they. Organized voting obstruction will largely be confined to swing states for obvious reasons. I made my predictions, we will see.
Just to be clear, I don't even live in the US, I am British. If I did live in the US I wouldn't vote for either party, I'm not a 'lesser of two evils' kind of guy. To be frank I am viewing events in the US with considerable trepidation, I regard what happens in the US as a window into the likely future of the UK and the rest of Europe. I fear that a nuclear war may well occur sometime in the near future, quite possibly by accident owing to the continual cutting of warning times, mainly by the US. A very powerful nuclear armed country convulsed by civil unrest is a very dangerous entity, I fear the worst and so should we all imo.
Anyway thank you for being polite and civilised and for including actual information with your replies.OT..I just read this translation from a Russian link...most agreeable as a counterpoise to Exceptional Nation nuttiness:circumspect , Nov 1 2020 6:51 utc | 118
"Construction of the industrial complex, where high-speed trains will be produced, began in the Urals. In five years, Russia will have a domestic rolling stock for the VSM - high-speed highways. Moreover, the level of localization of production is stated at 80%, which means additional orders for the Russian industry."
https://aftershock.news/ [Of course, cannot vouch for the datum]Norwegian , Nov 1 2020 9:11 utc | 129
I do agree with you both that the anti-Trump hysteria has probably worked for him to some extent but I really don't believe that is a four year long plan, it is too much of a stretch to believe that the likes of Olbermannn and Schiff are consciously working for him. American politics really is that toxic, remember the stuff about Obama's birth certificate.
Those guys are just part of the polarization narrative tearing the country apart. The hatred is real but there is acting involved, especially with Olbermann. These commentators feel that this polarization narrative is giving the country what it wants and it drives ratings. Schiff is just a first class liar ...
As far as Obama's birth certificate, since his mom was a CIA officer using the Ford Foundation as cover during the murder of millions of leftists in Indonesia, I am sure she took time out to make sure he was born on US soil. All that stuff about him growing up on embassy row in Indonesia while the left was being slaughtered is carefully taken out of the story. Not his fault but it was quite a slaughter of humans and we know her employer was deeply involved. Going into the Indonesian villages to do studies. Really, studies and observations. They used to call it SOG groups.
Obama was just put in the pipeline as one of their possible future candidates for president. They have a stable of these people being mentored. Clinton was one as well. I bet Harris is one as well.
I think they hate the Trumper so much because he he was in some else's stable. Possibly the controllers from campus in Tel Aviv. Different stable, same horse shit.@circumspect | Nov 1 2020 6:51 utc | 118gm , Nov 1 2020 9:56 utc | 130
I think they hate the Trumper so much because he he was in some else's stable. Possibly the controllers from campus in Tel Aviv. Different stable, same horse shit.That makes a lot of sense!What Would A Democratic Presidency Really Change?snake , Nov 1 2020 11:50 utc | 132
Well for one thing you probably won't see any more of this sort of thing escape into the open media: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8901193/National-security-nightmare-Hunter-Bidens-laptop.html
Because the FBI's evidence cleaner/tamperer division's mandate will be greatly expanded, as will the powers of the Silicone Valley Tekkies to more comprehensively throttle public free speech on electronic media, that the deep state's Invisible Hand disapproves of.Norwegian , Nov 1 2020 11:53 utc | 133
Trump is about controlled demolition of the empire NemesisCalling @ 5.
B summarized the style differences very well. But failed to mention the greater problem. 3 votes at polls every four years is not democracy<= no American is in charge of any thing the USA does.
the layers in the global power stack (each nation state the same):
- layer 1: global franchisor sets rules of play; establishes goals <=local nation state franchisees must obtain to remain in power.
- Layer 2: oligarch <= national (wall street beneficiaries who use their wealth to conform national outcome consistent with global powers).
- Layer 3: copyright y patent monopoly power constitute 90% of corporate Assets.
- Layer 4: think tank and other private orgs
- public<= layer 5: 527 elected government <= a tool to regulate members of public
- Layer 6: Intergov Bureaucracies limit and direct elected power to global goals.
- public<= layer 7: the 340,000,000 members of the media regulated public
- layer 8: stop and go economic system control
- layer 9: media controls info environment & public narrative (many techniques)
all layers but 5 and 7 are contained within an envelop of privately owned control freaks.
Election of president = false flag iperation. The purpose is to fund the private media with advertising revenue paid for by consumer taxpayers.
Article II and amendment 12 clearly deny American people any say in who is to be the P and VP of the USA.
Agree with Nemesiscalling, since 1947, standing orders from Layer 1<= demo the American excellence; deny superior economic power to average Americans . standing orders <=homogenize the world and standardize its governance.
American lifestyle and quality of life is indifferent to who the media puts into the white house.
by c1ue @ 26 said it best "Anyone against the "right" and "proper" Democrat sellouts to pharma, tech and enviro must be rednecks. It is precisely this view that galvanized the vote against HRC in 2016." the method used by the public layers is reflected here, it is called divide and conquer.
B reviewed the elements and factors that maintain the division of the masses..@Circe | Nov 1 2020 11:22 utc | 131H.Schmatz , Nov 1 2020 12:49 utc | 137Biden is set to restore the JCPOA and treaties and policies that Trump burned.The rest of the world knows that the US is not agreement capable, it does not matter for Iran one bit what happens on November 3rd.On the absence of a real left in the US ( is all right and more right..)and of a real program which could include real changes that could make any difference in people´s lives, on that what matters is political technology and communication based on demonizing the other candidate which translates in deep polarizing of societies with unexpected unknown consequences..H.Schmatz , Nov 1 2020 13:06 utc | 138
"Whoever wins, it will take a long time"" If Trump were re-elected for another four years, it would be a real calamity and armed conflicts could even break out by the most radical groups, so that the country could be paralyzed "
"The ideological profile and policy of the United States is that of the president and, each one, even if they are from the same party, has maintained quite different political lines throughout history", says Rafael García, professor of International Relations at the USC. For this reason, he affirms that, in North America, "there is no strong party structure, but rather that the party acts as an electoral structure and it is on the candidates of each moment that certain policies are formed."
DEMOCRATS VS. REPUBLICANS. So much so that, as the professor explains, "the ideological configuration of the parties in the 20th century changed radically". On the one hand, he alludes to the fact that the Democrat, "in historical terms, was the party of the southern states, when they faced each other in the Civil War; racist states, which lasted until the 1920s ". Precisely, the political scientist indicates that "it was shortly before when the change took place, with the Roosevelt presidency, that he decided to change the configuration of the Democratic party as a result of the crisis of 29".
On the other hand, the Republican party, he points out, "was that of the union, that of the northern states, championed by Lincoln; the abolitionist party and that of the blacks ". So how did these changes come about until today? Rafael García points to "a consequence of the political strategies that the presidents embodied at all times, not because there was an ideological line behind each party ."
TRY TO ASSIMILATE THE AMERICAN MODEL TO THE EUROPEAN. For Rafael García, the Spaniards, when speaking of US politics, "make a mistake in translating our political structures" to those there. In other words, "in Europe the duality between left and right is widely assumed and we unconsciously transfer it to US policy." "That is a complete error" , sentence.
And it is that there " there is neither right nor left, there is right and more right ", affirms the professor. Which means that there does not exist and did not exist a historical labor-union party as such. In fact, the transmutation that is usually made from the democratic party to 'social democratic' is not correct . For García, Biden embodies "a more moderate man than the crazy Trump, but that does not mean that he has some kind of relationship with a left-wing thought ."
RIGHT AND RIGHT. "A multimillionaire gentleman, absolute representative of the establishment" (referring to Biden), and "a traditional gentleman, more conservative" (referring to Trump) ". "Although Biden is a Democrat, who perhaps holds stronger principles and is hopeful, identifying him with the left is still a long way from reality," he says. Therefore, it is denied that the Democrats are the American left and the Republicans the right .
THE CAMPAIGN LACKS PROGRAMMATIC INTEREST. For the USC political scientist, the US electoral campaign lacks interest: "It is absurd, it seems like a disqualification competition in which a political or government program is not exposed ." And every time Spain is also getting closer to that model of disputes.
"We are Americanized, in the sense that the weight of the parties is also being diluted in Spain in favor of the candidatesThese advisers are responsible for the growing division that is taking place in Western society ," he says.
THE GOVERNMENT IN THE HANDS OF POLITICAL ADVISORS. In Rafael García's opinion, the decision margin "is shrinking", that is, "the autonomy capacity of governments to make decisions is smaller, and they are conditioned ". So, what is the difference, in practice, in management, between PP and PSOE? "Little thing, in the end, little thing," he asserts.
That is why " that little thing can not be said to the voter, but must be mobilized with a degree of identification, unconditional adherence, so that it can be recognized in a brand ." And what is this transformation of Spanish politics due to? The professor is clear about it: " It is a translation of commercial marketing techniques to politics." Thus, a marketing advisor must "build customer loyalty" and a political advisor should build voter loyalty .
Now, if there are no significant differences between the two options, how to achieve it? "Through a demonization of the opposite and the creation of a hostility that is dangerous, because the divisions to which society is returning are irreconcilable ." In this way, García believes that " it is the work of political advisers who, apart from the difficulties that exist in societies, which are many, polarize them when it comes to building and mobilizing a faithful electorate, to the point that they make no difference what the party says or what the leader says ".
In the United States, as evidenced by this expert, "it does not matter if Trump does the atrocities he does, or if he said in the previous campaign that he could murder a person on Fifth Avenue in New York without anything happening to him ." This, transferred to the Spanish sphere, "assumes that the party can do any outrage: fraud, embezzlement, illegal financing ...". "That is something we are seeing, whatever party it is, but for the faithful voter it does not matter, because their party will continue to be so and will continue to listen to the channel and read the newspaper that supports it," he says.
THE ELECTORAL RESULT WILL BE EXTENDED OVER TIME. "I have no idea nor do I want to make forecasts, but I consider that Trump is a calamity and that if he were there for four more years it would be an absolute calamity ", says Professor García. However, " there is a state of opinion that fears that the result of these elections will be complicated and that there will be challenges, so that the end result will be a diabolical process of recount, county-by-county challenges, repetitions in certain districts. .. a real madness that can last several months ", he warns, something that," with this polarization trail, it is not known how it could end. "
" I am referring to the outbreak of armed conflicts; These people have weapons, radical groups, some of them crazy and who can shoot themselves in a demonstration, doing outrages as part of the institutional paralysis in which the country can be plunged ", he asserts.
This is how people, like those at SST, who lied about the real difference amongst Democrats and Republicans in real effective changes of policy, shouting to the four winds that "the Communists are coming", when they are not, and this way spread hatred and division amongst the US society as if there was no tomorrow so that to conserve their "tax cut", could end witnessing the total destruction of the US, not only as "Empire" ( a process already in march before Corona-fear and 2020 electoral process, a construct of decades of lying the electorate for the greed of a minority...), but also as a nation state. All these people who, holding privileged insider knowledege of the funtioning of the state as former insiders, should be held accountable for their willing and conscious participation in the build up of the social and economic disastaer to come....
Forecast at the end of the article posted and quoted above:The future: Institutional paralysis
··· An institutional paralysis like the one that can come after 3-N "could already occur in 2000, in the elections between George Bush Jr. and Al Gore, but the latter accepted the results even though they were open to challenge, and that it avoided institutional collapse".
··· However, "now it does not seem that either of the two candidates is going to have a gesture of these characteristics, with which, if doubts already appear, it will not only be in the State, but the final collapse may be extremely long and with unimaginable consequences ", indicates Professor García. "It seems to me that the United States has a terrible situation ahead ", he sentenced.A scene of Game of Thrones which could summarize 2020 US election campaign, that it was based on throwing dirty to each other....But who has the real "power", not the "government"?:Feral Finster , Nov 1 2020 14:09 utc | 139
https://twitter.com/IvanRedondo__/status/1322190858427502594The Blob, the Borg, the Deep State, or whatever you want to call it, never left, largely because Trump was unable to effectively fight it.vk , Nov 1 2020 14:20 utc | 141
No, a second Trump term, if it were to happen, would be no better, because Trump will still be Trump. Weak, stupid and easily manipulated.@ Posted by: Down South | Nov 1 2020 7:04 utc | 122JoeG , Nov 1 2020 14:52 utc | 144
I understand the rationale behind Trump's policies. But my conclusion is exactly the opposite: his attempt to stop the disintegration of the American Empire is accelerating the disintegration of the American Empire, not averting it.
The key here is to understand that that's not how the American Empire should work. The USA continues to deindustrialize at an accelerated pace under Trump; Wall Street was never stronger than under Donald Trump; American debt was never higher. And now, unemployment is as high as during the 1929 era.
The American Empire is the American Empire precisely because it doesn't need to produce anything it needs except defense. It prints money in order to siphon wealth from the rest of the world, enriching its economy while impoverishing the rest. That's the only way the Empire can function - any other way will result in its destruction.
Trump's ideology will destroy the American Empire. It will collapse under a wave of hyperinflation, skyrocketing unemployment, shortage of goods and collapsing economic output.Advance FL voting #s are SERIOUS BAD NEWS for the Blue team. Joe just might be done before it even starts. :) https://joeisdone.github.io/florida/JoeG , Nov 1 2020 14:59 utc | 146President Trump pulling over 15% Hispanic early votes in NC. :) https://joeisdone.github.io/northcarolina/Down South , Nov 1 2020 15:11 utc | 151vk @ 141Noirette , Nov 1 2020 15:55 utc | 161The manufacturing sector saw 17,000 jobs added after four months of flat activity. This followed a strong run of an average of 22,000 manufacturing jobs added every month in 2018 and 15,800 per month in 2017. Those gains followed two weak years that saw 7,000 manufacturing jobs lost in 2016 and only 5,800 per month added in 2015.https://www.google.co.za/amp/s/www.forbes.com/v/s/www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2019/07/10/in-trumps-first-30-months-manufacturing-up-by-314000-jobs-over-obama-what-states-are-hot/amp/%3famp_js_v=0.1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA%253D#ampf=
In the last 30 months of President Obama's term, manufacturing employment grew by 185,000 or 1.5%. In President Trump's first 30 months, manufacturers added 499,000 jobs, expanding by 4.0%. In the same 30-month time span during the mature, post-recovery phase of the business cycle, some 314,000 more manufacturing jobs were added under Trump than under Obama, a 170% advantage
He's doing a really great job of de-industrialising the US.
I'm not including current figures because of the economic impact of COVID.As Trump is going to win (provided the usual conditions pertain, fraud is not over the normal levels, and the whole sh*t-story doesn't end up in the courts or fought out on the streets, whereupon no reasoned predictions can be made), speculation about Biden as Prez. is a waste of time.Down South , Nov 1 2020 15:59 utc | 162
The last part of the Pepe piece in b's post, which gives reasons to not vote Biden, my take.:
Obama ran on Hopey-Changey and on his projected charm, actually glib con-man gab. Worked wonderfully, imagine getting the Nobel Prize because you had a dead-beat Dad who was from Kenya and you scored B+ for public speaking? Argh. (The real reason: killing will continue, the status quo is preserved..)
Anyway, the ACA was a damp squib, it didn't solve anything, and depending on pov was in effect a gift to Mega Insurance or was just 'lame' or as often, 'favored some over others' etc.
Then the Financial Crisis hit. The Obama admin. didn't prevent it (one might argue they couldn't not sure) and it didn't 'repair' as far as the ppl were concerned. Banks and Some Big Cos were bailed out - millions of homeowners were tossed to the curb by Banks. Child poverty, hunger, increased; wages weren't upped, health stats got worse No need to go on - this provoked tremendous anger. The 2010 elections saw big R gains, 2014 they took the Senate, iirc.
(Who cared about foreign parts like Ukraine, Syria? is what I'm saying.)
That Trump would win in 2016 was obvious as soon as he became a candidate. He was the cartoon contrast of Obomber - white, fat, orange, tall, R vs. D, outspoken, strident, clumsy (vs. the smooth-talking con), opinionated, stupid, and outrageous in a way. Click bait and viewer bait for the MSM - but not for no reason.
DT's electoral promises were both opportunistic and more profound: like fire-brand preachers of old, Build The Wall - MAGA - i.e. pledging a return to the past (see, again the opposite of Barry, who hoped for the future) -- Stop the wars, undo past mistakes (Dems don't run on anti-war..!), and, most important:
Drain the Swamp. The Deplorables are not ordinary ppl, but criminals in positions of power. By putting this forward, Trump became a mirror of the ppl, part of them.
Imho, Trump's record (null or abysmal or whatever depending on pov) is not enough for rejecting him in favor of loathed "failed" policies of the past - Clinton gang, Biden a part of it, Obama, etc. (By US voters I mean.)
but see Kiza 8, gottlieb 63, dave 72, Jack, others, >> no difference....Bringing the supply chain back to the US and re-industrialising the US isn't going to happen overnight or even in a couple of quarters. Just like the process to de-industrialise didn't happen overnight. But that the process has started, it is undeniable, and will only pick up pace when he wins a second term.c1ue , Nov 1 2020 16:01 utc | 163Poll update: Nov 1 update Trafalgar vs. MSM vs. 2016William Gruff , Nov 1 2020 16:06 utc | 164
4 new Trafalgar polls came out for 10/29: Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Michigan. Trump expanded his lead on Biden in Florida and Michigan vs. Trafalgar's earlier October polls:
FL from +2.3% Trump to +2.7%
MI from +0.6% Trump to +2.5%
Trump did worse in Nevada and AZ: AZ from +4% Trump to +2.5%.
Nevada polled +2.3% Biden
Once again: the question is if Trump outperforms vs. MSM polls. If he repeats anywhere near his 2016 - he will win.Trump can only win again if the establishment/deep state is once again exceptionally overconfident and asleep in the control room. They have numerous ways of swinging the election at the last hour, from pre-hacked Diebold paperless voting machines to hanging chads to simply having their operatives scattered around the nation throw ballots away and fabricate the tallies. Oddly enough this extreme carelessness is still possible. The establishment/deep state have not yet come to terms with what caused their plans to blow up in 2016 and really do seriously believe that Russia had something to do with it, even though they have no idea what Russia might have actually done to wreck their expected electoral blowout by Clinton. They also think that part of the problem was that Trump wasn't vilified harshly enough (they wanted the election to at least appear competitive), and they think they have that covered this time around. It could be that the over-the-top hysteria from the TDS victims has them overestimating the anti-Trump sentiment, though.Don Bacon , Nov 1 2020 16:14 utc | 165
Still, the establishment/deep state screwing up exactly the same way twice in a row doesn't seem likely. Even so, their profound incompetence continues to astonish, so maybe we will once again get treated to the delightful spectacle of crowds of middle class faux left dilettante snowflakes melting down.@ Down South #159Anne , Nov 1 2020 16:24 utc | 167
It not hard to see why big pharma despises Trump. They stand to lose a lot of money. My health stock investment has almost doubled during Trump's tenure.vk @158 - Not acreage - but based (until Andrew Jackson, hardly any principled person's prez) on PROPERTY VALUE. JUST as in the good ol' UK. Yep - despite NPR folks believing otherwise (clealry never visited a history book) - the aristo controlled (in what way really different?) Britain was actually a "democracy":, and was so from Magna Carta on... Of course it was a, how to say, constrained, constricted "democracy," but then so was the original one in Athens. Those who count as THE Demos - always been a matter for property holder concern... So in GB - male, 21 and over and owning a property of a taxable (always this, huh) value of a certain sum. Ensured that the hoi polloi males over 21 couldn't vote - and for the exact same reasons, I do not doubt, as the intentions behind the Electoral College construct by those less than admirable FFs. Gotta prevent the vast masses of the population - the great unwashed, "the bewildered herd" in Hamilton's verbiage I do believe - from having the ability to grab (well, they knew all about blood-letting theft of land, after all, didn't they?) that sacred "property." (Sacred, surely 'cos owned by the equivalent of the Murican aristos.)c1ue , Nov 1 2020 16:30 utc | 168
Little - no, Nothing has changed.@Down South #159c1ue , Nov 1 2020 16:36 utc | 169
It shouldn't be surprising. Actual doctors and nurses are, by and large, really great people. They don't want to turn away anyone.
The poorest in America can't afford health care - even the middle class can't really as testified to by the millions of bankruptcies caused by medical expenses. Hospitals thus were losing large sums of profit treating people who simply could not pay.
Obamacare threw many (not all) of those people onto health insurance company plans by having the government pay the health insurance premium and then having the existing health insurance customers pay via increased premiums - all this on top of the ongoing health care profiteering. That's why Obamacare should really have been called "No Health Insurance Company or Hospital Left Behind".
The existence of Obamacare also distracts people from the real problem: actual affordable health care - which every other nation in the world except the US has, entirely due to national health care.
I've posted this before - I will post it again.
In 2006, I left the semiconductor software industry on my own because I disagreed with management decisions to outsource all jobs to India rather than change their fundamentally flawed business model. Semiconductor software companies are the only part of the design chain that charges by software license rather than per part made - this was great in the early days of semiconductors but is a disaster when the industry consolidates to 5 large multinational but US based companies.
In 2007, I experienced a retinal detachment right after my COBRA ended. I paid $35,000 in cash to get that fixed - including a 5 hour total elapsed journey through a hospital which included a 1 hour surgical room occupancy and 1 hour of recovery time. In the door at 6:30 am and waiting for a taxi at 12:30 pm. The UCSF doctor that attended to me (and did a great job to be clear) said his fee out of all that was $1200.
The following year, some cells stirred loose by the corrective surgery landed on my now-attached retina and started reproducing. Instead of coughing up another $35K (or more), I chose to fly to Australia, consult with the best eye doctor recommended by the Royal Opthalmological Society of Australia and New Zealand.
That doctor's office was literally a light year more advanced than UCSF - supposedly one of the premier teaching hospitals in the US. I pay him AU$5000 - US$4000 at the time, plus another AU$800 for the hospital visit. The Sydney Eye Hospital gave me the choice of staying a 2nd night (I stayed 1 night because I was at the end of the queue for the day, as a foreigner), for free, including meals and medications administered on site.
I paid literally 1/7th the price in AU vs. the US - an Australia is not a 3rd world country. The doctor got paid 3.5x in absolute terms. The service I received was immensely better. Even including travel costs: flight plus 2 weeks in AU (which I was vacationing), the overall cost was still 1/5th of my US experience.
That opened my eyes (literally) to just how fucked up the US system is.
It has only gotten worse since.@Don Bacon #165Down South , Nov 1 2020 16:36 utc | 170
Stock price doesn't bear any short term correlation with profits.
Just look at Tesla, Uber and what not.
Health care sector profits have increased disproportionately since Obamacare: CFR report on health insurance company profitsSince ACA implementation on January 1, 2014, health insurance stocks outperformed the S&P 500 by 106 percent.
106% = more than double the overall market.Don Bacon @ 165vk , Nov 1 2020 17:00 utc | 171
Trump has not been able to repeal and replace Obamacare yet so the profits are still rolling in.@ Posted by: Anne | Nov 1 2020 16:24 utc | 167Wind Hippo , Nov 1 2020 17:06 utc | 172
You're right. The early liberals - specially from the American South - loved to compare themselves with the Athenian Republic. The rationale is that the existence of slaves enabled them to enjoy unparalleled freedom. Black slaves were frequently compared with helots when the problem of slave revolts appeared (with the pro-abolitionists evoking the figure of Spartacus). The South considered itself freer than the North in the USA - it was only after their destruction in 1865 that the tide turned and the North became, retrospectively, the paragon of liberal freedom.
In Europe, England was considered the ultimate free nation. Even American liberals (including Benjamin Franklin) built up their legitimacy on being of English stock (Anglo-Saxon race). With time, liberals begun to legitimize their hegemony with a worldwide racial hierarchy - hence the definition of American democracy as Herrenvolk Democracy ("Master race democracy").
And yes, the original liberals considered the Glorious Revolution of 1688 as their birth date - not the French Revolution of 1789 (which they condemned as illiberal, or "radical"). The founders of neoliberalism (Hayek, Mises, etc. etc.) put 1870 as the apex of liberalism, which they tried to revive.Escobar writes: "In contrast, two near-certain redeeming features would be the return of the US to the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, which was Obama-Biden's only foreign policy achievement"Down South , Nov 1 2020 17:13 utc | 173
Anyone who actually thinks this is either ignorant or moronic. Biden will absolutely require Iran to limit their ballistic missiles before "rejoining" that then-altered deal. Iran will never let this happen. Thus the deal is essentially dead [as far as US involvement goes, which the other parties should ignore]. MOA notes this as well.
I don't know why though MOA refers to Escobar at all here though. The ignorance demonstrated in the above quote should be enough to disqualify such a person from any discussion about Biden, Iran, etc. and to also ignore anything else such a person claims. You might as well quote a schizophrenic you meet down by the river for his take on Iran and the JCPOA. Might as well learn sign language and ask the chimps at your local zoo what they think about it.c1ue @ 168William Gruff , Nov 1 2020 17:22 utc | 174
You are not the only American who is doing it. They have even developed a term for it - medical tourism:With rising healthcare costs in the US and the rise of health tourism destinations that offer quality and affordable healthcare perked up by a beautiful travel experience, Americans are scampering to book appointments with healthcare providers far away from home. Yearly, millions of patients travel from countries lacking healthcare infrastructure or less advanced in a particular area of medical care to countries that provide highly-specialized medical care.https://www.magazine.medicaltourism.com/article/top-10-medical-tourism-destinations-worldNoirette @161: " Drain the Swamp. The Deplorables are not ordinary ppl, but criminals in positions of power. By putting this forward, Trump became a mirror of the ppl, part of them."lysias , Nov 1 2020 17:41 utc | 177
True enough, and as even the bunny claims, this was part of the act. But those who think Trump's upset victory in 2016 was part of the plan need to offer up a better explanation for why those criminals in positions of power would want to kneecap themselves with public exposure. The rationale has to be extraordinarily critical and of huge value to the elites because that price of exposure has been monumentally damaging to them.
Keep in mind that one of the most important (if not the most important) aspects of US presidential elections is the "electoral mandate" . Far more important than specific campaign promises is the general tone of the campaign. If a winning candidate had campaigned on ending wars, bringing jobs back from abroad, and fighting corruption in government, this isn't just an indication that the public wants something done about these issues. First and foremost it forces an acknowledgement that these are indeed major issues that the public wants to be part of the national discourse that the capitalist mass media tries to control. Allowing these issues to become part of the national discourse is diametrically opposed to the interests of the power elites. They do not want these issues to even be discussed, much less addressed by the state.
So why would they intentionally force these issues into the forefront of national discourse? That is, after all, what Trump's victory did, despite the establishment's best efforts to distract with "Russia! Russia! Russia!" and "Racism, sexism and pussy-grabbing, oh my!" . These issues were already smoldering below the surface due to Sanders' campaign, so why would the elites want them fanned into flames?
Answer: They didn't. As much as the issues that the winner campaigns on getting elevated in priority by the "electoral mandate" , the loser's issues get diminished. Trump was supposed to lose, and lose bigly, and in the process the things he campaigned on were supposed to be crushed down to objects of ridicule by the corporate mass media. Trump's resounding defeat was supposed to signal that Americans rejected Trump's "conspiracy theories" about some fictitious "deep state" that only existed in Trump's imagination, burying the suspicions that the election fraud committed against Sanders aroused. Trump being ignominiously trounced was supposed to allow the mass media to say that Americans unequivocally voiced their opposition to ending war and their support for intervention in Syria, clearing the way for Clinton's "no fly zone" . Trump being utterly humiliated in the polls was supposed to decisively demoralize the "deplorables" , convincing them with finality that there will never again be good-paying blue collar jobs and that they are just disposable relics, while at the same time crippling their resistance to the social engineering of "identity politics" ; social engineering that I should point out is even more ill-conceived and incompetently executed than the 737MAX MCAS system.
Trump was supposed to lose and take those issues with him to the dustbin of history.
It is important to understand this point because it clarifies who our enemies really are and helps us to understand how they view the world.Ancient Athens excluded from power slaves and resident foreigners (metics). Also women in the families of male citizens, although one could argue that they had virtual representation through the male citizens in their families. So also for the children in citizens' families, although they would have full rights once they reached adulthood. The adult male citizens who had full political rights were about 20 percent of the population of Attica.NemesisCallimg , Nov 1 2020 18:20 utc | 179
And even the poorest citizens had much more political power than average citizens of today's so-called democracies have today. They could attend and vote in the Assembly, they could be chosen by lot to serve in such bodies as the Council and juries, and to serve in most offices. And for doing all these things there was pay, so that poor citizens had particular motivation to participate, which they did. Just read Aristophanes. No wonder most rich Athenians hated the system.@176 H schmatzjinn , Nov 1 2020 18:23 utc | 180
Again, you are mistaken. I am getting tired of correcting you.FoxNews drug their heels when it came to supporting DJT in 2015 until it was clear that the majority of conservatives actually wanted DJT as their candidate.
It was at that point that business-smartz kicked in and they had to acknowledge that they must throw their weight behind the Trump ticket lest they prove themselves the faux-conservative Rinos they actually were/are.
Business 101, my friend. You wanna keep the advert. revenue coming in, you produce content your audience actually agrees with.
TBH and AFAIK Tucker Carlson is still the only truly sane conservative on FOx news. The rest, including Hannity, don't neccessarily mind the endless wars so long as the public endorses them. They are chameleons without an ethical lodestar guiding their commentary.Charles Peterson , Nov 1 2020 19:26 utc | 183
Trump being utterly humiliated in the polls was supposed to decisively demoralize the "deplorables", convincing them with finality that there will never again be good-paying blue collar jobs and that they are just disposable relics,
The problem is you think the oligarchs are every bit as stupid as you are. It would be nice if they were, but unfortunately they're not.
First of all lets examine who are these deplorables who you imagine were set up by the oligarchs to be crushed and demoralized by running Trump as their candidate.
The deplorables are:
-The Americans that own the guns
-The Bible thumping American jihadist
-The Americans that sign up for the police and military and in those rolls operate the states weaponry
-The Americans who believe the tree of liberty needs to be watered with the blood of tyrants
I could go on but all you have to do is tune into the corporate mass media that caters to the deplorables to find out who they are and what they are being sold.
But Mr Gruff is just too stupid to figure out why in the world the oligarchs might want to not antagonize that segment of the population.
The oligarchs would have to have lost their frikken minds to hire trump for the purpose of giving the deplorables a big "fuck you" as you imagine. The oligarchs are well aware that they already gave a big fat finger to the deplorables when they engineered the election of Obama (not to mention the 40 preceding years of marginalizing that segment of the population) and just maybe it was time to pacify that segment of the population that was growing larger and a bit restless.William Gruff @ 174But those who think Trump's upset victory in 2016 was part of the plan need to offer up a better explanation for why those criminals in positions of power would want to kneecap themselves with public exposure. The rationale has to be extraordinarily critical and of huge value to the elites because that price of exposure has been monumentally damaging to them.Amen!!! I don't think that people who forward that narrative fully understand how damaging this exposure has been to them.
By being exposed they have been shown to exist . This is super critical! No more is talk of the deep state relegated to the lunatic fringe where they can be easily derided as "conspiracy theorists"
Whether Trump can drain the swamp or not is to be seen but what is not in dispute is that they exist.
Posted by: Down South | Nov 1 2020 18:31 utc | 181 How can the blob "return" when they never really left?
To pretend that Trump is some special Peacemaker, trying oh so hard to overcome deep state resistance to rolling back empire, is Trumpism. Escobar is always there. Trump must be understood as a leading creature of the swamp himself. Trying so hard just as Obama was trying so hard.
The relative scores settled terribly are more a matter of opportunity than ruthless efficiency. Though it is true that "success" requires dialing it back a bit, and having the likes of Bolton around is a way of ensuring either that nothing gets done, or we all end up ashes. Trump managed to axe Bolton on time, that time.
It's avoidance of those lower probability mega catastrophes that is the principle reason of voting trump out with regards to foreign policy. And there are other reasons.
Oct 20, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MARK CHAPMAN October 19, 2020 at 4:41 pmJEN October 19, 2020 at 5:51 pm
We all like to have our worldview affirmed by a corroborating voice, even if that, too, is an opinion. This, for me, was like lying back in a hot bath.
I have said as far back as I can remember, during Pompeo's tenure as Giant Blasphemous Cream Puff of State, that the damage he was doing to the relationship between America and her allies was significant and perhaps irreparable. The article, if accurate, reveals a China which is quite a bit like Russia in its official treatment of minorities – subordinate ethnicities are recognized as distinct societies if their population meets a reasonable threshold, and where an ethnic population is regionally dominant, an autonomous government is established to facilitate local governance by people of the same ethnic background.
I was not aware that during the term of China's one-child policy – a dreadful time which led to the abortion or other more-horrible disposals of unwanted baby girls – mothers among ethnic minorities were permitted two or even three children.
The article is obviously written in defense of China, but the authors seem to have substantiated their claims satisfactorily where such material is offered. Unsubstantiated opinion is often a close match with those offered by commenters on this forum.PATIENT OBSERVER October 19, 2020 at 4:51 pm
George Koo linked to a Youtube video of Mike Pompeous and the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at a press conference in Dubrovnik. Watch how Plenkovic deals with Pompeosity!
I swear I saw the Pompous One deflate considerably after Plenkovic's speech about China's BRI initiative. Good thing the wind was up and active otherwise the smell would have been horrific and everyone would have been knocked unconscious.
Mike Pompeo, otherwise known as the international man of catastrophe,
You knew it was going to be good from the first sentence.
Oct 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Always glowing in her Schiff-protected bubble of virtue-signaling safety, former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told Congress that she knew little about Burisma Holdings and the long-running corruption probe against the company now so infamously linked to Joe Biden's son Hunter, specifically testifying under oath, "It just wasn't a big deal."
Well, according to new memos belatedly released to Just the News's John Solomon , under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department, Yovanovitch wrote top officials in Washington that she feared Burisma Holdings had made a second bribe to Ukrainian officials around the time a corruption probe against Hunter Biden's natural gas employer was closed before Donald Trump took office.
As Just The News' John Solomon writes :
Then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's concerns were first raised in a Ukrainian news story about a Russian-backed fugitive lawmaker in Ukraine, who alleged Burisma had dumped low-priced natural gas into the market for officials near Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to buy low and sell high, making a bribe disguised as a profit.
The scheme was confirmed by U.S. officials before Yovanovitch alerted the top State official for Ukraine and Russia policy in Washington at the time, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the memos show.
"There are accusations that Burisma allegedly had a subsidiary dump natural gas as a way to pay bribes," Yovanovitch wrote Nuland on Dec. 29, 2016, noting the story "mentions that Hunter Biden and former Polish President Kwasniewski are on the Burisma Board."
The alert was the second in two years in which the embassy alleged Burisma had paid a bribe while Vice President Joe Biden's son served on its board.
Back in February 2015, then-embassy official George Kent reported to the U.S. Justice Department evidence that Burisma had made a $7 million cash bribe to Ukrainian prosecutors before those prosecutors killed a separate corruption probe in the United Kingdom by failing to produce required evidence.
Read more here...
This was after Trump's election win and just 22 days before President Obama left office.
Of course, this is all in addition to previous memos that revealed Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma conducted an aggressive lobbying campaign directed at the US State Department throughout the 2016 US election, with the goal of pressuring the Obama administration to lean on Kiev to drop corruption allegations.
You decide : The Vice-President's son on the board of a foreign energy entity that was implicate not once, but twice, in alleged bribery schemes? Big deal? or "not a big deal"?
Sep 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vinnieoh , Sep 22 2020 21:41 utc | 27Probably counting on the desperate vanity and ego of Trump with the looming election to not shorten the length of the leash on Pompass. Pompass must also have noticed that Trump is willing to shove the homeland into civil war in order to claim victory, so maybe Pompass finally has the latitude to slake his bloodthirstiness.
Since I'm wondering down the path of speculation, a bit further into the murk. If there is one thing that characterizes the US today from the highest to the low, it is corruption. I submit that this corruption finds its zenith in the military, and especially the procurement train: any engagement with a near-peer (or the coalition/bloc we're talking about here,) and the rot and corruption will collapse this empire in upon itself. I've had this suspicion for some time, and believe if the going got rough the collapse would come rather quickly and completely.
Sep 21, 2020 | www.youtube.com
Gerry Cooney , 3 years ago (edited)Playthell Benjamin , 3 years ago
Speaking as an Independent, I say that our country, the USA, has engineered past confilcts and wars in order to feed the military industrial complex. Not so much that it results in a nuke-shooting war, but in a regular non-nuke shooting war. The solution? Send the sons and daughters of the politicians into direct combat, every time they approve another war. That should keep things a bit more peaceful.Stratus Blue , 4 years ago
Professor Cohen is this nation's most objective and therefore most valuable thinker on Russia! The charge that his views are "not patriotic" is a compliment rather than the insult they intended. A scholar's views are only valuable to the public and, more importantly, policy makers, if they are OBJECTIVE!!! Which is to say that he follows the FACTS wherever they lead!Maria Schick , 4 years ago
Any "discussion" with no mention of the supranational central bank cartel is intentional deceptive omission. The "brass ring" is forced use of petro-dollars. The central bank stock holders and bankers loaning all dollars into existence as national debt, do not care who owns land. They care who pays off national debts and interest on debt. Civil war is their racket. There are no sovereign nations. No genuine nations that create their medium of exchange publicly. No national people. Just participants in an extortion or its victims. The "Elite" collect on money they created as loans in their central banking accounts. All others are only human numbers assigned billing addresses.Madaleine , 9 months ago
Welcome to the New World Order ....where Multinational corporations rule & their profits are what are most important..... NOT nation states it's the 99.9% against the .01% and they use MSM propaganda & fear to control the DUMB masses thinkingkeepinitreal , 2 years ago
Global mafia in the background! Shut down funding cia ET AlSJ R , 4 years ago
So infuriating that videos that carry the truth have 57k views, while nasty lying propaganda has millions!Santos D , 4 years ago (edited)
I just discovered John Batchelor Show on which Cohen has a guest spot- I just was drawn to this man's thinking, probably because I had made up my mind about Russia during the Ukraine crises. Seeing the US has ruin every country we have gone into- I'm on Russia's side, especially where Russia and Ukraine has a history, on that side of the world.Cezanne Monet , 11 hours ago
38:49 - Apologies for the somewhat Utopian question here. I agree with everything Cohen has said, but regarding cause of jihadist terrorism ( ie implosion of the economies in the region), does it make sense to discuss primarily this game of terrorist whack a mole (bombing, invading and crushing Jihadist insurgencies)? Is there any point in talking about a pro active policy of recreating sustainable, stable economies in the region? What would that even look like?No Names , 4 years ago (edited)
Brilliant scholar. RIP Prof Cohen. Watch if you want to understand today's geopolitical situation. The whole situation.Chris Bowers , 4 years ago
Not very many average Americans would be able to easily access and watch this. Average Americans still consume mainly mainstream media. Too bad, because this lecture would have opened their eyes and have blown up their brain-contaminated minds by the CNN, the New York Times and alike.M Ch , 4 years ago
I agree wholeheartedly Loane. Have always been extremely impressed with and appreciative of Cohen's carefully & thoughtfully considered contribution. We in the US have gone a bit off the deep end when it comes to this deeply embedded belief in exceptionalism and superiority, and have been extremely rude to much of the rest of the world in the process. It amazes me how patient Russia has been with us, waiting for us to come around to a more sober understanding of the world we live in today. I have to conclude that what we are experiencing here in the US is a perennial phenomenon that comes with the end of all empires throughout history, the mission creep of over-extending resources and the big one, seemingly blind hubris.Raf Zam , 3 years ago (edited)
There is no chance of mending relations and even less of achieving some security partnership between US and Russia. The rift will only keep on widening as US political and financial elites are growing increasingly desperate (and thus even more aggressive) while Russia abandons its attempts to please the haters and moves its focus on to its future prospective partners who have genuine interest in cooperating with Russia and achieving common goals.... including opposing the common enemy if you like! Well at least I hope so: the only reason why US wish to get closer to Russia would be to stab it in the back... one more time!Donald Watts , 4 years ago
NATO'S reason to exist ended when the Warsaw Pact was demolished. It was created to confront the socialist Warsaw Pact but today ALL of the members of the pact are part of NATO, except Russia. So why is it still operating? Who are they confronting? They are a bunch of bureaucrats looking for a reason to stay employed in an organization that lost its excuse to be. However, their behavior has gone from increasing security to actually becoming a menace to trigger a nuclear war to destroy life on earth.William Carr , 3 years ago
It will take a Republican President to turn our relationships with hostile nations around. For some irrational reasoning, the current administration refuses negotiation with it's enemies. Somehow this is going to create understanding. and a less dangerous world. I don't see a continuation of this Administrations policy anything but reckless . I am assuming this policy has been one determined through Clinton, and will remain so. Clinton has said on a number of occasions, it is the Obama Administration's policies that will be hers as well. As an ex cold warrior, who has spent a lot of time chasing Soviet boomers in the North Atlantic, I am not willing to gamble my children and grand children's lives . It is a dangerous and ego driven pissing match. Let us start talking , This administration and families can climb into their luxury nuclear bomb proof bunkers...... My family and most Americans don't have that luxury.
Dr. Cohen, so Putin gave the Northern Alliance to the USA after 911 to bludgeon Afghanistan for hiding Bin Laden? Paul Craig Robert, David Ray Griffin and a growing list of Americans believe 911 was a total bamboozle. If that is true which it looks increasingly like it was, does that mean Putin was playing along with the our Reichstag fire? What does that make Putin? NATO should have been totally remade after 1986, but it wasn't and we simply missed a huge opportunity not for worldwide U.S. hegemony, but for a new umbrella of security by super powers in alliance. Obviously, the proliferation of ethno-religious groups was in Putin's mind when he welcomed us into Afghanistan, but damn it man, tell people EXACTLY why we and the Russians want to be in the Golden Crescent besides the extraction of minerals.
Jun 23, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Stephen Cohen at the American Jewish Committee Forum 2017, about Russia and Terrorism. Full debate
alo1, 3 years agoDrew Hunkins, 3 years ago
And again, Cohen smashed these government employers singlehandedly.mitrovdan, 3 years ago
This incessant Russophobia constantly being trumpeted by the Washington militarist imperialists must stop. It's putting the world on the brink of nuclear war.
Stephen Cohen's a godsend along with a handful of the other intellectuals out there speaking and writing the truth that penetrates the miasma of disinformation, half-truths and exaggerations emanating from the state-corporate nexus in the American mass media.
Cohen, along with John Pilger, James Petras, Robert Parry, Michael Parenti, John Pilger, Eva Bartlett, Diana Johnstone and Paul Craig Roberts must be read widely in order for folks to get a grasp of where the Washington imperialist ruling class is driving the world.MrWebster, 3 years ago
at 25:40 he just destroys her totally. what a point he made, amazing!! "thank you professor" the guy on the left wants to end Cohen's carnage of the so called experts. Cohen made minced meat out of em. Fact after fact...stonewalled em both. Listen to her, ISIS doesn't have nuke's, she obviously doesn't have a clue.DSCdaP, 3 years ago
Cohen is always cogent and convincing. One area I wish some historian would look into is how "Russia-gate" is not echoing Cold War themes, but echoing themes from the German Nazis in particular their belief about a great Jewish conspiracy against Europe.
Even Putin recently remarked on all these accusations: "It reminds me of anti-Semitism, A dumb man who can't do anything would blame the Jews for everything." Look at how Putin is drawn and pictured on major outlets. The NYTimes blamed resistance to TPP on Putin.
The Russians like the Jews are behind every social problem. Popular culture shows and speaks of Russia in the same way Nazi propagandists wrote about Russia.
Undermining Western liberal democracies, Jews were compared to spiders catching people in the webs. Same with Putin. Pick up Hitler's speech after the invasion of the Soviet Union justifying it., Echos? Accidental rhetoric of conspiracies ?MrRondonmon , 1 day ago
"to look past a long list of transgressions and abuses..." this is what I absolutely hate about America, they are all so stupid and ignorant to their own countries misdeeds it is unbelievable, infuriating beyond belief. The US is currently fighting 7 wars simultaneously, which it all started itself under false pretences and hid the real reason beneath a thick layer of BS propaganda and misinformation.
The secession of Crimea is the least egregious event of the entire conflicts history. The EU and US have pumped billions of dollars into the coup which took place weeks before the Crimean referendum, on the 20th of February 2014, 2 weeks prior to that, an intercepted phone conversation between Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State of the United States to Europe) and Geoffrey Pyatt (US Ambassador to the Ukraine) was leaked on February 4th, 2014. In this phone conversation, they describe key positions within the Ukrainian government being filled by Klitshko and Yatz... fast forward a few weeks, who do we see? Klitsh and Yatz! It was the most obvious sponsored coup in history.
Putin snatched the Crimean peninsula from NATO, who wanted to seize Russias military harbour in Sevastopol (which the Russians have used to supply Syria, this was one and a half years before they entered the conflict directly, apart from being a very important strategic harbour in general), by suggesting a referendum to the local government and they accepted.
Why? Because they were ethnic Russians and knew who gained power in Kiev, the neo-Nazi, Bandera-worshipping OUN, which the US has nourished, supported and developed for the last 100 years within the Ukrainian territory. These Nazis hate Russians, they have a deep seeded hatred of all things Russian which has been indoctrinated and drilled into them by the CIA for decades, the first thing they did after seizing power was to demote the Russian language from the official list of languages of the Ukraine.
They have since honoured Ukrainian Nazi-collaborators from WWII by erecting statues, renaming streets, creating new holidays etc. This is just one example of US misinformation and propaganda, nothing they say accurately describes the truth, nothing, not one thing has it's bases in reality. Be it about Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and what have you, it's all lies and propaganda to mask their intentions.
North Korea is another example. North Korea is a hornets nest they kick once in a while to scare the Japanese and South Koreans into tolerating US occupation longer. Everything North Korea does is a direct response to threats and intimidations by the US. They staged a drill off the coast of North Korea which they called "Decapitation" for F's sake.
They have ratcheted up the tension again these past few months to sneak in their THAAD weapons stations, before the new President was chosen. And these THAAD systems have absolutely nothing to do with North Korea, it's against China and Russia, North Korea is a pretext.
The still active war, which has merely been under a seize fire for decades, against North Korea, could have been ended before there was colour television, but the US needs North Korea to exist in order to justify their occupation of S.Korea and Japan.Patty Rogers , 3 years ago
And by the way, the CrowdStrike guy testified in 2017 that there was ZERO PROOF that the Russians hacked the DNC, but Schiff hid that for 2 years until John Ratcliff threatened to declassify it, then Schiff's sorry ass released the interviews. So, this man was 100 percent right, there is ZERO PROOF the Russians or anyone hacked the DNC. Its a damned lie, and it was always a lie.beija flor , 2 years ago (edited)
As usual, the journalists and leftist have nothing to offer- no facts, no forensic evidence, no truth. Only speculation hyperbole and hysteria. I don't believe Russia are the good guys but give me a break in all this crap!Beth Lemmon, 2 years ago (edited)
why did cohen tell everyone even potential 'terrorists' that there is too much of exactly what 'terrorists' wish to get their hands on in the former soviet states?!!? if he is 'so afraid' of 'terrorism...' WHY did he say THAT?!!? not very bright... or perhaps he is FOS. idk?! wth?! SMH. maybe e is trying to inform people who r not 'terrorists,' so that people know n can figure out how to address the issues...?
Yet, for any terrorists who wanted to know how to get materials he spoke of, now they may know a region where they could potentially go to attain the materials... maybe in 'terrorists' circles they all know this already? it just seems concerning, is all...
Love Stephen Cohen, he is spot on and right about most if not all points, he's fair, wicked smart and sober minded. However he isn't right about POTUS Trump. If anyone has been watching this type of discourse about world geopolitics it looks like the NWO wants wars to depopulate the earth, set up a OWG and a utopia. It's so blatantly obvious to those who are honest and not ideologically possessed.
They recruit their stupid Antifa army and zombie possessed minions to do their dirty work in the streets. They want send our amazing military to do the fighting wars that are just to feed the MIC, and does nothing for America's good.
Sep 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The international order is no longer bipolar, despite the elites' insistence otherwise. Fortunately there is hope for change.
Despite its many failings and high human, social, and economic costs, American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War has shown a remarkable degree of continuity and inflexibility. This rather curious phenomenon is not limited to America alone. The North Atlantic foreign policy establishment from Washington D.C. to London, which some have aptly dubbed the "blob," has doggedly championed the grand strategic framework of "primacy" and armed hegemony, often coated with more docile language such as "global leadership," "American indispensability," and "strengthening the Western alliance."
In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily.
On the Left, and in the wake of President Trump's election, the Democratic establishment began fixating its wrath on Russia–adopting a confrontational stance toward Moscow and fueling fears of a renewed Cold War. On the Right, the realigning GOP has increasingly, if at times inconsistently, singled out China as the greatest threat to U.S. national security, a hostile attitude further exacerbated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alarmingly, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has recently joined the hawkish bandwagon toward China, even attempting to outflank Trump on this issue and attacking the president's China policy as too weak and accommodating of China's rise.
In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well.
Indeed, the dominant tendency among many foreign policy observers is to overprivilege the threat of rising superpowers and to insist on strong containment measures to limit the spheres of influence of the so-called revisionist powers. Such an approach, coupled with the prospect of ascendant powers actively resisting and confronting the United States as the ruling global hegemon, has one eminent International Relations scholar warning of the Thucydides Trap.
There are others, however, who insist that the structural shifts undermining the liberal international order mark the end of U.S. hegemony and its "unipolar moment." In realist terms, what Secretary Esper really means to protect, they would argue, is a conception of "rules-based" global order that was a structural by-product of the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War and whose very rules and institutions were underwritten by U.S. hegemony. This would be an exercise in folly -- not corresponding to the reality of systemic change and the return of great power competition and civilizational contestation.
What's more, the sanctimony of this "liberal" hegemonic order and the logic of democratic peace were both presumably vindicated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its totalitarian system, a black swan event that for many had heralded the "end of history" and promised the advent of the American century. A great deal of lives, capital, resources, and goodwill were sacrificed by America and her allies toward that crusade for liberty and universality, which was only the most recent iteration of a radically utopian element in American political thought going back to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Alas, as it had eluded earlier generations of idealists, that century never truly arrived, and neither did the empire of liberty and prosperity that it loftily aimed to establish.
Today, the emerging reality of a multipolar world and alternate worldviews championed by the different cultural blocs led by China and Russia appears to have finally burst the bubble of American Triumphalism, proving that the ideas behind it are "not simply obsolete but absurd." This failure should have been expected since the very project the idealists had espoused was built on a pathological "savior complex" and a false truism that reflected the West's own absolutist and distorted sense of ideological and moral superiority. Samuel Huntington might have been right all along to cast doubt on the long-term salience of using ideology and doctrinal universalism as the dividing principle for international relations. His call to focus, instead, on civilizational distinction, the permanent power of culture on human action, and the need to find common ground rings especially true today. Indeed, fostering a spirit of coexistence and open dialogue among the world's great civilizational complexes is a fundamental tenet of a cultural realism.
And yet, despite such permanent shifts in the global order away from universalist dichotomies and global hegemony and toward culturalism and multi-polarity, there exists a profound disjunction between the structural realities of the international system and the often business-as-usual attitude of the North Atlantic foreign policy elites. How could one explain the astonishing levels of rigidity and continuity on the part of the "blob" and the military-industrial-congressional complex regularly pushing for more adventurism and interventionism abroad? Why would the bipartisan primacist establishment, which their allies in the mainstream media endeavor still to mask, justify such illiberal acts of aggression and attempts at empire by weaponizing the moralistic language of human rights, individual liberty, and democracy in a world increasingly awakened to arbitrary ideological framing?
There are, of course, systemic reasons behind the power and perpetuation of the blob and the endurance of primacy. The vast economic incentives of war and its instruments, institutional routinization and intransigence, stupefaction and groupthink of government bureaucracy, and the significant influence of lobbying efforts by foreign governments and other vested interest groups could each partly explain the remarkable continuity of the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. The endless stream of funding from the defense industry, neoliberal and neoconservative foundations, as well as the government itself keeps the "blob" alive, while the general penchant for bipartisanship around preserving the status quo allows it to thrive. What is more, elite schools produce highly analytic yet narrowly focused and conventional minds that are tamed to be agreeable so as to not undermine elite consensus. This conveyor belt feeds the "blob," supplying it with the army of specialists, experts, and wonks it requires to function as a mind melding hive, while in practice safeguarding employment for the career bureaucrats for decades to come.
There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. The world might have changed fundamentally with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the bipolar structure of the international system might have ended irreversibly, but the personnel -- the Baby Boomer Generation elites conducting foreign policy in the North Atlantic -- did not leave office or retire with the collapse of the USSR. They largely remain in power to this day.
Every generation is forged through a formative crisis, its experiences seen through the prism that all-encompassing ordeal. For the incumbent elites, that generational crisis was the Cold War and the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation. The dualistic paradigm of the international system during the U.S.-Soviet rivalry bred an entire generation to see the world through a black-and-white binary. It should come as no surprise that this era elevated the idealist strain of thought and the crusading, neo-Jacobin impulse of U.S. foreign policy (personified by Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson) to new, ever-expanding heights. Idealism prizes a nemesis and thus revels in a bipolar order.
Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism.
Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. After all, a nemetic zeitgeist during which ideology reigned supreme and realism was routinely discounted was tailor-made for dogmatic absolutism and moral universalism. In such a zero-sum strategic environment, it was only natural to demand totality and frame the ongoing geopolitical struggle in terms of an existential opposition over Good and Evil that would quite literally split the world in two.
Today, that same kind of Manichean thinking continues to handicap paradigmatic change in foreign policy. A false consciousness, it underpins and promotes belief in the double myths of indispensability and absolute exceptionality, suggesting that the North Atlantic bloc holds a certain monopoly on all that is good and true. It is not by chance that such pathological renderings of "exceptionalism" and "leadership" have been wielded as convenient rationale and intellectual placeholders for the ideology of empire across the North Atlantic. This sense of ingrained moral self-righteousness, coupled with an attitude that celebrates activism, utopianism, and interventionism in foreign policy, has created and reinforced a culture of strategic overextension and imperial overreach.
It is this very culture -- personified and dominated by the Baby Boomers and the blob they birthed -- that has made hawkishness ubiquitous, avoids any real reckoning as to the limits of power, and habitually belittles calls for restraint and moderation as isolationism. In truth, however, what has been the exceptional part in the delusion of absolute exceptionalism is Pax Americana, liberal hegemony, and the hubris that animates them having gone uncontested and unchecked for so long. That confrontation could begin in earnest by directly challenging the Boomer blob itself -- and by propagating a counter-elite offering a starkly different worldview.
Achieving such a genuine paradigm shift demands a generational sea-change, to retire the old blob and make a better one in its place. It is about time for the old establishment to forgo its reign, allowing a new younger cohort from among the Millennial and post-Millennial generations to advance into leadership roles. The Millennials, especially, are now the largest generation of eligible voters (overtaking the Baby Boomers) as well as the first generation not habituated by the Cold War; in fact, many of them grew up during the "unipolar moment" of American hegemony. Hence, their generational identity is not built around a dualistic alterity. Free from obsessive fixation on ideological supremacy, most among them reject total global dominance as both unattainable and undesirable.
Instead, their worldview is shaped by an entirely different set of experiences and disappointments. Their generational crisis was brought on by a series of catastrophic interventions and endless wars around the world -- chief among them the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq and the toppling of Libya's Gaddafi -- punctuated by repeated onslaughts of financial recessions and domestic strife. The atmosphere of uncertainty, instability, and general chaos has bred discontent, turning many Millennials into pragmatic realists who are disenchanted with the system, critical of the pontificating establishment, and naturally skeptical of lofty ideals and utopian doctrines.
In short, this is not an absolutist and complacent generation of idealists, but one steeped in realism and a certain perspectivism that has internalized the inherent relativity of both power and truth. Most witnessed the dangers of overreach, hubris, and a moralized foreign policy, so they are actively self-reflective, circumspect, and restrained. As a generation, they appear to be less the moralist and the global activist and more prudent, level-headed, and temperamentally conservative -- developing a keen appreciation for realpolitik, sovereignty, and national interest. Their preference for a non-ideological approach in foreign policy suggests that once in power, they will be less antagonistic and more tolerant of rival powers and accepting of pluralism in the international system. That openness to civilizational distinction and global cultural pluralism also implies that future Millennial statesmen will subscribe to a more humble, less grandiose, and narrower definition of interest that focuses on securing core objectives -- i.e., preserving national security and recognizing spheres of influence.
Reforming and rehabilitating the U.S. foreign policy establishment will require more than policy prescriptions and comprehensive reports: it needs generational change. To transform and finally "rein in" North Atlantic foreign policy, our task today must be to facilitate and expedite this shift. Once that occurs, the incoming Millennials should be better positioned to discard the deep-seated and routinized ideology of empire, supplanting it with a greater emphasis on partnership that is driven by mutual interests and a general commitment to sharing the globe with the world's other great cultures.
This new approach calls for America to lead by the power of its example, exhibiting the benefits of liberty and a constitutional republic at home, without forcibly imposing those values abroad. Such an outlook means abandoning the coercive regime change agendas and the corrosive projects of nation-building and democracy promotion. In this new multipolar world, America would be an able, dynamic, and equal participant in ensuring sustainable peace side-by-side the world's other great powers, acting as "a normal country in a normal time." Reflecting the spirit of republican governance authentically is far more pertinent now and salutary for the future of the North Atlantic peoples than is promulgating the utopian image of a shining city on a hill.
Arta Moeini is research director at the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy and a postdoc fellow at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship. Dr. Moeini's latest project advances a theory of cultural realism as a cornerstone to a new understanding of foreign policy.
The Institute for Peace and Diplomacy will be co-sponsoring "The Future of Grand Strategy in the Post-COVID World," with TAC, tonight at 6 p.m. ET. Register for free here .
Jul 13, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, unkindly characterized the foreign policy establishment in Washington, D.C., as "the Blob." Although policymakers sometimes disagree on peripheral subjects, membership requires an absolute commitment to U.S. "leadership," which means a determination to micro-manage the world.
Reliance on persuasion is not enough. Vital is the willingness to bomb, invade, and, if necessary, occupy other nations to impose the Blob's dictates on other peoples. If foreigners die, as they often do, remember the saying about eggs and omelets oft repeated by communism's apologists. "Stuff happens" with the best-intentioned policies.
One might be inclined to forgive Blob members if their misguided activism actually benefited the American people. However, all too often the Blob's policies instead aid other governments and interests. Washington is overrun by the representatives of and lobbyists for other nations, which constantly seek to take control of US policy for their own advantage. The result are foreign interventions in which Americans do the paying and, all too often, the dying for others.
The problem is primarily one of power. Other governments don't spend a lot of time attempting to take over Montenegro's foreign policy because, well, who cares? Exactly what would you do after taking over Fiji's foreign ministry other than enjoy a permanent vacation? Seize control of international relations in Barbados and you might gain a great tax shelter.
Subvert American democracy and manipulate US foreign policy, and you can loot America's treasury, turn the US military into your personal bodyguard, and gain Washington's support for reckless war-mongering. And given the natural inclination of key American policymakers to intervene promiscuously abroad for the most frivolous reasons, it's surprisingly easy for foreign interests to convince Uncle Sam that their causes are somehow "vital" and therefore require America's attention. Indeed, it is usually easier to persuade Americans than foreign peoples in their home countries to back one or another international misadventure.
The culprits are not just autocratic regimes. Friendly democratic governments are equally ready to conspiratorially whisper in Uncle Sam's ear. Even nominally classical liberal officials, who believe in limiting their own governments, argue that Americans are obligated to sacrifice wealth and life for everyone else. The mantra seems to be liberty, prosperity, and peace for all – except those living in the superpower tasked by heaven with protecting everyone else's liberty, prosperity, and peace.
Although the problem has burgeoned in modern times, it is not new. Two centuries ago fans of Greek independence wanted Americans to challenge the Ottoman Empire, a fantastic bit of foolishness. Exactly how to effect an international Balkans rescue was not clear, since the president then commanded no aircraft carriers, air wings, or nuclear-tipped missiles. Still, the issue divided Americans and influenced John Quincy Adams' famous 1821 Independence Day address.
"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom."
"The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit . [America's] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice."
Powerful words, yet Adams was merely following in the footsteps of another great American, George Washington. Obviously, the latter was flawed as a person, general, and president. Nevertheless, his willingness to set a critical precedent by walking away from power left an extraordinary legacy. As did his insistence that the Constitution tasked Congress with deciding when America would go to war. And his warning against turning US policy over to foreign influences.
Concern over obsequious subservience to other governments and interests pervaded his famous 1796 Farewell Address. Applied today, his message indicts most of the policy currently made in the city ironically named after him. He would be appalled by what presidents and Congresses today do, supposedly for America.
Obviously, the US was very different 224 years ago. The new country was fragile, sharing the Western hemisphere with its old colonial master, which still ruled Canada and much of the Caribbean, as well as Spain and France. When later dragged into the maritime fringes of the Napoleonic wars the US could huff and puff but do no more than inconvenience France and Britain. The vastness of the American continent, not overweening national power, again frustrated London when it sought to subjugate its former colonists.
Indeed, when George Washington spoke the disparate states were not yet firmly knit into a nation. Only after the Civil War, when the national government waged four years of brutal combat, which ravaged much of the country and killed upwards of 750,000 people in the name of "union," did people uniformly say the United States "is" rather than "are." However, the transformation was much more than rhetorical. The federal system that originally emerged in the name of individual liberty spawned a high tax centralized government that employed one of the world's largest militaries to kill on a mass scale to enforce the regime's dictates. The modern American "republic" was born. It acted overseas only inconsistently until World War II, after which imperial America was a constant, adding resonance to George Washington's message.
Today Washington, D.C.'s elites have almost uniformly decided that Russia is an enemy, irrespective of American behavior that contributed to Moscow's hostility. And that Ukraine, a country never important for American security, is a de facto military ally, appropriately armed by the US for combat against a nuclear-armed rival. A reelection-minded president seems determined to turn China into a new Cold War adversary, an enemy for all things perhaps for all time. America remains ever entangled in the Middle East, with successive administrations in permanent thrall of Israel and Saudi Arabia, allowing foreign leaders to set US Mideast policy. Indeed, both states have avidly pressed the administration to make their enemy, Iran, America' enemy. The resulting fixation caused the Trump administration to launch economic war against the rest of the world to essentially prevent everyone on earth from having any commercial dealing of any kind with anyone in Tehran.
Under Democrats and Republicans alike the federal government views nations that resist its dictates as adversaries at best, appropriate targets of criticism, always, sanctions, often, and even bombs and invasions, occasionally. No wonder foreign governments lobby hard to be designated as allies, partners, and special relationships. Many of these ties have become essentially permanent, unshakeable even when supposed friends act like enemies and supposed enemies are incapable of hurting America. US foreign policy increasingly has been captured and manipulated for the benefit of other governments and interests.
George Washington recognized the problem even in his day, after revolutionary France sought to win America's support against Great Britain. He warned: "nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."
Is there a better description of US foreign policy today? Even when a favored nation is clearly, ostentatiously, murderously on the wrong side – consider Saudi Arabia's unprovoked aggression against Yemen – many American policymakers refuse to allow a single word of criticism to escape their lips. The US has indeed become "a slave," as George Washington warned.
The consequences for the US and the world are highly negative. He observed that "likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification."
This is an almost perfect description of the current US approach. American colonists revolted against what they believed had become ever more "foreign" control, yet the US backs Israel's occupation and mistreatment of millions of Palestinians. American policymakers parade the globe spouting the rhetoric of freedom yet subsidize Egypt as it imprisons tens of thousands and oppresses millions of people. Washington decries Chinese aggressiveness, yet provides planes, munitions, and intelligence to aid Riyadh in the slaughter of Yemeni civilians and destruction of Yemeni homes, businesses, and hospitals. In such cases, policymakers have betrayed America "into a participation in the quarrels and wars without adequate inducement or justification."
On the other side are the targets of "inveterate antipathies." This also characterizes US Middle East policy. So hated are Iran and Syria that Washington, DC is making every effort to destroy their economies, ruin their people's livelihoods, wreck their hospitals, and starve their population. The respective governments are bad, to be sure, but do not threaten the US Yet, as the nation's first president explained to Americans, "Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy."
Consider how close the US has come to foolish, unnecessary wars against both nations. There were manifold demands that the US enter the Syrian civil war, in which Americans have no stake. Short of combat the Obama administration indirectly aided the local affiliate of al-Qaeda, the terrorist group which staged 9/11 and supposedly was America's enemy. Moreover, there was constant pressure on America to attack Iran, targeted by the US since 1953, when the CIA helped replace Tehran's democracy with a brutal tyrant, whose rule was highlighted by corruption, torture, and a nuclear program – which then was taken over by Iran's Islamic revolutionaries, to America's horror.
Read George Washington and you would think he had gained a supernatural glimpse into today's policy debates. He worried about the result when the national government "adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim."
What better describes US policy toward China and Russia? To be sure, these are nasty regimes. Yet that has rarely bothered Uncle Sam's relations with other states. Saudi Arabia, a corrupt and totalitarian theocracy, has been sheltered, protected, and reassured by the US even after invading its poor neighbor. Among Washington's other best friends: Bahrain, Turkey, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates, tyrannies all.
The US now is pushing toward a Cold War redux with Russia, after successive administrations treated Moscow as if it was of no account, lying about plans to expand NATO and acting in other ways that the US would never tolerate. Imagine the Soviet Union helping to overthrow an elected, pro-American government in Mexico City, seeking to redirect all commerce to Soviet allies in South America, and proposing that Mexico join the Warsaw Pact. US policymakers would be threatening war.
Washington, DC also is treating China as a near-enemy, claiming the right to control China along its own borders – essentially attempting to apply America's Monroe Doctrine to Asia. This is something Americans would never allow another nation, especially China, to do to the US Imagine the response if Beijing sent its navy up the East Coast, told the US how to treat Cuba, and constantly talked of the possibility of war. America's consistently hostile, aggressive policy is the result of "projects of pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives."
This kind of foreign policy also corrupts the American political system. It encourages officials and people to put foreign interests before that of America. As George Washington observed, this mindset: "gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; guiding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation."
For instance, Woodrow Wilson and America's Anglophile establishment backed Great Britain over the interests of the American people, dragging the US into World War I, a mindless imperial slugfest that this nation should have avoided. After the Cold War's end Americans with ties to Central and Eastern Europe pushed to expand NATO to their ancestral homes, which created new defense obligations for America while inflaming Russian hostility. Ethnic Greeks and Turks constantly battle over policy toward their ethnic homelands. Taiwan has developed enduring ties with congressional Republicans, especially, ensuring US government support against Beijing. Many evangelical Christians, especially those who hold a particularly bizarre eschatology (basically, Jews must gather together in their national homeland to be slaughtered before Jesus can return), back Israel in whatever it does to assist the apparently helpless God of creation finish his job. The policies that result from such campaigns inevitably are shaped to benefit foreign interests, not Americans.
Regarding the impact of such a system on the political system George Washington also was prescient: "As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public council. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter."
In different ways many US policies illustrate the problem caused by "passionate attachments" – the almost routine and sometimes substantial sacrifice of US economic and security interests to benefit other governments. For instance, hysteria swept Washington at the president's recent proposal to simply reduce troop levels in Germany, which along with so many other European nations sees little reason to do much to defend itself. There are even those who demand American subservience to the Philippines, a semi-failed state of no significant security importance to the US Saudi Arabia is a rare case where the attachment is mostly cash and lobbyists. In most instances cultural, ethnic, religious, and historical ties provide a firmer foundation for foreign political influence and manipulation.
What to do about such a long-standing problem? George Washington was neither naïf nor isolationist. He believed in what passed for globalism in those days: a commercial republic should trade widely. He didn't oppose alliances, for limited purposes and durations. After all, support from France was necessary for the colonies to win independence.
He proposed a practical policy tied to ongoing realities. The authorities should "steer clear of permanent alliances," have with other states "as little political connection as possible," and not "entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils" of other nations' "ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice." Most important, the object of US foreign policy was to serve the interests of the American people. In practice it was a matter of prudence, to be adapted to circumstance and interest. He would not necessarily foreclose defense of Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Germany, but would insist that such proposals reflect a serious analysis of current realities and be decided based on what is best for Americans. He would recognize that what might have been true a few decades ago likely isn't true today. In reality, little of current US foreign policy would have survived his critical review.
George Washington was an eminently practical man who managed to speak through the ages. America's recently disastrous experience of playing officious, obnoxious hegemon highlights his good judgment. The US, he argued, should "observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all."
America may still formally be a republic, but its foreign policy long ago became imperial. As John Quincy Adams warned, the US is "no longer the ruler of her own spirit." Americans have learned at great cost that international affairs are too important to be left to the Blob and foreign policy professionals, handed off to international relations scholars, or, worst of all, subcontracted to other nations and their lobbyists. The American people should insist on their nation's return to a true republican foreign policy.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute . A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .
Jul 05, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
As Johnstone recounts, after the Cold War liberals became bewitched by the prospect of waging wars for humanitarian ends. A generation of journalists and foreign policy experts including Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Jamie Rubin, and Christopher Hitchens, would make the Balkans a proving ground for their liberal theories of preventative war, in the process throwing the ancient and venerable tradition of St. Augustine’s Just War theory on the trash heap and paving the way for what was to follow in the coming decades, including Iraq II, Libya, Syria and a global drone war and a “targeted” assassination program."
exiled off mainstreet , 04 July 2020 at 03:36 PMPolish Janitor , 04 July 2020 at 04:05 PM
This is a serious article addressing a serious problem. If the "left" sells out on war issues as they have done the last 20 years or so, there is no pushback against the permanent war system. Those one-time leftists who have sold out are no longer really leftists, especially once they are relying on the corrupt permanent spy state for their information and support.Leith , 04 July 2020 at 05:28 PM
Interesting and correct observation. Allow me to throw in my own two cents with regards to the rise of what is defined as the "anti-Anti War left". I should note that there are eerily similar parallels between the rise of the New Left in the 60s that was the mix of socialist democrats, sexual revolutionaries, flower-power hippies, anti-imperialist/anti-war activists, and identitarianists (Huey Netwon, Cesar Chavez, MLK) etc. and today's BLM, Antifa, 'woke' types, third-gen feminists, broke millennials.
While the former's rise in the Democratic Party led to the exodus of Neoconservatives (former Trotskyists, Socialist and Marxists) to the Conservative movement, the latter is also moving the New Democrats to the Right, but the problem is that the current Political Right is mostly controlled by the Trumpists so these New Democrat types (Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Menendez, Biden etc.) are stuck between a hard place and a rock.
In other words we are seeing the tight squeezing of the New Democrats (Wall-Street, Tech, humanitarian intervention) by the radical left (Green New Deal, UBI) and by the angry Trumpists.
Just to give you one example, last week a prototype New Democrat and long time congressman (since 89) Elliot Engel of NY who fits well into this definition was defeated handily in the NY-16 primaries by the Democratic Socialists of America endorsed candidate, Jamal Bowman. Mr. Bowman, an African American is ideologically very similar to AOC, Tlaib, and Omar.
He won on a platform of foreign policy endorsed by the left-zionists (ex-labor zionists) against the likudnik right-wing zionist of Engles' which is very interesting since, Engel has been known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and extremely pro-Israel and chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently.
Recently Sanders and the Democratic Socialists expressed their opposition to Bibi's planned annexation of West-bank and adjacent Palestinian enclaves and threatened to to cut-off the military aid to Israel if Bibi moved on with his plan.
Domestically, there are several seats up for re-election and especially two in Georgia and Arizona Senate whose ppointed Republican candidates are in very shaky grounds versus their democratic challengers. What is clear is that the New Democrat platforms are no longer popular by the Democratic base and given recent events, it can be safely said that either the most law and order and Trumpian candidates will win or the Democratic socialists endorsed ones. So another problem for the New Dems.
Judging by my observation, the current trend is the alliance between the NeverTrumpers (The Lincoln project, The Right Pac) like Bill Kristol and the Reagan-to-Bush-43-neoconservatives (most of whom were Reagan Democrats in the late 70s and 80s themselves so nothing new for them) to push Trump out of office in their view before the RNC in Aug and to make room for the New Democrats and also to restore their previous 20+ years of reigning over the Republican Party. If their plan becomes successful, in the post 2020 election we will see a political configuration resembling the 90s and early 2000s with one major difference which is the introduction of several, in my opinion less that 10 seats in the House reserved for the far-Left socialist Democrats.
And in terms of Foreign policy, everyone will get happy and the Blob/Borg think tank class in D.C. will see business as usual as the Democratic Socialists will be "persuaded" to team up with the New Democrats with regards to sending Troops to conduct humanitarian intervention abroad (i.e. the Powell Doctrine) in exchange for domestic welfare programs, the NeverTrumpers and the Republican hawks (Cotton, Graham, Rubio, Cruz, etc.) will have war plans already written for them at AEI, Hudson and Heritage that focuses on China with the help of the New Democrats and probably the Far-left.JohnH , 04 July 2020 at 06:32 PM
Samantha Power is Irish bred and London born. She was schooled in Dublin till her mother emigrated to the US. Christiane Amanpour is British-Iranian. As far as I can determine she never has had US citizenship. Christopher Hitchens is English born, never visited America unti he was 32. And even then kept his British citizenship for another 26 years, only becoming a US citizen in 2007. Probably to take advantage of favorable US income tax on his book earnings.
WTF were they smoking when they decided to promote war to secure human rights??? So why did we let these halfwits in the country?
Seems to me we are better off by letting in a few more Sikh farmers from India or more wannabee restaurant owners from Ethiopia. Or maybe even more wannabee bodega empresarios from south of our border.Outrage Beyond , 04 July 2020 at 08:16 PM
Anyone remember John Kerry, who criticized the anti-war movement and enlisted and served in Vietnam, only to opportunistically turn against the war. As long as the winds blew anti-war, he continued to posture that way. Then he reversed course, maybe sensing an SOS opportunity, and voted for the War in Iraq, meanwhile posturing against it on the grounds that it wasn’t being fought right!
Kerry seems is the perfect example of Democrats’ hypocritical ‘opposition’ to pointless and futile wars. Not that anybody remembers, but it was the liberal Bill Clinton who went to war in Yugoslavia and defanged the anti-war wing of the party. After Clinton Democrats only raised their voices against Republican wars and now have taken to criticizing Trump for not being belligerent enough!!!Vegetius , 05 July 2020 at 12:40 AM
The "anti-antiwar left" is of course an oxymoron. In reality, they are neo-McCarthyites, neocons, and Israel-firsters. Nothing new. They were never leftists to begin with and certainly never will be.
To add onto the comments by Polish Janitor regarding Jamaal Bowman, I have this to say. Just like AOC, he'll cuck out to Israel. He'll take the money and he'll probably take that "educational" trip to Israel as well. While he's there, would anyone be surprised if he had a hot time with some honey pie and they got him on Kodak? They'll only drop hints about the stick, in the meantime, they'll be stuffing his face with carrots as he comes around to the Zionist agenda.Fourth and Long , 05 July 2020 at 04:56 PM
@exiled off mainstreet
The same white men who stood three years ago Charlottesville to prevent the toppling of statues could be the backbone of a new anti-war movement, if only conservatives weren't afraid of being called 'racist' by people who hate them anyway.jerseycityjoan , 05 July 2020 at 05:32 PM
To better get one's bearings regarding what's going on I highly recommend this Spectator article to the committee. Although BLM and other nefarious types referred to as Antifa certainly do pass the anarchist test and Marxist test it's critical the committee understand that the whole thing is being managed by a wing of the establishment.
The New York Times is not revolutionary, not by a very long shot. Neither are all the big corporations and foundations who've donated generously to the cause of BLM.
Editorial talents at NYT instigated the wholesale rewriting of American history over a year ago with their fraudulent 1619 project which says American history began in that year with the importation of African slaves.
But it's real thesis is that the revolution of 1776 (an inspiration to people everywhere), was not undertaken to free the thirteen colonies from the tyranny of King George - no - it was done for the sole reason of perpetuation of slavery because Washington and other colonial land owners feared that the institution of slavery would be made illegal by their then British overlords. I kid you not.
The NY Times. Pure revisionism of the worst sort. But the ends which this revisionism serve, as do the subsequent BLM riots and mindless iconoclasms, are revealed in this piece:
(This Revolution isn't What it Looks Like). Here's a brief excerpt - it's a management device. Matt Taibbi has a treatment nearly as good but too diffuse and witty for these purposes, under the title "Year Zero" on his blog, but it is behind a paywall. Many illustrative exames though.
Spectator first few paragraphs.. Bear with this. What they're doing is designed to infuriate and disable critical understanding as they proceed to carry the day in real time.
America is not in the middle of a revolution — it is a reactionary putsch. About four years ago, the sort of people who had acquired position and influence as a result of globalisation were turfed out of power for the first time in decades. They watched in horror as voters across the world chose Brexit, Donald Trump and other populist and conservative-nationalist options.
This deposition explains the storm of unrest battering American cities from coast to coast and making waves in Europe as well. The storm’s ferocity — the looting, the mobs, the mass lawlessness, the zealous iconoclasm, the deranged slogans like #DefundPolice — terrifies ordinary Americans. Many conservatives, especially, believe they are facing a revolution targeting the very foundations of American order.
But when national institutions bow (or kneel) to the street fighters’ demands, it should tell us that something else is going on. We aren’t dealing with a Maoist or Marxist revolt, even if some protagonists spout hard-leftish rhetoric. Rather, what’s playing out is a counter-revolution of the neoliberal class — academe, media, large corporations, ‘experts’, Big Tech — against the nationalist revolution launched in 2016. The supposed insurgents and the elites are marching in the streets together, taking the knee together.
They do not seek a radically new arrangement, but a return to the pre-Trump, pre-Brexit status quo ante which was working out very well for them. It was, of course, working out less well for the working class of all races, who bore the brunt of their preferred policy mix: open borders, free trade without limits, an aggressive cultural liberalism that corroded tradition and community, technocratic ‘global governance’ that neutered democracy and politics as such.
When national institutions bow to the street fighters’ demands, it tells us something else is going on
UNQUOTEFourth and Long , 05 July 2020 at 06:23 PM
...Did you realize that the Black Lives Matter group only has 14 local chapters in America and 3 in Canada? I don't think there are many actual Antifa members out there either. Now of course a few determined troublemakers can cause a lot of problems but still I can't see how the country is in real danger.
Probably the real danger here is that these groups get moral support from nonradical people for radical actions and policies. Right now there are a lot more people against getting rid of the police than are for it. Now if that changed I would get worried. I have to admit that I don't like the fact that we do not know who's funding the radicals and that many are anonymous but I am not afraid of them. I can't imagine a situation in which they would win and we would lose over time.
No it doesn't, not that I know of. It was the brainchild of Nikole Hannah-Jones working since 2015 for the times, who received a 2020 Pulitzer prize for the project which initially was presented in the Times magazine for the 400th anniversary of 1619 when it is claimed that enslaved Africans first arrived to the American colonies. However it mushroomed into something much larger and won the award. It was to investigate the legacy of slavery but with its claim that the true founding of the United States was in 1619 rather than 1776, it drew criticism from several historians. The controversy was conducted in Politico and on the pages of the World Socialist Web Site. See here:
You will find links to several of the articles of the project, including: "America Wasn't a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One", essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones and "American Capitalism Is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation", essay by Matthew Desmond.
I prefaced the intro to the Spectator article with mention of the Times award winning project because it is vital cultural- historical background to what's transpired since George Floyd incident of May 25.
My purpose was not to focus on that revisionist project though one may investigate it at leisure, but the reactionary establishment counter coup to the 2016 election of which the events of May 25 et seq are the most recent chapter - chapters one and two being Russiagate and impeachment.
Taibbi, in his latest which parallels the Spectator piece, does think to mention it. The essential idea is that neither the non Trump wing of the American establishment (more properly Global establishment still anchored tenuously in DC) nor the Trump wing want the voters to discuss the economy - it's too hot a subject.
Way too hot since the financial crisis of 2007-08 followed the working class jobs overseas and south of the border in the 90s and inequality exceeded that of the gilded age. No. But they will discuss racism (and gender). It divides the country further than ever, deflects focus on wealth disparity (the establishment has no intention of ever equalizing wealth even a bit) and presto - gives corporate America and media a new policing tool in the form of mandatory workshops and summary job dismissals even more unsubstantiated than many of those with #MeToo. It enhances the academic totalitarians of political correctness with corporate / employer totalitarianism of "learn your inclusivity lessons reeducation camp" or else. Unions disappeared long ago and now this.
It’s the Fourth of July, and revolution is in the air. Only in America would it look like this: an elite-sponsored Maoist revolt, couched as a Black liberation movement whose canonical texts are a corporate consultant’s white guilt self-help manual, and a New York Times series rewriting history to explain an election they called wrong.
Much of America has watched in quizzical silence in recent weeks as crowds declared war on an increasingly incoherent succession of historical symbols. Maybe you nodded as Confederate general Albert Pike was toppled or even when Christopher Columbus was beheaded, but it got a little weird when George Washington was emblazoned with “Fuck Cops” and set on fire, or when they went after Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionist Colonel Hans Christian Heg, “Forward,” (a seven-foot-tall female figure meant to symbolize progress), the Portland, Oregon “Elk statue,” or my personal favorite, the former slave Miguel de Cervantes, whose cheerful creations Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were apparently mistaken for reals and had their eyes lashed red in San Francisco.
Was a What the Fuck? too much to ask? It was! In the space of a few weeks the level of discourse in the news media dropped so low, the fear of being shamed as a deviationist so high, that most of the weirder incidents went uncovered. Leading press organs engaged in real-time Soviet-style airbrushing. Here’s how the Washington Post described a movement that targeted Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, Abraham Lincoln (a “single-handed symbol of white supremacy,” according to UW-Madison students), an apple cider press sculpture, abolitionist Mathias Baldwin, and the first all-Black volunteer regiment in the Civil War, among others:
Across the country, protesters have toppled statues of figures from America’s sordid past — including Confederate generals — as part of demonstrations against racism and police violence.
The New York Times, once the dictionary definition of “unprovocative,” suddenly reads like Pol Pot’s Sayings of Angkar. Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, the morning read for upscale white Manhattanites was denouncing Mount Rushmore, urging Black America to arm itself, and re-positioning America alongside more deserving historical parallels in a feature about caste systems:
turcopolier , 05 July 2020 at 06:57 PMFourth and Long , 05 July 2020 at 07:55 PM
fourth and long
For 150 years the US treated its defeated internal enemy with respect in the interest of re-unification and reconciliation. Now that is gone destroyed by Marxist vanguard conspiratorial parties like antifa and BLM and the the power hungry Democrat Party pols who have made a deal with their soul mate extremists. Well, laissez les bon temps roulez!
Yes the stupidity is ominous. They act as though there is no potential for repurcussion. It's very peculiar. Maybe they think oh well, there's been plenty of riots over the years. What ever happened? Didn't we get OJ freed? Didn't they pass civil rights legislation back in the day? And as for right now - aren't all the big people taking the knee - aren't corporations endorsing us? Isn't Twitter censoring in our favor? The mayor of New York City - wasn't he all set to paint a black lives matter mural onto 5th avenue opposite Trump tower before postponing it to paint one in Harlem instead?
Yes, all true. I don't think they've detected how furious people are getting with their behavior though. The tide is turning - CHAZ is gone, the conventions loom.
Long term I see nothing to be optimistic about. If Trump wins the counter coups will continue. If Biden, with a female minority VP who may become President -- good luck. Remember the Tea Party reaction ensuing on the heels of the first African American President? Reaction will be quite as bad at least with Trump, his family and his base still very much on the scene and infuriated.
But the oligarchs have seen their assets rise by hundreds of billions of dollars in a few short months. The surviving owners consolidate. People will be forced to work for peanuts. Evictions and repossessions are coming soon.
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended indefinitely, but his appeal fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.
The Trump administration is more isolated than ever in its Iran obsession. The ridiculous effort to invoke the so-called "snapback" provision of the JCPOA more than two years after reneging on the agreement met with failure, just as most observers predicted months ago when it was first floated as a possibility. As I said at the time, "The administration's latest destructive ploy won't find any support on the Security Council. There is nothing "intricate" about this idea. It is a crude, heavy-handed attempt to employ the JCPOA's own provisions to destroy it." It was never going to work because all of the other parties to the agreement want nothing to do with the administration's punitive approach, and U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA meant that it forfeited any rights it had when it was still part of the deal.
Opposition from Russia and China was a given, but the striking thing about the scene at the U.N. this week was that major U.S. allies joined them in rebuking the administration's obvious bad faith maneuver:
The pointedly critical tone of the debate saw Germany accusing Washington of violating international law by withdrawing from the nuclear pact, while Berlin aligned itself with China's claim that the United States has no right to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran.
The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation.
Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India:
If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.
This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo.
It has no need for expensive fighters, and it is not at all certain that their government would even be interested in acquiring them. Pompeo's presentation was a weak attempt to exaggerate the potential threat from a state that has very limited power projection, and he found no support because his serial fabrications about Iran have rendered everything he says to be worthless.
The same administration that wants to keep an arms embargo on Iran forever has no problem flooding the region with U.S.-made weapons and providing them to some of the worst governments in the world. It is these client states that are doing the most to destabilize other countries in the region right now. If the U.N. should be putting arms embargoes on any country, it should consider imposing them on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to limit their ability to wreak havoc on Yemen and Libya.
The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law.
Jun 28, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
START. Talks began in Vienna with a childish stunt by the American side . I wouldn't expect any results: the Americans are fatally deluded . As for the Russians: " We don't believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever ".Russian has a word for that: недоговороспособны and it's characterised US behaviour since at least this event (in Obama's time). Can't make an agreement with them and, even if you do, they won't keep it.
Jun 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The national security elite now wants us to believe we are seeing things that aren't really there. 'Gaslight' lobbycard, from left, Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, 1944. (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)
Ten years ago, "restraint" was considered code for "isolationism" and its purveyors were treated with nominal attention and barely disguised condescension. Today, agitated national security elites who can no longer ignore the restrainers -- and the positive attention they're getting -- are trying to cut them down to size.
We saw this recently when Peter Feaver, Hal Brands, and William Imboden, who all made their mark promoting George W. Bush's war policies after 9/11, published "In Defense of the Blob" for Foreign Affairs in April. My own pushback received an attempted drubbing in The Washington Post by national security professor Daniel Drezner ( he of the Twitter fame ): "For one thing, her essay repeatedly contradicts itself. The Blob is an exclusive cabal, and yet Vlahos also says it's on the wane."
One can be both, Professor. As they say, Rome didn't fall in a day. What we are witnessing are individuals and institutions sensing existential vulnerabilities. The restrainers have found a nerve and the Blob is feeling the pinch. Now it's starting to throw its tremendous girth around.
The latest example is from Michael J. Mazarr, senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, which since 1948 has essentially provided the brainpower behind the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. Mazarr published this voluminous warrant against restrainers in the most recent issue of The Washington Quarterly, which is run by the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Its editorial board reeks of the conventional internationalist thinking that has prevailed over the last 70 years.
In "Rethinking Restraint: Why It Fails in Practice," Mazarr insists that the critics have it all wrong: "American primacy" is way overstated and the U.S. has been more moderate in military interventions than it's given credit for. Moreover, he says, the restrainers divide current "US strategy into two broad caricatures -- primacy or liberal hegemony at one extreme, and restraint at the other. Such an approach overlooks a huge, untidy middle ground where the views of most US national security officials reside and where most US policies operate."
There is much to unpack in his nearly 10,000-word brief, and much to counter it. For example, Monica Duffy Toft has done incredible research into the history of U.S. interventions over the last 70 years, in part studying the number of times we've used force in response to incidents of foreign aggression. While the United States engaged in 46 military interventions from 1948 to 1991, from 1992 to 2017, that number increased fourfold to 188 (chart below). Kind of calls Mazarr's "frequent impulse to moderation" theory into question.
But I would like to zero in on the most infuriating charge, which mimics Drezner, Brands, Feaver, et al.: that the idea of a powerful, largely homogeneous foreign policy establishment dominating top levels of government, think tanks, media, and academia is really all in our heads. It's not real.
This weak attempt to gaslight the rest of us is an insult to George Cukor's 1944 Hollywood classic . It's unworthy. In the section "There is No Sinister National Security Elite," Mazarr turns to Stephen Walt (who wrote an entire book on the self-destructive Blob) and Andrew Bacevich (who has written that the ideology of American exceptionalism and primacy "serves the interests of those who created the national security state and those who still benefit from its continued existence"). This elite, both men charge, enjoy "status, influence, and considerable wealth" in return for supporting the consensus.
To this Mazarr contends, "Apart from collections of anecdotes, those convinced of the existence of such a homogenous elite offer no objective evidence -- such as surveys, interviews, or comprehensive literature reviews -- to back up these sweeping claims." Then failing to offer his own evidence, he argues:
on specific policy questions -- whether to go to war or conduct a humanitarian intervention, or what policy to adopt toward China or Cuba or Russia or Iran -- debates in Washington are deep, intense, and sometimes bitter. To take just a single example from recent history, the Obama administration's decision to endorse a surge in Afghanistan came only after extended deliberation and soul-searching, and it included a major, and highly controversial, element of restraint -- a very public deadline to begin a graduated withdrawal.
Let's go back to 2009, because some of us actually remember these "deep, intense, and sometimes bitter" times.
First, the only "bitter debates" were between the military, which wanted to "surge" 40,000 troops into Afghanistan in the first year of Obama's presidency, and the president, who had promised to bring the war to an end. After months, Obama "compromised" when in December 2009, he announced a plan for 30,000 new troops (which would bring the then-current number to 98,000) and a timetable for withdrawal of 18 months hence, which really pleased no one , not even the outlier restrainers, like Mazarr suggests.
In fact, restrainers knew the timetable was bunk, and it was. In 2011, there were still 100,000 troops on the ground. In fact, it didn't get down to pre-2009 levels until December 2013.
But let it be clear: the only contention in December 2009 was over the timetable (the hawks at the Heritage Foundation and AEI wanted an open-ended commitment) and whether the president should have been more deferential to his generals (General Stanley McCrystal had just been installed as commander in Afghanistan and the mainstream media was fawning ). Otherwise, every major think tank in town and national security pundit blasted out press releases and op-eds supporting the presidents strategy with varying degrees of enthusiasm. None, aside from the usual TAC suspects, raised a serious note against it. Examples:
John " Eating Soup with a Knife " Nagl, Center for a New American Security : "This strategy will protect the Afghan population with international forces now and build Afghan security forces that in time will allow an American drawdown–leaving behind a more capable Afghan government and a more secure region which no longer threatens the United States and our allies." Each of the CNAS fellows on this press release offer a variation on the same theme, with some more energetic than others. Ditto for this one from The Council on Foreign Relations .
Vanda Felhab-Brown, Brookings Institution : "there would have been no chance to turn the security situation around, take the momentum away from the Taliban, and hence, enable economic development and improvements in governance and rule of law, without the surge."
David Ignatius, The Washington Post : "Obama has made what I think is the right decision: The only viable 'exit strategy' from Afghanistan is one that starts with a bang -- by adding 30,000 more U.S. troops to secure the major population centers, so that control can be transferred to the Afghan army and police."
Ahead of Obama's decision (during the "bitter debate"), the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon, a fixture on The Washington Pos t op-ed pages and cable news shows -- was pushing for the maximum : "President Barack Obama should approve the full buildup his commanders are requesting, even as he also steels the nation for a difficult and uncertain mission ahead."
Meanwhile, all of the so-called progressive national security groups, including the Center for American Progress, Third Way, and the National Security Network, heralded Obama's plan as "a smarter, stronger strategy that stated clear objectives and is based on American security interests, namely preventing terrorist attacks."
"Counterintuitively," they said in a joint statement , "sending more troops will allow us to get out more quickly."
Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has always been a thoughtful skeptic, but he never fails to offer a hedge on whatever new plan comes down the pike. Here he is on Obama's surge , exemplifying how difficult it was/is for the establishment to just call a failure a failure:
The strategy President Obama has set forth in broad terms can still win if the Afghan government and Afghan forces become more effective, if NATO/ISAF national contingents provide more unity of effort, if aid donors focus on the fact that development cannot succeed unless the Afghan people see real progress where they live in the near future, and if the United States shows strategic patience and finally provides the resources necessary to win.
That's a lot of "ifs," but they provide amazing cover for those who don't want to admit the cause is lost -- or can't -- because their work depends on giving the military and State Department something to do. This is what happens when your think tank relies on government contracts and grants and arms industry money . According to The New York Times, major defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing gave some $77 million to a dozen think tanks between 2010 and 2016.
They aren't getting the money to advocate that troops, contractors, NGO's, and diplomats come home and stay put. Money and agenda underwrites who is heading the think tanks, who speaks for the national security programs, and who populates conferences, book launches, speeches, and television appearances. Mazarr doesn't think this can be quantified but it's rather easy. Google "2009 Afghanistan conference/panel/speakers" and plenty of events come up. Pick any year, the results are predictable.
Here's a Brookings Panel in August 2009 , assessing the Afghanistan election, including Anthony Cordesman, Kimberly Kagan, and Michael O'Hanlon. Not a lot of "diversity" there. Here's a taste of the 2009 annual CNAS conference, which featured the usual suspects, including David Petraeus, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, and 1,400 people in attendance. Aside from Andrew " Skunk at the Garden Party " Bacevich, there was little to distinguish one world view from another among the panelists. (CNAS was originally founded in support of Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign; she spoke at the inaugural conference in 2007. Former president Michele Flournoy later landed in the E-Ring of the Pentagon.) Meanwhile, here's a Hudson Institute tribute to David Petraeus, attended by Scooter Libby, and a December 2009 Atlantic Council panel with -- you guessed it -- Kimberly Kagan and two military representatives thrown in to pump up McChrystal and NATO and staying the course.
On top of it all, these events and their people never failed to get the attention of the major corporate media, which just loved the idea of warrior-monk generals "liberating" Afghanistan through a "government in a box" counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy.
Honestly, thank goodness for Cato , which before the new Quincy Institute, was the only think tank to feature COIN critics like Colonel Gian Gentile , and not just as foils. The Center for the National Interest also harbored skeptics of the president's strategy. But they were outnumbered too.
This is what I want to convey. Mazarr boasts there is a galaxy of opinion today over U.S. policy in Iran, China, Russia, NATO. I would argue there is a narrow spectrum of technical and ideological disagreement in all these cases, but nowhere was it more important to have strong, competing voices than during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and there was none of that in any realistic sense of the word.
I challenge him and the others to take down the straw men and own the ecosystem to which they owe their success in Washington (Mazarr just published a piece called "Toward a New Theory of Power Projection" for goodness sake). Stop trying to pretend what is there isn't. Realists and restrainers are happy to debate the merits of our different approaches, but gaslighting is for nefarious lovers and we're no Ingrid Bergman. about the author
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, executive editor, has been writing for TAC since 2007, focusing on national security, foreign policy, civil liberties and domestic politics. She served for 15 years as a Washington bureau reporter for FoxNews.com, and at WTOP News in Washington from 2013-2017 as a writer, digital editor and social media strategist. She has also worked as a beat reporter at Bridge News financial wire (now part of Reuters) and Homeland Security Today, and as a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. A native Nutmegger, she got her start in Connecticut newspapers, but now resides with her family in Arlington, Va.
Jun 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pompeo is suggesting that Iran will spend tens of millions on planes, fly them unopposed through the radar coverage of several countries, to let Iranian Kamikaze pilots crash them into some temple in Nepal.
This does not make any sense. No foreign politician will be impressed by this 'argument'. Pompeo's tweet is for consumption at home.
At the UN the U.S. is trying to get a new arms embargo resolution against Iran:The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump introduced a long-awaited U.N. Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution extending an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October, setting the stage for a great-power clash and likely veto in the U.N.'s principal security body, according to a copy of the draft obtained by Foreign Policy .
If passed, the resolution would fall under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, making it legally binding and enforceable. But the U.S. measure, according to several U.N. Security Council diplomats, stands little chance of being adopted by the 15-nation council.
Some council diplomats and other nonproliferation experts see the U.S. move as a way to score political points at home , not to do anything about Iran's destabilizing activities in the region.
"The skeptic in me says that the objective of this exercise is to go through the arms embargo resolution, and when it fails, to use that as an excuse to get a snapback of the embargo, and if and when that fails too, to use as a political talking point in the election campaign ," said Mark Fitzpatrick, a former State Department nonproliferation official now at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Since China and Russia are almost certain to ignore any U.N. arms embargo forced by U.S. maneuvers, the practical impact on Iran's ability to cause mischief will be minimal, he said.
"It's not actually about stopping any arms from China and Russia, it's about winning a political argument ," he said.
We explained that the U.S. does not have a 'snapback' option . Russia and China have also clarified that :Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chinese government's top diplomat, Wang Yi, both wrote to the 15-member council and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres as the United States threatens to spark a so-called sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal, even though Washington quit the accord in 2018.
Lavrov wrote in the May 27 letter, made public this week, that the United States was being "ridiculous and irresponsible."
"This is absolutely unacceptable and serves only to recall the famous English proverb about having one's cake and eating it," Lavrov wrote.
Washington has threatened to trigger a return of U.N. sanctions on Iran if the Security Council does not extend an arms embargo due to expire in October under Tehran's deal with world powers to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
Lavrov cited a 1971 International Court of Justice opinion, which found that a fundamental principle governing international relationships was that "a party which disowns or does not fulfill its own obligations cannot be recognized as retaining the rights which it claims to derive from the relationship."
Despite the evident failure to convince others the U.S. continues make stupid arguments :Russia and China will be isolated at the United Nations if they continue down the "road to dystopia" by blocking a U.S. bid to extend a weapons ban on Iran, U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told Reuters ahead of his formal pitch of the embargo to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
"We see a widening gap between Russia and China and the international community," Hook said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday evening.
The U.S. has left the JCPoA deal and can not claim a right under that deal to snap back the sanctions that the deal has lifted. It is the U.S. that is isolated. Even its allies do not support the attempt:"We firmly believe that any unilateral attempt to trigger UN sanctions snapback would have serious adverse consequences in the UNSC," the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany said in a statement on June 19. "We would not support such a decision which would be incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPoA."
The Trump policy against Iran has failed. He has tried a 'maximum pressure' campaign to blackmail Iran into more concessions. But despite sanctions and economic problems caused by them Iran is not willing to talk with him. Its conditions for talks are clear :"We have no problem with talks with the U.S., but only if Washington fulfils its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologies and compensates Tehran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal," Rouhani said in a televised speech.
The U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, including the new sanctions against Syria under the 'Ceasar's Law', have been helping Iran to strengthen its position :Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US's flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of "Caesar' Law", Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves.
Iranian companies found in Syria a paradise for strategic investment and offered the needed alternative to a Syrian economy crippled by sanctions and nine years of war. Iran considers Syria a fertile ground to expand its commerce and business like never before.
With Iran's influence growing and Russia making inroads even with once staunch U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia it seems that real U.S. influence in the Middle East is on a decisive downturn.
Whatever Pompous Pompeo says or tweets will not change that. But there's a sucker born every minute. Some of those may still fall for the stuff he says.
Twice a year I ask readers of this blog to support my effort. Please consider contributing .
Posted by b on June 24, 2020 at 17:10 UTC | Permalink
Jun 14, 2020 | nationalinterest.org
Kirkpatrick's essay begins by insisting that, because of world events since 1939, America has given to foreign affairs "an unnatural focus." Now in 1990, she says, the nation can turn its attention to domestic concerns that are more important because "a good society is defined not by its foreign policy but its internal qualities . . . by the relations among its citizens, the kind of character nurtured, and the quality of life lived." She says unabashedly that "there is no mystical American 'mission' or purposes to be 'found' independently of the U.S. Constitution and government."
One cannot fail to notice that this perspective is precisely the opposite of George W. Bush's in his second inauguration. According to Bush, America's post –Cold War purpose was to follow our "deepest beliefs" by acting to "support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture." For three decades neoconservative foreign policy has revolved around "mystical" beliefs about America's mission in the world that are unmoored from the actual Constitution.
In Trumpian fashion, Kirkpatrick then goes on to warn Americans about the danger of an unaccountable "deep state" in foreign policy that is immune to popular pressures. She rejects emphatically the views of some elitists who argue that foreign policy is a uniquely esoteric and specialized discipline and must be cushioned from populism. She says that, no, "it has become more important than ever that the experts who conduct foreign policy on our behalf be subject to the direction of and control of the people."
She points out that because America had for much of the twentieth century assumed global responsibilities, our foreign policy elites had developed "distinctive views" that are different from those of the electorate. Again, in Trumpian fashion, she argued that foreign policy elites "grew accustomed to thinking of the United States as having boundless resources and purposes . . . which transcended the preferences of voters and apparent American interests . . . and eventually developed a globalist attitude."
In support of Kirkpatrick's concern, Tufts professor Michael Glennon has more recently argued that the national security establishment has now become so "distinctive" in their separation from our constitutional processes that they represent one wing of a now "double government" that is not unaccountable to, and unsupervised by, the popular branches of government. The Russiagate investigations and the attempt to disable the Trump presidency, aided by many in the establishment, would appear to confirm Kirkpatrick's warning that foreign policy elites want no part of the electoral preferences of voting Americans.
Kirkpatrick concludes her essay with thoughts on "What should we do?" and "What we should not do." Remarkably, her first recommendation is to negotiate better trade deals. These deals should give the U.S. "fair access" to foreign markets while offering "foreign businesses no better than fair access to U.S. markets." Next, she considered the promotion of democracy around the world and, on this subject, she took the John Quincy Adams position : that "Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be." However, she insisted: "it is not within the United States' power to democratize the world."
When Kirkpatrick goes on to discuss America's post –Cold War alliances, she makes clear that she is advocating, quite simply, an America First foreign policy. Regarding the future of the NATO alliance, a sacrosanct pillar of the American foreign policy establishment, she argued that "the United States should not try to manage the balance of power in Europe." Likewise, we should be humble about what we can accomplish in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union: "Any notion that the United States can manage the changes in that huge, multinational, developing society is grandiose." Finally, with regard to Asia: "Our concern with Japan should above all be with its trading practices vis-à-vis the United States. We should not spend money protecting an affluent Japan, though a continuing alliance is entirely appropriate."
She famously concludes her essay by making the plea for the United States to become "a normal country in a normal time" and "to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status and become again an unusually successful, open American republic."
Kirkpatrick became Ronald Reagan's United Nations ambassador because her 1979 article in Commentary , "Dictatorships and Double Standards," caught the eye of the future president. In that article, she sensibly points out that authoritarian governments that are allies of the United States should not be kicked to the curb because they are not free and open democracies. The path to democracy is a long and perilous one, and nations without republican traditions cannot be expected to make the transition overnight. Regarding the world's oldest democracy, she remarked: "In Britain, the road from the Magna Carta to the Act of Settlement, to the great Reform Bills of 1832, 1867, and 1885, took seven centuries to traverse."
While at the time neoconservatives opportunistically embraced her for this position as a tactic to fight the Cold War, the current foreign policy establishment would consider Kirkpatrick's argument to be beyond the bounds of decent conversation, as it would lend itself to an accommodation with authoritarian Russia as a counterweight to totalitarian China.
Kirkpatrick died in 2006 and had, like many neoconservatives, evolved from a Humphrey Democrat into a member of the GOP establishment. With William Bennett and Jack Kemp, in 1993 she cofounded a neoconservative group, Empower America, which took a very aggressive stance against militant Islam after the 9/11 attacks. However, she was quite ambivalent about the invasion of Iraq and was quoted in The Economist as saying that George W. Bush was "a bit too interventionist for my taste" and that Bush's brand of moral imperialism is not "taken seriously anywhere outside a few places in Washington, DC."
The fact that Kirkpatrick's recommendations in her 1990 essay coincide with some of Donald Trump's positions in the 2016 campaign (if not with many of his actual actions as president) make her views, ipso facto, not serious. The foreign policy establishment gives something like pariah status to arguments that we should negotiate better trade deals, reconsider our Cold War alliances and, most especially, subject American foreign policy to popular preferences. If she were alive today and were making the arguments she made in 1990, then she would be an outcast. That a formidable intellectual like Kirkpatrick would be dismissed in such a fashion is a sign of how obtuse our foreign policy debate has become.
William S. Smith is Senior Research Fellow and Managing Director of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. His recent book, Democracy and Imperialism , is from the University of Michigan Press. He studied political philosophy under Professor Jeane Kirkpatrick as an undergraduate at Georgetown University.
May 25, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
When it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo's penchant for undermining America's credibility is top-notch
'Pompeo is a natural Trumpist.' Donald Trump's disdain for the people, country and values his office is supposed to represent is unmatched in recent memory. And he has found in the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo , a kindred spirit who has embraced his role as Trumpism's number one proselytizer to the world.
Pompeo doesn't wield nearly as much power or have the jurisdiction to inflict damage on as wide a range of issues as the president. He's not as crass or erratic as Trump, and his Twitter feed seems dedicated more to childish mockery than outright attacks. But when it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo's penchant for undermining America's credibility is top-notch.
At Pompeo's recommendation, Trump fired the state department's inspector general, who is supposed to be an independent investigator charged with looking into potential wrongdoing inside the department. Steve Linick was just the latest in a series of inspectors general across the government that Trump had fired in an attempt to hide the misconduct of his administration – but it also shone a spotlight on how Pompeo has undermined his agency.
Watchdog was investigating Pompeo for arms deal and staff misuse before firing
According to news reports, Pompeo was being investigated by the inspector general for bypassing Congress and possibly breaking the law in sending weapons to Saudi Arabia, even though his own department and the rest of the US government advised against the decision. He was also supposedly organizing fancy dinners – paid for by taxpayers – with influential businesspeople and TV personalities that seemed geared more towards supporting Pompeo's political career than advancing US foreign policy goals. And he was reportedly being scrutinized for using department personnel to conduct personal business, such as getting dry cleaning and walking his dog.
But these revelations merely reaffirm a pattern of activities by Pompeo unbecoming of the nation's top diplomat. When the House of Representatives was in the process of impeaching Trump over his attempt to extort Ukraine for personal political purposes – an act that Pompeo was aware of – Pompeo defended Trump while throwing under the bus career state department officials, like the ousted US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who spoke out. Pompeo has regularly ignored Congress, withholding documents from lawmakers – including during the Ukraine impeachment investigation – and refusing to appear for testimony. In 2019, the IG released a report detailing political retaliation against career state department officials being perpetrated by Trump officials. And Pompeo has spent considerable time traveling to Kansas and conducting media interviews there, fueling speculation that he has been using his position to tee up a run for the Senate, a violation of the Hatch Act.
Pompeo is a natural Trumpist. In her fantastic profile of the secretary of state, Susan Glasser notes of his first congressional race: "Pompeo ran a nasty race against the Democrat, an Indian-American state legislator named Raj Goyle, who, unlike Pompeo, had grown up in Wichita. Pompeo's campaign tweeted praise for an article calling Goyle a 'turban topper', and a supporter bought billboards urging residents to 'Vote American – Vote Pompeo'."
... ... ...Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Trump is undermining American leadership in incalculable ways, and Pompeo has weaponized the state department on the president's behalf.' Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Next to Trump's assault on US values, Pompeo's role as top Trump lackey may seem insignificant. But the secretary of state is often the most senior US official that other countries and publics hear from on any number of issues. Even with Trump in the Oval Office, a secretary of state that was committed to the constitution - not Trump - would at least be able to fight for the values that US foreign policy should embody, and shield the department's day-to-day business from Trump's outbursts.
The work that department professionals conduct around the world – helping American citizens abroad get home in the early days of the pandemic or coordinating assistance to other countries to cope with the coronavirus – is vital to American national security, and at the core of the image that America projects abroad.
Trump is undermining American leadership in incalculable ways, and Pompeo has weaponized the state department on his behalf
... ... ...
May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Mark Chapman May 24, 2020 at 9:17 amJust take a look at the progressive schooling of 'diplomats' who end up in American ambassadorial and consular posts. Where do they come from? The Heritage Institute, Legatum, the American Enterprise Institute, and various other America-Triumphant think tanks. Look at Michael McFaul, and his absurd just-a-ole-homeboy-who-loves-Russia video he put out before taking up his official duties in Moscow. And he barely had the dust of New York off his shoes before he was huddling with the Russian opposition. I don't know why Russia even affects to be surprised by their attitudes.
May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
moscowexile May 24, 2020 at 4:10 amHave they nothing better to do than peddle their Russophobia?
Wouldn't it be more useful to allocate $ 250,000 to save someone's lives, @StateDept ? Instead of "Exposing Russian Health Disinformation"
📸 Medical aid 🇷🇺✈️🇺🇸 in NYC and Moscow pic.twitter.com/BVFxDVJJAH
-- Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) May 23, 2020
May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , May 25 2020 0:44 utc | 56vk #4
Pompeo Warns US May Stop Sharing Intelligence With Australia Over Victoria Inking Deal With China's BRI
The battle for Australia's soul has begun.
Lets reverse that point, shall we. There is a US spy base in Australia at a place called Pine Gap. Without it being operational the USA would lose its 3 dimensional vision across the planet.
This Bannon/Trump bluster is weak as p!ss as 'sharing intelligence' is the cornerstone of the five eyes perversion that gives the USA some superiority in intelligence matters. So if sharing intelligence were withdrawn by the USA with Australia it would have meaningless consequences.
On the other hand if Australia ceased its intelligence sharing and shut down all the data traffic out of Australia - the USA would go ballistic. Not that the Oz government would ever do such a thing being a craven water carrier for the new world order etc...
Pompeo is blathering bullsh!t and he knows it and we all know it. Odd that you would reiterate his brainless threat vk.
May 18, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Yhe president announced on Friday that he was firing Steve Linick, the State Department's Inspector General. One possible reason that Linick was removed may have been that he was conducting an investigation into the bogus emergency declaration that the administration used to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE last year:
House Democrats have discovered that the fired IG had mostly completed an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's widely criticized decision to skirt Congress with an emergency declaration to approve billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia last year, aides on the Foreign Affairs Committee tell me.
"I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick's firing," Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement sent to me. "His office was investigating -- at my request -- Trump's phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia."
If Linick was investigating the bogus emergency declaration, he would have come across reporting that showed how a former Raytheon lobbyist serving at the department was instrumental in pushing through the plan to expedite arms sales that benefited his old employer. He would have discovered that there was no genuine emergency that justified going around Congress. Once his investigation was concluded, it would have found that the emergency declaration was made in bad faith and that the law was abused so that the administration could proceed with arms sales that Congress opposed.
Another reason for the firing was to protect Mike Pompeo from an investigation into the Secretary's abuses of government resources for personal purposes:
The State Department inspector general fired by President Trump was looking into allegations that a staffer for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was performing domestic errands and chores such as handling dry cleaning, walking the family dog and making restaurant reservations, said a congressional official familiar with the matter.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a statement immediately on Friday objecting to Linick's firing and suggesting that it might be an illegal act of retaliation. There will now be a Congressional investigation into the circumstances surrounding Linick's firing. If Trump hoped to reduce the scrutiny on Pompeo by getting rid of Linick, he will be disappointed. It remains to be seen how much of a price Pompeo will pay for this, but the price is likely higher now than it would have been if he hadn't pushed for removing the inspector general.
Pompeo reportedly recommended Linick's removal. This is not the first time that Pompeo has been accused of misusing government resources. There was a report last summer that a whistleblower alleged that Pompeo and his wife were using Diplomatic Security agents as their personal errand boys:
Democrats on a key House congressional committee are investigating allegations from a whistleblower within the State Department about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his family's use of taxpayer-funded Diplomatic Security -- prompting agents to lament they are at times viewed as "UberEats with guns".
Congressional investigators, who asked for the committee not to be named as they carry out their inquiries, tell CNN that a State Department whistleblower has raised multiple issues over a period of months, about special agents being asked to carry out some questionable tasks for the Pompeo family.
Pompeo has also repeatedly used government resources for domestic travel that seems to have more to do with advancing the Secretary's political ambitions in Kansas. There has been widespread speculation that he has used official trips in an attempt to lay the groundwork for a possible Senate campaign . If so, it would be a flagrant violation of the Hatch Act. That prompted a call for a special counsel investigation into Pompeo's travel. If Pompeo and his wife have been using a political appointee as a gofer, that would be more of the same abusive behavior.
Linick has previously clashed with other Trump administration officials at State. Last year, he released a damning report on Brian Hook over his treatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iranian-American official who was apparently targeted for political retaliation because of her policy views and ethnic background. The fired inspector general was well-respected at the department, and his firing at Pompeo's urging will likely cause further demoralization at a department that has already been run into the ground under the Secretary's dismal leadership.
The Secretary of State seems to think that government funds and personnel are at his disposal for his personal errands and political activities. Linick was doing exactly what an inspector general is supposed to be doing by investigating the allegations against him, and then he was conveniently fired on Pompeo's recommendation. You could hardly ask for a more straightforward case of a corrupt official using his influence to remove the person responsible for scrutinizing his conduct. If Linick was also fired because he was in the process of exposing the administration's dishonest push for more arms sales to the Saudi coalition, that makes his removal all the more outrageous and sinister.
JMWB • an hour agoMike Pompeo is a Tea Party darling. The Tea Party's motto should be : Austerity, fiscal responsibility, and integrity for Thee, but not for Me.Feral Finster JMWB • 33 minutes agoMike Pompeo's idea of austerity is only a double order of french fries.
May 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Hawk Elliot Abrams, reborn as a U.S. envoy, is at the spear point of recent aggressive moves in Venezuela. US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams addresses the Atlantic Council on the future of Venezuela in Washington, DC, on April 25, 2019. (Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
May 14, 2020|
12:01 amBarbara Boland As we await answers on who funded the plot to use a handful of mercenaries and ex-Green Berets to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro , it's worth taking a closer look at the man behind regime change policy, the special envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.
Called the "neocon zombie" by officials at the State Department, Abrams is known as an operator who doesn't let anything stand in his way. He has a long history of pursuing disastrous policies in government.
"Everything Abrams is doing now is the same thing he was doing during the Reagan administration. He's very adept at manipulating the levers of power without a lot of oversight," a former senior official at the State Department told The American Conservative. The official added that Abrams is "singularly focused" on pursuing regime change in Venezuela.
A little background on Abrams: when he served as Reagan's assistant secretary of state for human rights, he concealed a massacre of a thousand men, women, and children by U.S.-funded death squads in El Salvador. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal, helping to secure covert funding for Contra rebels in Nicaragua in violation of laws passed by Congress. In 1991, he pled guilty to lying to Congress about the America's role in those two fiascos -- twice.
But then-president George H.W. Bush pardoned Abrams. He went on to support "measures to scuttle the Latin American peace process launched by the Costa Rican president, Óscar Arias" and use "the agency's money to unseat the Sandinistas in Nicaragua's 1990 general elections," according to Brian D'Haeseleer.
Under President George W. Bush, Abrams promoted regime change in Iraq.
Abrams was initially blocked from joining the Trump administration on account of a Never Trump op-ed he'd penned. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo succeeded in bringing him onboard last year, despite his history of support for disastrous regime change policies.
It's no surprise that with Abrams at the helm, U.S. rhetoric and actions towards Venezuela are constantly "escalating," Dr. Alejandro Velasco, associate professor of Modern Latin America at New York University, said an interview with TAC.
In just the last month, Washington has placed bounties on the heads of President Nicolás Maduro and a dozen current and former Venezuelan officials. The U.S. also deployed the largest fleet ever to the Southern Hemisphere.
Meanwhile, Abrams announced the " Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela ," which calls on Maduro's government to embrace a power-sharing deal. The plan doesn't explain how Venezuelan leaders with bounties on their heads are supposed to come to the table and negotiate with Juan Guaido, whom the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela's legitimate leader. Abrams has also said that the U.S. does not support a coup.
A few days after recommending a power-sharing arrangement, and 18 years after the U.S. backed a putsch against Hugo Chavez, Abrams warned that if Maduro resisted the organization of a "transitional government," his departure would be far more "dangerous and abrupt." To many, Abrams' aggressive rhetoric against Maduro made it sound like the U.S. was "effectively threatening him with another assassination attempt," like the one Washington had "tacitly supported" in 2018.
Two weeks after Abrams' warning, Operation Gideon began. Jordan Goudreau, an American citizen, former Green Beret, and three-time Bronze Star recipient for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Javier Nieto, a retired Venezuelan military captain, posted a video from an undisclosed location saying they had launched an attack that was meant to begin a rebellion that would lead to Maduro's arrest and the installation of Juan Guaido.
In a public relations coup for Maduro, the plot was quickly foiled. Given that American citizens were involved and have produced a contract allegedly signed by Guaido, the incident has severely harmed the reputations of both the U.S. and the Venezuelan opposition.
Both President Trump and Pompeo have denied that the U.S. had any "direct" involvement with Goudreau's plot.
However, the Trump administration has given billions of dollars from USAID to Venezuela, and that money is largely untraceable due to concerns about outing supporters of Guaido.
"With all the cash and arms sloshing around in Venezuela," it is not hard to imagine how U.S. funding could inadvertently wind up supporting something like this, said Velasco.
There are other signs that the U.S. may have been more involved in the plot than they are saying publicly.
For one, American mercenaries don't carry passports identifying themselves as American nor do they return to the U.S. where they can be brought up on charges for their work, said Sean McFate, professor of war and strategy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the National Defense University.
In order to sell weapons or training to another nation, it is necessary to receive permission from the State Department. It's unclear whether Goudreau and his band did so. But Goudreau's social media posts look like a pretty "clear cut" violation of the International Convention Against the Recruitment, Financing and Training of Mercenaries and the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) said Peter Singer, a senior fellow at New America.
We know that months before the fated coup, the CIA met with Goudreau in Jamaica and allegedly warned him off the project. According to the AP, Goudreau is now under investigation for arms trafficking . Members of Congress have asked the State Department what they knew of Goudreau's plans. Given the illegal nature of the supposedly unauthorized project, it's very strange that the ringleader is at present in Florida, talking to the press and posting on social media.
Besides that warning, it seems no one in government tried to stop this calamitous operation.
And it's not just regime change. Last year, Abrams advocated granting special immigration status for the 70,000 Venezuelans residing illegally in the U.S. as a way to "pressure Maduro" even though Trump ran on the promise to severely limit the number of people granted Temporary Protected Status.
It was in pursuit of special status for Venezuelans that Abrams showed himself to be "incredibly pompous, bull-headed, and willing to destroy anyone who opposes him, in a personal way, including by trashing their reputations in the media," another senior State Department official told TAC. Abrams is not above hiding policy options he doesn't like and offering only those he favors to Pompeo to present to Trump, sources said.
Abrams ultimately prevailed and Venezuelans received refugee status from the Trump administration, despite the fact that it betrayed Trump's campaign promises.
According to Velasco, there are some people in the administration who believe that Venezuelans are the "new Cubans" -- that they will become a solid, loyal Republican vote in the swing state of Florida if they're granted special status. They also believe that Venezuelan expats want to see the U.S. remove Maduro. There are "many Cold Warriors" who believe all it will take is a "little push" for Venezuelans to rise up and take out Maduro, said Velasco.
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment on whether Abrams is pursuing a military confrontation in Venezuela.
"Cold Warrior" beliefs are dangerous. While "Operation Gideon" was especially clownish, had it been more sophisticated, it could have easily sparked a world war. The Russians, Iranians, and Chinese are all operating in Venezuela.
That specter is even more concerning now that Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that Russian special services are on standby to help Venezuela's investigation of the mercenaries. about the author Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill , UK Spectator , and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .
May 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Thomas Meaney debunks the myth of Henry Kissinger:
Since leaving office, too, Kissinger has rarely challenged consensus, let alone offered the kind of inconvenient assessments that characterized the later career of George Kennan, who warned President Clinton against NATO expansion after the Soviet Union's collapse. It is instructive to measure Kissinger's instincts against those of a true realist, such as the University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer. As the Cold War ended, Mearsheimer was so committed to the "balance of power" principle that he made the striking suggestion of allowing nuclear proliferation in a unified Germany and throughout Eastern Europe. Kissinger, unable to see beyond the horizon of the Cold War, could not imagine any other purpose for American power than the pursuit of global supremacy.
Although he has criticized the interventionism of neoconservatives, there is scarcely a U.S. military adventure, from Panama to Iraq, that has not met with his approval. In all his meditations on world order, he has not thought about how contingent and unforeseen America's rise as global superpower actually was. Nothing in the country's republican tradition prior to the Second World War demanded it.
The contrast between the worldviews and careers of Kennan and Kissinger is instructive, and it helps to explain why the Washington foreign policy consensus has gotten so many things wrong over the decades. Meaney mentions that as early as 1965 Kissinger was privately admitting that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable, but publicly he supported it and went on to preside over its continuation and escalation for many years. During the same period, Kennan spoke out against the war, and urged full withdrawal. Kennan famously said:
There is more respect to be won in the opinion of this world by a resolute and courageous liquidation of unsound positions than by the most stubborn pursuit of extravagant or unpromising objectives.
Kissinger insisted on just the opposite: that the cynical and stubborn pursuit of extravagant and unpromising objectives was necessary to prove American resolve. Kissinger couldn't have been more wrong, as subsequent events showed beyond any doubt, but his profound wrongness had little or no effect on his standing in the U.S. It is no accident that Kissinger has repeatedly endorsed pursuing such objectives up to and including the invasion of Iraq. The blunders that Kennan warned against and correctly foresaw would be costly and wasteful are the same ones that Kissinger approved and defended.
Our government usually listens to and employs the Kissingers to make our foreign policy, and it ignores and marginalizes the Kennans once they start saying inconvenient things. Kissinger had great success in advancing himself, and he has continued to be a fixture in the foreign policy establishment almost fifty years after he last served in government, because he knows how to provide arguments that lend legitimacy to dubious and aggressive policies. He made bogus claims about "credibility" in the '60s that helped to perpetuate one war, and later generations of hawks have used the same claims to justify involvement in new ones. Despite all the evidence that his "credibility" arguments were nonsense, Kissinger's reputation has bizarrely continued to improve over time.
Meaney also compares Kissinger with Hans Morgenthau:
Like Kissinger, Morgenthau had become well known with a popular book about foreign policy, "Politics Among Nations" (1948). And he shared Kissinger's belief that foreign policy could not be left to technocrats with flowcharts and statistics. But, unlike Kissinger, Morgenthau was unwilling to sacrifice his realist principles for political influence [bold mine-DL]. In the mid-sixties, working as a consultant for the Johnson Administration, he was publicly critical of the Vietnam War, which he believed jeopardized America's status as a great power, and Johnson had him fired.
The different responses to Vietnam are telling. Kennan and Morgenthau could see very clearly that U.S. intervention was unnecessary and senseless, and they said as much. Kissinger could see the same thing, but he pretended otherwise to gain influence. U.S. foreign policy then and later would have benefited greatly from having more honest assessments of irresponsible policies and fewer cynical endorsements of unnecessary wars. If we are to learn anything from Kissinger's example, it is that we should strive to be as unlike him as we can be.
kouroi • 4 days agoYeah, right. It will only get worse.Tim Chapman kouroi • 4 days ago
See Orwell's 1984 in full swing: How US erases history of WWII and the Soviet Union's overwhelming contribution to defeating Hitler's Germany.
Also, it is worth mentioning the Soviet diplomacy's response to Keenan's Long Telegram, for parity:
While Mr. Larison has to / must continue his excellent work as a chronicler of US imperial madness, his and his peers' advice will continue to be ignored (ideally this advice would not even exist and no record of it would pass beyond government doors or "respectable" opinionators because TINA) regardless of public opinion pools and election promises and voting results.
Only a US societal quasi collapse, or the establishment of US as an endemic source of Covid-19 (or similar diseases), or Saudis selling their oil for other currencies beside US dollars, or a faster rising of ocean levels, or a full blown and rapid economic war and disengagement with China will potentially re-balance things. But it might be too late, and the US would have by then forgotten how to use certain intellectual tools the way Australian Aborigines and Tasmanians have forgotten to make and use bows and arrows.It's amusingly daft to describe the US as having engaged in imperial madness, but ludicrous to assert that Australian Aborigines ever used bows and arrows.Feral Finster Tim Chapman • 4 days agoThe United States acts and talks like an empire, or need I trot out that quote fromt hat Bush-era apparatchik again?Tim • 4 days ago
And talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. If Kouroi used the term "boomerangs" instead of "bows and arrows", would that make you happy?Thanks for that. I have always had a vague awareness that HK was a problematic factor, but, being preoccupied with the daily grind, never scrutinized the record much. This short comparative piece is good for clarity. Perhaps the saddest thing of all, though, is that after all these decades, the HK perspective has become accepted by the Neo- factions (cons? libs? does it matter?) as a default position. Makes US seem like we're in the thrall of a military-industrial complex or something.Mark Pietrzyk • 4 days ago • editedIn defense of Kissinger, he was skeptical of the expansion of NATO to the Baltic states and was much more open to diplomacy with Russia than most hawks in the GOP. But you're right that too often Kissinger was afraid to make waves by opposing military interventions. https://www.washingtonpost....DUNK Mark Pietrzyk • 4 days agoHenry Kissinger called US soldiers "dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy" and he's been advising Trump since 2016.Bag Man • 4 days agoKissinger is an example that this old adage is true. "Only the Good Die Young". The devil is waiting for him. Kissinger is responsible for murdering and torturing many.TheSnark • 4 days ago • editedKissinger was a brilliant historian and diplomat, with deep insights into how the world works. However he was also a careerist who was willing to bend his views to achieve and stay in power. For better or worse, he shaped US foreign policy for many years, and strongly influenced it for many more.Connecticut Farmer TheSnark • 2 days ago
Kennan was also a brilliant historian and diplomat, who had a huge impact on US policy with his Long Telegram. But once the policy was accepted, he had little influence over its long-term implementation because he refused to compromise and work with (manipulate?) lesser beings.
And today, our foreign policy is run by people who know little of the world and none of its history, and could care less. But they are great at PR and political manipulation. I'll take either Kissinger or Kennan over any of them. Whatever their flaws, at least they knew what they were talking aboutYou are correct in your description of Kissinger as a "careerist". Unfortunately, unlike Kissinger George Kennan never became SoS, so he never had the president's=marco01= • 4 days ago • edited
"ear." Some would argue that Truman should have picked him over Dean Acheson to succeed George Marshall. One can only wonder how history would have panned out.=marco01= • 4 days ago • edited....as early as 1965 Kissinger was privately admitting that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable, but publicly he supported it and went on to preside over its continuation and escalation for many years.
How could he stubbornly persist knowing that every day Americans were losing their lives - for years. This guy must be a sociopath.....as early as 1965 Kissinger was privately admitting that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable, but publicly he supported it and went on to preside over its continuation and escalation for many years.
How could he stubbornly persist knowing that every day Americans were losing their lives - for years. This guy must be a sociopath.
May 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com
Rosco Coltrane , 2 days ago (edited)Juju Rellama , 2 days ago
Why isn't Schiff in Jail. Isn't Barry's Alumni worried about the rule of law?Will Hunt , 2 days ago
She [Amb. Yovanovitch's] hated Trump. Blamed him for her failed career. Whistleblowers don't have long careersmark spannar , 2 days ago
Nothing but lies for 4 years from Dems. Pathetic and disgusting. A Coup, Imagine that?Cy Todd , 2 days ago (edited)
She needs to be put in jail. The American people demand and deserve justice .fiddlemastr jay , 2 days ago
"Wasn't completely honest"... mistress of understatements. She lied. The left's narrative is imploding. Corrupt Ambassador, and the left whined when she was fired. Belongs in prison... in Ukraine.ZW , 2 days ago
Yovanovitch is just another piece of Rhodes Scholar trash.RM SemFl , 2 days ago
Is she lied she better be charged with a flipping crime. Time to stop playing coy.JDSwamp , 2 days ago
Yovanovitch sat their and lied the whole time. Why isn't she being charged?imaGINAtion , 2 days ago
She's Princeton. The quality! The Ivy! Yovanovitch LIED under oath.Noam Pitlik , 2 days ago
During the impeachment sham hearing, Yovanovitch said she had not recall anything about the well known national scandal Burisma in Ukraine. Surprising, isn't it?Dave Wo , 2 days ago
Schiff doesn't strike me as the 'fall on his sword' type. Maybe he will spill the beans someday.Vladim IANCU , 2 days ago
Yeah.... Yovanovitch is a liar. Throw her in prison for lying to congress.
The entire Obama Administration was, for eight long years, a string of crimes and cover-ups by the then President and all his partners in wrongdoings. When is Lady Justice going to prevail?
May 15, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
WHY IS THE US IN SYRIA?
Washington longer bothers to prettify – the boot is straight to the face. ISIS?
Forget ISIS says Jeffrey : " My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians ".
An amazing confession, in the same class as " We lied, we cheated, we stole ".
May 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Realism & Restraint The 'Blob' Strikes Back
A recent defense of the foreign policy establishment is no more successful than the policies its authors supported.If America's adversaries were made of strawmen, the defenders of the foreign policy "Blob" would have a foolproof strategy for defeating them. Unfortunately, a recent defense of the U.S. foreign policy establishment's record is no more successful than the policies that its authors have supported.
Writing for the Foreign Affairs website last week, Hal Brands, Peter Feaver, and Will Inboden attempt to rebut critics of the so-called "Blob," but in their attempt they demonstrate many of the very flaws in analysis and inability to admit error that their critics have pointed out over the years. The real record of the U.S. foreign policy establishment over the last thirty years has been much less impressive than its defenders claim, and it has helped to create many more avoidable calamities than they admit.
The authors of the FA piece want to identify the "Blob" with expert knowledge, but many of the loudest critics of the "Blob" find fault with it because so many policy debates are not informed by genuine country or regional expertise. Think back to the Iraq war debate. On the pro-war side, there were legions of pundits and politicians that knew little or nothing about Iraq and the surrounding region. The few historians and specialists they could find to promote the war were extreme ideologues. On the opposing side, you had the vast majority of regional experts and trained officials at the State Department. The U.S. invaded Iraq despite the overwhelming consensus among people that knew the country and region best that it would be a disaster. War supporters had no use for that expertise because it did not line up with what they wanted to do. The "Blob" prevailed by overruling and ignoring the experts.
Many prominent foreign policy professionals from both parties jumped on the pro-war bandwagon because they weren't terribly interested in what the experts had to say and because backing military action to exercise American "leadership" is what these people usually do. Even those that didn't really believe the case for war said nothing because it was politically safer for them to conform. We have seen this happen many other times. The conventional view endorsed by the "Blob" often has nothing to do with expert knowledge, and it frequently flies in the face of that expertise.
It would help to start with accurate definitions. What do critics of U.S. foreign policy mean when we talk about the "Blob"? The term refers in part to the tendency towards groupthink, aggression, and interference in other countries' affairs among foreign policy pundits and think tankers. It is a criticism of the reflexive bias towards "action," which almost always involves advocacy for military options, and the disparagement of diplomatic engagement that usually goes with it. Members of the "Blob" promote and claim to believe in a number of far-fetched myths about "credibility" and America's "indispensable" role in the world that provide ready-made justifications for sanctioning and bombing a long list of other countries. They usually twist themselves into knots to avoid acknowledging U.S. responsibility for the consequences of our government's actions, but they are the first to decry American "inaction" when something unfortunate beyond our control happens on the other side of the world. If one or more of those things describes you, you might be part of the "Blob."
One of the biggest failings of the "Blob" is its resistance to learning and reevaluating core assumptions. This is one reason why the U.S. keeps making similar mistakes decade after decade. The "Blob" not only spreads dangerous myths, but it clings to them all the more desperately when those myths are discredited by experience. The U.S. can destabilize entire regions for decades, but they will continue to insist that the U.S. military presence is "stabilizing" and cannot end. U.S. interventions consistently leave countries in worse shape than they were in before the U.S. intervened, but that does not lessen their eagerness for the next intervention.
The authors allow that the "Blob" makes mistakes, but asserts that it "learns from them and changes course." That is simply not true. The only learning that does seem to take place concerns how some of the same awful policies get labeled. Advocates for regime change usually avoid using that phrase now, but they still demand regime change in substance. Supporters of illegal warfare still advocate for illegal war, but now they call it "restoring deterrence." Aggressive U.S. policies have predictably led to hostile responses from other states, but the "Blob" doesn't acknowledge the U.S. role in provoking the responses.
When presented with evidence of groupthink, the authors relabel it as "the wisdom of professional crowds." When presented with the familiar litany of U.S. foreign policy failures, they claim that the record is actually successful. When presented with the record of near-constant use of force since the end of the Cold War, they declare that the U.S. "hardly ran amok in search of monsters to destroy," and then rattle off a list of countries that the U.S. didn't attack. You could hardly ask for more of a self-parody of what critics call the "Blob" than boasting about all of the places that the U.S. could have invaded but didn't. Look at all that restraint! This is akin to defending an arsonist by pointing to all of the buildings that he didn't set on fire.
Perhaps biggest flaw in the defense of the "Blob" is the very American-centric habit of taking credit for all positive post-Cold War developments around the world:
In short, after 1989, the deep global engagement favored by the Blob kept the world moving forward on a generally positive track, rather than regressing to the historical mean of tyranny, depression, and war.
How much did post-Cold War U.S. actions contribute to this outcome? Isn't it likely that much of the world would have been "moving forward" as it did with or without the U.S.? In other words, how much can the U.S. really take credit for the successes of other nations after the end of the Cold War? To make the balance come out in their favor, the authors need to claim that the U.S. deserves credit for almost all of it, but that hardly seems credible.
One of the unintentionally funniest parts of the "Blob" defense is the claim that there is accountability for failure:
The American foreign policy establishment, finally, is generally more pragmatic than ideological. It values prudence and security over novelty and creativity. It knows that thinking outside the box may be useful in testing policy assumptions, but the box is usually there for a reason, and so reflexively embracing the far-out option is dangerous. Its members have made many mistakes, individually and collectively, but several features of the system enforce accountability over time. Foreign policy failures, for example, are politically toxic and often spur positive change.
This is a bold claim to make when the complete lack of accountability is one of the most distinctive features of the "Blob." Not only do many of the same failed policies continue on for decades, but many of the same people that advocated for failed and disastrous policies in the past keep resurfacing to advocate for new ones. Foreign policy failures should be toxic, but for some reason they never seem to do any harm to the people responsible for them. There is almost no political or professional price to be paid for being consistently, horribly wrong about foreign policy. One reason for this is the network of institutions that employ former government officials so that people responsible for bad policies never go away. Another is the reluctance of "Blob" members to enforce accountability among themselves. So long as someone sticks with the consensus view of the U.S. role in the world, there is virtually nothing that he or she can do to be expelled from the polite company of the foreign policy establishment. Stray outside of the narrow confines of that consensus, however, and you will quickly find yourself persona non grata.
The weakest part of their argument is the attempt to conflate other critics of the "Blob" with the Trump administration's open hostility to expertise:
How about the critics' third argument, that escaping the influence of the Blob would make American policy more effective and the country more secure? As it happens, a real-time test of that proposition has been running for over three years.
This not the first time that defenders of conventional foreign policy have tried to blur the lines between Trump and some of his staunchest non-interventionist and realist critics, and it is no more convincing now than it was before. Trump has not governed as a conventional foreign policy president, but neither has he seriously challenged most of the conventional U.S. role in the world. Trump has left us with the worst of both worlds in which a largely Blobby foreign policy has been executed by inexperienced and ignorant officials. When critics attack the "Blob," we are objecting to the failure to rely on expertise in making policy. The choice does not have to be between Blobby stagnation and Trumpian incompetence, but it is unsurprising that defenders of the discredited "Blob" want to keep it that way. about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter . email
Dodo • 11 hours agoTrump and his team have destroyed US foreign relations. They bully allies and boast to Americans as their "success".Alex (the one that likes Ike) Dodo • 10 hours ago
Americans believe the nonsense - US helped allies before so now they must sacrifice for US causes without asking any compensation support them with full heart.
Even worse, some even believe the worthless Republican's "American value" is what allies should sacrifice for. Sorry, they need genuine silver and gold, not your worthless "value".
Of course, veteran of US diplomats feel sad that the alliance structure built up is destroyed.Don't be silly. There was nothing to destroy yet before Trump and his team entered their offices, due to the destruction thereof having been already brought about by the said "veteran diplomats".Alex (the one that likes Ike) • 9 hours agoJumpin' Jehoshaphat. In their feeble, piteous attempts of relabeling they seem to have forgotten the ancient arcane art of rebranding. Just read it (bold mine):chris chuba • 8 hours ago
the wisdom of professional crowds
Oxymoronic, right? Well, frankly, I'm not sure about "oxy".The Blob remains in power because the biggest cost of their failures is born by countries we don't really care about, a small number of volunteer military men, and money that we borrow. The Blob will remain in power until we squander most of our collective power and we can no longer inflict their will on others and we become increasingly irrelevant. Until then it will be very painful to watch.Vhailor chris chuba • 3 hours ago
Which brings me to the Coronavirus outbreak. It easily penetrated our shores and we are by any honest measure the world leader in number of deaths and economic devastation despite the fact that the first outbreak did not reach New York until March 1 from Europe. Our response? We closed travel from the EU on March 15, our Defense establishment convinced every MSM outlet that Russia, China, and Iran was waging and information war against the U.S. falsely claiming that we mishandled the situation (we are good a deceiving ourselves, aren't we), we are gearing up for a Cold War against China, but we were able to get the Blue Angels to fly over 5 cities on a days notice. Is it too late to take the blue pill?You are right regarding the Blob - I would add that most (if not all) of them have zero skin in the game and I bet that neither of those chickenhawks served in the military.Feral Finster • 7 hours agoThe War on Iraq provides a most instructive example. Those in foreign policy circles who knowingly lied, those who knowingly parroted conscious lies, none of these people paid any price for their lies, not personal or professional. Instead, they were rewarded for being loyal accomplices.Mick Price • 6 hours ago
Those who called out the lies were cast into outer darkness.
Unless and until those responsible for the stupid wars pay a very real and very personal price for their crimes, nothing will change. For sociopaths learn only from reward and punishment, but they do learn.Trump's foreign policy, while based on almost complete ignorance, was light-years ahead of the blob. In fact the worst of his actions were when he actually believed the blob and/or did what they wanted. I mean really he hasn't started a war, he actually threatened to withdraw from Europe if they don't pay for the protection, which at best means NATO is toast and at worst means the yanks don't subsidize the europeans. What's so bad about his foreign policy.marku52 Mick Price • 6 hours agoWell, endorsing very visible assassination as a foreign policy tool is one that will rebound badly some day. And he was proud of that one.Feral Finster Mick Price • 5 hours agoTrump has used his veto power three times already - twice to stop US involvement in the genocidal war on Yemen, and again today to prevent him from making war on Iran.blimbax • 5 hours ago
Meanwhile, Trump has failed twice to pull out of Syria. What a pathetic weaking cuck he is!That picture reminds me of a line up, except usually at a line up there is only one truly guilty party.EdMan • 35 minutes ago
Few photographs better symbolize the problem with American foreign policy. At least Colin Powell showed some redemptive recognition of failure, at least at one time.I want to push back on the the notion that the State Dept. were on the right side of history regarding the decision to invade Iraq. Many of those opposed to the war were still in favor of maintaining the embargo and no-fly zones against Iraq into perpetuity. If the war's supporters were wrong in proposing a bad solution, many of their opponents were wrong in offering no solution at all.
Except the status quo.
In fact, this is "The Blob" - the defenders of the status quo, more than anything else. As Larison observed, the few historians and specialists who supported the Iraq invasion were extreme ideologues. At the same time, many of them weren't.
May 07, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , May 6, 2020 11:53 pmlikbez, May 7, 2020 6:22 pm
I do not share your enthusiasm about those two authors.
Anne Applebaum is married to "Full spectrum Dominance doctrine". Like any neocon she a regular well-paid MIC prostitute
Neocon Anne Applebaum has never seen a bed she did not expect to find an evil Russian lurking beneath. More than a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, she cannot let go of that hysterical feeling that, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!" In screeching screed after screeching screech, Applebaum is, like most neocons, a one trick pony: the US government needs to spend more money to counter the threat of the month. Usually it's Russia or Putin. But it can also be China, Iran, Assad, Gaddafi, Saddam, etc.
Nothing new, nothing interesting.
Anne Applebaum is a bitter neocon. She is furious that people no longer read the Washington Post as the authoritative voice of US foreign policy. She has apparently made a tidy fortune warning us that the Russians are coming, but she wants even more. The Washington Post still views her as an expert, but the American people, as she herself complains, are no longer interested in her worn-out fantasies. She is buried in defense industry funded think tanks and she does the bidding of her masters. Every intelligent American reader should ridicule her as the propagandist she is.
As for McMaster paper see Daniel Larison take on the subject in his brilliant post "McMaster and the Myths of Empire" https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/mcmaster-and-the-myths-of-empire/
Here is what he said:
"McMaster's dangerous China hawkishness calls to mind something that Jim Mattis said about him regarding a different issue when they served together in the Trump administration: "Oh my God, that moron is going to get us all killed." His aggressiveness towards China is not driven by an assessment of the threat from China, but comes from his tendency to advocate for aggressive measures everywhere."
And as a China scholar McMaster is not the best choice either:
McMaster uses the same "paper tiger image" to portray China as an unstoppable aggressor that can nonetheless be stopped at minimal risk.
I have heard from other colleagues that several CN scholars met w/ McMaster before he wrote this (while working on his book) and corrected him on many issues. He apparently ignored all of their views. This is what we face people: a simple, deceptive narrative is more seductive.
The main thrust here is the US abandoning the world to China and a much weaker Russia. I am calling for the US to play a much broader role in the world as it has economic and strategic value
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is definitely above my pay grade, but the problem that I see here is that it is very unclear where "a much broader role in the world" ends and where "imperial overstretch" starts.
The country which spends over trillion dollars on "defense" is by definition an imperial country and its foreign policy priorities are not that difficult to discern.
And due to well fed MIC which maintains an army of lobbyists and along with FIRE sector controls Capitol Hill this is a Catch 22 situation (we can't abandon neocon Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine and can't continue as it will bankrupt the country) which might not end well for the country.
Note how unprepared the country was to COVID-19 epidemic. Zero strategic thinking as if the next epidemic was not in the cards at least since swine fly ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_swine_flu_pandemic_in_the_United_States ).
Some experts now claim that this is criminal incompetence on the part of Trump administration. "So, what does it mean to let thousands die by negligence, omission, failure to act, in a legal sense under international law?" asked Gonsalves, an assistant professor of epidemiology of microbial diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, in a tweet Wednesday morning. https://twitter.com/gregggonsalves/status/1257988303443431425
Please note that Trump campaigned in 2016 on the idea of disengagement from foreign wars and abandoning the global neoliberal empire built by his predecessors as well as halting neoliberal globalization. That's how he got anti-war independents to vote for him.
And what we got? We got this warmonger McMaster, bombing Syria on false flag chemical attack pretext, conflict with Russia over North Stream II and Ukraine, and the assassination of Soleimani. Such a bait and switch.
May 05, 2020 | www.unz.com
Alfred , says: Show Comment May 2, 2020 at 6:00 am GMT@Derer Georgia's lunatic who is now Ukraine deputy prime ministerAlfred , says: Show Comment May 2, 2020 at 6:00 am GMT
I think Saakashvili has not made it yet. He is being opposed by a lot of the Jews who control this "country". Last week, the guy investigating "corruption" was sacked. His replacement was a Jew. It is just so funny. Like a theater.
Almost all the oligarchs are Jewish – courtesy of the World Bank and (((Western))) banks. It is amazing that in a country of allegedly 42 million they cannot find an ethnic Slav to get the job. I do not use the term Ukrainian as it is not really one country.
Forget the bluster. I suspect they want to bring in Saakashvili because he can bring in more loans from the IMF. His backers are in the USA.
BTW, the new American ambassador to Ukraine is a retired US Army general. That should give you some idea as to their line of thinking. However, I suspect that he is too knowledgeable to want to start a war with Russia.@Derer Georgia's lunatic who is now Ukraine deputy prime minister
I think Saakashvili has not made it yet. He is being opposed by a lot of the Jews who control this "country". Last week, the guy investigating "corruption" was sacked. His replacement was a Jew. It is just so funny. Like a theater.
Almost all the oligarchs are Jewish – courtesy of the World Bank and (((Western))) banks. It is amazing that in a country of allegedly 42 million they cannot find an ethnic Slav to get the job. I do not use the term Ukrainian as it is not really one country.
Forget the bluster. I suspect they want to bring in Saakashvili because he can bring in more loans from the IMF. His backers are in the USA.
BTW, the new American ambassador to Ukraine is a retired US Army general. That should give you some idea as to their line of thinking. However, I suspect that he is too knowledgeable to want to start a war with Russia.
The departing ambassador is a female from the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada. A Ukrainian "Nationalist" by descent. Incapable of thinking of the interests of this unfortunate country.
Apr 30, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
It's always fun to see the Washington foreign policy and Nat-Sec establishment get up on its hind legs at their critics. It doesn't happen often, and when it does it's usually when someone has touched a raw nerve, penetrating the bubble, if only momentarily. One time that comes to mind is when TAC's Andrew Bacevich -- he's really good at this -- called out elite bubble denizens Peter Feaver and Hal Brands for what he said was "close to being a McCarthyite smear" against realist thinkers in a Commentary piece entitled, "Saving Realism from the So-Called Realists."
The two men (Feaver cut his teeth in George W. Bush's National Security Council during the height of the Iraq War; Brands is an academic with a perch at the neoconservative AEI) implored TAC to publish a response, writing: "The stakes of debates about American grand strategy are high, and so it is entirely proper that these debates be conducted with passion and intensity. But it is equally vital that they be conducted without resort to the sort of baseless ad hominem attacks that impede intellectual discourse rather than encouraging it."
Hrumph. It is not surprising now that both Feaver and Brands (joined by William Inboden, also in Bush's wartime NSC), are at it again, this time with a longer treatise in Foreign Affairs , entitled, "In Defense of the Blob ." The last four years have been rough for the establishment. President Trump, after running on a platform of getting out of endless wars, is a Jacksonian who refuses to hide his contempt for this entrenched policy class and all of their attending courtiers and courtesans, most of whom are leftovers from the Obama, Bush and even Clinton Administrations. Their "accumulated" knowledge means nothing to this president, as he has plowed his own mercurial course in North Korea, Syria, Iran and the Middle East.
If that wasn't bad enough, Trump's rip in the Washington Blob's time-space-continuum has allowed realists and restrainers to quantum leap into the space like no other administration before. Suddenly, conservatives of all stripes are talking TAC's language. Money is pouring into colleges and think tanks now, all with the goal of pursuing approaches outside the status quo of hyper-militarization and American hegemony. The wars have been largely maligned as failures of the two previous administrations and their "experts." The Quincy Institute, populated by scholars from both the Right and Left, has risen up to directly challenge the idea of a necessary militarized "liberal world order" to secure peace across the globe.
"In Defense of the Blob" is filled with so many straw men, lies, and misdirections that the only takeaway is that we must have hit one hell of a nerve this time. The authors' peculiar attempt to gaslight their critics, suggesting that we are seeing things that aren't there, is weak. Like:
Blob theorists view the establishment as a club of like-minded elite insiders who control everything, take care of one another, and brush off challenges to conventional wisdom. In reality, the United States actually has a healthy marketplace of foreign policy ideas. Discussion over American foreign policy is loud, contentious, diverse, and generally pragmatic -- and as a result, the nation gets the opportunity to learn from its mistakes, build on its successes, and improve its performance over time.
No, no, and no. As a reporter in this ecosystem for more years than I care to admit, I can say with absolute certainty the reality is the opposite. The major policy think tanks in Washington are rife with three sources of funding: government, private defense companies, and very wealthy neoliberal and neoconservative foundations ( think Carnegie on the left , Scaife on the right ). The National Security and "Grand Strategy" programs at elite schools are no different. They all have one thing in common: the status quo. As a result, the output is hardly dynamic, it's little more than dogmatic, conventional thinking about world problems that keep bureaucrats in jobs and always meddling, the military amped up with more hammers and nails to hit, and politicians (and attending administrative class) favorable to either or both of these goals in Washington, preferably in power.
This is a closed club that offers only gradations of diversity just like Democrats and Republicans during the war: No one argued about "liberating" Iraq, only about the tactics. That was why it was so easy for Hillary Clinton's Nat Sec team in-waiting to create the Center for a New American Security in 2008 and transition to an Obama think tank shop in 2009. Plug and play one for the other, counterinsurgency under Bush? Meh. Under Obama? Let's do this! They all had a plan for staying in Afghanistan, and they made sure we were, until this day.
This doesn't even include the orbit of research centers like RAND and the Center for Naval Analysis, which actually get government funding to churn out reports and white papers, teach officer classes, lead war gaming, and put on conferences. Do you really think they call for less funding, killing programs, eliminating lily pads, or egads, pulling out of entrenched strategic relationships that might not make sense anymore? Never. The same players get the contracts and produce just what the government wants to hear, so they can get more money. If they don't get contracts they don't survive. It's how the swamp works.
As for it being a cabal? This ecosystem -- the Blob -- is a revolving door of sameness, a multigenerational in-crowd of status-driven groupthink inhabiting a deep state that is both physical and of the mind. It's a lifestyle, and a class. To get anywhere in it, you not only have to have the right pedigree, but the right way of thinking. Ask anyone who has attempted to break in with the "wrong credentials," or marched off the reservation in the early years of Iraq only to be flung to the professional margins. Conference panels, sanctioned academic journals, all run by the same crowd. Check the Council on Foreign Relations yearbook, you'll catch the drift. You can be a neocon, you can be a "humanitarian" interventionist, but a skeptic of American exceptionalism and its role in leading the post-WWII international system? Ghosted.
The worst element of the Feaver/Brands/Inboden protest is not so much their pathetic attempt to suggest that sure, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya "were misconceived and mishandled," but they were "no worse" than failures in the preceding decades, like the "bloody stalemate in Korea," or "catastrophic war in Vietnam." (This completely denies that the same consensus thinking has been leading our global and military policies for the last 75 years, therefore the same people who blundered us into Vietnam were also responsible for backing the contras in Nicaragua, and then blowing up wedding parties in Pakistan three decades later).
No, the worst is the straw man they present when they suggest that "scrapping professionalism for amateurism would be a disaster." No one has ever suggested that was on offer. If anything, there has been every attempt, by TAC and the aforementioned new movements, to shift new voices -- academics, military strategists, politicians, policy wonks and journalists -- who represent fresh, outside thinking into the forefront, at the levers of power, to make a difference. People like Andrew Bacevich, Stephen Walt, Doug Macgregor, Chris Preble, Mike Desch, are hardly lightweights, but to the Borg, they are antibodies, therefore amateurs.
But Bacevich, Walt, et. al, did not keep their mouths shut or try to obfuscate the truth during 18 years of failure in Afghanistan. That was left to the friends and colleagues of our esteemed Feaver, Brands, and Inboden. They cannot deny the Blob's sins because it's all in black & white in the Afghanistan Papers . That's what has really hit a nerve, the raw exposure. Still, they cry, the Blob is "not the problem," but the "solution." We think not. And we think they protest too much.
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is Executive Editor of TAC . Follow her on Twitter @Vlahos_at_TAC
kouroi • a day agoThree comments:Kent TheSnark • 11 hours ago
1. Great article.
2. When the world will see the back of US troops out of Afghanistan, the way the USSR troops pulled out, then I'll say that Trump really is different.
3. "As a reporter in this ecosystem for more years than I care to admit". Actually, it doesn't show...Most Russians would say that US foreign policy had nothing to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union. So while not being a failure, it wasn't in any way a victory either. And Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait after that country began side drilling into Iraqi reserves and stealing them. Hussein complained bitterly to the international community, and invaded only after nothing was done. How was our attack a good thing? We could of just forced the Kuwaiti's to stop stealing Iraqi oil.kouroi TheSnark • 9 hours ago • editedNow wait a minute. The thing is that several narratives could be constructed here. You have the narrative that you are constructing here (to which usually one starts with the glorious beginning of how the US defeated the the evil Nazi Germany).kouroi kouroi • 3 hours ago
The Cold War I and now the Cold War II is fundamentally the war between the idea that private property is paramount and the idea that commons/socialized property under the aegis of the state (preferably the nation state) is preferable. And from this perspective the Korean war was a draw and Vietnam war was a defeat for the Mammon. Cuba is also a shining example of the crappy US politics. Then you have the Pinochet dictatorship, installation of the Shah in 1953, Lumumba's killing and all kind of other shenanigans (i.e. Operation Gladius in Italy/Europe, etc.).
And I wouldn't call the Yugoslav war a high mark either.
The containment strategy worked initially because all the socialist countries started from the rubble of WWII, with minimal industrial base and massive population losses. The stupidity of the containment strategy is brought to light by the evolution of Vietnam after the war. Things are getting more and more relaxed there. Even Keenan admitted that this containment thing was/is fundamentally problematic.
Now Cold War II (started by Obama with the TPP that had as its main pillar the destruction/privatization [for funny US money] of China's SOE) is being pursued as a continuation of the same basic idea driving CWI, but also because the technological genie was freed from its bottle. The ugly truth is that the US is really not that good at real, real competition (see the history of how inefficient and incapable of technological advancement the US Steel industry is compared with European Steel Industry; but fundamentally this is a disease of monopolies). US benefited tremendously of the European conflicts with a massive influx of educated people (i.e. check Einstein) and it still benefits from all the foreign graduate students (lots of Chinese) that are for research based academia the the main workhorses. The way medical research cannot be done without the lab mice, same research in general cannot be conducted without the graduate students.
So, the fact that the US cannot withstand real, real competition (especially after the hollowing out of the industrial base due to finacialization), really scares the hell out of ruling elites. So all kind of malevolent narratives of the Manichean sorts are spun out and fed to hoi polloi.
It is obviously that you and I live in parallel universes though...Concerning the lack of US competitive prowess and bullying approaches (beside NS2, or punishing buyers of Russian weapons), fresh from the news:Tradcon • 20 hours ago • edited
"Moscow is studying a report published by the US Department of Energy (DOE), which mentions Washington's intention to squeeze Russia out of nuclear technology markets, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"We are currently studying the report of the working group on nuclear fuel published by the US Department of Energy. A significant part of the report is devoted to pushing Russia and China from the international market for goods and services related to nuclear energy. Moreover, there is every reason to believe that not only subsidies of the relevant US industries will be used, but also non-economic methods", the ministry said, responding to a request for a comment on the report.
In particular, the report outlines a possible strategy of seeking the "adaptation" of national legislation of some countries in order to ensure the privileged position of US suppliers with the active participation of Washington, the ministry said. "There is nothing new here", it added.
Over the past decade, Washington has paid very little attention to the development of its own nuclear energy, and therefore lags behind leaders in most areas, from uranium mining to the construction of nuclear reactors and spent nuclear fuel management, the ministry added.
"Now the US authorities apparently intend to improve the situation", it suggested, adding that this requires significant financial investments.
In order to achieve it, it is necessary to occupy a significant share of the international nuclear energy market, and the US administration is well aware that it is impossible to do this through fair competition in an acceptable time because of the lag, the ministry said.
"Therefore, Washington intends to use non-economic leverage. Such actions by the United States raise the question of what the principles of free trade advocated by Washington stand for and whether, in principle, one should adhere to any rules in relations with a state that itself does not comply with any rules and changes them in a way that is beneficial for it at the moment", it concluded.
On 23 April, the US Department of Energy released a report from a nuclear fuel working group, established by President Donald Trump in July, to "outline a strategy to restore American nuclear energy leadership", according to the DOE's statement."Its always funny how the "experts" and "professionals" are those who want to uphold the status quo. If you hold the opposite view you're a "amateur" or "demagogue".EdMan • 20 hours ago
"What makes you more of an expert than them?"
"I pushed for and oversaw three wars! I have far more experience!"
Excellent article."The National Security and 'Grand Strategy' programs at elite schools are no different."Bankotsu • 18 hours ago • edited
I absolutely loved this bit because it's so true. Thank God for Kelley pointing this out. It's indicative of the broader malaise in higher education; they've become centers for political indoctrination. If you look at the people that comprise the faculty at these schools, many of them are establishment heavyweights; Eliot A. Cohen, arch-neoconservative, is Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, for example, and served in the Bush administration. By comparison, Stephen Walt has never served in any administration.
These schools charge unbelievable amounts of money to churn out more Eliot Cohens, more Samantha Powers, etc. Even the military officers who take a turn in policymaking circles or serve on a staff somewhere are staunch defenders of the institutions. In fact, the total lack of intellectual diversity is downright disturbing; it's like brainwashing.
Worst of all? The folks who aren't establishment but still have representation in policymaking circles are all hardliners! Think Frank Gaffney, Fred Fleitz, so on.These people from the blob can't even get real jobs in private sector.Kent Bankotsu • 14 hours ago
They are unemployable.
They have zero employment skills.Depends on whether you consider 100% government financed companies like Lockheed Martin to be private sector.Alex (the one that likes Ike) • 13 hours agoCourtiers and courtesans. That's rich.LFM Alex (the one that likes Ike) • 5 hours ago
On the other hand, though, historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses.In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about.Gio Con • 9 hours agoWhen the voices against US hegemony and permanent war are loud and taken seriously, then we can hope for change. But if the same underlying assumptions about the need for military aggression to "promote democracy," and the targeting of Russia and China as convenient enemies, are transferred to the "new thinkers," then nothing will change. The question is, can an aggressive capitalist system, dependent on unlimited growth, survive in a peaceful world?Gio Con • 9 hours agoWhen the voices against US hegemony and permanent war are loud and taken seriously, then we can hope for change. But if the same underlying assumptions about the need for military aggression to "promote democracy," and the targeting of Russia and China as convenient enemies, are transferred to the "new thinkers," then nothing will change. The question is, can an aggressive capitalist system, dependent on unlimited growth, survive in a peaceful world?Feral Finster • 9 hours agoLet's not kid ourselves. Trump has proven too weak and easily manipulated to even pull a few troops out of Syria.Notfor Yu • 4 hours agoThe Bush era foreign policy model is over, its a failed policy and everyone knows it. Obama didn't have a foreign policy other than appeasement and capitulation.kouroi Notfor Yu • 3 hours ago
Trump has a new model, treat foreign policy more like business. Negotiate as is done in business, the goal is to get what you want and if the other guy gets something he wants than fine.
Of course the Trump approach derails the entire US State Dept, security council, and all the media talking heads, so they will oppose it.Not really true. Trump seems to have a zero sum approach to business, a win/lose attitude rather than win/win or only some win on the parties. The exit from JPCOA and the maximalist approach to Iran, the way Austria-Hungary approached Serbia in August 1918, is actual Trump attitude.
May 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Alex (the one that likes Ike) • 13 hours agoCourtiers and courtesans. That's rich.LFM Alex (the one that likes Ike) • 5 hours ago
On the other hand, though, historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses.
In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about.
Apr 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Stonebird , Apr 27 2020 19:17 utc | 28Background reading on Pompeo and his mafia.
This is part of Tom's description of the Article on Pompeo, Esper and the gang of 1986 (west pointers). They are well embedded.
In fact, one class from West Point, that of 1986, from which both Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo graduated, is essentially everywhere in a distinctly militarized (if still officially civilian) and wildly hawkish Washington in the Trumpian moment.
In case you missed it the first time, I repeat this link from the beginning of April,
Red Ryder | Apr 27 2020 17:07 utc | 14
One addition there. The EU lost "market share" in Iran due to US sanctions. (As they did with Russia). What they would like to do is to get it back. (France was one of the bigger losers)
Yeah, Right , Apr 27 2020 22:48 utc | 45"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument"...Dick , Apr 27 2020 23:08 utc | 47
Oh, a LEGAL argument? In that case the articles of the Vienna Convention On The Law Of Treaties is going to be our friend.
Article 31(b) prohibits any legal argument that leads to a result that "is manifestly absurd or unreasonable".
Granted that the JCPOA is not a treaty, as such. But it is an international agreement, and that nobody disputes.
Just as nobody disputes that the Vienna Convention is the codification of what had hitherto been accepted as International Customary Law.
LEGALLY-speaking - as we are, apparently - Pompous has handed his lawyers a task that they would call "a hopeless brief".The US is very good at making enemies and loosing friends, simply due to their treatment of other nations in the same manner they treat their domestic population.Arch , Apr 28 2020 5:12 utc | 61@jiri #75Mina , Apr 28 2020 11:19 utc | 73
The United States announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the "Iran nuclear deal" or the "Iran deal", on May 8, 2018.
This document discusses the legal rationale for the US withdrawal from tje JCPOA in detail:
Since when does announcing your "withdrawal" from a contract NOT mean "leaving the agreement" ?https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/27/pompeo-gantz-and-the-end-of-the-two-state-solution/
Apr 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Apr 26 2020 23:02 utc | 37The gloves are now off as China has called out Pompeo quite correctly saying, "Pompeo an enemy to world peace" --and we ought to expect more disruptions here at MoA. Here's just one of several slaps in Pompeo's face:
"The former top intelligence official is steering the US Department of State into becoming the Central Intelligence Agency. He is playing with fire, making the 21st century an era of major power confrontation and undermining the foundations for peace. Despite being the chief diplomat of the US, he totally betrayed the basic responsibility with which he is entrusted to promote international understanding. He has become the enemy of world peace."
What's most unfortunate is few seem to consult Global Times , as I was rather surprised this major editorial wasn't already linked. Here's yet another slap:
"Geopolitics cannot dominate the world anymore. Pompeo and his like are desperately pulling the world backwards. They are unable to handle a diverse and complicated new century and so they attempt to resume the Cold War. They can only 'realize their ambition' in polarized confrontation."
And that clearly wasn't enough as yet another slap's delivered in the closing two sentences:
"Lies may fulfill Pompeo's personal ambition, but they will never accomplish the US dreams to be "great again." Pompeo is not only a figure harmful to world peace, but also should be listed as the worst US secretary of state in its history."
Hmm... Don't know if he qualifies as "worst" yet as he must still top Ms. Clinton, but she certainly didn't treat China as has Pompeo.
Mar 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Bemildred , Mar 29 2020 18:13 utc | 23Posted by: Noirette | Mar 29 2020 17:09 utc | 13
I think you have the main danger (some nitwit using a "small nuke") to try to make a point about right.
Other than that, the impression I get from Pompeo and his ilk is that the main thing is having someone to threaten and abuse to show "leadership" and "manhood", at least one shitty little country we can still throw up against the wall and slap around to show we mean business. Dangerous times for Nicaragua.
Neither he nor his other West Point friends seems to have much clue about military affairs either, which is strange. I mean we've always had our George Armstrong Custers, but they didn't run things. Now they seem to have some sort of cult mentality. One is reminded of the French before WWI: "De L'audace, Encore De L'audace, Et Toujours De L'audace ..." and we know how that worked out.
Mar 29, 2020 | twitter.com
"This is not about retribution," Pompeo explained. "This matter is going forward -- we are in a live exercise here to get this right."
@realDonaldTrump is mad that the deep state took control through Continuity of Government, there has been a coup? pic.twitter.com/GcrjNNvVsc #Covid_19 #CoronavirusPandemic #MartialLaw
-- Shepard Ambellas (@ShepardAmbellas) March 21, 2020
With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: "You should have let us know."
Military Exercise meaning (from Wikipedia): "A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base."
What is actually going on here? Does the White House care to explain?
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Mar 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Timothy Hagios , Mar 28 2020 18:14 utc | 44The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths who make him legitimately look good by comparison. This is why he's constantly overruling their worst plans. But once every so often, his incompetent underlings convince him to do something exceptionally stupid. This is because occasionally going along with them allows him to feel like a wise, discerning ruler who occasionally follows his advisors' guidance and occasionally overrules them.
Feb 29, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , February 29, 2020 7:38 pm
A very interesting and though provoking presentation by Ambassador Chas Freeman "America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change"
I think this would be very informative for anybody seriously interested in the USA foreign policy. Listening to him is so sad to realize that instead of person of his caliber we have Pompous Pompeo, who forever is frozen on the level of a tank repair mechanical engineer, as the Secretary of State.
Published on Feb 24, 2020
In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior.
The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)
Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net ) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America's Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat's Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."
Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School.
He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.
He is the author of several books including the most recent
Interesting times: China, America, and the shifting balance of prestige (2013)
Feb 24, 2020 | www.youtube.com
In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior. The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)
Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net ) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America's Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat's Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."
Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.
Trade Prosper , 3 days ago (edited)strezztechnoid , 2 days ago
Well worth the watch and hope more see it, especially the presentation in the initial 47 minutes. We Americans take our deficits and the $ as the reserve currency far too lightly.yes it's me , 3 days ago
Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle.Bob Trajkoski , 3 days ago
Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing onestrezztechnoid , 2 days ago (edited)
Way the US is Warmongering state and threat to humanity, on the planet.? Nukes in the hand's of gangstersFrank , 3 days ago
No, not mercenaries, this is a protection racket. The U.N. address in late 2018 by the President (the laughter spoke volumes) was about as insightful as a "goodfellas" scene where the shakedown of the little guy is highlighted. It was the speeches by other countries at the meeting that was most informative.
A definitive pullback from U.S. hegemony was palpable, real, and un-moderated. Large and small countries all expressed an unwillingness to be held under the thumb of the global bully. This is the result of having an over abundance of a particle within D.C.; not the electron, photon, or neutron...but the moron.Dan Good , 7 hours ago
Aura of imperial purpose.
Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business?
Feb 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.comtone-deaf, arrogant speech in Munich this weekend in which he proclaimed that "the West is winning." In the most hypocritical and absurd section of the speech, Pompeo railed against other states' violations of sovereignty:
Look, this matters. This matters because assaults on sovereignty destabilize. Assaults on sovereignty impoverish. Assaults on sovereignty enslave. Assaults on sovereignty are, indeed, assaults on the very freedom that anchors the Western ideal.
Trump administration officials like talking about the importance of sovereignty almost as much as they enjoy trampling on the sovereignty of other states. The problem with Pompeo's sovereignty talk is that the U.S. obviously doesn't respect the sovereignty of many countries, and almost every criticism that he levels against someone else can be turned around against the U.S. The U.S. daily violates Syrian sovereignty with an illegal military presence. U.S. forces remain in Iraq against the wishes of the Iraqi government, and our military has repeatedly carried out attacks inside Iraq over their government's objections in just the last two months. The Trump administration respects sovereignty and territorial integrity so much that it has endorsed illegal Israeli annexation of Syrian territory and it has given a green light to more annexations in the future. It is now supporting an illegal Turkish incursion into Syria.
Pompeo said at one point:
Respect for sovereignty of nations is a secret of and central to our success. The West is winning.
As we look back on the record of how the U.S. and our allies have behaved over the last 30 years, respect for other nations' sovereignty is not what we see. On the contrary, there has been a series of unnecessary and sometimes illegal wars that the U.S. and its allies have waged either to overthrow a foreign government, or to take sides in an internal conflict, or both. The U.S. and our allies and the other countries certainly would have been better off if that hadn't happened. Our recent record is nothing to boast about. It is typical of Pompeo that he celebrates successes where there aren't any. He says that "the West is winning," but what exactly have we won? The U.S. is still involved in multiple desultory conflicts, and relations with many of our most important allies are more strained than at any time since the start of the Iraq war. If "the West is winning," what would repeated failures look like?
Pompeo calls out economic coercion as one of the harmful things that other states do, but he is part of an administration that has used economic warfare more than anyone else against more targets than ever before. If the U.S. refrained from using economic coercion as one of its main tools in trying to compel other states to do what Washington wants, the attacks on other states' use of economic coercion might carry some weight. As things stand, Pompeo's words are just so much wind.
The theme of Pompeo's speech is refuting criticism from allies about how the U.S. is conducting its foreign policy, but I doubt that many Europeans in the audience were reassured by his hectoring, triumphalist tone. It doesn't help when he is accusing many of our allies of being fools and dupes:
When so-called Iranian moderates play the victim, remember their assassination and terror campaigns against innocent Iranian civilians and right here on European soil itself.
When Russia suggests that Nord Stream 2 is purely a commercial endeavor, don't be fooled. Consider the deprivations caused in the winters of 2006 and 2008 and 2009 and 2015.
When Huawei executives show up at your door, they say you'll lose out if you don't buy in. Don't believe the hype.
Needless to say, many of our European allies have very different views on all of these issues, and berating their position isn't going to make them agree with the Trump administration's unreasonable demands. Pompeo wants to tout the virtues of sovereignty, but as soon as our allies take decisions that displease him and Trump he castigates them for it. Respecting the sovereignty and independence of other states includes respecting their right to make decisions on policy that our government doesn't like. Of course, Pompeo would rather have our allies behave like vassals and expects other partners to obey as if they are colonies. Behind all the sovereignty rhetoric is an unmistakable desire to dictate terms and force others to do the administration's bidding. The countries that are on the receiving end of this insufferable arrogance can see through Pompeo's words. All three of those issues touch on areas where the U.S. insists that our allies abandon their own interests because Washington tells them to. That is exactly the sort of heavy-handed "leadership" that our allies resent, and Pompeo's speech will just remind them why they hate it.
Feb 03, 2020 | www.amazon.com
The men and women walking the hushed corridors of the Executive Office Building do not look like warriors. Most are middle-aged professionals with penchants for dark business suits and prestigious graduate degrees, who have spent their lives serving their country in windowless offices, on far-off battle-fields, or at embassies abroad. Before arriving at the NSC, many joined the military or the nation's diplomatic corps, some dedicated themselves to teaching and writing about national security, and others spent their days working for the types of politicians who become presidents. By the time they joined the staff, each had shown the pluck -- and the good fortune -- required to end up staffing a president.
When each NSC staffer first walks up the steps to the Executive Office Building, he or she joins an institution like no other in government. Compared to the Pentagon and other bureaucracies, the staff is small, hierarchically flat with only a few titles like directors and senior directors reporting to the national security advisor and his or her deputies. Compared to all those at the agencies, even most cabinet secretaries, the staff are also given unparalleled access to the president and the discussions about the biggest decisions in national security.
Yet despite their access, the NSC staff was created as a political, legal, and bureaucratic afterthought. The National Security Council was established both
to better coordinate foreign policy after World War II and as part of a deal to create what became known as the Defense Department. Since the army and navy only agreed to be unified under a single department and a civilian cabinet secretary if each still had a seat at the table where decisions about war were expected to be made, establishing the National Security Council was critical to ensuring passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The law, as well as its amendments two years later, unified the armed forces while also establishing the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as the CIA.
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Fans of television's the West Wing would be forgiven for expecting that once in the Oval Office, all a staffer needs to do to change policy is to deliver a well-timed whisper in the president's car or a rousing speech in his company. It is not that such dramatic moments never occur, but real change in government requires not just speaking up but the grinding policy work required to have something new to say.
A staffer, alone or with NSC and agency colleagues, must develop an idea until feasible and defend it from opposition driven by personal pique, bureaucratic jealousy, or substantive disagreement, and often all three.
Granted none of these fights are over particularly new ideas, as few proposals in war are truly novel. If anything, the staffs history is a reminder of how little new there is under the guise of national security. Alter all, escalations, ultimatums, and counterinsurgency are only innovative in the context of the latest conflicts. The NSC staff is usually proposing old ideas, some as old as war itself like a surge of troops, to new circumstances and a critical moment.
Yet even an old idea can have real power in the right hands at the right time, so it is worth considering how much more influence the NSC brings to its fights today.
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A larger staff can do even more thanks to technology. With the establishment of the Situation Room in 1961 and its subsequent upgrades, as well as the widespread adoption of email in the 1980s, the classified email system during the 2000s, and desktop video teleconferencing systems in the 2010s, White House technology upgrades have been justified because the president deserves the latest and the fastest. These same advances give each member of the staff global reach, including to war zones half a world away, from the safety of the Executive Office Building.
The NSC has also grown more powerful along with the presidency it serves. The White House, even in the hands of an inexperienced and disorganized president like Trump, drives the government's agenda, the news media's coverage, and the American public's attention. The NSC staff can, if skilled enough, leverage the office's influence for their own ideas and purposes. Presidents have also explicitly empowered the staff in big ways -- like putting them in the middle of the policymaking process -- and small -- like granting them ranks that put them on the same level as other agency officials.
Recent staffers have also had the president's ear nearly every day, and sometimes more often, while secretaries of state and defense rarely have that much face time in the Oval Office. Each has a department with tens of thousands (and in the Pentagon's case millions) of employees to manage. Most significantly, both also answer not just to the president but to Congress, which has oversight authority for their departments and an expectation for regular updates. There are few more consequential power differences between the NSC and the departments than to whom each must answer.
Even more, the NSC staff get to work and fight in anonymity. Members of Congress, journalists, and historians are usually too busy keeping track of the National Security Council principals to focus on the guys and gals behind the national security advisors, who are themselves behind the president. Few in Washington, and fewer still across the country, know the names of the staff advising the president let alone what they arc saying in their memos and moments with him.
Today, there arc too many unnamed NSC staffers for anyone's good, including their own. Even with the recent congressional limit on policy staffers, the NSC is too big to be thoroughly managed or effective. National security advisors and their deputies are so busy during their days that it is hard to keep up with all their own emails, calls, and reading, let alone ensure each member of the staff is doing their own work or doing it well. The common law and a de tacto honor system has also struggled to keep staff in check as they try to handle every issue from war to women's rights and every to-do list item from drafting talking points to doing secret diplomacy.
Although many factors contribute to the NSC's success, history suggests they do best with the right-size job. The answer to better national security policy and process is not a bigger staff but smaller writs. The NSC should focus on fewer issues, and then only on the smaller stuff, like what the president needs for calls and meetings, and the big, what some call grand strategic, questions about the nation's interests, ambitions, and capacities that should be asked and answered before any major decision.
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Along the way, the staff has taken on greater responsibilities from agencies like the departments of state and defense as each has grown more bureaucratic and sclerotic. Starting in the 1960s, the NSC dethroned the State Department in providing analysis, intelligence, and even some diplomacy to the diplomat in chief. In the years after September 11th, the staff also began to take greater responsibility, especially for planning, from the military and the rest of the Pentagon. Both departments have struggled and often failed to reclaim lost ground and influence in Washington.
As a result, today the NSC has, regretfully, become the strategic engine of the government's national security policymaking. The staff, along with the national security advisor, determine which issues -- large and small -- require attention, develop the plans for most of them, and try to manage day-to-day the implementation of each strategy. That is too sweeping a remit for a couple hundred unaccountable staffers sitting at the Executive Office Building thousands of miles from war zones and foreign capitals. Such immense responsibility also docs not make the best use of talent in government, leaving the military and the nation's diplomats fighting with the White House over policies while trying to execute plans they have less and less ownership over.
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Although protocol still requires members of the NSC to sit on the backbench in National Security Council meetings, the staff s voice and advice can carry as much weight as those of the principals sitting at the table, just as the staff has taken on more of each department's responsibilities, the NSC arc expected to be advisors to the president, even on military strategy. With that charge, the staff has taken to spending more time and effort developing their own policy ideas -- and fighting for them.
Yet war is a hard thing to try to manage from the Executive Office Building. Thousands of miles from the frontlines and far from harm, the NSC make recommendations based on what they come to know from intelligence reports, news sources, phone calls, video-teleconferences, and visits to the front. Even with advice based only on this limited and limiting view, the NSC staff has transformed how the United States fights its wars.
The American way of war, developed over decades of thinking and fighting, informs how and why the nation goes to battle. Over the course of American history and, most relevantly, since the end of World War II, the US military and other national security professionals have developed, often through great turmoil, strategic preferences and habits, like deploying the latest technology possible instead of the largest number of troops. Despite the tremendous planning that goes into these most serious of undertakings, each new conflict tests the prevailing way of war and often finds it wanting.
Even knowing how dangerous it is to relight the last war, it is still not easy to find the right course for a new one. Government in general and national security specifically are risk-averse enterprises where it is often simpler to rely on standard operating procedures and stay on a chosen course, regardless of whether progress is slow and the sense of drift is severe. Even then, many in the military, who often react to even the mildest of suggestions and inquiries as unnecessary or even dangerous micromanagement, defend the prevailing approach with its defining doctrine and syndrome.
As Machiavelli recommended long ago, there is a need for hard questions in government and war in particular. He wrote that a leader "ought to be a great askcr, and a patient hearer of the truth." 7 From the Executive Office Building, the NSC staff, who are more distanced from the action as well as the fog of war, have tried to fill this role for a busy and often distracted president. They are, however, not nearly as patient as Machiavelli recommended: they have proven more willing, indeed too willing at times, to ask about what is working and what is not.
Warfighters are not alone in being frustrated by questions: everyone from architects to zookeepers believes they know how best to do their job and that with a bit more time, they will get it right. Without any of the responsibility for the doing, the NSC staff not only asks hard questions but, by avoiding implementation bias, is willing to admit, often long before those in the field, that the current plan is failing. A more technologically advanced NSC, with the ability to reach deep into the chain of command and war zones for updates, has also given the staff the intelligence to back up its impatience.
Most times in history, the NSC staff has correctly predicted that time is running against a chosen strategy. Halperin. and others on the Nixon NSC, were accurate in their assessments of Vietnam. Dur and his Reagan NSC colleagues were right to worry that diplomacy was moving too slowly in Lebanon. Haass and Vershbow were correct when they were concerned with how windows of opportunity for action were shrinking in the Gulf and Balkans respectively, just as O'Sullivan was right that things needed to change relatively soon in Iraq.
Yet an impatient NSC staff has a worse track record giving the president answers to what should come next. The NSC staff naturally have opinions and ideas about what can be done when events and war feel out of control, but ideas about what can be done when events and war feel out of control, but the very distance and disengagement that allow' the NSC to be so effective at measuring progress make its ideas less grounded in operational realities and more clouded by the fog of Washington. The NSC, often stridently, wants to do something more, to "go big when wc can," as one recent staffer encouraged his president, to fix a failing policy or win a w r ar, but that is not a strategy, nor does that ambition make the staff the best equipped to figure out the next steps."
With their proposals for a new plan, deployment, or initiative, the staff has made more bad recommendations than good. The Diem coup and the Beirut mission are two examples, and particularly tragic ones at that, of NSC staff recommendations gone awry. The Iraq surge was certainly a courageous decision, but by committing so many troops to that country, the manpower w r as not available for a war in Afghanistan that was falling off track. Even the more successful NSC recommendations for changes in US strategy in the Gulf War and in Bosnia did not end up exactly as planned, in part because even good ideas in war rarely do.
Although presidents bear the ultimate responsibilities for these decisions, the NSC staff played an essential, and increasing, role in the thinking behind each bold move. In conflict after conflict, a more powerful NSC staff has fundamentally altered the American way of war. It is now far less informed by the perspective of the military and the view from the frontlines. It is less patient for progress and more dependent on the clocks in the Executive Office Building and Washington than those in theater. It is far more combative, less able to accept defeat, and more willing to risk a change of course.
And it is characterized by more frequent and counterproductive friction between the civilian and military leaders.
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Through it all, as the NSC's voice has grown louder in the nation's war rooms, the staff has transformed how Washington works, and more often does not work. The NSC's fights to change course have had another casualty: the ugly collapse of the common law' that has governed Washington policymaking for more than a generation. The result today is a government that trusts less, fights more, and decides much slower.
National security policy- and decision-making was never supposed to be a fair fight. Eliot Cohen, a civil-military scholar with high-level government experience, has called the give-and-take of the interagency process an "unequal" dialogue -- one in which presidents are entitled to not just make the ultimate decision but also to ask questions, often with the NSC's help, at any time and about any topic.* Everyone else, from the secretaries of state and defense in Washington dow r n to the commanders and ambassadors abroad, has to expect and tolerate such presidential interventions and then carry out his orders.
Even an unfair fight can have rules, however. The NSC common law's kept the peace in Washington for years after Iran-Contra. The restrictions against outright advocacy and outsized operational responsibilities were accepted by those at the White House as well as in the agencies during Republican and Democratic administrations. Yet as many in Washington believed the world grew more interconnected and the national security stakes increased, especially after September 11th, a more powerful NSC has given staffers the opportunity to bend, and occasionally break, the common laws, as they have been expected to and allowed to take on more responsibilities for developing strategies and new r ideas from those in the bureaucracy and military.
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...Meanwhile, others, including the anonymous author of the infamous September 2018 New York Times opinion piece, believe government officials who comprise a "steady state" amid Trump's chaotic presidency are "unsung heroes" resisting his worst instincts and overreaches. 13 Thus, it is no surprise that more and more Americans are concerned: a 2018 poll found that 74 percent of Americans feel a group of officials arc able to control government policy without accountability.
In an era when Americans can see on reality television how their fish are caught, meals arc cooked, and businesses are financed, it is strange that few have ever heard the voice of an NSC staffer. The Executive Office Building is not the only building out of reach: most of the government taxpayers' fund is hard, and getting harder, to see. With bigger security blockades, longer waits on declassification, and more severe crackdowns on leaks, it is no wonder some Americans have taken to assuming the worst of their public servants.
The American people need to know the NSC's war stories if for no other reason than each makes clear that there is no organized deep state in Washington. If one existed, there would be little need for the NSC to fight so hard to coordinate the government's various players and parts. However, this history also makes plain that though the United States can overcome bad decisions and survive military disasters, a belief in a deep state is a threat to the NSC and so much more.
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Each member of the NSC staff needs to remember that their growing, unaccountable power has helped give evidence to the worries about a deep state. Although no one in Washington gives up influence voluntarily, the staff, even its warriors, need to remember it is not just what they fight for but whether a fight is necessary at all. Shortcuts and squabbles may make sense when every second feels like it counts, but the best public servants do what is necessary for the president even as they protect, for years to come, the health of the institutions and the very democracy in which they serve. As hard as that can be to remember when the clock in the Oval Office is ticking, doing things the right way is even more important than the latest crises, war, or meeting with the president.
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... Too many in Washington, including at the Executive Office Building, have forgotten that public service is a privilege that bestows on them great responsibility. Although the NSC has long justified its actions in the name of national security, the means with which its members have pursued that objective have made for a more aggressive American way of war, a more fractious Washington, and more conspiracies about government.
Centuries ago, Plato argued that civilians must hope for warriors who could be trusted to be both "gentle to their own and cruel to their enemies." At a time when many doubt government and those who serve in it, the NSC staff s history demonstrates just what White House warriors arc capable of. The question is for what and for whom they will fight in the years and wars ahead.
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The legendary British double agent Kim Philby wrote: "just because a document is a document it has a glamour which tempts the reader to give it more weight than it deserves An hour of a serious discussion with a trustworthy informant is often more valuable than any number of original documents. Of course, it is best to have both."
Alexandra Jones , September 15, 2019The Untold History of the NSC
A must-read for anyone interested in history or foreign policy. Gans pulls back the curtain on arguably the most powerful yet opaque body in foreign policy decision-making, the National Security Council. Each chapter recounts a different administration -- as told through the work of an NSC staffer. Through these beautifully-written portraits of largely unknown staffers, Gans reveals the chilling, outsized influence of this small, unelected institution on American war and peace. From this perspective, even the policy success stories seem more luck than skill -- leaving readers concerned about the NSC's continued unchecked power.
Feb 02, 2020 | newrepublic.com
Then Trump ordered the drone strike on Soleimani, drastically escalating a simmering conflict between Iran and the United States. All of a sudden the roles were reversed, with Bolton praising the president and asserting that Soleimani's death was " the first step to regime change in Tehran ." A chorus of neocons rushed to second his praise: Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer and prominent Never Trumper, lauded Trump's intestinal fortitude, while Representative Liz Cheney hailed Trump's "decisive action." It was Carlson who was left sputtering about the forever wars. "Washington has wanted war with Iran for decades," Carlson said . "They still want it now. Let's hope they haven't finally gotten it."
Feb 01, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org
Even After the Afghanistan Papers, the Washington 'Blob' Still Embraces Staying Forever January 30, 2020 Written by
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James Clad, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia, remembers the exact moment, back in 2001, when he learned that the U.S. had invaded Afghanistan. As chance would have it, he was in a meeting with a dozen or so South Asia experts at the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was in early October of 2001," he recalls, "and word came that U.S. warplanes had attacked three Afghan cities. Well, you could have heard a pin drop. I looked around the room and everyone was studying their shoes. And I thought, 'well, this isn't going to work.' And we all knew it. All of us. This was going to be a morass."
Clad wasn't alone in his thinking. In the wake of the December 9 publication of the Afghanistan Papers in the Washington Post, retired CIA officer Robert Grenier, who ran covert operations in support of the 2001 U.S. intervention, reflected on the papers' key finding – that U.S. officials lied about the 18-year campaign, hiding "unmistakable evidence" that the Afghan war had become unwinnable. "Frankly, it strikes me as weird that people should only be waking up to this now," he told me. "The Washington Post series doesn't convey anything which those who've been watching with even moderate attention should long since have understood."
Which may be why the papers, comprising some 2000-plus pages of interviews with generals, diplomats, aid workers and Afghan officials conducted by SIGAR, the Pentagon's Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, landed with a thud – "a bombshell that has yet to explode," as one commenter described it . For good reason: celebrated as a second Pentagon Papers (the 1971 documents that bared the lies of the Vietnam War) the Afghanistan revelations didn't actually reveal anything that foreign policy officials, or the American people, didn't already know: that the U.S. was not winning and could not win in Afghanistan, that senior U.S. diplomats and U.S. military commanders knew this soon after the 2001 intervention, that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to build a responsive Afghan government was squandered, misspent, diverted or stolen, and that officials consistently misled the American people about the prospects for victory in the war – promoting optimistic assessments in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
"In news conferences and other public appearances," the Post report noted, "those in charge of the war have followed the same talking points for 18 years. No matter how the war is going – and especially when it is going badly – they emphasized how they are making progress." Among the most outspoken critics quoted by the papers is retired Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who served as the Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama years. "We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan – we didn't know what we were doing," Lute told SIGAR officials in an oft-quoted judgment . "What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."
In truth, the big "reveal" of the Afghanistan Papers came after their release, when most of official Washington reacted to their publication with a collective shrug. Despite this, though not surprisingly, while the State Department and White House remained silent on the revelations, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley rejected the claim that officials had purposely misled the public about the war. "I know there's an assertion out there of some sort of coordinated lie over the course of 18 years," Milley told reporters . "I find that a bit of a stretch. More than a bit of a stretch, I find that a mischaracterization." Optimistic reports on the war in Afghanistan, he argued, were "honest assessments" that were "never intended to deceive the Congress or the American people." While Milley's response was unusually strident, it was not a surprise for most Pentagon reporters, many of whom knew that senior military officers and Pentagon policy makers were carefully studying proposals that would keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for at least the next five years – if not longer.
Among these is a paper authored by Michael O'Hanlon, the high profile Foreign Policy Director of Research at the influential Brookings Institution. Entitled "5,000 Troops for 5 Years," O'Hanlon's offering was previewed in an op-ed in The Hill in late October, presented formally by Brookings officials on the same day as the Post published the Afghanistan Papers, then circulated to a wider audience in an O'Hanlon-authored op-ed in USA Today on January 3. O'Hanlon provides a less outspoken critique of the Post story than Milley (calling it "badly misleading" and arguing that U.S. officials "have been consistently and publicly realistic about the difficulty of making progress" in the war), while acknowledging the "limits of the possible" in a "beleaguered and weak country." Even so, O'Hanlon says in taking issue with the Post report, the Afghanistan mission "has not been an abject failure" because, as he argues, the Afghan government "continues to hold all major and midsize cities" and the U.S. has "not again been attacked by a group that plotted or organized its aggression from within Afghan borders."
O'Hanlon concedes that while these are modest accomplishments, they are sustainable "at a far lower cost in blood and treasure than before." Here then, is O'Hanlon's payoff: "The United States needs a policy that recognizes Afghanistan for what it is – a significant, but not a top-tier, U.S. strategic interest – and builds a plan accordingly. That overall strategy should still seek peace, but its modest military element should be steady and stable, and not set to a calendar. Roughly 5,000 troops for at least five years could be the crude mantra."
O'Hanlon's proposal has gained traction among a number of senior military officers who are frustrated with a war that drains military assets and erodes readiness, but who are loathe to concede Afghanistan to the Taliban – an outcome they believe is certain to follow a full U.S. withdrawal. Then too, O'Hanlon confirms, his proposal reflects the thinking of a large swath of Washington's foreign policy community. "I think I am codifying and encapsulating and distilling the wisdom of a lot of people here, with a couple of my own twists," he told me in response to a series of questions I posed to him in an email exchange. "I think the chances of something like this [being adopted] are therefore pretty good."
Indeed, the O'Hanlon proposal seems to have something for everyone: it foregoes the large nation building expenditures that have characterized the U.S. intervention ($7 billion to $8 billion each year – "not trivial, but only 1 percent of the defense budget"), it maintains enough military capacity to check the growth of ISIS or al-Qaeda (the U.S. would maintain "two or three major airfields and hubs of operations" in the country), it allows time for the U.S. to put in place a more effective Afghan military presence (O'Hanlon provides five specific recommendations on how this can be done), it signals the Taliban that the U.S. will not leave the country out of frustration (that they cannot simply "stall for time"), and perhaps most crucially, it gelds the controversy surrounding the conflict by taking it out of public view: "By laying out a plan designed to last for several years," O'Hanlon writes, "Washington would be avoiding the drama and the huge consumption of policy bandwidth associated with annual Afghanistan policy reviews that have typified the late Obama and early Trump years." Which is to say:
maintaining a presence in Afghanistan at 5,000 troops ("I'd rather see 5,000 as a rough goal not a formal or legislated ceiling or floor," O'Hanlon says) over an extended period takes the war off the nation's front pages – it regularizes the U.S. deployment at an acceptable cost (that's what sustainable means) and it makes the war in Afghanistan publicly palatable.
If any of this sounds familiar, it's because it is. "5,000 Troops for 5 Years" seemingly institutionalizes what then-Afghan commander General David Petraeus called "Afghanistan Good Enough" in August of 2010: "This isn't to say that there's any kind of objective of turning Afghanistan into Switzerland in three to five years or less," he said at the time. "Afghan good enough is good enough." At the time, any number of pundits predicted that the Petraeus statement would come back to haunt him, but his mantra has been adopted by senior military officers who cite the O'Hanlon paper as a means of, if not exactly winning the Afghanistan war, at least not losing it – if victory isn't possible, they argue, then "good enough" is next best. Or, as one senior military officer told me, the O'Hanlon proposal recasts the political calculus of Vermont Senator George Aiken on Vietnam, who said that the U.S. should "declare victory and get out." In this case, the officer said, O'Hanlon is proposing that "the U.S. declare a stalemate and stay in."
The O'Hanlon proposal details what has been quietly talked about in military circles for the last decade, but was given credence in a monograph written by retired Army Colonel David Johnson ("Doing What You Know") published in 2017. Johnson, whose paper circulated widely in Army circles, argues that "good enough" might well be the most appropriate model for fighting counter-insurgencies – a form of warfare that has traditionally been outside of the U.S. military's "strategic culture." In these conflicts, what Johnson calls a "least bad outcome" might be all that the U.S. military should expect. In Afghanistan, this means accepting limits to success. "In Afghanistan, what is good enough is a government that can successfully protect itself and take the fight to the Taliban with minimal U.S. support," Johnson wrote. "Whether the Kabul government is corrupt or not representative is secondary to its ability to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a terrorist haven. That would be good enough."
That this model might well be adopted in Afghanistan (and in Iraq), and in any of the other "grey zone" conflicts of the Middle East, is no longer at issue. The model is already in place, while O'Hanlon's 5000 Troops for 5 Years is fast becoming a reality. But the adoption of the program has come at a price – in Afghan lives. While the U.S. has continued to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, it has escalated its air campaign against the Taliban (U.S. aircraft dropped 7423 bombs on Afghanistan in 2019 – more than any other year), thereby embracing a strategy that allows U.S. deployments to remain in place, but without the consequent escalation in U.S. casualties. ("More U.S. troops die in training accidents than in Afghanistan so, you know, there's that," a senior military officer told me.) Meanwhile, Afghan civilian casualties have spiked, reaching unprecedented levels in the period of July to September of 2019. That trend is likely to continue.
And so, the results of the Washington Post's publication of the Afghanistan Papers "bombshell" in December have now come sharply into focus: Afghanistan is off the nation's front pages, American casualties are "sustainable," the war continues – and, ironically, the chances for ending it are now even more remote than before the Post published its revelations.
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Why is Pompeo suddenly directing increasingly heated rhetoric towards Iran and its proxies in South America?
"Anti-Iran hawks like Pompeo like to emphasize that Iran is not a defensively-minded international actor, but rather that it is offensively-minded and poses a direct threat to the United States," said Max Abrahms, associate professor of political science at Northeastern and fellow of the Quincy Institute said in an interview with The American Conservative. "And so for obvious reasons, underscoring Hezbollah's international tentacles helps to sell their argument that Iran needs to be dealt with in a military way, and that the key to dealing with Iran is through confrontation and pressure."
Stories highlighting the role of Hezbollah in America's backyard "are almost always peddled by anti-Iran hawks," he said.
Like Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, who aligns with the argument that Hezbollah has been populating South America since the days of the Islamic revolution.
"From at least the 1980s, many Lebanese fled to South America, and among that flow Hezbollah embedded themselves," she told The American Conservative in a recent interview. Their activity "really expanded throughout the continent" during the presidencies of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
During that time, Lopez added, "there was a really strong relationship that developed Iranians established diplomatic facilities, enormous embassies and consulates, embedded IRGC cover positions and MOIS (intelligence services) within commercial companies and mosques and Islamic centers. This took place in Brazil in particular but Venezuela also."
Iran and Hezbollah intensified their involvement throughout the region in technical services like tunneling, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Venezuela offered Iran an international banking work-around during the period of sanctions, said Lopez.
Obviously security analysts like Lopez and even Pompeo, have been following this for years. But the timing here, as the Senate impeachment inquiry heats up, looks suspicious.
Last week, just as it looks increasingly likely that former national security advisor John Bolton and Pompeo himself will be hauled before the Senate as witnesses about the foreign aid hold-up to Ukraine, Pompeo praised Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala for designating "Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization," and slammed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for embracing the terrorist group.
Hezbollah "has found a home in Venezuela under Maduro. This is unacceptable," Pompeo said when he met with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido last week.
Asked by Bloomberg News how significant a role Hezbollah plays in the region, Pompeo responded, "too much."
From the interview:
Pompeo : " I mentioned it in Venezuela, but in the Tri-Border Area as well. This is again an area where Iranian influence – we talk about them as the world's largest state sponsor of terror. We do that intentionally. It's the world's largest; it's not just a Middle East phenomenon. So while – when folks think of Hezbollah, they typically think of Syria and Lebanon, but Hezbollah has now put down roots throughout the globe and in South America, and it's great to see now multiple countries now having designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. It means we can work together to stamp out the security threat in the region."
Question: "I'm struck by this, because even hearing you – what you're saying, right, now – I mean, to take a step back, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization has found a home in America's backyard."
Pompeo: "It's – it's something that we've been talking about for some time. When you see the scope and reach of what the Islamic Republic of Iran's regime has done, you can't forget they tried to kill someone in the United States of America. They've conducted assassination campaigns in Europe. This is a global phenomenon. When we say that Iran is the leading destabilizing force in the Middle East and throughout the world, it's because of this terror activity that they have now spread as a cancer all across the globe. "
Pompeo has also been publicly floating increasing sanctions on Venezuela. He called the behavior of Maduro's government "cartel-like" and "terror-like," intensifying the sense that there is a real security "threat" in our hemisphere.
Yet the U.S. has little real insight into what happens in hostile regimes like Maduro's, and "Pompeo is probably the least reliable person in the world when it comes to information about Iran or its proxies," said Abrahms. "He has a terrible track record; he is an ideologue. He is the opposite of an impartial empiricist. I would never accept anything he says without corroborating sources."
There's no question that Hezbollah has a presence in South America, said Abrahms, "but the nature of its presence has been politicized."
According to what we know, a Hezbollah agent conducted years of surveillance on potential targets , and alleged sleeper agents within U.S. cities have so far not been activated, even in the wake of Iranian Quds force General Soleimani's death and the series of crippling sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran."What this underscores is that Iran could pull the trigger, it could bloody the U.S., including the U.S. homeland, but tends to avoid such violence. I think the question that needs to be asked isn't just, 'where in the world could Iran commit an attack?' but whether Iran is a rational actor that can be deterred," said Abrahms. "Interestingly, this administration as well as its hawkish supporters tend to emphasize their belief that Iran can in fact be deterred," since that is the logic behind "maximum pressure" against Iran, after all. "The main causal mechanism according to advocates of maximum pressure, is that it will force Iran as a rational actor to reconsider whether it wants to irritate the U.S By applying economic pressure through sanctions, [they hope to] succeed in coaxing Iran to restructure the nuclear deal and making additional concessions to the west and reigning in its activities in the Persian Gulf and the Levant. At least on a rhetorical level, the hawks say they believe Iran can be deterred," he said.
It would not be the first time that a president reacted to an intensifying impeachment inquiry by redirecting national focus to threats abroad. In December 1998, as the impeachment inquiry into then-President Bill Clinton heated up, Clinton launched airstrikes against Iraq. We should therefore apply some caution when we see decades-old threats amplified by administration officials.
Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered, a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill, UK Spectator, and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter
Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
J Villain • 19 hours agoIt leaves me yearning for the integrity of the Nixon foreign policy team and they were a certified pack of sociopaths.
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.comNomuka • 15 hours ago • editedWell, it looks like I'll need to start contributing to NPR again. They are a little too woke for my tastes, but Pompeo is a liar, and frankly beyond the pale. A perfect representative of the current administration by the way. Kudos to NPR for standing up to him.TomG • 10 hours agoOne correction--instead of "by acting as if he is a petty despot" it should read "evermore blatantly showing the world the petty despot he is."bumbershoot • 10 hours agoFL_Cottonmouth • 9 hours agoThe Secretary of State has all of the vanity and arrogance of a diva, but none of the talent.
Hmm, that seems to remind me of someone else in this administration...Much like U.S. foreign policy, it seems that Mike Pompeo is going to ignore the facts and keep recklessly escalating the conflict. Surely he's aware that The Washington Post published the email correspondence between Ms. Kelley and press aide. This just makes him look like a coward.ZizaNiam • 9 hours agoFrom the Trump voter perspective, this journalist should feel lucky that she wasn't sent to Guantanamo Bay. All Trump voters think this way, there is no exception.Taras77 • 6 hours agoAbsolutely no longer any surprises about this pathetic individual!
Jan 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.comDaniel Larison We saw how Mike Pompeo made a fool of himself on Friday with his angry tirade against Mary Louise Kelly, a reporter for NPR. That outburst came after an interview that he cut short in which he was asked legitimate questions that he could not answer. His response to the report about this was to malign the reporter with bizarre lies in what could be the most unhinged statement ever sent out by an American Secretary of State:
Official response from Pompeo about his NPR interview. Haven't seen anything like this before with a State Department seal on it: pic.twitter.com/Hi1P18ZS0A
-- Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) January 25, 2020
Pompeo's accusatory statement confirmed the substance of what Kelly had reported, and absolutely no one believes him when he says that she lied to him. All of the available evidence supports Kelly's account, and nothing supports Pompeo's:
On the program, Ms. Kelly said Katie Martin, an aide to Mr. Pompeo who has worked in press relations, never asked for that conversation to be kept off the record, nor would she have agreed to do that.
Mr. Pompeo's statement did not deny Ms. Kelly's account of obscenities and shouting. NPR said Saturday that Ms. Kelly "has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity, and we stand behind this report." On Sunday, The New York Times obtained emails between Ms. Kelly and Ms. Martin that showed Ms. Kelly explicitly said the day before the interview that she would start with Iran and then ask about Ukraine. "I never agree to take anything off the table," she wrote.
It is the new definition of chutzpah for Pompeo to accuse someone else of lying and lack of integrity, since he has been daily shredding his credibility by making things up about non-existent U.S. policy successes and telling easily refuted lies about North Korea , Iran , Yemen , and Saudi Arabia . We have good reason to believe that the recent claim that there was an "imminent attack" from Iran earlier this month was another one of those lies . For her part, Kelly has a reputation for solid and reliable reporting, and no one thinks that she would do the things he accuses her of doing. Pompeo's dig at the end is meant to imply that she misidentified Ukraine on the blank map that he had brought in to test her. No one believes that claim, either. This is another preposterous lie that tells us that his version of events can't be true. Pompeo has been waging a war on the truth for the last year and a half, and this is just the most recent assault. The Secretary's meltdown this weekend has been useful in making it impossible to ignore this any longer.
Literally nobody thinks Mike Pompeo is telling the truth about this, or anything. He works for Donald Trump, who also lies about everything, always. https://t.co/yTzZDZl5Gw
-- Marc Lynch (@abuaardvark) January 25, 2020
All of this is appalling, unprofessional behavior from any government official, and in a sane administration this conduct along with his other false and misleading statements would be grounds for resignation. When Pompeo publicly attacks a journalist for doing her job and impugns her integrity to cover up for the fact that he doesn't have any, he is attacking the press and undermining public accountability. He is also undermining the department's advocacy for freedom of the press when he tries to intimidate journalists with his obnoxious outbursts. Pompeo already alienated and disgusted people in his department with his failure to come to the defense of officials that were being publicly attacked and smeared, and this latest display has further embarrassed them. We need a Secretary of State who isn't a serial liar, and right now we don't have one.Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter . email
Jan 27, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
ormer ambassador William Taylor wrote an op-ed on Ukraine in an attempt to answer Pompeo's question about whether Americans care about Ukraine. It is not very persuasive. For one thing, he starts off by exaggerating the importance of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to make it seem as if the U.S. has a major stake in the outcome:
Here's why the answer should be yes: Ukraine is defending itself and the West against Russian attack. If Ukraine succeeds, we succeed. The relationship between the United States and Ukraine is key to our national security, and Americans should care about Ukraine.
Taylor exaggerates what the conflict is about by saying that Ukraine is defending "the West." That's not true. Ukraine is defending itself. The U.S. does not have a vital interest in this conflict, but Taylor talks about it as if we do. He says that the relationship with Ukraine is "key" to our national security, but that is simply false. To say that it is key to our national security means that we are supposed to believe that it is crucially important to our national security. That suggests that U.S. national security would seriously compromised if that relationship weakened, but that doesn't make any sense. We usually don't even talk about our major treaty allies this way, so what justification is there for describing a relationship with a weak partner government like this?
The op-ed reads like a textbook case of clientitis, in which a former U.S. envoy ends up making the Ukrainian government's argument for them. The danger of exaggerating U.S. interests and conflating them with Ukraine's is that we fool ourselves into thinking that we are acting out of necessity and in our own defense when we are really choosing to take sides in a conflict that does not affect our security. This is the kind of thinking that encourages people to spout nonsense about "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here." If we view Ukraine as "the front line" of a larger struggle, that will also make it more difficult to resolve the conflict. When a local conflict is turned into a proxy fight between great powers, the local people will be the ones made to suffer to serve the ambitions of the patrons. Once the U.S. insists that its own security is bound up with the outcome of this conflict, there is an incentive to be considered the "winner," but the reality is that Ukraine will always matter less to the U.S. than it does to Russia.
If this relationship were so important to U.S. security, how is it that the U.S. managed to get along just fine for decades after the end of the Cold War when that relationship was not particularly strong? As recently as the Obama administration, our government did not consider Ukraine to be important enough to supply with weapons. Ukraine was viewed correctly as being of peripheral interest to the U.S., and nothing has changed in the years since then to make it more important.
Taylor keeps repeating that "Ukraine is the front line" in a larger conflict between Russia and the West, but that becomes true only if Western governments choose to treat it as one. He concludes his op-ed with a series of ideological assertions:
To support Ukraine is to support a rules-based international order that enabled major powers in Europe to avoid war for seven decades. It is to support democracy over autocracy. It is to support freedom over unfreedom. Most Americans do.
These make for catchy slogans, but they are lousy policy arguments. This rhetoric veers awfully close to saying that you aren't on the side of freedom if you don't support a particular policy option. In my experience, advocates for more aggressive measures use rhetoric like this because the rest of their argument isn't very strong. It is possible to reject illegal military interventions of all governments without wanting to throw weapons at the problem.
Taylor has set up the policy argument in such a way that there seems to be no choice, but the U.S. doesn't have to support Ukraine's war effort. He oversells Ukraine's importance to the U.S. to justify U.S. support, because an accurate assessment would make the current policy of arming their government much harder to defend. Ukraine isn't really that important to U.S. security and our security doesn't require us to provide military assistance to them. Of course, our government has chosen to do it anyway, but this is just one more optional entanglement that the U.S. could have avoided without jeopardizing American or allied security.
Jan 25, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com"You Think Americans Really Give A F**k About Ukraine?" - Pompeo Flips Out On NPR Reporter by Tyler Durden Sat, 01/25/2020 - 15:05 0 SHARES
Democrats' impeachment proceedings were completely overshadowed this week by the panic over the Wuhan coronavirus. Still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is clearly tired of having his character repeatedly impugned by the Dems and the press claiming he hung one of his ambassadors out to dry after she purportedly resisted the administration's attempts to pressure Ukraine.
That frustration came to a head this week when, during a moment of pique, Secretary Pompeo launched into a rant and swore at NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly after she wheedled him about whether he had taken concrete steps to protect former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
House Democrats last week released a trove of messages between Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Connecticut Republican Congressional candidate Robert Hyde. The messages suggested that Yovanovitch might have been under surveillance before President Trump recalled her to Washington. One of the messages seems to reference a shadowy character able to "help" with Yovanovitch for "a price."
Kelly recounted the incident to her listeners (she is the host of "All Things Considered")
After Kelly asked Pompeo to specify exactly what he had done or said to defend Yovanovitch, whom Pompeo's boss President Trump fired last year, Pompeo simply insisted that he had "done what's right" with regard to Yovanovitch, while becoming visibly annoyed.
Once the interview was over, Pompeo glared at Kelly for a minute, then left the room, telling an aide to bring Kelly into another room at the State Department without her recorder, so they could have more privacy.
Once inside, Pompeo launched into what Kelly described as an "expletive-laden rant", repeatedly using the "f-word." Pompeo complained about the questions about Ukraine, arguing that the interview was supposed to be about Iran.
"Do you think Americans give a f--k about Ukraine?" Pompeo allegedly said.
The outburst was followed by a ridiculous stunt: one of Pompeo's staffers pulled out a blank map and asked the reporter to identify Ukraine, which she did.
"People will hear about this," Pompeo vaguely warned.
Ironically, Pompeo is planning to travel to Kiev this week.
The questions came after Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Pompeo, told Congress that he resigned after the secretary apparently ignored his pleas for the department to show some support for Yovanovitch.
Listen to the interview here. A transcript can be found here .
NPR's Mary Louise Kelly says the following happened after the interview in which she asked some tough questions to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. pic.twitter.com/cRTb71fZvX-- Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 24, 2020
Last we checked, the team at NPR is waiting on Pompeo to apologize
Mike Pompeo Does in fact owe Yovanovitch an apology https://t.co/imazFrG3Q6-- Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) January 25, 2020
We suspect they might be waiting a while...
CarteroAtómico , 5 minutes ago linkMOLONAABE , 8 minutes ago link
He's right. American don't give a **** about Ukraine. But why did Clinton and Obama and now Trump and Pompeo? Why are they spending our money there instead of either taking care of problems here or paying off the national debt?Goodsport 1945 , 11 minutes ago link
The best thing that could happen to the Ukraine is for Russia to take it back.. they would clean up that train wreck of a country... they've proven themselves as to being the scumbags they are gypsies and grifters...carman , 13 minutes ago link
The Bidens do, so there must be $omething very attractive over there.CarteroAtómico , 1 minute ago link
He's right. Nobody cares about Ukraine. NPR= National Propaganda Radio.kindasketchy , 17 minutes ago link
But why are Trump and Pompeo continuing the policy of Obama and Clinton there? Remember Trump said he would pay off the national debt in 8 years? How about stop spending our money on the War Party's foreign interventions for a starter.Collectivism Killz , 21 minutes ago link
I wish the same level of questioning was directed at Pompeo regarding Syria and Iran. You may like his response because of the particular topic, but it doesn't change the fact that he's a psycho neo-con fucktard who should be shot for treason.roach clipper , 21 minutes ago link
Truth. Most Americans know nothing about Ukraine, some just know orange man bad and orange man bad for Ukrmorefunthanrum , 27 minutes ago link
I despise fkn traitor Pompus from USMA (traitor training school) but in this case he doesn't owe yovanobitch anything.roach clipper , 22 minutes ago link
People care about a secretary of state who supports his diplomats...about a president whose not a lying conniving spoiled piece of ****
There are NO diplomats in the Dept. of State, otherwise we wouldn't have been at war all century.
Jan 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in a press conference with U.S. President Donald J. Trump during the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels on July 12, 2018. (State Department photo/ Public Domain)
January 24, 2020|
9:21 pmDaniel Larison Mike Pompeo has proven to be a blowhard and a bully in his role as Secretary of State, and nothing seems to bother him more than challenging questions from professional journalists. All of those flaws and more were on display during and after his interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly today. After abruptly ending the interview when pressed on his failure to defend members of the Foreign Service, Pompeo then threw a fit and berated the reporter who asked him the questions:
Immediately after the questions on Ukraine, the interview concluded. Pompeo stood, leaned in and silently glared at Kelly for several seconds before leaving the room.
A few moments later, an aide asked Kelly to follow her into Pompeo's private living room at the State Department without a recorder. The aide did not say the ensuing exchange would be off the record.
Inside the room, Pompeo shouted his displeasure at being questioned about Ukraine. He used repeated expletives, according to Kelly, and asked, "Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?" He then said, "People will hear about this."
People are certainly hearing about it, and their unanimous judgment is that it confirms Pompeo's reputation as an obnoxious, thin-skinned excuse for a Secretary of State. Kelly's questions were all reasonable and fair, but Pompeo is not used to being pressed so hard to give real answers. We have seen his short temper and condescension before when other journalists have asked him tough questions, and he seems particularly annoyed when the journalists calling him out are women. Pompeo probably has the worst working relationship with the press of any Secretary of State in decades, and this episode will make it worse.
When Pompeo realized he wouldn't be able to get away with his standard set of vacuous talking points and lies, he ended the conversation. The entire interview is worth reading to appreciate how poorly Pompeo performs when he is forced to explain how failing administration policies are "working." When pressed on his untrue claims that "maximum pressure" on Iran is "working," all that he could do was repeat himself robotically:
QUESTION: My question, again: How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.
SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.
SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.
Kelly refused to accept pat, meaningless responses, and she kept insisting that Pompeo provide something, anything, to back up his assertions. This is how administration officials should always be interviewed, and it is no surprise that the Secretary of State couldn't handle being challenged to back up his claims. The questions wouldn't have been that hard to answer if Pompeo were willing to be honest or the least bit humble, but that isn't how he operates. He sees every interview as an opportunity to snow the interviewer under with nonsense and to score points with the president, and giving honest answers would get in the way of both.
The section at the end concerned Pompeo's failure to stand up for State Department officials, especially Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Since Pompeo's support for these officials has been abysmal, there was nothing substantive that he could say about it and tried to filibuster his way out of it. To her credit, Kelly was persistent in trying to pin him down and make him address the issue. He had every chance to explain himself, but instead he fell back on defensive denials that persuade no one:
QUESTION: Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.
QUESTION: Can you point me toward your remarks where you have defended Marie Yovanovitch?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I've said all I'm going to say today. Thank you. Thanks for the repeated opportunity to do so; I appreciate that.
Pompeo could have defended Yovanovitch and other officials that have come under attack, but to do that would be to risk Trump's ire and it would require him to show the slightest bit of courage. In the end, his "swagger" is all talk and his rhetoric about supporting his "team" at State is meaningless. Pompeo made a fool of himself in this interview, and it is perfectly in keeping with his angry, brittle personality that he took out his frustrations by yelling at the reporter who exposed him as the vacuous blowhard that he is.about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter . email
theamericanconservative Login 1Clyde Schechter • 17 hours agoWow! She did a great interview there. Really a model for what all reporters should be doing.SFBay1949 • 16 hours ago • edited
Thanks for bringing this to light, Mr. Larison.I don't suppose you'll be interviewing Pompeo any time soon Daniel. I very much appreciate your being so honest about what you see and hear.K squared • 14 hours agoLeft out was the part when pompeo had one of his minions bring out a blank world map and challenged her to find the Ukraine which she immediately did - i wonder if trump could find itFL_Cottonmouth K squared • 7 hours agoThat's hilarious.John Mann K squared • 2 hours agoApparently, Pompeo has suggested Kelly had pointed to Bangladesh, not Ukraine, on the map, and commented "It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine."stephen pickard • 5 hours ago
I don't suppose we are ever likely to see conclusive evidence that will establish for certain where she pointed.
It's probably just a matter of looking at their respective records of lying, cheating, and stealing, and making a guess based on that.My God, can he get any worse. I suppose so since his boss always falls to a lower level. There is no bottom. Just admit that everyday brings a new low. Only thing surprising is that we get surprised at their despicable behavior.Jeff Dickey stephen pickard • 3 hours agoThat's the problem with Trump henchmen: they can always get worse. There is no bottom, for to have a limit below which the henchmen will not go would embarrass the Capo di Tutti Capi for blowing through it on the way down. Henchmen have bills to pay, too, you know, just like people.stephen pickard Jeff Dickey • an hour agoAs I said awhile back, lies are debts that must be repaid.FL_Cottonmouth • 4 hours agoLooming over her and leering down at her? What a creep!Jonah • 3 hours agoI'm sorry, is the "conservative" in the name of this blog some kind of parody? You all sure sound like liberal democrats. Never been here before, won't be coming back.Jonah Jonah • 3 hours ago
Oh, and you forgot about the part where Pompeo came ready to discuss one topic, which was agreed to beforehand, and the interviewer transitioned to a new topic. And the way she did so was to ask Pompeo if he owed Marie Yanokovich an apology. Yes, riveting journalism devoid of partisan bias. Lol! But it was Pompeo. Right.To the person who down voted me, I don't care. Honestly I'm glad you butthurt whiners have a place to share your hurt feelings. Maybe if you're lucky Joe Biden will be President soon and you can all rejoice that "decency" is back, or something.SFBay1949 Jonah • 3 hours agoApparently Pompeo can only keep so many talking points in his head. One topic only. Are we to believe the Secretary of State can't expound on more than a single subject? It must be true, otherwise he wouldn't go around insisting he will only talk about one subject during an interview. I expect he won't be getting many invites for interviews outside of FOX. Just as well, he's a bag of hot air anyway.Sandra Jonah • 2 hours agoI think there are many conservatives writing and commenting on this site. But perhaps you are confusing "conservative" with "republican". There is little conservatism left in the republican party.Awake and Uttering a Song Jonah • an hour ago"...Pompeo came ready to discuss one topic, which was agreed to beforehand, and the interviewer transitioned to a new topic."sglover Jonah • 20 minutes ago
Oh, the humanity!
Secretary Pompous couldn't just give a little chuckle and say something like "Now, now. You know we agreed to talk only on one topic, so let's get together on another day to discuss other topics". ?
Just another guy in power who is too full of himself.It's terrible when the citizenry goes off-script, isn't it?ChrisD • 2 hours agoPompeo just tweeted this statement about the NPR interview::Personan0ngrata • an hour ago
QUESTION: My question, again: How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?
Italicized/bold text was excerpted from the website www.dni.gov within a US National Intelligence Estimate published in Nov2007 titled:
Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities
ANSWER: Key Judgements
A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran's announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran's previously undeclared nuclear work.
Italicized/bold text was excerpted from the website fas.org a report published (updated 20Dec2019) by the Congressional Research Service titled:
Page 53, 2nd paragraph -
Iran's Nuclear Program: Status
Director of National Intelligence Coats reiterated the last sentence in May 2017 testimony.330He testified in January 2019 that the U.S. intelligence community "continue[s] to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device." Subsequent statements from U.S. officials indicate that Iran has not resumed its nuclear weapons program. According to an August 2019 State Department report, the "U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons development activities judged necessary to produce a nuclear device." Any decision to produce nuclear weapons "will be made by the Supreme Leader," Clapper stated in April 2013.
Jan 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Martin Indyk: An Important Neoliberal Defects From the Blob
Let's hope the former ambassador's heresy about withdrawing from the Middle East catches fire and spreads. Then-VP of Brookings Martin Indyk in 2017. (Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks)
January 22, 2020|
12:01 amAndrew J. Bacevich Within the inner precincts of the American foreign policy establishment, last names are redundant. At a Washington cocktail party, when some half-sloshed AEI fellow whispers, "Apparently, Henry is back in Beijing to see Xi," there's no need to ask, "Which Henry?" In that world, there is only one Henry, at least only one who counts.
Similarly, there is only one Martin. While Martin Indyk may not equal Henry Kissinger in star power, he has for several decades been a major player in U.S. policy regarding Israel and the Middle East more broadly. Founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, senior director on the National Security Council, twice U.S. ambassador to Israel, assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, presidential envoy -- not a bad resume for someone who was born in London, raised in Australia, and became a U.S. citizen only in his 40s.
Throughout his career, Martin has been deeply invested in the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" and in the proposition that the United States has a vital interest in pursuing that process to a successful conclusion. More broadly, he has subscribed to the view that the United States has vital interests at stake in the Middle East more generally, with regional stability and the well-being of the people living there dependent on the United States exercising what people in Washington call "leadership." In this context, of course, leadership tends to be a euphemism for the use or threatened use of military power.
These are, of course, establishment notions, to which all members of the "Blob" necessarily declare their fealty. Indeed, at least until Trump came along, to dissent from such views was to become ineligible for appointment to even a mid-level post in the State Department, the Pentagon, or the White House.
Yet Martin has now publicly recanted.
In an extraordinary op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal (of all places), he asserts that "few vital interests of the US continue to be at stake in the Middle East." Policies centered on ensuring the free flow of Persian Gulf oil and the survival of Israel have become superfluous. "The US economy no longer relies on imported petroleum," he correctly notes. "Fracking has turned the US into a net oil and natural-gas exporter." As a consequence, Persian Gulf oil "is no longer a vital interest -- that is, one worth fighting for. Difficult as it might be to get our heads around the idea, China and India need to be protecting the sea lanes between the Gulf and their ports, not the US Navy."
As for the Jewish State, Martin notes, again correctly, that today Israel has the capacity "to defend itself by itself." Notwithstanding the blustering threats regularly issued by Tehran, "it is today's nuclear-armed Israel that has the means to crush Iran, not the other way around."
Furthermore, Martin has had his fill of the peace process. "A two-state solution to the Palestinian problem is a vital Israeli interest, not a vital American one," he writes, insisting that "it's time to end the farce of putting forward American peace plans only to have one or both sides reject them."
Martin does identify one vital U.S. interest in the Middle East: averting a nuclear arms race. Yet "we should be wary of those who would rush to battle stations," he cautions. "Curbing Iran's nuclear aspirations and ambitions for regional dominance will require assiduous American diplomacy, not war."
That last sentence captures the essence of Martin's overall conclusion: he proposes not disengaging from the Middle East but demilitarizing U.S. policy. "After the sacrifice of so many American lives, the waste of so much energy and money in quixotic efforts that ended up doing more harm than good," he writes, "it is time for the US to find a way to escape the costly, demoralising cycle of crusades and retreats."
Now such sentiments appear regularly in the pages of The American Conservative and on the website of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . Yet in establishment circles, a willingness to describe U.S. policy in the Middle East as quixotic is rare indeed. As for acknowledging that we have done more harm than good, such commonsense views are usually regarded as beyond the pale.
Martin deserves our congratulations. We must hope that his heresy catches fire and spreads throughout the Blob. In the meantime, if he's in need of office space, the Quincy Institute stands ready to help.
Welcome to the ranks of the truth tellers, comrade.
Andrew Bacevich is TAC's writer-at-large and president of the Quincy Institute. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , has just been published.Reply • Share › Show more replies Show more replies Show more replies − +
Mark Thomason • 2 days ago"Martin has been deeply invested in the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" and in the proposition that the United States has a vital interest in pursuing that process to a successful conclusion. More broadly, he has subscribed to the view that the United States has vital interests at stake in the Middle East more generally, with regional stability and the well-being of the people living there"Bianca Mark Thomason • 10 hours ago • edited
No. The only use he ever had for the peace process was as cover for what Israel was really doing.
The only interest he ever cared about was Israel, not the stability or well-being of any other people but the hawks among Israelis.
He perverted US policy from the inside, in pursuit of those ends of those Lobby partisans. He has never been anything else.And is about to pervert it AGAIN. One must be a total ignoramus not to notice American public's changing attitude towards Israel, as well as Israel's high powered lobbyists.Joao Alfaiate • a day ago
Before the change turns into an outright hostility, the apologists of the Empire are defusing the nascent rage. So, HE is the one to be PRAISED for being so wise, and deserving our support?
This leopard will keep on changing spots, but never his nature.
He is and will remain ardent apologist of American Empire -- for as long as this Empire serves his primary interest. And that interest is clear -- interest of Israel AND all of its citizens around the globe.It is disheartening to read Bacevich praise Indyk-who was, after all, one of the architects of our disastrous Middle East "policy". I guess the Quincy Institute wants to hew a path closer to the mainstream narrative. What will be next? An apologia for Doug Feith and Richard Perle?liveload • 20 hours ago • editedIndyk's comments read like a neo-con who's lost favor and power. This is not a good sign. This points to the internecine warfare within the halls of conceptual power being closer to decided. With the diplomats out, it leaves the apocalypse cult as the de-facto winner.Bianca liveload • 9 hours ago
Expect more ludicrous demands of US vassals and more effort to attack Iran. They're not going to stop. Where the oil comes from doesn't matter, what currency is used to conduct trade does.It is exactly so -- internecine warfare. But I do not see them loosing power. They are losing NARRATIVE both internationally and domestically. This is a beginning of crafting a new narrative to stem the rising hostility against Israel centric militaristic foreign policy orientation.foodoo • 17 hours ago
Thus switching to "diplomacy", as military posturing just brings about dead ends to defend.
He wants results, So, change the narrative, diffuse anti-Israeli tide, and become a beacon of reason and wholesomeness. Who can resist these new spots?Martin Indyk has already done maximal damage. His opportunity to actually help the situation has long past.redsocs • 13 hours ago • edited
He is and always was an Israeli-firsterThere was never anything Quixotic about US foreign policy in the ME. As for Israel/Palestine, the policy, and "Martin" was central to it, was to pretend to negotiate in good faith while Israel occupied "the land from the river to the sea." In Iraq, except for Cheney's oil lust, it was to carry out the neo-con chant of "the road to Iran is through Iraq." As for Iran, it has been to barely resist Israel's, and US Israel-firster's, pressure for war, though it may still happen.Steve Naidamast • 4 hours agoYou mean to say that some establishment guy finally got fed up with all the bullshit?
In any event, Indyk is wrong to believe that Israel can defeat Iran in a conflict. Israeli nuclear weapons are really of little consequence in such a situation as the majority of them must be delivered by aircraft which Iran will simply shoot down. Those that are siloed will most likely meet the same fate. But in either case Russia will not allow any such conflict to go nuclear.
In terms of conventional capabailities, the IDF has never been a very good military unit since it basically has only entered engagements with less than equally capable opponents. However, that has all been changing since Hezbollah's defeat of the IDF in 2006.
Today Israel's IDF faces a combat hardened army in Syria, a combat hardened irregular military force in Lebanon, and increasingly hardened resistance in its own backyard with Hamas. And Iranian ground forces are not pushovers.
The Israeli navy is meaningless in this situation so it is only in the air that Israel now has any claim to fame. However, instead of increasing its Air Force with modernized F15x models, Israel has opted to acquire the F35, which no amount of avionics can make the air-frame fly better. Iran still uses the F14 as a heavy fighter, which Israel also requires for her situation making the acquisition of the F35 rather odd.
In the end, it will be Iranian missile development that places that nation in a position to deal a death blow to the Israeli state.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Jan 23 2020 22:33 utc | 106"The REAL 'terrorists' –-death is not a laughing matter, murder is a crime."
Vanessa Beeley provides a short, incomplete, list.
I look at the pictures of today's refugees and see the faces of yesterday's. I see the conditions they inhabit, the squalor and filth, and I see the same in pictures from the past. I read the words of hatred directed at those innocents and recall the same words being said of their predecessors.
And the source of the words and plight of the innocents both present and past come from the same portals or power--The Imperialist West and its Zionist progeny. How many millions have died to enrich their purse, to increase the size of the estates, to serve as their slaves? How many more in the future will share their fate?
Will humans ever evolve to become peaceful animals and save themselves?
Jan 22, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
fter three years of the Trump presidency, the Washington Post is breathlessly reporting that Donald Trump is a boor who insults everyone, including generals used to respect and even veneration. He's had the impertinence to ask critical questions of his military briefers. For shame!
President Trump's limitations have been long evident. The Post 's discussion, adapted by Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker from their upcoming book, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America , adds color, not substance, to this concern. It seems that in the summer of 2017, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and others were concerned about the president's international ignorance and organized a briefing at the Pentagon to enlighten him.
Was that a worthwhile mission? Sure. Everyone in the policy world marvels at the president's lack of curiosity, absent knowledge, bizarre assumptions, and perverse conclusions. He doesn't get trade, bizarrely celebrates dictatorship, fixates on Iran, doesn't understand agreements, acts on impulse, and exudes absolute certainty. Yet he also captures the essence of issues and shares a set of inchoate beliefs held by millions of Americans, especially those who feel ignored, insulted, disparaged, and dismissed. Most important, he was elected with a mandate to move policy away from the bipartisan globalist conventional wisdom.
The latter was evidently the main concern of these briefers. The presentation as described by the article exuded condescension. That attitude very likely was evident to Trump. The briefing was intended to inform, but even more so to establish his aides' control over him. While they bridled at Trump's manners, they were even more opposed to his substantive opinions. And that made the briefing sound like a carefully choreographed attack on his worldview.
For instance, Mattis used charts with lots of dollar signs "to impress upon [the president] the value of U.S. investments abroad. [Mattis] sought to explain why U.S. troops were deployed in so many regions and why America's safety hinged on a complex web of trade deals, alliances, and bases across the globe." Notably, Mattis "then gave a 20-minute briefing on the power of the NATO alliance to stabilize Europe and keep the United States safe."
No doubt Secretary Mattis sincerely believed all that. However, it was an argument more appropriately made in 1950 or 1960. The world has since changed dramatically.
Of course, this is also the position of the Blob, Ben Rhodes' wonderful label for the Washington foreign policymaking community. What has ever been must ever be, is the Blob's informal mantra. America's lot in life, no matter how many average folks must die, is to litter the globe with bases, ships, planes, and troops to fight endless wars, some big, some small, to make the world safe for democracy, sometimes, and autocracy, otherwise. If America ever stops fulfilling what seems to be the modern equivalent of Rudyard Kipling's infamous "white man's burden," order will collapse, authoritarianism will advance, trade will disappear, conflict will multiply, countries will be conquered, friends will become enemies, allies will defect, terrorists will strike, liberal values will be discarded, all that is good and wonderful will disappear, and a new dark age will envelope the earth.
Trump is remarkably ignorant of the facts, but he does possess a commonsensical skepticism of the utter nonsense that gets promoted as unchallengeable conventional wisdom. As a result, he understood that this weltanschauung, a word he would never use, was an absolute fantasy. And he showed it by the questions he asked.
For instance, he challenged the defense guarantee for South Korea. "We should charge them rent," he blurted out. "We should make them pay for our soldiers." Although treating American military personnel like mercenaries is the wrong approach, he is right that there is no need to protect the Republic of Korea. The Korean War ended 67 years ago. The South has twice the population and, by the latest estimate, 54 times the economy of the North. Why is Seoul still dependent on America?
If the Blob has its way, the U.S. will pay to defend the ROK forever. Analysts speak of the need for Americans to stick around even after reunification. It seems there is no circumstance under which they imagine Washington not garrisoning the peninsula. Why is America, born of revolution, now acting like an imperial power that must impose its military might everywhere?
Even more forcefully, it appeared, did Trump express his hostile views of Europe and NATO. Sure, he appeared to mistakenly believe that there was an alliance budget that European governments had failed to fund. But World War II ended 70 years ago. The Europeans recovered, the Soviet Union collapsed, and Eastern Europeans joined NATO. Why is Washington expected to subsidize a continent with a larger population than, and economy equivalent to, America's, and far larger than Russia's? Mattis apparently offered the standard bromides, such as "This is what keeps us safe."
How? Does he imagine that without Washington's European presence, Russia would roll its tanks and march to the Atlantic Ocean? And from there launch a global pincer movement to invade North America? How does adding such behemoths as Montenegro keep the U.S. "safe"? What does initiating a military confrontation with Moscow over Ukraine, historically part of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, have to do with keeping Americans "safe"? The argument is self-evidently not just false but ridiculous.
Justifying endless wars is even tougher. Rucker and Leonnig do not report what the president said about Syria, which apparently was part of Mattis's brief. However, Trump's skepticism is evident from his later policy gyrations. Why would any sane Washington policymaker insist that America intervene militarily in a multi-sided civil war in a country of no significant security interest to the U.S. on the side of jihadists and affiliates of al-Qaeda? And stick around illegally as the conflict wound down? To call this policy stupid is too polite.
Even more explosive was the question of Afghanistan, to which the president did speak, apparently quite dismissively. Unsurprisingly, he asked why the U.S. had not won after 16 years -- which is longer than the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War combined. He also termed Afghanistan a "loser war." By Rucker's and Leonnig's telling, this did not go over well: "That phrase hung in the air and disgusted not only the military men and women in uniform sitting along the back wall behind their principals. They all were sworn to obey their commander in chief's commands, and here he was calling the way they had been fighting a loser war."
But it was and is true. Indeed, when I visited Afghanistan back when U.S. troop levels were near their highest, "off camera," so to speak, military folks were quite skeptical of the war. So were Afghans, who had little good to say about their Washington-created and -supported government unless they were collecting a paycheck from it. An incoming president could be forgiven for suspecting that his predecessor had poured more troops into the conflict only to put off its failure until after he'd left office.
The fault does not belong to combat personnel, but to political leaders and complicit generals, who have misled if not lied in presenting a fairy tale perspective on the conflict's progress and prognosis. And for what? Central Asia is not and never will be a vital issue of American security. Afghanistan has nothing to do with terrorism other than its having hosting al-Qaeda two decades ago. Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. In recent years, it's Yemen that's hosted the most dangerous national affiliate of al-Qaeda. So why are U.S. troops still in Afghanistan?
Accounts like that from Rucker and Leonnig are beloved by the Blob. America's role is to dominate the globe, irrespective of cost. Those officials pursuing this objective, no matter how poorly, are lauded. Any politician challenging Washington's global mission is derided.
President Trump has done much wrong. However, he deserves credit for challenging a failed foreign policy that's been paid for by so many while benefiting so few. It is "crazy" and "stupid," as he reportedly said. Why should Americans keep dying for causes that their leaders cannot adequately explain, let alone justify? Let us hope that one day Americans elect a president who will act and not just talk.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .
Jan 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
January 14, 2020 • 7 Comments
WikiLeaks ' publication of "Cablegate" in late 2010 dwarfed previous releases in both size and impact and helped cause what one news outlet called a political meltdown for United States foreign policy.
Today we resume our series The Revelations of WikiLeaks with little more than a month before the extradition hearing for imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange begins. This is the sixth in a series that is looking back on the major works of the publication that has altered the world since its founding in 2006. The series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring WikiLeaks' work, and is instead focusing on Julian Assange's personality. It is WikiLeaks' uncovering of governments' crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange, ultimately leading to his arrest on April 11 last year and indictment under the U.S. Espionage Act.
'A Political Meltdown for US Foreign Policy'
By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News
O f all WikiLeaks' releases, probably the most globally significant have been the more than a quarter of a million U.S. State Department diplomatic cables leaked in 2010, the publication of which helped spark a revolt in Tunisia that spread into the so-called Arab Spring, revealed Saudi intentions towards Iran and exposed spying on the UN secretary general and other diplomats.
The releases were surrounded by a significant controversy (to be covered in a separate installment of this series) alleging that WikiLeaks purposely endangered U.S. informants by deliberately revealing their names. That allegation formed a major part of the U.S. indictment on May 23 of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, though revealing informants' names is not a crime, nor is there evidence that any of them were ever harmed.
WikiLeaks ' publication of "Cablegate," beginning on Nov. 28, 2010, dwarfed previous WikiLeaks releases, in both size and impact. The publication amounted to 251,287 leaked American diplomatic cables that, at the time of publication, Der Spiegel described as"no less than a political meltdown for United States foreign policy."
Cablegate revealed a previously unknown history of diplomatic relations between the United States and the rest of the world, and in doing so, exposed U.S. views of both allies and adversaries. As a result of such revelations, Cablegate's release was widely condemned by the U.S. political class and especially by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Twitter handle Cable Drum, called it,
" The largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into U.S. Government foreign activities. The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February 2010, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret."
Among the historic documents that were grouped with Cablegate in WikiLeaks ' Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy are 1.7 million that involve Henry Kissinger, national security adviser and secretary of state under President Richard Nixon; and 1.4 million related to the Jimmy Carter administration.
Der Spiegel reported that the majority were "composed by ambassadors, consuls or their staff. Most contain assessments of the political situation in the individual countries, interview protocols and background information about personnel decisions and events. In many cases, they also provide political and personal profiles of individual politicians and leaders."
Cablegate rounded out WikiLeaks' output in 2010, which had seen the explosive publication of previous leaks also from Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning including " Collateral Murder ," the " Afghan War Diaries " and " Iraq War Logs ," the subject of earlier installments in this series. As in the case of the two prior releases, WikiLeaks published Cablegate in partnerships with establishment media outlets.
The "Cablegate" archive was later integrated with the WikiLeaks Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy , which contains over 10 million documents.
Global U.S. Empire Revealed
The impact of "Cablegate" is impossible to fully encapsulate, and should be the subject of historical study for decades to come. In September 2015 Verso published " The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to U.S. Empire ," with a foreword by Assange. It is a compendium of chapters written by various regional experts and historians giving a broader and more in-depth geopolitical analysis of U.S. foreign policy as revealed by the cables.
"The internal communications of the US Department of State are the logistical by-product of its activities: their publication is the vivisection of a living empire, showing what substance flowed from which state organ and when. Only by approaching this corpus holistically – over and above the documentation of each individual abuse, each localized atrocity – does the true human cost of empire heave into view," Assange wrote in the foreword.
' WikiLeaks Revolt' in Tunisia
The release of "Cablegate" provided the spark that many argue heralded the Arab Spring, earning the late-November publication the moniker of the " WikiLeaks Winter ."
Eventually, many would also credit WikiLeaks' publication of the diplomatic cables with initiating a chain-reaction that spread from the Middle East ( specifically from Egypt) to the global Occupy Wall Street movement by late 2011.
The first of the Arab uprisings was Tunisia's 28-day so-called Jasmine Revolution, stretching from Dec. 17, 2010, to Jan. 14, 2011, described as the "first WikiLeaks revolution."
Cables published by WikiLeaks revealed the extent of the Tunisian ruling family's corruption, and were widely accessible in Tunisia thanks to the advent of social media platforms like Twitter. Then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had been in power for over two decades at the time of the cables' publication.
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One State Department cable, labeled Secret , said:
"President Ben Ali's extended family is often cited as the nexus of Tunisian corruption. Often referred to as a quasi-mafia, an oblique mention of 'the Family' is enough to indicate which family you mean. Seemingly half of the Tunisian business community can claim a Ben Ali connection through marriage, and many of these relations are reported to have made the most of their lineage."
A June 2008 cable said: "Whether it's cash, services, land, property, or yes, even your yacht, President [Zine el Abidine] Ben Ali's family is rumored to covet it and reportedly gets what it wants."
Symbolic middle finger gesture representing the Tunisian Revolution and its influences in the Arab world. From left to right, fingers are painted as flags of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Algeria. (Khalid from Doha, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)
The cables revealed that Ben Ali's extended family controlled nearly the entire Tunisian economy, from banking to media to property development, while 30 percent of Tunisians were unemployed. They showed that state-owned property was expropriated to be passed on to private ownership by family members.
"Lax oversight makes the banking sector an excellent target of opportunity, with multiple stories of 'First Family' schemes," one cable read. ""With real estate development booming and land prices on the rise, owning property or land in the right location can either be a windfall or a one-way ticket to expropriation," said another.
The revolt was facilitated once the U.S. abandoned Ali. Counterpunch reported that: "The U.S. campaign of unwavering public support for President Ali led to a widespread belief among the Tunisian people that it would be very difficult to dislodge the autocratic regime from power. This view was shattered when leaked cables exposed the U.S. government's private assessment: that the U.S. would not support the regime in the event of a popular uprising."
The internet and large social media platforms played a crucial role in the spread of public awareness of the cables and their content amongst the Tunisian public. "Thousands of home-made videos of police repression and popular resistance have been posted on the web. The Tunisian people have used Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to organize and direct the mobilizations against the regime," the World Socialist Website wrote.
Foreign Policy magazine reported:
"WikiLeaks acted as a catalyst: both a trigger and a tool for political outcry. Which is probably the best compliment one could give the whistle-blower site." The magazine added: "The people of Tunisia shouldn't have had to wait for Wikileaks to learn that the U.S. saw their country just as they did. It's time that the gulf between what American diplomats know and what they say got smaller."
The Guardian published an account in January 2011 by a young Tunisian, Sami Ben Hassine, who wrote: "The internet is blocked, and censored pages are referred to as pages "not found" – as if they had never existed. And then, WikiLeaks reveals what everyone was whispering. And then, a young man [Mohamed Bouazizi] immolates himself. And then, 20 Tunisians are killed in one day. And for the first time, we see the opportunity to rebel, to take revenge on the 'royal' family who has taken everything, to overturn the established order that has accompanied our youth."
Protester in Tunis, Jan. 14, 2011, holding sign. Translation from French: "Ben Ali out." (Skotch 79, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)
On the first day of Chelsea Manning's pretrial in December 2011, Daniel Ellsberg told Democracy Now:
"The combination of the WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning exposures in Tunis and the exemplification of that by Mohamed Bouazizi led to the protests, the nonviolent protests, that drove Ben Ali out of power, our ally there who we supported up 'til that moment, and in turn sparked the uprising in Egypt, in Tahrir Square occupation, which immediately stimulated the Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations in the Middle East and elsewhere. I hope [Manning and Assange] will have the effect in liberating us from the lawlessness that we have seen and the corruption -- the corruption -- that we have seen in this country in the last 10 years and more, which has been no less than that of Tunis and Egypt."
Clinton Told US Diplomats to Spy at UN
The cables' revelation that the U.S. State Department under then-Secretary-of-State Clinton had demanded officials act as spies on officials at the United Nations -- including the Secretary General -- was particularly embarrassing for the United States.
El Pais summarized the bombshell: "The State Department sent officials of 38 embassies and diplomatic missions a detailed account of the personal and other information they must obtain about the United Nations, including its secretary general, and especially about officials and representatives linked to Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran and North Korea.
El Pais continued: "Several dispatches, signed 'Clinton' and probably made by the office of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, contain precise instructions about the myriad of inquiries to be developed in conflict zones, in the world of deserters and asylum seekers, in the engine room of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or about the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China to know their plans regarding the nuclear threat in Tehran."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton & UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2012. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr)
CNN described the information diplomats were ordered to gather: "In the July 2009 document, Clinton directs her envoys at the United Nations and embassies around the world to collect information ranging from basic biographical data on foreign diplomats to their frequent flyer and credit card numbers and even 'biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats.' Typical biometric information can include fingerprints, signatures and iris recognition data."
Der Spiegel reported that Clinton justified the espionage orders by emphasizing that "a large share of the information that the US intelligence agencies works with comes from the reports put together by State Department staff around the world."
Der Spiegel added: "The US State Department also wanted to obtain information on the plans and intentions of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his secretariat relating to issues like Iran, according to the detailed wish list in the directive. The instructions were sent to 30 US embassies around the world, including the one in Berlin."
Philip J. Crowley as assistant secretary of state for public affairs in 2010. (State Department)
The State Department responded to the revelations, with then- State-Department-spokesman P.J. Crowley reportedly disputing that American diplomats had assumed a new role overseas.
"Our diplomats are just that, diplomats," he said. "They represent our country around the world and engage openly and transparently with representatives of foreign governments and civil society. Through this process, they collect information that shapes our policies and actions. This is what diplomats, from our country and other countries, have done for hundreds of years."
In December 2010, just after the cables' publication, Assange told Time : "She should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up."
Saudis & Iran
A diplomatic cable dated April 20, 2008, made clear Saudi Arabia's pressure on the United States to take action against its enemy Iran, including not ruling out military action against Teheran:
"[Then Saudi ambassador to the US Abbdel] Al-Jubeir recalled the King's frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. 'He told you to cut off the head of the snake,' he recalled to the Charge', adding that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government. 11. (S) The Foreign Minister, on the other hand, called instead for much more severe US and international sanctions on Iran, including a travel ban and further restrictions on bank lending. Prince Muqrin echoed these views, emphasizing that some sanctions could be implemented without UN approval. The Foreign Minister also stated that the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out."
Dyncorp & the 'Dancing Boys' of Afghanistan
The cables indicate that Afghan authorities asked the United States government to quash U.S. reporting on a scandal stemming from the actions of Dyncorp employees in Afghanistan in 2009.
Employees of Dyncorp, a paramilitary group with an infamous track-record of alleged involvement in sex trafficking and other human rights abuses in multiple countries, were revealed by Cablegate to have been involved with illegal drug use and hiring the services of a "bacha bazi," or underage dancing boy.
A 2009 cable published by WikiLeaks described an event where Dyncorp had purchased the service of a "bacha bazi." The writer of the cable does not specify what happened during the event, describing it only as "purchasing a service from a child," and he tries to convince a journalist not to cover the story in order to not "risk lives."
Although Dyncorp was no stranger to controversy by the time of the cables' publication, the revelation of the mercenary force's continued involvement in bacha bazi provoked further questions as to why the company continued to receive tax-payer funded contracts from the United States.
Sexual abuse allegations were not the only issue haunting Dyncorp. The State Department admitted in 2017 that it "could not account for" more than $1 billion paid to the company, as reported by Foreign Policy .
The New York Times later reported that U.S. soldiers had been told to turn a blind eye to the abuse of minors by those in positions of power: "Soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages -- and doing little when they began abusing children."
Australia Lied About Troop Withdrawal
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, left, with U.S. President Barack Obama, in the Oval Office, Nov. 30, 2009, to discuss a range of issues including Afghanistan and climate change. (White House/Pete Souza)
The Green Left related that the cables exposed Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's double talk about withdrawing troops. "Despite government spin about withdrawing all 'combat forces,' the cables said some of these forces could be deployed in combat roles. One cable said, "[d]espite the withdrawal of combat forces, Rudd agreed to allow Australian forces embedded or seconded to units of other countries including the U.S. to deploy to Iraq in combat and combat support roles with those units."
US Meddling in Latin America
Cables revealed that U.S. ambassadors to Ecuador had opposed the presidential candidacy of Raphael Correa despite their pretense of neutrality, as observed by The Green Left Weekly .
Additional cables revealed the Vatican attempted to increase its influence in Latin America with the aid of the U.S. Further cables illustrated the history of Pope Francis while he was a cardinal in Argentina, with the U.S. appearing to have a positive outlook on the future pontiff.
Illegal Dealings Between US & Sweden
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wrote in his affidavit :
"Through the diplomatic cables I also learned of secret, informal arrangements between Sweden and the United States. The cables revealed that Swedish intelligence services have a pattern of lawless conduct where US interests are concerned. The US diplomatic cables revealed that the Swedish Justice Department had deliberately hidden particular intelligence information exchanges with the United States from the Parliament of Sweden because the exchanges were likely unlawful."
On Nov. 30, 2010, the State Department declared it would remove the diplomatic cables from its secure network in order to prevent additional leaks. Antiwar.com added: "The cables had previously been accessible through SIPRNet, an ostensibly secure network which is accessible by millions of officials and soldiers. It is presumably through this network that the cables were obtained and leaked to WikiLeaks ."
The Guardian described SIPRNet as a "worldwide US military internet system, kept separate from the ordinary civilian internet and run by the Defence Department in Washington."
On Nov. 29, 2010, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of the "Cablegate" release:
"This disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign policy; it is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conventions and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."
The next day, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee called for Chelsea Manning's execution, according to Politico .
Some political figures did express support for Assange, including U.K. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who wrote via Twitter days after Cablegate was published: "USA and others don't like any scrutiny via wikileaks and they are leaning on everybody to pillory Assange. What happened to free speech?"
Other notable revelations from the diplomatic cables included multiple instances of U.S. meddling in Latin America, the demand by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that diplomatic staff act as spies , the documentation of misconduct by U.S. paramilitary forces, the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis in Iceland, the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany and other European countries, that the Vatican attempted to increase its influence in Latin America with the aid of the U.S. , that U.S. diplomats had essentially spied on German Chancellor Angele Merkel, and much more.
Der Spiegel reported on Hillary Clinton's demand that U.S. diplomats act as spies:
"As justification for the espionage orders, Clinton emphasized that a large share of the information that the U.S. intelligence agencies works with comes from the reports put together by State Department staff around the world. The information to be collected included personal credit card information, frequent flyer customer numbers, as well as e-mail and telephone accounts. In many cases the State Department also requested 'biometric information,' 'passwords' and 'personal encryption keys.' "
Der Spiegel added: "The U.S. State Department also wanted to obtain information on the plans and intentions of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his secretariat relating to issues like Iran, according to the detailed wish list in the directive. The instructions were sent to 30 U.S. embassies around the world, including the one in Berlin."
Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter and co-host of CN Live.
CORRECTION: CableDrum is an independent Twitter feed and is not associated with WikiLeaks as was incorrectly reported here.
jmg , January 15, 2020 at 09:53
A truly great series, thank you.
The Revelations of WikiLeaks -- Consortium News Series
1. The Video that Put Assange in US Crosshairs -- April 23, 2019
2. The Leak That 'Exposed the True Afghan War' -- May 9, 2019
3. The Most Extensive Classified Leak in History -- May 16, 2019
4. The Haunting Case of a Belgian Child Killer and How WikiLeaks Helped Crack It -- July 11, 2019
5. Busting the Myth WikiLeaks Never Published Damaging Material on Russia -- September 23, 2019
6. US Diplomatic Cables Spark 'Arab Spring,' Expose Spying at UN & Elsewhere -- January 14, 2020
For an updated list with links to the articles, a Google search is:
"The Revelations of WikiLeaks" site:consortiumnews.com For an updated list with links to the articles, a Google search is:
"The Revelations of WikiLeaks" site:consortiumnews.com
– – –
Consortium News wrote:
> Today we resume our series The Revelations of WikiLeaks with little more than a month before the extradition hearing for imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange begins.
Yes and, shockingly, Julian has been allowed only 2 hours with his lawyers in the last month, crucial to prepare the extradition hearings. See:
Summary from Assange hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court this morning -- Tareq Haddad -- Thread Reader -- Jan 13th 2020
Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
V , Jan 15 2020 1:32 utc | 104Some rather alarming news this morning (here); Pompeo now says the assassination of Soleimani was deterrence.
Not stopping there, he went on to say that U.S. deterrence also applies to Russia and China!
I'd say the gauntlet has been thrown down; just how far behind can war be now?
The U.S. has been pushing the limits of international crime for decades; and I think they're so used to being not challenged, that they forget (or stupidly think they're invincible) Russia and China will fight rather than cow tow to any U.S. coercion...
IMO, we just entered a new and far more dangerous era...
Nov 19, 2019 | canadianpatriot.orgThe Open Society and Anti-Defamation League have gone ballistic last week demanding for the unprecedented eternal banning of Joe diGenova from Fox News or else.
DiGenova (former Federal Attorney for the District of Columbia) committed a grievous crime indeed, calling out the unspeakable "philanthropist" George Soros on Fox News' Lou Dobbs Show on Nov. 14 as a force controlling a major portion of the American State Department and FBI. To be specific, DiGenova stated: "no doubt that George Soros controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department. He also controls the activities of FBI agents overseas who work for NGOs -- work with NGOs. That was very evident in Ukraine. And Kent was part of that. He was a very big protector of Soros." DiGenova was here referencing State Department head George Kent who's testimony is being used to advance President Trump's impeachment.
Open Society Foundation President Patrick Gaspard denounced Fox ironically calling them "McCarthyite" before demanding the network impose total censorship on all condemnation of Soros. Writing to Fox News' CEO, Gaspard stated: "I have written to you in the past about the pattern of false information regarding George Soros that is routinely blasted over your network. But even by Fox's standards, last night's episode of Lou Dobbs tonight hit a new low This is beyond rhetorical ugliness, beyond fiction, beyond ludicrous."
Of course, the ADL and Gaspard won't let anyone forget that any attack on George Soros is an attack on Jews the world over, and so it goes that the ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt jumped into the mud saying "Invoking Soros as controlling the State Dept, FBI, and Ukraine is trafficking in some of the worst anti-Semitic tropes." He followed that up by demanding Fox ban DiGenova saying: "If Mr. DiGenova insists on spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, there is absolutely no reason for Fox News to give him an open mic to do so. Mainstream news networks should never give a platform to those who spread hate."
Even though the MSM including the Washington Post, NY Times and other rags, not to mention countless Soros-affiliated groups have come out on the attack, DiGenova's statements cannot be put back in the bottle, and their attacks just provoke more people to dig more deeply into the dark dealings of Soros and the geopolitical masterclass that use this a-moral, former Nazi speculator as their anti-nation state mercenary.A Little Background on Soros
As has been extensively documented in many locations , ever since young Soros' talents were identified as a young boy working for the Nazis during WWII (a time he describes as the best and most formative of his life), this young sociopath was recruited to the managerial class of the empire becoming a disciple of the "Open Society" post-nation state theories of Karl Popper while a student in London. He latter became one of the first hedge fund managers with startup capital provided by Evelyn Rothschild in 1968 and rose in prominence as a pirate of globalization, assigned at various times to unleash speculative attacks on nations resisting the world government agenda pushed by his masters (in some cases even attacking the center of power- London itself in 1992 which provided an excuse for the London oligarchs to stay out of the very euro trap that they orchestrated for other European nations to walk into).
After the Y2K bubble, Soros began devoting larger parts of his resources to international drug legalization, euthanasia lobbying, color revolutions and other regime change programs under the guise of "Human Rights" organizations which have done a remarkable job destroying the sovereignty of Sudan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria to name a few. Since the economic crisis of 2008-09 (which his speculation helped create through unbounded currency and derivatives speculation), Soros has begun to advocate a new world governance system centred on what has recently been called the "Green New Deal" which has less to do with saving nature, and everything to do with depopulation.
So when the ADL, and Open Society attacks someone for being anti-semitic, you know that whomever they are attacking are probably doing something useful.
Jan 14, 2020 | twitter.com
Patrick Henningsen 1:47 AM - 13 Jan 2020
I see we have reached peak hypocrisy now. Resign Mike. You are an embarrassment to the people of the United States who you claim to be serving. Every day you read the same script, and it's a bevy of lies, every time.
btowngoatsnbirds 1:57 AM - 13 Jan 2020
Shhh....the grownups have a country to run
Patrick Henningsen 2:46 AM - 13 Jan 2020
Yes, I heard that one too.
Cheryl Sanchez 1:50 PM - 13 Jan 2020
Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
'Brought to Jesus': the evangelical grip on the Trump administration The influence of evangelical Christianity is likely to become an important question as Trump finds himself dependent on them for political survival
Julian Borger in Washington
Fri 11 Jan 2019 02.00 EST Last modified on Fri 18 Jan 2019 16.51 EST Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Donald Trump at the Republican national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on 18 July 2016. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters I n setting out the Trump administration's Middle East policy, one of the first things Mike Pompeo made clear to his audience in Cairo is that he had come to the region as "as an evangelical Christian".
In his speech at the American University in Cairo, Pompeo said that in his state department office: "I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and his word, and the truth."
The secretary of state's primary message in Cairo was that the US was ready once more to embrace conservative Middle Eastern regimes, no matter how repressive, if they made common cause against Iran.
His second message was religious. In his visit to Egypt, he came across as much as a preacher as a diplomat. He talked about "America's innate goodness" and marveled at a newly built cathedral as "a stunning testament to the Lord's hand".
ss="rich-link"> 'Toxic Christianity': the evangelicals creating champions for Trump Read more
The desire to erase Barack Obama's legacy, Donald Trump's instinctive embrace of autocrats, and the private interests of the Trump Organisation have all been analysed as driving forces behind the administration's foreign policy.
The gravitational pull of white evangelicals has been less visible. But it could have far-reaching policy consequences. Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo both cite evangelical theology as a powerful motivating force.
Just as he did in Cairo, Pompeo called on the congregation of a Kansan megachurch three years ago to join a fight of good against evil.
"We will continue to fight these battles," the then congressman said at the Summit church in Wichita. "It is a never-ending struggle until the rapture. Be part of it. Be in the fight."
For Pompeo's audience, the rapture invoked an apocalyptical Christian vision of the future, a final battle between good and evil, and the second coming of Jesus Christ, when the faithful will ascend to heaven and the rest will go to hell.
For many US evangelical Christians, one of the key preconditions for such a moment is the gathering of the world's Jews in a greater Israel between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. It is a belief, known as premillenial dispensationalism or Christian Zionism – and it has very real potential consequences for US foreign policy .
It directly colours views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and indirectly, attitudes towards Iran, broader Middle East geopolitics and the primacy of protecting Christian minorities. In his Cairo visit, Pompeo heaped praise on Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, for building the new cathedral, but made no reference to the 60,000 political prisoners the regime is thought to be holding, or its routine use of torture.
Pompeo is an evangelical Presbyterian, who says he was "brought to Jesus" by other cadets at the West Point military academy in the 1980s.
"He knows best how his faith interacts with his political beliefs and the duties he undertakes as secretary of state," said Stan van den Berg, senior pastor of Pompeo's church in Wichita in an email. "Suffice to say, he is a faithful man, he has integrity, he has a compassionate heart, a humble disposition and a mind for wisdom."
As Donald Trump finds himself ever more dependent on them for his political survival, the influence of Pence, Pompeo and the ultra-conservative white Evangelicals who stand behind them is likely to grow.
"Many of them relish the second coming because for them it means eternal life in heaven," Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University said. "There is a palpable danger that people in high position who subscribe to these beliefs will be readier to take us into a conflict that brings on Armageddon."
Chesnut argues that Christian Zionism has become the "majority theology" among white US Evangelicals, who represent about a quarter of the adult population . In a 2015 poll , 73% of evangelical Christians said events in Israel are prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Respondents were not asked specifically whether their believed developments in Israel would actually bring forth the apocalypse.
The relationship between evangelicals and the president himself is complicated.
Trump himself embodies the very opposite of a pious Christian ideal. Trump is not churchgoer. He is profane, twice divorced, who has boasted of sexually assaulting women. But white evangelicals have embraced him.
Eighty per cent of white evangelicals voted for him in 2016, and his popularity among them is remains in the 70s. While other white voters have flaked away in the first two years of his presidency, white evangelicals have become his last solid bastion.
Some leading evangelicals see Trump as a latterday King Cyrus, the sixth-century BC Persian emperor who liberated the Jews from Babylonian captivity.
The comparison is made explicitly in The Trump Prophecy , a religious film screened in 1,200 cinemas around the country in October, depicting a retired firefighter who claims to have heard God's voice, saying: "I've chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this."
Lance Wallnau , a self-proclaimed prophet who features in the film, has called Trump "God's Chaos Candidate" and a "modern Cyrus".
"Cyrus is the model for a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the purposes of the faithful," said Katherine Stewart , who writes extensively about the Christian right.
She added that they welcome his readiness to break democratic norms to combat perceived threats to their values and way of life.
"The Christian nationalist movement is characterized by feelings of persecution and, to some degree, paranoia – a clear example is the idea that there is somehow a 'war on Christmas'," Stewart said. "People in those positions will often go for authoritarian leaders who will do whatever is necessary to fight for their cause."
Trump was raised as a Presbyterian, but leaned increasingly towards evangelical preachers as he began contemplating a run for the presidency.
Trump's choice of Pence as a running mate was a gesture of his commitment, and four of the six preachers at his inauguration were evangelicals, including White and Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the preacher Billy Graham, who defended Trump through his many sex scandals, pointing out: "We are all sinners."
Having lost control of the House of Representatives in November, and under ever closer scrutiny for his campaign's links to the Kremlin, Trump's instinct has been to cleave ever closer to his most loyal supporters.
Almost alone among major demographic groups, white evangelicals are overwhelmingly in favour of Trump's border wall, which some preachers equate with fortifications in the Bible.
Evangelical links have also helped shape US alliances in the Trump presidency. As secretary of state, Pompeo has been instrumental in forging link with other evangelical leaders in the hemisphere, including Guatemala's Jimmy Morales and the new Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro . Both have undertaken to follow the US lead in moving their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem .
Trump's order to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv – over the objections of his foreign policy and national security team – is a striking example of evangelical clout.
ss="rich-link"> Sheldon Adelson: the casino mogul driving Trump's Middle East policy Read more
The move was also pushed by Las Vegas billionaire and Republican mega-donor, Sheldon Adelson, but the orchestration of the embassy opening ceremony last May, reflected the audience Trump was trying hardest to appease.
The two pastors given the prime speaking slots were both ardent Christian Zionists: Robert Jeffress, a Dallas pastor on record as saying Jews, like Muslims and Mormons, are bound for hell ; and John Hagee, a televangelist and founder of Christians United for Israel (Cufi), who once said that Hitler and the Holocaust were part of God's plan to get Jews back to Israel , to pave the way for the Rapture.
For many evangelicals, the move cemented Trump's status as the new Cyrus, who oversaw the Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
The tightening of the evangelical grip on the administration has also been reflected in a growing hostility to the UN, often portrayed as a sinister and godless organisation.
Since the US ambassador, Nikki Haley, announced her departure in October and Pompeo took more direct control, the US mission has become increasingly combative, blocking references to gender and reproductive health in UN documents.
Some theologians also see an increasingly evangelical tinge to the administration's broader Middle East policies, in particular its fierce embrace of Binyamin Netanyahu's government, the lack of balancing sympathy for the Palestinians – and the insistent demonisation of the Iranian government.
ss="rich-link"> US will expel every last Iranian boot from Syria, says Mike Pompeo Read more
Evangelicals, Chesnut said, "now see the United States locked into a holy war against the forces of evil who they see as embodied by Iran".
In a speech at the end of a regional tour on Thursday, Pompeo reprised the theme, describing Iran as a "cancerous influence".
This zeal for a defining struggle has thus far found common cause with more secular hawks such as the national security adviser, John Bolton, and Trump's own drive to eliminate the legacy of Barack Obama, whose signature foreign policy achievement was the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which Trump abrogated last May.
In conversations with European leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May, Trump has reportedly insisted he has no intention of going to war with Iran. His desire to extricate US troops from Syria marks a break with hawks, religious and secular, who want to contain Iranian influence there.
But the logic of his policy of ever-increasing pressure, coupled with unstinting support for Israel and Saudi Arabia, makes confrontation with Iran ever more likely.
One of the most momentous foreign policy questions of 2019 is whether Trump can veer away from the collision course he has helped set in motion – perhaps conjuring up a last minute deal, as he did with North Korea – or instead welcome conflict as a distraction from his domestic woes, and sell it to the faithful as a crusade.Topics Donald Trump Evangelical Christianity Trump administration US foreign policy Religion US politics Christianity features
Jan 10, 2020 | dailymail.co.uk
Consequences: Donald Trump appears to have no strategy for dealing with the fall-out
In fact, military analysts say Soleimani's assassination by the US is tantamount to a declaration of war against regional superpower Iran. What is certain is that his death marks the beginning of a terrifying new and unpredictable era in an already turbulent region.
Unsurprisingly, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned that 'severe consequences' await the killers of Soleimani, while the country's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, denounced the assassination as an 'act of international terrorism'.
Meanwhile in the US, a number of major cities have increased security to protect prominent landmarks and civilians from possible revenge terrorist attacks.
Whether or not that US reaction is justified, it would be difficult to overstate just how big a loss Soleimani's death is for the Iranian regime, how seriously we should take its vows of revenge – or, just as crucially, how humiliatingly off-guard Iran's leaders were when Trump gave his kill order.
Indeed, in retrospect it seems nothing short of astonishing that just a day earlier the ayatollah himself had mocked Trump about the violence outside the US embassy in Iraq, which Washington claimed was orchestrated by Iran. 'You can't do anything,' Khamenei said, in what will surely go down in history as one of the most ill-advised tweets ever posted by a country's leader.
Meanwhile, so apparently unconcerned was Soleimani about his own safety that the general – famed for constantly outsmarting his enemies on the battlefield – did not bother to keep his travel plans secret.
While most people in the West will not have known much, if anything, about Soleimani before the announcement of his death yesterday, in Iran he was the most revered military leader since the country's 1979 revolution.
Jan 06, 2020 | www.esquire.comAmerica's top diplomat does not seem to think his job is to prevent war.
The Washington Post dives deeply into what is laughingly called the administration*'s "process" leading up to the decision to kill Qasem Soleimani with fire last week. In short, all the "imminent threat" palaver was pure moonshine. According to the Post, this particular catastrophe was brewed up for a while amid the stalactites in the mind of Mike Pompeo, a Secretary of State who makes Henry Kissinger look like Gandhi.The secretary also spoke to President Trump multiple times every day last week, culminating in Trump's decision to approve the killing of Iran's top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, at the urging of Pompeo and Vice President Pence, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Pompeo had lost a similar high-stakes deliberation last summer when Trump declined to retaliate militarily against Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone, an outcome that left Pompeo "morose," according to one U.S. official. But recent changes to Trump's national security team and the whims of a president anxious about being viewed as hesitant in the face of Iranian aggression created an opening for Pompeo to press for the kind of action he had been advocating.
Poor Mike was morose. So, in an effort to bring himself out of the dumps, Mike decided to keep feeding the rats in the president*'s head.Trump, too, sought to draw down from the Middle East as he promised from the opening days of his presidential campaign. But that mind-set shifted on Dec. 27 when 30 rockets hit a joint U.S.-Iraqi base outside Kirkuk, killing an American civilian contractor and injuring service members. On Dec. 29, Pompeo, Esper and Milley traveled to the president's private club in Florida, where the two defense officials presented possible responses to Iranian aggression, including the option of killing Soleimani, senior U.S. officials said.
The whole squad got involved on this one.Alex Wong Getty ImagesTrump's decision to target Soleimani came as a surprise and a shock to some officials briefed on his decision, given the Pentagon's long-standing concerns about escalation and the president's aversion to using military force against Iran. One significant factor was the "lockstep" coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida.
First-in-His-Class Mike Pompeo knows his audience. There's no question that he knows how to get what he wants from a guy who doesn't know anything about anything, and who may have gone, as George V. Higgins once put it, as soft as church music. This, I guess, is a skill. Of course, Pompeo's job is easier because the president* is still a raving maniac on the electric Twitter machine. A handy compilation:Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters. He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!
And, this, perhaps my favorite piece of presidentin" yet.These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!
You have been informed, Congress. You have been informed, Iran.
No, really. It's down there below the cat videos.Trump Dished Some Bullsh*t on Iran
Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here .Charles P. Pierce Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976.
Jan 07, 2020 | www.esquire.com
Mike Pompeo is officially the Secretary of State. Apparently, he is also unofficially the Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and the very model of a modern major bureaucrat. He's running things on war and peace these days because the president* sure as hell isn't. He's a Dollar Store Kissinger with nobody to restrain him. And he has no compunction whatsoever about lying in public -- about Barack Obama, and about the definition of the word "imminent," which, to Pompeo, seems to extend back in time to the Persian Empire and forward into the second term of the Malia Obama administration.
Pompeo met the press on Tuesday and everything he said was completely worthless. For example, did you know that the Iran nuclear deal hastened the development of Iran's nuclear capacity, but that pulling out of it, and frying the second-highest official of their government, slowed it down? Mike Pompeo knows that.President Trump could not be more clear. On our watch, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon and, when we came into office, Iran was on a pathway that had been provided by the nuclear deal, which clearly gave them the opportunity to get those nuclear weapons. We won't let that happen...It's not political. The previous administration made a different choice. They chose to underwrite and appease. We have chose to confront and contain.
But that's not political, you appeasing, underwriting wimps who worked for 11 years to get a deal with these people. And that goes for all you appeasing, underwriting European bastards as well, who don't think this president* knows anything about anything. And, as to the whole imminence thing, well, everything is imminent sometime, and it's five o'clock somewhere."We know what happened at the end of last year in December ultimately leading to the death of an American. If you're looking for imminence, you needn't look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani. Then you had in addition to that what we could clearly see was continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans. It was the right decision, we got it right."
Yeah, they got nothing -- except the power, of course. The last time we had a terrible Republican president determined to lie us into a war in the Middle East, he and his people at least did not do so by employing utter and transparent gibberish. Times change.
Jan 08, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
(Tehran Armenian Cathedral)
Mike Pompeo was on the TeeVee today scoffing at those who do not agree with him and the Ziocon inspired "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. It must be a terrible thing for intelligence analysts of integrity and actual Middle East knowledge and experience to have to try to brief him and Trump, people who KNOW, KNOW from some superior source of knowledge that Iran is the worst threat to the world since Nazi Germany, or was it Saddam's Iraq that was the worst threat since "beautiful Adolf?"
The "maximum pressure" campaign is born of Zionist terrors, terrors deeply felt. It is the same kind of campaign that has been waged by the Israelis against the Palestinians and all other enemies great and small. This approach does not seem to have done much for Israel. The terrors are still there.
Someone sent me the news tape linked below from Aleppo in NW Syria. I have watched it a number of times. You need some ability in Arabic to understand it. The tape was filmed in several Christian churches in Aleppo where these two men (Soleimani and al-Muhandis) are described from the pulpit and in the street as "heroic martyr victims of criminal American state terrorism." Pompeo likes to describe Soleimani as the instigator of "massacre" and "genocide" in Syria. Strangely (irony) the Syriac, Armenian Uniate and Presbyterian ministers of the Gospel in this tape do not see him and al-Muhandis that way. They see them as men who helped to defend Aleppo and its minority populations from the wrath of Sunni jihadi Salafists like ISIS and the AQ affiliates in Syria. They see them and Lebanese Hizbullah as having helped save these Christians by fighting alongside the Syrian Army, Russia and other allies like the Druze and Christian militias.
It should be remembered that the US was intent on and may still be intent on replacing the multi-confessional government of Syria with the forces of medieval tyranny. Everyone who really knows anything about the Syrian Civil War knows that the essential character of the New Syrian Army, so beloved by McCain, Graham and the other Ziocons was always jihadi and it was always fully supported by Wahhabi Saudi Arabia as a project in establishing Sunni triumphalism. They and the self proclaimed jihadis of HTS (AQ) are still supported in Idlib and western Aleppo provinces both by the Saudis and the present Islamist and neo-Ottoman government of Turkey.
Well pilgrims, there are Christmas trees in the newly re-built Christian churches of Aleppo and these, my brothers and sisters in Christ remember who stood by them in "the last ditch."
"Currently there are at least 600 churches and 500,000–1,000,000 Christians in Iran." wiki below. Are they dhimmis? Yes, but they are there. There are no churches in Saudi Arabia, not a single one and Christianity is a banned religion. These are our allies?
Mr. Jefferson wrote that "he feared for his country when he remembered that God is just." He meant Virginia but I fear in the same way for the United States. pl
Posted at 02:13 PM in As The Borg Turns , Borg Wars , Current Affairs , Iran , Iraq , Israel , Middle East , Pakistan , Religion , Saudi Arabia , Syria , Yemen | Permalink
Jan 08, 2020 | www.unz.com
Z-man , says: Show Comment January 7, 2020 at 1:27 pm GMTYes, as long as Neoco hens and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.
BTW, Mike Pompeo or as I affectionately call him; Lard face, Plump'eo, crazed CZ-zealot fat boy, etc., is now a legitimate target of the Iranians. May Allah provide justice to the family of Soleimani. (Grin) And look, I'm wishing 'ill will' on a zealot 'goy' (gentile) instead of a typical Neo-cohen snake, how ironic. (Another grin)
A positve spin:
With the 'incorrect' memo leaked by the Pentagon about an orderly exit from Iraq this can be the silver lining in all this mess. This assassination might actually accelerate the exiting of US forces from Iraq and the surrounding quagmires. Who knows, Trump might be a genius.
Again, NO MORE WARS FOR ZION, BDS NOW, ONE STATE SOLUTION-PALESTINE.
And to really stick it to Neo cohens (My apologies to Prof. Steven Cohen ), Trump-Putin Axis Da!! Destroy the Deep State and the CABAL .
Jan 07, 2020 | www.unz.com
Z-man , says: Show Comment January 7, 2020 at 1:27 pm GMTYes, as long as Neoco hens and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.
BTW, Mike Pompeo or as I affectionately call him; Lard face, Plump'eo, crazed CZ-zealot fat boy, etc., is now a legitimate target of the Iranians. May Allah provide justice to the family of Soleimani. (Grin) And look, I'm wishing 'ill will' on a zealot 'goy' (gentile) instead of a typical Neo-cohen snake, how ironic. (Another grin)
A positve spin:
With the 'incorrect' memo leaked by the Pentagon about an orderly exit from Iraq this can be the silver lining in all this mess. This assassination might actually accelerate the exiting of US forces from Iraq and the surrounding quagmires. Who knows, Trump might be a genius.
Again, NO MORE WARS FOR ZION, BDS NOW, ONE STATE SOLUTION-PALESTINE.
And to really stick it to Neo cohens (My apologies to Prof. Steven Cohen ), Trump-Putin Axis Da!! Destroy the Deep State and the CABAL .
Dec 29, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The other possible replacements include Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Deputy Secretary of State Biegun, U.S. ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, Trump's Iran envoy Brian Hook, and two hard-liners from the Senate, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton. Most of these names inspire some mixture of loathing and dread, and of the seven men being considered Biegun is the only one remotely qualified to take the job. Hook has disqualified himself , and he shouldn't even be working at the State Department right now much less running it. Grenell functions as little more than an international troll , and he has done a terrible job representing the U.S. in Berlin, so promoting him would be an equally terrible mistake.
Rubio and Cotton are fanatics with the most toxic foreign policy views, and they would also likely be very poor managers of the department. In that respect, they are very much like Pompeo. Mnuchin would likely have great difficulty getting confirmed, and replacing one sanctions-happy Secretary with the Treasury Secretary who has been enforcing those sanctions is no improvement at all. As for O'Brien, he was a bad choice for National Security Advisor , he has done nothing since he took over from Bolton to suggest otherwise, and so it makes absolutely no sense to promote him. Biegun clearly has the confidence of the Senate following his overwhelming confirmation vote to be Deputy Secretary, so having him take over the department for whatever time is left in Trump's term seems the best available choice.
It is a measure of how chaotic and unsuccessful Trump's foreign policy is that we are talking about the possible nomination of a third Secretary of State in less than three years. Pompeo has outlasted many of his administration colleagues to become one of the longest-serving Cabinet officials under this president, and his tenure is not even two years old. It is no wonder that the list of likely replacements is so weak. Who would want to join a scandal-ridden administration with a failed foreign policy?
Pompeo's departure will be good news for the State Department, and the sooner it comes the better. There has rarely been a Secretary of State as dishonest and political as Pompeo, and his brief time running the department has been one of the low points in its history. Considering the damage that Pompeo has done along with the harm done by Tillerson, the next Secretary of State will have a lot of work to do to rebuild and not much time to do it in. Pompeo should clear the way for the next Secretary and resign as soon as possible.
Dec 23, 2019 | astutenews.com
The argument to be presented here is that Trump, in this phone call, and generally, was trying not only to obtain help with evidence-gathering in the "Crowdstrike" matter (which A.G. Barr is now investigating, and which also is the reason why Trump specifically mentioned "Crowdstrike" at the only instance in the phone-call where he was requesting a "favor" from Zelensky), but to change the policy toward Ukraine that had been established by Obama (via Obama's coup and its aftermath). This is a fact, which will be documented here. Far more than politics was involved here; ideology was actually very much involved. Trump was considering a basic change in US foreign policies. He was considering to replace policies that had been established under, and personnel who had been appointed by, his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama. Democrats are extremely opposed to any such changes. This is one of the reasons for the renewed impeachment-effort by Democrats. They don't want to let go of Obama's worst policies. But changing US foreign policy is within a President's Constitutional authority to do.
Trump fired the flaming neoconservative John Bolton on 10 September 2019. This culminated a growing rejection by Trump of neoconservatism -- something that he had never thought much about but had largely continued from the Obama Administration, which invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, Syria in 2012-, Yemen in 2015-, and more -- possibly out-doing even George W. Bush, who likewise was a flaming neocon. Trump's gradual turn away from neoconservatism wasn't just political; it was instead a reflection, on his part, that maybe, just maybe, he had actually been wrong and needed to change his foreign policies, in some important ways. (He evidently still hasn't yet figured out precisely what those changes should be.)
For example, on 15 November 2019, the impeachment focus was on the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump had recently ( in May 2019 ) fired as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Democrats presented her as having been the paradigm of professionalism and nonpartisanship in America's foreign service. She was actually a neoconservative who had been appointed as an Ambassador first by President George W. Bush on 20 November 2004, after her having received an M.S. from the National War College in 2001.
Obama appointed her, on 18 May 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt ( shown and heard in this video confidentially receiving instructions from Obama's agent controlling Ukraine-policy, Victoria Nuland ) as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Obama had selected Yovanovitch because he knew that (just like Pyatt) she supported his polices regarding Ukraine and would adhere to his instructions. Yovanovitch was part of Obama's team, just as she had previously been part of George W. Bush's team.
All three of them were staunch neoconservatives, just as Ambassador Pyatt had been, and just as Victoria Nuland had been, and just as Joe Biden had been.
A neoconservative believes in the rightfulness of American empire over this entire planet, even over the borders of the other nuclear superpower, Russia. Obama's standard phrase arguing for it was "The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation" , meaning that all other nations are "dispensable." This imperialistic belief was an extension of Yale's 'pacifist' pro-Nazi America First movement , which was supported by Wall Street's Dulles brothers in the early 1940s , and which pro-Nazi movement Trump himself has prominently praised. Unlike the progressive US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had planned the UN in order to be the anti -imperialist emerging first-ever global world government of nations, which would democratically set and ultimately enforce international laws of a new global federation of nations -- a global democratic federation of sovereign republics -- neoconservatives are US imperialists, who want instead to destroy the UN, and to extend American power over the entire world, make America not only the policeman to the world but the lawmaker for the world, and the judge jury and executioner of the world, the global dictator. The UN would be weakened to insignificance. This has gradually been occurring. It continued even after what had been thought to have been the 1991 end of the Cold War, and after Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his deceptive rhetoric. Yale's John Bolton was the leading current proponent of the America First viewpoint, much more straightforward in his advocacy of it than the far wilier Obama was; and, until recently, Trump supported that unhedged advocacy for the neoconservative viewpoint: US imperialism. Regarding the campaign to take over Russia, however, he no longer does -- he has broken with Bolton on that central neoconservative goal, and he is trying to reverse that policy, which had been even more extreme than Obama's policy towards Russia was (which policy had, in fact , produced the coup in Ukraine).
When the Cold War had supposedly ended in 1991, it ended actually only on the Russian side, but secretly it continued and continues on as policy on the American imperialists' side . The neoconservative side, which controlled the US Government by that time (FDR's vision having been destroyed when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981), has no respect whatsoever for Russia's sovereignty over its own land, and certainly not over the land of Russia's neighbors, such as Ukraine, which has a 1,625-mile border with Russia. Neoconservatives want US missiles to be pointed at Moscow all along Russia's border. That would be as if Russia had wanted to position Russian missiles all along Canada's and Mexico's borders with the US; it would disgust any decent person, anywhere, but neoconservatives aren't decent people. Neoconservatives (US imperialists) seek for all of Russia's neighbors to become part of the US empire, so as to isolate Russia and then become able to gobble it up. All neoconservatives want this ultimately to happen. Their grasp for power is truly limitless. Only in the tactical issues do they differ from one-another.
In her testimony behind closed doors to Senators, on 11 October 2019 , Yovanovich stated her views regarding what America's policies toward Ukraine should be, and these were Obama's policies, too; these views are the neoconservative outlook [and my own comments in brackets here will indicate her most egregious distortions and lies in this key passage from her]:
Because of Ukraine's geostrategic position bordering Russia on its east, the warm waters of the oil-rich Black Sea to its south, and four NATO allies to its west, it is critical to the security of the United States [this is like saying that Mexico and Canada are crucial to the security of Russia -- it's a lie] that Ukraine remain free and democratic [meaning, to neoconservatives, under US control] , and that it continue to resist Russian expansionism [like Russia cares about US expansionism over all of the Western Hemisphere? Really? Is that actually what this is about? It's about extending US imperialism on and across Russia's border into Russia itself] Russia's purported annexation of Crimea [but, actually, "Clear and convincing evidence will be presented here that, under US President Barack Obama, the US Government had a detailed plan, which was already active in June 2013, to take over Russia's main naval base, which is in Sevastopol in Crimea, and to turn it into a US naval base." ] , its invasion of Eastern Ukraine, and its defacto control over the Sea of Azov, make clear Russia's malign intentions towards Ukraine [not make clear Russia's determination not to be surrounded by enemies -- by US-stooge regimes. For Russia to avoid that is 'malign', she says] . If we allow Russia's actions to stand, we will set a precedent that the United States will regret for decades to come. So, supporting Ukraine's integration into Europe and combating Russia' s efforts to destabilize Ukraine [Oh, America didn't do that destabilization ?] have anchored our policy since the Ukrainian people protested on the Maidan in 2014 and demanded to be a part of Europe and live according to the rule of law [But Ukrainians before Obama's takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 didn't actually want to be part of the EU nor of NATO, and they considered NATO to be a threat to Ukraine. "In 2010, Gallup found that whereas 17% of Ukrainians considered NATO to mean 'protection of your country,' 40% said it's 'a threat to your country'." ] That was US policy when I became ambassador in August 2016 [after Obama's successful coup there took over its media and turned Ukrainian opinion strongly against Russia] , and it was reaffirmed as that policy as the policy of the current administration in early 2017. [Yes, that's correct, finally a truthful assertion from her. When Trump first came into office, he was a neoconservative, too.] The Revolution of Dignity [ you'll see here the 'dignity' of it ] and the Ukrainian people's demand to end corruption forced the new Ukrainian Government to take measures to fight the rampant corruption that long permeated that country's political and economic systems [and that still do, and perhaps more now than even before] .
That's just one example -- it's about the role of Ambassador Yovanovitch. But the focus of Ukrainegate isn't really that. It's not Yovanovitch. It is what Trump was trying to do, and what Joe Biden was trying to do, and what Obama had actually done. It is also about Joe Biden's son Hunter, because this is also about contending dynasties, and not only about contending individuals. Trump isn't certain, now, that he wants to continue being a full-fledged neoconservative, and to continue extending Obama's neoconservative policies regarding Ukraine. So: this is largely about what those policies actually were. And here is how Joe Biden comes into the picture, because Democrats, in trying to replace President Donald Trump by a President Mike Pence, are trying to restore, actually, Barack Obama's policy in Ukraine, a policy of which the Bidens themselves were very much Obama's agents, and Mike Pence would be expected to continue and extend those policies. Here will be necessary to document some personal and business relationships that the US news-media have consistently been hiding and even lying about, and which might not come up even in the expected subsequent Senate hearings about whether to replace Trump by Pence:
The real person who was the benefactor to, and the boss of, Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, at the Ukrainian gas-exploration company Burisma Holdings, was not the person that the American press says was, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had been part of the Ukrainian Government until Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, but it was instead Ihor Kolomoysky, who was part of the newly installed Ukrainian Government, which the Obama Administration itself had actually just installed in Ukraine (and that phone-conversation appointing Ukraine's new leader is explained here ), in what the head of the "private CIA" firm Stratfor has correctly called "the most blatant coup in history." ( Here's more explanation of that coup which was done by Obama. )
One cannot even begin accurately to understand the impeachment proceedings against America's current President Donald Trump ("Ukrainegate"), unless one first knows and understands accurately what the relationships were between Trump and the current Government of Ukraine, and the role that the Obama Administration had played in forming that Government (installing it), and the role that Hunter Biden had been hired to perform for his actual boss at Burisma, Kolomoysky, soon after Obama (via Obama's agent Victoria Nuland) had installed Ukraine's new Government.
As I had written on 28 September 2019 , "In order to understand why Ukraine's President Voldomyr Zelensky doesn't want the dirt about Joe Biden to become public, one needs to know that Hunter Biden's boss and benefactor at Burisma Holdings was, at least partly, Zelensky's boss and benefactor until Zelensky became Ukraine's President, and that revealing this would open up a can of worms which could place that former boss and benefactor of both men into prison at lots of places ."
That article, at the phrase " dug up in 2012," discussed and linked to a careful 2012 study of Burisma which had actually been done in Ukraine by an investigative nonprofit (Antac) funded by America's billionaire George Soros (who was another major funder of the 2014 Ukrainian coup , as well as of Barack Obama's political career itself) in order to help to bring down Yanukovych. However, what this study found was not the incriminating evidence against Zlochevsky which had been hoped. It found instead that the person who owned the controlling interest in Burisma was not really the Yanukovych-supporter Mykola Zlochevsky; it was, in fact, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky, who supported Yanukovych's overthrow. Kolomoysky, shortly after the coup, became appointed as the governor in a region of Ukraine, by the Obama Administration's post-coup Ukrainian Government. Obama's financial backer Soros knew, or should have known, that Zlochevsky had sold almost all of his Burisma holdings to Kolomoysky in 2011, but Obama's Administration was nonetheless trying to get the newly installed Ukrainian Government to prosecute Zlochevsky because Zlochevsky was associated with the Ukrainian President whom Obama had just overthrown. Hunter Biden's function was to help to protect Mr. Kolomoysky against being targeted by the newly installed Government in the anti-corruption campaign that the Obama Administration and the EU were pressing upon that new Ukrainian Government. Hunter Biden was to serve as a US fixer for his new boss Kolomoysky, to deflect the anti-corruption campaign away from Kolomoysky as a target and toward Zlochevsky as a target. And Hunter's father, Joe Biden, followed through on that, by demanding that Ukraine prosecute Zlochevsky, not Kolomoysky. Soros isn't really against corruption; he is against corruption by countries that he wants to take over, and that he uses the US Government in order to take over. Neoconservatism is simply imperialism, which has always been the foreign-affairs ideology of aristocrats and of billionaires. (In America's case, that includes both Democratic and Republican billionaires.) So, it's just imperialism in America. All billionaires who care at all about international relations are imperialists; and, in America, that's called "neoconservative." The American issue regarding Ukraine was never actually Ukraine's corruption. Corruption is standard and accepted throughout the US-and-allied countries; but against countries they want to take over it becomes a PR point in order to win acceptance by the gulls, of their own country's imperialism and its own associated corruption. "Our country's corruption is acceptable, but yours is not," is the view. That's the standard imperialist view. Neoconservatism -- imperialism anywhere, actually -- is always based on lies. Imperialism, in fact, is part of nationalism, but it is excluded by patriotism; and no nationalist is a patriot. No patriot is a nationalist. Whereas a nationalist supports his country's billionaires, a patriot supports his country's residents -- all of them, his countrymen, on a democratic basis, everyone having equal rights, not the richest of the residents having the majority or all of the rights. A nationalist is one-dollar-one-vote; a patriot is one resident one vote. The only people who are intelligently nationalist are billionaires and the agents they employ. All other nationalists are their gulls. Everyone else is a patriot. Ordinarily, there are far more gulls than patriots.
Information hasn't yet been published regarding what Trump's agent Rudolph Giuliani has found regarding Burisma, but the links in the present article link through to the evidence that I am aware of, and it's evidence which contradicts what the US-and-allied press have been reporting about the Bidens' involvement in Ukraine. So: this information might be what Trump's team intend to reveal after the Democratic-Party-controlled House of Representatives indicts Trump (send to the Republican Senate a recommendation to replace him by Mike Pence as America's President), if they will do that; but, regardless, this is what I have found, which US-and-allied news-media have conspicuously been not only ignoring but blatantly contradicting – contradicting the facts that are being documented by the evidence that is presented here .Consequently, the links in this article prove the systematic lying by America's press, regarding Ukrainegate.
After the Soros-funded Antac had discovered in 2012 that Kolomoysky ruled Burisma, the great independent Australian investigative journalist who has lived for 30 years in and reported from Moscow, John Helmer , headlined on 19 February 2015 one of his blockbuster news-reports, "THE HUNT FOR BURISMA, PART II -- WHAT ROLE FOR IGOR KOLOMOISKY, WHAT LONDON MISSED, WHAT WASHINGTON DOESN'T WANT TO SEE" , and he linked there not only to Ukrainian Government records but also to UK Government records, and also to corporate records in Cyprus, Panama, and elsewhere, to document that, indeed, Kolomoysky controlled Burisma. So, all of the US-and-allied 'news'-reporting, which merely assumes that Zlochevsky controlled this firm when Hunter Biden became appointed to its board, are clearly false. (See this, for example, from Britain's Guardian , two years later, on 12 April 2017, simply ignoring both the Antac report and the even-more-detailed Helmer report, and presenting Zlochevsky -- Kolomoysky's decoy -- as the appropriate target to be investigated for Burisma's alleged corruption.) So: when Joe Biden demanded that Ukraine's Government prosecute Zlochevsky, Biden was not, as he claims he was, demanding a foreign Government to act against corruption; he was instead demanding that foreign Government (Ukraine) to carry out his own boss, Barack Obama's, agenda, to smear as much as he could Viktor Yanukovych -- the Ukrainian President whom Obama had overthrown. This isn't to say that Yanukovych was not corrupt; every post-Soviet Ukrainian President, and probably Prime Minister too, has been corrupt. Ukraine is famous for being corrupt. But, this doesn't necessarily mean that Zlochevsky was corrupt. However, Kolomoysky is regarded, in Ukraine, as being perhaps the most corrupt of all Ukrainians.
Perhaps Kolomoysky's major competitor has been Victor Pinchuk, who has long been famous in Washington for donating heavily to Bill and Hillary Clintons' causes. For example, on 11 March 2018, the independent investigative journalist Jeff Carlson, bannered "Victor Pinchuk, the Clintons & Endless Connections" and he reported that
Victor Pinchuk is a Ukrainian billionaire.
He is the founder of Interpipe, a steel pipe manufacturer. He also owns Credit Dnipro Bank, some ferroalloy plants and a media empire.
He is married to Elena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.
Pinchuk's been accused of profiting immensely from the purchase of state-owned assets at severely below-market prices through political favoritism.
Pinchuk used his media empire to deflect blame from his father-in-law, Kuchma, for the September 16, 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Kuchma was never charged but is widely believed to have ordered the murder. A series of recordings would seem to back up this assertion.
On April 4 through April 12 2016, Ukrainian Parliamentarian Olga Bielkov had four meetings – with Samuel Charap (International Institute for Strategic Studies), Liz Zentos (National Security Council), Michael Kimmage (State Dept) and David Kramer (McCain Institute).
Doug Schoen filed FARA documents showing that he was paid $40,000 a month by Victor Pinchuk (page 5) – in part to arrange these meetings.
Schoen attempted to arrange another 72 meetings with Congressmen and media (page 10). It is unknown how many meetings took place.
Schoen has worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Schoen helped Pinchuk establish ties with the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal reported how Schoen connected Pinchuk with senior Clinton State Department staffers in order to pressure former Ukrainian President Yanukovych to release Yulia Tymoshenko – a political rival of Yanukovych – from jail.
The relationship between Pinchuk and the Clintons continued.
A large network of collaborators, all connected to NATO's PR agency the Atlantic Council, were also discussed and linked to; and, in one of the video clips, Victoria Nuland headed a panel discussion in Munich Germany at which numerous leading Democratic Party neoconservatives, and neoconservative foreign leaders, discussed how wonderful the "Deep State" is, and praised the Republican neocon John McCain, who had helped Victoria Nuland to install the fascist Government of Ukraine.
On 6 October 2019, Helmer headlined "UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH VICTOR PINCHUK IS PUTTING HIS MONEY ON JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT AT $40,000 PER MONTH – THAT'S $3,000 MORE PER MONTH THAN BURISMA WAS PAYING HUNTER BIDEN" . He reported:
Joe Biden's campaign for president, as well as his defence against charges of corrupt influence peddling and political collusion in the Ukraine, are being promoted in Washington by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk through the New York lobbyist, candidate adviser and pollster, Douglas Schoen (left).
This follows several years of attempts by Pinchuk and Schoen to buy influence with Donald Trump, first as a candidate and then as president; with Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani; and with John Bolton, Trump's National Security Adviser in 2018 and 2019. Their attempts failed.
Pinchuk has been paying Schoen more than $40,000 every month for eight years. The amount of money is substantially greater than Biden's son Hunter Biden was paid by Pinchuk's Ukrainian rival Igor Kolomoisky through the oil company Burisma and Rosemont Seneca Bohai, Biden's New York front company.
Pinchuk's message for the Democratic candidates and US media, according to Schoen's Fox News  broadcast in August, is: "Stop killing your own, stop beating up on your own frontrunner, Joe Biden."
On November 12th, the New York Times headlined "Ukraine's President Seeks Face-to-Face Meeting With Putin" and reported that Zelensky is now sufficiently disturbed at the declining level of the EU's and Trump Administration's continuing support for Ukraine's Government, so that Zelensky is desperately trying to restore friendly relations with Russia. The next day, that newspaper bannered "A Ukrainian Billionaire Fought Russia. Now He's Ready to Embrace It." This report said: "Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine's most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia ." Kolomoysky, in other words, who had been on Obama's team in Ukraine, no longer is on the US team under Trump. A reasonable inference would be that Kolomoysky increasingly fears the possibility of being prosecuted. Continuation of the Obama plan for Ukraine seems increasingly unlikely.
Here are some crimes for which Kolomoysky might be prosecuted:
Allegedly, Kolomoysky, along with the newly appointed Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, masterminded the 2 May 2014 extermination of perhaps hundreds of people who had been trapped inside Odessa's Trade Unions Building after those victims had distributed anti-coup flyers.
Allegedly, Kolomoysky, on 20 March 2015, brought to a board meeting of Ukraine's gas-distribution company UkrTransNafta, of which Kolomoysky was a minority shareholder, his hired thugs armed with guns , in an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate the rest of the board to impose Kolomoysky's choice to lead the company. Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, soon thereafter, yielded to the pressure from Ukraine's bondholders to fire Kolomoysky as a regional governor, and then nationalized Ukraine's biggest bank, PrivatBank, which had looted billions of dollars from depositors' accounts and secreted the proceeds in untraceable offshore accounts, so that the bank had to be bailed out by Ukraine's taxpayers. (Otherwise, there would have been huge riots against Poroshenko.) Zelensky is squeezed between his funder and his public, and so dithers. For example, on 10 September 2019, the Financial Times reported that "The IMF has warned Ukraine that backsliding on Privatbank's nationalisation would jeopardise its $3.9bn standby programme and that officials expect Ukraine to push for recovery of the $5.5bn spent on rescuing the bank." Stealing $5.5B is a big crime, and this was Obama's Ukrainian Government. Will it also be Trump's?
There are others, but those could be starters.
So, both Kolomoysky and Zelensky are evidently now considering to seek Moscow's protection, though Kolomoysky had previously been a huge backer of, and helped to fund, killing of the Donbassers who rejected the Obama-imposed Russia-hating Ukrainian regime.
Any such prosecutions could open up, to international scrutiny, Obama's entire Ukrainian operation. That, in turn, would expose Obama's command-complicity in the ethnic cleansing operation , which Kolomoysky's co-planner of the 2 May 2014 massacre inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building, Arsen Avakov, euphemistically labelled the "Anti Terrorist Operation" or "ATO," to eliminate as many as possible of the residents in the former Donbass region of Ukraine, where over 90% of the voters had voted for Yanukovych.
It could also open up the enormous can of worms that is George Soros, because though Trump doesn't at all care about corruption in Ukraine (nor should he, since that's a Ukrainian domestic matter and therefore not appropriate and certainly not a matter of US national-security interest), Soros himself was quite possibly breaking both national and international laws in his interventions in Ukraine, and possibly also in his related investments or his threats not to invest there. Not only was he deeply involved in the coup but afterward he was regularly advising Victoria Nuland. Whether even America's laws against insider-trading were violated should also be considered.
If Putin offers no helping hand to Zelensky, what will happen to Ukraine, and to Ukrainians? Might Trump finally campaign for the United States to become one of the "States Parties" to the International Criminal Court , so that Obama, Nuland, Soros, and others who had overthrown Ukraine's democratically elected Government could be tried there? How would Trump be able to immunize himself for such crimes as his own 14 April 2018 unprovoked missile-attack against Syria ? How likely is it that he would ever actually become a supporter of international law, instead of an imperialist (such as he has always been) and therefore opponent of international law? He, after all, is himself a billionaire, and no billionaire has ever fought for international law except in an instance where he benefited from it -- never for international law itself . Trump isn't likely to be the first. But here's how it could happen:
Donald Trump has surrounded himself with neoconservatives. There's not much distance between his policies toward Ukraine versus Barack Obama's and Joe Biden's. However, after Trump becomes impeached in the House (if that happens) and the impeachment trial starts in the Republican US Senate, there will then be a perfect opportunity for Trump to embarrass the Democratic Party profoundly by exposing not only Joe Biden but Biden's boss Obama as having caused the war in Ukraine . In order for him to do that, however, he'd also need to expose the rot of neoconservatism. Nobody in Washington does that, except, perhaps the rebelling Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard, and she's rejected in the national polls now by the public within her own Party . Neoconservatism is the uniform foreign-policy ideology of America's billionaires, both Republican and Democratic, and this is why Washington is virtually 100% neocon. In America, wealth certainly doesn't trickle down, but ideology apparently does -- and that's not merely neoliberalism but also its international-affairs extension: neoconservatism. Nonetheless, if a Trump re-election ticket were Trump for President, and Gabbard for Vice President, it might be able to beat anything that the Democrats could put up against it, because Trump would then head a ticket which would remain attractive to Republicans and yet draw many independents and even the perhaps 5% of Democrats who like her. Only Sanders, if he becomes the Democratic nominee (and who is the least-neoconservative member of the US Senate), would attract some of Gabbard's supporters, but he wouldn't be getting any money from the 607 people who mainly fund American politics. The 2020 US Presidential contest could just go hog-wild. However, America's billionaires probably won't let that happen. Though there are only 607 of therm, they have enormous powers over the Government, far more than do all other Americans put together. The US Supreme Court made it this way, such as by the 1976 Buckley decision , and the 2010 Citizens United decision .
So: while justice in this impeachment matter (and in the 2020 elections) is conceivable, it is extremely unlikely. The public are too deceived -- by America's Big-Money people.
As the neoconservative Democratic Representative from Vermont, Peter Welch, said in the impeachment hearings, on November 19th :
And you know, I'll say this to President Trump. You want to investigate Joe Biden? You want to investigate Hunter Biden? Go at it. Do it. Do it hard. Do it dirty. Do it the way you do, do it. Just don't do it by asking a foreign leader to help you in your campaign. That's your job, it's not his.
My goal in these hearings is two things. One is to get an answer to Colonel Vindman's question ["Is it improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a United States citizen and political opponent?"] . And the second coming out of this is for us as a Congress to return to the Ukraine policy that Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy both support, it's not investigations, it's the restoration of democracy in Ukraine and the resistance of Russian aggression.
Though Zelensky had won Ukraine's Presidency by a record-shattering 73% because he had promised to end the war (which the US had started), America's Deep State are refusing to allow that -- they want to force him to accept more US-made weapons and more US training of Ukraine's troops in how to use them against its next-door neighbor Russia.
Furthermore, in some respects, Trump is even more neoconservative than Obama was. Trump single-handedly nullified Obama's only effective and good achievement, the Iran nuclear deal. Against Iran, Trump is considerably more of a neocon than was Obama. Trump has squeezed Iranians so hard with his sanctions as to block other countries from buying from and selling to Iran; and this blockade has greatly impoverished Iranians, who now are rioting against their Government. Trump wants them to overthrow their Government. His plan might succeed. Trump's biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson , hates Iranians, and Trump is his man. On Iran, Trump remains a super-neocon. Perhaps Adelson doesn't require him to hate Russians too.
Furthermore, on November 17th, the same day when riots broke out in Iran against Iran's Government, Abdullah Muradoğlu headlined in Turkey's newspaper Yeni Safak , "Bolivia's Morales was overthrown by a Western coup just like Iran's Mosaddeg" , and he presented strong circumstantial evidence that that coup, too -- which had occurred on November 10th -- had been a US operation. How could Trump criticize Obama for the coup against Ukraine when Trump's own coup against Bolivia is in the news? America is now a two-Party fascist dictatorship. One criminal US President won't publicly expose the crimes of another criminal US President who was his predecessor.
The next much-discussed witness that the Democrats brought forth to testify against Trump was America's Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, on November 20th. Sondland was a hotels and real-estate tycoon like Trump. Prior to Trump's becoming President, Sondland had had no experience in diplomacy. At the start of 2017, "four companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee" ; and, then, a year later, Trump appointed him to this Ambassadorial post. Sondland evasively responded to the aggressive questioning by Senate Democrats trying to get him to say that Trump had been trying to "bribe" Zelensky. Then, the Lawfare Blog of the staunchly neoconservative Brookings Institution's Benjamin Wittes headlined "Gordon Sondland Accuses the President of Bribery" and Wittes asserted that "today, Amb. Gordon Sondland, testifying before the House in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, offered a crystal clear account of how President Trump engaged in bribery." But Sondland provided no evidence except his opinion, which can be seen online at "Opening Statement before the United States House of Representatives" , when he said:
Fourth, as I testified previously, Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.
However, in his prior (closed-door) 17 October 2019 testimony to the Senators, he had said (pp. 35-6) that on September 9th:
I asked the President, what do you want from Ukraine? The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall that the President was really in a bad mood. I tried hard to address Ambassador Taylor's concerns because he is valuable and [an] effective diplomat, and I took very seriously the issues he raised. I did not want Ambassador Taylor to leave his post and generate even more turnover in the Ukraine Mission."
That "Ambassador Taylor" was William. B. Taylor Jr. , a West Point, Army, and NATO neoconservative, whom George W. Bush had made US Ambassador to Ukraine in 2006-9, and whom Trump, at the suggestion of Trump's neoconservative Secretary of State Mike Pompeo , had appointed to succeed Ambassador Yovanovitch in May.
The testimony of all of these people was entirely in keeping with their neoconservatism and was therefore extremely hostile toward anything but preparing Ukraine to join NATO and serve on the front line of America's war to conquer Russia . Trump might be too stupid to understand anything about ideology or geostrategy, but only if a person accepts neoconservatism is the anger that these subordinates of his express toward him for his being viewed by them as placing other concerns (whether his own, or else America's for withdrawing America from Obama's war against Russia) suitable reason for Congress to force Trump out of office. Given that Trump, even in Sondland's account, did say "The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times," there is nothing that's even close to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard which is provided by their personal feelings that Trump had a quid-pro-quo about anything regarding Ukraine -- a policy of Obama's that Trump should instead firmly have abandoned and denounced as soon as he became President. Testimony from his own enemies, whom Trump had been stupid enough to have appointed, when he hadn't simply extended Obama's neoconservative policies and personnel regarding Ukraine, falls far short of impeachable. But right and wrong won't determine the outcome here anyway, because America has become a two-party, one-ideology, dictatorship.
This is what happens when billionaires control a country . It produces the type of foreign policies the country's billionaires want, rather than what the public actually need. This is America's Government, today. It's drastically different than what America's Founders had hoped. Instead of its representing the states equally with two Senators for each, and instead of representing the citizens equally, with proportional representation in the US House, and instead of yet a third system of the Electoral College for choosing the Government's Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, it has become thoroughly corrupted to being, in effect, one-dollar-one-vote -- an aristocracy of wealth controlling the entire Government -- exactly what the Founders had waged the Revolution in order to overthrow and prevent from ever recurring: a dictatorial aristocracy, as constituting our Government.
PS: Though I oppose almost everything that the hearings' Ranking Minority Member, the neoconservative (and, of course, also neoliberal) Republican Devin Nunes , stands for, I close here with his superb summary of the hearings, on November 21st , in which he validly described the Democrats' scandalously trashy Ukrainegate case against Trump (even though he refused to look deeper to the issues I raise in this article -- he dealt here merely with how "shoddy" the case the Democrats had presented was):
Throughout these bizarre hearings, the Democrats have struggled to make the case that President Trump committed some impeachable offense on his phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The offense itself changes depending on the day ranging from quid pro quo to extortion, to bribery, to obstruction of justice, then back to quid pro quo. It's clear why the Democrats have been forced onto this carousel of accusations. President Trump had good reason to be wary of Ukrainian election meddling against his campaign and of widespread corruption in that country. President Zelensky, who didn't even know aid to Ukraine had been paused at the time of the call, has repeatedly said there was nothing wrong with the conversation. The aid was resumed without the Ukrainians taking the actions they were supposedly being coerced into doing.
Aid to Ukraine under President Trump has been much more robust than it was under President Obama, thanks to the provision of Javelin anti-tank weapons. As numerous witnesses have testified, temporary holds on foreign aid occur fairly frequently for many different reasons. So how do we have an impeachable offense here when there's no actual misdeed and no one even claiming to be a victim? The Democrats have tried to solve this dilemma with a simple slogan, "he got caught." President Trump, we are to believe, was just about to do something wrong and getting caught was the only reason he backed down from whatever nefarious thought crime the Democrats are accusing him of almost committing.
I once again urge Americans to continue to consider the credibility of the Democrats on this Committee, who are now hurling these charges for the last three years. It's not president Trump who got caught, it's the Democrats who got caught. They got caught falsely claiming they had more than circumstantial evidence that Trump colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 election. They got caught orchestrating this entire farce with the whistleblower and lying about their secret meetings with him. They got caught defending the false allegations of the Steele dossier, which was paid for by them. They got caught breaking their promise that impeachment would only go forward with bipartisan support because of how damaging it is to the American people.
They got caught running a sham impeachment process between secret depositions, hidden transcripts, and an unending flood of Democrat leaks to the media. They got caught trying to obtain nude photos of President Trump from Russian pranksters pretending to be Ukrainians, and they got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee operative, who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts, and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings. That is the Democrats pitiful legacy in recent years. They got caught.
Meanwhile, their supposed star witness testified that he was guessing that President Trump was tying Ukrainian aid to investigations despite no one telling him that was true, and the president himself explicitly telling him the opposite, that he wanted nothing from Ukraine. Ladies and gentlemen, unless the Democrats once again scramble their kangaroo court rules, today's hearing marks the merciful end of this spectacle in the Impeachment Committee, formerly known as the Intelligence Committee. Whether the Democrats reap the political benefit they want from this impeachment remains to be seen, but the damage they have done to this country will be long lasting. Will this wrenching attempt to overthrow the president? They have pitted Americans against one another and poison the mind of fanatics who actually believe the entire galaxy of bizarre accusations they have levelled against the president since the day the American people elected him.
I sincerely hope the Democrats in this affair [end this] as quickly as possible so our nation can begin to heal the many wounds it has inflicted on us. The people's faith in government and their belief that their vote counts for something has been shaken. From the Russia hoax to this shoddy Ukrainian sequel, the Democrats got caught. Let's hope they finally learn a lesson, give their conspiracy theories a rest, and focus on governing for a change. In addition, Mr. Chairman, pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 2(j)(1), the Republican members transmit a request to convene a minority day of hearings. Today you have blocked key witnesses that we have requested from testifying in this partisan impeachment inquiry. This rule was not displaced by H.Res.660, and therefore under House Rule 11 clause 1(a), it applies to the Democrats impeachment inquiry. We look forward to the chair promptly scheduling an agreed upon time for the minority day of hearings so that we can hear from key witnesses that you have continually blocked from testifying.
I'd also like to take a quick moment on an assertion Ms. Hill made in the statement that she submitted to this Committee, in which she claimed that some Committee members deny that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. As I noted in my opening statement on Wednesday, but in March, 2018, Intelligence Committee Republicans published the results of a year long investigation into Russian meddling. The 240 page report analyzed 2016 Russian meddling campaign, the US government reaction to it, Russian campaigns in other countries and provided specific recommendations to improve American election security. I would [have] asked my staff to hand these reports to our two witnesses today just so I can have a recollection of their memory. As America may or may not know, Democrats refused to sign on to the Republican report. Instead, they decided to adopt minority views, filled with collusion conspiracy theories. Needless to say, it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time, and Republicans believe we should take meddling seriously by all foreign countries regardless of which campaign is the target.
Later that same day, the New York Times headlined "The Impeachment Hearings Revealed a Lot -- None of It Great for Trump" , and CNN headlined "The public impeachment hearings were a total GOP disaster" . The non-mainstream news-medium Zero Hedge instead bannered, "Amid Impeachment Circus, Dems Sneak PATRIOT Act Renewal Past The American People" , and reported that the "bill was pushed through with not a single Republican vote." The following day, the AP headlined "Analysis: Mountain of impeachment evidence is beyond dispute" and closed "Asked what the consequences are if Congress allows an American president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival, [Fiona] Hill said simply, 'It's a very bad precedent.'"
The latest (2019) Reuters international survey in which over 2,000 people in each one of 38 countries were asked whether they agree that "You can trust most news most of the time" shows that the United States scores #32 out of the 38, at the very top of the bottom 16% of all of the 38 countries surveyed, regarding trust in the news-media. Reuters had previously found, in their 2018 edition , that, among Americans, "those who identify on the left (49%) have almost three times as much trust in the news as those on the right (17%). The left gave their support to newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times while the right's alienation from mainstream media has become ever more entrenched." In the 2019 edition, what had been 49% rose now to 53%, and what had been 17% sank now to 9%: the billionaires' (i.e., mainstream) media are trusted now almost only by liberals. What the media report is considered trustworthy almost only by liberals, in today's America. By 53% to only 9% -- an almost 6 to 1 ratio -- the skeptics of the billionaires' press are Republicans. Of course, if the media are distrusted, then the nation can't be functioning as a democracy. But the media will be distrusted if they lie as much as America's do. Untrusted 'news'-media are a sure indication that the nation is a dictatorship (such as it is if the billionaires control the media). In America, only liberals think that America is a democracy and therefore might possess the basic qualification (democracy) to decide what nations need to be regime-changed (such as America did to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Honduras, Bolivia, and is still trying to do to Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran again, Syria, and Yemen; but not to -- for examples -- Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel). Liberals trust America's dictatorship as if it were instead a democracy. Conservatives do not; nor, of course, do progressives. FDR's vision, of a United Nations which would set and enforce the rules for international relations (neither the US nor any other country would do that), is now even more rejected by the Democratic Party than by the Republican Party. And the politically topsy-turvy result is Democrats trying to impeach the Republican Trump for his trying to cut back on Obama's imperialistic ( anti -FDR) agenda. Trump, after all, didn't do the coup to Ukraine; Obama did .
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Dec 23, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
... ... ...
Over a dinner of the "Presidential Cheeseburger" and wedge salad, Mr. Parnas relayed a rumor that Marie L. Yovanovitch, then the American ambassador to Ukraine, was bad-mouthing the president -- an unsubstantiated claim that Ms. Yovanovitch has denied, according to two people with knowledge of the dinner.
The exchange foreshadowed the role that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman would come to play in Mr. Trump's Ukrainian campaign.
Less than two weeks later, Mr. Parnas met with another critic of Ms. Yovanovitch, Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, in his Washington congressional office. Mr. Parnas, who had recently met Mr. Sessions at a fund-raiser, showed him a map of a crucial pipeline related to their gas venture, a photo shows.
By the end of the meeting, though, the topic had shifted to Ms. Yovanovitch, and Mr. Parnas reiterated what he had heard, a person briefed on the meeting said. After the meeting, Mr. Sessions sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch had spoken disdainfully of the Trump administration, and suggesting her removal. Mr. Sessions, who lost his re-election bid last year, has previously said he wrote the letter independently of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, after speaking to congressional colleagues.
Federal prosecutors contend in the indictment against Mr. Parnas that he was not just making small talk but sought to oust Ms. Yovanovitch "at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials," which could be a violation of federal laws that require Americans to register with the Justice Department when lobbying for foreign political interests. The indictment did not name any Ukrainian officials.
The men have not been charged with anything related to Ms. Yovanovitch, but prosecutors have said that additional charges are likely, at least for Mr. Parnas .
... ... ...
Dec 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
"Trump was simply asking new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- in a July phone call -- to investigate crimes at the "highest levels" of both Kiev and Washington," Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney for President Trump, told Laura Ingraham on "The Ingraham Angle."
"So, he is being impeached for doing the right thing as president of the United States," he said.
Giuliani told Laura Ingraham on "The Ingraham Angle" that he helped forced out Yovanovitch because she was corrupt and obstructing the investigation into Ukraine and the Bidens.
Dem's impeachment for innocent conduct is intended to obstruct the below investigations of Obama-era corruption:
- Billions of laundered $
- Billions, mostly US $, widely misused
- DNC collusion w/ Ukraine to destroy candidate Trump
Much more to come.-- Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 15, 2019
He told Ingraham that he needed her out of the way because she was corrupt. Giuliani said he was not the first person to go to the president with concerns about the diplomat.
In more tweets Tuesday, Giuliani elaborated:
Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians who wanted to come to US and explain Dem corruption in Ukraine. She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE and that's not the only thing she was doing. She at minimum enabled Ukrainian collusion.-- Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 17, 2019
" Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians who wanted to come to US and explain Dem corruption in Ukraine.
She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE and that's not the only thing she was doing. She at minimum enabled Ukrainian collusion."
G. Wally , 2 hours ago linkAmerican_Buffalo , 3 hours ago link
Here is why she had to go:
Dirty Money: George Soros' Corrupt Ties to Ukraine
Marie Yovanovitch was dismissed in March after Trump's allies said she was blocking the probe of Joe Biden and bad-mouthing the Ukrainian Prosecutor General Lutsenko said that she gave him a "do not prosecute list", that included Ukraine MPs and the exact same Sorosfunded NGO president.
George Soros, Marie Yovanovitch, Democrats & Ukraine: How the ...
Nov 19, 2019Several sources claim former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, instructed Ukraine officials to keep their hands off investigating the NGO in Ukraine founded by George Soros. Why?"
Any questions? As Putin warned the US: "ask about the 5th floor of the State Department." (where Soros held court!). No wonder the US Commies hate Putin.LEEPERMAX , 5 hours ago link
In case you're wondering where this is headed.....all roads lead to Bill Clinton - the most corrupt man who ever set foot in the White House.Lucifer's Chosen People , 7 hours ago link
ONE AMERICA NEWS EXCLUSIVE:
"GUILIANI UKRAINE DOCUMENTARY"
(Part 1) https://youtu.be/Fn4weTY-2zE
(Part 2) https://youtu.be/BK2coiDHLZ4
(Part 3) https://youtu.be/wRFtijtoV6IAlexTheCat3741 , 7 hours ago link
MUST READ!!! THOSE US CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS THAT HAVE DUAL US/ISRAELI CITIZENSHIP
https://conservative-headlines.org/89-of-our-senators-and-congress-hold-dual-citizenship-with-israel/MauiJeff , 7 hours ago link
What the Shiffhead Impeachment hearings demonstrated with the appearances of Ms. Yankonitbitch, Bowtie George, and the other "Dindunuffin/Donnonuffin Clowns" is just how much American Taxpayers' money is being wasted employing a bunch of sanctimonious drones who do nothing but get in the way of progress. Successful Corporations remove dead wood like that with downsizing and shakeups. But the Federal Government seems immune to efficiency because our elected officials NEVER DO THEIR JOBS BY USING ZERO BASE BUDGETING TO JUSTIFY EVERY ******* DOLLAR. And so, we now hear of yet another Omnibus Budget being foisted onto American Taxpayers and more wasteful spending that never, never, never, gets reduced. We need a Taxpayer's Revolution in this Country to stop the corrupt theft.
And one more thing: What the Ukrainian Matter reveals is how Foreign Aid is dispensed, handed out by the foreign recipient, and the funds are laundered and kicked back to the corrupt politicians and Deep State Operatives like the Bidens. If $400 Million in palletized untraceable cash can be delivered via a clandestine unmarked airplane at night to Iran supposedly for ransom as the Socialist Media Complex would have us believe in a way that is not consistent with long practiced methods for funds transfer, can we imagine all the billions that have quietly been stolen from us to enrich scum like Barack Obola, Quid Pro Joe, The Clintons, and so many others? IN THE MEANTIME, PRESIDENT TRUMP CAN'T GET A DIME TO SPEND ON BUILDING A WALL TO STOP THE ILLEGAL ALIEN COCKROACH INVASION.DaiRR , 8 hours ago link
Yovanovitch pulled the "poor me federal" employee act. I worked for the Feds for 31 years most as a manger and Yovanovitch victim act is what all federal employees pull when they get in trouble. Blah Blah my 30 years of service, my awards, my appraisals blah blah. She said that she had no concern about Hunter Biden while being hailed as a corruption fighter. Blah blah.wdg , 9 hours ago link
It's a crime that State Department people and ambassadors can have the same ethnic origin as the countries they serve in. It's a recipe for personal/family agendas, corruption and not representing the best interests of the United States. Of course if you're a DemoRat, you're always corrupt, as they have proven it is a given.peippe , 9 hours ago link
Rudy Giuliani: Yovanovitch Was Part Of The Cover-Up, She Had To Be Ousted.
"Ousted"? I thought the penalty for high treason was hanging. What are they waiting for? Hang the lot and in a public square near Congress so that all the traitors who reside in Congress and the highest levels of government and banking get a sense of what awaits them.chubbar , 10 hours ago link
she acted in the best interests of the former WH.
she was a good little bitch, just didn't notice the chess board had changed hands.
That's why Trump removed her. Can't punish an ignorant former ambassador any more that that.Serapis , 10 hours ago link
I sure hope Trump wakes the **** up and stops this nonsense in NY!!!!
"At the end of the month, almost all criminals arrested for state crimes in New York, including sex crimes , will be released without posting bail. It is a suicidal policy, but it is nonetheless the state’s prerogative to engage in such suicide. What is not its prerogative is the New York law that took effect this week granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and blocking ICE access to criminal enforcement information. We have a national union with a federal government controlling immigration for a reason, and it’s time for the Trump administration to show state officials who has the final say over this issue.
Beginning this week, the NY state government is inviting any and all illegal aliens , with or without criminal records, to apply for driver’s licenses. As documentation , they can offer consular ID cards, which are fraught with fraud, expired work permits, or foreign birth certificates. They can even offer Border Crossing Cards, which are only valid for 72 hours and for a stay in the country near the border area! The state law further prohibits state and county officials from disclosing any information to ICE and bars ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from accessing N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV) records and information.
Rocco [email protected]
This is the line outside a @nysdmv office in #Queens . About a 100 most #undocumentedimmigrants applying for a drivers license for the first time bc #greenlightlaw is now in effect.
7:52 AM - Dec 16, 2019
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It’s truly hard to overstate the enormity of the public safety crisis this law, dubbed “the green light law,” will spawn. There are currently 3.3 million aliens in the ICE non-detained docket who remain at large in this country. Just in one year, ICE put detainers on aliens criminally charged with 2,500 homicides. Given that New York has the fourth largest illegal alien population in the country, it is virtually certain that a large number of criminal aliens reside in the state and will now be offered legal resident documents to shield them from removal.
Some might suggest that this is the problem of New York’s residents and that it is their job and their responsibility alone to overturn these laws. But the difference between this law and their general pro-criminal laws is that when it comes to immigration, they simply lack the power to enact such a policy. Rather than the DHS and DOJ bemoaning these laws, it’s time for the Trump administration to actually stop them in their tracks. Otherwise the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution is nothing but ink on parchment.
A violation of federal law and the Constitution
8 U.S.C. § 1324 makes a felon of anyone who “knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place.” That statute also makes a criminal of anyone who “encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law” or anyone who “engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts.” Some form of this law has been on the books since 1891.
NY’s new law not only harbors illegal aliens but actually calls on the DMV to notify illegal aliens of any ICE interest in their files. There is only one purpose of this law: to tip off criminal alien fugitives that ICE is looking for them, the most literal violation of the law against shielding them from detection. Would we allow state officials to block information to the FBI, ATF, or DEA?
Moreover, New York’s Green Light law violates the entire purpose of the infamous 1986 amnesty bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which was “to combat the employment of illegal aliens.” The law specifically makes it “illegal for employers to knowingly hire, recruit, refer, or continue to employ unauthorized workers.” Yet the rationale for the Green Light Law, according to supporters , was “getting to work” and “ensure that our industries have the labor they need to keep our economy moving.” That directly conflicts with federal law.
Finally, 8 U.S.C. 1373 prohibits state and local government from “in any way restrict[ing]
, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” The entire purpose of this bill is to restrict all New York government entities from sending information on citizenship status to ICE.
Whether one disagrees with immigration laws or not, nobody can argue that the federal government lacks the power to enforce them. Immigration law is one of the core jobs of the federal government. People are free to go to any state once they are in the country, which is why the Founders transferred immigration policy from the states under the Articles of Confederation to the federal government under the Constitution.
This is why James Madison in Federalist #42 bemoaned that, under the Articles of Confederation, there was a “very serious embarrassment” whereby “an alien therefore legally incapacitated for certain rights in the [one state], may by previous residence only in [another state], elude his incapacity; and thus the law of one State, be preposterously rendered paramount to the law of another, within the jurisdiction of the other.” He feared that without the Constitution’s new idea of giving the federal Congress power “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” “certain descriptions of aliens, who had rendered themselves obnoxious” would choose states with weak immigration laws as entry points into the union and then move to any other state as legal residents or citizens.
As for immigration without naturalization, because of the issue of the slave trade, the first clause of Article I, Section 9 bars Congress from prohibiting “the Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit” until the year 1808. Well, Congress has long exercised that power to exclude over the past 200 years. New York has lacked the ability to maintain its own separate immigration scheme for quite some time.
When did the federal government become weak in the face of state rebellion?"
The diplomatic service made a big mistake when they abandoned the practice of preventing people from serving in countries where they have an ethnic connection
jovanivic is part of a rabid Ukrainian diaspora, chased out of the country by the Red Army for collaboration with the Nazis.
these people have a vicious, insatiable desire for revenge ...and the US does not need these kind of biases mucking things up
cuba is a similar sit
Dec 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Dec 16 2019 20:51 utc | 22
Neocons lie should properly be called "threat inflation"The underlying critical point-at-issue is credibility as I noted in my comment on b's 2017 article. I've since linked to tweets and other items by that trio; the one major change seems to have been the epiphany by them that they needed to go to where the action is and report it from there to regain their credibility.
The fact remains that used car salespeople have a stereotypical reputation for lacking credibility sans a confession as to why they feel the need to lie to sell cars.
Their actions belie the guilt they feel for their choices, but a confession works much better at assuaging the soul while helping convince the audience that the change in heart's genuine. And that's the point as b notes--genuineness, whose first predicate is credibility.
Dec 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Alan Dershowitz, op-ed via The Hill,
The decision by the Supreme Court to review the lower court rulings involving congressional and prosecution subpoenas directed toward President Trump undercuts the second article of impeachment that passed the House Judiciary Committee along party lines last week.
That second article of impeachment charges President Trump with obstruction of Congress for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas in the absence of a final court order. In so charging him, the House Judiciary Committee has arrogated to itself the power to decide the validity of its subpoenas, as well as the power to determine whether claims of executive privilege must be recognized, both powers that properly belong with the judicial branch of our government, not the legislative branch. The House of Representatives will do likewise, if it votes to approve the articles, as is expected to occur on Wednesday.
President Trump has asserted that the executive branch, of which he is the head, need not comply with congressional subpoenas requiring the production of privileged executive material, unless there is a final court order compelling such production. He has argued, appropriately, that the judicial branch is the ultimate arbiter of conflicts between the legislative and executive branches. Therefore, the Supreme Court decision to review these three cases, in which lower courts ruled against President Trump, provides support for his constitutional arguments in the investigation.
The cases that are being reviewed are not identical to the challenged subpoenas that form the basis for the second article of impeachment. One involves authority of the New York district attorney to subpoena the financial records of a sitting president, as part of any potential criminal investigation. The others involve authority of legislative committees to subpoena records as part of any ongoing congressional investigations.
But they are close enough. Even if the high court were eventually to rule against the claims by President Trump, the fact that the justices decided to hear them, in effect, supports his constitutional contention that he had the right to challenge congressional subpoenas in court, or to demand that those issuing the subpoenas seek to enforce them through court.
It undercuts the contention by House Democrats that President Trump committed an impeachable offense by insisting on a court order before sending possibly privileged material to Congress. Even before the justices granted review of these cases, the two articles of impeachment had no basis in the Constitution. They were a reflection of the comparative voting power of the two parties, precisely what one of the founders, Alexander Hamilton, warned would be the "greatest danger" of an impeachment.
House Democrats should seriously consider dropping this second article in light of the recent Supreme Court action. In fairness, this development involving the high court occurred after Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee made up their minds to include obstruction of Congress as an impeachment article. Yet the new circumstances give some Democratic members of Congress, who may end up paying an electoral price if they support the House Judiciary Committee recommendation, meaningful reason for voting against at least one of the articles of impeachment.
It would be a smart way out for those Democrats. More important, it would be the right thing for them to do. It would be smart and right because, as matters now stand, the entire process smacks of partisanship, with little concern for the precedential impact which these articles could have on future impeachments. If a few more Democrats voted in a way that would demonstrate greater nuanced recognition that, at the least, the second article of impeachment represents an overreach based on current law, it would lend an aura of some nonpartisan legitimacy to the proceedings.
The first article goes too far in authorizing impeachment based on the vague criterion of abuse of power. But it is the second article that truly endangers our system of checks and balances and the important role of the courts as the umpires between the legislative and executive branches under the Constitution. It would serve the national interest for thoughtful and independent minded Democrats to join Republicans in voting against the second article of impeachment, even if they wrongly vote for the first.
Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
Marygoal , 10 Dec 2019 14:03... Women have proven over the centuries that they can be just as bloodthirsty when in power. Indeed one of them is busy in The Hague as we speak.
Dec 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Former Ukrainian Prosecutor Exposes Yovanovich Perjury, George Kent's Motive To Impeach Trump by Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 19:40 0 SHARES
Authored by Sundance via the Conservative Treehouse
In a fantastic display of true investigative journalism, One America News journalist Chanel Rion tracked down Ukrainian witnesses as part of an exclusive OAN investigative series. The evidence being discovered dismantles the baseless Adam Schiff impeachment hoax and highlights many corrupt motives for U.S. politicians.
Ms. Rion spoke with Ukrainian former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko who outlines how former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch perjured herself before Congress .
What is outlined in this interview is a problem for all DC politicians across both parties. The obviously corrupt influence efforts by U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch as outlined by Lutsenko were not done independently.
Senators from both parties participated in the influence process and part of those influence priorities was exploiting the financial opportunities within Ukraine while simultaneously protecting Joe Biden and his family. This is where Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham were working with Marie Yovanovitch.
Imagine what would happen if all of the background information was to reach the general public? Thus the motive for Lindsey Graham currently working to bury it.
You might remember George Kent and Bill Taylor testified together.
It was evident months ago that U.S. chargé d'affaires to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, was one of the current participants in the coup effort against President Trump. It was Taylor who engaged in carefully planned text messages with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland to set-up a narrative helpful to Adam Schiff's political coup effort.
Bill Taylor was formerly U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine ('06-'09) and later helped the Obama administration to design the laundry operation providing taxpayer financing to Ukraine in exchange for back-channel payments to U.S. politicians and their families.
In November Rudy Giuliani released a letter he sent to Senator Lindsey Graham outlining how Bill Taylor blocked VISA's for Ukrainian 'whistle-blowers' who are willing to testify to the corrupt financial scheme.
Unfortunately, as we are now witnessing, Senator Lindsey Graham, along with dozens of U.S. Senators currently serving, may very well have been recipients for money through the aforementioned laundry process. The VISA's are unlikely to get approval for congressional testimony, or Senate impeachment trial witness testimony.
U.S. senators write foreign aid policy, rules and regulations thereby creating the financing mechanisms to transmit U.S. funds. Those same senators then received a portion of the laundered funds back through their various "institutes" and business connections to the foreign government offices; in this example Ukraine. [ex. Burisma to Biden]
The U.S. State Dept. serves as a distribution network for the authorization of the money laundering by granting conflict waivers , approvals for financing (think Clinton Global Initiative), and permission slips for the payment of foreign money. The officials within the State Dept. take a cut of the overall payments through a system of "indulgence fees", junkets, gifts and expense payments to those with political oversight.
If anyone gets too close to revealing the process, writ large, they become a target of the entire apparatus. President Trump was considered an existential threat to this entire process. Hence our current political status with the ongoing coup.Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain meeting with corrupt Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in December 2016.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out , because, well, in reality all of the U.S. Senators (both parties) are participating in the process for receiving taxpayer money and contributions from foreign governments.
A "Codel" is a congressional delegation that takes trips to work out the payments terms/conditions of any changes in graft financing. This is why Senators spend $20 million on a campaign to earn a job paying $350k/year. The "institutes" is where the real foreign money comes in; billions paid by governments like China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Ukraine, etc. etc. There are trillions at stake.
[SIDEBAR: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds the power over these members (and the members of the Senate Intel Committee), because McConnell decides who sits on what committee. As soon as a Senator starts taking the
bribeslobbying funds, McConnell then has full control over that Senator. This is how the system works.]
The McCain Institute is one of the obvious examples of the financing network. And that is the primary reason why Cindy McCain is such an outspoken critic of President Trump. In essence President Trump is standing between her and her next diamond necklace; a dangerous place to be.
So when we think about a Senate Impeachment Trial; and we consider which senators will vote to impeach President Trump, it's not just a matter of Democrats -vs- Republican. We need to look at the game of leverage, and the stand-off between those bribed Senators who would prefer President Trump did not interfere in their process.
McConnell has been advising President Trump which Senators are most likely to need their sensibilities eased. As an example President Trump met with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in November. Senator Murkowski rakes in millions from the multinational Oil and Gas industry; and she ain't about to allow horrible Trump to lessen her bank account any more than Cindy McCain will give up her frequent shopper discounts at Tiffanys.
Senator Lindsey Graham announcing today that he will not request or facilitate any impeachment testimony that touches on the DC laundry system for personal financial benefit (ie. Ukraine example), is specifically motivated by the need for all DC politicians to keep prying eyes away from the swamps' financial endeavors. WATCH:
This open-secret system of "Affluence and Influence" is how the intelligence apparatus gains such power. All of the DC participants are essentially beholden to the various U.S. intelligence services who are well aware of their endeavors.
There's a ton of exposure here (blackmail/leverage) which allows the unelected officials within the CIA, FBI and DOJ to hold power over the DC politicians. Hold this type of leverage long enough and the Intelligence Community then absorbs that power to enhance their self-belief of being more important than the system.
Perhaps this corrupt sense of grandiosity is what we are seeing play out in how the intelligence apparatus views President Donald J Trump as a risk to their importance.
bhakta , 48 minutes ago linkHelg Saracen , 42 minutes ago link
It is all about cash. Nothing else matters to these people in DC.Colonel Klinks Ghost , 59 minutes ago link
Everyone loves money. I like money. The only question is how to earn them. Neither I, nor you, nor many of us will cross a certain moral and ethical line (border), but there are people without morality, without ethical standards, without conscience. We all look the same outwardly, but we are all completely different inside.Helg Saracen , 47 minutes ago link
Jesus Christ I'm glad McStain is gone. So many other corrupt officials need a good brain cancer.Helg Saracen , 1 hour ago link
You are an evil person. It was a tragedy. Surgeons failed to save the unfortunate tumor from McCain. ;)Cat Daddy , 4 hours ago link
Ukraine is Obama's **** , this is not Trump's ****. Trump's stupidity was only one - he got into this ****. I wrote, but I repeat - USA acted as the best friend in relation to Russia, having taken off a leech from Russia and hanging it on itself. Do you know such an estate of Rothschilds - called Israel and its role in the life of USA?
So, Ukraine was for the Russians the same Israel in terms of meaningless spending. Look at Vlad, in 2014 he looked like a fox who was eating a chicken, and on January 1, 2020 he will look like a fox who eating a whole brood of chickens. I think he has portraits of Obama and Trump in his bedroom.hanekhw , 4 hours ago link
Yes, indeed. Lindsey will bury the story, he is on the take. Your tax dollars at work. By the way, the Fed picked up all of the Ukies gold for safekeeping at 33 Liberty St. NY, with Yats permission, of course.... https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-18/ukraine-admits-its-gold-goneSoloamber , 4 hours ago link
A glimpse into how elected officials accumulate millions, retire wealthy, pampered and privileged....and I'm not talking pensions I'm talking corruption. Obama, Biden, Hillary, Kerry, Holder, Rice and ALL the senior Obama Administration officials knew of each other's corrupt sinecures.SoDamnMad , 20 minutes ago link
I am willing to give Graham the benefit of doubt because the alternative means some serious **** is coming .
The politicians have gotten comfortable that people will do nothing . BIG mistake .
Biden seems see oblivious to what he's done and perhaps this explains it . It's ******* routine .
Lets see their financial records from the day they were elected to the present .Dumpster Elite , 4 hours ago link
You will find very little information. City of London offshore trusts cover their tracks.docloxvio , 2 hours ago link
The author actually seems to know what's going on behind the curtain, and not just blindly speculating.peippe , 2 hours ago link
Well, it is based on a OAN story. Believe it or not, they actually sent a reporter to Ukraine to talk to people with knowledge of the matter and look what they came up with. Kind of makes you wonder why other well funded news organizations never thought to do something like that.Soloamber , 4 hours ago link
it's been known for at least weeks that the embassy Kunt withheld travel visas for Ukraine State attorneys.
so this in endemic,
till Trump. I love this.Serrano , 4 hours ago link
How does Obama buy a $ 11+ million water front estate ?
Book sales ? Nah don't think so .
You know what it costs to operate a house and property that big each year plus all the other trappings ?
He ain't driving a 64 Cricket automatic .
Gore left politics with what $2 million and now has over $200 million .
Saving the planet pays big doesn't ?
If Lindsey Graham is part of this where does it end ?
The politicians and central bankers are bankrupting the country , dumping $trillions in debt on kids that can't vote
and now we find out they are taking massive bribes ?
Really not sure if Trump can fix the broken system by himself .
If this is true the Senate will vote him out .Birdbob , 5 hours ago link
Sen. Graham tells Maria Bartiromo he will end impeachment quickly: 1 min. 27 sec.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DZDDzoG-SILord Raglan , 4 hours ago link
Shocker Lindsay Graham willing to betray public trust for Dollars? That is what we deserve.PrideOfMammon , 3 hours ago link
I don't know that we deserve this. We are all working people, with families to raise, taxes to pay and the Dems and Commies have been working against us 24/7. And most of them get paid to do so from government jobs that pay them 8 hours a day when many work 1 hour a day, all the while scheming against us.
If Trump wins a second term, he is gonna **** these people up good.teolawki , 5 hours ago link
No he isnt. He IS these people.
Now that I've read the article, I'm both shocked and appalled at learning that Ukraine is a money laundering operation for the politically connected. (They provide many other 'perks' as well.)
I've warned about light in the loafers Lindsey as well as McConnell before and more than once. Sessions should also be denied a re-admission into the swamp. There are others.
Dec 09, 2019 | www.wsj.com
Enthusiasm over entrepreneurship is now found in every corner of society -- even, apparently, within the federal bureaucracy. Witness after witness in last month's House impeachment inquiry hearings referred to "the interagency," an off-the-books informal government organization that we now know has enormous power to set and execute American foreign policy.
The first to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, State Department official George Kent, seemed to conceive of the interagency as the definitive source of foreign-policy consensus. That Mr. Trump's alleged decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine deviated from that consensus was, for Mr. Kent, prima facie evidence that it was misguided.Next up, Ambassador William Taylor told the committee that it was the "unanimous opinion of every level of interagency discussion" that the aid should be resumed without delay. Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official, gave the game away by admitting how upset she was that Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, had established an "alternative" approach to helping Kyiv. "We have a robust interagency process that deals with Ukraine," she said.
What is the interagency, and why should its views guide the conduct of American diplomatic and national-security professionals? The Constitution grants the president the power to set defense and diplomatic policy. Where did this interagency come from?
I first heard of the interagency in Baghdad in 2009. I was there as part of a Council on Foreign Relations delegation to Iraq. As a U.S. Army general briefed us on how the war was being fought, he spoke of the interagency as the source of the strategy he was executing. Naively, I asked why he wasn't operating according to orders from his military superiors or the secretary of defense.How Did Adam Schiff Get Devin Nunes's Phone Records? How did Adam Schiff get Devin Nunes's phone records?
email@example.com Created with sketchtool.
He explained that American war-fighting was being guided by a "whole of government" philosophy. Incredibly, he explained that the war couldn't be won without, among other agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor. Iraq needed economic expansion, modern farming, business statistics, new hospitals, a working court system and workplace regulations. The strategy framed by the interagency was nothing less than a yearslong engagement in nation building -- precisely what President George W. Bush had rejected in his 2000 campaign.
Interagency cooperative agreements have been around for decades. The Justice Department, for example, has opioid-interdiction programs that require it to work with the Department of Homeland Security. Today a dictionary of more than 12,500 official terms exists to guide bureaucrats in writing interagency contracts that repurpose federal funds appropriated to various executive departments. Often these interdepartmental initiatives devised by bureaucrats are unknown to Congress. It's hard to imagine that the legislative branch wouldn't object to these arrangements, if only it were aware of them.
When the war on terror opened, with all the secret activity it required, professional cadres in the diplomatic corps, the military and the nation's many intelligence agencies were able to transform interagency cooperative agreements that had existed since the Cold War into a de facto agency -- a largely informal and virtual bureaucracy -- with the assumed power, if need be, to determine and execute a foreign policy at odds with the intent of the president and Congress.
Last month's testimony before the Intelligence Committee shed light on this club whose members are a permanent shadow government credentialed by family histories, elite schools and unique career experiences. This common pedigree informs their perspective of how America should relate to the world. The dogmatists of the interagency seem to share a common discomfort with a president who probably couldn't describe the doctrine of soft power, doesn't desire to be the center of attention at Davos, and wouldn't know that Francis Fukuyama once decided that history was over.
The impeachment hearings will have served a useful purpose if all they do is demonstrate that a cabal of unelected officials are fashioning profound aspects of U.S. foreign policy on their own motion. No statutes anticipate that the president or Congress will delegate such authority to a secret working group formed largely at the initiation of entrepreneurial bureaucrats, notwithstanding that they may be area experts, experienced in diplomatic and military affairs, and motivated by what they see as the best interests of the country.
However the impeachment drama plays out, Congress has cause to enact comprehensive legislation akin to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which created more-efficient structures and transparent processes in the Defense Department. Americans deserve to know who really is responsible for making the nation's foreign policy. The interagency, if it is to exist, should have a chairman appointed by the president, and its decisions, much like the once-secret minutes of the Federal Reserve, should be published, with limited and necessary exceptions, for all to see.
Mr. Schramm is a university professor at Syracuse. His most recent book is "Burn the Business Plan."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.cbsnews.comWashington -- A top National Security Council official who listened to President Trump's July call with the president of Ukraine told lawmakers he "promptly" told White House lawyers he was concerned details of the call would become public, but did not think "anything illegal was discussed" during the conversation.
Tim Morrison, the outgoing senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council and a deputy assistant to the president, is testifying before committees leading the impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill on Thursday. He has emerged as a central witness to the events at the center of the inquiry, particularly the administration's policy toward Ukraine.
CBS News learned the substance of his opening statement to the committees, which ran six pages and appears below. Morrison said the summary released by the White House of the call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accurately reflects his memory and understanding of the call, but he said he had three concerns in the event the summary became public.
"[F]irst, how it would play out in Washington's polarized environment; second, how a leak would affect the bipartisan support our Ukrainian partners currently experience in Congress; and third, how it would affect the Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship," Morrison, who was in the Situation Room for the call, told lawmakers. "I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed."
However, he also corroborated a central allegation in the Democratic case against the president: that a U.S. ambassador told a high-ranking Ukrainian official that the release of military aid was contingent on an investigation into the Bidens.
Morrison said his predecessor, Fiona Hill, told him about "concerns about two Ukraine processes that were occurring": one led by traditional U.S. diplomatic entities, and one led by the U.S. Ambassador the E.U. Gordon Sondland and Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer. He said Hill told him about their efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that had employed Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden's son.
"At the time, I did not know what Burisma was or what the investigation entailed," Morrison said. "After the meeting with Dr. Hill, I googled Burisma and learned that it was a Ukrainian energy company and that Hunter Biden was on its board."
Morrison said he spoke frequently with Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the embassy in Kiev. Taylor testified before the committees last week and described his misgivings about efforts to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into the president's rivals. Morrison, in his statement, confirmed the substance of Taylor's account, but said he remembered two details differently.
Taylor testified that Morrison told him Sondland had demanded the Ukrainian president announce an investigation into Burisma, while Morrison said he remembered Sondland saying an announcement by the country's top prosecutor would suffice. Taylor also indicated Morrison met with the Ukrainian national security adviser in his hotel room, while Morrison said it was in the hotel's business center.
Morrison said he learned about a delay in military aid to Ukraine shortly after assuming his post, and was tasked with coordinating with various agencies to demonstrate why the aid was needed.
"I was confident that our national security principals -- the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the head of the National Security Council -- could convince President Trump to release the aid," he said.
Morrison testified he had "no reason to believe" the Ukrainians knew of a delay in military aid until August 28, and said he was unaware the aid may have been tied to the demand for an investigation into Burisma until he spoke to Sondland on September 1.
Morrison arrived on Capitol Hill before 8 a.m. Thursday for his deposition after Democrats issued a subpoena for his testimony. A spokesman for House Intelligence Committee chairman declined to comment on his opening statement. Morrison appeared on the same day the House approved a resolution greenlighting the rules for impeachment proceedings moving forward.
On Wednesday, officials said Morrison would be leaving his White House post. He said in his statement he has yet to submit his resignation "because I do not want anyone to think there is a connection between my testimony today and my impending departure."
"I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump Administration to accomplish," he said.Read Morrison's full statement
Opening Statement of Timothy Morrison
Before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform
October 31, 2019
Chairman Schiff and Members of the Committees, I appear today under subpoena to answer your questions about my time as Senior Director for European Affairs at the White House and the National Security Council ("NSC"). I will give you the most complete information I can, consistent with my obligations to the President and the protection of classified information. I do not know who the whistleblower is, nor do I intend to speculate as to who it may be.
Before joining the NSC in 2018, I spent 17 years as a Republican staffer, serving in a variety of roles in both houses of Congress. My last position was Policy Director for the then-Majority Staff of the House Armed Services Committee.
I. The Role of the National Security Council
From July 9, 2018 to July 15, 2019, I served as a Special Assistant to the President for National Security and as the NSC Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense. In that role, I had limited exposure to Ukraine, focusing primarily on foreign military sales and arms control. On July 15, 2019, I became Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security. In this role, I serve as the lead interagency coordinator for national security issues involving Europe and Russia.
It is important to start with the role of the NSC. Since its creation by Congress in 1947, the NSC has appropriately evolved in shape and size to suit the needs of the President and the National Security Advisor it serves at the time. But its mission and core function has fundamentally remained the same: to coordinate across departments and agencies of the Executive Branch to ensure the President has the policy options he needs to accomplish his objectives and to see that his decisions are implemented. The NSC staff does not make policy. NSC staff are most effective when we are neutral arbiters, helping the relevant Executive Branch agencies develop options for the President and implement his direction.
In my current position, I understood our primary U.S. policy objective in Ukraine was to take advantage of the once-in-a-generation opportunity that resulted from the election of President Zelensky and the clear majority he had gained in the Ukrainian Rada to see real anti-corruption reform take root. The Administration's policy was that the best way for the United States to show its support for President Zelensky's reform efforts was to make sure the United States' longstanding bipartisan commitment to strengthen Ukraine's security remained unaltered, it is easy to forget here in Washington, but impossible in Kyiv, that Ukraine is still under armed assault by Russia, a nuclear-armed state. We also tend to forget that the United States had helped convince Ukraine to give up Soviet nuclear weapons in 1994. United States security sector assistance (from the Departments of Defense and State) is, therefore, essential to Ukraine. Also essential is a strong and positive relationship with Ukraine at the highest levels of our respective governments.
In my role as Senior Director for European Affairs, I reported directly to former Deputy National Security Advisor, Dr. Charles Kupperman, and former National Security Advisor, Ambassador John Bolton. I kept them fully informed on matters that I believed merited their awareness or when I felt I needed some direction. During the time relevant to this inquiry, I never briefed the President or Vice President on matters related to Ukrainian security. It was my job to coordinate with the U.S. Embassy Chief of Mission to Ukraine William Taylor, Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, and other interagency stakeholders in the Departments of Defense and State of Ukrainian matters.
My primary responsibility has been to ensure federal agencies had consistent messaging and policy guidance on national security issues involving European and Russian affairs. As Dr. Fiona Hill and I prepared for me to succeed her, one of the areas we discussed was Ukraine. In that discussion, she informed me of her concerns about two Ukraine processes that were occurring: the normal interagency process led by the NSC with the typical department and agency participation and a separate process that involved chiefly the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. Dr. Hill told me that Ambassador Sondland and President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were trying to get President Zelensky to reopen Ukrainian investigations into Burisma. At the time, I did not know what Burisma was or what the investigation entailed. After the meeting with Dr. Hill, I googled Burisma and learned that it was a Ukrainian energy company and that Hunter Biden was on its board. I also did not understand why Ambassador Sondland would be involved in Ukraine policy, often without the involvement of our duly-appointed Chief of Mission, Ambassador Bill Taylor.
My most frequent conversations were with Ambassador Taylor because he was the U.S. Chief of Mission in Ukraine and I was his chief conduit for information related to White House deliberations, including security sector assistance and potential head-of-state meetings. This is a normal part of the coordination process.
II. Review of Open Source Documents in Preparation for Testimony
In preparation for my appearance today, I reviewed the statement Ambassador Taylor provided this inquiry on October 22, 2019. I can confirm that the substance of his statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate. My recollections differ on two of the details, however. I have a slightly different recollection of my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland. On page 10 of Ambassador Taylor's statement, he recounts a conversation I relayed to him regarding Ambassador Sondland's conversation with Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Yermak. Ambassador Taylor wrote: "Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation." My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland's proposal to Mr. Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general -- not President Zelensky -- would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation. I also would like to clarify that I did not meet with the Ukrainian National Security Advisor in his hotel room, as Ambassador Taylor indicated on page 11 of his statement. Instead, an NSC aide and I met with Mr. Danyliuk in the hotel's business center.
I also reviewed the Memorandum of Conversation ("MemCont') of the July 25 phone call that was released by the White House. I listened to the call as it occurred from the Situation Room. To the best of my recollection, the MemCon accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call. I also recall that I did not see anyone from the NSC Legal Advisor's Office in the room during the call. After the call, I promptly asked the NSC Legal Advisor and his Deputy to review it. I had three concerns about a potential leak of the MemCon: first, how it would play out in Washington's polarized environment; second, how a leak would affect the bipartisan support our Ukrainian partners currently experience in Congress; and third, how it would affect the Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship. I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed.
III. White House Hold on Security Sector Assistance
I was not aware that the White House was holding up the security sector assistance passed by Congress until my superior, Dr. Charles Kupperman, told me soon after I succeeded Dr. Hill. I was aware that the President thought Ukraine had a corruption problem, as did many others familiar with Ukraine. I was also aware that the President believed that Europe did not contribute enough assistance to Ukraine. I was directed by Dr. Kupperman to coordinate with the interagency stakeholders to put together a policy process to demonstrate that the interagency supported security sector assistance to Ukraine. I was confident that our national security principals -- the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the head of the National Security Council -- could convince President Trump to release the aid because President Zelensky and the reform-oriented Rada were genuinely invested in their anti-corruption agenda.
Ambassador Taylor and I were concerned that the longer the money was withheld, the more questions the Zelensky administration would ask about the U.S. commitment to Ukraine. Our initial hope was that the money would be released before the hold became public because we did not want the newly constituted Ukrainian government to question U.S. support.
I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the review until August 28, 2019. Ambassador Taylor and I had no reason to believe that the release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland. Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland's strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by leaders in the Administration and Congress, who understood the strategic importance of Ukraine to our national security.
I am pleased our process gave the President the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance. My regret is that Ukraine ever learned of the review and that, with this impeachment inquiry, Ukraine has become subsumed in the U.S. political process.
After 19 years of government service, I have decided to leave the NSC. I have not submitted a formal resignation at this time because I do not want anyone to think there is a connection between my testimony today and my impending departure. I plan to finalize my transition from the NSC after my testimony is complete.
During my time in public service, I have worked with some of the smartest and most self-sacrificing people in this country. Serving at the White House in this time of unprecedented global change has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump Administration to accomplish.
Dec 07, 2019 | www.unz.com
gsjackson , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 3:44 am GMT@Z-man I wasn't sure how to characterize McMaster and Kelly. My sense was that they represented the foreign policy establishment consensus, ergo neocon by default.TellTheTruth-2 , says: Website Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 3:50 am GMT
I share your optimism about Trump -- because it's the only strand of hope out there, and his enemies are so impeccably loathsome -- but am fully prepared to be proved wrong.The neocon communist warmongers have Trump all tied up. Trumping Trump: A Gulliver Strategy (right click) https://medium.com/everyvote/trumping-trump-a-gulliver-strategy-3fc96e4d5d93renfro , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 4:53 am GMTfreedom-cat , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 5:51 am GMT
"How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump's national security adviser. But this doesn't explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees."
It started before Bolton came on board.
Believe Trump when he says "Loyalty to me first". And that begins with his son in law Jared .his former personal attorney Jason Greenblatt .his former bankruptcy attorney David Friedman and his largest donor Sheldon Adelson .
Trump is too stupid to see that his Zios have no loyalty to him. Trump doesn't appoint anyone, doesn't even know anyone to appoint to national security or foreign policy. He never had any associations or confidents in his business life in NY except the above Jews .
Ask yourself how a 29 year old Jewish boy (now gone) with zero experience got brought onto the WH NSC. He was recommended by Gen. Flynn who did it as a favor to Zio Frank Gaffney of Iraq fame, and Jared because he was a friend of Jared and Gaffney was a friend Ezra's family. ..getting the picture?
All Trumps appointments look like a chain letter started by Kushner and his Zio connections.It may be as simple as Trump does not really know what he's doing. He doesn't seem to understand the complexity and dynamics of foreign policy. The way he handled Israel is an example as well as some of the bombs he ordered dropped on Afghanistan and Syria. Was he behind that or was someone else?Erebus , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 10:34 am GMT
He's a walking contradiction.
After Bolton came onboard, and then Eliot Abrams, the 24/7 Russia-gate suddenly stopped. That was also around the time USA was fomenting a Venezuelan coup. Was obvious that Russia-Gate was designed to control Trump.
There was a lull in the attacks on Trump between the time they stopped the 24/7 Russia-gate garbage and start of Impeachment inquiry.
He did something else to tick them all off, so now impeachment is on front burner.@FBPandour , says: Website Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
the 'permanent foreign policy establishment'
AKA, the Imperial Staff.
In the days of Kissinger, Baker, et al the Imperial Staff were well coached in the Calculus of Power, knew the limits to Empire and thrived within them. Since the end of history, and the apparent end of limits, policy makers had no more need of realists and their confusing calculations and analyses.
The US had power, and no-one else had any. That's all they needed to know, and set about creating new, wonderfully intoxicating realities. As Rove famously inverted the MO they'll act first, creating realities and the analysis and calculation can come later. In awe of their creations, they failed to notice that while history may have ended in Washington, elsewhere it moved on to surround them with a reality where they found themselves in zugzwang, with no understanding how they got there. Flailing (and wailing) like a Mastodon in a tar pit, they've managed only to attract an unhelpful crowd of onlookers, fascinated by the abomination.
In the second term watch out Trump is not as dumb as they think
I too believe he isn't dumb, but the real question is whether he's playing the fool in furtherance of a plan, or whether it's just who he is and his successes are accidental.
The Deep State's (aka: PFPE's) ongoing behaviour indicates that Trump's using buffoonery to work a plan that's anathema to their created realities, and their increasing shrillness indicates it's working. At every turn, he's managed to make unavailable the resources their reality called for. From the M.E., to the Ukraine to N. Korea to Venezuela, things just aren't working the way they're supposed to. In fact, they're invariably working out in a way that exposes the Deep State's ineptitude and malevolence, and maximizes its embarrassment.
If that's so, his is the most extraordinary political performance I thought I'd ever see. Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing. I guess we'll see if he abandons buffoonery when his opponents finally sink into the tar.
Fascinating.Decades old rhetorical question and answer-the indolent, indoctrinated and illiterate masses who only care about the Super Bowl and other sports,Disneyland and burgers. Twelve per cent of Americans have never heard of the Vice President Mike Pence - that is 30,870,000 American adults.Johnny Walker Read , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm GMTWho Is Making US Foreign Policy?
It is the same people who have been making it since the creation of central banks in America (all three of them).
Never in the history of America, probably never in the history of any country, had there been such open and direct control of governmental activities by the very rich. So long as a handful of men in Wall Street control the credit and industrial processes of the country, they will continue to control the press, the government, and, by deception, the people. They will not only compel the public to work for them in peace, but to fight for them in war. – John Turner, 1922
Dec 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.comPunch foresaw The Borg
"This was a debate over policy. Trump's critics may not have liked the policy he was pushing. But as former Defense Intelligence Agency official Pat Lang noted on his blog last week, the statute in question applies only to "intelligence activities" but "does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters."
That's what this fight is about, said Lang . Speaker after speaker at the hearings asserted that Trump's views did not comport with official national policy. But the president sets that policy, Lang said, not the diplomats.
"They think they are the people who set national policy and the president is this figurehead who is guided by all these people around him who agree on everything," he said. "The president doesn't need to use the State Department at all to conduct foreign policy." ' Paul Mulshine
Actually, I was too minimal in speaking of "diplomats." Vindman is not a diplomat and there are many other actors in this drama of Borgist angst (foreign policy establishment ) who are not diplomats.
For one thing a large percentage of the Drones at the State Department are civil service employees rather than Foreign Service Officers, and although they do not play well together they agree on the ultimate authority of the Supremacy Clause (non-existent) in the US Constitution that gives the State Department dominion over all the Lord created. A career ambassador's wife once lectured me that the US Army should change the cap badge that officers wear because it looks too much like the Great Seal of the United States which in the State Department can only be displayed by Ambassadors. I told her that she should petition the Secretary of the Army in this matter.
Various departments of government, media, academia, thinktankeries, etc., all have heavy infestations of folks who went to graduate school together in poly sci in all its branches, or who wish to be thought worthy of such attendance. They specialize in group think, conformity, and conformism, even to the solemn dress they affect. The four in hand tie knot is pretty much mandatory for serious consideration for inclusion in the Borg. It indicates a certain preppy insouciance and faux disregard for details of dress.
Trump's casual disregard for all that enrages the Borg who thought they had "won it all" long ago and that they would have a Borgist neocon to deal with in Hillary.
Hell hath no fury like The Borg scorned. pl
Posted at 12:28 PM in As The Borg Turns , Current Affairs , Media , Mulshine | Permalink
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J , 24 November 2019 at 12:56 PMHillary's Foundation has lost millions recently, which has Hillary pursing her lips like she's been using a lemon for her lipstick. I mean, worse than fish-lips, Hillary's pursing expression.Hank H. , 24 November 2019 at 06:44 PM
Too bad that we can't form some cement shoes for the Borg and toss them into the east river AKA the Atlantic, or send them back to hell from where they originated!OT:JMH , 25 November 2019 at 04:22 AM
This afternoon my wife and I turned on the TV to watch football. We were flipping through channels and came upon some local ABC affiliate (WMUR) which had on a documentary which mentioned the Medal of Honor and a Catholic chaplain in Vietnam. Needless to say we stayed on that channel. Long story short, it was one of the most powerful things we've ever watched. We were both in tears by the end (nb: I don't cry easily) and we were changed from having watched it. We immediately went online to purchase copies for family members. It was recently released.The Field Afar: The Life of Fr. Vincent Capodanno
https://www.amazon.com/Field-Afar-Life-Vincent-Capodanno/dp/B081KPTT3R/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=A+field+afar&qid=1574638098&sr=8-1As the Borg like to say "We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own." They have done this with the four in hand tie knot which was previously worn by giants like George Kennon and Chip Bohlen. Yet now, the midgetry prevails.Ghost Ship , 25 November 2019 at 11:34 AMJim Ticehurst , 25 November 2019 at 07:21 PMThe four in hand tie knot is pretty much mandatory for serious consideration for inclusion in the Borg.I'm surprised, given some of the more outlandish claims about the British Royal Family, that the Windsor knot isn't mandatory.Colonel...This is another Reason why I appreciate your levels of Experience and knowledge with SST..Thank you for doing that...I always come away with New Insight..and Understanding of Real Dynamics..what has Progressively Developed inside the State.Department.with its Influence On so Much POLICY...and .is as You say...The BORG..and Their Own Culture.your Article put that all into a Big Picture for Me..(Connecting the Data..) .It.as you aptly Described. is a Universal.Sect..and...At The National Level...They are Cyber Borgs..Shciff Shapers..and that Whole Colony has Been Exposed.,,, Bad Products and All....J , 26 November 2019 at 08:08 PMColonel,
Fiona Hill appears to be part of the Borg, not really sure which part she's affiliated. Some have called her a 'sleeper agent', but a sleeper for whom? British Intelligence agent of influence? Or an Israeli agent of influence, or maybe a Daniel Pipes trained NEOCON agent of influence? Any way one spins it, Fiona Hill has been undermining POTUS Trump while she was part of his NSC and his advisory team. Why her intense hatred of Putin? Does he happen to know through his nation's intelligence exactly who she is and whom she may be working on behalf of? The Skripal incident showed just how much that the British Government and Crown hate Russia. But why the intense British hatred of Russia, why?
Questions, so many questions regarding Ms. Hill and who she really works for.
Dec 06, 2019 | www.unz.comPresident Trump campaigned and was elected on an anti-neocon platform: he promised to reduce direct US involvement in areas where, he believed, America had no vital strategic interest, including in Ukraine. He also promised a new détente ("cooperation") with Moscow.
And yet, as we have learned from their recent congressional testimony, key members of his own National Security Council did not share his views and indeed were opposed to them. Certainly, this was true of Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Both of them seemed prepared for a highly risky confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, though whether retroactively because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.
Similarly, Trump was slow in withdrawing Marie Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer appointed by President Obama as ambassador to Kiev, who had made clear, despite her official position in Kiev, that she did not share the new American president's thinking about Ukraine or Russia. In short, the president was surrounded in his own administration, even in the White House, by opponents of his foreign policy and presumably not only in regard to Ukraine.
How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump's national security adviser. But this doesn't explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees.
A more plausible explanation is that Trump thought that by appointing such anti-Russian hard-liners he could lay to rest the Russiagate allegations that had hung over him for three years and still did: that for some secret nefarious reason he was and remained a "Kremlin puppet." Despite the largely exculpatory Mueller report, Trump's political enemies, mostly Democrats but not only, have kept the allegations alive.
The larger question is who should make American foreign policy: an elected president or Washington's permanent foreign policy establishment? (It is scarcely a "deep" or "secret" state, since its representatives appear on CNN and MSNBC almost daily.) Today, Democrats seem to think that it should be the foreign policy establishment, not President Trump. But having heard the cold-war views of much of that establishment, how will they feel when a Democrat occupies the White House? After all, eventually Trump will leave power, but Washington's foreign-policy "blob," as even an Obama aide termed it , will remain.
Listen to the podcast here . Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his most recent book, War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate , is available in paperback and in an ebook edition. His weekly conversations with the host of The John Batchelor Show , now in their sixth year, are available at www.thenation.com .
Curmudgeon , says: December 5, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMTRebel0007 , says: December 5, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT
because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.
In an otherwise decent overview, this sticks out like a sore thumb. It would be helpful to stop using the word annexation. While correct in a technical sense – that Crimea was added to the Russian Federation – the word comes with all kinds of connotations, that imply illegality and or force. Given Crimea was given special status when gifted to Ukraine for administration by the USSR, one could just as easily apply "annexation" of Crimea to Ukraine. After Ukraine voted to "leave" the USSR, Crimea voted to join Ukraine. Obviously the "Ukrainian" vote did not include Crimea. Even after voting to join Ukraine, Crimea had special status within Ukraine, and was semi autonomous. If you can vote to join, you can vote to leave. Either you have the right to self determination, or you don't.This is what is so infuriating, Stephen! These silent coups of the executive branch have been taking place for my entire life! Both parties are guilty of refusing to appoint cabinet members that the elected preside