Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Populism Bulletin, 2019

Home 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Aug 09, 2020] The CIA Democrats by Patrick Martin

Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called "Red to Blue" program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats -- in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop. ..."
"... The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter's website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election. ..."
Apr 30, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Part one

An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored "star" recruit. A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, "homeland defense" and cyber warfare. Elissa Slotkin

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called "Red to Blue" program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats -- in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.

The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call "spy vs. spy."

The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter's website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.

CNN's "State of the Union" program on March 4 included a profile of Jones as one of many female candidates seeking nomination as a Democrat in Tuesday's primary in Texas. The network described her discreetly as a "career civil servant." However, the Jones for Congress website positively shouts about her role as a spy, noting that after graduating from college, "Gina entered the US Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the US military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy" (the last phrase signaling to those interested in such matters that Jones is gay).

According to her campaign biography, Ortiz Jones was subsequently detailed to a position as "senior advisor for trade enforcement," a post President Obama created by executive order in 2012. She would later be invited to serve as a director for investment at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where she led the portfolio that reviewed foreign investments to ensure they did not pose national security risks. With that background, if she fails to win election, she can surely enlist in the trade war efforts of the Trump administration.

[Jun 23, 2020] Identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ( soft neoliberals ) to counter the defection of trade union members from the party

Highly recommended!
divide and conquer 1. To gain or maintain power by generating tension among others, especially those less powerful, so that they cannot unite in opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity. ..."
"... If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pm

John,

I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.

You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.

See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.

When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.

Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.

The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.

Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.

Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.

Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.

They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.

If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.

Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.

So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.

The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)

That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.

[Dec 31, 2019] Another despicable attack on Tulsi

It is reasonably cheap to buy a journalist and turn him into the attack dog on particular, inconvenient or dangerious for the financial oligarchy candidate.
Dec 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Dec 29 2019 19:01 utc | 13

New article about Tulsi Gabbard being viciously attacked over religion during Christmas.

Angry Bernie Sanders supporters whom I guess forgot to take their meds over the holidaze are viciously attacking Tulsi because of Jesus? LOL. This new article is specifically about Mike Figueroa from The Humanist Report, a semi-popular vlogger, and also a fanatic atheist type.

He used to be a Tulsi supporter, but since he is connected to the TYT network which is funded by Hollywood Billionaire and major DNC Clinton funder Katzenberg, he must have recently been told to toe the party line on smearing Tulsi if he wanted to reap the funding benefits of TYT who are hardcore Tulsi haters, following the DNC line.

I guess Tulsi showing the Christmas spirit gave him a reason to look hardcore to his fellow fanatics and appease TYT money folks. Anyways, here is the new article Like, In The Year 2024

[Dec 30, 2019] Sanders probably understands the situation but still is pandering to MIC, while Warren sounds like a regular neocon, another Kagan

Notable quotes:
"... "Today I say to Mr. Putin: We will not allow you to undermine American democracy or democracies around the world," Sanders said. "In fact, our goal is to not only strengthen American democracy, but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win." ..."
"... And yet, Warren too seems in thrall to the idea that the world order is shaping up to be one in which the white hats (Western democracies) must face off against the black hats (Eurasian authoritarians). Warren says that the "combination of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism" of Putin's Russia and Xi's China "is a fundamental threat to democracy, both here in the United States and around the world." ..."
"... The Cold War echoes here are as unmistakable as they are worrying. As Princeton and NYU professor emeritus Stephen F. Cohen has written, during the first Cold War, a "totalitarian school" of Soviet studies grew up around the idea "that a totalitarian 'quest for absolute power' at home always led to the 'dynamism' in Soviet behavior abroad was a fundamental axiom of cold-war Soviet studies and of American foreign policy." ..."
"... Cold warriors in both parties frequently mistook communism as a monolithic global movement. Neoprogressives are making this mistake today when they gloss over national context, history, and culture in favor of an all-encompassing theory that puts the "authoritarian" nature of the governments they are criticizing at the center of their diagnosis. ..."
"... By citing the threat to Western democracies posed by a global authoritarian axis, the neoprogressives are repeating the same mistake made by liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. They buy into the democratic peace theory, which holds without much evidence that a world order populated by democracies is likely to be a peaceful one because democracies allegedly don't fight wars against one another. ..."
"... George McGovern once observed that U.S. foreign policy "has been based on an obsession with an international Communist conspiracy that existed more in our minds than in reality." So too the current obsession with the global authoritarians. Communism wasn't a global monolith and neither is this. By portraying it as such, neoprogressives are midwifing bad policy. ..."
"... Some of these elected figures, like Trump and Farage, are symptoms of the failure of the neoliberal economic order. Others, like Orban and Kaczyński, are responses to anti-European Union sentiment and the migrant crises that resulted from the Western interventions in Libya and Syria. Many have more to do with conditions and histories specific to their own countries. Targeting them by painting them with the same broad brush is a mistake. ..."
"... "Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days," writes neoconservative-turned-Hillary Clinton surrogate Robert Kagan, "the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism." Max Boot also finds cause for concern. Boot, a modern-day reincarnation (minus the pedigree and war record) of the hawkish Cold War-era columnist Joe Alsop, believes that "the rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now." ..."
Dec 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

You can hear echoes of progressive realism in the statements of leading progressive lawmakers such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ro Khanna. They have put ending America's support for the Saudi war on Yemen near the top of the progressive foreign policy agenda. On the stump, Sanders now singles out the military-industrial complex and the runaway defense budget for criticism. He promises, among other things, that "we will not continue to spend $700 billion a year on the military." These are welcome developments. Yet since November of 2016, something else has emerged alongside the antiwar component of progressive foreign policy that is not so welcome. Let's call it neoprogressive internationalism, or neoprogressivism for short.

Trump's administration brought with it the Russia scandal. To attack the president and his administration, critics revived Cold War attitudes. This is now part of the neoprogressive foreign policy critique. It places an "authoritarian axis" at its center. Now countries ruled by authoritarians, nationalists, and kleptocrats can and must be checked by an American-led crusade to make the world safe for progressive values. The problem with this neoprogressive narrative of a world divided between an authoritarian axis and the liberal West is what it will lead to: ever spiraling defense budgets, more foreign adventures, more Cold Wars -- and hot ones too.

Unfortunately, Senators Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have adopted elements of the neoprogressive program. At a much remarked upon address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the site of Churchill's 1946 address, Sanders put forth a vision of a Manichean world. Instead of a world divided by the "Iron Curtain" of Soviet Communism, Sanders sees a world divided between right-wing authoritarians and the forces of progress embodied by American and Western European progressive values.

"Today I say to Mr. Putin: We will not allow you to undermine American democracy or democracies around the world," Sanders said. "In fact, our goal is to not only strengthen American democracy, but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win."

A year later, Sanders warned that the battle between the West and an "authoritarian axis" which is "committed to tearing down a post-Second World War global order that they see as limiting their access to power and wealth." Sanders calls this "a global struggle of enormous consequence. Nothing less than the future of the -- economically, socially and environmentally -- is at stake."

Sanders's focus on this authoritarian axis is one that is shared with his intraparty rivals at the Center for American Progress (a think-tank long funded by some of the least progressive regimes on the planet), which he has pointedly criticized for smearing progressive Democrats like himself. CAP issued a report last September about "the threat presented by opportunist authoritarian regimes" which "urgently requires a rapid response."

The preoccupation with the authoritarian menace is one Sanders and CAP share with prominent progressive activists who warn about the creeping influence of what some have cynically hyped as an "authoritarian Internationale."

Cold War Calling

Senator Warren spelled out her foreign policy vision in a speech at American University in November 2018. Admirably, she criticized Saudi Arabia's savage war on Yemen, the defense industry, and neoliberal free trade agreements that have beggared the American working and middle classes.

"Foreign policy," Warren has said, "should not be run exclusively by the Pentagon." In the second round of the Democratic primary debates, Warren also called for a nuclear "no first use" policy.

And yet, Warren too seems in thrall to the idea that the world order is shaping up to be one in which the white hats (Western democracies) must face off against the black hats (Eurasian authoritarians). Warren says that the "combination of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism" of Putin's Russia and Xi's China "is a fundamental threat to democracy, both here in the United States and around the world."

Warren also sees a rising tide of corrupt authoritarians "from Hungary to Turkey, from the Philippines to Brazil," where "wealthy elites work together to grow the state's power while the state works to grow the wealth of those who remain loyal to the leader."

The concern with the emerging authoritarian tide has become a central concern of progressive writers and thinkers. "Today, around the world," write progressive foreign policy activists Kate Kinzer and Stephen Miles, "growing authoritarianism and hate are fueled by oligarchies preying on economic, gender, and racial inequality."

Daniel Nexon, a progressive scholar of international relations, believes that "progressives must recognize that we are in a moment of fundamental crisis, featuring coordination among right-wing movements throughout the West and with the Russian government as a sponsor and supporter."

Likewise, The Nation 's Jeet Heer lays the blame for the rise of global authoritarianism at the feet of Vladimir Putin, who "seems to be pushing for an international alt-right, an informal alliance of right-wing parties held together by a shared xenophobia."

Blithely waving away concerns over sparking a new and more dangerous Cold War between the world's two nuclear superpowers, Heer advises that "the dovish left shouldn't let Cold War nightmares prevent them [from] speaking out about it." He concludes: "Leftists have to be ready to battle [Putinism] in all its forms, at home and abroad."

The Cold War echoes here are as unmistakable as they are worrying. As Princeton and NYU professor emeritus Stephen F. Cohen has written, during the first Cold War, a "totalitarian school" of Soviet studies grew up around the idea "that a totalitarian 'quest for absolute power' at home always led to the 'dynamism' in Soviet behavior abroad was a fundamental axiom of cold-war Soviet studies and of American foreign policy."

Likewise, we are seeing the emergence of an "authoritarian school" which posits that the internal political dynamics of regimes such as Putin's cause them, ineffably, to follow revanchist, expansionist foreign policies.

Cold warriors in both parties frequently mistook communism as a monolithic global movement. Neoprogressives are making this mistake today when they gloss over national context, history, and culture in favor of an all-encompassing theory that puts the "authoritarian" nature of the governments they are criticizing at the center of their diagnosis.

By citing the threat to Western democracies posed by a global authoritarian axis, the neoprogressives are repeating the same mistake made by liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. They buy into the democratic peace theory, which holds without much evidence that a world order populated by democracies is likely to be a peaceful one because democracies allegedly don't fight wars against one another.

Yet as Richard Sakwa, a British scholar of Russia and Eastern Europe, writes, "it is often assumed that Russia is critical of the West because of its authoritarian character, but it cannot be taken for granted that a change of regime would automatically make the country align with the West."

George McGovern once observed that U.S. foreign policy "has been based on an obsession with an international Communist conspiracy that existed more in our minds than in reality." So too the current obsession with the global authoritarians. Communism wasn't a global monolith and neither is this. By portraying it as such, neoprogressives are midwifing bad policy.

True, some of the economic trends voters in Europe and South America are reacting to are global, but a diagnosis that links together the rise of Putin and Xi, the elections of Trump in the U.S., Bolsonaro in Brazil, Orban in Hungary, and Kaczyński in Poland with the right-wing insurgency movements of the Le Pens in France and Farage in the UK makes little sense.

Some of these elected figures, like Trump and Farage, are symptoms of the failure of the neoliberal economic order. Others, like Orban and Kaczyński, are responses to anti-European Union sentiment and the migrant crises that resulted from the Western interventions in Libya and Syria. Many have more to do with conditions and histories specific to their own countries. Targeting them by painting them with the same broad brush is a mistake.

Echoes of Neoconservatism

The progressive foreign policy organization Win Without War includes among its 10 foreign policy goals "ending economic, racial and gender inequality around the world." The U.S., according to WWW, "must safeguard universal human rights to dignity, equality, migration and refuge."

Is it a noble sentiment? Sure. But it's every bit as unrealistic as the crusade envisioned by George W. Bush in his second inaugural address, in which he declared, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

We know full well where appeals to "universal values" have taken us in the past. Such appeals are not reliable guides for progressives if they seek to reverse the tide of unchecked American intervention abroad. But maybe we should consider whether it's a policy of realism and restraint that they actually seek. Some progressive thinkers are at least honest enough to admit as much that it is not. Nexon admits that "abandoning the infrastructure of American international influence because of its many minuses and abuses will hamstring progressives for decades to come." In other words, America's hegemonic ambitions aren't in and of themselves objectionable or self-defeating, as long as we achieve our kind of hegemony. Progressive values crusades bear more than a passing resemblance to the neoconservative crusades to remake the world in the American self-image.

"Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days," writes neoconservative-turned-Hillary Clinton surrogate Robert Kagan, "the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism." Max Boot also finds cause for concern. Boot, a modern-day reincarnation (minus the pedigree and war record) of the hawkish Cold War-era columnist Joe Alsop, believes that "the rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now."

Neoprogressivism, like neoconservatism, risks catering to the U.S. establishment's worst impulses by playing on a belief in American exceptionalism to embark upon yet another global crusade. This raises some questions, including whether a neoprogressive approach to the crises in Ukraine, Syria, or Libya would be substantively different from the liberal interventionist approach of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton. Does a neoprogressive foreign policy organized around the concept of an "authoritarian axis" adequately address the concerns of voters in the American heartland who disproportionately suffer from the consequences of our wars and neoliberal economic policies? It was these voters, after all, who won the election for Trump.

Donald Trump's failure to keep his campaign promise to bring the forever wars to a close while fashioning a new foreign policy oriented around core U.S. national security interests provides Democrats with an opportunity. By repeatedly intervening in Syria, keeping troops in Afghanistan, kowtowing to the Israelis and Saudis, ratcheting up tensions with Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and China, Trump has ceded the anti-interventionist ground he occupied when he ran for office. He can no longer claim the mantle of restraint, a position that found support among six-in-ten Americans in 2016.

Yet with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard, for the most part the Democratic field is offering voters a foreign policy that amounts to "Trump minus belligerence." A truly progressive foreign policy must put questions of war and peace front and center. Addressing America's post 9/11 failures, military overextension, grotesquely bloated defense budget, and the ingrained militarism of our political-media establishment are the proper concerns of a progressive U.S. foreign policy.

But it is one that would place the welfare of our own citizens above all. As such, what is urgently required is the long-delayed realization of a peace dividend. The post-Cold War peace dividend that was envisioned in the early 1990s never materialized. Clinton's secretary of defense Les Aspin strangled the peace dividend in its crib by keeping the U.S. military on a footing that would allow it to fight and win two regional wars simultaneously. Unipolar fantasies of "full spectrum dominance" would come later in the decade.

One might have reasonably expected an effort by the Obama administration to realize a post-bin Laden peace dividend, but the forever wars dragged on and on. In a New Yorker profile from earlier this year, Sanders asked the right question: "Do we really need to spend more than the next ten nations combined on the military, when our infrastructure is collapsing and kids can't afford to go to college?"

The answer is obvious. And yet, how likely is it that progressives will be able realize their vision of a more just, more equal American society if we have to mobilize to face a global authoritarian axis led by Russia and China?

FDR's Good Neighbor Policy

The unipolar world of the first post-Cold War decade is well behind us now. As the world becomes more and more multipolar, powers like China, Russia, Iran, India, and the U.S. will find increasing occasion to clash. A peaceful multipolar world requires stability. And stability requires balance.

In the absence of stability, none of the goods progressives see as desirable can take root. This world order would put a premium on stability and security rather than any specific set of values. An ethical, progressive foreign policy is one which understands that great powers have security interests of their own. "Spheres of influence" are not 19th century anachronisms, but essential to regional security: in Europe, the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere.

It is a policy that would reject crusades to spread American values the world over. "The greatest thing America can do for the rest of the world," George Kennan once observed, "is to make a success of what it is doing here on this continent and to bring itself to a point where its own internal life is one of harmony, stability and self-assurance."

Progressive realism doesn't call for global crusades that seek to conquer the hearts and minds of others. It is not bound up in the hoary self-mythology of American Exceptionalism. It is boring. It puts a premium on the value of human life. It foreswears doing harm so that good may come. It is not a clarion call in the manner of John F. Kennedy who pledged to "to pay any price, bear any burden." It does not lend itself to the cheap moralizing of celebrity presidential speechwriters. In ordinary language, a summation of such a policy would go something like: "we will bear a reasonable price as long as identifiable U.S. security interests are at stake."

A policy that seeks to wind down the global war on terror, slash the defense budget, and shrink our global footprint won't inspire. It will, however, save lives. Such a policy has its roots in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural address. "In the field of World policy," said Roosevelt, "I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor, the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others, the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a World of neighbors."

What came to be known as the "Good Neighbor" policy was further explicated by FDR's Secretary of State Cordell Hull at the Montevideo Conference in 1933, when he stated that "No country has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another." Historian David C. Hendrickson sees this as an example of FDR's principles of "liberal pluralism," which included "respect for the integrity and importance of other states" and "non-intervention in the domestic affairs of neighboring states."

These ought to serve as the foundations on which to build a truly progressive foreign policy. They represent a return to the best traditions of the Democratic Party and would likely resonate with those very same blocs of voters that made up the New Deal coalition that the neoliberal iteration of the Democratic Party has largely shunned but will sorely need in order to unseat Trump. And yet, proponents of a neoprogressive foreign policy seem intent on running away from a popular policy of realism and restraint on which Trump has failed to deliver.

James W. Carden is contributing writer for foreign affairs at The Nation and a member of the Board of the Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy.

[Dec 29, 2019] Tulsi is a very strategic thinker

Dec 29, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gulfgal98 on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 1:38pm

Tulsi is a very strategc thinker

@earthling1 I honestly do believe that she thinks long term and, for whatever reason, her decision not to run for her own congressional seat is a part of her long term plans. Despite her being smeared over and over by the media, Tulsi has the unique ability to effectively expand the electorate by appealing to rational people, regardless of party affiliation.

The establishment is terrified of her message. Otherwise, why would they be attacking her so viciously despite her reported low polling numbers?

While Tulsi is a practicing Hindu, she was raised in a multi faith family with her father being a still practicing Catholic. And she mentioned that they had attended a Baptist church in South Carolina on Christmas Eve. I noticed that her parents were in attendance at the dinner that her brother in law and his mother prepared.

is detonating.
Someone is gonna have to clean up the debri and make some kind of use of what is left over. Recycle the trash. Make it green. Bernie is past his best by date.
This is what I have suspected all along. To save the Party, we must completely destroy it.
Even if it means four more years of Trump. By then, climate change will be obvious to even the dullest among us.
Tulsi is angling to be there to clean up the mess.
IMHO

Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 2:11pm
Tulsi gains by not running for Congress in 2020

@gulfgal98 She will not be campaigning as a Dem this cycle, unless perhaps Bernie gets the nomination. The severance from Congress means de facto severance from the Democrat Party. The stink of said party becomes more and more apparent daily as Shiftless, No-Nads, Nervous Nancy et. al. continue their demeaning and angering stupidity. More Dems are getting turned off by the House sham impeachment daily.

#2 I honestly do believe that she thinks long term and, for whatever reason, her decision not to run for her own congressional seat is a part of her long term plans. Despite her being smeared over and over by the media, Tulsi has the unique ability to effectively expand the electorate by appealing to rational people, regardless of party affiliation.

The establishment is terrified of her message. Otherwise, why would they be attacking her so viciously despite her reported low polling numbers?

While Tulsi is a practicing Hindu, she was raised in a multi faith family with her father being a still practicing Catholic. And she mentioned that they had attended a Baptist church in South Carolina on Christmas Eve. I noticed that her parents were in attendance at the dinner that her brother in law and his mother prepared.

Cassiodorus on Fri, 12/27/2019 - 6:42am
Do you have other signs --

@earthling1 that suggest that the Democratic Party is "detonating"?

It looks to me that the Democrats are settling in for a long period of existence as America's Vichy party. The Democrats are that party that exists so that those Americans who are afraid of Republican policymakers can vote for them so that, when elected, they can find clever ways of giving away power to the Republicans.

As for destroying the Democratic Party, we are on the same page.

is detonating.
Someone is gonna have to clean up the debri and make some kind of use of what is left over. Recycle the trash. Make it green. Bernie is past his best by date.
This is what I have suspected all along. To save the Party, we must completely destroy it.
Even if it means four more years of Trump. By then, climate change will be obvious to even the dullest among us.
Tulsi is angling to be there to clean up the mess.
IMHO

earthling1 on Fri, 12/27/2019 - 12:30pm
I still see

@Cassiodorus
friends and family demexiting even today. Many of my union buddies are still pissed that the union bosses supported Her in 2016.
The teacher strikes last year and before showed the leadership out of step with the rack and file.
Now, in France the union leadership is being ignored entirely by the membership and see them as sell-outs to the labor movment.
Ditto in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and numerous other countries around the globe.
It's the same all over the world. Working people are seeing their representation being deminished by union leaders.
IMHO

#2 that suggest that the Democratic Party is "detonating"?

It looks to me that the Democrats are settling in for a long period of existence as America's Vichy party. The Democrats are that party that exists so that those Americans who are afraid of Republican policymakers can vote for them so that, when elected, they can find clever ways of giving away power to the Republicans.

As for destroying the Democratic Party, we are on the same page.

Cassiodorus on Fri, 12/27/2019 - 1:41pm
yeah --

@earthling1 Those French union bosses, btw, really like that lockstep marching. One of the primary reasons for the current general strike is that the union bosses in France finally gave their okay to the whole thing. Or at least this is what my source, who hails from Montpellier, tells me.

As for your friends and family, Demexiting has one really big advantage -- they will no longer be persecuted for not voting for Democrats. Can they still vote for Bernie Sanders?

#2.5
friends and family demexiting even today. Many of my union buddies are still pissed that the union bosses supported Her in 2016.
The teacher strikes last year and before showed the leadership out of step with the rack and file.
Now, in France the union leadership is being ignored entirely by the membership and see them as sell-outs to the labor movment.
Ditto in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and numerous other countries around the globe.
It's the same all over the world. Working people are seeing their representation being deminished by union leaders.
IMHO

doh1304 on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:22am
Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway)

her chances will be much better in 2024 if Bernie wins in 2020. She will have a base to lead in place rather than in the wilderness. In short, there will still be an America.

davidgmillsatty on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 11:57am
Benie thinks he is immortal

@doh1304 So maybe not should he win and hangs on for all four. (Two big hypotheticals). And unless he picks her for VP, she will still be in the wilderness in 2024.

her chances will be much better in 2024 if Bernie wins in 2020. She will have a base to lead in place rather than in the wilderness. In short, there will still be an America.

Situational Lefty on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:59am
TULSI 2020!

If she pisses off those people, she must be doing something right!

[Dec 29, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard Quo Vadis: If the Dem Party is going to be kaput

Dec 29, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Tulsi Gabbard: Quo Vadis?


Alligator Ed on Wed, 12/25/2019 - 11:02pm After bravely contesting a nomination she knows she cannot win, Tulsi Gabbard has and continues to exhibit a tenacious adherence to achievement of purpose. What is that purpose? I believe it is evident if you only let your eyes see and your ears hear. Listen to what she says. Looks at what she does.

//www.youtube.com/embed/F1bVz4nNNnA?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Humble surroundings. Real people. Good food.

What this does is obvious. However, please forgive me if I proceed to explain the meaning. People see what apparently is her home milieu. I've been to Filipino homes for dinner as many of my nurse friends were Filipino. Tulsi is so human. Despite Hindu belief, she is respectful to the presence and perhaps the essence of Jesus, and does not sound pandering or hypocritical.

Getting to know Tulsi at the beginning of her hoped-for (by me) political ascendancy. Get in on almost the ground floor of what will become an extremely powerful force in future American life.

Why? What's the hurry?

The more support and the earlier Tulsi receives it propel the campaign. That's what momentum means: a self-generating growing strength.

One doesn't have to be a Tulsi supporter to hopefully receive some ideas which may not have occurred to you. This essay does not concern any specific Gabbard policy. What I write here is what I perceive of her character and thus her selected path. Mind-reading, perhaps. Arm-chair speculation, possibly.

Tulsi has completed phase 2A in her career. The little that I know of her early life, especially politically (such as how she voted in HI state legislature) limits a deep understanding which such knowledge would provide. As the tree is bent, etc.

We are in Phase 2B. Tulsi, as I wrote in another essay, is letting the tainted shroud of Democrat corruption fall off her shoulders without any effort of her own. The Democrat party is eating itself alive. It is all things to all people at once. That is a philosophy incapable of satisfaction.

Omni Democraticorundum in tres partes est (pardon the reference to the opening of Caesar's Gallic Wars, with liberal substitution by me).

The Dems trifurcate and the division will be neither pleasant nor reconcilable. Tribalism will be reborn after Trump crushes whomever in 2020.

Tribe one: urban/techno/überkinden.

Tribe two: leftward bound to a place where no politician has ever ventured. Not socialism. Not Communism. We could call it Fantasy Land, although I fear Disney owns that name.

Tribe three: progressive realists. By using such positive wording, you will correctly suspect my bias as to which Tribe I belong to.

Once again, policy will not be discussed. Only strategy and reality. Can't have good strategy without a good grasp of reality. This is why Establidems are bereft of thematic variability. For the past 3.3 years, they have been singing from a hymn book containing but one song. You know the title. Orange Man Bad. Yeah, that's it. If they don't like that title, we establidems have another song for ya. It's called Orange Man Bad. Like that one, huh? Wazzat, ya didn't like the song the first time. Hey, we thought the song would grown on you.

Them Dems, noses up, can't see the sidewalk. Oops. Stepped in something there, huh? Oh, yeah like the Impeachment.

But I digress: The latter part of Phase 2B is not clear. Tulsi will continue to accept small donor contributions, even after not obtaining the nomination next year. Public appearances will be important but should be low key with little press attention. Press attention is something however that won't be available when most desirable. What else Tulsi will do may be to form a nucleus of like-minded activists, thinkers, and other supporters to promote an agenda for a more liberal, tolerant society.

If the Dem Party is going to be kaput . . .

@Alligator Ed

. . . ah, never mind.

Don't be surprised if even Warren will fail to gather the 15% of votes needed in each early primary state to get awarded any delegates.

It's gonna Biden vs Bernie.

Bernie or Dust. Or she who shall not be named in which case even worse (and I don't mean Tulsi).

edit/add: Well, lookee here, hot off the presses as it were:
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/26/can-bernie-sanders-win-2020-ele...

Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 2:05pm
from your citation: If Sanders' candidacy ....

@Wally @Wally

If Sanders' candidacy continues to be taken seriously, he will eventually be subjected to the scrutiny that Warren and Biden have faced for prolonged stretches. That includes an examination of his electability. "That conversation has never worked well for anyone," Pfeiffer said.

What a bunch of hypocritical horseshit. Bernie not getting scrutiny? In 2016, when not being derided for this, that or the other, Bernie was always scrutinized. There are only two things voters have learned since the DNC 2016 convention:

1. Bernie had a heart attack
2. Bernie supported H. Rodent Clinton in the general election.

Wally on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:08pm
The reference was to 2020

@Alligator Ed

. . . and to the much noted "Bernie blackout" up until now this time around.

It's gotten to the point given the polls and the first primary in being held in about a month where TPTB in conjunction with the MSM can no longer afford to turn a blind eye towards Bernie. It's gonna get really nasty.

The most recent tropes on the twitters, probably in response to Brock talking point memos, have been pushing Bernie as an anti-Semite and him purportedly triggering rape survivors. Of course it's horsehit but it's the propagandistic method of the Big Lie.

I'm genuinely curious. How will you react if Tulsi endorses the Dem nominee and it ain't Bernie? Bernie's endorsement of she-who-shall-not-be-named in 2016 seems to have pretty much completely soured him to you. Endorsing Biden better? Or at least acceptable? Not for me. Bernie doing so in 2016 I could understand and forgive. But this is my last go round absent a Bernie miracle.

#2.1.1 #2.1.1

If Sanders' candidacy continues to be taken seriously, he will eventually be subjected to the scrutiny that Warren and Biden have faced for prolonged stretches. That includes an examination of his electability. "That conversation has never worked well for anyone," Pfeiffer said.

What a bunch of hypocritical horseshit. Bernie not getting scrutiny? In 2016, when not being derided for this, that or the other, Bernie was always scrutinized. There are only two things voters have learned since the DNC 2016 convention:

1. Bernie had a heart attack
2. Bernie supported H. Rodent Clinton in the general election.

Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:55pm
Tulsi's support if Bernie's not nominated

@Wally She might back Yang--who won't get nominated. But I hope she doesn't do anything more than a neutral statement, somewhat to the effect that "We must defeat Donald Trump", then not campaign otherwise.

#2.1.1.1

. . . and to the much noted "Bernie blackout" up until now this time around.

It's gotten to the point given the polls and the first primary in being held in about a month where TPTB in conjunction with the MSM can no longer afford to turn a blind eye towards Bernie. It's gonna get really nasty.

The most recent tropes on the twitters, probably in response to Brock talking point memos, have been pushing Bernie as an anti-Semite and him purportedly triggering rape survivors. Of course it's horsehit but it's the propagandistic method of the Big Lie.

I'm genuinely curious. How will you react if Tulsi endorses the Dem nominee and it ain't Bernie? Bernie's endorsement of she-who-shall-not-be-named in 2016 seems to have pretty much completely soured him to you. Endorsing Biden better? Or at least acceptable? Not for me. Bernie doing so in 2016 I could understand and forgive. But this is my last go round absent a Bernie miracle.

Wally on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 5:17pm
I don't think anyone other than Bernie or Yang would want Tulsi

@Alligator Ed

. . . to campaign in support of their candidacies.

Maybe Biden will accept her support. I've still never been able to figure why she never and probably still won't take any shots at his warmongering and otherwise cruddy record regarding domestic affairs.

#2.1.1.1.1 She might back Yang--who won't get nominated. But I hope she doesn't do anything more than a neutral statement, somewhat to the effect that "We must defeat Donald Trump", then not campaign otherwise.

by Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 6:28pm
She was working her way up the food chain

@Wally That's what intelligent predators do.

#2.1.1.1.1.1

. . . to campaign in support of their candidacies.

Maybe Biden will accept her support. I've still never been able to figure why she never and probably still won't take any shots at his warmongering and otherwise cruddy record regarding domestic affairs.

wokkamile on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 5:29pm
Well, she wouldn't

@Alligator Ed @Alligator Ed be unfamiliar with the neutral position. Though I wonder if she would feel comfortable dipping into that well again given how much grief she got the last time.

Of course, if she again puts it in Neutral, and doesn't support the D nominee (anyone but Bloomberg), she will be finished as a Dem pol. She might as well go off and start a Neutral Party.

#2.1.1.1.1 She might back Yang--who won't get nominated. But I hope she doesn't do anything more than a neutral statement, somewhat to the effect that "We must defeat Donald Trump", then not campaign otherwise.

by Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 6:30pm
She IS finished as a Dem

@wokkamile Her dismissal papers will be submitted to her after she is barred entry into the DNC convention, regardless of how many delegates she may have won.

#2.1.1.1.1.1 #2.1.1.1.1.1 be unfamiliar with the neutral position. Though I wonder if she would feel comfortable dipping into that well again given how much grief she got the last time.

Of course, if she again puts it in Neutral, and doesn't support the D nominee (anyone but Bloomberg), she will be finished as a Dem pol. She might as well go off and start a Neutral Party.

Wally on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 8:38pm
Will Tulsi win any delegates?

@Alligator Ed

Don't forget that 15% state threshold for eligibility to be awarded delegates.

#2.1.1.1.1.1.2 Her dismissal papers will be submitted to her after she is barred entry into the DNC convention, regardless of how many delegates she may have won.

Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 9:40pm
My crystal ball has developed cataracts

@Wally Thus my powers of predicting the future have dimmed accordingly. But two things haven't dimmed:

1. It is readily apparent that the DNC won't let Bernie win. They'll rob him of votes in CA (100% probability) and NY (95% probability), etc.

2. The Demonrats will get destroyed in 2020 up and down ballot except in the fiefdoms of Californicate and Ny-no-nah-nah.

What, pray good Sir, do you predict or is that an impossibility at this time?

#2.1.1.1.1.1.2.1

Don't forget that 15% state threshold for eligibility to be awarded delegates.

Wally on Fri, 12/27/2019 - 6:54am
I certainly won't be surprised if Bernie gets cheated or worse

@Alligator Ed

I will be surprised if Tulsi gets so much as one delegate.

More than a few knowledgeable people think he has a very good shot of winning California. I am less optimistic about NYS but I think he will do well enough to get a good number of delegates especially if he does well in the earlier primaries (NYS comes April 28).

I don't feel solidly about making any kind of predictions at this point but given the nature of the Democratic Party, I don't see it as falling into oblivion anytime soon or in our lifetimes.

As far as Bernie goes, I am not optimistic but I still have some hope. I still fervantly believe that his candidacy is the best chance we will have in our lifetimes of bringing about any substantial change -- and if he and his critical mass of supporters can't pull it off this time around, we're all phluckled big time, even alligators, in terms of combating climate change and putting a kabosh on endless wars. I wish you good future luck with Tulsi though. I just don't see it. But I've been wrong on more than one occasion in my life.

[Dec 29, 2019] People you are voting for actually serve as representatives of MIC, not you: House Dems Unanimously Vote to Condemn Withdrawal From Syria

Dec 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

yaridanjo , 21 minutes ago link

Congress' constitutional duty is putting Israel first!

Reality_checkers , 18 minutes ago link

MIGA!

yaridanjo , 11 minutes ago link

You can find here who the warmongers in congress are:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/116-2019/h560

the warmongers voted 'yea' to get their bribes from the Rothschild Banking Cartel!

[Dec 26, 2019] I don't think Warren is a stalking horse for neoliberalism or whatever, but her inability to fight back against bad press (combined with her occasional baffling decisions to give herself bad press) is a big mark against her candidacy.

Dec 26, 2019 | twitter.com

Robespierre Garçon ‏ 5:43 PM - 25 Dec 2019

I don't think Warren is a stalking horse for neoliberalism or whatever, but her inability to fight back against bad press (combined with her occasional baffling decisions to give herself bad press) is a big mark against her candidacy. There will be bad press for either of them.

[Dec 25, 2019] Trump Impeachment as Dems dirty election campaign move

Trump can be impeached as a war criminal just for his false flag Douma attack (along with members of his administration). But Neoliberal Dems and frst of all Pelosi are war criminals too, with Pelosi aiding and abetting war criminal Bush.
So this is a variation of the theme of Lavrentiy Beria most famous quote: "Show me a man and I will find you a crime"
I think tose neolib Dems who supported impeachment disqualified themselves from the running. That includes Warren, who proved to be a very weak, easily swayed politician. It is quote probably that they increased (may be considerably) chances of Trump reelection, but pushing independents who were ready to abandon him, back into Trump camp. Now Trump is able to present himself as a victim of neoliberal Dems/neocons witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... Faithless Execution ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | www.nationalreview.com

The only real check left is impeachment. It is rarely invoked and (until very recently) has atrophied as a credible threat. But that doesn't make it any less indispensable.

The problem was exacerbated by the Clinton impeachment fiasco, which history has proved foolhardy. (I supported it at the time, but I was a government lawyer then, not a public commentator.) Republicans were sufficiently spooked by the experience that they seemed to regard impeachment as obsolete. Faithless Execution countered that this was the wrong lesson to take from the affair. Clinton's impeachment was a mistake because (a) his conduct, though disgraceful and indicative of unfitness, did not implicate the core responsibilities of the presidency; and more significantly, (b) the public, though appalled by the behavior, strongly opposed Clinton's removal. The right lesson was that impeachment must be reserved for grave misconduct that involves the president's essential Article II duties; and that because impeachment is so deeply divisive, it should never be launched in the absence of a public consensus that transcends partisan lines.

This is why, unlike many opponents of President Trump's impeachment, I have never questioned the legitimacy of the Democratic-controlled House's investigations of misconduct allegations against the president. I believe the House must act as a body (investigations should not be partisan attacks under the guise of House inquiries), and it must respect the lawful and essential privileges of the executive branch; but within those parameters, Congress has the authority and responsibility to expose executive misconduct.

Moreover, while egregious misconduct will usually be easy to spot and grasp, that will not always be the case. When members of Congress claim to see it, they should have a fair opportunity to expose and explain it. To my mind, President Obama was the kind of chief executive that the Framers feared, but this was not obvious because he was not committing felonies. Instead, he was consciously undermining our constitutional order. He usurped the right to dictate law rather than execute it. His extravagant theory of executive discretion to "waive" the enforcement of laws he opposed flouted his basic constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. He and his underlings willfully and serially deceived Congress and the public on such major matters as Obamacare and the Benghazi massacre. They misled Congress on, and obstructed its investigation of, the outrageous Fast and Furious "gun-walking" operation, in connection with which a border patrol agent was murdered. With his Iran deal, the president flouted the Constitution's treaty process and colluded with a hostile foreign power to withhold information from Congress, in an arrangement that empowered (and paid cash ransom to) the world's leading sponsor of anti-American terrorism.

My critics fairly noted that I opposed Obama politically, and therefore contended that I was masquerading as a constitutional objection what was really a series of policy disputes. I don't think that is right, though, for two reasons.

First, my impeachment argument was not that Obama was pursuing policies I deeply opposed. I was very clear that elections have consequences, and the president had every right to press his agenda. My objection was that he was imposing his agenda lawlessly, breaking the limitations within which the Framers cabined executive power, precisely to prevent presidents from becoming tyrants. If allowed to stand, Obama precedents would permanently alter our governing framework. Impeachment is there to protect our governing framework.

Second, I argued that, my objections notwithstanding, Obama should not be impeached in the absence of a public consensus for his removal. Yes, Republicans should try to build that case, try to edify the public about why the president's actions threatened the Constitution and its separation of powers. But they should not seek to file articles of impeachment simply because they could -- i.e., because control of the House theoretically gave them the numbers to do it. The House is not obliged to file impeachment articles just because there may be impeachable conduct. Because impeachment is so divisive, the Framers feared that it could be triggered on partisan rather than serious grounds. The two-thirds supermajority requirement for Senate conviction guards against that: The House should not impeach unless there is a reasonable possibility that the Senate would remove -- which, in Obama's case, there was not.

I also tried to focus on incentives. If impeachment were a credible threat, and Congress began investigating and publicly exposing abuses, a sensible president would desist in the misconduct, making it unnecessary to proceed with impeachment. On the other hand, a failed impeachment effort would likely embolden a rogue president to continue abusing power. If your real concern is executive lawlessness, then impeaching heedlessly and against public opinion would be counterproductive.

I've taken the same tack with President Trump.

The objections to Trump are very different from those to Obama. He is breaking not laws but norms of presidential behavior and decorum. For the most part, I object to this. There are lots of things about our government that need disruption, but even disruptive presidents should be mindful that they hold the office of Washington and Lincoln and aspire to their dignity, even if their greatness is out of reach.

That said, impeachment is about serious abuse of the presidency's core powers, not behavior that is intemperate or gauche. Critics must be mindful that the People, not the pundits, are sovereign, and they elected Donald Trump well aware of his flaws. That he turns out to be as president exactly what he appeared to be as a candidate is not a rationale for impeaching him.

The president's misconduct on Ukraine is small potatoes. Democrats were right to expose it, and we would be dealing with a more serious situation if the defense aid appropriated by Congress had actually been denied, rather than inconsequentially delayed. If Democrats had wanted to make a point about discouraging foreign interference in American politics (notwithstanding their long record of encouraging it), that would have been fine. They could have called for the president's censure, which would have put Republicans on the defensive. Ukraine could have been incorporated as part of their 2020 campaign that Trump should be defeated, despite a surging economy and relative peace.

Conducting an impeachment inquiry is one thing, but for the House to take the drastic step of impeaching the president is abusive on this record. Yes, it was foolish of Trump to mention the Bidens to President Zelensky and to seek Ukraine's help in investigating the Bidens. There may well be corruption worth probing, but the president ought to leave that to researchers in his campaign. If there is something that a government should be looking into, leave that to the Justice Department, which can (and routinely does) seek foreign assistance when necessary. The president, however, should have stayed out of it. Still, it is absurd to posit, as Democrats do, that, by not staying out of it, the president threatened election integrity and U.S. national security. Such outlandish arguments may make Ukraine more of a black eye for Democrats than for the president.

But whoever ultimately bears the brunt of the impeachment push, I have to ask myself a hard question: Is this the world I was asking for when I wrote a book contending that, for our system to work as designed, impeachment has to be a credible threat? I don't think so . . . but I do worry about it.

Back to the Clinton impeachment. I tried to make the point that that impeachment effort -- against public opinion, and based on misconduct that, while dreadful, was not central to the presidency -- has contributed significantly to the poisonous politics we have today. Democrats have been looking for payback ever since, and now they have it -- in a way that is very likely to make impeachment more routine in the future.

I don't see how our constitutional system can work without a viable impeachment remedy. But I may have been wrong to believe that we could be trusted to invoke the remedy responsibly. I used to poke fun at pols who would rather hide under their desks than utter the dreaded I-word. Turns out they knew something I didn't.

[Dec 24, 2019] The fact that Obama is willing to put in a good word for Warren on behalf of the wealthy elite should give you a clue as to which side Warren is really on.

"Change we can believe in" the second series ? That's a real warning sign ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... A few weeks ago I read in this spot that while Clinton people hate Sanders and like Warren, Obama was pushing Buttigieg because Warren was such a pain in his ass. Seems he's finally given his signal. Hopefully it's the kiss of death for both Warren and Buttigieg. ..."
"... as the neoliberal corporate Democrats which she is aligning herself with are a sinking ship .. ..."
Dec 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Hepativore , December 23, 2019 at 2:37 pm

So, the fact that Obama is willing to put in a good word for Warren on behalf of the wealthy elite should give you a clue as to which side Warren is really on. While many non-political "normies" look upon the Obama years with rose-tinted glasses, I wonder if the disillusionment that many people had in retrospect with Obama has sunk in to mainstream political consciousness yet. If that is the case, an Obama endorsement might actually backfire among progressives, seeing as how it has become evident that Obama was basically a silver-tongued neoliberal in the same mold as Clinton and Pelosi.

I know that Warren is a political careerist at heart, but I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt when she first launched her 2020 presidential campaign. However, it has become increasingly clear that she has hitched her wagon to the wrong horse as the neoliberal corporate Democrats which she is aligning herself with are a sinking ship. I honestly do not think that she would even be fit to be Sander's vice presidential pick at this point considering how wide the political gulf between Warren and Sanders actually is. A better choice would be Nina Turner as Sander's running mate, with Tulsi Gabbard as his Secretary of State if he gets that far.

shinola , December 23, 2019 at 2:54 pm

" an Obama endorsement might actually backfire among progressives "

It hit me pretty much the same way – that's a strike against her.

Pelham , December 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm

My guess is that this is why he's working behind the scenes, minimizing the chances of a backfire on the left. Of course, how behind-the-scenes is it if it's reported by Politico? Still.

I'm actually undecided on Warren. There was that story last week about her supposedly pushing Hillary in 2016 to name decent people to her cabinet if elected. But then you have to ask why that particular story surfaced at the particular time when Warren was sinking in the polls.

If true, though, and if what the new Politico story says about her clashes with Obama are true, maybe Warren isn't quite as objectionable as we tend to think. Then again, she came right out last week (I believe) and said Medicare for All would be a matter of choice under her plan, emphasizing that "choice" factor.

So I'm confused. But maybe that's what she, her campaign and various surrogates want at this stage.

kimyo , December 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm

I'm actually undecided on Warren.

maybe this will help you decide?
Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change

It starts with an ambitious goal: consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal, the Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030.

having the pentagon 'lead the fight' against climate change is akin to appointing prince andrew as head of the global task force against pedophilia and child trafficking.

anon in so cal , December 23, 2019 at 6:06 pm

Yes, that plus Warren's comments during the Council on Foreign Relations interview, which were frightening (to me, at least).

Jeff W , December 23, 2019 at 7:32 pm

"maybe this will help you decide?"

Or one or both of these two What's Left podcasts:

"The Left Case Against Elizabeth Warren" here

"Warren's Medicare For All 'Plan'" here

Big River Bandido , December 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

A few weeks ago I read in this spot that while Clinton people hate Sanders and like Warren, Obama was pushing Buttigieg because Warren was such a pain in his ass. Seems he's finally given his signal. Hopefully it's the kiss of death for both Warren and Buttigieg.

Big River Bandido , December 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

A few weeks ago I read in this spot that while Clinton people hate Sanders and like Warren, Obama was pushing Buttigieg because Warren was such a pain in his ass. Seems he's finally given his signal. Hopefully it's the kiss of death for both Warren and Buttigieg.

Reply

Darius , December 23, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Buttigieg takes no votes from Sanders. While Warren does on the margins. I think Obama's calculation is simple as that. She also has special appeal to the virtue signaling liberals that are Obama's base.

notabanker , December 23, 2019 at 7:53 pm

as the neoliberal corporate Democrats which she is aligning herself with are a sinking ship ..

Bingo. Trump's letter goes right to the heart of it. These clowns are completely exposed and Obama hawking Warren to donors while the blob talks up a gay McKinsey/CIA Indiana Mayor shows just how far they have fallen.

[Dec 24, 2019] Only Tulsi had the sense to see impeachment for what it is, a farce that only helps Trump

Dec 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ggm , December 24, 2019 at 2:06 am

[Dec 24, 2019] The Fake Impeachment Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory by Joaquin Flores

It would be impossible for Trump to re-energize his base in any other way. Pelosi acts as covert agent for Trump re-election? Peloci calculation that she can repar "Mueller effect" of 2018 with this impeachment proved to be gross miscalculation.
Warren who stupidly and enthusiastically jumped into this bandwagon will be hurt. She is such a weak politician that now it looks like she does not belong to the club. Still in comparison with Trump she might well be an improvement as she has Trump-like economic program, which Trump betrayed and neutered. And her foreign policy can't be worse then Trump foreign policy. It is just impossible.
I am convinced that the Dems are not actually interested or focused on defeating Trump, or they would adopt an effective strategy. The question I keep wrestling with is, what is the point to the strategy that is so ineffective?
Notable quotes:
"... The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi's own admission , is evident in Trump's being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he'll be exonerated. But even if it doesn't go to the Senate, what we're left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump. ..."
"... fake impeachment procedure ..."
"... For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be 'they deserve whatever they believe'. ..."
"... little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will 'send the impeachment to the Senate' as soon as she 'has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment', except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to 'We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.". ..."
"... "We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes president. ..."
"... He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins." ..."
"... We'll say we impeached him, because we did, and we'll say he was impeached. We'll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
And so it came to pass, that in the deep state's frenzy of electoral desperation, the 'impeachment' card was played. The hammer has fallen. Nearly the entirety of the legacy media news cycle has been dedicated to the details, and not really pertinent details, but the sorts of details which presume the validity of the charges against Trump in the first place. Yes, they all beg the question. What's forgotten here is that the use of this process along clearly partisan lines, and more – towards clearly partisan aims – is a very serious symptom of the larger undoing of any semblance of stability in the US government.

The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi's own admission , is evident in Trump's being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he'll be exonerated. But even if it doesn't go to the Senate, what we're left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump.

Only in a country that produces so much fake news at the official level, could there be a fake impeachment procedure made purely for media consumption, with no real or tangible possible victory in sight.

For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment.

Don't forget, this impeachment is fake

Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be 'they deserve whatever they believe'. And her aim appears to be the one who makes them believe things so that they deserve what she gives them. For little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will 'send the impeachment to the Senate' as soon as she 'has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment', except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to 'We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.".

In both cases, reality is turned on its head – for rather we will know how the Senate intends to conduct its procedure as soon as it has the details, which substantively includes the impeachment documents themselves, in front of them, and likewise, legislators ought to know what's in a major piece of legislation before they vote either way on it. Pelosi's assault on reason, however, isn't without an ever growing tide of resentment from within the progressive base of the party itself.

We have quickly entered into a new era which increasingly resembles the broken political processes which have struck many a country, but none in living memory a country like the US. Now elected officials push judges to prosecute their political opponents, constitutional crises are manufactured to pursue personal or political vendettas, death threats and rumors of coups coming from media and celebrities being fed talking points by big and important players from powerful institutions.

This 'impeachment' show really takes the cake, does it not? We will recall shortly after Trump was elected, narrator for hire Morgan Freeman made a shocking public service announcement. It was for all intents and purposes, a PSA notifying the public that a military coup to remove Trump would be legitimate and in order. Speaking about this PSA, and recounting what was said, would in any event read as an exaggeration, or some allegorical paraphrasing made to prove a point. Jogging our memories then, Freeman spoke to tens of millions of viewers on television and YouTube saying :

"We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes president.

He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins."

This really set the tone for the coming years, which have culminated in this manufactured 'impeachment' crisis, really befitting a banana republic.

It would be the height of dishonesty to approach this abuse of the impeachment procedure as if until this moment, the US's own political culture and processes were in good shape. Now isn't the time for the laundry list of eroded constitutional provisions, which go in a thousand and one unique directions. The US political system is surely broken, but as is the case with such large institutions several hundreds of years old, its meltdown appears to happen in slow motion to us mere mortals. And so what we are seeing today is the next phase of this break-down, and really ought to be understood as monumental in this sense. Once again revealed is the poor judgment of the Democratic Party and their agents, tools, warlords, and strategists, the same gang who sunk Hillary Clinton's campaign on the rocks of hubris.

Nancy Pelosi also has poor judgment, and these short-sighted and self-interested moves on her part stand a strong chance of backfiring. Her role in this charade is duly noted. This isn't said because of any disagreement over her aims, but rather that in purely objective terms it just so happens that her aims and her actions are out of synch – that is unless she wants to see Trump re-elected. Her aims are her aims, our intention is to connect these to their probable results, without moral judgments.

The real problem for the Democrats, the DNC, and any hopes for the White House in 2020, is that this all has the odor of a massive backfire, and something that Trump has been counting on happening. When one's opponent knows what is probable, and when they have a track record for preparing very well for such, it is only a question of what Trump's strategy is and how this falls into it, not whether there is one.

Imagine being a fly on the wall of the meeting with Pelosi where it was decided to go forward with impeachment in the House of Representatives, despite not having either sufficient traction in the Senate or any way to control the process that the Senate uses.

It probably went like this: ' We'll say we impeached him, because we did, and we'll say he was impeached. We'll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. '

Informed citizens are aware that whatever their views towards Trump, nothing he has done reaches beyond the established precedent set by past presidents. Confused citizens on the other hand, are believing the manufactured talking points thrown their way, and the idea that a US president loosely reference a quid pro quo in trying to sort a corruption scandal in dealings with the president of a foreign country, is some crazy, new, never-before-done and highly-illegal thing. It is none of those things though.

Unfortunately, not needless to say, the entirety of the direct, physical evidence against Trump solely consists of the now infamous transcript of the phone call which he had with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The rest is hearsay, a conspiracy narrative, and entirely circumstantial. As this author has noted in numerous pieces, Biden's entire candidacy rests precisely upon his need to be a candidate so that any normal investigation into the wrongdoings of himself or his son in Ukraine, suddenly become the targeted persecution of a political opponent of Trump.

Other than this, it is evident that Biden stands little chance – the same polling institutions which give him a double-digit lead were those which foretold a Clinton electoral victory. Neither their methods nor those paying and publishing them, have substantively changed. Biden's candidacy, like the impeachment, is essentially fake. The real contenders for the party's base are Sanders and Gabbard.

The Democratic Party Activist Base Despises Pelosi as much as Clinton

The Democratic Party has two bases, one controlled by the DNC and the Clintons, and one which consists of its energized rank-and-file activists who are clearer in their populism, anti-establishment and ant-corporate agenda. Candidates like Gabbard and Sanders are closest to them politically, though far from perfect fits. Their renegade status is confirmed by the difficulties they have with visibility – they are the new silent majority of the party. The DNC base, on the other hand, relies on Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and the likes for their default talking points, where they have free and pervasive access to legacy media. In the context of increased censorship online, this is not insignificant.

Among the important reasons this 'impeachment' strategy will lose is that it will not energize the second and larger base. Even though this more progressive and populist base is also more motivated, they have faced – as has the so-called alt-light – an extraordinarily high degree of censorship on social media. Despite all the censorship, the Democrats' silent majority are rather well-informed people, highly motivated, and tend to be vocal in their communities and places of work. Their ideas move organically and virally among the populace.

This silent majority has a very good memory, and they know very well who Nancy Pelosi is, and who she isn't.

The silent majority remembers that after years of the public backlash against Bush's war crimes, crimes against humanity, destruction of remaining civil liberties with the Patriot Act, torture, warrantless search – and the list goes on and on – Democrats managed to retake the lower house in 2006. If there was a legitimate reason for an impeachment, it would have been championed by Pelosi against Bush for going to war using false, falsified, manufactured evidence about WMD in Iraq. At the time, Pelosi squashed the hopes of her own electorate, reasoning that such moves would be divisive, that they would distract from the Democrats' momentum to take the White House in '08, that Bush had recently (?) won his last election, and so on. Of course these were real crimes, and the reasons not to prosecute may have as much to do with Pelosi's own role in the war industry. Pelosi couldn't really push against Bush over torture, etc. because she had been on an elite congressional committee – the House Intelligence Committee – during the Bush years in office which starting in 2003 was dedicated to making sure that torture could and would become normalized and entirely legal.

It seems Pelosi can't even go anywhere with this impeachment on Trump today, and therefore doesn't even really plan to submit it to the Senate for the next stage . The political stunt was pulled, a fireworks show consisting of one lonely rocket that sort of fizzled off out of sight.

Trump emerges unscathed, and more to the point, we are closer to the election and his base is even more energized. Pelosi spent the better part of three years inoculating the public against any significance being attached to any impeachment procedure. Pelosi cried wolf so many times, and Trump has made good on the opportunities handed to him to get his talking points in order and to condition his base to receive and process the scandals in such and such way. This wouldn't have been possible without Pelosi's help. Thanks in part to Pelosi and the DNC, Trump appears primed for re-election.

Trump energizes his base, and the DNC suppresses and disappoints theirs. That's where the election will be won or lost.

[Dec 23, 2019] When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable by Daniel R. DePetris

Notable quotes:
"... Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable?

Even after the release of the Afghanistan Papers, our elites are still determined to escape without blame. CERNOBBIO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Chairman of the KKR Global Institute David Howell Petraeus attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum 2019 "Lo scenario dell'Economia e della Finanza" on September 6, 2019 in Cernobbio, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Almost two weeks after the Washington Post 's Craig Whitlock published his six-part series on the trials, tribulations, and blunders of Washington's 19-year-long social science experiment in Afghanistan, those involved in the war effort are desperately pointing fingers as to who is to blame. An alternative narrative has emerged among this crop of elite policymakers, military officers, and advisers that while American policy in Afghanistan has been horrible, the people responsible for it really did believe it would all work out in the end. Call it the "we were stupid" defense.

There were no lies or myths propagated by senior U.S. officials, we are told, just honest assessments that later proved to be wrong. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has advised U.S. commanders on Afghanistan war policy, wrote that "no, there has not been a campaign of disinformation, intentional or subliminal." Former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who led CENTCOM during part of the war effort, called the Post 's reporting "not really news" and was mystified that the unpublished interviews from the U.S. special inspector general were generating such shock. Others have faulted the Post for publishing the material to begin with, claiming that public disclosure would scare future witnesses from cooperating and threaten other fact-finding inquiries (the fact that the newspaper was legally permitted to publish the transcripts after winning a court case against the government is apparently irrelevant in the minds of those making this argument).

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

All of these claims and counter-claims should be seen for what they truly are: the flailings of a policymaking class so arrogant and unaccountable that it can't see straight. That they're blaming the outrage engendered by the Afghanistan Papers on anything other than themselves is Exhibit A that our narcissistic policy elite is cocooned in their own reality.

Analysts have been pouring over the Afghanistan interview transcripts for over a week in order to determine how the war went wrong. Some of the main lessons learned have long been evident. The decision to impose a top-down democratic political order on a country that operated on a system of patronage and tribal systems from the bottom-up was bound to be problematic. Throwing tens of billions of dollars of reconstruction assistance into a nation that had no experience managing that kind of money -- or spending it properly -- helped fuel the very nationwide corruption Washington would come to regret. Paying off warlords to fight the Taliban and keep order while pressuring those very same warlords into following the rules was contradictory. The mistakes go on and on and on: as Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said, "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

One of the most salient findings about this ghastly two-decade-long misadventure surfaced after the Afghanistan Papers were released: the commentariat will stop at nothing to absolve themselves of the slightest responsibility for the disaster they supported. The outright refusal of the pundit class to own up to its errors is as disturbing as it is infuriating. And even when they do acknowledge that errors were committed, they tend to minimize their own role in those mistakes, explaining them away as unfortunate consequences of fixed withdrawal deadlines, inter-agency tussling, Afghanistan's poor foundational state, or the inability of the Afghans to capitalize on the opportunities Washington provided them. Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal.

It's always somebody else's fault.

Whether out of arrogance, ego, or fear of not being taken seriously in Washington's foreign policy discussions, the architects of the war refuse to admit even the most obvious mistakes. Instead they duck and weave like a quarterback escaping a full-on defensive rush, attempting yet again to fool the American public.

But the public has nothing to apologize for. It is those who are making excuses who have exercised disastrous judgment on Afghanistan. And they owe the country an apology.

Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and a contributor to The American Conservative.

[Dec 22, 2019] Warren, AOL, Pelosi and the Kabuki theater of Trump impeachment

Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 11:03 am

Where is AOC in all this? She was the prime mover on impeachment, specifically impeachment over a phone call rather than concentration camps and genocide.

And now with impeachment she gave Pelosi cover to sell the country out again.

I was wondering why many libreral centrists were expreasing admiration for her, a socialist. Maybe they recognized something?

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 4:02 pm

"Prime mover"? What planet are you from? They were Schiff, Nadler, and Pelosi. Did you miss that Russiagate was in motion while AOC was still tending bar? AOC isn't even on any of the key committees (Judiciary and Intel).

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 4:47 pm

I shouldn't have said THE prime mover, but ONE OF the prime movers in the House in actually pushing it over the line against Pelosi's opposition. It seems like the House Dem consensus ever since Russiagate was just to tease their base with it and milk the suspense for all it was worth, until AOC, among others, rallied the base.

AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May. In September, she tweeted, " At this point, the bigger national scandal isn't the president's lawbreaking behavior – it is the Democratic Party's refusal to impeach him for it​. " "Lawbreaking behavior" is nice and vague, but in this case it seems like she is talking about the Ukraine phone call.

There were other reps who pushed for impeachment, but AOC has one of the biggest platforms and crucially, expanded popular support for impeachment outside the MSNBC crowd. So yes, a key figure in the political/PR effort to move from conspiracy theories to actual impeachment.

Geo , December 21, 2019 at 6:09 pm

"AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May."

Liz Warren is the one who made it a part of her campaign before anyone else. Rashida Tlaib was the one who made t-shirt with her "impeach the mf'er" quote on it. A lot of them were "blasting" Pelosi for dithering. AOC also "blasted" her for giving ICE more money and a lot of their things .

Your central focus on AOC for the impeachment fiasco while ignoring her active role in spotlighting so many other issues of importance which no one else speaks about is interesting. Did you catch any of her speaking at the Sanders rally in LA today? Any other "high profile" Dems pushing such important issues and campaigns?

Carey , December 21, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Thanks for this comment. I don't trust *any of them* except Sanders, but AOC has been making more good noises than bad, and to claim that it was she who's been driving Pelosi to impeachment is quite a stretch. Poor, helpless/hapless Rep. Pelosi sure.

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Pelosi has repeatedly stared down the progressives in the House. The overwhelming majority of the freshmen reps are what used to be called Blue Dogs, as in corporate Dems. AOC making noise on this issue would not move Pelosi any more than it has on other issues.

IMHO Pelosi didn't try to tamp down Russiagate, and that created expectations that Something Big would happen. Plus she lives in the California/blue cities bubble.

What Dem donors think matters to her way more than what AOC tweets about. If anything, Pelosi (secondarily, I sincerely doubt this would be a big issue in her calculus) would view impeachment as a way to reduce the attention recently given to progressive issues like single payer and student debt forgiveness.

[Dec 22, 2019] Right now, it's Schrodinger's impeachment

Notable quotes:
"... My paranoid fear is that Pelosi or McConnell might try to time the proceedings so as to take Bernie and Warren off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, helping Biden. ..."
"... Amfortas the hippie , December 21, 2019 at 5:40 pm ..."
"... that, and sucking the air out of the room for the primaries. When's super tuesday, again? surely they can engineer it so that their "high drama" coincides. ..."
"... "let's talk about universal material benefits" " ok, Vlad trying to distract us from whats really important " ..."
"... Hepativore , December 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm ..."
"... Happy winter Solstice, everyone! ..."
"... Anyway, the funny thing is, that Biden himself has said that he only wants to be a one-term president. It makes me wonder if he knows that he has neither the energy or presence of mind to hold the office, and that he is merely doing so because of establishment pressure to stop Sanders at all costs. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Please bone up on US procedure. It's not good to have you confuse readers.

The Senate can't do anything until the House passes a motion referring the impeachment to the Senate. The House ALSO needs to designate managers as part of that process.

Darthbobber , December 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Right now, it's Schrodinger's impeachment.

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Michael Tracey argued that it's only Senate rules that require that the House formally transmit the impeachment verdict. The Constitution says that the Senate has to try an impeached president, and the Constitution trumps the Senate's rules. Logically, then, the Senate could just modify its rules to try the president.

But the whole delay is weird and impeachment has only been done twice before, so not a lot of precedent.

My paranoid fear is that Pelosi or McConnell might try to time the proceedings so as to take Bernie and Warren off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, helping Biden.

Amfortas the hippie , December 21, 2019 at 5:40 pm

that, and sucking the air out of the room for the primaries. When's super tuesday, again? surely they can engineer it so that their "high drama" coincides.

"let's talk about universal material benefits" " ok, Vlad trying to distract us from whats really important "

Hepativore , December 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Happy winter Solstice, everyone!

Anyway, the funny thing is, that Biden himself has said that he only wants to be a one-term president. It makes me wonder if he knows that he has neither the energy or presence of mind to hold the office, and that he is merely doing so because of establishment pressure to stop Sanders at all costs. Plus, if the Democrats get the brokered convention they are after, he can bow out, satisfied that he helped the DNC protect the donor class from the Sanders threat.

https://invidio.us/watch?v=dpBEaFtkziY

[Dec 21, 2019] Bill Clinton began humanitarian wars but it was Bush II and Obama who turned resource wars into routine practice and the USA into malignant overlords who decided when it is time to take it all.

Notable quotes:
"... oligarchic greed; a military dedicated to protecting the wealth of oligarchs; and, wars over resources. Granted Bill Clinton began the current charade about 'humanitarian wars' but it was Bush II and Obama who turned our focus into resource wars and the hegemons (Malignant Overlords) who decided it was time to take it all. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

rg the lg | Oct 22, 2016 8:25:27 PM | 33

http://empireexposed.blogspot.com/

Long ago (1968) after returning from Vietnam with a bullet hole in my leg (my 90 wonder, post-ROTC officer shot me when he panicked) I wondered off to a down-at-the-heel cow college. There I took a class and C Wright Mills 'The Power Elite' was required reading.

I had just finished 'War is a fraud' and read an article by Paul Ehrlich an then 'The Population Bomb' shortly thereafter. The three books created an interesting fusion in my mind:

  1. More or less after the year 2000 the world would be plagued by resource wars;
  2. The primary role of the military is to enforce what capitalists want; and
  3. Behind the alleged scenes of our form of government hovered oligarchs who would demand more and more.

I recently found a paper I had written long ago. It wasn't very well written, but even then the handwriting was on the wall: oligarchic greed; a military dedicated to protecting the wealth of oligarchs; and, wars over resources. Granted Bill Clinton began the current charade about 'humanitarian wars' but it was Bush II and Obama who turned our focus into resource wars and the hegemons (Malignant Overlords) who decided it was time to take it all.

I guess the point of all of this is (except for the details) Ehrlich, Mills and Butler warned us. As did Huxley and Orwell ... we were just too damned dumb (or distracted) to see it.

Maybe with the Queen of Chaos, the above will result in either annihilation or in a severe reduction in the numbers of people ... (hopefully including all of the oligarchic class) and the chance to start over?

Nah ... we'll just fuck it up again ... as a species we refuse to learn. Sigh ...

[Dec 21, 2019] There have been numerous smears of Tulsi Gabbard that have been repeated over and over the last few years after she went to Syria. She started to give the foreign policy blob a lot of grief for their support of the overthrow of Syria to install a theocratic jihadi government controlled by the usual suspects.

Dec 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Dec 21 2019 22:03 utc | 22

There have been numerous smears of Tulsi Gabbard that have been repeated over and over the last few years after she went to Syria. She started to give the foreign policy blob a lot of grief for their support of the overthrow of Syria to install a theocratic jihadi government controlled by the usual suspects.

One smear they like to use is to call Tulsi an Islamophobe. That began years ago when she criticized Our Savior Obama (pbaj) for claiming ISIS was not a religious extremist organization, that it was a criminal group and the US needed to give Iraqi men more to do and then they wouldn't join those criminal gangs like...ISIS.

Anyways, this article goes into a deeper state (yup, deeper than usual) conspiracy by various actors to smear Tulsi for a variety of reasons subservient to foreign interests, with a surprise intro to another often unspoken of interest with a lot of hidden power in Washington.

Anatomy of A Smear: How Liberals Have Become Willing Dupes of Foreign Political Psy-Ops

[Dec 21, 2019] 'Christianity Today' anti-Trump editorial is a sign of things to come - CNN

Dec 21, 2019 | www.cnn.com

... ... ...

Mark Galli, its current editor (who is leaving the publication in two weeks) takes on Trump directly -- a courageous move on his part, as his magazine has largely been apolitical. "The facts in this instance are unambiguous: the president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president's political opponents," Galli writes. He draws the obvious conclusion for Christians: "That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral." Galli goes further, digging into the behavior of the man in the Oval Office, noting that Trump "has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration." He gets specific: "He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals." As if that wasn't enough, Galli adds, "He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone -- with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders -- is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused." Galli's warning to Christians is clear. "To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: remember who you are and whom you serve," Galli writes. "Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump's immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don't reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come?" Galli also acknowledged Friday in an interview on CNN's "New Day" that his stand is unlikely to shake loose Trump's strong hold on this voter segment, a crucial portion of his political base. Galli's move is even more admirable when you consider that he published his editorial even knowing that, as he said in his interview, he's not optimistic that his editorial will alter Trump's support among white evangelicals. It's not a stretch to say that white evangelicals put Trump into office in 2016. About 80% of them voted for him. They did so because of the abortion issue, mostly. They wanted pro-life judges throughout the justice system. But this was a devil's bargain, at best. Faith could bring us together. But too often it divides us <img alt="Faith could bring us together. But too often it divides us" src="//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191121180252-20191121-fractured-states-religious-leaders-large-169.jpg"> Faith could bring us together. But too often it divides us Younger evangelicals, those under 45, have been slowly but steadily moving away from Trump during the past two years or so, unhappy about his example. A key topic that has driven them away is immigration. Loving your neighbor as yourself has always been a bedrock Christian value. And Trump's stance on immigrants (especially those of color) has upset the younger generation of evangelicals, with two-thirds of them saying in surveys that immigrants strengthen our country, bringing their work ethic and talents with them from Mexico or Central America or Syria. Climate change is another issue that has caught the imagination of younger evangelicals. "I can't love my neighbor if I'm not protecting the earth that sustains them and defending their rights to clean water, clean air, and a stable climate," Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, a national organizer for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, told Grist . Needless to say, Trump's contempt on this subject grates badly on these young Christians. Perhaps naively, Americans have always looked to the presidency for exemplary moral behavior, and when there are obvious personal or moral failures, as with Nixon and Clinton, there is disappointment, even anger. But if you're a Christian -- and I lay claim to this for myself -- you understand that it's human to fail at perfect behavior. There is always forgiveness. And, as T.S. Eliot wrote, "Humility is endless."

Humility lies at the heart of Christian behavior. As does honesty. In these, Trump has set a terrible example, and he's now been taken down for this by an important Christian voice. If only another 10 percent of evangelicals take this seriously, and I suspect they will, Donald J. Trump's presidency is destined for the ash heap of history.

[Dec 21, 2019] The debate reminds us that the only way to remove Trump from office is at the ballot box - The Washington Post

Dec 21, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com

Delaying the Senate trial erodes the Democrats' argument that impeachment was so urgent that they could not wait for the courts to act on Trump's aggressive claims of privilege.

Seven Democratic presidential candidates who gathered on a debate stage in Los Angeles on Thursday represent another argument for moving beyond impeachment.

... ... ...

Washington is fixated on the daily turns of the impeachment saga, but polls indicate that most Americans are not. Business executive Andrew Yang pointed out that, even when the current president is gone, the struggles of many people will remain, particularly in parts of the country that helped elect Trump in 2016.

"We blasted away 4 million manufacturing jobs that were primarily based in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri. I just left Iowa -- we blasted 40,000 manufacturing jobs there," Yang said. "The more we act like Donald Trump is the cause of all our problems, the more Americans lose trust that we can actually see what's going on in our communities and solve those problems."

That is what voters are waiting to hear, and the sooner the better for Democrats.

[Dec 21, 2019] War is a force that gives us meaning

Notable quotes:
"... Yes. "War is a force that gives us meaning," as Chris Hedges wrote. It provides (false) meaning and purpose. It's an amazingly powerful force, which is one reason why only Congress should declare war. And the last time that happened in the USA was December of 1941. ..."
Dec 02, 2019 | bracingviews.com

Doug Barr December 1, 2019 at 7:24 PM

I just read your article in TD. In my opinion you buried the reason for never ending wars. You mention exceptionalism. I call that concept preeminence. With it is one of the few ways we try to fill the void, or as you said in fewer words, try to give meaning to life. There can be no doubt our lives are becoming increasingly meaningless so we double down and double down again with what we know despite the self-destruction. https://thelastwhy.ca/poems/2015/6/25/life-a-reaction-to-the-void

Like Like

wjastore December 1, 2019 at 7:46 PM
Yes. "War is a force that gives us meaning," as Chris Hedges wrote. It provides (false) meaning and purpose. It's an amazingly powerful force, which is one reason why only Congress should declare war. And the last time that happened in the USA was December of 1941.

Like Like

greglaxer December 2, 2019 at 12:13 AM
Doug Barr–It appears to me you are trying to blur some lines, or perhaps you are confused about, what one might call general human psychology and the official policies of a specific government, that of the USA. [As a student of Anthropology, I point out that though our primate ancestors are prone to outbursts of violence, there is no evidence that making war, especially in the contemporary phase of human society, fulfills an innate "need."] Yes, the US seeks to be "pre-eminent"–or to be blunter, DOMINANT–over the rest of the globe. Where "exceptionalism"–which I have designated the American Disease–enters the picture is the attempt to justify military aggression by suggesting (some are less subtle and openly assert) that the US somehow has been granted a "right" to do this by "a higher power." (Apparently God Himself revealed to George W. Bush that he was born to be "a war president" and the genius Rick Perry asserted recently that Donald Trump was put in the presidency by direct Divine action.) A "right" to send assassin drones anywhere, anytime, to target anyone who's been designated a Bad Guy. This is absurd, if not insane, on the face of it. (In olden times, Rudyard Kipling called it "the white man's burden" to bring civilization to less "enlightened" peoples.) If there was an international court that had some teeth, the US would be vigorously swatted down, ordered to cease and desist. But one of the greatest tragedies of our time is that there is no power on Earth that could stand up to this Monster (as John Kay and his band Steppenwolf rightly identified the US 50 years ago) even if it could find the backbone to make the attempt.

[Dec 21, 2019] Why can't the US learn from its foreign policy failures?

Because they are not foreign policy failure. All of them were huge wins for MIC, which controls the USA foreign policy
Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , September 22, 2019 at 05:05 PM

Why can't the US learn from its foreign policy failures?
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/09/22/why-can-learn-from-its-foreign-policy-failures/QSyAglf85iK9XuGT1RKK1J/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

H.D.S. Greenway - September 22

After more than 17 years of the United States pouring blood and treasure into the effort to build an Afghan army and government, why is it that the Kabul government continues to lose ground against the Taliban? Further, why were we unsuccessful creating an Iraqi army that could stand on its own against the Islamic State?

Before that, of course, came Vietnam.

Nor was that the start of the failure of American-backed armies. I was a teenager in 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek's American-backed Nationalist army lost to the Communist forces of Mao Zedong in China. The American secretary of state, Dean Acheson, having conducted a study on why our side lost, declared: "The Nationalist armies did not have to be defeated; they disintegrated. History has proved again and again that a regime without faith in itself, and an army without morale, cannot survive the test of battle."

Forty-four years ago, the American-trained and American-supplied army of South Vietnam simply melted away before the less-well-equipped but better-motivated army of North Vietnam. In 1975, I watched South Vietnamese soldiers taking off their uniforms and running away in their underwear as the North Vietnamese closed in on Saigon.

Five years ago, the world watched another American-trained and American-equipped Iraqi army bolt and run when the better motivated Islamic State forces overran Mosul in Northern Iraq.

Why, over and over again, does the side America has backed in these civil wars end up defeated? Four threads connect these lost wars of the last 70 years: corruption, patriotic nationalism, a misplaced belief in American exceptionalism, and self-deception.

I saw corruption on a grand scale in Saigon. Generals and government officials were funneling America's tax dollars into bank accounts abroad, fielding ghost armies in which there were fewer soldiers on the ground than on the official payrolls. In Baghdad during the American occupation, I learned that billions of American taxpayer dollars were bleeding out to the Persian Gulf and Jordan, causing a laundered money real estate boom in the Jordanian capital. In Afghanistan I learned that Afghan officers and soldiers routinely robbed the villages they were sent to protect. Corruption sapped the people's belief in their US-backed government in all four wars. Soldiers saw no reason to die for corrupt officials.

A second thread is that our side always appeared to be fighting on the side of foreigners, while the Communists in China and Vietnam, as well as the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, always had a better grip on patriotic nationalism and resistance to foreigners. The anti-colonial struggle was more important than the threat of Communism in most of the post-World War II world, and the Islamist insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan knew how to exploit the traditional resistance to foreign rule. The Taliban could appeal to patriotism while trying to expel the infidel forces of the United States, just as their fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers had resisted the Russians and the British before that in the name of jihad.

A third thread is a curiously American trait of willfully ignoring other people's history and cultures. I remember asking an American officer in Vietnam if he had read anything of the French experience in Vietnam. His answer: "No, why should I? They lost, didn't they?" Robert McNamara, defense secretary and an architect of our Vietnam War, said in later life that Americans had never understood the Vietnamese. There were plenty of people who could have helped him understand, but he wasn't interested. We were Americans -- exceptional, and therefore not susceptible to the same forces that thwarted other efforts.

I met Americans in the Green Zone in Baghdad who knew nothing about the great schism between Sunnis and Shia Muslims that was tearing the country apart. American-style democracy was the answer to all ills, they felt. In Afghanistan I met Americans who thought purple ink on the fingers of Afghans who had voted was the answer to a thousand years of tribal and ethnic rivalries.

The fourth thread is self-deception. In Saigon, in Baghdad, and in Kabul I attended briefings in which progress was always being made, the trend lines were always favorable, and we were always winning wars we were actually losing. Wishful thinking is no substitute for reality. Americans can train and assist the armies of those whom we want to support in the civil wars of others, but we cannot supply the motivation and morale that is necessary to survive the test of battle.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 22, 2019 at 05:09 PM
Related:

The 'forever war' that began on 9/11
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/09/10/the-forever-war-that-began/ONoP7zmI9uaxiBD3clIkDL/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Stephen Kinzer - September 10

As we observe another anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack that shattered American life 18 years ago, its full impact is still unfolding. Those who planned it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The airborne assaults that took nearly 3,000 lives on that day may now be seen as the most diabolically successful terror attack in history. That attack not only wreaked carnage at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. It wound up dragging the United States into an endless state of war that has drained our treasury, poisoned our politics, created waves of new terrorism, and made us the enemy of millions around the world.

The apparent chief perpetrator of the 9/11 attack, Osama bin Laden, presumably cackled with joy when he heard news of his success on that stunning day. He lived for another 10 years, long enough to cackle with even greater glee at Washington's self-defeating response to the attack. Using the 9/11 attack as a pretext, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Bin Laden died knowing that he had lured us into the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history.

It is a truism that our lives are shaped not by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens to us. The same applies to nations. Devastating as the death toll was on Sept. 11, 2001, it turned out to be only a taste of what was to come. The United States has been at war ever since. Thousands of Americans have died. So have hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Middle East and beyond. This nearly two-decade-long spasm of attacking, bombing, and occupying countries has decisively shaped the United States and its image in the world. Every day that our "forever war" continues is a triumph for bin Laden. So is every wounded veteran who returns home, every newly minted terrorist infuriated by an American attack, every citizen of the world who recoils at what US forces are being sent to do. We did not simply fall into bin Laden's trap, we raced in at full speed. Even now, we show little will to extricate ourselves.

America's determination to strike back with devastating force after 9/11 was understandable given our shared sense of ravaged innocence. We might have launched a concentrated strike against the gang of several hundred criminals whose leaders attacked the United States, and then come home. Instead we have used the 9/11 attack to justify wars and military deployments around the world.

On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress passed an "authorization for the use of military force" against the perpetrators of that week's attack and against their "associated forces." Three presidents have used that authorization to deploy troops across the Middle East and in countries from Kenya to Georgia to the Philippines. Every call for US withdrawal from Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria is met by warnings that ending wars could produce "another 9/11." This has become the paralyzing mantra that prevents us from halting the hydra-headed military campaign we have been waging for 18 years. We also use it to justify atrocities at prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Bin Laden has succeeded even in colonizing our minds.

Soon after passing its highly elastic authorization for military action against "associated forces," Congress approved another, even more sweeping law: the Patriot Act. It gave the government broad new power to monitor people and businesses, and has become a foundation stone of our emerging "surveillance state." The 9/11 attack led us to distort not only our approach to the world, but also the balance between freedom and security at home.

Another pernicious aftereffect of the terror attack has been the deepening of our national us-against-them narrative. This began with President George W. Bush's assertion that every country in the world had to be "either with us or against us." Crusader rhetoric posits the United States as the indispensable guardian of civilization, entitled to act as it chooses in order to fend off a threatening tide of barbarism. Now this approach has leaked back into the United States. Racist attacks that tear at our social fabric are the domestic reflection of foreign policies that see the rest of the world as a hostile "other" bent on destroying our way of life.

Last month it was announced that the five surviving alleged plotters of the 9/11 attack will finally be brought to trial in 2021. If they are aware of what is happening in the world, they will arrive in court with a deep sense of satisfaction. Their great triumph was not the attack. It was the damage the United States has since inflicted upon itself.

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 22, 2019 at 05:28 PM
Acheson is parroting Napoleon: "In war the moral is to the material as 3 is to 1."

He is wrong in the matter of "faith", unless the Chiang's army lost faith in Chiang's moral poverty, what he stood for.

A better quote about Chiang losing is written by George C. Marshall, who went over and came back sure Chiang was done for.

He said: "The US would not be dragged through the mud by those reactionaries". Meaning Chiang was not the moral power in China.

Same for Vietnam US puppets were not and had no moral power/authority.

In Afghanistan same!

Iraq is split in moral authority, the areas populated by Shi'a are okay as long as the central government does not pander to the Sunni 1/3 (Baathists were suppressing Shi'a).

I do not agree with quoting Acheson when there is plenty of professional soldier writings that say it more clearly.

After Korea the professional soldiers were no longer expressive when it cme to propping thugs, with no moral power in their own borders (granted many of the borders surround fictional counties).

US has stood with thugs for most of its quagmire experience.......

This week US is looking for a way to start a new quagmire with Iran for royal murderers' sharing their oil company!

[Dec 21, 2019] Extortion (noun) The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats

May 05, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 14:20

Regarding your last sentence: this is the great truth that Washington's world hegemonists would have you forget. Taking into account the untapped vast resources of Canada and Alaska and its expansive offshore economic zones extending deep into the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean, the North American anglosphere could be entirely self-sufficient and do quite nicely on its own for hundreds of years to come, it just wouldn't be the sole tyrannical state presumably ruling the entire planet.

Why, it might even entertain the idea of actually cooperating with other regional powers like Russia, China, the EU, India, Iran, Turkey, the Middle East, greater central Asia, Latin America and even Africa to everyone's benefit, rather than bullying them all because god ordained us to be the boss of all humans.

America's major malfunction is its lack of historical roots compared to the other societies mentioned. All those places had thousands of years to refine their sundry cultures and international relationships, certainly through trial and error and many horrible setbacks, most notably wars, famines, pestilence, genocide and human bondage which people did not have the foresight to nip in the bud. They learned by their mistakes and some, like the great world wars, were doozies.

The United States, and some of its closest homologues like Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, were thrown together very rapidly as part of developing colonial empires. It was created through the brute actions of a handful of megalomaniacal oligarchs of their day. What worked to suppress vast tracts of aboriginal homelands, often through genocide and virtual extinction of the native populations, was so effective that it was institutionalized in the form of slavery and reckless exploitation of the local environment. These "great leaders," "pioneers" and "founding fathers" were not about to give up a set of principles -- no matter how sick and immoral -- which they knew to "work" and accrued to them great power and riches. They preferred to label it "American exceptionalism" and force it upon the whole rest of the world, including long established regional powers -- cultures going back to antiquity -- and not just conveniently sketched "burdens of the white man."

No, ancient cultures like China, India, Persia and so forth could obviously be improved for all concerned merely by allowing a handful of Western Europeans to own all their property and run all their affairs. That grand plan fell apart for most of the European powers in the aftermath of World War Two, but Washington has held tough and never given up its designs of micromanaging and exploiting the whole planet. It too is soon to learn its lesson and lose its empire. Either that or it will take the world down in flames as it tries to cling to all that it never really owned or deserved. The most tragic (or maybe just amusing) part is that Washington still had most of the world believing its bullshit about exceptionalism and indispensability until it decided it had to emulate every tyrannical empire that ever collapsed before it.

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 02:08

"ex·tor·tion /ik?stôrSH(?)n/ noun The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats."

"Racketeering refers to crimes committed through extortion or coercion. A racketeer attempts to obtain money or property from another person, usually through intimidation or force. The term is typically associated with organized crime."

I see. So, American foreign policy, as applied to both its alleged enemies and presumed allies, essentially amounts to an exercise in organised crime. So much for due process, free trade, peaceful co-existence, magical rainbows and other such hypocritical platitudes dispensed for domestic consumption in place of the heavy-handed threats routinely delivered to Washington's targets.

That's quite in keeping with the employment of war crimes as standard "tactics, techniques and procedures" on the battlefield which was recently admitted to us by Senator Jim Molan on the "60 Minutes" news show facsimile and discussed in one of yesterday's forums on this blog.

Afghanistan was promised a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs as incentive to bend to our will (and that of Unocal which, unlike Nordstream, was a pipeline Washington wanted built). Iraq was promised and delivered "shock and awe" after a secretary of state had declared the mass starvation of that country's children as well worth the effort. They still can't find all the pieces left of the Libyan state. Syria was told it would be stiffed on any American contribution to its rebuilding for the effrontery of actually beating back the American-recruited, trained and financed ISIS terrorist brigades. Now it's being deliberately starved of both its energy and food requirements by American embargoes on its own resources! North Korea was promised utter annihilation by Yankee nukes before Kim's summit with our great leader unless it submitted totally to his will, or more likely that of Pompous Pompeo, the man who pulls his strings. Venezuela is treated to cyber-hacked power outages and shortages of food, medicines, its own gold bullion, income from its own international petroleum sales and, probably because someone in Washington thinks it's funny, even toilet paper. All they have to do to get relief is kick out the president they elected and replace him with Washington's chosen puppet! Yep, freedom and democracy blah, blah, blah. And don't even ask what the kids in Yemen got for Christmas from Uncle Sam this year. (He probably stole their socks.) A real American patriot will laughingly take Iran to task for ever believing in the first place that Washington could be negotiated with in good faith. All they had to do was ask the Native Americans (or the Russians) how the Yanks keep their word and honor their treaties. It was their own fault they were taken for suckers.

[Dec 21, 2019] America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil.

Notable quotes:
"... Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy. ..."
"... America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla. ..."
"... Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Idealistic Realist , Apr 27, 2019 1:24:45 PM | link

Best analysis by a candidate for POTUS ever:

American foreign policy is not a failure. To comfort themselves, observers often say that our leaders -- presidents, advisors, generals -- don't know what they're doing. They do know. Their agenda just isn't what we like to imagine it is.

To quote Michael Parenti: "US policy is not filled with contradictions and inconsistencies. It has performed brilliantly and steadily in the service of those who own most of the world and who want to own all of it."

The vision of our leaders as bunglers, while more accurate than the image of them as valiant public servants, is less accurate and more rose-tinted than the closest approximation of the truth, which is that they are servants of their class interest. That is why we go to war.

Those who buy the elite class's foreign policy BS, about the Emmanuel Goldsteins they conjure up every three years, are fools. Obviously Hussein and Milošević were bad; but "government bad" does not mean we must invade. Wars occur for economic, not humanitarian, reasons.

  • Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea, is a kleptocrat, murderer, and alleged cannibal. This is him and his wife with Barack and Michelle Obama.
  • Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, was said to have boiled political prisoners to death, massacred hundreds of prisoners, and made torture an institution. This is him with John Kerry.
  • Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, has been involved in the assassination of political opponents, perpetrated obvious election fraud, and had his term extended until 2034. This is him with Barack and Michelle Obama.

Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy.

America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla.

Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never.

Mike Gravel

[Dec 21, 2019] Lessons of the past: all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore. ..."
"... Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago ..."
"... Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. ..."
"... Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. ..."
"... Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way. ..."
"... False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media ..."
Apr 23, 2019 | off-guardian.org

As a history student years ago I remember our teacher explaining how past events are linked to what happens in the future. He told us human behaviour always dictates that events will repeat in a similar way as before. I remember we studied 20th century history and discussed World War I and the links to World War II. At this time, we were in the middle of the Cold War and in unchartered waters and I couldn't really link past events to what was likely to happen next. Back then I guess like many I considered US presidents more as statesman. They talked tough on the Soviet Union but they talked peace too. So, the threat to humanity was very different then to now. Dangerous but perhaps a stable kind of dangerous. After the break up of the Soviet Union we then went through a phase of disorderly change in the world. In the early 1990s the war in the Former Yugoslavia erupted and spread from republic to republic. Up until the mid-to-late nineties I didn't necessarily sense that NATO and the West were the new threat to humanity. While there was a clear bias to events in Yugoslavia there was still some even-handedness or fairness. Or so I thought. This all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges and so on. But my wake-up call was the daily NATO briefings on the war. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative.

When the peace agreement was reached, out of 300 Serbian tanks which had entered Kosovo at the start of the conflict, over 285 were counted going back into Serbia proper which was confirmation he had been lying .

From this conflict onwards I started to see clear parallels with events of the past and some striking similarities with the lead up to previous world wars. This all hit home when observing events in Syria and more recently Venezuala. But looking around seeing people absorbed in their phones you wouldn't think the world is on the brink of war. For most of us with little time to watch world events there are distractions which have obscured the picture historians and geopolitical experts see more clearly.

Recent and current western leaders haven't been short people in military uniform shouting. That would be far too obvious. It's still military conflict and mass murder but in smart suits with liberal sound-bites and high-fives. Then the uncool, uncouth conservative Trump came along and muddied the waters.

Briefly it seemed there might be hope that these wars would stop. But there can be little doubt he's been put under pressure to comply with the regime change culture embedded in the Deep State. Today, through their incendiary language we see US leaders morphing into the open style dictators of the past. The only thing missing are the military uniforms and hats.

Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore.

Let's look at some of these:

1) Military build up, alliances and proxy wars – for all the chaos and mass murder pursued by the Obama Administration he did achieve limited successes in signing agreements with Iran and Cuba. But rather than reverse the endless wars as promised Trump cancels the agreements leaving the grand sum of zilch foreign policy achievements. NATO has been around for 70 years, but in the last 20 or so has become obsessed with military build up. Nowadays it has hundreds of bases around the world but keeps destablising non-aligned states, partly to isolate Russia and China. And Syria sums up the dangers of the regime change model used today. With over a dozen states involved in the proxy war there is a still high risk of conflict breaking out between US and Russia. The motives for military build up are many. First there are powerful people in the arms industry and media who benefit financially from perpetual war. The US while powerful in military terms are a declining power which will continue, new powers emerging. The only return on their money they can see is through military build up. Also there are many in government, intelligence services and media who can see that if the current order continues to crumble they are likely to be prosecuted for various crimes. All this explains the threatening language and the doubling-down on those who challenge them. In 1914, Europe had two backward thinking military alliance blocks and Sarajevo showed how one event could trigger an unstoppable escalation dragging in many states. And empires such as Austro-Hungary were crumbling from within as they are now. So a similar mentality prevails today where the powerful in these empires under threat favour conflict to peace. For these individuals it's a last throw of the dice and a gamble with all our lives.

2) Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago .

3) Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. In addition we face a situation of highly unpredictable, ideological regional leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Most worrying of all, the language, threats and actions of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton suggests there are psychopathic tendencies in play. Behind this is a Deep State and Democrat Party pushing even harder for conflict. The level of paranoia is discouraging any notion of peace. 30 years ago Russia and US would sit down at a summit and reach a consensus. Today a US leader or diplomat seen talking to a Russian official is accused of collusion. When there are limited channels to talk in a crisis, you know we are in trouble. In Germany in the 1930s, ideology, propaganda and creating enemies were key in getting the population on side for war. The leaders within the Nazi clique, Hitler, Goring and Himmler look disturbingly similar to the Trump, Pompeo, Bolton line up.

4) Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. The terms and words; regime change, mass murder and terrorist have all been substituted by the media with 'humanitarian intervention', 'limited airstrikes' and 'moderate rebels' to fool a distracted public that the victims of the aggression are the bad guys. Western funded 'fact checking' sites such as Bellingcat have appeared pushing the misdirections to a surreal new level. Obama was portayed in the media as a cool guy and a little 'soft' on foreign policy. This despite the carnage in Libya, Syria and his drones. Sentiments of equal rights and diversity fill the home affairs sections in the liberal press, while callous indifference and ethno-centrism towards the Middle East and Russia dominate foreign affairs pages. In the press generally, BREXIT, non-existent anti-Semitism and nonsense about the 'ISIS bride' continues unabated. This media circus seeks to distract from important matters, using these topics to create pointless divisions, causing hostility towards Muslims and Jews in the process. The majority of a distracted public have still not twigged largely because the propaganda is more subtle nowadays and presented under a false humanitarian cloak. A small but vocal group of experts and journalists challenging these narratives are regularly smeared as Putin or Assad "apologists" . UK journalists are regularly caught out lying and some long standing hoaxes such as Russiagate exposed. Following this and Iraq WMDs more people are starting to see a pattern here. Yet each time the media in the belief they've bamboozled enough move on to the next big lie. This a sign of a controlled media which has reached the point of being unaccountable and untouchable, deeply embedded within the establishment apparatus. In the lead up to World War II the Nazis ran an effective media propaganda campaign which indoctrinated the population. The media in Germany also reached the point their blindingly obvious lies were rarely questioned. The classic tactic was to blame others for the problems in Germany and the world and project their crimes on to their victims. There are some differences as things have evolved. The Nazis created the media and state apparatus to pursue war. Nowadays this is the opposite way around. Instead the state apparatus is already in place so whoever is leader whether they describe themself as liberal or conservative, is merely a figurehead required to continue the same pro-war policies. Put a fresh-looking president in a shiny suit and intoduce him to the Queen and you wouldn't think he's the biggest mass murderer since Hitler. Although there are some differences in the propaganda techniques, all the signs are that today's media are on a similar war-footing as Germany's was just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

5) Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way.

6) False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media. The next flashpoint in Syria is Idlib, where it's highly likely a new chemical fabrication will be attempted this Spring. In the 1930s the Nazis were believed to use false flags with increasing frequency to discredit and close down internal opposition. Summary – We now live in a society where exposing warmongering is a more serious crime than committing it. Prisons hold many people who have bravely exposed war crimes – yet most criminals continue to walk free and hold positions of power. And when the media is pushing for Julian Assange to be extradicted you know this is beyond simple envy of a man who has almost single-handedly done the job they've collectively failed to do. They are equally complicit in warmongering hence why they see Assange and others as a threat. For those not fooled by the smart suits, liberal platitudes and media distraction techniques, the parallels with Germany in the 1930s in particular are now fairly obvious. The blundering military alliances of 1914 and the pure evil of 1939 – with the ignorance, indifference and narcissism described above make for a destructive mix. Unless something changes soon our days on this planet are likely be numbered. Depressing but one encouraging thing is that the indisputable truth is now in plain sight for anyone with internet access to see and false narratives have collapsed before. It's still conceivable that something may create a whole chain of events which sweep these dangerous parasites from power. So anything can happen. In the meantime we should keep positive and continue to spread the message.

Kevin Smith is a British citizen living and working in London. He researches and writes down his thoughts on the foreign wars promoted by Western governments and media. In the highly controlled and dumbed down UK media environment, he's keen on exploring ways of discouraging ideology and tribalism in favour of free thinking.

comite espartaco says Apr, 24, 2019

2- 'Israel and its US relationship'. The 'hands off' policy of the Western powers, guarantees that Syria cannot even be a trigger to any 'global conflict', supposing that a 'global conflict' was on the cards, especially when Russia is just a crumbling shadow of the USSR and China a giant with feet of clay, heavily dependent on Western oligarchic goodwill, to maintain its economy and its technological progress.

In 1914, the Serbian crisis was just trigger of WWI and not a true cause. It is not even clear if it was Germany that dragged Austria-Hungary into the war or Russia. Although there was a possibility (only a possibility), that a swift and 'illegal' attack by Austria-Hungary (without an ultimatum), would have localised and contained the conflict.

There is no similarity whatsoever between the 1914 'diktats' and modern US policy, as the US is the sole Superpower and its acts are not opposed by a balancing and corresponding alliance. Save in the Chinese colony of North Korea, where the US is restrained by a tacit alliance of the North Eastern Asiatic powers: China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, that oppose any military action and so promote and protect North Korean bullying. Qatar, on the other hand, is one of the most radical supporters of the Syrian opposition and terrorist groups around the muslim world, even more than Saudi Arabia and there are powerful reasons for the confrontation of the Gulf rivals.

olavleivar says Apr, 24, 2019
You should go back in Time and STUDY what really happened .. that means going back to the Creation of the socalled British Empire ..the Bank of England , the British East Indian Company , the Opium Wars and the Opium Trafficing , the Boer Wars for Gold and Diamonds , the US Civil War and its aftermath , the manipulations of Gold and Silver by socalled british Financial Interests , The US Spanish Wars , the Japanese Russian War , the failed Coup against Czar Russia 1905 , the Young Turk Coup against the Ottoman Empire 1908, the Armenian Genocide , the Creation of the Federal Reserve 1913 , the Multitude of Assinations and other Terror Attacks in the period from 1900 and upwards , WHO were the perpetraders ? , , WW 1 and its originators , the Bolshevik Coup 1917 , the Treaty of Versailles and the Actors in that Treaty ,the Plunder of Germany , the dissolution of Austria Hungary , the Bolshevik Coup attempts all over Europe , and then the run up to WW 2 , the Actions of Poland agianst Germans and Czechs .. Hitler , Musolini and finally WW 2 .the post war period , the Nuernberg Trials , the Holocaust Mythology , the Creation of Israel , Gladio , the Fall of the Sovjet Empire and the Warshav Pact , the Wars in the Middle East , the endless Terror Actions , the murder of Kennedy and a mass of False Flag Terrorist Attacks since then , the destruction of the Balkans and the Middle east THERE IS PLENTY of EXCELLENT LITERATURE and ANALYSIS on all subjects .
comite espartaco says Apr, 23, 2019
1- Military buildup, alliances and proxy wars.

It was your Obama that 'persecuted' Mr Assange !!!

Syria demonstrates that there has NOT been a Western strategy for regime change (specially after the 'defeats' in Iraq and Afghanistan), let alone a proxy war, but, on the contrary, an effort to keep the tyranny of Assad in power, in a weaker state, to avoid any strong, 'revolutionary' rival near Israel. Russia has been given a free hand in Syria, otherwise, if the West had properly armed the resistance groups, it would have been a catastrophe for the Russian forces, like it was in Afghanistan during the Soviet intervention.

Trump's policy of 'equal' (proportional) contributions for all members of NATO and other allies, gives the lie to the US military return 'argument' and should be understood as part of his war on unfair competition by other powers.

The 'military' and diplomatic alliances of 1914 were FORWARD thinking, so much so that they 'repeated' themselves during WWII, with slight changes. But it is very doubtful that the Empires, like the Austro-Hungarian o the Russian ones, would have 'crumbled' without the outbreak of WWI. They were never under threat, as their military power during the war showed. Only a World War of cataclysmic character could destroy them. A war, triggered, but not created, by the 'conflict seeking mentality' of the powerful in the small countries of the Balkans.

Shardlake says Apr, 23, 2019
Generally attributed to Senator Hiram Warren Johnson in 1918 that 'when war comes the first casualty is truth' is as much a truism now as it was then.

I'm more inclined to support hauptmanngurski's proposition that the members of the armed forces, from both sides, who return from conflicts with life-changing injuries or even in flag-draped caskets defended only the freedom of multinational enterprises and conglomerates to make and continue to make vast profits for the privileged few at the population's expense.

As Kevin Smith makes abundantly clear we are all subject to the downright lies and truth-stretching from our government aided and abetted by a compliant main stream media as exemplified in the Skripal poisoning affair, which goes far beyond the counting of Serbian tanks supposedly destroyed during the Balkans conflict. The Skripals' are now God knows where either as willing participants or as detainees and our government shows no signs of clarifying the matter, so who would believe what it put out anyway in view of its track record of misinformation ? The nation doesn't know what to believe.

Sadly, I believe this has always been the way of things and I cannot even speculate on how long it will be before this nation will realise it is being deliberately mis-led.

[Dec 21, 2019] A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990 2016 by David North

New book by David North A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990–2016
Notable quotes:
"... "Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly." ..."
"... Typical American philosophy... "War is peace!"... ..."
Jul 11, 2016 | www.wsws.org

We publish here the preface to A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony, 1990-2016 by David North. The book will be published on August 10, and is available for preorder today at Mehring Books in both softcover and hardcover .

***

"In the period of crisis the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom."

-- Leon Trotsky, 1928

"U.S. capitalism is up against the same problems that pushed Germany in 1914 on the path of war. The world is divided? It must be redivided. For Germany it was a question of 'organizing Europe.' The United States must 'organize' the world. History is bringing mankind face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism."

-- Leon Trotsky, 1934

This volume consists of political reports, public lectures, party statements, essays, and polemics that document the response of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) to the quarter century of US-led wars that began in 1990–91. The analyses of events presented here, although written as they were unfolding, stand the test of time. The International Committee does not possess a crystal ball. But its work is informed by a Marxist understanding of the contradictions of American and world imperialism. Moreover, the Marxist method of analysis examines events not as a sequence of isolated episodes, but as moments in the unfolding of a broader historical process. This historically oriented approach serves as a safeguard against an impressionistic response to the latest political developments. It recognizes that the essential cause of an event is rarely apparent at the moment of its occurrence.

Much of what passes for analysis in the bourgeois press consists of nothing more than equating an impressionistic description of a given event with its deeper cause. This sort of political analysis legitimizes US wars as necessary responses to one or another personification of evil, such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the "warlord" Farah Aideed in Somalia, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda, the Mullah Omar in Afghanistan, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; and, most recently, Bashar al Assad in Syria, Kim Jong Un in Korea, and Vladimir Putin in Russia. New names are continually added to the United States' infinitely expandable list of monsters requiring destruction.

The material in this volume is the record of a very different and far more substantial approach to the examination of the foreign policy of the United States.

First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism. As far back as August 1990 -- twenty-six years ago -- it was able to foresee the long-term implications of the Bush administration's war against Iraq:

It marks the beginning of a new imperialist redivision of the world. The end of the postwar era means the end of the postcolonial era. As it proclaims the "failure of socialism," the imperialist bourgeoisie, in deeds if not yet in words, proclaims the failure of independence. The deepening crisis confronting all the major imperialist powers compels them to secure control over strategic resources and markets. Former colonies, which had achieved a degree of political independence, must be resubjugated. In its brutal assault against Iraq, imperialism is giving notice that it intends to restore the type of unrestrained domination of the backward countries that existed prior to World War II. [ 1 ]

This historically grounded analysis provided the essential framework for an understanding, not only of the 1990–91 Gulf War, but also of the wars that were launched later in the decade, as well as the post-9/11 "War on Terror."

In a recently published front-page article, the New York Times called attention to a significant milestone in the presidency of Barack Obama: "He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president." But with several months remaining in his term in office, he is on target to set yet another record. The Times wrote:

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama's term -- a near-certainty given the president's recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria -- he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war. [ 2 ]

On the way to setting his record, Mr. Obama has overseen lethal military actions in a total of seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. The number of countries is growing, as the United States escalates its military operations in Africa. The efforts to suppress the Boko Haram insurgency involve a buildup of US forces in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.

Without any sense of irony, Mark Landler, author of the Times article, notes Obama's status as a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2009. He portrays the president as "trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate. . . ." Obama "has wrestled with this immutable reality [of war] from his first year in the White House . . ."

Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."

During the Obama years, folly has clearly held the upper hand. But there is nothing that Landler's hero can do. Obama has found his wars "maddeningly hard to end."

The Times ' portrayal of Obama lacks the essential element required by genuine tragedy: the identification of objective forces, beyond his control, that frustrated and overwhelmed the lofty ideals and humanitarian aspirations of the president. If Mr. Landler wants his readers to shed a tear for this peace-loving man who, upon becoming president, made drone killings his personal specialty, and turned into something akin to a moral monster, the Times correspondent should have attempted to identify the historical circumstances that determined Obama's "tragic" fate.

But this is a challenge the Times avoids. It fails to relate Obama's war-making record to the entire course of American foreign policy over the past quarter century. Even before Obama entered office in 2009, the United States had been at war on an almost continuous basis since the first US-Iraq War of 1990–91.

The pretext for the Gulf War was Iraq's annexation of Kuwait in August 1990. But the violent US reaction to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's dispute with the emir of Kuwait was determined by broader global conditions and considerations. The historical context of the US military operation was the imminent dissolution of the Soviet Union, which was finally carried out in December 1991. The first President Bush declared the beginning of a "New World Order." [ 3 ] What Bush meant by this phrase was that the United States was now free to restructure the world in the interests of the American capitalist class, unencumbered by either the reality of the countervailing military power of the Soviet Union or the specter of socialist revolution. The dissolution of the USSR, hailed by Francis Fukuyama as the "End of History," signified for the strategists of American imperialism the end of military restraint.

It is one of the great ironies of history that the definitive emergence of the United States as the dominant imperialist power, amid the catastrophe of World War I, coincided with the outbreak of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which culminated in the establishment of the first socialist workers state in history, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party. On April 3, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson delivered his war message to the US Congress and led the United States into the global imperialist conflict. Two weeks later, V.I. Lenin returned to Russia, which was in the throes of revolution, and reoriented the Bolshevik Party toward the fight to overthrow the bourgeois Provisional Government.

Lenin and his principal political ally, Leon Trotsky, insisted that the struggle for socialism was indissolubly linked to the struggle against war. As the historian R. Craig Nation has argued:

For Lenin there was no doubt that the revolution was the result of a crisis of imperialism and that the dilemmas which it posed could only be resolved on the international level. The campaign for proletarian hegemony in Russia, the fight against the war, and the international struggle against imperialism were now one and the same. [ 4 ]

Just as the United States was striving to establish its position as the arbiter of the world's destiny, it faced a challenge, in the form of the Bolshevik Revolution, not only to the authority of American imperialism, but also to the economic, political, and even moral legitimacy of the entire capitalist world order. "The rhetoric and actions of the Bolsheviks," historian Melvyn P. Leffler has written, "ignited fear, revulsion and uncertainty in Washington." [ 5 ]

Another perceptive historian of US foreign policy explained:

The great majority of American leaders were so deeply concerned with the Bolshevik Revolution because they were so uneasy about what President Wilson called the "general feeling of revolt" against the existing order, and about the increasing intensity of that dissatisfaction. The Bolshevik Revolution became in their minds the symbol of all the revolutions that grew out of that discontent. And that is perhaps the crucial insight into the tragedy of American diplomacy. [ 6 ]

In a desperate effort to destroy the new revolutionary regime, Wilson sent an expeditionary force to Russia in 1918, in support of counterrevolutionary forces in the brutal civil war. The intervention was an ignominious failure.

It was not until 1933 that the United States finally granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union. The diplomatic rapprochement was facilitated in part by the fact that the Soviet regime, now under Stalin's bureaucratic dictatorship, was in the process of repudiating the revolutionary internationalism that had inspired the Bolsheviks in 1917. It was abandoning the perspective of world revolution in favor of alliances with imperialist states on the basis of "collective security." Unable to secure such an alliance with Britain and France, Stalin signed the notorious Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler in August 1939. Following Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941, the exigencies of the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan required that the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt forge a military alliance with the Soviet Union. But once Germany and Japan were defeated, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated. The Truman administration, opposing the extension of Soviet influence into Eastern Europe, and frightened by the growth of Communist parties in Western Europe, launched the Marshall Plan in 1948 and triggered the onset of the Cold War.

The Kremlin regime pursued nationalistic policies, based on the Stalinist program of "socialism in one country," and betrayed working class and anti-imperialist movements all over the world. But the very existence of a regime that arose out of a socialist revolution had a politically radicalizing impact throughout the world. William Appleman Williams was certainly correct in his view that "American leaders were for many, many years more afraid of the implicit and indirect challenge of the revolution than they were of the actual power of the Soviet Union." [ 7 ]

In the decades that followed World War II, the United States was unable to ignore the existence of the Soviet Union. To the extent that the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, which was established in 1949, provided limited political and material support to anti-imperialist movements in the "Third World," they denied the US ruling class a free hand in the pursuit of its own interests. These limitations were demonstrated -- to cite the most notable examples -- by the US defeats in Korea and Vietnam, the compromise settlement of the Cuban missile crisis, and the acceptance of Soviet domination of the Baltic region and Eastern Europe.

The existence of the Soviet Union and an anticapitalist regime in China deprived the United States of the possibility of unrestricted access to and exploitation of the human labor, raw materials, and potential markets of a large portion of the globe, especially the Eurasian land mass. It compelled the United States to compromise, to a greater degree than it would have preferred, in negotiations over economic and strategic issues with its major allies in Europe and Asia, as well as with smaller countries that exploited the tactical opportunities provided by the US-Soviet Cold War.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, combined with the restoration of capitalism in China following the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989, was seen by the American ruling class as an opportunity to repudiate the compromises of the post-World War II era, and to carry out a restructuring of global geopolitics, with the aim of establishing the hegemony of the United States.

There was no small element of self-delusion in the grandiose American response to the breakup of the Soviet Union. The bombastic claims that the United States had won the Cold War were based far more on myth than reality. In fact, the sudden dissolution of the Soviet Union took the entire Washington foreign policy establishment by surprise. In February 1987, the Council on Foreign Relations published an assessment of US-Soviet relations, authored by two of its most eminent Sovietologists, Strobe Talbott and Michael Mandelbaum. Analyzing the discussions between Reagan and Gorbachev at meetings in Geneva and Reykjavik in 1986, the two experts concluded:

No matter how Gorbachev comes to define perestroika in practice and no matter how he modifies the official definition of security, the Soviet Union will resist pressure for change, whether it comes from without or within, from the top or the bottom. The fundamental conditions of Soviet-American relations are therefore likely to persist. This, in turn, means that the ritual of Soviet-American summitry is likely to have a long run. . . . [ 8 ]

The "long run," Talbott and Mandelbaum predicted, would continue not only during the reign of "Gorbachev's successor," but also his "successor's successor." No substantial changes in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were to be expected. The two prophets from the Council on Foreign Relations concluded:

Whoever they are, and whatever changes have occurred in the meantime, the American and Soviet leaders of the next century will be wrestling with the same great issue -- how to manage their rivalry so as to avoid nuclear catastrophe -- that has engaged the energies, in the latter half of the 1980s, of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. [ 9 ]

In contrast to the Washington experts, who foresaw nothing, the International Committee recognized that the Gorbachev regime marked a climactic stage in the crisis of Stalinism. "The crisis of Gorbachev," it declared in a statement dated March 23, 1987, "has emerged as every section of world Stalinism confronts economic convulsions and upheavals by the masses. In every case -- from Beijing to Belgrade -- the response of the Stalinist bureaucrats has been to turn ever more openly toward capitalist restorationism." [ 10 ]

The Cold War victory narrative encouraged, within the ruling elite, a disastrous overestimation of the power and potential of American capitalism. The drive for hegemony assumed the ability of the US to contain the economic and political centrifugal forces unleashed by the operation of global capitalism. Even at the height of its power, such an immense project was well beyond the capacities of the United States. But amid the euphoria generated by the end of the Soviet Union, the ruling class chose to ignore the deep-rooted and protracted crisis of American society. An objective observer, examining the conditions of both the United States and the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1990, might well have wondered which regime was in greater crisis. During the three decades that preceded the dissolution of the USSR, the United States exhibited high levels of political, social, and economic instability.

Consider the fate of the presidential administrations in power during those three decades: (1) The Kennedy administration ended tragically in November 1963 with a political assassination, in the midst of escalating social tensions and international crises; (2) Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's successor, was unable to seek reelection in 1968, as a result of urban riots and mass opposition to the US invasion of Vietnam; (3) Richard Nixon was compelled to resign from office in August 1974, after the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee voted for his impeachment on charges related to his criminal subversion of the Constitution; (4) Gerald Ford, who became president upon Nixon's resignation, was defeated in the November 1976 election amid popular revulsion over Nixon's crimes and the US military debacle in Vietnam; (5) Jimmy Carter's one term in office was dominated by an inflationary crisis that sent the federal prime interest rate to 20 percent, a bitter three month national coal miners strike, and the aftershocks generated by the Iranian Revolution; and (6) Ronald Reagan's years in office, despite all the ballyhoo about "morning in America," were characterized by recession, bitter social tension, and a series of foreign policy disasters in the Middle East and Central America. The exposure of an illegal scheme to finance paramilitary operations in Nicaragua (the Iran-Contra crisis) brought Reagan to the very brink of impeachment. His administration was saved by the leadership of the Democratic Party, which had no desire to remove from office a president who was politically weakened and already exhibiting signs of dementia.

The one persistent factor that confronted all these administrations, from Kennedy to Reagan, was the erosion in the global economic position of the United States. The unquestioned dominance of American finance and industry at the end of World War II provided the economic underpinnings of the Bretton Woods system of dollar-gold convertibility that formed the basis of global capitalist growth and stability. By the late 1950s, the system was coming under increasing strain. It was during the Kennedy administration that unfavorable tendencies in the US balance of trade first began to arouse significant concern. On August 15, 1971, Nixon suddenly ended the Bretton Woods system of fixed international exchange rates, pegged to a US dollar convertible at the rate of $35 per ounce of gold. During the 1970s and 1980s, the decline in the exchange rate of the dollar mirrored the deterioration of the American economy.

The belligerent response of the United States to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union reflected the weakness, not the strength, of American capitalism. The overwhelming support within the ruling elite for a highly aggressive foreign policy arose from the delusion that the United States could reverse the protracted erosion of its global economic position through the deployment of its immense military power.

The Defense Planning Guidance, drafted by the Department of Defense in February 1992, unambiguously asserted the hegemonic ambitions of US imperialism:

There are other potential nations or coalitions that could, in the further future, develop strategic aims and a defense posture of region-wide or global domination. Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor. [ 11 ]

The 1990s saw a persistent use of US military power, most notably in the first Gulf War, followed by its campaign to break up Yugoslavia. The brutal restructuring of the Balkan states, which provoked a fratricidal civil war, culminated in the US-led 1999 bombing campaign to compel Serbia to accept the secession of the province of Kosovo. Other major military operations during that decade included the intervention in Somalia, which ended in disaster, the military occupation of Haiti, the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan, and repeated bombing attacks on Iraq.

The events of September 11, 2001 provided the opportunity to launch the "War on Terror," a propaganda slogan that provided an all-purpose justification for military operations throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and, with increasing frequency, Africa. They furnished the Bush administration with a pretext to institutionalize war as a legitimate and normal instrument of American foreign policy.

The administration of the second President Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001. In speeches that followed 9/11, Bush used the phrase "wars of the twenty-first century." In this case, the normally inarticulate president spoke with precision. The "War on Terror" was, from the beginning, conceived as an unending series of military operations all over the globe. One war would necessarily lead to another. Afghanistan proved to be a dress rehearsal for the invasion of Iraq.

The military strategy of the United States was revised in line with the new doctrine of "preventive warfare," adopted by the US in 2002. This doctrine, which violated existing international law, decreed that the United States could attack any country in the world judged to pose a potential threat -- not only of a military, but also of an economic character -- to American interests.

In a verbal sleight of hand, the Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq as a preemptive war, undertaken in response to the imminent threat posed by the country's "weapons of mass destruction" to the national security of the United States. Of course, the threat was as non-existent as were Saddam Hussein's WMDs. In any event, the Bush administration rendered the distinction between preemptive and preventive war meaningless, by asserting the right of the United States to attack any country, regardless of the existence or non-existence of an imminent threat to American national security. Whatever the terminology employed for propaganda purposes by American presidents, the United States adheres to the illegal doctrine of preventive war.

The scope of military operations continuously widened. New wars were started while the old ones continued. The cynical invocation of human rights was used to wage war against Libya and overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The same hypocritical pretext was employed to organize a proxy war in Syria. The consequences of these crimes, in terms of human lives and suffering, are incalculable.

The last quarter century of US-instigated wars must be studied as a chain of interconnected events. The strategic logic of the US drive for global hegemony extends beyond the neocolonial operations in the Middle East and Africa. The ongoing regional wars are component elements of the rapidly escalating confrontation of the United States with Russia and China.

It is through the prism of America's efforts to assert control of the strategically critical Eurasian landmass, that the essential significance of the events of 1990–91 is being revealed. But this latest stage in the ongoing struggle for world hegemony, which lies at the heart of the conflict with Russia and China, is bringing to the forefront latent and potentially explosive tensions between the United States and its present-day imperialist allies, including -- to name the most significant potential adversary -- Germany. The two world wars of the twentieth century were not the product of misunderstandings. The past is prologue. As the International Committee foresaw in 1990–91, the American bid for global hegemony has rekindled interimperialist rivalries simmering beneath the surface of world politics. Within Europe, dissatisfaction with the US role as the final arbiter of world affairs is being openly voiced. In a provocative essay, published in Foreign Affairs , the journal of the authoritative US Council on Foreign Relations, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has bluntly challenged Washington's presumption of US global dominance:

As the United States reeled from the effects of the Iraq war and the EU struggled through a series of crises, Germany held its ground. . . .

Today both the United States and Europe are struggling to provide global leadership. The 2003 invasion of Iraq damaged the United States' standing in the world. After the ouster of Saddam Hussein, sectarian violence ripped Iraq apart, and U.S. power in the region began to weaken. Not only did the George W. Bush administration fail to reorder the region through force, but the political, economic, and soft-power costs of this adventure undermined the United States' overall position. The illusion of a unipolar world faded. [ 12 ]

In a rebuke to the United States, Steinmeier writes: "Our historical experience has destroyed any belief in national exceptionalism -- for any nation." [ 13 ]

The journalists and academics, who work within the framework of the official narrative of the defense of human rights and the "War on Terror," cannot explain the progression of conflicts, from the 1990–91 Gulf War, to the current expansion of NATO eight hundred miles eastward, and the American "pivot to Asia." On a regular basis, the United States and its allies stage war games in Eastern Europe, in close proximity to the borders of Russia, and in strategically critical waters off the coast of China. It is not difficult to conceive of a situation in which events -- either as a result of deliberate calculation or of reckless miscalculation -- erupt into a clash between nuclear-armed powers. In 2014, as the centenary of World War I approached, a growing number of scholarly papers called attention to the similarities between the conditions that precipitated the disaster of August 1914 and present-day tensions.

One parallel between today and 1914 is the growing sense among political and military strategists that war between the United States and China and/or Russia may be inevitable. As this fatalistic premise increasingly informs the judgments and actions of the key decision makers at the highest level of the state, it becomes a dynamic factor that makes the actual outbreak of war more likely. A specialist in international geopolitics has recently written:

Once war is assumed to be unavoidable, the calculations of leaders and militaries change. The question is no longer whether there will or should be a war, but when the war can be fought most advantageously. Even those neither eager for nor optimistic about war may opt to fight when operating in the framework of inevitability. [ 14 ]

Not since the end of World War II has there existed so great a danger of world war. The danger is heightened by the fact that the level of popular awareness of the threat remains very limited. What percentage of the American population, one must ask, realizes that President Barack Obama has formally committed the United States to go to war in defense of Estonia, in the event of a conflict between the small Baltic country and Russia? The media has politely refrained from asking the president to state how many human beings would die in the event of a nuclear war between the United States and either Russia or China, or both at the same time.

On the eve of World War II, Leon Trotsky warned that a catastrophe threatened the entire culture of mankind. He was proven correct. Within less than a decade, the Second World War claimed the lives of more than fifty million people. The alarm must once again be sounded. The working class and youth within the United States and throughout the world must be told the truth.

The progressive development of a globally integrated world economy is incompatible with capitalism and the nation-state system. If war is to be stopped and a global catastrophe averted, a new and powerful mass international movement, based on a socialist program, and strategically guided by the principles of revolutionary class struggle, must be built. In opposition to imperialist geopolitics, in which national states fight brutally for regional and global dominance, the International Committee counterposes the strategy of world socialist revolution. As Trotsky advised, we "follow not the war map but the map of the class struggle. . . ." [ 15 ]

In the weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were mass protests against the war policies of the United States and its allies. Millions took to the streets. But after the war began, public opposition virtually disappeared. The absence of popular protest did not signify support for the war. Rather, it reflected the repudiation, by the old middle-class protest movement, of its former Vietnam-era opposition to imperialism.

There are mounting signs of political radicalization among significant sections of the working class and youth. It is only a matter of time before this radicalization gives rise to conscious opposition to war. It is the aim of this volume to impart to the new antiwar movement a revolutionary socialist and internationalist perspective and program.

... ... ...

solerso2 years ago
The quotes from Trotsky are glaring. These and others were used to argue against socialism in the post war decades, but all that was needed was time and the working of the forces of capitalism itself. History never ended, it is right on schedule
Steve Naidamast2 years ago
"Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."

Typical American philosophy... "War is peace!"...

peatstack3 years ago
VI lenin crushed the Krondstadt rebellion that was the true 'soviet union' model and instituted a hard right revolutionary regime of ruthless dictatorial control from smolny, not a workers state. The US borgeouis (and french and english) intervened to keep russia in the war and 160 german divisions from leaving the eastern front. The threat of a workers state was not the concern of the victors. The failure of revolutionary russia to represent what this article is propping it up to be (some kind of genuine workers state) leaves me deeply suspect about the other conclusions he's bent history to. Anyone who's read "2 years in russia" by emma goldman, and "the victors dilemma" - john silverlight and any number of books on the russian civil war, it is clear that the intervention was for military tactical reasons and that the nascient state was in no ways a workers state but a totalitarian military dictatorship. Emma Goldman's disillusionment is not her falling out of love with her ideals, but her coming to terms with the reality vs the PR of Russia. Which is why this website (Wsws) advertised a book repudiating the rejection of socialism with the faiure of the soviet union as a false narrative a year or few ago.
fds peatstack3 years ago
The historical memoir is clear, diaries, memos, news articles, and the Western soldier revolts, time to smash the revolution. Kronstadt was a tragedy, but the regime was under threat. history is messy.
OL peatstack3 years ago
On Kronstadt : https://www.marxists.org/ar... I never found an attempt at refuting these that was more than hot air.

I can imagine that the leadership of imperialist countries was underestimating the bolsheviks in 1917, but once the Russian revolution had given enough confidence to the German masses to make the war stop one year later, once the French black sea fleet had rebelled in 1919, etc... they were all very conscious of the risks (potential risks, not immediate threats).

iv_int OL3 years ago
The evidence in favour of what Trotsky wrote about Kronstadt is simply overwhelming. A cmd above gave some basic evidence. Trotsky was absolutely right and absolutely honest on what he wrote later on ("hue and cry over Kronstadt")
Larka3 years ago
The working class has been the victim of betrayal after betrayal by pseudo-left forces in the 20th century, which led to two catastrophic world wars and all the other conflicts that have created needless bloodshed around the world. The great task will be, when the new mass working class anti-war movement arises, to give the working class the political knowledge it needs to not fall for the traps that dissipated anti-war movements in the past. It must be made clear to the workers of the world that for us, it's do or die time - literally, as the obscene levels of social inequality and the prospect of nuclear confrontation prove.
Carolyn Zaremba Larka3 years ago
I understand this very well, having seen what happened to what I thought at the time was a powerful antiwar movement in the 1960s against the war in Vietnam. I was quite politically naive at the time and became so disillusioned with politics in general and what I then thought to be the "left" in particular, that I went off politics completely and started reading Ayn Rand.

After being turned off by Rand's misanthropy and hatred of the working class (even though I admired her atheism), I became more or less apolitical until 1998, when I first read the World Socialist Web Site and found what I had been looking for.

Robert Seaborne Carolyn Zaremba3 years ago
thank you Carolyn Zaremba,

for this affirming comment. Me too, having all but given up on politics and following a last ditch search of the web I was rewarded with a political program and party that was more than compatible with my world view and personal values. Something I had not thought possible, thank you ICFI/SEP.

FireintheHead3 years ago
There are times when even we as Marxists find ourselves scouring the past for a word that befits the character and luminosity of a moment in human understanding. In this respect David North has given new meaning to the word 'Biblical'.

As a word, its essence is transcendent. For whoever defines an epoch in the clearest and most profoundest way as this, is elevated to the realms of Greatness.

As the bourgeoisie now scrabbles, in fights, and drowns in the last dregs of its alchemy, a Phoenix arises out of their chaos lest the bourgeoisie commits all to the Fires of Hell ....

Most excellent words comrade David ...a most excellent call to class struggle .

Eric3 years ago
This is a remarkably panoramic account, grounded in both history and economics, of the unfolding of U.S. militarism and imperialist warfare over the past 30 or so years. It is without peer in anything else I have seen in terms of showing that events and tendencies - which we may have been separately aware of - were in fact part of a historical continuum growing out of economic developments and the perceived interests of the U.S. ruling class.
iv_int3 years ago
Always interesting to read cmd. North. ''First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism''. This is great but we also have German militarism on the rise and we should not underestimate. The working class must be prepared for economic and even actual wars in Europe and elsewhere. The redivision of markets and resources is evident with Germany and China on the table.

[Dec 21, 2019] Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi

Mar 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

ChuckOrloski says:

March 12, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT • 200 Words @AnonFromTN Superfluously impossible, AnonfromTN said: "It is simple, really. The US needs a law prohibiting anyone with dual citizenship to hold public office."

Hi AnonfromTN.

Hard to comprehend how you persist to deny how the "US law" is Zionized. (Zigh) Israeli "dual citizenship and holding "Homeland" public office is an irretractable endowment lawlessly given to US Jews by ruling international Jewry.

They barged into our Constitution like a cancer and feast upon The Bill of Rights.

What's worse now is how livin' the "American dream" has reversed, and at present, President t-Rump demands huge increases in war funding.
No one gets informed that future wars converge with Israel's will.

Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free & unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi, which governed the serial killing activity of an Apache attack chopper crew in the Baghdad sky. Look close at the posed threat!

Tell me AnonfromTN? As you likely know, Bradley Chelsea Manning is, and under "Homeland" law, in-the-klink for exposing the war crimes to America. Is their one (1) US Congressman raising objection to the imprisonment? Fyi, you can look at the brave writing of Kathy Kelly on the Manning case, and which appears at Counterpunch.org.

AnonFromTN , says: March 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski I can only agree. The patient (the US political system) is too far gone to hope for recovery. As comment #69 rightly points out, our political system is based on bribery. Lobbyism and donations to political campaigns and PACs are perfectly legal in the US, while all of these should be criminal offenses punished by jail time, like in most countries. Naturally, desperate Empires losing their dominant position resort to any war crimes imaginable, and severely punish those who expose these crimes.

I can add only one thing: you are right that greedy Jews are evil, but greedy people of any nationality are just as evil as greedy Jews. Not all greedy globalists and MIC thieves are Jews, but they are all scum. I watch with dismay the US Empire heading to its crash. Lemmings running to the cliff are about as rational as our degenerate elites. Israel influence is toxic, but that's not the only poison the Empire will die from.

[Dec 21, 2019] Syria Accuses US Of Stealing Over 40 Tons Of Its Gold by Eric Zuesse

Mar 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2019 - 23:55 240 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Syrian National News Agency headlined on February 26th, "Gold deal between United States and Daesh" (Daesh is ISIS) and reported that,

Information from local sources said that US army helicopters have already transported the gold bullions under cover of darkness on Sunday [February 24th], before transporting them to the United States.

The sources said that tens of tons that Daesh had been keeping in their last hotbed in al-Baghouz area in Deir Ezzor countryside have been handed to the Americans, adding up to other tons of gold that Americans have found in other hideouts for Daesh, making the total amount of gold taken by the Americans to the US around 50 tons, leaving only scraps for the SDF [Kurdish] militias that serve them [the US operation].

Recently, sources said that the area where Daesh leaders and members have barricaded themselves in, contains around 40 tons of gold and tens of millions of dollars.

Allegedly, "US occupation forces in the Syrian al-Jazeera area made a deal with Daesh terrorists, by which Washington gets tens of tons of gold that the terror organization had stolen, in exchange for providing safe passage for the terrorists and their leaders from the areas in Deir Ezzor where they are located."

ISIS was financing its operations largely by the theft of oil from the oil wells in the Deir Ezzor area, Syria's oil-producing region, and they transported and sold this stolen oil via their allied forces, through Turkey, which was one of those US allies trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government and install a Sunni fundamentalist regime that would be ruled from Riyadh (i.e., controlled by the Saud family) . This gold is the property of the Syrian Government, which owns all that oil and the oil wells, which ISIS had captured (stolen), and then sold. Thus, this gold is from sale of that stolen black-market oil, which was Syria's property.

The US Government claims to be anti-ISIS, but actually didn't even once bomb ISIS in Syria until Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, and the US had actually been secretly arming ISIS there so as to help ISIS and especially Al Qaeda (and the US was strongly protecting Al Qaeda in Syria ) to overthrow Syria's secular and non-sectarian Government. Thus, whereas Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, America (having become embarrassed) started bombing ISIS in Syria on 16 November 2015 . The US Government's excuse was "This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike." They pretended it was out of compassion -- not in order to extend for as long as possible ISIS's success in taking over territory in Syria. (And, under Trump, on the night of 2 March 2019, the US rained down upon ISIS in northeast Syria the excruciating and internationally banned white phosphorous to burn ISIS and its hostages alive, which Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had routinely done to burn alive the residents in Donetsk and other parts of eastern former Ukraine where voters had voted more than 90% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama's coup in Ukraine had replaced . It was a way to eliminate some of the most-undesired voters -- people who must never again be voting in a Ukrainian national election, not even if that region subsequently does become conquered by the post-coup, US-imposed, regime. The land there is wanted; its residents certainly are not wanted by the Obama-imposed regime.) America's line was: Russia just isn't as 'compassionate' as America. Zero Hedge aptly headlined "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" . Nobody exceeds the United States Government in sheer hypocrisy.

The US Government evidently thinks that the public are fools, idiots. America's allies seem to be constantly amazed at how successful that approach turns out to be.

Indeed, on 28 November 2012, Syria News headlined "Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Machinery in Broad Daylight" and presented video allegedly showing it (but unfortunately providing no authentication of the date and locale of that video).

Jihadists were recruited from throughout the world to fight against Syria's secular Government. Whereas ISIS was funded mainly by black-market sales of oil from conquered areas, the Al-Qaeda-led groups were mainly funded by the Sauds and other Arab royal families and their retinues, the rest of their aristocracy. On 13 December 2013, BBC headlined "Guide to the Syrian rebels" and opened "There are believed to be as many as 1,000 armed opposition groups in Syria, commanding an estimated 100,000 fighters." Except in the Kurdish areas in Syria's northeast, almost all of those fighters were being led by Al Qaeda's Syrian Branch, al-Nusra. Britain's Center on Religion & Politics headlined on 21 December 2015, "Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion" and reported: "If ISIS is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place." Almost all of those 65,000 were trained and are led by Syria's Al Qaeda (Nusra), which was protected by the US

In September 2016 a UK official "FINAL REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON COMBATING TERRORIST AND FOREIGN FIGHTER TRAVEL" asserted that, "Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist with Islamist terrorist groups, including at least 4,500 Westerners. More than 250 individuals from the United States have also joined." Even just 25,000 (that official lowest estimate) was a sizable US proxy-army of religious fanatics to overthrow Syria's Government.

On 26 November 2015, the first of Russia's videos of Russia's bombing ISIS oil trucks headed into Turkey was bannered at a US military website "Russia Airstrike on ISIS Oil Tankers" , and exactly a month later, on 26 December 2015, Britain's Daily Express headlined "WATCH: Russian fighter jets smash ISIS oil tankers after spotting 12,000 at Turkish border" . This article, reporting around twelve thousand ISIS oil-tanker trucks heading into Turkey, opened: "The latest video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the tankers bunched together as they make their way along the road. They are then blasted by the fighter jet." The US military had nothing comparable to offer to its 'news'-media. Britain's Financial Times headlined on 14 October 2015, "Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists" . Only America's allies were involved in this commerce with ISIS -- no nation that supported Syria's Government was participating in this black market of stolen Syrian goods. So, it's now clear that a lot of that stolen oil was sold for gold as Syria's enemy-nations' means of buying that oil from ISIS. They'd purchase it from ISIS, but not from Syria's Government, the actual owner.

On 30 November 2015 Israel's business-news daily Globes News Service bannered "Israel has become the main buyer for oil from ISIS controlled territory, report" , and reported:

An estimated 20,000-40,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in ISIS controlled territory generating $1-1.5 million daily profit for the terrorist organization. The oil is extracted from Dir A-Zur in Syria and two fields in Iraq and transported to the Kurdish city of Zakhu in a triangle of land near the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Israeli and Turkish mediators come to the city and when prices are agreed, the oil is smuggled to the Turkish city of Silop marked as originating from Kurdish regions of Iraq and sold for $15-18 per barrel (WTI and Brent Crude currently sell for $41 and $45 per barrel) to the Israeli mediator, a man in his 50s with dual Greek-Israeli citizenship known as Dr. Farid. He transports the oil via several Turkish ports and then onto other ports, with Israel among the main destinations.

After all, Israel too wants to overthrow Syria's secular, non-sectarian Government, which would be replaced by rulers selected by the Saud family , who are the US Government's main international ally .

On 9 November 2014, when Turkey was still a crucial US ally trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government (and this was before the failed 15 July 2016 US-backed coup-attempt to overthrow and replace Turkey's Government so as to impose an outright US stooge), Turkey was perhaps ISIS's most crucial international backer . Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's leader, had received no diploma beyond k-12, and all of that schooling was in Sunni schools and based on the Quran . (He pretended, however, to have a university diploma.) On 15 July 2015, AWD News headlined "Turkish President's daughter heads a covert medical corps to help ISIS injured members" . On 2 December 2015, a Russian news-site headlined "Defense Ministry: Erdogan and his family are involved in the illegal supply of oil" ; so, the Erdogan family itself was religiously committed to ISIS's fighters against Syria, and they were key to the success of the US operation against Syrians -- theft from Syrians. The great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, who was personally acquainted with many of the leading political figures in Africa and the Middle East, headlined on 22 June 2014, "US Embassy in Ankara Headquarter for ISIS War on Iraq – Hariri Insider" , and he reported that the NATO-front the Atlantic Council had held a meeting in Turkey during 22-23 of November 2013 at which high officials of the US and allied governments agreed that they were going to take over Syria's oil, and that they even were threatening Iraq's Government for its not complying with their demands to cooperate on overthrowing Syria's Government. So, behind the scenes, this conquest of Syria was the clear aim by the US and all of its allies.

The US had done the same thing when it took over Ukraine by a brutal coup in February 2014 : It grabbed the gold. Iskra News in Russian reported, on 7 March 2014 , that "At 2 a.m. this morning ... an unmarked transport plane was on the runway at Borosipol Airport" near Kiev in the west, and that, "According to airport staff, before the plane came to the airport, four trucks and two Volkswagen minibuses arrived, all the truck license plates missing." This was as translated by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research headlining on 14 March, "Ukraine's Gold Reserves Secretly Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve?" in which he noted that, when asked, "A spokesman for the New York Fed said simply, 'Any inquiry regarding gold accounts should be directed to the account holder.'" The load was said to be "more than 40 heavy boxes." Chossudovsky noted that, "The National Bank of Ukraine (Central Bank) estimated Ukraine's gold reserves in February to be worth $1.8 billion dollars." It was allegedly 36 tons. The US, according to Victoria Nuland ( Obama's detail-person overseeing the coup ) had invested around $5 billion in the coup. Was her installed Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk cleaning out the nation's gold reserves in order to strip the nation so that the nation's steep indebtedness for Russian gas would never be repaid to Russia's oligarchs? Or was he doing it as a payoff for Nuland's having installed him? Or both? In any case: Russia was being squeezed by this fascist Ukrainian-American ploy.

On 14 November 2014, a Russian youtube headlined "In Ukraine, there is no more gold and currency reserves" and reported that there is "virtually no gold. There is a small amount of gold bars, but it's just 1%" of before the coup. Four days later, bannered "Ukraine Admits Its Gold Is Gone: 'There Is Almost No Gold Left In The Central Bank Vault'" . From actually 42.3 tons just before the coup, it was now far less than one ton.

The Syria operation was about oil, gold, and guns. However, most of America's support was to Al-Qaeda-led jihadists, not to ISIS-jihadists. As the great independent investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reported on 2 July 2017 :

"In December of last year while reporting on the battle of Aleppo as a correspondent for Bulgarian media I found and filmed 9 underground warehouses full of heavy weapons with Bulgaria as their country of origin. They were used by Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria designated as a terrorist organization by the UN)."

The US had acquired weapons from around the world, and shipped them (and Gaytandzhieva's report even displayed the transit-documents) through a network of its embassies, into Syria, for Nusra-led forces inside Syria. Almost certainly, the US Government's central command center for the entire arms-smuggling operation was the world's largest embassy, which is America's embassy in Baghdad.

Furthermore, On 8 March 2013, Richard Spenser of Britain's Telegraph reported that Croatia's Jutarnji List newspaper had reported that "3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November. The airlift of dated but effective Yugoslav-made weapons meets key concerns of the West, and especially Turkey and the United States, who want the rebels to be better armed to drive out the Assad regime."

Also, a September 2014 study by Conflict Armaments Research (CAR), titled "Islamic State Weapons in Iraq and Syria" , reported that not only east-European, but even US-made, weapons were being "captured from Islamic State forces" by Kurds who were working for the Americans, and that this was very puzzling and disturbing to those Kurds, who were risking their lives to fight against those jihadists.

In December 2017, CAR headlined "Weapons of the Islamic State" and reported that "this materiel was rapidly captured by IS forces, only to be deployed by the group against international coalition forces." The assumption made there was that the transfer of weapons to ISIS was all unintentional.

That report ignored contrary evidence, which I summed up on 2 September 2017 headlining "Russian TV Reports US Secretly Backing ISIS in Syria" , and reporting there also from the Turkish Government an admission that the US was working with Turkey to funnel surviving members of Iraq's ISIS into the Deir Ezzor part of Syria to help defeat Syria's Government in that crucial oil-producing region. Moreover, at least one member of the 'rebels' that the US was training at Al Tanf on Syria's Jordanian border had quit because his American trainers were secretly diverting some of their weapons to ISIS. Furthermore: why hadn't the US bombed Syrian ISIS before Russia entered the Syrian war on 30 September 2015? America talked lots about its supposed effort against ISIS, but why did US wait till 16 November 2015 before taking action, "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" ?

So, regardless of whether the US Government uses jihadists as its proxy-forces, or uses fascists as its proxy-forces, it grabs the gold -- and grabs the oil, and takes whatever else it can.

This is today's form of imperialism.

Grab what you can, and run. And call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption'. And the imperial regime's allies watch in amazement, as they take their respective cuts of the loot. That's the deal, and they call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world'. That's the way it works. International gangland. That's the reality, while most of the public think it's instead really "fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world." For example, as RT reported on Sunday , March 3rd, about John Bolton's effort at regime-change in Venezuela, Bolton said: "I'd like to see as broad a coalition as we can put together to replace Maduro, to replace the whole corrupt regime,' Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper." Trump's regime wants to bring clean and democratic government to the poor Venezuelans, just like Bush's did to the Iraqis, and Obama's did to the Libyans and to the Syrians and to the Ukrainians. And Trump, who pretends to oppose Obama's regime-change policies, alternately expands them and shrinks them. Though he's slightly different from Obama on domestic policies, he never, as the US President, condemns any of his predecessors' many coups and invasions, all of which were disasters for everybody except America's and allies' billionaires. They're all in on the take.

The American public were suckered into destroying Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Syria in 2011-now, and so many other countries, and still haven't learned anything, other than to keep trusting the allegations of this lying and psychopathically vicious and super-aggressive Government and of its stenographic 'news'-media. When is enough finally enough ? Never? If not never, then when ? Or do most people never learn? Or maybe they don't really care. Perhaps that's the problem.

On March 4th, the Jerusalem Post bannered "IRAN AND TURKEY MEDIA PUSH CONSPIRACY THEORIES ABOUT US, ISIS: Claims pushed by Syrian regime media assert that US gave ISIS safe passage out of Baghuz in return for gold, a conspiracy picked up in Tehran and Ankara" , and simply assumed that it's false -- but provided no evidence to back their speculation up -- and they closed by asserting "The conspiracies, which are manufactured in Damascus, are disseminated to Iraq and Turkey, both of whom oppose US policy in eastern Syria." Why do people even subscribe to such 'news'-sources as that? The key facts are hidden, the speculation that's based on their own prejudices replaces whatever facts exist. Do the subscribers, to that, simply want to be deceived? Are most people that stupid?

Back on 21 December 2018, one of the US regime's top 'news'-media, the Washington Post, had headlined "Retreating ISIS army smuggled a fortune in cash and gold out of Iraq and Syria" and reported that "the Islamic State is sitting on a mountain of stolen cash and gold that its leaders stashed away to finance terrorist operations." So, it's not as if there hadn't been prior reason to believe that some day some of the gold would be found after America's defeat in Syria. Maybe they just hadn't expected this to happen quite so soon. But the regime will find ways to hoodwink its public, in the future, just as it has in the past. Unless the public wises-up (if that's even possible).

[Dec 21, 2019] The USA lost in Syria in a sense that the opposing coalition incl. Iran and Russia couldn t be faced off successfully.

Feb 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette , Feb 25, 2019 1:03:07 PM | link

The USA 'lost' in Syria, the opposing coalition incl. Iran and Russia couldn't be faced off successfully.

Destroying Afgh., Iraq, Lybia, - all 'failures' in the sense of not garnering 'advantage' for the USA as a territory, a Federated Nation, its citizens, its trade, boosting hopeful expansion, etc. One aim rarely mentioned is keeping allies on board, e.g. Sarkozy's France, to invade Lybia. In France many say it was Sark I who did DE-ss-troy! Lybia.

The word *failure* is based on the acceptance of a stated aim reminiscent of old-style-colonialism: grab resources, exploit super-cheap labor, control the natives, mine, exploit, shunt the goods / profits to home base.

If the aim is to stop rivals breathing, blast them back to the Stone Age, the success is good but relative. (see Iraq.) Private GloboCorps (e.g. Glencore.. ) are in charge behind the curtain, many Gvmts are just stooges for them in the sense of unawoved partnerships, the one feeding into the other, in a kind of desperado death spiral.

I have always been struck by the fact that Oil Projects / Management in Iraq, even wiki gives lists that shows major movers and profiteers are not USA oil cos. / interests, but China, Malaysia, many others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_industry_in_Iraq

So, after multiple failures in one region, time to turn closer to home, the backyard, S. America...

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump comes clean from world s policeman to thug running a global protection racket by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
In any case withdrawal from Syria was a surprising and bold move on the Part of the Trump. You can criticizes Trump for not doing more but before that he bahvaves as a typical neocon, or a typical Republican presidents (which are the same things). And he started on this path just two month after inauguration bombing Syria under false pretences. So this is something
I think the reason of change is that Trump intuitively realized the voters are abandoning him in droves and the sizable faction of his voters who voted for him because of his promises to end foreign wars iether already defected or is ready to defect. So this is a move designed to keep them.
Notable quotes:
"... "America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.rt.com

President Trump's big announcement to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is now emerging less as a peace move, and more a rationalization of American military power in the Middle East. In a surprise visit to US forces in Iraq this week, Trump said he had no intention of withdrawing the troops in that country, who have been there for nearly 15 years since GW Bush invaded back in 2003.

Hinting at private discussions with commanders in Iraq, Trump boasted that US forces would in the future launch attacks from there into Syria if and when needed. Presumably that rapid force deployment would apply to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan.

In other words, in typical business-style transactional thinking, Trump sees the pullout from Syria and Afghanistan as a cost-cutting exercise for US imperialism. Regarding Syria, he has bragged about Turkey being assigned, purportedly, to "finish off" terror groups. That's Trump subcontracting out US interests.

Critics and supporters of Trump are confounded. After his Syria and Afghanistan pullout call, domestic critics and NATO allies have accused him of walking from the alleged "fight against terrorism" and of ceding strategic ground to US adversaries Russia and Iran.

'We're no longer suckers of the world!' Trump says US is respected as nation AGAIN (VIDEO)

Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have viewed his decision in more benign light, cheering the president for "sticking it to" the deep state and military establishment, assuming he's delivering on electoral promises to end overseas wars.

However, neither view gets what is going on. Trump is not scaling back US military power; he is rationalizing it like a cost-benefit analysis, as perhaps only a real-estate-wheeler-dealer-turned president would appreciate. Trump is not snubbing US militarism or NATO allies, nor is he letting loose an inner peace spirit. He is as committed to projecting American military as ruthlessly and as recklessly as any other past occupant of the White House. The difference is Trump wants to do it on the cheap.

Here's what he said to reporters on Air Force One before touching down in Iraq:

"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." He added: "We're no longer the suckers, folks."

Laughably, Trump's griping about US forces "spread all over the world" unwittingly demonstrates the insatiable, monstrous nature of American militarism. But Trump paints this vice as a virtue, which, he complains, Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in.

As US troops greeted him in Iraq, the president made explicit how the new American militarism would henceforth operate.

"America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said.

'We give them $4.5bn a year': Israel will still be 'good' after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump

This reiterates a big bugbear for this president in which he views US allies and client regimes as "not pulling their weight" in terms of military deployment. Trump has been browbeating European NATO members to cough up more on military budgets, and he has berated the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes to pay more for American interventions.

Notably, however, Trump has never questioned the largesse that US taxpayers fork out every year to Israel in the form of nearly $4 billion in military aid. To be sure, that money is not a gift because much of it goes back to the Pentagon from sales of fighter jets and missile systems.

The long-held notion that the US has served as the "world's policeman" is, of course, a travesty.

Since WWII, all presidents and the Washington establishment have constantly harped on, with self-righteousness, about America's mythical role as guarantor of global security.

Dozens of illegal wars on almost every continent and millions of civilian deaths attest to the real, heinous conduct of American militarism as a weapon to secure US corporate capitalism.

But with US economic power in historic decline amid a national debt now over $22 trillion, Washington can no longer afford its imperialist conduct in the traditional mode of direct US military invasions and occupations.

Perhaps, it takes a cost-cutting, raw-toothed capitalist like Trump to best understand the historic predicament, even if only superficially.

This gives away the real calculation behind his troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan. Iraq is going to serve as a new regional hub for force projection on a demand-and-supply basis. In addition, more of the dirty work can be contracted out to Washington's clients like Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who will be buying even more US weaponry to prop the military-industrial complex.

'With almost $22 trillion of debt, the US is in no position to attack Iran'

This would explain why Trump made his hurried, unexpected visit to Iraq this week. Significantly, he said : "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", regarding his decision on withdrawing forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Since his troop pullout plan announced on December 19, there has been serious pushback from senior Pentagon figures, hawkish Republicans and Democrats, and the anti-Trump media. The atmosphere is almost seditious against the president. Trump flying off to Iraq on Christmas night was reportedly his first visit to troops in an overseas combat zone since becoming president two years ago.

What Trump seemed to be doing was reassuring the Pentagon and corporate America that he is not going all soft and dovish. Not at all. He is letting them know that he is aiming for a leaner, meaner US military power, which can save money on the number of foreign bases by using rapid reaction forces out of places like Iraq, as well as by subcontracting operations out to regional clients.

Thus, Trump is not coming clean out of any supposed principle when he cuts back US forces overseas. He is merely applying his knack for screwing down costs and doing things on the cheap as a capitalist tycoon overseeing US militarism.

During past decades when American capitalism was relatively robust, US politicians and media could indulge in the fantasy of their military forces going around the world in large-scale formations to selflessly "defend freedom and democracy."

Today, US capitalism is broke. It simply can't sustain its global military empire. Enter Donald Trump with his "business solutions."

But in doing so, this president, with his cheap utilitarianism and transactional exploitative mindset, lets the cat out of the bag. As he says, the US cannot be the world's policeman. Countries are henceforth going to have to pay for "our protection."

Inadvertently, Trump is showing up US power for what it really is: a global thug running a protection racket.

It's always been the case. Except now it's in your face. Trump is no Smedley Butler, the former Marine general who in the 1930s condemned US militarism as a Mafia operation. This president is stupidly revealing the racket, while still thinking it is something virtuous.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

dnm1136

Once again, Cunningham has hit the nail on the head. Trump mistakenly conflates fear with respect. In reality, around the world, the US is feared but generally not respected.

My guess is that the same was true about Trump as a businessman, i.e., he was not respected, only feared due to his willingness to pursue his "deals" by any means that "worked" for him, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, seemingly gracious or mean-spirited.

William Smith

Complaining how the US gets no thanks for its foreign intervention. Kind of like a rapist claiming he should be thanked for "pleasuring" his victim. Precisely the same sentiment expressed by those who believe the American Indians should thank the Whites for "civilising" them.

Phoebe S,

"Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in."

That might mean they don't want you there. Just saying.

ProRussiaPole

None of these wars are working out for the US strategically. All they do is sow chaos. They seem to not be gaining anything, and are just preventing others from gaining anything as well.

Ernie For -> ProRussiaPole

i am a huge Putin fan, so is big Don. Please change your source of info Jerome, Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. He has achieved more in the USA in 2 years than all 5 previous parasites together.

Truthbetold69

It could be a change for a better direction. Time will tell. 'If you do what you've always been doing, you'll get what you've always been getting.'

[Dec 21, 2019] The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom

Notable quotes:
"... Erster General-Quartiermeister ..."
"... The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. ..."
"... Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

In truth, infinite war is a strategic abomination, an admission of professional military bankruptcy. Erster General-Quartiermeister Ludendorff might have endorsed the term, but Ludendorff was a military fanatic.

Check that. Infinite war is a strategic abomination except for arms merchants, so-called defense contractors, and the " emergency men " (and women) devoted to climbing the greasy pole of what we choose to call the national security establishment. In other words, candor obliges us to acknowledge that, in some quarters, infinite war is a pure positive, carrying with it a promise of yet more profits, promotions, and opportunities to come. War keeps the gravy train rolling. And, of course, that's part of the problem.

Who should we hold accountable for this abomination? Not the generals, in my view. If they come across as a dutiful yet unimaginative lot, remember that a lifetime of military service rarely nurtures imagination or creativity. And let us at least credit our generals with this: in their efforts to liberate or democratize or pacify or dominate the Greater Middle East they have tried every military tactic and technique imaginable. Short of nuclear annihilation, they've played just about every card in the Pentagon's deck -- without coming up with a winning hand. So they come and go at regular intervals, each new commander promising success and departing after a couple years to make way for someone else to give it a try.

... ... ...

Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: "Enough! Stop this madness!" Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation's gratitude and the support of the electorate.

Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity. No doubt Saudi and Israeli leaders will cheer, Europeans who remember their Great War will scratch their heads in wonder, and the Chinese will laugh themselves silly. Meanwhile, issues of genuinely strategic importance -- climate change offers one obvious example -- will continue to be treated like an afterthought. As for the gravy train, it will roll on.


Anon [323] Disclaimer , June 7, 2018 at 9:57 pm GMT

"The United States of Amnesia."

That's actually a universal condition.

unseated , June 7, 2018 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

1. WW1 had total casualties (civilian and military) of around 40M. WW2 had total casualties of 60M. So yes WW2 was more deadly but "pales in comparison" is hardly justified, especially relative to population.

2. Marshal Foch, 28 June, 1919: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years."
WW1 inevitably led to WW2.

c matt , June 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm GMT
"Enough! Stop this madness!"

The only politician with a modest national stage to have said that (and meant it) in the last 50 years was Ron Paul, who was booed and mocked as crazy. Trump made noises in that direction, but almost as soon as the last words of his oath echoed off into the brisk January afternoon, he seemed to change his tune. Whether he never meant it, or decided to avoid the JFK treatment, who knows.

No, as I believe Will Rogers said, democracy is that form of government where the people get what they want, good and hard.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , June 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
@c matt

Yes.

I supported Ron Paul in 2012. But after his candidacy was crookedly subverted by the Establishment (cf., Trump's) I vowed never to vote again for anyone that I believe unworthy of the power wielded through the public office. I haven't voted since, and don't expect to until the Empire collapses.

Carlton Meyer , Website June 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm GMT
Kirk Douglas starred in a great film about fighting in World War I: "Paths of Glory." I highly recommend the film for its accuracy, best described in Wiki by the reaction of governments:

Controversy

On its release, the film's anti-military tone was subject to criticism and censorship.

In France, both active and retired personnel from the French military vehemently criticized the film -- and its portrayal of the French Army -- after it was released in Belgium. The French government placed enormous pressure on United Artists, (the European distributor) to not release the film in France. The film was eventually shown in France in 1975 when social attitudes had changed.[17]

In Germany, the film was withdrawn from the Berlin Film Festival to avoid straining relations with France;[18] it was not shown for two years until after its release.

In Spain, Spain's right-wing government of Francisco Franco objected to the film. It was first shown in 1986, 11 years after Franco's death.

In Switzerland, the film was censored, at the request of the Swiss Army, until 1970.[18]

At American bases in Europe, the American military banned it from being shown.[18]

Mike P , June 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm GMT

No, it's not the generals who have let us down, but the politicians to whom they supposedly report and from whom they nominally take their orders.

I'd say both. The generals have greatly assisted in stringing along the trusting public, always promising that victory is just around the corner, provided the public supports this or that final effort. Petraeus in particular willingly played his part in misleading the public about both Iraq and Afghanistan. His career would be a great case study for illuminating what is wrong with the U.S. today.

As to the apparent failure of the Afghanistan war – one must be careful to separate stated goals from real ones. What kind of "lasting success" can the U.S. possibly hope for there? If they managed to defeat the Taliban, pacify the country, install a puppet regime to govern it, and then leave, what would that achieve? The puppet regime would find itself surrounded by powers antagonistic to the U.S., and the puppets would either cooperate with them or be overthrown in no time. The U.S. are not interested in winning and leaving – they want to continue disrupting the peaceful integration of East, West, and South Asia. Afghanistan is ideally placed for this purpose, and so the U.S. are quite content with dragging out that war, as a pretext for their continued presence in the region.

TG , June 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm GMT
An interesting and thoughtful piece.

I would disagree on one point though: "Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence."

This is an error. A majority of the American public think that wasting trillions of dollars on endless pointless foreign wars is a stupid idea, and they think that we would be better off spending that money on ourselves. It's just that we don't live in a democracy, and the corporate press constantly ignores the issue. But just because the press doesn't mention something, doesn't mean that it does not exist.

So during the last presidential election Donald Trump echoed this view, why are we throwing away all this money on stupid wars when we need that money at home? For this he was attacked as a fascist and "literally Hitler" (really! It's jaw-dropping when you think about it). Despite massive propaganda attacking Trump, and a personal style that could charitably be called a jackass, Trump won the election in large part because indeed most American don't like the status quo.

After the election, Trump started to deliver on his promises – and he was quickly beaten down, his pragmatist nationalist advisors purged and replaced with defense-industry chickenhawks, and now we are back to the old status quo. The public be damned.

No, the American people are not being propagandized into supporting these wars. They are simply being ignored.

Left Gatekeeper Dispatch , June 8, 2018 at 9:10 pm GMT
When are you going to stop insulting our intelligence with this Boy's State civics crap? You're calling on political leaders to stop war, like they don't remember what CIA did to JFK, RFK, Daschle, or Leahy. Or Paul Wellstone.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/tribute-to-the-last-honorable-us-senator-the-story-of-paul-wellstones-suspected-assassination-2/5643200

Your national command structure, CIA, has impunity for universal jurisdiction crime. They can kill or torture anyone they want and get away with it. That is what put them in charge. CIA kills anybody who gets in their way. You fail to comprehend Lenin's lesson: first destroy the regime, then you can refrain from use of force. Until you're ready to take on CIA, your bold phrases are silent and odorless farts of feckless self-absorption. Sack up and imprison CIA SIS or GTFO.

James Kabala , June 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Since Spain was smart enough to stay out of both World Wars (as was Switzerland, of course), I wonder what Franco was thinking when he banned the film. Anyway, the final scene may be the best final scene in the history of movies.

exiled off mainstreet , June 10, 2018 at 1:15 am GMT
This writer, a retired military officer whose son died in service to the yankee imperium seems to have as good a grasp as any if not a better grasp than any about the nature of the yankee system of permanent war.
smellyoilandgas , June 13, 2018 at 4:48 am GMT
@TG

While I agree the slave-American is ignored, I think the elected, salaried members of the elected government are also ignored.. The persons in charge are Pharaohs and massively powerful global in scope corporations.
Abe Lincoln, McKinnley, Kennedy discovered that fact in their fate.

Organized Zionism was copted by the London bankers and their corporations 1897, since then a string of events have emerged.. that like a Submarine, seeking a far off target, it must divert to avoid being discovered, but soon, Red October returns to its intended path. here the path is to take the oil from the Arabs.. and the people driving that submarine are extremely wealthy Pharaohs and very well known major corporations.

I suggest to quit talking about the nation states and their leaders as if either could beat their way out of a wet paper sack. instead starting talking about the corporations and Pharaohs because they are global.

Mr. Anon , June 13, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT
The yawning silence accompanying the centennial of the Great War is baffling to me. It was the pivotal event of the 20th century. It was the beginning of the unmanning, the demoralization of Western Civilization. It was the calamity that created the World we inhabit today.

I've heard nary a peep about it in the U.S. over the last four years. It's as if it were as remote in people's consciousness as the Punic Wars.

MarkinPNW , June 13, 2018 at 5:49 am GMT
The World Wars (I and II) can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading British Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, with the material, human, and moral cost of the wars actually accelerating the empire's demise.

Likewise, the current endless "War on Terra" can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading American Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, again with the material, human, and moral cost of this war actually accelerating its demise.

But in the meantime, in both examples, the Bankers and the MIC just keep reaping their profits, even at the expense of the empires they purportedly support and defend.

animalogic , June 13, 2018 at 8:14 am GMT
@Mike P

Good points Mike P.

Author says: "strategy has ceased to exist".

In a traditional sense the author is right. Strategy is the attainment of political goals, within existing constraints. (diplomatic, political, resources etc)
"Goals" traditionally means "victories". (WWI is a great example of the sometimes dubious idea of victory)
Has the US ceased to have a strategy ? No. (Their strategy is myopic & self destructive – ie it's not a "good" strategy)

The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. Afghanistan, at (relatively) minimal cost, US controls key land mass (& with possible future access to fantastic resources). Threaten, mess up Russian – Chinese ambitions in this area. Iraq: Israeli enemy, strategic location, resource extraction. Syria: Israeli enemy, strategic location, key location for resource transfer to markets (EU esp). Deny Russia an ally. Libya: who cares ? Gaddafi was a pain in the arse. Iran: Israeli enemy, fantastic resources, hate them regardless.

Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ( which is funny, because it's such a yummy gravy train for the 1% sorry, actually, forgot the FIRST core principle of US strategy: enrich all the "right" people)

Tom Welsh , June 13, 2018 at 10:05 am GMT
'There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will– warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier– but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all– will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception'.

- Satan, in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" (1908)

annamaria , June 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

European politicians, the war on terror, and the triumph of Bankers United: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/06/12/europe-brainwashed-normalize-relations-russia/
"Europe has not had an independent existence for 75 years. European countries do not know what it means to be a sovereign state. Without Washington European politicians feel lost, so they are likely to stick with Washington .

Russian hopes to unite with the West in a war against terrorism overlook that terrorism is the West's weapon for destabilizing independent countries that do not accept a unipolar world."

The world is ripe for barter exchange. Screw the money changers.

[Dec 21, 2019] If America Wasn't America, the United States Would Be Bombing It by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media . ..."
Feb 13, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

February 13, 2018

On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled "It's Time to Bomb North Korea."

Luttwak's thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan's most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that 'the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan ' Adm. William "Bull" Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that 'the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . It was a mistake to ever drop it . [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it
A few months' prior, this rogue country's invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa's population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country's military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation's bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country's population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:

By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans."
This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has explained :
We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win 'hearts and minds' that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.
This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II . While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb Yugoslavia , Panama , and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq's entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children . Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were "worth it" as the "price" Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos . At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation's 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines .

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs , a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child's play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia's close ally, China, all the while threatening China's borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries "shitholes" – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting , "If we have nuclear weapons, why don't we use them?" and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn't directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups , creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done and that continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media .

[Dec 21, 2019] A walk down memory lane

Oct 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , October 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm

A walk down memory lane:
http://theduran.com/5-discarded-anniversaries-of-western-led-aggression/
And here is the list:

1 The Korean War ends (1953
2 President Kennedy invades South Vietnam (1962)
3 The US overthrows Allende in Chile (1973)
4 The West installs Iranian dictator the Shah (1953)
5 The US-led Iraq invasion (2003)

Many honorable mentions including:
– NATO bombing of Serbia
– Libya
– Afghanistan
– Syria (support of ISIS and its predecessors and spinoffs)

The US body count is simply staggering – many millions killed, millions more wounded or poisoned (Vietnam – agent orange and other chemical agents) and tens of millions of lives forever damaged.

USA! USA! USA! (its elites that rule us of course!)

Cortes , October 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm
And no mention of

Indonesia.

Just the 1m plus deaths.

[Dec 21, 2019] Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state

Notable quotes:
"... In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its "exceptionalism", Burns' "entirely new" Vietnam war is presented as "epic, historic work". Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam. ..."
"... The cynical fabrication of "false flags" that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers ..."
"... Today, according to secret Nato documents obtained by the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zetung, this vital treaty is likely to be abandoned as "nuclear targeting planning is increased". The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned against "repeating the worst mistakes of the Cold War All the good treaties on disarmament and arms control from Gorbachev and Reagan are in acute peril. Europe is threatened again with becoming a military training ground for nuclear weapons. We must raise our voice against this." ..."
"... Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state. Obama's overthrow of Ukraine's elected government has had the desired effect: the massing of American-led Nato forces on Russia's western borderland through which the Nazis invaded in 1941. ..."
Sep 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its "exceptionalism", Burns' "entirely new" Vietnam war is presented as "epic, historic work". Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam.

Burns says he is grateful to "the entire Bank of America family" which "has long supported our country's veterans". Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives.

I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war "was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings".

The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of "false flags" that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers , which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971.

There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans ! it is difficult to watch the film's jumble of "red peril" maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences.

... ... ...

The sheer energy and moral persistence of these great movements largely succeeded; by 1987 Reagan had negotiated with Mikhail Gorbachev an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that effectively ended the Cold War.

Today, according to secret Nato documents obtained by the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zetung, this vital treaty is likely to be abandoned as "nuclear targeting planning is increased". The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned against "repeating the worst mistakes of the Cold War All the good treaties on disarmament and arms control from Gorbachev and Reagan are in acute peril. Europe is threatened again with becoming a military training ground for nuclear weapons. We must raise our voice against this."

But not in America. The thousands who turned out for Senator Bernie Sanders' "revolution" in last year's presidential campaign are collectively mute on these dangers. That most of America's violence across the world has been perpetrated not by Republicans, or mutants like Trump, but by liberal Democrats, remains a taboo.

Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state. Obama's overthrow of Ukraine's elected government has had the desired effect: the massing of American-led Nato forces on Russia's western borderland through which the Nazis invaded in 1941.

[Dec 21, 2019] Time to Terminate Washington's Defense Welfare

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation". ..."
"... Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia? Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'état against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. Ask yourself why ? ..."
"... Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place. ..."
Sep 01, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

opaw , August 30, 2017 8:29 PM

While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation".

I hate how America exploit the weak. president moon should offer an olive branch to fatty Kim by sending back the thaad to America and pulling out American base and troops. he should convince fatty Kim that should he really like to proliferate his nuclear missile development as deterrence, aim it only to America and America only. there is no need for Koreans to kill fellow Koreans.

Try Harder , August 31, 2017 2:45 AM

Very good idea, after having pushed Ukraine and Georgia to a war lost in advance, lets hope US will abandon South Korea and Japan because they were helpless in demilitarizing one of the poorest countries in the world....

Try Harder Guest , August 31, 2017 4:16 PM

Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia? Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'état against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. Ask yourself why ?

Zsari Maxim Guest , August 31, 2017 11:50 AM

Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place.

Thomas Fung , August 31, 2017 5:04 PM

In this person's opinion, the article raises a good point with regards to US defense subsidies. However, its examples are dissimilar. Japan spends approximately 1% of its GDP on defense; South Korea spends roughly 2.5% of its GDP defense.

In fact, it seems to this person that a better example of US Defense Welfare would be direct subsidies granted to the state of Israel.

[Dec 21, 2019] All The Countries America Has Invaded... In One Map

Notable quotes:
"... Using data compiled by a Geography and Native Studies professor from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the indy100 team created an interactive map of U.S. military incursions outside its own borders from Argentina in 1890 to Syria in 2014. ..."
"... " Deployment of the military to evacuate American citizens, covert military actions by US intelligence, providing military support to an internal opposition group, providing military support in one side of a conflict, use of the army in drug enforcement actions. ..."
Aug 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Tyler Durden Aug 26, 2017 9:15 PM 0 SHARES US has had a military presence across the world , from almost day one of its independence. For those who have ever wanted a clearer picture of the true reach of the United States military - both historically and currently - but shied away due to the sheer volume of research required to find an answer, The Anti Media points out that a crew at the Independent just made things a whole lot simpler.

Using data compiled by a Geography and Native Studies professor from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the indy100 team created an interactive map of U.S. military incursions outside its own borders from Argentina in 1890 to Syria in 2014.

To avoid confusion, indy100 laid out its prerequisites for what constitutes an invasion:

" Deployment of the military to evacuate American citizens, covert military actions by US intelligence, providing military support to an internal opposition group, providing military support in one side of a conflict, use of the army in drug enforcement actions.

But indy100 didn't stop there. To put all that history into context, using data from the Department of Defense (DOD), the team also put together a map to display all the countries in which nearly 200,000 active members of the U.S. military are now stationed.

For more details, click on the country:

[Dec 21, 2019] War is the health of the state, but death of empires

Notable quotes:
"... As for Washington and the proverbially bombastic, failed futurists across the Beltway, do they even know what is the end game of "investing" in two never-ending wars with no visible benefits? ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

Sean , August 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

As for Washington and the proverbially bombastic, failed futurists across the Beltway, do they even know what is the end game of "investing" in two never-ending wars with no visible benefits?

You start by assuming that the absence of war is the ultimate good, but none can say what a world without war would be like, or how long it would last.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/20/wars-john-gray-conflict-peace
Has the world seen moral progress? The answer should not depend on whether one has a sunny or a morose temperament. Everyone agrees that life is better than death, health better than sickness, prosperity better than privation, freedom better than tyranny, peace better than war. All of these can be measured, and the results plotted over time. If they go up, that's progress.

For John Gray, this is a big problem. As a part of his campaign against reason, science and Enlightenment humanism, he insists that the strivings of humanity over the centuries have left us no better off. This dyspepsia was hard enough to sustain when Gray first expressed it in the teeth of obvious counterexamples such as the abolition of human sacrifice, chattel slavery and public torture-executions. But as scholars have increasingly measured human flourishing, they have found that Gray is not just wrong but howlingly, flat-earth, couldn't-be-more-wrong wrong. The numbers show that after millennia of near-universal poverty and despotism, a steadily growing proportion of humankind is surviving infancy and childbirth, going to school, voting in democracies, living free of disease, enjoying the necessities of modern life and surviving to old age.

And more people are living in peace. In the 1980s several military scholars noticed to their astonishment that the most destructive form of armed conflict – wars among great powers and developed states – had effectively ceased to exist. At the time this "long peace" could have been dismissed as a random lull, but it has held firm for an additional three decades.

In my opinion Gray, though wrong that violence is not decreasing, is onto something about the future being bleak because of the rise of meliorist assumptions, because perpetual peace will be humanity's tomb.

While many suggest a danger for our world along the lines of Brian Cox's explanation for the Fermi Paradox (ie intelligent life forms cross grainedly bring on self-annihilation through unlimited war) I take a different view.

Given that Pinker appears substantially correct that serious war (ie wars among great powers and developed states) have effectively ceased to exist, the trend is for peace and cooperation. Martin Nowak in his book The Supercoperators shows cooperation, not fighting, to be the defining human trait (and indeed the most cooperative groups won their wars in history, whereby nation states such the US are the result of not just individuals but familial tribal regional , and virtually continental groupings coming together for mutual advantage and defence .

The future is going to be global integration pursuit of economic objectives, and I think this exponential moral progress bill begat technological advances beyond imagining.. An escape from the war trap is almost complete and the Singularity becomes. The most likely culprit in the paradox is a technological black hole event horizon created by unlimited peace and progress.

Cross-grained though it may be to say that the good war hallows every cause, I think it not so bad in comparison with the alternative.

[Dec 21, 2019] The Pentagon s New Map War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language. ..."
"... At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways. ..."
"... Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built. ..."
"... Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. ..."
"... I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department. ..."
"... I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed. ..."
"... "Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened. ..."
"... Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire, ..."
"... We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'. ..."
"... "If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country." ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Azblue on July 31, 2006

Global cop

Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language.

The foundation upon which Barnett builds his binary view of the world is heavily dependant upon the continued advancement of globalization - almost exclusively so. However, advancing globalization is not pre-ordained. Barnett himself makes the case that globalization is a fragile undertaking similar to an interconnected chain in which any broken link destroys the whole. Globalization could indeed be like the biblical statue whose feet are made of clay. Globalization, and therefore the integration of the Gap, may even stop or recede - just as the globalization of the early 20th century ended abruptly with the onset of WW I and a global depression. Moreover, Barnett's contention that the United States has an exceptional duty and moral responsibility for "remaking the world in America's image" might be seen by many as misguided and perhaps even dangerous.

The divide between the `Functioning Core' and the `Non-Integrating Gap' differs from the gulf between rich and poor in a subtle yet direct way. State governments make a conscious decision to become connected vs. disconnected to advancing globalization. States and their leaders can provide the infrastructure and the opening of large global markets to their citizens in ways that individuals cannot. An example can serve to illustrate the point: You can be rich and disconnected in Nigeria or poor and disconnected in North Korea. In each case the country you live in has decided to be disconnected. Citizens in this case have a limited likelihood of staying rich and unlimited prospects of staying poor. But by becoming part of the functioning Core, the enlightened state allows all citizens a running start at becoming part of a worldwide economic system and thus provide prospects for a better future because global jobs and markets are opened up to them. A connected economy such as India's, for example, enables citizens who once had no prospects for a better life to find well-paying jobs, such as computer-related employment. Prospects for a better Indian life are directly the result of the Indian government's conscious decision to become connected to the world economy, a.k.a. embracing globalization.

After placing his theory of the Core/Gap and preemptive war strategy firmly into the church of globalization, Barnett next places his theory squarely upon the alter of rule sets. Few would argue that the world is an anarchic place and Barnett tells us that rule sets are needed to define `good' and `evil' behavior of actors in this chaotic international system. An example of such a rule set is the desire of the Core to keep WMDs out of the hands of terrorist organizations. Other examples are the promulgation of human rights and the need to stop genocide. Barnett also uses rule sets to define `system' rules that govern and shape the actions, and even the psychology, of international actors. An example that Barnett gives of a system-wide rule set is the creation of the `rule' defined by the United States during the Cold War called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Barnett claims that this rule set effectively ended the possibility of war for all time amongst nuclear-capable great powers. Barnett states that the U.S. now should export a brand new rule set called `preemptive war,' which aims to fight actors in the lawless Gap in order to end international terrorism for all time. Barnett makes it clear that the Core's enemy is neither a religion (Islam) nor a place (Middle East), but a condition (disconnectedness).

Next, Barnett points out that system-wide competition has moved into the economic arena and that military conflict, when it occurs, has moved away from the system-wide (Cold War), to inter-state war, ending up today with primarily state conflict vs. individuals (Core vs. bin Laden, Core vs. Kim, etc.). In other words, "we are moving progressively away from warfare against states or even blocs of states and toward a new era of warfare against individuals." Rephrased, we've moved from confrontations with evil empires, to evil states, to evil leaders. An example of this phenomenon is the fact that China dropped off the radar of many government hawks after 9/11 only to be replaced by terrorist groups and other dangerous NGOs "with global reach."

Barnett also points out that the idea of `connectivity' is central to the success of globalization. Without it, everything else fails. Connectivity is the glue that holds states together and helps prevent war between states. For example, the US is not likely to start a war with `connected' France, but America could more likely instigate a war with `disconnected' North Korea, Syria or Iran.

Barnett then examines the dangers associated with his definition of `disconnectedness.' He cleverly describes globalization as a condition defined by mutually assured dependence (MAD) and advises us that `Big Men', royal families, raw materials, theocracies and just bad luck can conspire to impede connectedness in the world. This is one of few places in his book that Barnett briefly discusses impediments to globalization - however, this short list looks at existing roadblocks to connectedness but not to future, system-wide dangers to globalization.

At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways.

Barnett then takes us on a pilgrimage to the Ten Commandments of globalization. Tellingly, this list is set up to be more like links in a chain than commandments. Each item in the list is connected to the next - meaning that each step is dependent upon its predecessor. If any of the links are broken or incomplete, the whole is destroyed. For example, Barnett warns us that if there is no security in the Gap, there can be no rules in the Gap. Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built.

What else could kill globalization? Barnett himself tells us: "Labor, energy, money and security all need to flow as freely as possible from those places in the world where they are plentiful to those regions where they are scarce." Here he is implying that an interruption of any or all of these basic necessities can doom globalization. Barnett states clearly: "...(these are) the four massive flows I believe are essential to protect if Globalization III is going to advance." Simply put, any combination of American isolationism or closing of borders to immigration, a global energy crisis, a global financial crisis or rampant global insecurity could adversely affect "connectedness," a.k.a. globalization. These plausible future events, unnerving as they are, leave the inexorable advancement of globalization in doubt and we haven't yet explored other problems with Barnett's reliance on globalization to make the world peaceful, free and safe for democracy.

Barnett goes on to tell us that Operation Iraqi Freedom was an "overt attempt to create a "System Perturbation" centered in the Persian Gulf to trigger a Big Bang." His definition of a Big Bang in the Middle East is the democratization of the many totalitarian states in the region. He also claims that the Big Bang has targeted Iran's "sullen majority."

Barnett claims that our problem with shrinking the Gap is not our "motive or our means, but our inability to describe the enemies worth killing, the battles worth winning, and the future worth creating." Managing the global campaign to democratize the world is no easy task. Barnett admits that in a worst-case scenario we may be stuck in the "mother of all intifadas" in Iraq. Critics claim this is something that we should have planned for - that the insurgency should not have been a surprise, and that it should have been part of the "peacemaking" planning. Barnett blithely states that things will get better "...when America internationalizes the occupation." Barnett should not engage in wishful thinking here, as he also does when he predicted that Iraqis would be put in charge of their own country 18 months after the fall of Baghdad. It would be more accurate if he claimed this would happen 18 months after the cessation of hostilities. Some critics claim that Iraq is an example that we are an "empire in a hurry" (Michael Ignatieff), which then results in: 1) allocating insufficient resources to non-military aspects of the project and 2) attempting economic and political transformation in an unrealistically short time frame.

The final basic premise of Barnett's theory of the Core and the Gap is the concept of what he calls the "global transaction strategy." Barnett explains it best: "America's essential transaction with the outside world is one of our exporting security in return for the world's financing a lifestyle we could far more readily afford without all that defense spending." Barnett claims that America pays the most for global stability because we enjoy it the most. But what about the other 80 countries in the Core?

Why is America, like Atlas, bearing the weight of the world's security and stabilization on its shoulders?

Barnett claims that historical analogies are useless today and point us in the wrong direction. I disagree. James Madison cautioned us not to go abroad to seek monsters to destroy. We can learn from his simple and profound statement that there are simply too many state (and individual) monsters in today's world for the U.S. to destroy unilaterally or preemptively. We must also avoid overstretching our resources and power. Thucydides reminds us that the great democracy of Athens was brought to its knees by the ill-advised Sicilian expedition - which resulted in the destruction of everything the Athenians held dear. Do not ignore history as Barnett councils; heed it.

Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. Therefore, America needs to stay engaged in the affairs of the world, but Barnett has not offered conclusive evidence that the U.S. needs to become the world's single Leviathan that must extinguish all global hot wars. Barnett also has not proved that America needs to be, as he writes, "the one willing to rush in when everyone else is running away." People like Barnett in academia and leaders in government may proclaim and ordain the U.S. to be a global Leviathan, but it is a conscious choice that should be thoroughly debated by the American people. After all, it is upon the backs of the American people that such a global Leviathan must ride. Where is the debate? The American people, upon reflection, may decide upon other courses of action.

I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department.

It seems to be well researched - having 35 pages of notes. Many of Barnett's citations come from the Washington Post and the New York Times, which some may see as a liberal bias, but I see the sources as simply newspapers of record.

I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed.

Alan H. Macdonald on April 1, 2013
A misused book waiting for redemption

I don't think poorly of Thomas Barnett himself. He's very bright and, I think, good hearted, BUT his well thought-out, well argued pride and joy (and positive intellectual pursuit) is being badly distorted ---- which happens to all 'tools' that Empire gets its hands on.

For those who like predictions, I would predict that Barnett will wind up going through an epiphany much like Francis Fukuyama (but a decade later) and for much the same reason, that his life's work gets misused and abused so greatly that he works to reverse and correct its misuse. Fukuyama, also brilliant, wrote "The End of History" in 1992 (which was misused by the neocons to engender war), and now he's working just as hard to reverse a misuse that he may feel some guilt of his work supporting, and is writing "The Future of History" as a force for good --- and I suspect (and hope) that Barnett will, in even less time, be counter-thinking and developing the strategy and book to reverse the misuse of his 2004 book before the Global Empire pulls down the curtain.

"Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened.

Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy the Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which can't so easily be identified as wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets ---- quite yet!

Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire,
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'.

"If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country."

[Dec 21, 2019] We are all Palestinians: possible connection between neocons and Pentagon

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003. ..."
"... If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents. ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

schrub , August 25, 2017 at 7:18 pm GMT

People who seem to think that Trump's generals will somehow go along and support his original vision are sadly mistaken.

Since 2003, Israel has had an increasingly strong hand in the vetting who gets promoted to upper positions in the American armed forces. All of the generals Trump has at his side went through a vetting procedure which definitely involved a very close look at their opinions about Israel.

Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003.

Officers who openly oppose the dictates of the Israel Lobby will see their prospects for advancement simply vanish like a whiff of smoke.. Those who support Israel's machinations are rewarded with promotions, the more fervent the support the more rapid the promotion especially if this knowledge is made known to their congressman or senator..

Generals who support Israel already know that this support will be heavily rewarded after their retirements by being given lucrative six figure positions on company boards of directors or positions in equally lucrative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institution or the Hoover Institute. They will receive hefty speaking fees. as well. They learned early that their retirements could be truly glorious if they only "went" along with The Lobby. They will be able to then live the good life in expensive places like Washington, New York or San Francisco, often invited to glitzy parties with unlimited amount of free prawns "the size of your hand".

On the other hand, upper officers who somehow get then get "bad" reputations for their negative views about Israel ( like Karen U. Kwiatkowski for instance) will end up, once retired, having to depend on just their often scanty pensions This requires getting an often demeaning second jobs to get by in some place where "their dollar goes further". No bright lights in big cities for them. No speaking fees, no college jobs. Once their fate becomes known, their still active duty contemporaries suddenly decide to "go along".

If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents.

Face it, we live in a country under occupation by a hostile power that we willingly pay large amounts monetary tribute to. Our government does whatever benefits Israel regardless of how negatively this effects the USA. We are increasing troop strength in Afghanistan because, somehow, this benefits Israel. If our presence in Afghanistan (or the Mideast in general) didn't benefit Israel, our troops would simply not be there.

We are all Palestinians.

[Dec 21, 2019] War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror

Aug 22, 2017 | warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

JWalters , August 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Well put. These people are like the "nobles" of medieval times. They care not a whit about the "peasants" they trample. They are wealth bigots, compounded by some ethnic bigotry or other, in this case Jewish supremacism. America has an oligarchy problem. At the center of that oligarchy is a Jewish mafia controlling the banks, and thereby the big corporations, and thereby the media and the government. This oligarchy sees America as a big, dumb military machine that it can manipulate to generate war profits.

"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror" . http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

[Dec 21, 2019] There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK military forces thinking

Notable quotes:
"... There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK forces thinking. They insisted on UN legal cover cover the invasion of Iraq but were totally on board with pre-emptive action in Libya, happily training effectively ISIS forces before Gaddafi was removed. They are now training Ukrainian Neo-Nazis and training ISIS/whatever in Syria, effectively invading the country. I guess this may reflect the increasing direct Zionist control of Perfidious Albion with attendant levels of hubris. ..."
Aug 10, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Anonymous | Aug 4, 2017 7:00:33 PM | 37

Enrico Malatesta @13

The Russians were there in Yugoslavia but they were not following NATO's script. There was an incident where Russian forces took control of a key airport to the total surprise of NATO. The US overall commander ordered the UK to go in and kick the Russians out. The UK ground commander wisely said he was not prepared to start WW III over Russian control of an airfield.

There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK forces thinking. They insisted on UN legal cover cover the invasion of Iraq but were totally on board with pre-emptive action in Libya, happily training effectively ISIS forces before Gaddafi was removed. They are now training Ukrainian Neo-Nazis and training ISIS/whatever in Syria, effectively invading the country. I guess this may reflect the increasing direct Zionist control of Perfidious Albion with attendant levels of hubris.

[Dec 21, 2019] Michael Brenner - The Linear Mindset In US Foreign Policy

According to some commenters at MoA the US neocons can be viewed as a flavor of political psychopaths: "Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe."
and " the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time. "
Notable quotes:
"... Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying. ..."
"... Barack CIA 0bama. ..."
"... It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. ..."
"... Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit? ..."
"... Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives. ..."
"... you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals? ..."
"... it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion. ..."
"... the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him. ..."
"... Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP. ..."
"... There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade. ..."
"... My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc. ..."
"... Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe. ..."
"... the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed. ..."
"... Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing. ..."
"... It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that. ..."
"... Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them! ..."
"... Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage. ..."
"... America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction. ..."
"... the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time. ..."
"... The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression. ..."
"... Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda. ..."
"... The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story. ..."
"... Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST. ..."
"... The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it. ..."
Aug 04, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

virgile | Aug 4, 2017 11:18:14 AM | 1

"linear"?, I would say amateurish and often stupid! It seems that the USA cannot see far enough as it's submitted to regime changes every 5 years and decisions are finally left to powerful lobbies that have a better continuity.

Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying.

Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:24:08 AM | 2
Moqtada had a million man army 10 years ago. He may still have it, in the "things do go astray" department.
Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:28:23 AM | 3
"Linear" and all that is the mushy feel-good stuff on top of your arrogance. Kleptocracy only NOW putting down its roots? Come on. Let's get back to the 90's where it started. Vengeance for 9/11? Cover?
somebody | Aug 4, 2017 11:32:33 AM | 4
I think it is because US business is ruled by the quarter .

So there may be long term plans and goals but the emphasis for everybody is always short-term.

Emily | Aug 4, 2017 11:36:18 AM | 5
Second paragraph.

'There are features of how the United States makes and executes foreign policy'

There was no need for the rest. The United States makes and executes foreign policy on the direction of Tel Aviv and to meet the demands of the MIC.

Nuff said - surely.

JSonofa | Aug 4, 2017 11:43:23 AM | 6
You lost me at Walt Whitman or Barack CIA 0bama.
Skip | Aug 4, 2017 11:44:16 AM | 7
It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. All's well in the world with them as long as the USSA is grinding away on some near helpless ME country. Drugs and other natural resources flow from and death and destruction flow to the unsuspecting Muslim targets.

With America, you're our friend, (or at least we tolerate you) until you're not (or we don't), then God help you and your innocent hoards.

The organized and well scripted chaos has been just one act in the larger play of destroying western civilization with throngs of Muslims now flooding western Europe and to a lesser degree, USA. Of course, the Deep State had felt confident in allowing Latinos to destroy America...Trump has put a large crimp in the pipeline--one of the reasons he is hated so badly by the destructive PTB.

Simplyamazed | Aug 4, 2017 12:15:58 PM | 8
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.

It is entirely possible that the underlying objective of, for instance, invading Iraq was to win a war and bring democracy. Subsequent behaviour in Iraq (and Afghanistan) indicates that there might be (likely is) a hidden but central other objective. I do not want to state that I know what that is because I am not "in the know". However, much that you attribute to failure from linear thinking just as easily can be explained by the complexity of realizing a "hidden agenda".

Perhaps we can learn from history. Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit?

Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives.

aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9
Russia learnt a huge lesson from their experience in Afghanistan. There they retreated in the face of a violent Wahabist insurgency and paid the price. The Soviet union collapsed and became vulnerable to western free-market gangsterism as well as suffering the blowback of terrorism in Chechnya, where they decided to play it very differently. A bit more like how Assad senior dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980's.

Russia knew that if ISIS and friends were allowed to destroy Syria like the Mujahadeen had done in Afghanistan, then it would only be a matter of time before blowback would come again to Russia.

Russia's involvement is entirely rational and in their national interest. It should never have come as a surprise to the US, and the US should shake off their cold war propaganda and be grateful that people are willing to put their lives on the line to defeat Wahabist terrorism. Russia has played a focused line with integrity. Many Syrians love them for this, and many more in the Middle East will likewise adopt a similar line.

john | Aug 4, 2017 1:14:02 PM | 10
In other words, the linear mindset blocks out all non-conforming realities in the present and those contingent elements which might arise in the future

you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals?

i kinda skimmed this piece, but it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion.

Jackrabbit | Aug 4, 2017 1:26:29 PM | 11
Brenner: Washington never really had a plan in Syria.

Really? Firstly, the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him.

Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP.

The bleach in Brenner's white-washing is delivered with the statement that Washington never really had a plan in Syria. Seymour Hersh described the planning in his "The Redirection" back in 2007(!):

The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January [2007], Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is "a new strategic alignment in the Middle East," separating "reformers" and "extremists"; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were "on the other side of that divide."

Lastly, Brenner's complaint that Obama has been "scape-goated" as having created ISIS conveniently ignores Obama's allowing ISIS to grow by down-playing the threat that it represented. Obama's called ISIS al Queda's "JV team" and senior intelligence analysts dutifully distorted intelligence to down-play the threat (see below). This was one of many deceptions that Obama took part in - if not orchestrated (others: "moderate rebels", Benghazi, the "Fiscal Cliff", bank bailouts).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

House GOP task force: Military leaders distorted ISIS intel to downplay threat

After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command's most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command's intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq" . . .

The Joint Task Force can find no justifiable reason why operational reporting was repeatedly used as a rationale to change the analytic product, particularly when the changes only appeared to be made in a more optimistic direction . . .

jsn | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:06 PM | 12
The US is playing checkers, the Russians Chess. We shall sanction them until they learn to play checkers.
Enrico Malatesta | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:39 PM | 13
aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9

There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade.

Russia has also benefited through the non-linear analysis of US diplomacy failures of the last two decades. Russia has created a coalition backing up their military entry into the Middle East that allows achievement of tangible objectives at a sustainable cost.

But b's article is about the US's dismal diplomacy that is exacerbating its rapid empire decline and it does very well to help explain the rigid lack of thought that hastens the deterioration of US influence.

Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:33:14 PM | 14
This article makes a lot of good points, but I didn't really grasp exactly what "linear" thinking is. OK. Venezuela very well may be turning into a situation. What is the "linear" approach? What, instead, would be the "non-linear" approach? This article cites many "linear" failures. It would be helpful also to learn of some non-linear successes. If not by the United States then by somebody else.
Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:38:51 PM | 15
Let me clarify my prior posting. This article seems to be asserting that the United States has attempted to pound the square peg of its policy objectives into the round hole of the Middle East. I pretty much agree with that idea. But how is this "linear," as opposed to "bull-headed"? How does being "non-linear" help with the pounding? Would not adapting our policies to pound a round peg instead be just as "linear" but more clever?
PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 1:46:40 PM | 16
Thanks for posting these great observations by Michael Brenner, b.

The link to his bio on University of Pitsburg site is broken and the page is gone, but it still exists for now in Google's cache from Aug. 1st here . His bio can also be found under this ">https://www.theglobalist.com/united-states-common-man-forgotten-by-elites/">this article from The Globalist

Everything I've read of Dr. Brenner that I've stumbled across is brilliant. My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc.

While he is quite accurate in describing the symptoms, one is left with the impression that they are the things to be fixed. Linear thinking in a U.S. foreign policy of aggression? Absolutely, but it's pointless to 'fix' that without understanding the cause.

Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe.

Does anyone in Washington REALLY want to 'save' the Persians and 'rebuild' Iran as they imagine America did post WWII to German and Japan? Or is the more overriding intent to punish and destroy a leadership that will not submit to the political and commercial interests in the US? Of course the U.S. fails to deliver any benefits to the 'little people' after destroying their country and government - they are incapable of understanding what the 'little people' want (same goes for domestic issues in the U.S.).

The U.S. government and leadership do not need lessons to modify their techniques or 'thinking' - they are incapable of doing so. You can't 'talk a psychopath into having empathy' any more than you can talk them out of having smallpox. 'The law' and voting were intentionally broken in the U.S. to make them all but useless to fix Washington, yet a zombified American public will continue to use the religiously (or sit back and watch others use them religiously) with little result. Because we're a democracy and a nation of laws - the government will fix anything broken with those tools.

In a certain sense, I'm glad Brennan does NOT go on about psychopathy in his articles. He would sound as tedious and nutty as I do here and would never be allowed near Washington. I'll just be grateful for his thorough illustration of the symptoms for now.

nonsense factory | Aug 4, 2017 2:00:27 PM | 17
@8 simply amazed, on this:
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.

First, this is more an analysis of military failure to "do the job" that Washington "strategic thinkers" tell them to do, and the reasons why it's such a futile game. In our system of government, the military does tactics, not strategy. And the above article, which should be passed out to every politician in this country, isn't really about "the objective".

For example, the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed.

Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing.

And if you want to know why the Borg State got firmly behind Hillary Clinton, it's because they could see her supporting this agenda wholeheartedly, especially after Libya. Here's a comment she wrote to Podesta on 2014-08-19, a long 'strategy piece' ending with this note:

Note: It is important to keep in mind that as a result of this policy there probably will be concern in the Sunni regions of Iraq and the Central Government regarding the possible expansion of KRG controlled territory. With advisors in the Peshmerga command we can reassure the concerned parties that, in return for increase autonomy, the KRG will not exclude the Iraqi Government from participation in the management of the oil fields around Kirkuk, and the Mosel Dam hydroelectric facility. At the same time we will be able to work with the Peshmerga as they pursue ISIL into disputed areas of Eastern Syria, coordinating with FSA troops who can move against ISIL from the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad does not gain an advantage from these operations. Finally, as it now appears the U.S. is considering a plan to offer contractors as advisors to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, we will be in a position to coordinate more effectively between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army.

It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that.

Regardless, it looks like end times for the American empire, very similar to how the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1980s, and the last days of the French and British empires in the 1950s. And good riddance, it's become a dead weight dragging down the standard of living for most American citizens who aren't on that gravy train.

Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 2:13:20 PM | 18
Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them!

Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage.

America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction.

Justin Glyn | Aug 4, 2017 2:51:51 PM | 20
There's a lot in both this piece and the comments. In a sense, I wonder if the core issue behind the Neocon/Imperial mindset isn't a complete inability to see the other side's point of view. Psychopathy, short-termism (a common fault in businesspeople), divorce from reality and hubris are likely a good part of it, as somebody, Paveway IV, Makutwa and nonsense factory put it, but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time.
Piotr Berman | Aug 4, 2017 3:13:05 PM | 21
I would paraphrase critics of b that he (she?) has fallen into linearity trap: one point is the resources spent by USA on wars of 21-st century (a lot), the second points are positive results (hardly any), and an intellectual charge proceeds from A to B.

However between A and B there can be diversity of problems. We can stock enough gasoline, run out of potable water. And indeed, you can encounter pesky terrain. I recall a family vacation trip where we visited Natural Bridges National Monument and we proceeded to Arizona on an extremely straight highway through pretty flat plateau. Then the pavement end, and the acrophobic designated driver has to negotiate several 180* hairpins to get down on a cliff flanking Monument Valley. After second inspection, the map had tiny letters "switchbacks" and a tiny fragment of the road not marked with the pavement. Still better than discovering "bridge out" annotation on your map only when you gaze at the water flowing between two bridge heads. (If I recall, during late 20-th century Balkan intervention, US military needed a lot of time to cross Danube river that unexpectedly had no functioning bridge where they wanted to operate. Landscape changes during a war.)

That said, military usually has an appreciation for terrain. But there are also humans. On domestic side, the number of experts on those distant societies is small, and qualified experts, minuscule. Because the qualified ones were disproportionally naysayers, the mere whiff if expertise was treated as treason, and we had a purge of "Arabists". And it was of course worse in the lands to charm and conquer. Effective rule requires local hands to follow our wishes, people who can be trusted. And, preferably, not intensely hated by the locals they are supposed to administer. And like with gasoline, water, food, etc. on a vacation trip (who forgot mosquito repellent!), the list of needed traits is surprisingly long. Like viewing collaboration with Israel supporting infidels as a mortal sin that can be perpetrated to spare the family from starvation (you can recruit them, success!), but it has to be atoned through backstabbing (local cadres are disappointing).

Geoff | Aug 4, 2017 3:36:33 PM | 22
Great analysis! This is an excellent example for why I read MOA at least once a day and most of the comments! There's something of a sad irony that Trump has made at least some kind of effort to thwart the neocons and their relentless rush toward armageddon, seeing as how lacking in any real intellectual capcity they all seem and with Trump at the helm?

Mostly tptb, our political class, and the pundits for the masses, seem all to exhibit an astonishingly dull witted lack of true concern or humanity for anybody anywhere, and in my years on earth so far, at least in America, they have inculcated in the population very dubious ethical chioces, which you would think were tragic, and decisions, which you would believe were doomed, from the wars being waged, to the lifestyles of the citizenry especially toward the top of the economic ladder, and I don't know about others here but I for one have been confronting and dealing with these problems both in family and aquaintances for my entire adult life! Like the battle at Kurushetra. At least they say they "have a plan," scoffingly.

Where is chipnik to weigh in on this with his poetic observations, or I think long ago it was "slthrop" who may have been bannned for foul language as he or she raged on at the absurdities that keep heaping up exponentially? I do miss them!

Oh well, life is relatively short and we will all be gone at some point and our presense here will be one and all less than an iota. An awareness of this one fact and its implications you would think would pierce the consciousness of every human being well before drawing their final breath, but I guess every McCain fails to realize until too late that the jig is up?

PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 3:41:38 PM | 23
Justin Glyn@20 "but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda."

The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression.

Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda.

The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story.

Peter AU | Aug 4, 2017 3:46:58 PM | 24
Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST.

That it why the US in its arrogance has failed in Syria, and Russia with its tiny force has been so successful.

Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 3:51:17 PM | 25
The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it.

[Dec 21, 2019] William Astore on War as Art and Advertising – Antiwar.com Blog

Notable quotes:
"... A lot of art depicts war scenes, and why not? War is incredibly exciting, dynamic, destructive, and otherwise captivating, if often in a horrific way. But I want to consider war and art in a different manner, in an impressionistic one. War, by its nature, is often spectacle; it is also often chaotic; complex; beyond comprehension. Perhaps art theory, and art styles, have something to teach us about war. Ways of representing it and capturing its meaning as well as its horrors. But also ways of misrepresenting it; of fracturing its meaning. Of manipulating it. ..."
"... My point (and I think I have one) is that America's wars are in some sense elaborate productions and representations, at least in the ways in which the government constructs and sells them to the American people. To understand these representations -- the ways in which they are both more than real war and less than it -- art theory, as well as advertising, may have a lot to teach us. ..."
"... Afghanistan as the unfinished masterpiece....most people forget that the government is yet to complete it except when a Marine dies, they think about it for a day and then forget all over again. ..."
Jul 12, 2017 | www.antiwar.com

Consider this article a work of speculation; a jumble of ideas thrown at a blank canvas.

A lot of art depicts war scenes, and why not? War is incredibly exciting, dynamic, destructive, and otherwise captivating, if often in a horrific way. But I want to consider war and art in a different manner, in an impressionistic one. War, by its nature, is often spectacle; it is also often chaotic; complex; beyond comprehension. Perhaps art theory, and art styles, have something to teach us about war. Ways of representing it and capturing its meaning as well as its horrors. But also ways of misrepresenting it; of fracturing its meaning. Of manipulating it.

For example, America's overseas wars today are both abstractions and distractions. They're also somewhat surreal to most Americans, living as we do in comparative safety and material luxury (when compared to most other peoples of the world). Abstraction and surrealism: two art styles that may say something vital about America's wars.

If some aspects of America's wars are surreal and others abstract, if reports of those wars are often impressionistic and often blurred beyond recognition, this points to, I think, the highly stylized representations of war that are submitted for our consideration. What we don't get very often is realism. Recall how the Bush/Cheney administration forbade photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Think of all the war reporting you've seen on U.S. TV and Cable networks, and ask how many times you saw severed American limbs and dead bodies on a battlefield. (On occasion, dead bodies of the enemy are shown, usually briefly and abstractly, with no human backstory.)

Of course, there's no "real" way to showcase the brutal reality of war, short of bringing a person to the front and having them face fire in combat -- a level of "participatory" art that sane people would likely seek to avoid. What we get, as spectators (which is what we're told to remain in America), is an impression of combat. Here and there, a surreal report. An abstract news clip. Blown up buildings become exercises in neo-Cubism; melted buildings and weapons become Daliesque displays. Severed limbs (of the enemy) are exercises in the grotesque. For the vast majority of Americans, what's lacking is raw immediacy and gut-wrenching reality.

Again, we are spectators, not participants. And our responses are often as stylized and limited as the representations are. As Rebecca Gordon put it from a different angle at TomDispatch.com , when it comes to America's wars, are we participating in reality or merely watching reality TV? And why are so many so prone to confuse or conflate the two?

Art, of course, isn't the only lens through which we can see and interpret America's wars. Advertising, especially hyperbole, is also quite revealing. Thus the US military has been sold, whether by George W. Bush or Barack Obama, as "the world's finest military in history" or WFMH, an acronym I just made up, and which should perhaps come with a copyright or trademark symbol after it. It's classic advertising hyperbole. It's salesmanship in place of reality.

So, when other peoples beat our WFMH, we should do what Americans do best: sue them for copyright infringement. Our legions of lawyers will most certainly beat their cadres of counsels. After all, under Bush/Cheney, our lawyers tortured logic and the law to support torture itself. Talk about surrealism!

My point (and I think I have one) is that America's wars are in some sense elaborate productions and representations, at least in the ways in which the government constructs and sells them to the American people. To understand these representations -- the ways in which they are both more than real war and less than it -- art theory, as well as advertising, may have a lot to teach us.

As I said, this is me throwing ideas at the canvas of my computer screen. Do they make any sense to you? Feel free to pick up your own brush and compose away in the comments section.

P.S. Danger, Will Robinson. I've never taken an art theory class or studied advertising closely.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views . He can be reached at [email protected] . Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author's permission.

Jim Savell , 19 hours ago

Afghanistan as the unfinished masterpiece....most people forget that the government is yet to complete it except when a Marine dies, they think about it for a day and then forget all over again.

[Dec 21, 2019] Since the turn of the century, the US has dumped trillions of dollars into wars

Notable quotes:
"... It is understandable why so many are angry at the leaders of America's institutions, including businesses, schools and governments," Dimon, 61, summarized. "This can understandably lead to disenchantment with trade, globalization and even our free enterprise system, which for so many people seems not to have worked. ..."
Apr 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc, April 05, 2017 at 10:16 AM
"Dimon Warns 'Something Is Wrong' With the U.S."

Do you agree with Jamie Dimon assessment of the USA?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-04/dimon-still-optimistic-warns-something-is-wrong-with-u-s

"Dimon Warns 'Something Is Wrong' With the U.S."

by Laura J Keller...April 4, 2017

"JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has two big pronouncements as the Trump administration starts reshaping the government: "The United States of America is truly an exceptional country," and "it is clear that something is wrong."

Dimon, leader of world's most valuable bank and a counselor to the new president, used his 45-page annual letter to shareholders on Tuesday to list ways America is stronger than ever -- before jumping into a much longer list of self-inflicted problems that he said was "upsetting" to write.

Here's the start: Since the turn of the century, the U.S. has dumped trillions of dollars into wars, piled huge debt onto students, forced legions of foreigners to leave after getting advanced degrees, driven millions of Americans out of the workplace with felonies for sometimes minor offenses and hobbled the housing market with hastily crafted layers of rules.

Dimon, who sits on Donald Trump's business forum aimed at boosting job growth, is renowned for his optimism and has been voicing support this year for parts of the president's business agenda. In February, Dimon predicted the U.S. would have a bright economic future if the new administration carries out plans to overhaul taxes, rein in rules and boost infrastructure investment. In an interview last month, he credited Trump with boosting consumer and business confidence in growth, and reawakening "animal spirits."

But on Tuesday, reasons for concern kept coming. Labor market participation is low, Dimon wrote. Inner-city schools are failing poor kids. High schools and vocational schools aren't providing skills to get decent jobs. Infrastructure planning and spending is so anemic that the U.S. hasn't built a major airport in more than 20 years. Corporate taxes are so onerous it's driving capital and brains overseas. Regulation is excessive.

" It is understandable why so many are angry at the leaders of America's institutions, including businesses, schools and governments," Dimon, 61, summarized. "This can understandably lead to disenchantment with trade, globalization and even our free enterprise system, which for so many people seems not to have worked. "...

pgl -> im1dc... , April 05, 2017 at 10:16 AM
I meant my last comment to be a reply. No - there is a lot that Dimon said that I cannot agree with.
pgl , April 05, 2017 at 10:49 AM
"Inner-city schools are failing poor kids. High schools and vocational schools aren't providing skills to get decent jobs. Infrastructure planning and spending is so anemic that the U.S. hasn't built a major airport in more than 20 years. Corporate taxes are so onerous it's driving capital and brains overseas. Regulation is excessive."

Let's unpack his list. The 4th (last) sentence is his hope that his bank can back to the unregulated regime that brought us the Great Recession. His 3rd sentence is a call for more tax cuts for the rich.

We may like his first 2 sentences here but who is going to pay for this? Not Jamie Dimon. See sentence #3.

DrDick -> pgl... , April 05, 2017 at 11:18 AM
He also seems to falsely imply that the people associated with capital actually have functioning brains.

[Dec 21, 2019] In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought

Mar 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne , March 30, 2017 at 12:47 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/world/middleeast/us-war-footprint-grows-in-middle-east.html

March 29, 2017

U.S. War Footprint Grows, With No Endgame in Sight
By BEN HUBBARD and MICHAEL R. GORDON

In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought.

ilsm -> anne... , March 30, 2017 at 01:51 PM
14 years as if US were going strong on Hanoi in '79!

Putin is a Tibetan Buddhist compared to Obama and so forth

mulp -> anne... , March 30, 2017 at 04:30 PM
Well, sending US troops is a US jobs program.

Why would you object to government creating more demand for labor? Over time, wages will rise and higher wages will fund more demand for labor produced goods.

[Dec 21, 2019] Needed Now a Peace Movement Against the Clinton Wars to Come by Andrew Levine

Notable quotes:
"... As the steward-in-chief of the American empire, Obama continued Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and extended his "War on Terror" into Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East. He also became a terrorist himself and a serial killer, weaponized drones and special ops assassins being his weapons of choice. ..."
Oct 08, 2016 | www.counterpunch.org
Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize -- for not being George W. Bush. This seemed unseemly at the time, but not outrageous. Seven years later, it seems grotesque.

As the steward-in-chief of the American empire, Obama continued Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and extended his "War on Terror" into Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East. He also became a terrorist himself and a serial killer, weaponized drones and special ops assassins being his weapons of choice.

More

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Dec 21, 2019] The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya. ..."
"... Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed. ..."
"... Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. ..."
"... We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact. ..."
Apr 09, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

The start of current decade revealed the most ruthless face of a global neo-colonialism. From Syria and Libya to Europe and Latin America, the old colonial powers of the West tried to rebound against an oncoming rival bloc led by Russia and China, which starts to threaten their global domination.

Inside a multi-polar, complex terrain of geopolitical games, the big players start to abandon the old-fashioned, inefficient direct wars. They use today other, various methods like brutal proxy wars , economic wars, financial and constitutional coups, provocative operations, 'color revolutions', etc. In this highly complex and unstable situation, when even traditional allies turn against each other as the global balances change rapidly, the forces unleashed are absolutely destructive. Inevitably, the results are more than evident.

Proxy Wars - Syria/Libya

After the US invasion in Iraq, the gates of hell had opened in the Middle East. Obama continued the Bush legacy of US endless interventions, but he had to change tactics because a direct war would be inefficient, costly and extremely unpopular to the American people and the rest of the world.
The result, however, appeared to be equally (if not more) devastating with the failed US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US had lost total control of the armed groups directly linked with the ISIS terrorists, failed to topple Assad, and, moreover, instead of eliminating the Russian and Iranian influence in the region, actually managed to increase it. As a result, the US and its allies failed to secure their geopolitical interests around the various pipeline games.

In addition, the US sees Turkey, one of its most important ally, changing direction dangerously, away from the Western bloc. Probably the strongest indication for this, is that Turkey, Iran and Russia decided very recently to proceed in an agreement on Syria without the presence of the US.

Yet, the list of US failures does not end here. The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya.

Evidence from WikiLeaks has shown that the old colonial powers have started a new round of ruthless competition on Libya's resources. The usual story propagated by the Western media, about another tyrant who had to be removed, has now completely collapsed. They don't care neither to topple an 'authoritarian' regime, nor to spread Democracy. All they care about is to secure each country's resources for their big companies.
The Gaddafi case is quite interesting because it shows that the Western hypocrites were using him according to their interests .

Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed.

Economic Wars, Financial Coups – Greece/Eurozone

It would be unthinkable for the neo-colonialists to conduct proxy wars inside European soil, especially against countries which belong to Western institutions like NATO, EU, eurozone, etc. The wave of the US-made major economic crisis hit Greece and Europe at the start of the decade, almost simultaneously with the eruption of the Arab Spring revolutionary wave and the subsequent disaster in Middle East and Libya.

Greece was the easy victim for the global neoliberal dictatorship to impose catastrophic measures in favor of the plutocracy. The Greek experiment enters its seventh year and the plan is to be used as a model for the whole eurozone. Greece has become also the model for the looting of public property, as happened in the past with the East Germany and the Treuhand Operation after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

While Greece was the major victim of an economic war, Germany used its economic power and control of the European Central Bank to impose unprecedented austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction through silent financial coups in Ireland , Italy and Cyprus . The Greek political establishment collapsed with the rise of SYRIZA in power, and the ECB was forced to proceed in an open financial coup against Greece when the current PM, Alexis Tsipras, decided to conduct a referendum on the catastrophic measures imposed by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, through which the Greek people clearly rejected these measures, despite the propaganda of terror inside and outside Greece. Due to the direct threat from Mario Draghi and the ECB, who actually threatened to cut liquidity sinking Greece into a financial chaos, Tsipras finally forced to retreat, signing another catastrophic memorandum.

Through similar financial and political pressure, the Brussels bureaufascists and the German sado-monetarists along with the IMF economic hitmen, imposed neoliberal disaster to other eurozone countries like Portugal, Spain etc. It is remarkable that even the second eurozone economy, France, rushed to impose anti-labor measures midst terrorist attacks, succumbing to a - pre-designed by the elites - neo-Feudalism, under the 'Socialist' François Hollande, despite the intense protests in many French cities.

Germany would never let the United States to lead the neo-colonization in Europe, as it tries (again) to become a major power with its own sphere of influence, expanding throughout eurozone and beyond. As the situation in Europe becomes more and more critical with the ongoing economic and refugee crisis and the rise of the Far-Right and the nationalists, the economic war mostly between the US and the German big capital, creates an even more complicated situation.

The decline of the US-German relations has been exposed initially with the NSA interceptions scandal , yet, progressively, the big picture came on surface, revealing a transatlantic economic war between banking and corporate giants. In times of huge multilevel crises, the big capital always intensifies its efforts to eliminate competitors too. As a consequence, the US has seen another key ally, Germany, trying to gain a certain degree of independence in order to form its own agenda, separate from the US interests.

Note that, both Germany and Turkey are medium powers that, historically, always trying to expand and create their own spheres of influence, seeking independence from the traditional big powers.

Economic Wars, Constitutional Coups, Provocative Operations – Argentina/Brazil/Venezuela

A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.
The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.

Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.

The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chávez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.

The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chávez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolás Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chávez - to achieve their goal.

The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism , but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.

Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in eurozone's debt colony, Greece.

'Color Revolutions' - Ukraine

The events in Ukraine have shown that, the big capital has no hesitation to ally even with the neo-nazis, in order to impose the new world order. This is not something new of course. The connection of Hitler with the German economic oligarchs, but also with other major Western companies, before and during the WWII, is well known.

The most terrifying of all however, is not that the West has silenced in front of the decrees of the new Ukrainian leadership, through which is targeting the minorities, but the fact that the West allied with the neo-nazis, while according to some information has also funded their actions as well as other extreme nationalist groups during the riots in Kiev.

Plenty of indications show that US organizations have 'put their finger' on Ukraine. A video , for example, concerning the situation in Ukraine has been directed by Ben Moses (creator of the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam"), who is connected with American government executives and organizations like National Endowment for Democracy, funded by the US Congress. This video shows a beautiful young female Ukrainian who characterizes the government of the country as "dictatorship" and praise some protesters with the neo-nazi symbols of the fascist Ukranian party Svoboda on them.

The same organizations are behind 'color revolutions' elsewhere, as well as, provocative operations against Leftist governments in Venezuela and other countries.

Ukraine is the perfect place to provoke Putin and tight the noose around Russia. Of course the huge hypocrisy of the West can also be identified in the case of Crimea. While in other cases, the Western officials were 'screaming' for the right of self-determination (like Kosovo, for example), after they destroyed Yugoslavia in a bloodbath, they can't recognize the will of the majority of Crimeans to join Russia.

The war will become wilder

The Western neo-colonial powers are trying to counterattack against the geopolitical upgrade of Russia and the Chinese economic expansionism.

Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. Besides, Trump has already shown his hostile feelings against China, despite his friendly approach to Russia and Putin.

We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact.

[Dec 21, 2019] The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives

Highly recommended!
The USA state of continuous war has been a bipartisan phenomenon starting with Truman in Korea and proceeding with Vietnam, Lebanon,Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these limited, never ending wars are expensive was to enrich MIC and Wall Street banksters
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

KC February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

The one thing your accurate analysis leaves out is that the goal of US wars is never what the media spouts for its Wall Street masters. The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives, create more enemies to be fought in future wars, and to provide a rationalization for the continued primacy of the military class in US politics and culture.

Occasionally a country may be sitting on a bunch of oil, and also be threatening to move away from the petrodollar or talking about allowing an "adversary" to build a pipeline across their land.

Otherwise war is a racket unto itself. "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "
― George Orwell

Also we've always been at war with Oceania .or whatever that quote said.

[Dec 21, 2019] Extortion (noun) The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats

May 05, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 14:20

Regarding your last sentence: this is the great truth that Washington's world hegemonists would have you forget. Taking into account the untapped vast resources of Canada and Alaska and its expansive offshore economic zones extending deep into the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean, the North American anglosphere could be entirely self-sufficient and do quite nicely on its own for hundreds of years to come, it just wouldn't be the sole tyrannical state presumably ruling the entire planet.

Why, it might even entertain the idea of actually cooperating with other regional powers like Russia, China, the EU, India, Iran, Turkey, the Middle East, greater central Asia, Latin America and even Africa to everyone's benefit, rather than bullying them all because god ordained us to be the boss of all humans.

America's major malfunction is its lack of historical roots compared to the other societies mentioned. All those places had thousands of years to refine their sundry cultures and international relationships, certainly through trial and error and many horrible setbacks, most notably wars, famines, pestilence, genocide and human bondage which people did not have the foresight to nip in the bud. They learned by their mistakes and some, like the great world wars, were doozies.

The United States, and some of its closest homologues like Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, were thrown together very rapidly as part of developing colonial empires. It was created through the brute actions of a handful of megalomaniacal oligarchs of their day. What worked to suppress vast tracts of aboriginal homelands, often through genocide and virtual extinction of the native populations, was so effective that it was institutionalized in the form of slavery and reckless exploitation of the local environment. These "great leaders," "pioneers" and "founding fathers" were not about to give up a set of principles -- no matter how sick and immoral -- which they knew to "work" and accrued to them great power and riches. They preferred to label it "American exceptionalism" and force it upon the whole rest of the world, including long established regional powers -- cultures going back to antiquity -- and not just conveniently sketched "burdens of the white man."

No, ancient cultures like China, India, Persia and so forth could obviously be improved for all concerned merely by allowing a handful of Western Europeans to own all their property and run all their affairs. That grand plan fell apart for most of the European powers in the aftermath of World War Two, but Washington has held tough and never given up its designs of micromanaging and exploiting the whole planet. It too is soon to learn its lesson and lose its empire. Either that or it will take the world down in flames as it tries to cling to all that it never really owned or deserved. The most tragic (or maybe just amusing) part is that Washington still had most of the world believing its bullshit about exceptionalism and indispensability until it decided it had to emulate every tyrannical empire that ever collapsed before it.

Realist , April 30, 2019 at 02:08

"ex·tor·tion /ik?stôrSH(?)n/ noun The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats."

"Racketeering refers to crimes committed through extortion or coercion. A racketeer attempts to obtain money or property from another person, usually through intimidation or force. The term is typically associated with organized crime."

I see. So, American foreign policy, as applied to both its alleged enemies and presumed allies, essentially amounts to an exercise in organised crime. So much for due process, free trade, peaceful co-existence, magical rainbows and other such hypocritical platitudes dispensed for domestic consumption in place of the heavy-handed threats routinely delivered to Washington's targets.

That's quite in keeping with the employment of war crimes as standard "tactics, techniques and procedures" on the battlefield which was recently admitted to us by Senator Jim Molan on the "60 Minutes" news show facsimile and discussed in one of yesterday's forums on this blog.

Afghanistan was promised a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs as incentive to bend to our will (and that of Unocal which, unlike Nordstream, was a pipeline Washington wanted built). Iraq was promised and delivered "shock and awe" after a secretary of state had declared the mass starvation of that country's children as well worth the effort. They still can't find all the pieces left of the Libyan state. Syria was told it would be stiffed on any American contribution to its rebuilding for the effrontery of actually beating back the American-recruited, trained and financed ISIS terrorist brigades. Now it's being deliberately starved of both its energy and food requirements by American embargoes on its own resources! North Korea was promised utter annihilation by Yankee nukes before Kim's summit with our great leader unless it submitted totally to his will, or more likely that of Pompous Pompeo, the man who pulls his strings. Venezuela is treated to cyber-hacked power outages and shortages of food, medicines, its own gold bullion, income from its own international petroleum sales and, probably because someone in Washington thinks it's funny, even toilet paper. All they have to do to get relief is kick out the president they elected and replace him with Washington's chosen puppet! Yep, freedom and democracy blah, blah, blah. And don't even ask what the kids in Yemen got for Christmas from Uncle Sam this year. (He probably stole their socks.) A real American patriot will laughingly take Iran to task for ever believing in the first place that Washington could be negotiated with in good faith. All they had to do was ask the Native Americans (or the Russians) how the Yanks keep their word and honor their treaties. It was their own fault they were taken for suckers.

[Dec 21, 2019] America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil.

Notable quotes:
"... Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy. ..."
"... America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla. ..."
"... Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Idealistic Realist , Apr 27, 2019 1:24:45 PM | link

Best analysis by a candidate for POTUS ever:

American foreign policy is not a failure. To comfort themselves, observers often say that our leaders -- presidents, advisors, generals -- don't know what they're doing. They do know. Their agenda just isn't what we like to imagine it is.

To quote Michael Parenti: "US policy is not filled with contradictions and inconsistencies. It has performed brilliantly and steadily in the service of those who own most of the world and who want to own all of it."

The vision of our leaders as bunglers, while more accurate than the image of them as valiant public servants, is less accurate and more rose-tinted than the closest approximation of the truth, which is that they are servants of their class interest. That is why we go to war.

Those who buy the elite class's foreign policy BS, about the Emmanuel Goldsteins they conjure up every three years, are fools. Obviously Hussein and Milošević were bad; but "government bad" does not mean we must invade. Wars occur for economic, not humanitarian, reasons.

  • Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea, is a kleptocrat, murderer, and alleged cannibal. This is him and his wife with Barack and Michelle Obama.
  • Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, was said to have boiled political prisoners to death, massacred hundreds of prisoners, and made torture an institution. This is him with John Kerry.
  • Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, has been involved in the assassination of political opponents, perpetrated obvious election fraud, and had his term extended until 2034. This is him with Barack and Michelle Obama.

Why have we supported Nguema, Karimov, and Kagame but not the ones who are thorns in our sides? The reasons are obvious. It's not the lives of their citizens - it's power for the elite class. We intervene abroad because we want to further the interest of the wealthy.

America will always pick and choose the leaders it props up and tears down. It never was and never will be for humanitarian reasons -- that is a clever veil. We denounce ethnic cleansing and then fund it. We call for free elections and then support Pinochet, Stroessner, and Videla.

Opposing war is a noble and courageous act, and there will always be smears. Opposing war isn't supporting dictators; it's opposing death and destruction in the service of the wealthy. Never believe what they tell you about why they're sending your kids to die. Never.

Mike Gravel

[Dec 21, 2019] A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990 2016 by David North

New book by David North A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990–2016
Notable quotes:
"... "Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly." ..."
"... Typical American philosophy... "War is peace!"... ..."
Jul 11, 2016 | www.wsws.org

We publish here the preface to A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony, 1990-2016 by David North. The book will be published on August 10, and is available for preorder today at Mehring Books in both softcover and hardcover .

***

"In the period of crisis the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom."

-- Leon Trotsky, 1928

"U.S. capitalism is up against the same problems that pushed Germany in 1914 on the path of war. The world is divided? It must be redivided. For Germany it was a question of 'organizing Europe.' The United States must 'organize' the world. History is bringing mankind face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism."

-- Leon Trotsky, 1934

This volume consists of political reports, public lectures, party statements, essays, and polemics that document the response of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) to the quarter century of US-led wars that began in 1990–91. The analyses of events presented here, although written as they were unfolding, stand the test of time. The International Committee does not possess a crystal ball. But its work is informed by a Marxist understanding of the contradictions of American and world imperialism. Moreover, the Marxist method of analysis examines events not as a sequence of isolated episodes, but as moments in the unfolding of a broader historical process. This historically oriented approach serves as a safeguard against an impressionistic response to the latest political developments. It recognizes that the essential cause of an event is rarely apparent at the moment of its occurrence.

Much of what passes for analysis in the bourgeois press consists of nothing more than equating an impressionistic description of a given event with its deeper cause. This sort of political analysis legitimizes US wars as necessary responses to one or another personification of evil, such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the "warlord" Farah Aideed in Somalia, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda, the Mullah Omar in Afghanistan, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; and, most recently, Bashar al Assad in Syria, Kim Jong Un in Korea, and Vladimir Putin in Russia. New names are continually added to the United States' infinitely expandable list of monsters requiring destruction.

The material in this volume is the record of a very different and far more substantial approach to the examination of the foreign policy of the United States.

First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism. As far back as August 1990 -- twenty-six years ago -- it was able to foresee the long-term implications of the Bush administration's war against Iraq:

It marks the beginning of a new imperialist redivision of the world. The end of the postwar era means the end of the postcolonial era. As it proclaims the "failure of socialism," the imperialist bourgeoisie, in deeds if not yet in words, proclaims the failure of independence. The deepening crisis confronting all the major imperialist powers compels them to secure control over strategic resources and markets. Former colonies, which had achieved a degree of political independence, must be resubjugated. In its brutal assault against Iraq, imperialism is giving notice that it intends to restore the type of unrestrained domination of the backward countries that existed prior to World War II. [ 1 ]

This historically grounded analysis provided the essential framework for an understanding, not only of the 1990–91 Gulf War, but also of the wars that were launched later in the decade, as well as the post-9/11 "War on Terror."

In a recently published front-page article, the New York Times called attention to a significant milestone in the presidency of Barack Obama: "He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president." But with several months remaining in his term in office, he is on target to set yet another record. The Times wrote:

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama's term -- a near-certainty given the president's recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria -- he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war. [ 2 ]

On the way to setting his record, Mr. Obama has overseen lethal military actions in a total of seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. The number of countries is growing, as the United States escalates its military operations in Africa. The efforts to suppress the Boko Haram insurgency involve a buildup of US forces in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.

Without any sense of irony, Mark Landler, author of the Times article, notes Obama's status as a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2009. He portrays the president as "trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate. . . ." Obama "has wrestled with this immutable reality [of war] from his first year in the White House . . ."

Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."

During the Obama years, folly has clearly held the upper hand. But there is nothing that Landler's hero can do. Obama has found his wars "maddeningly hard to end."

The Times ' portrayal of Obama lacks the essential element required by genuine tragedy: the identification of objective forces, beyond his control, that frustrated and overwhelmed the lofty ideals and humanitarian aspirations of the president. If Mr. Landler wants his readers to shed a tear for this peace-loving man who, upon becoming president, made drone killings his personal specialty, and turned into something akin to a moral monster, the Times correspondent should have attempted to identify the historical circumstances that determined Obama's "tragic" fate.

But this is a challenge the Times avoids. It fails to relate Obama's war-making record to the entire course of American foreign policy over the past quarter century. Even before Obama entered office in 2009, the United States had been at war on an almost continuous basis since the first US-Iraq War of 1990–91.

The pretext for the Gulf War was Iraq's annexation of Kuwait in August 1990. But the violent US reaction to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's dispute with the emir of Kuwait was determined by broader global conditions and considerations. The historical context of the US military operation was the imminent dissolution of the Soviet Union, which was finally carried out in December 1991. The first President Bush declared the beginning of a "New World Order." [ 3 ] What Bush meant by this phrase was that the United States was now free to restructure the world in the interests of the American capitalist class, unencumbered by either the reality of the countervailing military power of the Soviet Union or the specter of socialist revolution. The dissolution of the USSR, hailed by Francis Fukuyama as the "End of History," signified for the strategists of American imperialism the end of military restraint.

It is one of the great ironies of history that the definitive emergence of the United States as the dominant imperialist power, amid the catastrophe of World War I, coincided with the outbreak of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which culminated in the establishment of the first socialist workers state in history, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party. On April 3, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson delivered his war message to the US Congress and led the United States into the global imperialist conflict. Two weeks later, V.I. Lenin returned to Russia, which was in the throes of revolution, and reoriented the Bolshevik Party toward the fight to overthrow the bourgeois Provisional Government.

Lenin and his principal political ally, Leon Trotsky, insisted that the struggle for socialism was indissolubly linked to the struggle against war. As the historian R. Craig Nation has argued:

For Lenin there was no doubt that the revolution was the result of a crisis of imperialism and that the dilemmas which it posed could only be resolved on the international level. The campaign for proletarian hegemony in Russia, the fight against the war, and the international struggle against imperialism were now one and the same. [ 4 ]

Just as the United States was striving to establish its position as the arbiter of the world's destiny, it faced a challenge, in the form of the Bolshevik Revolution, not only to the authority of American imperialism, but also to the economic, political, and even moral legitimacy of the entire capitalist world order. "The rhetoric and actions of the Bolsheviks," historian Melvyn P. Leffler has written, "ignited fear, revulsion and uncertainty in Washington." [ 5 ]

Another perceptive historian of US foreign policy explained:

The great majority of American leaders were so deeply concerned with the Bolshevik Revolution because they were so uneasy about what President Wilson called the "general feeling of revolt" against the existing order, and about the increasing intensity of that dissatisfaction. The Bolshevik Revolution became in their minds the symbol of all the revolutions that grew out of that discontent. And that is perhaps the crucial insight into the tragedy of American diplomacy. [ 6 ]

In a desperate effort to destroy the new revolutionary regime, Wilson sent an expeditionary force to Russia in 1918, in support of counterrevolutionary forces in the brutal civil war. The intervention was an ignominious failure.

It was not until 1933 that the United States finally granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union. The diplomatic rapprochement was facilitated in part by the fact that the Soviet regime, now under Stalin's bureaucratic dictatorship, was in the process of repudiating the revolutionary internationalism that had inspired the Bolsheviks in 1917. It was abandoning the perspective of world revolution in favor of alliances with imperialist states on the basis of "collective security." Unable to secure such an alliance with Britain and France, Stalin signed the notorious Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler in August 1939. Following Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941, the exigencies of the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan required that the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt forge a military alliance with the Soviet Union. But once Germany and Japan were defeated, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated. The Truman administration, opposing the extension of Soviet influence into Eastern Europe, and frightened by the growth of Communist parties in Western Europe, launched the Marshall Plan in 1948 and triggered the onset of the Cold War.

The Kremlin regime pursued nationalistic policies, based on the Stalinist program of "socialism in one country," and betrayed working class and anti-imperialist movements all over the world. But the very existence of a regime that arose out of a socialist revolution had a politically radicalizing impact throughout the world. William Appleman Williams was certainly correct in his view that "American leaders were for many, many years more afraid of the implicit and indirect challenge of the revolution than they were of the actual power of the Soviet Union." [ 7 ]

In the decades that followed World War II, the United States was unable to ignore the existence of the Soviet Union. To the extent that the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, which was established in 1949, provided limited political and material support to anti-imperialist movements in the "Third World," they denied the US ruling class a free hand in the pursuit of its own interests. These limitations were demonstrated -- to cite the most notable examples -- by the US defeats in Korea and Vietnam, the compromise settlement of the Cuban missile crisis, and the acceptance of Soviet domination of the Baltic region and Eastern Europe.

The existence of the Soviet Union and an anticapitalist regime in China deprived the United States of the possibility of unrestricted access to and exploitation of the human labor, raw materials, and potential markets of a large portion of the globe, especially the Eurasian land mass. It compelled the United States to compromise, to a greater degree than it would have preferred, in negotiations over economic and strategic issues with its major allies in Europe and Asia, as well as with smaller countries that exploited the tactical opportunities provided by the US-Soviet Cold War.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, combined with the restoration of capitalism in China following the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989, was seen by the American ruling class as an opportunity to repudiate the compromises of the post-World War II era, and to carry out a restructuring of global geopolitics, with the aim of establishing the hegemony of the United States.

There was no small element of self-delusion in the grandiose American response to the breakup of the Soviet Union. The bombastic claims that the United States had won the Cold War were based far more on myth than reality. In fact, the sudden dissolution of the Soviet Union took the entire Washington foreign policy establishment by surprise. In February 1987, the Council on Foreign Relations published an assessment of US-Soviet relations, authored by two of its most eminent Sovietologists, Strobe Talbott and Michael Mandelbaum. Analyzing the discussions between Reagan and Gorbachev at meetings in Geneva and Reykjavik in 1986, the two experts concluded:

No matter how Gorbachev comes to define perestroika in practice and no matter how he modifies the official definition of security, the Soviet Union will resist pressure for change, whether it comes from without or within, from the top or the bottom. The fundamental conditions of Soviet-American relations are therefore likely to persist. This, in turn, means that the ritual of Soviet-American summitry is likely to have a long run. . . . [ 8 ]

The "long run," Talbott and Mandelbaum predicted, would continue not only during the reign of "Gorbachev's successor," but also his "successor's successor." No substantial changes in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were to be expected. The two prophets from the Council on Foreign Relations concluded:

Whoever they are, and whatever changes have occurred in the meantime, the American and Soviet leaders of the next century will be wrestling with the same great issue -- how to manage their rivalry so as to avoid nuclear catastrophe -- that has engaged the energies, in the latter half of the 1980s, of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. [ 9 ]

In contrast to the Washington experts, who foresaw nothing, the International Committee recognized that the Gorbachev regime marked a climactic stage in the crisis of Stalinism. "The crisis of Gorbachev," it declared in a statement dated March 23, 1987, "has emerged as every section of world Stalinism confronts economic convulsions and upheavals by the masses. In every case -- from Beijing to Belgrade -- the response of the Stalinist bureaucrats has been to turn ever more openly toward capitalist restorationism." [ 10 ]

The Cold War victory narrative encouraged, within the ruling elite, a disastrous overestimation of the power and potential of American capitalism. The drive for hegemony assumed the ability of the US to contain the economic and political centrifugal forces unleashed by the operation of global capitalism. Even at the height of its power, such an immense project was well beyond the capacities of the United States. But amid the euphoria generated by the end of the Soviet Union, the ruling class chose to ignore the deep-rooted and protracted crisis of American society. An objective observer, examining the conditions of both the United States and the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1990, might well have wondered which regime was in greater crisis. During the three decades that preceded the dissolution of the USSR, the United States exhibited high levels of political, social, and economic instability.

Consider the fate of the presidential administrations in power during those three decades: (1) The Kennedy administration ended tragically in November 1963 with a political assassination, in the midst of escalating social tensions and international crises; (2) Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's successor, was unable to seek reelection in 1968, as a result of urban riots and mass opposition to the US invasion of Vietnam; (3) Richard Nixon was compelled to resign from office in August 1974, after the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee voted for his impeachment on charges related to his criminal subversion of the Constitution; (4) Gerald Ford, who became president upon Nixon's resignation, was defeated in the November 1976 election amid popular revulsion over Nixon's crimes and the US military debacle in Vietnam; (5) Jimmy Carter's one term in office was dominated by an inflationary crisis that sent the federal prime interest rate to 20 percent, a bitter three month national coal miners strike, and the aftershocks generated by the Iranian Revolution; and (6) Ronald Reagan's years in office, despite all the ballyhoo about "morning in America," were characterized by recession, bitter social tension, and a series of foreign policy disasters in the Middle East and Central America. The exposure of an illegal scheme to finance paramilitary operations in Nicaragua (the Iran-Contra crisis) brought Reagan to the very brink of impeachment. His administration was saved by the leadership of the Democratic Party, which had no desire to remove from office a president who was politically weakened and already exhibiting signs of dementia.

The one persistent factor that confronted all these administrations, from Kennedy to Reagan, was the erosion in the global economic position of the United States. The unquestioned dominance of American finance and industry at the end of World War II provided the economic underpinnings of the Bretton Woods system of dollar-gold convertibility that formed the basis of global capitalist growth and stability. By the late 1950s, the system was coming under increasing strain. It was during the Kennedy administration that unfavorable tendencies in the US balance of trade first began to arouse significant concern. On August 15, 1971, Nixon suddenly ended the Bretton Woods system of fixed international exchange rates, pegged to a US dollar convertible at the rate of $35 per ounce of gold. During the 1970s and 1980s, the decline in the exchange rate of the dollar mirrored the deterioration of the American economy.

The belligerent response of the United States to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union reflected the weakness, not the strength, of American capitalism. The overwhelming support within the ruling elite for a highly aggressive foreign policy arose from the delusion that the United States could reverse the protracted erosion of its global economic position through the deployment of its immense military power.

The Defense Planning Guidance, drafted by the Department of Defense in February 1992, unambiguously asserted the hegemonic ambitions of US imperialism:

There are other potential nations or coalitions that could, in the further future, develop strategic aims and a defense posture of region-wide or global domination. Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor. [ 11 ]

The 1990s saw a persistent use of US military power, most notably in the first Gulf War, followed by its campaign to break up Yugoslavia. The brutal restructuring of the Balkan states, which provoked a fratricidal civil war, culminated in the US-led 1999 bombing campaign to compel Serbia to accept the secession of the province of Kosovo. Other major military operations during that decade included the intervention in Somalia, which ended in disaster, the military occupation of Haiti, the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan, and repeated bombing attacks on Iraq.

The events of September 11, 2001 provided the opportunity to launch the "War on Terror," a propaganda slogan that provided an all-purpose justification for military operations throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and, with increasing frequency, Africa. They furnished the Bush administration with a pretext to institutionalize war as a legitimate and normal instrument of American foreign policy.

The administration of the second President Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001. In speeches that followed 9/11, Bush used the phrase "wars of the twenty-first century." In this case, the normally inarticulate president spoke with precision. The "War on Terror" was, from the beginning, conceived as an unending series of military operations all over the globe. One war would necessarily lead to another. Afghanistan proved to be a dress rehearsal for the invasion of Iraq.

The military strategy of the United States was revised in line with the new doctrine of "preventive warfare," adopted by the US in 2002. This doctrine, which violated existing international law, decreed that the United States could attack any country in the world judged to pose a potential threat -- not only of a military, but also of an economic character -- to American interests.

In a verbal sleight of hand, the Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq as a preemptive war, undertaken in response to the imminent threat posed by the country's "weapons of mass destruction" to the national security of the United States. Of course, the threat was as non-existent as were Saddam Hussein's WMDs. In any event, the Bush administration rendered the distinction between preemptive and preventive war meaningless, by asserting the right of the United States to attack any country, regardless of the existence or non-existence of an imminent threat to American national security. Whatever the terminology employed for propaganda purposes by American presidents, the United States adheres to the illegal doctrine of preventive war.

The scope of military operations continuously widened. New wars were started while the old ones continued. The cynical invocation of human rights was used to wage war against Libya and overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The same hypocritical pretext was employed to organize a proxy war in Syria. The consequences of these crimes, in terms of human lives and suffering, are incalculable.

The last quarter century of US-instigated wars must be studied as a chain of interconnected events. The strategic logic of the US drive for global hegemony extends beyond the neocolonial operations in the Middle East and Africa. The ongoing regional wars are component elements of the rapidly escalating confrontation of the United States with Russia and China.

It is through the prism of America's efforts to assert control of the strategically critical Eurasian landmass, that the essential significance of the events of 1990–91 is being revealed. But this latest stage in the ongoing struggle for world hegemony, which lies at the heart of the conflict with Russia and China, is bringing to the forefront latent and potentially explosive tensions between the United States and its present-day imperialist allies, including -- to name the most significant potential adversary -- Germany. The two world wars of the twentieth century were not the product of misunderstandings. The past is prologue. As the International Committee foresaw in 1990–91, the American bid for global hegemony has rekindled interimperialist rivalries simmering beneath the surface of world politics. Within Europe, dissatisfaction with the US role as the final arbiter of world affairs is being openly voiced. In a provocative essay, published in Foreign Affairs , the journal of the authoritative US Council on Foreign Relations, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has bluntly challenged Washington's presumption of US global dominance:

As the United States reeled from the effects of the Iraq war and the EU struggled through a series of crises, Germany held its ground. . . .

Today both the United States and Europe are struggling to provide global leadership. The 2003 invasion of Iraq damaged the United States' standing in the world. After the ouster of Saddam Hussein, sectarian violence ripped Iraq apart, and U.S. power in the region began to weaken. Not only did the George W. Bush administration fail to reorder the region through force, but the political, economic, and soft-power costs of this adventure undermined the United States' overall position. The illusion of a unipolar world faded. [ 12 ]

In a rebuke to the United States, Steinmeier writes: "Our historical experience has destroyed any belief in national exceptionalism -- for any nation." [ 13 ]

The journalists and academics, who work within the framework of the official narrative of the defense of human rights and the "War on Terror," cannot explain the progression of conflicts, from the 1990–91 Gulf War, to the current expansion of NATO eight hundred miles eastward, and the American "pivot to Asia." On a regular basis, the United States and its allies stage war games in Eastern Europe, in close proximity to the borders of Russia, and in strategically critical waters off the coast of China. It is not difficult to conceive of a situation in which events -- either as a result of deliberate calculation or of reckless miscalculation -- erupt into a clash between nuclear-armed powers. In 2014, as the centenary of World War I approached, a growing number of scholarly papers called attention to the similarities between the conditions that precipitated the disaster of August 1914 and present-day tensions.

One parallel between today and 1914 is the growing sense among political and military strategists that war between the United States and China and/or Russia may be inevitable. As this fatalistic premise increasingly informs the judgments and actions of the key decision makers at the highest level of the state, it becomes a dynamic factor that makes the actual outbreak of war more likely. A specialist in international geopolitics has recently written:

Once war is assumed to be unavoidable, the calculations of leaders and militaries change. The question is no longer whether there will or should be a war, but when the war can be fought most advantageously. Even those neither eager for nor optimistic about war may opt to fight when operating in the framework of inevitability. [ 14 ]

Not since the end of World War II has there existed so great a danger of world war. The danger is heightened by the fact that the level of popular awareness of the threat remains very limited. What percentage of the American population, one must ask, realizes that President Barack Obama has formally committed the United States to go to war in defense of Estonia, in the event of a conflict between the small Baltic country and Russia? The media has politely refrained from asking the president to state how many human beings would die in the event of a nuclear war between the United States and either Russia or China, or both at the same time.

On the eve of World War II, Leon Trotsky warned that a catastrophe threatened the entire culture of mankind. He was proven correct. Within less than a decade, the Second World War claimed the lives of more than fifty million people. The alarm must once again be sounded. The working class and youth within the United States and throughout the world must be told the truth.

The progressive development of a globally integrated world economy is incompatible with capitalism and the nation-state system. If war is to be stopped and a global catastrophe averted, a new and powerful mass international movement, based on a socialist program, and strategically guided by the principles of revolutionary class struggle, must be built. In opposition to imperialist geopolitics, in which national states fight brutally for regional and global dominance, the International Committee counterposes the strategy of world socialist revolution. As Trotsky advised, we "follow not the war map but the map of the class struggle. . . ." [ 15 ]

In the weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were mass protests against the war policies of the United States and its allies. Millions took to the streets. But after the war began, public opposition virtually disappeared. The absence of popular protest did not signify support for the war. Rather, it reflected the repudiation, by the old middle-class protest movement, of its former Vietnam-era opposition to imperialism.

There are mounting signs of political radicalization among significant sections of the working class and youth. It is only a matter of time before this radicalization gives rise to conscious opposition to war. It is the aim of this volume to impart to the new antiwar movement a revolutionary socialist and internationalist perspective and program.

... ... ...

solerso2 years ago
The quotes from Trotsky are glaring. These and others were used to argue against socialism in the post war decades, but all that was needed was time and the working of the forces of capitalism itself. History never ended, it is right on schedule
Steve Naidamast2 years ago
"Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."

Typical American philosophy... "War is peace!"...

peatstack3 years ago
VI lenin crushed the Krondstadt rebellion that was the true 'soviet union' model and instituted a hard right revolutionary regime of ruthless dictatorial control from smolny, not a workers state. The US borgeouis (and french and english) intervened to keep russia in the war and 160 german divisions from leaving the eastern front. The threat of a workers state was not the concern of the victors. The failure of revolutionary russia to represent what this article is propping it up to be (some kind of genuine workers state) leaves me deeply suspect about the other conclusions he's bent history to. Anyone who's read "2 years in russia" by emma goldman, and "the victors dilemma" - john silverlight and any number of books on the russian civil war, it is clear that the intervention was for military tactical reasons and that the nascient state was in no ways a workers state but a totalitarian military dictatorship. Emma Goldman's disillusionment is not her falling out of love with her ideals, but her coming to terms with the reality vs the PR of Russia. Which is why this website (Wsws) advertised a book repudiating the rejection of socialism with the faiure of the soviet union as a false narrative a year or few ago.
fds peatstack3 years ago
The historical memoir is clear, diaries, memos, news articles, and the Western soldier revolts, time to smash the revolution. Kronstadt was a tragedy, but the regime was under threat. history is messy.
OL peatstack3 years ago
On Kronstadt : https://www.marxists.org/ar... I never found an attempt at refuting these that was more than hot air.

I can imagine that the leadership of imperialist countries was underestimating the bolsheviks in 1917, but once the Russian revolution had given enough confidence to the German masses to make the war stop one year later, once the French black sea fleet had rebelled in 1919, etc... they were all very conscious of the risks (potential risks, not immediate threats).

iv_int OL3 years ago
The evidence in favour of what Trotsky wrote about Kronstadt is simply overwhelming. A cmd above gave some basic evidence. Trotsky was absolutely right and absolutely honest on what he wrote later on ("hue and cry over Kronstadt")
Larka3 years ago
The working class has been the victim of betrayal after betrayal by pseudo-left forces in the 20th century, which led to two catastrophic world wars and all the other conflicts that have created needless bloodshed around the world. The great task will be, when the new mass working class anti-war movement arises, to give the working class the political knowledge it needs to not fall for the traps that dissipated anti-war movements in the past. It must be made clear to the workers of the world that for us, it's do or die time - literally, as the obscene levels of social inequality and the prospect of nuclear confrontation prove.
Carolyn Zaremba Larka3 years ago
I understand this very well, having seen what happened to what I thought at the time was a powerful antiwar movement in the 1960s against the war in Vietnam. I was quite politically naive at the time and became so disillusioned with politics in general and what I then thought to be the "left" in particular, that I went off politics completely and started reading Ayn Rand.

After being turned off by Rand's misanthropy and hatred of the working class (even though I admired her atheism), I became more or less apolitical until 1998, when I first read the World Socialist Web Site and found what I had been looking for.

Robert Seaborne Carolyn Zaremba3 years ago
thank you Carolyn Zaremba,

for this affirming comment. Me too, having all but given up on politics and following a last ditch search of the web I was rewarded with a political program and party that was more than compatible with my world view and personal values. Something I had not thought possible, thank you ICFI/SEP.

FireintheHead3 years ago
There are times when even we as Marxists find ourselves scouring the past for a word that befits the character and luminosity of a moment in human understanding. In this respect David North has given new meaning to the word 'Biblical'.

As a word, its essence is transcendent. For whoever defines an epoch in the clearest and most profoundest way as this, is elevated to the realms of Greatness.

As the bourgeoisie now scrabbles, in fights, and drowns in the last dregs of its alchemy, a Phoenix arises out of their chaos lest the bourgeoisie commits all to the Fires of Hell ....

Most excellent words comrade David ...a most excellent call to class struggle .

Eric3 years ago
This is a remarkably panoramic account, grounded in both history and economics, of the unfolding of U.S. militarism and imperialist warfare over the past 30 or so years. It is without peer in anything else I have seen in terms of showing that events and tendencies - which we may have been separately aware of - were in fact part of a historical continuum growing out of economic developments and the perceived interests of the U.S. ruling class.
iv_int3 years ago
Always interesting to read cmd. North. ''First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism''. This is great but we also have German militarism on the rise and we should not underestimate. The working class must be prepared for economic and even actual wars in Europe and elsewhere. The redivision of markets and resources is evident with Germany and China on the table.

[Dec 21, 2019] Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi

Mar 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

ChuckOrloski says:

March 12, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT • 200 Words @AnonFromTN Superfluously impossible, AnonfromTN said: "It is simple, really. The US needs a law prohibiting anyone with dual citizenship to hold public office."

Hi AnonfromTN.

Hard to comprehend how you persist to deny how the "US law" is Zionized. (Zigh) Israeli "dual citizenship and holding "Homeland" public office is an irretractable endowment lawlessly given to US Jews by ruling international Jewry.

They barged into our Constitution like a cancer and feast upon The Bill of Rights.

What's worse now is how livin' the "American dream" has reversed, and at present, President t-Rump demands huge increases in war funding.
No one gets informed that future wars converge with Israel's will.

Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free & unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi, which governed the serial killing activity of an Apache attack chopper crew in the Baghdad sky. Look close at the posed threat!

Tell me AnonfromTN? As you likely know, Bradley Chelsea Manning is, and under "Homeland" law, in-the-klink for exposing the war crimes to America. Is their one (1) US Congressman raising objection to the imprisonment? Fyi, you can look at the brave writing of Kathy Kelly on the Manning case, and which appears at Counterpunch.org.

AnonFromTN , says: March 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski I can only agree. The patient (the US political system) is too far gone to hope for recovery. As comment #69 rightly points out, our political system is based on bribery. Lobbyism and donations to political campaigns and PACs are perfectly legal in the US, while all of these should be criminal offenses punished by jail time, like in most countries. Naturally, desperate Empires losing their dominant position resort to any war crimes imaginable, and severely punish those who expose these crimes.

I can add only one thing: you are right that greedy Jews are evil, but greedy people of any nationality are just as evil as greedy Jews. Not all greedy globalists and MIC thieves are Jews, but they are all scum. I watch with dismay the US Empire heading to its crash. Lemmings running to the cliff ar